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

Re: E-M:/ Sierra Club CAFO Lawsuits--Wazzzup??

Enviro-Mich message from "Thomas Rohrer" <rohrert@state.mi.us>

In a message posted on 28 September 2000, Chief Druid wrote:

Enviro-Mich message from "Chief Druid" <bigdruid@hotmail.com> 

Seems to me that on or about 25 July 2000 the Sierra Club issued a big press 
release announcing their "Notice of Intent to Sue" several Confined Animal 
Feeding Operations under the federal clean water act. The suits were 
supposed to be filed after sixty days notice time had elapsed. Have these 
been filed? Anybody know the status?? 



Mr./Ms. Druid:

While I don't know what the Sierra Club is doing, I am pleased to report the following  (DEQ Press Release):

October 3, 2000
Contact: Ken Silfven
(517) 241-7397

The Department of Environmental Quality, in cooperation with the Michigan Department of Attorney General, has filed civil lawsuits against two West Michigan agricultural producers for violating state water-quality laws.

Judgments have been entered with the 30th District Court in Ingham County to correct the problems and resolve the legal violations.

Lawsuits were filed on Sept. 22 charging Bradford Dairy Farms Inc., a Kent County dairy producer; and River Ridge Farms Inc., a cattle and crop production operation in Coopersville, with illegally discharging manure and other wastes into state waters. The state alleges that the discharges occurred due to improper manure management practices at both farms.

"It does not pay to pollute in Michigan," DEQ Director Russell Harding said. "Agricultural producers as a group are committed to operating in an environmentally responsible manner. But we will move swiftly to protect our state's resources when problems arise. I applaud the professionalism of the DEQ's Surface Water Quality Division enforcement unit and the Department of Attorney General in handling these cases."

Both defendants have agreed to settle the lawsuits by entry of a court-monitored consent judgment that requires them to improve manure handling and disposal practices, and pay civil penalties for the violations.

Bradford Dairy Farms, which operates five separate facilities in and around Sparta, has agreed to develop and implement improved manure handling, storage and application practices at its operations. This will be done by preparing a comprehensive manure management plan for its operations in accordance with standards established by the state and federal departments of Agriculture.

Bradford also agreed to pay $20,000 in penalties and to partially reimburse the DEQ for $4,000 of the agency's costs for conducting compliance and enforcement actions.
River Ridge Farms Inc. also is required to implement a comprehensive nutrient management plan for all of its animal feeding operations that will prevent any future unlawful discharges to the waters of the state.

River Ridge Farms has further agreed to pay a total penalty of $25,000 for past illegal discharges. Of this amount, $15,000 will be paid to the state and $10,000 will be donated as a supplemental environmental project to Grand Valley State University for water research projects in the Deer Creek watershed. River Ridge also will reimburse the DEQ $6,000 to settle the agency's claims for compliance and enforcement costs.

Since 1992, the DEQ's Surface Water Quality Division enforcement team has settled 12 administrative actions and two litigated cases against agricultural producers who have violated Part 31 of Michigan's Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act. There currently are three additional pending judicial actions and several administrative actions under way.

The collective settlements have resulted in more than $100,000 in civil penalties being paid to the state, about $45,000 in administrative cost reimbursement, and over $20,000 in natural resource damage restitution. Cash donations also were made as part of some settlements to local environmental groups to improve water quality in the local watershed. These supplemental environmental projects provide direct benefits to the impacted resource.

More important than penalty dollars, these settlements have resulted in more than $500,000 in expenditures for corrective actions to prevent future illegal discharges to Michigan waters.

Revised October 3, 2000 by Deb Miller

The HTML version of this press release can be found at our web site at:




Thomas K. Rohrer, Chief
Enforcement Unit
Michigan Department of Environmental Quality
P.O. Box 30273
Lansing,  MI  48909-7773
(517) 335-4101
(517) 373-2040 - fax

e-mail = rohrert@state.mi.us

"Protecting and enhancing the quality of Michigan's surface waters"

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"