State Government

Maryland’s Poultry Industry Under Attack By Usual Suspects



A bill is being proposed today in the Maryland House of Delegates that, if it became law, would charge poultry companies $0.05 for every chicken delivered.  It is purportedly to raise revenue to be spent on improving the health of the Chesapeake Bay, but among the bill’s supporters are some bad actors who are known to distort or ignore the facts to advance their green agenda.

Maryland legislators propose five-cent chicken tax

The Poultry Fair Share Act would require poultry companies, such as Perdue Farms Inc., to pay a tax into the Bay Restoration Fund for each chicken it supplies to a farmer.

If passed, Michele Merkel of Food & Water Watch expects about $15 million to be raised annually. The Washington D.C.-based, non-governmental organization and consumer rights group focuses on corporate and government accountability relating to food, water and fishing.

Usually when the phrase “fair share” is used with regard to legislation it usually means someone is about to get fleeced. This is probably no different.

Executive Director of Delmarva Poultry Industry Inc., Bill Satterfield, said the sponsors of the bill are likely not informed about the millions farmers have spent on best management practices such as planting trees and grasses near poultry houses, chicken manure storage buildings, chicken carcass composters, manure transport programs and pads at the ends of chicken houses.

“It appears the supporters of this concept are not aware of the tens of millions of dollars that chicken growers and chicken companies have spent in recent years on environmental programs,” Satterfield said.

The notion that the supporters are unaware is given considerable weight considering one of the bill’s sponsors is  Delegate Shane Robinson (D-Montgomery County). Robinson is well known for his support for an all out ban on hydraulic fracturing for natural gas and he often uses debunked junk science like that presented in the Josh Fox propaganda movie “Gasland” to support his case.

Screen Shot 2014-02-03 at 3.57.55 PMRobinson, in response the the President’s State of the Union Speech last week, retweeted actor Mark Ruffalo (certainly no expert) in posting a New York Times op ed saying that extracting and burning natural gas is going to cause “more warming.” (Maybe the Times is unaware that there has been no global warming for some 17 years and the climate models the left relies upon to make dire predictions cannot account for that fact.) Delegate Robinson is a true adherent to the green religion, driven by environmental ideology rather than facts.

Some other players may be familiar to you as well. Interestingly Michele Merkel of Food & Water Watch is formerly part of The Waterkeeper Alliance, as is Food & Water Watch’s Scott Edwards. The Waterkeeper Alliance is known to Marylanders as the group who almost put the Hudson family chicken farm out of business with a frivolous lawsuit based on false accusations. Scott Edwards was  legal counsel for Waterkeepers in the case against the Hudson family. Though the U.S. District Court Judge William Nickerson denied the family’s motion to be reimbursed for legal fees, he did note that Mr. Edwards made misrepresentations he found “distressing.”

Obviously no rational person is against fighting pollution in the Chesapeake Bay, but this legislation is put forward and supported by people known to be irrational ideologues with little regard for real science. As is often the case though, people will likely judge this proposed legislation on what it intends to do and not on whether it will actually do what it claims. These are the same kind of progressive ideologues who saddled us with a disastrous health care law that was intended to provide health insurance to the uninsured but in reality has done the exact opposite. Why should anyone trust the intentions of far left Montgomery County politicians who seek to force their agenda about issues they do not understand on regions they do not represent?

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