Yesterday, State Senate Minority Leader, Allan Kittleman was our guest on “and then there’s that…”. He spoke about the frustration of being in the minority party and trying to get the state to spend within its means. He believes that any tax increase only serves to enable a state government that can’t seem to stop growing.
I like his fiscal conservatism. I also like his attitude towards private business as demonstrated by his opposition to the initiative by his fellow lawmakers, Delegates Guy Guzzone and Warren Miller, to limit liquor licenses in Howard County.
Then he started talking about chicken houses on the eastern shore. He said that 50 chicken houses were waiting to be built on the eastern shore but were being held up by state regulations. This, he exclaimed, was just another example of government getting in the way of business and new jobs.
The chicken business is a pretty dirty business. According to this article by Peter S. Goodman in The Washington Post, the Environmental Protection Agency determined that “Poultry on the lower shore sends more than four times as much nitrogen into the bay as the biggest nonagricultural source – leaky septic tanks and runoff from developed areas – and more than three times as much phosphorus as the second-largest nonfarm source, sewage treatment plants.”
The PBS Program Frontline reported that “Half the pollution flowing into Chesapeake Bay is estimated to come from agriculture. And one concern is chicken farms on the Delmarva Peninsula. In 2008, these farms produced 1.5 billion pounds of manure -- more than the annual human waste of New York, Washington D.C., San Francisco and Atlanta combined.”
So why does the Senate Minority Leader feel compelled to promote the construction of fifty more chicken houses to add to the over 6,000 chicken houses already operating on the Delmarva peninsula?
I don’t know but it certainly doesn’t help his green credentials.
I like it when my government is focused on cleaning up the bay. I happen to think that this is exactly what the government should be doing.
I also realize that the poultry industry has a vested interest in playing down the waste problem in their industry. They lobby hard to get local pols to see their side.
Unfortunately I gave Allan a pass on this during our show. I made some pun about it being a fowl deal and we moved on. I regret that now. I’ll try not to let that happen again.