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Graham Horn [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Bill stripped, pressure is on for fertilizer regulations

ANNAPOLIS — A Senate committee has voted to gut legislation implementing former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley’s phosphorous management plans, in favor of an amendment that establishes just two deadlines for meeting pollution management.

In a 7-4 vote down party lines, the committee voted in favor of an amendment to Sen. Paul Pinsky’s bill, which recommended ways to address high levels of phosphorous pollution in the Chesapeake Bay that are caused by excess fertilizer on Eastern Shore farms.

The amendment removes just about every line from the original bill, but leaves in directions that the state’s Department of Agriculture adopt regulations for phosphorous management and have them be in place by 2022.

Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, has introduced his own phosphorous initiative to address the pollution.