But, it is on the East Coast that perhaps the most ambitious effort has been launched to regulate confinement livestock operations.<
This week, Maryland announced it will be the first state to require major poultry processors to help the farmers who grow their chickens properly dispose of the litter. Up until now, processors growing animals on contract owned the chickens while their contractors owned the manure.
For their part, major processors, claim they already have disposal plans in place that will meet the Maryland's proposed regulations. Perdue is building a facility that will turn chicken litter into fertilizer pellets and Allen Family Foods is planning to use methane from manure to generate electricity.
However, Maryland Gov. Parris Glendening decided the Industry's good intentions were not enough to guarantee compliance with the state's Clean Water Act. The new environmental regulations mandate that both processor and grower will share in the responsibility of protecting Maryland's waterways.
New operating permits are expected to be issued to processors at the end of January. Without the permits processors will be unable to legally run their production lines and discharge wastewater into nearby rivers and streams.<