Big bucks are blocking Chesapeake Bay cleanup

Monday, March 7, 2011; 8:09 PM

It's unfortunate but not surprising that the American Farm Bureau Federation is suing the Environmental Protection Agency over a promising plan to restore the Chesapeake Bay [" Farm Bureau targets EPA pollutant limits for Chesapeake Bay ," news story, Feb. 27].

This is par for the course for agribusiness interests such as the Farm Bureau that for years have thwarted environmental measures, such as a federal bill last year to restore water protections to all American waterways and a Maryland bill, also last year, to remove a toxic substance, arsenic, from chicken feed.

These agribusiness interests gain political clout by pouring millions of dollars into the political system. Over the past decade, 10 large agribusiness interests gave $35 million to congressional candidates. The top giver was none other than the American Farm Bureau Federation, which gave $16 million. In the past six years, the 10 leading agribusiness interests spent $127 million lobbying Congress and federal agencies; they had 159 lobbyists in 2010 alone.

Many farmers work hard to grow our food in a way that helps preserve our environment. The corporate farm lobby, however, seems bent on blocking any and all environmental protections.

Tommy Landers, Baltimore

The writer is a policy advocate for Environmental Maryland.

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