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RE: E-M:/ Vreba-Hoff statement misleads the public



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Enviro-Mich message from "Anne M. Woiwode" <anne.woiwode@sierraclub.org>
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I want to echo David Holtz's comments and compliment the Free Press and
particularly Chris Christoff on his coverage of this issue.  Having read
hundreds of articles on this topic from all over the country, I think
that Chris did a better job of explaining clearly, accurately and
without bias the way CAFOs work, the impact they are having and the
comments of people about the issues.  After years of working on this
issue in Michigan and trying to get the major news outlets in
Southeastern Michigan to pay attention to this issue, we had long heard
the excuse that the reporter couldn't sell the story to the editor, and
so outside of Free Press Editorial writer Barb Arrigo's editorials about
this topic there was no one looking to cover this chilling story. I know
that Chris spent almost two months researching this issue, and in the
way of an exceptional investigative reporter kept opening new doors on
information and walking through them, expanding the scope of the report,
talking to everyone and visiting the countryside to see the issue for
himself.  This is a rare and extremely commendable feat for a reporter
in a modern newspaper. 

Regarding the obnoxious statements made and reported in the story,
several E-M writers have already disputed the claims of Vreba Hoff and
others.  One thing that I don't think has been pointed out is that
despite the fine words from Steve Vanderhoff, the various Vreba Hoff and
Vreba Hoff associated operations in the Lenawee County/Hillsdale County
area have had numerous violations, including some this year.  The
Environmentally Concerned Citizens of South Central Michigan maintain an
exceptional website (http://www.nocafos.org/news.htm) documenting the
now 44 violations of the Clean Water Act which have been identified by
the DEQ during the past few years at CAFOs in that area.  Of those on
the ECCSCM list, 5 of the 10 the polluting dairies were built by Vreba
Hoff Dairy Development LLC and some are still operated under the Vreba
Hoff name.  32 of the violations documented in the area have been caused
by these operations (Vander Hoff Haley Dairy - 4; New Flevo - 2; Jelsma
Mericam - 7; Vreba Hoff 1 - 9; and Vreba Hoff 2 - 10).  18 of those
violations have occurred since February 1, 2003.  

Perhaps Mr. Vander Hoff in fact does really wish not to pollute the
environment, as he says, but if that is the case then he and the Vreba
Hoff Development LLC should immediately halt their recruitment efforts
in the Netherlands and elsewhere to bring more people to Michigan, Ohio
and Indiana to build more CAFOS with the same flawed designs that have
too little land to spread waste on and which have come here to take
advantage of relatively lenient environmental laws and farm subsidies.
I have posted extensive information on Vreba Hoff to Enviro-Mich before,
and won't repeat it here (go into the Enviro-Mich archives, available by
clicking the link at the bottom of this message), so I won't repeat that
here.  

Reporters are required to report what they found and what people said,
even if the comments sometimes are not defensible.  Part of the
experience of the press here is that it is critical for us to hold
accountable those who think they can get away with making misstatements
to the press, and this discussion on Enviro-Mich shows the many ways in
which these folks need to be held accountable.

Anne Woiwode, Director
Sierra Club Mackinac Chapter
109 East Grand River Avenue,  Lansing, MI  48906
ph: 517-484-2372 fx: 517-484-3108 e: anne.woiwode@sierraclub.org
website:  http://michigan.sierraclub.org 


-----Original Message-----
From: owner-enviro-mich@great-lakes.net
[mailto:owner-enviro-mich@great-lakes.net] On Behalf Of David Holtz
Sent: Wednesday, July 23, 2003 9:50 AM
Cc: enviro-mich@great-lakes.net
Subject: Re: E-M:/ Vreba-Hoff statement misleads the public

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Enviro-Mich message from David Holtz <holtzmec@voyager.net>
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I think Chris Christoff and the Freep should be congratulated on a 
first-class examination of the CAFOS issue in Michigan.  It was a 
well-written series that is the best mainstream journalism on the 
subject to date that I've seen in this state.  These stories illuminate 
the problems with CAFOS in a way that average readers will appreciate.  
Of course Vreba-Hoff should be held accountable for its misleading 
statements. But the facts reported by the Freep speak for the 
themselves. Vreba-Hoff continues to pollute our waters, factory farms 
are grossly underregulated, and the "learning curve" statements of the 
polluters will be seen as self-serving by most readers. The Free Press 
did its job and did it well.





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ENVIRO-MICH:  Internet List and Forum for Michigan Environmental
and Conservation Issues and Michigan-based Citizen Action.   Archives at
http://www.great-lakes.net/lists/enviro-mich/

Postings to:  enviro-mich@great-lakes.net      For info, send email to
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