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E-M:/ Followup on EPA report on MI CAFO problems

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

 For news articles about the EPA's report on Michigan's failure to properly 
 regulate animal factories you can look at the following websites:
 Dave Poulson's report for Booth Newspapers shows up at:
 Kim Johnson's Associated Press report is at:
 As the press reports on the EPA's interim report on Michigan's problems, 
 you can study how the state's mouthpieces are attempting to spin this 
 report, which virtually condemns Michigan's program.  The primary phrases 
 being used by the DEQ spokesman Ken Silfven are alternately that: "This is 
 federal bureaucracy at its most ludicrous. It would only create a massive 
 paper shuffling program with no environmental benefit."  or  that the 
 federal charges are "pure nonsense" and that the state's workload would 
 triple if they had to do the required inspections.
 Remember, we are talking about the introduction into the waters of this 
 state of massive amounts of manure and other wastes from intensive animal 
 agriculture operations.  These types of waste have been implicated in the 
 Walkerton, Ontario disaster earlier this year, where E. coli bacteria 
 contaminated the drinking water system of a small town not far from 
 Detroit, causing deaths, severe and widespread health problems, and 
 leading to the requirement to replace the entire water system for the 
 community.  Manure wastes were also implicated in the enormous number of 
 deaths in Milwaukee caused by cryptosporidium entering the city's water 
 system a number of years ago. 
 Then go look at what the EPA's findings are, and, if you can, take a look 
 at what their report actually shows.  Someone summed up the attitude of 
 the state of Michigan to massive, concentrated animal feeding operations 
 that are causing severe pollution as a "don't ask, don't tell, don't look" 
 strategy, and the EPA's report bears that out.  EPA found in its interim 
 report that almost all of the claims made by the petitioners were in fact 
 supported.  These claims ranged from legal barriers put in place by the 
 state which interfere with the authority of the delegated agency to 
 implement the Clean Water Act properly, to documentation of the failures 
 of DEQ and MDA take proper enforcement action against specific polluting 
 CAFOs, to the interference in the public's right to participate in 
 processes relating to reporting and commenting on pollution from these 
 facilities that are guaranteed by federal law. 
 It is truly scary that those who are vested with the enormous duty of 
 protecting the health, welfare and quality of life of the people of this 
 state are quick with quips when faced with extensive documentation of 
 potentially life threatening failures of their program, but adamantly 
 resistant to actually doing their job.  
 Anne Woiwode
 Sierra Club

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