ANNAPOLIS — Sen. Steve Hershey, R-36-Upper Shore, has written to Sen. Paul Pinsky and Del. Samuel Rosenberg, co-chairmen of the Joint Committee for Administrative, Executive and Legislative Review, to request a formal hearing on the proposed implementation of the Phosphorus Management Tool regulations.

“It became evident to me at the public briefing in Easton last week that an attempt was being made to push the new regulations through to implementation without answers to vital questions regarding the economic impact of these regulations on Maryland farmers. It was confirmed that neither an economic impact study nor a farm-by-farm cost benefit analysis was conducted during the development of the PMT,” Hershey said.

“Let’s face it,” he said, “although farm owners have complied with almost every restriction and regulation imposed on them, achieving load reductions of 130 percent of stated goals in 2011 and 2013, it is apparently not enough. There are some, not all, members of the environmental community that continue to push for regulations, based on spurious science, which have the potential to destroy profitable farming on the Eastern Shore. The case against the Hudson family farm has left the farming community suspicious and overtly concerned whether their voice is being heard or heeded on the PMT regulations.”

Hershey said he has suggested a simple compromise of rolling out the PMT over 18 months or two planting cycles, allowing the present and the new regulations to run side by side to provide sufficient time to correctly determine the actual economic impacts.

“To protect our farming industry, we who represent the Eastern Shore, are going to strongly oppose allowing the new regulations to bypass the AELR review. In addition, we will push for the AELR recommendations to be fully vetted by the General Assembly in the upcoming 2014 Session,” Hershey said.

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