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E-M:/ CAFO's and Representative Nick Smith

Enviro-Mich message from Kathy Melmoth <melmoth@dmci.net>

Dear Enviro-Mich.
I am a constituent of Representative Nick Smith. His bill, HR5638, to
amend section 402 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, appears to
be an attempt to circumvent the protections the Clean Water Act provides
to communities and the environment.
Our healthy, rural community is threatened. The speed at which we are
becoming surrounded by large, confined, livestock facilities, has left
myself and my neighbors stunned.
Our township officials remain silent or inform us there is nothing they
can do. Our state representatives and our governor voted for SB205 that
both encourages and protects these livestock facilities. Now, at the
national level, our representative, Nick Smith, is attempting to allow
states to decide which animal feeding operations are CAFO's and to
determine the volume and frequency of discharge.

>From here, in Hillsdale County, it appears that the institutions that
traditionally promote the health and well being of citizens and the
environment have abandoned their mission and the communities they serve.

Michigan State University, whose land grant mission "is helping people
improve their lives through an educational process that applies
knowledge to critical needs, issues and opportunities" is the tax
supported institution that plays an active role in promoting the dairy
industry and its current methods of operation. How can Michigan State
and its trustees not address the issues of health, property, water and
air of the neighbors who live next to these facilities? I challenge them
to discuss why they have not advocated for Environmental Impact
Statements or for more public participation and openness regarding the
location and management of massive amounts of untreated liquid waste.

The Michigan Department of Community Health states the department will
"take steps to prevent disease and promote wellness." The Public Health
Code of Michigan (Act 368), directs the department to "develop and
maintain the capability to monitor and evaluate conditions which
represent potential and actual environmental health hazards."
My own health department denies any knowledge of how many large
livestock operations exist in Hillsdale County. In Lenewee County, the
health department has attempted to respond to citizen concerns and
complaints regarding contaminated water and odor from large livestock
operations. On one occasion they publicly expressed their frustration at
the lack of cooperation from the Michigan Department of Agriculture in
helping them address citizen concerns. There is a notable lack of
concern at the state level in the Michigan Department of Community
Health for the health of communities impacted by these livestock
The structural changes in agriculture have been allowed and encouraged
to progress without the oversight and regulatory controls of all other
industries. The "no intervention" approach by our legislators, our
governor, the land grant university and the Michigan Department of
Community Health, cannot continue.
Massive manure lagoons must be replaced. These cannot continue to be
built or sanctioned. Environmental Impact Statements must be done to
prevent serious injury to people, their community, the water and air.
The Dairy industry must respond to our community's concerns with real
solutions and not with laws crafted by special interest groups.

Sincerely, Kathy Melmoth

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