[Date Prev][Date Next][Date Index]

E-M:/ SB 205 passes House Committee with minor amendments

Enviro-Mich message from anne.woiwode@sfsierra.sierraclub.org


SB 205, the preempt local controls over agriculture bill was heard again today
in the House Ag and Resource Management Committee, although all but 5 the 100+
people who showed up to testify were not able to speak. It passed with
amendments, and can be expected to hit the floor of the House in short order.

On Friday the Farm Bureau, Michigan Townships Association and the Department
of Agriculture met to talk about the bill, and came to a compromise that
leaves MTA most likely "neutral" on the bill, while pushing Farm Bureau off
their "no change, no way" posturing.  That agreement was fundamentally what
was passed today by the House Committee, but it did nothing at all to address
some of the major concerns that still exist under both the existing law and
the proposed amendments about confined animal feeding operations. 

The changes adopted by the Farm Bureau and MTA were:

     * addition of the word "environment" in the section which would allow a
local unit to initiate an ordinance if "adverse effects on the environment and
public health will exist within the local unit."  This makes the law
consistent with the preemption of local ordinances with over pesticides;

     * MDA will create Generally Accepted Agricultural Management Practices
(GAAMPs) for siting and odors; 

     * addition of language that the law would not take effect until April 1,
2000, and that the MDA will have new GAAMPS siting and odors developed and
adopted by April 1, 2000.

What the Committee DID NOT ADOPT as amendments (offered by members) included:

     * not allowing CAFOs over 1000 animal units to be exempt from local

     * allowing communities to adopt GAAMPS into their ordinances to allow
them to enforce the standards if they wished;

     * putting the DEQ into the law so that they have clearly defined
co-authority with the MDA.

What wasn't even addressed were the underlying problems that the Right to Farm
Act already posed BEFORE the proposed amendment was offered: 

     * GAAMPS are voluntary guidelines that can only be addressed AFTER THE
FACT on a complaint basis -- which raises very serious concerns about how
siting requirements would be enforced -- would the MDA require a million
dollar facility built in the wrong place to MOVE?

     * MDA is the first stop on complaints about failure to comply with
GAAMPs, but they can, under their Memorandum of Understanding with the DEQ
take months or years to refer violators to the DEQ, which must then start the
investigative process over.

     * The MDA promises public input into the GAAMPs but their record for
publicity is pretty poor on current GAAMP revisions -- there is no regular
mailing list that goes out, for example, to the 1400 local units of government
that would now be affected by GAAMPs.  

If you care about this issue, PLEASE contact YOUR OWN STATE REPRESENTATIVE NOW
and urge him/her to VOTE NO ON SB 205.  Also, contact the Speaker of the
House, Chuck Perricone with the same message -- (517)373-1774.

The vote could occur even before the end of this week, so please CALL NOW!

Anne Woiwode
Sierra Club

ENVIRO-MICH:  Internet List and Forum for Michigan Environmental
and Conservation Issues and Michigan-based Citizen Action.   Archives at

Postings to:  enviro-mich@great-lakes.net      For info, send email to
majordomo@great-lakes.net  with a one-line message body of  "info enviro-mich"