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Re: E-M:/ Michigan Residents and Environment Winners inFactory Farm Settlement

With all due respect to Ann and the Sierra Club, the Sierra  Club's suit had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with the improvements being made at River Ridge and White Acres Farms.  To the contrary, the Sierra Club suit actually complicated and delayed the improvements that Mr. Hanenburg was making voluntarily in connection with obtaining certification under the Michigan Agricultural Environmental Assurance Program ("MAEAP") and in compliance with a Consent Judgment that Mr. Hanenburg agreed to with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality before the Sierra Club's suit was even filed.  Mr. Hanenburg has been working cooperatively with both the MDEQ and the U.S. EPA for over two years to improve the operations at these farms to obtain the maximum environmental protection that is realistically feasible.
Although I would agree that Sierra Club's pressure is largely responsible for the new CAFO permit program being developed, it is frankly disingenuous for Sierra Club to claim any credit whatsoever with the hundreds of thousands of dollars that Ed Hanenburg has spent over the past several years at his farms, all long before the Sierra Club ever got involved.  Now that the permit program is being developed, all that these lawsuits are doing is extorting additional money from farmers who are already facing difficult financial times.  It is this kind of needless harassment that is driving farmers into the hands of developers.  Will Sierra Club accept responsibility for the loss of agricultural land resulting from these needless suits? 
It should also be noted that Ed's donations to Grand Valley and earmarking those funds for work on the lower Grand River watershed, and Deer Creek in particular was entirely Ed's idea, NOT the Sierra Club's.  In fact, this is the second large donation that Ed has made for work on Deer Creek.
I wish, just once, the Sierra Club would give credit where credit is due, rather than claiming it all for themselves.  U.S. EPA was prepared to give Mr. Hanenburg an official commendation in recognition for all of the voluntary efforts he has made at the farms, but because of the controversy caused by the Sierra Club, they have since withdrawn that offer.  The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has worked diligently with Mr. Hanenburg to protect the environment and improve the operations at the farms, yet Sierra Club rarely has a good word to say about MDEQ or its administrators.
Ann, please don't take these comments personally, I know that you have a job to do.  But Sierra Club needs to re-examine the benefit that these suits are having, now that the permit program is being developed.

>>> "Anne Woiwode" <anne.woiwode@sierraclub.org> 06/18/02 12:07PM >>>
Enviro-Mich message from "Anne Woiwode" <anne.woiwode@sierraclub.org>

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                     CONTACT:
June 18, 2002                                           Anne Woiwode, (517) 484-2372

Michigan Residents and Environment Winners in Factory Farm Settlement
Sierra Club Brings Animal Factories Into Compliance With Water Quality Laws

Lansing, MI—Michigan’s residents will have cleaner water quality due to an
agreement announced today between the Sierra Club and three animal factories
that will reduce pollution in the Grand River and its tributaries. The
settlement will resolve manure and other animal waste pollution problems at
three facilities in Ottawa County.  The settlement with  the owners of the
River Ridge Farms and White Acres Turkey Farm guarantees the use of
technology and practices to prevent future pollution and earmarks $12,500
for independent water quality monitoring in waterways previously polluted by
the facility.

“Deadly animal wastes are no long making their way into waterways families
use for swimming, fishing and other recreational activities as a direct
result of our efforts,” said Anne Woiwode, Director of the Sierra Club
Mackinac Chapter.  “Sierra Club pressure has forced River Ridge Farms beef
and dairy operations and Whiteacre Turkey Farm to come into compliance with
state and federal laws.”

Sierra Club brought suit against River Ridge Farms and owner Ed Hanenburg in
April 2001 to halt pollution from beef and dairy concentrated animal feeding
operations near Coopersville.  Earlier this year, Sierra Club gave notice
regarding pollution problems at the White Acres Turkey Farm, partially owned
by Hanenburg.  All violations involving these three facilities are resolved
in the settlement agreement, which was filed in federal court in Grand
Rapids on Friday. In addition, the settlement includes provisions for White
Acres Turkey Farm to notify the US EPA about possible ammonia emissions
resulting from their facility, pursuant to two federal acts, CERCLA and
EPCRA, requiring notification of emissions.

Aaron Isherwood, Sierra Club Staff Attorney, explained that this lawsuit’s
effect reaches far beyond these three operations.  “The State of Michigan
had refused to enforce federal and state laws to protect communities against
water pollution from animal factories.  Over the past two years the Sierra
Club has brought four lawsuits against polluting animal factories in
Michigan including this one. Those lawsuits are a critical part of Sierra
Club’s effort to force Michigan to do its job.”

A part of the settlement is the payment by Hanenburg of $12,500 to the Annis
Water Resources Institute of Grand Valley State University for water testing
activities in the vicinity of River Ridge Farms.  “We are pleased that a
penalty for the pollution violations in the past will in fact go to help
detect and prevent water pollution problems in the future at River Ridge,”
said Woiwode.


Anne Woiwode, Staff Director, Sierra Club Mackinac Chapter
109 East Grand River Avenue, Lansing, Michigan 48906
517-484-2372; fax 517-484-3108  anne.woiwode@sierraclub.org
visit the Mackinac Chapter on the web at http://michigan.sierraclub.org

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