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E-M:/ Sierra Club gives notice to fifth Michigan CAFO



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Enviro-Mich message from anne.woiwode@sfsierra.sierraclub.org
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For Immediate Release                           Contact: Anne Woiwode
August 30, 2000                                            517-484-2372

Sierra Club Sends Fifth Dairy Notice of Intent to Sue 
Group contends the Michigana Farms in Kalamazoo County polluting Portage 
River

(Lansing):   The Sierra Club has sent a Notice of Intent to Sue to the 
Michigana Farms, a 2,500 head dairy concentrated animal feeding operation 
(CAFO) in Kalamazoo County, for its violations of the federal Clean Water 
Act.  Among the violations the Sierra Club cites are run off of manure 
wastes and direct discharge of other waste waters into surface waters, and 
extremely high levels of E. coli bacteria in the Portage River linked to 
pollution from Michigana.

Michigana Farms has been cited repeatedly by the Michigan Department of 
Environmental Quality for illegal discharges into the Portage River since 
1997, and is currently under investigation by the US Environmental 
Protection Agency as well.  In June, Kalamazoo County officials concerned 
about contamination from Michigana Farms tested the Portage River for E. 
coli bacteria, leading to a warning to not swim in sections of the river.  

        "Michigana Farms is just one more troubling example of the danger 
Michigan's families and communities face as a result of the Engler 
Administration's refusal to regulate concentrated animal feeding operations 
like this," according to Anne Woiwode, Program Director for the Mackinac 
Chapter of the Sierra Club.  "DEQ enforcement efforts have failed, but they 
refuse to require this facility or any other to obtain a water quality 
permit.  To determine the extent of dangerous E. coli contaminants in the 
Portage River, citizens had to take the extreme action of going to 
Kalamazoo County and demanding that the water be tested."  

On July 25th the Sierra Club gave notice to four other dairies that are 
also CAFOs in western Michigan. Under the Clean Water Act, citizens may 
bring lawsuits to force polluting facilities to come into compliance with 
the law after filing notices of intent to sue at least sixty days in 
advance.  In addition to bringing about a clean up of these facilities, the 
Sierra Club is demanding that they obtain water quality permits under the 
National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES).  The State of 
Michigan has steadfastly refused to consider issuing permits for any CAFOs.

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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. 
The Mackinac Chapter is the state wide Sierra Club chapter in Michigan, 
with over 17,000 members and thirteen regional groups.


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