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E-M:/ Sierra Club gives Notice on 4 Livestock Factories

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

from the Sierra Club

July 25, 2000                          Anne Woiwode, 517-484-2372
                                       Aaron Isherwood, 415-977-5680



Grand Rapids, MI - The Sierra Club announced today that it has sent letters 
to four Michigan dairies announcing its intent to file suit against the 
facilities for causing major water pollution problems.  The four dairies 
are Bruinsma Farms, River Ridge Farms, Walnutdale Farms, and Bradford Dairy 
Farms.  The letters state that each facility has repeatedly polluted 
Michigan's waterways and violated the Clean Water Act.

        "These facilities are no friend to Michigan's families," said Ms. 
Martha Lore, Vice-Chair of the West Michigan Group of the Mackinac Chapter. 
"They overwhelm their neighbors with the stench of cow excrement and poison 
our streams.  It is time for these dairies to stop treating Michigan's 
rivers like a sewer." 

        Large industrial-type dairies, known as concentrated animal feeding 
operations or CAFOs, create one of Michigan's most dangerous water 
pollution problems.  The facilities' waste disposal practices - spraying 
manure onto croplands or storing it in open air waste pits - often result 
in leaks, spills and runoff that pollute ground and surface water and 
create a health risk to people and wildlife. Under the Clean Water Act, 
CAFOs are required to obtain permits if they discharge waste to the 
nation's waters.

        Samples of a 1997 discharge from Walnutdale Farms contained 
pollutant levels many times higher than typical waste entering a sewage 
plant; and in 1986, River Ridge Farms (formerly Grand River Dairies) 
spilled one million gallons of manure into the Grand River, causing a major 
fish kill.  Although the dairies have made some limited improvements in 
their waste management practices since these events occurred, the dairies 
continue to cause significant pollution problems.   
        "Despite repeated spills, none of these facilities has obtained the 
required permits, which are designed to protect our waterways from 
pollution," said Sierra Club attorney Aaron Isherwood.  "So far, state 
officials have been unwilling to take any action to address this problem.  
That's why the Sierra Club is filing suit - the dairies are simply not 
cleaning up after themselves and state officials appear unwilling to do 
anything about it. Unfortunately, the only way to get them to stop 
polluting Michigan's waterways is to go to court."  

        "Michigan's waterways are not a dumping ground for dairy waste," 
Ms. Lore concluded.  "It's time to protect Michigan's waters and stop 
animal factory pollution -- for our families and for our future."

        Additional information about the four facilities is available from 
the Sierra Club.  Please contact the Mackinac Chapter office at 
517-484-2372 for copies of these materials.


The Sierra Club's campaign to protect America's water from Concentrated 
Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) - one of the organization's four national 
priority campaigns - is committed to keeping factory farm pollution out of 
America's drinking water, lakes and rivers, and eliminating the threats 
that CAFOs pose to our public health and rural heritage.

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