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E-M:/ Protest against Vreba Hoff LLC tour of Dutch farmers



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Enviro-Mich message from "Anne Woiwode" <anne.woiwode@sierraclub.org>
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Yesterday, a group of neighbors of various dairy concentrated animal feeding
operations (CAFO) set up or run by the Vreba Hoff LLC in Michigan, Ohio and
Indiana, picketed a tour of prospective CAFO operators brought to Michigan
by Vreba Hoff from the Netherlands.  The picketers, fed up with government
inaction and disturbed by promotional materials from Vreba Hoff to foreign
prospects that they comply with all environmental regulations, wanted to
assure that the visitors understood just how unhappy people are with the
existing the facilities, and the opposition to any new facilities coming in.
A story in the Toledo Blade
http://www.toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?Date=20020711&Category=NEWS
17&ArtNo=107110059&Ref=AR  and one on Michigan Public Radio stations running
today explains the issues and concerns.

The story on WKAR Radio (which can be heard ONLY until tomorrow a.m. at
about 7:30 by going to http://wkar.org/news and go to "More WKAR Newscasts,
hit 7:33 a.m. broadcast for the whole 5 mins of news) noted the concern of
protesters, including Sierra Club, with the fact that these facilities are
moving here because environmental regulations are weaker than in the
Netherlands.  The Vreba Hoff spokeswoman acknowledged that the regulations
are weaker here, but said it was the cheaper farm land here that was
attracting the transplants.  In either case, Michigan is evidently an
international scale manure magnet now, not just one nationwide!

Vreba Hoff is in the business of bringing farmers from the Netherlands and
other nations to the Midwest to set them up in turn-key dairy CAFO
operations.  Some Vreba Hoff or Vreba Hoff client facilities are very large
(the two Vreba Hoff facilities in the Hudson area of Michigan combine to be
8,000 dairy cows, according to independent sources of info, or the
equivalent in manure production to 240,000 people, according to the
comparisons by NRCS) while in Ohio it appears they are sizing them to just
barely fall below the state's size limitations for facilities needing
permits (700 dairy cows).  In Michigan ALL of the Vreba Hoff dairies or
their clients' dairy CAFOS have had at least one violation each of the Clean
Water Act, while the Vreba Hoff Dairy and Vreba Hoff 2 have had 7 CWA
violations between them in the last 11 months. You can find information
about this company at www.vrebahoff.com

Sierra Club's statement on protest is pasted below.
 Sierra Club Statement regarding
Vreba Hoff LLC Animal Factory Operations in Michigan

July 10, 2002

	As the Vreba Hoff LLC hosts a tour of prospective animal factory operators
from the Netherlands to Michigan, the Sierra Club calls on Vreba Hoff to
stop all such tours and solicitations of new operators for animal factories
in the Michigan, Indiana and Ohio area and to end the contamination of the
water, air and land and the destruction of the quality of life of the
neighbors of the facilities either run by Vreba Hoff or by its client
operators.

	Every Vreba Hoff facility or client facility in Michigan has caused
independently documented contamination of streams and drains, resulting in
threats to the public health, destruction of natural resources and
disruption of the well-being of the community members living in the vicinity
of these facilities. Vreba Hoff has taken advantage of Michigan’s weak
environmental laws and its failure to adequately enforce environmental and
public health policies.  To date, no Vreba Hoff facility or client facility
in Michigan has applied for National Pollution Discharge Elimination System
(NPDES) permits required under the federal Clean Water Act.  Vreba Hoff LLC’
s record with regard to adherence with environmental laws in the United
States is at complete odds with their public pronouncements of adherence to
environmental principles and regulatory requirements.

	Sierra Club calls on Vreba Hoff to end its trafficking in animal factories
and to respect the people and laws of the United States.


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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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