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Host: Scott LaMar

Sturla wants to outlaw cattle standing in streams

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | Sep 28, 2016 11:26 AM
cows standing in stream 600 x 340.jpg

What happened on Wednesday's Smart Talk:

State Representative Mike Sturla of Lancaster is proposing legislation that would make it illegal for cattle to stand in water.  It's all part of efforts to clean up the Chesapeake Bay.

Appearing on Wednesday's Smart Talk, Sturla said that cattle defecating in the streams and tearing up the stream banks result in harmful nutrients and sediment going into the water.

Sturla pointed out that Maryland and Virginia recently enacted bans against livestock standing in streams and indicated that Virginia went as far as providing funding to erect stream bank fencing. Sturla said "That one act alone allowed (Virginia) to meet their EPA requirement for total maximum daily load" that measures pollutants going into the bay.  Sturla added that "We are woefully behind in the state of Pennsylvania...we're at about 30% of where we need to be for our next benchmark."

Jim Cowell, president of the Pennsylvania Cattlemen's Association responded that there will be some pushback from farmers who are concerned about the cost of building the fences along streams, the loss of land, and continued maintenance of the fences.  He added that there are farmers "who just don't want the government telling them what to do."

Strula said he wants the state to pay for the cost of the fencing and that although it may cost $100 million, that it is the most cost-effective way to keep streams, rivers and the bay clean compared to sewer plant upgrades and other moves.

Rep. Sturla is looking for a legislator from another county where agriculture is a major industry to co-sponsor the proposal before it is introduced.  Sturla is part of a legislative delegation to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

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