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Md. farmers straddling both sides of septic debate

Thursday - 1/19/2012, 2:23pm  ET

BALTIMORE - Maryland farmers who have long been blamed for Chesapeake Bay pollution are finding themselves on both sides of proposals to deal with another source of pollution: septic tanks in housing developments.

That's because while farmers have argued that they are working to cut runoff of manure and fertilizer from their fields, they also are wary of legislation that could limit what they can do with their land.

Last year, Gov. Martin O'Malley proposed banning septic systems for major new developments and limiting how property owners could divide their land for development. Lawmakers objected to the proposal, and the governor appointed a task force to study the issue.

Farmers are now waiting to see how lawmakers will handle the issue as this year's General Assembly session begins in Annapolis.

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