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E-M:/ Posthumus -- Anti-family farm, Pro- Pollution from CAFOS


Enviro-Mich subscribers:

The past week has seen a number of statements from Dick Posthumus about his position on the death of the family or small scale farm in Michigan, and how (despite his campaign statements about the importance of water quality in Michigan) we are just plain going to have to learn to wallow in manure and like it.  What is astonishing is how remarkably ignorant this man seems to be of the facts surrounding these issues.  Evidently he thinks manure cesspools, euphemistically known as "lagoons" are a treatment technology for the waste, instead of what they really are: large, often unlined dirt pits for holding the liquified manure that is rife with pollutants and increasingly with anti-biotic resistant bacteria, until it can be spread on fields. 

Below are two sources of these comments:

A roughly transcribed answer to a questions by an MPR reporter run on Friday's news reports (apologies for any errors -- this was transcribed by me by going to the WKAR Radio website while the news item was still posted and repeatedly playing it until I think I got it right):
That means having environmental regulations that will allow for the
concentrated livestock operations that need to operate --That is the
difference that many of the environmental  advisors to my oponent don't
understand -- that thats what's happening in agriculture and and argue that
well, we can still have these small operations, The fact is they won't exist
in the future and that they don't exist today.

Second, an extensive section of the Detroit Free Press's editorial board interview with Mr. Posthumus was devoted to CAFOs and agriculture, although none of it showed up in the paper.  He claims to have been partly responsible for the "compromise" that was struck with EPA on permits, when in fact no permit has yet been put out for public review, so nothing has been settled about permits.  Here is the website:  http://www.freep.com/voices/columnists/webpost27_20020927.htm -- go about 3/4 of the way down in the interview to find comments like this:

Q: But I think some people would argue that one of the reasons the big operations might not be feasible would be if they were paying for proper water treatment to run waste systems away?

A: I don't think that is true. I don't think any agriculture economist would argue that. I think maybe some environmentalists would. But I think if you looked at the economics of the operations, that isn't true. Because most of them are already paying for that. Most of them have already said, for example, the operations in our township have to have very large lagoons that the manure has to be stored in. In then has to be placed in the land at certain times. In fact, this one has even got in some DNR troubles because they didn't do it properly.  (excerpt from Detroit Free Press interview with Dick Posthumus, posted to website)

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