"In Maryland, messing with Big Chicken can bring big trouble.
The latest case study is playing out in Annapolis, where the state Senate wants to impose greater scrutiny on the University of Maryland's environmental law clinic. The reason? Apparently, it's the law clinic's pro bono work for an environmental group that is suing an Eastern Shore chicken farmer and the poultry giant Perdue Farms.
In that lawsuit, filed this month, the Assateague Coastal Trust alleges that polluted runoff from the farm, where the Hudson family raises chickens for Perdue, was fouling the Pocomoke River. Waste from the farm could flow to the Chesapeake Bay, carrying bacteria and fuel for oxygen-sucking algae blooms, the suit says.
A few weeks later, legislators proposed taking away hundreds of thousands of dollars from the law school's budget unless the clinic spelled out exactly whom it has represented and how much it has spent on each client."