SB 336: Maryland Senator Mary Beth Carozza’s first bill passed the State Senate at the end of February. Senate Bill 336 pertains to residency requirements for those running for Somerset County Commissioner. The measure, which restores the residency requirement, received a unanimous vote. The bill requires that candidates who run for Somerset County Commissioner live in the district at least six months before the primary election, and if elected continue to live there the entire term of office.
SB 546: Legislation in the Maryland Senate Education, Health and Environment Affairs Committee would require more burdens on shore farmers by imposing additional nutrient management monitoring and enforcement. Senate Bill 546 would impose mandatory fines for non-compliance with nutrient management laws, require a new certification for commercial manure haulers and brokers, and establish costly new permits allowing the Maryland Department of the Environment to charge a fee of at least $5,000 for a proposed Confined Animal Feeding Operation that will house over 200,000 or more animals. This is an omnibus bill that will hamstring shore farm families.
SB 542 requires a new and expensive air quality sampling and monitoring system for large animal feeding operations (AFOs). This new bill could cost up to $10-million and does not take into consideration the recently-announced Lower Eastern Shore Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Project with the Keith Campbell Foundation for the Environment and Delmarva Poultry Industry (DPI) to monitor air in the vicinity of AFOs. The monitoring would be reviewed by the Maryland Department of the Environment with DPI and the Campbell Foundation jointly committing more than $500,000 to this project, a far cry from the $10 million cost to the taxpayers of the proposed legislation. This DPI-Campbell Foundation project is a response to those in the community who have concerns about air quality near poultry farms and is a commonsense, fiscally sound approach to air monitoring.