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E-M:/ Pollution Prevention Week??

Enviro-Mich message from "Anne Woiwode" <anne.woiwode@sierraclub.org>

The Gov's office put out a press release yesterday declaring this week
Pollution Prevention Week.  The entire content is related to agricultural
pollution, with extensive quotes from MDA Director Dan Wyant about
Michigan's programs. I have pasted it below, and the website is:


While I find it hard to raise to my normal level of sarcasm at this time, I
do want to assure that this piece does not escape the notice and scorn of
the broader community.  Rhetorical detoxification, a phrase learned during
the Detroit Incinerator fight of the 1980's, seems to apply here.

Pollution prevention is always good, and in context the programs below are
very worthwhile. What isn't good is to see Dan Wyant and others in the state
continue to try to build the myth that their voluntary efforts have actually
worked to the point of offsetting the need for regulation. In fact, the
statements incite a conflict that does not need to exist -- pollution
prevention, voluntary compliance AND compliance with appropriate regulations
and laws, including things like water permits for large facilities, is
absolutely the smartest thing to do.  It is not an either or, and it never
has been.

Instead, the state's position is like the delusional coach of a losing
baseball team which used to be the best in the league -- The rah rah is good
for the spirit, but in the end the scores show time and time and time again
that the talk is just that -- talk. I continue to be mystified by the
state's defiant and resistant stand, that takes on the hallmarks of
righteous resistance, when they could be the leaders in doing it right.
What a thought -- Michigan could actually craft a program that meets
everyone's needs -- protects the health and environment of our state's
people, and provides for efficient, well-run, effective agricultural
operations.  So far the fantasy world they have created seems to have an
irreversible grip on them instead.

Anne Woiwode

Pollution Prevention Week in Michigan

The state’s first Pollution Prevention Week, starting today, Monday, Sept.
17, is the perfect time to recognize the important accomplishments Michigan
agriculture has made in preventing ag-related pollution and to highlight
additional goals that ensure continued environmental progress.

Pollution Prevention Week became a reality under a resolution sponsored by
Sen. Ken Sikkema this summer. It runs from Monday, Sept.17 through Sunday,
Sept. 23.

"MDA and Michigan’s agriculture industry are renowned for innovative and
effective pollution prevention programs," said Dan Wyant, Director of the
Michigan Department of Agriculture. "While much has been accomplished, we
are raising the bar even higher with several new initiatives that balance
producers’ right to farm with the need to protect and enhance Michigan’s

Michigan has particularly honed in on environmental performance since 1998
when the state’s comprehensive "Pollution Prevention Strategy for Michigan
Agriculture" was unveiled. It identified the need for additional
environmental stewardship tools due to changes in agricultural practices and
increased rural population densities.

Two such tools are the Michigan Agricultural Environmental Assurance Program
(MAEAP) and the Michigan Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP).

MAEAP is a proactive, comprehensive program that helps ensure farmers are
complying with all state and federal environmental regulations. It assists
farmers to meet these regulations by providing education, on-farm technical
assistance, environmental risk assessments, and action plans that are site
and farm specific. Top goals include targeting livestock operations in the
state’s environmentally sensitive areas and having 85 percent of all
livestock production participating by 2005.

This program was officially launched last December and has been rolled out
to almost 800 producers statewide. Currently, 25 farms located throughout
Michigan are close to completing a pilot project. These sites vary by
species, size, and management. Producers from each site are working together
with local resource teams to develop and fine tune both the plans for
preventing potential pollution and the tools to evaluate implementation and
environmental performance. When MAEAP requirements are met, producers will
receive a certificate of environmental assurance. To remain a verified MAEAP
participant, farm inspections must be conducted at least every three years.

CREP is a program to implement environmentally sound practices on
agricultural lands that help improve water quality and wildlife habitat. It
was launched last fall in three targeted priority Michigan watersheds: Lake
Macatawa, River Raisin and Saginaw Bay.

Under CREP, eligible Michigan agricultural producers and landowners enter
into 15-year contracts with USDA and the state of Michigan. In return,
participants receive annual rental payments and cost-share assistance to
establish and maintain approved conservation practices that include riparian
buffers, filter strips, field windbreaks, and wetland creations or
restorations. Since the program’s initiation, more than 28,000 acres of the
maximum 80,000 have already been enrolled in the three watersheds.

Other key agricultural-environmental accomplishments or programs include:

Michigan Groundwater Stewardship Program (MGSP) – This program is nationally
recognized as one of the most effective and efficient groundwater protection
programs in the country. Because of MGSP, more than 7,500 farmers have
received one-on-one technical assistance to identify and correct potential
risks to groundwater from pesticides and nitrogen fertilizers. In addition,
nearly 4,000 abandoned wells have been properly decommissioned, and nitrogen
best management practices were voluntarily implemented on over 88,000 acres.

Generally Accepted Agriculture and Management Practices (GAAMPs) for Site
Selection and Odor Control at New or Expanding Livestock Production
Facilities – This new GAAMP was developed and implemented to improve and
strengthen the Right to Farm program by properly siting animal agriculture
facilities, based upon an area’s population density and environmental
conditions. Because of this new long-term planning process, some sites are
identified as inappropriate while others can be approved once modifications
to the operation are made to meet the new standards.

Right-to-Farm program – Michigan’s RTF program, in effect for nearly two
decades, is a national model for balancing producers’ right to farm while
simultaneously promoting sound environmental stewardship. It provides
guidance under which a farm or farm operation shall not be found to be a
public or private nuisance. However, in order to have this protection, the
farm must conform to certain scientifically-based GAAMPs, like the one
listed above, which are reviewed annually and updated or revised as
necessary. MDA has established a toll-free number, 877-MDA-1-RTF
(877-632-1783), that can be used by anyone requesting information about RTF,
including GAAMPs, or to file an environmental complaint about a farm. MDA
has a cooperative agreement with Michigan Department of Environmental
Quality to investigate all environmental complaints on farms. RTF is a key
part of the state’s overall pollution prevention strategy by identifying and
resolving potential problems on farms. In Fiscal Year 2000, MDA investigated
140 new farm-related environmental and nuisance complaints, 59 percent of
which were verified.

Partnering with local conservation districts – MDA, in cooperation with
Michigan’s 82 conservation districts, is undertaking a resource assessment
for each of the state’s counties to highlight natural resource concerns and
action plans to address those concerns. This fiscal year alone, the
partnership has resulted in the planting of over 9 million trees and shrubs,
the application of resource management systems on 62,971 acres, protection
of 8,000 feet of stream banks and shoreline, 110,000 feet of windbreaks and
shelter belts, and 19,000 feet of field borders.

Michigan Clean Sweep Program – More than 150,000 pounds of pesticides were
removed from circulation and properly disposed of at local Clean Sweep sites
under this program in 2000. To date, over 2 million pounds have been
collected from Michigan’s barns, garages and basements since the program was
created in 1990.

Anne Woiwode, Staff Director
Sierra Club Mackinac Chapter
109 East Grand River Avenue
Lansing, Michigan 48906
517-484-2372; fax 517-484-3108

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