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E-M:/ DEQ Public Relations vs. Clean up in Kalamazoo County



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Enviro-Mich message from "Anne Woiwode" <anne.woiwode@sierraclub.org>
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The Michigan DEQ is once again responding to a Sierra Club notice of intent
to sue against a polluting livestock factory with a slap on the wrist and a
pat on their own backs. The press release from today is at the end of this
message. Sierra Club noticed Michigana Farms in 2000 with intent to sue.

What is particularly sad here is that this settlement is expressly specific
to only one farm, NOT the Michigan Holsteins owned and operated by the same
individual in the same county, which is much larger and is almost totally
dependent on trucking urine and feces to fields throughout the county.  Just
yesterday I received an email that described these operations effects on the
lives on one family this way:

"After putting up with bad, bad, bad odors, contamination of our soil and
water possibly by over dumping of cattle urine and solids am I writing you.
Besides the dumping of wastes on or near my property, there is a issue of
dead cattle being buried near my residence and close to lakes, as Indian and
Mud lakes....... This bad smell and contamination takes your breath, my
parents that are elderly and retired, as well as other sick, disabled people
and retirees within a couple of miles of my residence are sick of the
problem as well. I have talked to numerous families in the area and we can't
take it no longer....I have made complaints as of Feb, May, August and soon
to be Sept or Oct of spraying of TONS of urine and solid waste from his
cattle farms of 1,200 at Pavilion (Michigana Farms) where I live near and
2,400 cattle (Michigan Holsteins) near the village of Fulton, MI. I filmed
workers spraying the field.... on Aug. 19,20 and 21 with urine and solids
with my CAM. He claims he only sprays once every 2-3 months with his (honey
wagon) urine sprayer. I have proof that he is lieing about his spraying."

This individual identified at least 6 different MDA officials who had been
contacted about this, without any success in alleviating the problems.  The
Michigana Farms were originally cited a very long time ago, and it is just
now that the MDEQ is putting into place a "settlement".

And what is that settlement?  Racking up minor financial benefits to the
state as if this substitutes for water one can fish and swim in. No mention
of any recompense to those whose lives have been destroyed by this facility.
Developing, for some indeterminate deadline in the future, a voluntary
Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan -- which will not be subject to
neighbors insights or comments, nor will it have any specifically
enforceable provisions such as would be found in a permit.

The Engler PR machine is again attempting to let polluters off the hook
while pretending that this somehow will solve the problem.

Anne Woiwode

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 25, 2001

  Contact: Ken Silfven
   (517) 241-7397

DEQ Settles Lawsuit with Michigana Farms Ltd.
Kalamazoo County farm to pay $40,000 in costs, penalties

The Department of Environmental Quality, in cooperation with the Michigan
Attorney General's Office, has settled a lawsuit against a Kalamazoo County
dairy farm that violated the state's water quality laws.

Michigana Farms Ltd. is a dairy operation in Kalamazoo County's Pavilion
Township.  The lawsuit resolved claims that Michigana Farms violated state
water quality laws by failing to properly manage farm and animal
waste.  The DEQ claimed that the farm failed to prevent its livestock from
directly entering the Portage River and its tributaries, contributing
manure and sediment directly into the water.  Improper pasture management
also allowed soil and manure to run off into surface waters.

A consent judgment was entered with the 30th District Court in Ingham
County to correct the problems and resolve the violations.

"The state remains committed to assuring that agriculture producers operate
in compliance with water quality rules," said DEQ Director Russell
Harding.  "I am pleased that Michigana Farms will take necessary correction
measures and operate in accordance with the law."

Michigana Farms agreed to pay a $15,000 cash penalty and will reimburse the
state $10,000 for compliance and enforcement costs.  It also will donate
$15,000 to the Kalamazoo Conservation District for water quality
improvement projects.

In addition, Michigana Farms will develop and implement a Comprehensive
Nutrient Management Plan for its operation.  This is a farm-specific plan
to protect water quality and minimize environmental impacts by properly
managing farm wastes.  It addresses such issues as polluted storm water,
manure production and collection, land application management, record
keeping, inspections, and emergency planning.

As part of the plan, Michigana will develop a pasture management plan to
prevent runoff, and also will ensure that measures are put into place to
prevent direct livestock access to the river.

The plan must be reviewed and updated annually, and must be approved by the
DEQ prior to implementation.

Resolution of this matter now brings the total number of agricultural
enforcement cases settled by the DEQ to 17 since 1992.  This was the fourth
judicial settlement since September 2000.

The cases have resulted in more than $116,000 in civil penalties, $62,000
in cost reimbursement and over $300,000 in corrective action.  They also
have generated more than $107,000 in cash donations to local environmental
groups.

#####




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