Document Type

Working Paper

Publication Date



Chesapeake Bay, pollution, administrative law, organizational design, regulatory failure and enforcement, concentrated animal feeding operation


After decades of failed interstate agreements, the Chesapeake Bay is choking on too many nutrients. The estuary’s last, best chance of recovery is the Environmental Protection Agency's Total Maximum Daily Load (“TMDL”) program, also known as a pollution diet. To meet this deadline, all polluters, including large animal farms, will need to sharply reduce the pollutants they release into the Bay. The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) must ensure that each Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (“CAFO”) has developed a facility-specific permit that details when and where manure is applied to fields and how waste is stored and handled. Then the state needs to make sure the CAFOs follow their plans by conducting regular inspections. This Issue Alert finds that MDE has been unable to issue permits for these major sources of pollution in a timely way. Specifically, the state has not registered nearly 30 percent of regulated animal farms, thus missing out on tens of thousands of pounds of pollution reduction in the Chesapeake Bay.

Publication Citation

Center for Progressive Reform Issue Alert #1310


Administrative Law | Environmental Law