Farms and the Bay

President Bush has proposed cutting back on a $188 million Chesapeake Bay nutrient reduction program. The Chesapeake Bay Watershed Program pays farmers to implement specific management practices designed to reduce the runoff of phosphorus and nitrogen from agricultural fertilizers into the bay. Such practices include planting grassy strips and other vegetation which would filter and limit runoff from farms, and construction of storage units for manure.

Bush has proposed holding off on $23 million of the funding, for budgetary reasons. Senator Ben Cardin is up in arms: [Bush] “is wrong on the science, wrong on our farmers’ needs…”

The state is also spending $25 million on this program (originally appropriating $50M, but then holding back on half for budgetary reasons. And the US Dept of Agriculture has already paid millions ($9M in Maryland alone) to farmers for these activities.

Maybe I’m missing something. We don’t pay manufacturers to install scrubbers on their smokestacks, we expect them to cover those costs themselves. We don’t pay chemical companies not to dump wastes into the Potomac. So here’s my question: Why should we pay farmers not to pollute?

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3 Comments on “Farms and the Bay”

  1. Freemarket Says:

    Another brilliant post. Does this blog have an RSS feed? I am trying to add you to my Google Reader, but I can’t find where I can subscribe to new posts (I do see a comment RSS).

  2. Zinzindor Says:

    Brilliant? Aw, gee, Mom, you’re embarrassing me. :>

    Actually, I can do a pretty good job of embarrassing myself, since I can’t seem to figure out how to add a widget for an RSS feed. While I figure that out, WordPress tells me this should work: LeviathanMontgomery.wordpress.com/feed.

  3. Freemarket Says:

    Alright, thanks. It looks like the RSS feed works!


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