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E-M:/ NWF and Sierra Club announce SETTLEMENT of Mericam Farms Litigation



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                            Contact: Neil Kagan, NWF 734-769-3351

December 18, 2003                                                            Anne Woiwode, Sierra Club



Polluters must stop discharging animal waste into Tiffin River watershed

National Wildlife Federation and Sierra Club victory protects public health, holds polluters accountable


Bacteria-riddled animal wastes from a concentrated dairy operation in South Central Michigan must stop flowing into the Tiffin River watershed, and the operation will pay at least a $20,000 fine as the result of the settlement of a lawsuit announced today by the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) and the Sierra Club.   Mericam Farms, LLC, was sued by the conservation organizations in May 2002 after the animal factory caused illegal discharges of animal and other dairy wastes into streams and drains starting in 2001.  The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality intervened in the case as a plaintiff, and will be given authority to enforce the provisions of the settlement. 


"The Mericam Farms settlement takes Michigan another step forward in the fight to protect farm families and rural residents from the dangerous contamination of our state's waterways," said Neil Kagan, Senior Counsel for NWF.  "Massive animal factories are a polluting industry, and should be treated accordingly. The most important part of this settlement is the unequivocal requirement that Mericam Farms follow the law, and that it will be liable for hefty fines if it endangers public health in the future."


NWF, Sierra Club, the State of Michigan secured and Mericam Farms

agreed that the operation will:


-        pay a $20,000 fine to the state of Michigan immediately;

-        complete a "supplemental environmental project" agreed to by all the parties within one year or pay an additional $10,000 fine;

-        obtain coverage under the Michigan National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit for concentrated animal feeding operations;

-        adopt and implement a management plan for animal wastes; and

-        in the event of any future water quality violations,

o      pay stipulated penalties of $5,000 per day for any future illegal discharges;

o      pay $1,000 per day toward monitoring of contamination caused by any future illegal discharges.


“This settlement shows us that there is a better way,” said Anne Woiwode, Director of the Sierra Club Mackinac Chapter. “We can find ways to support sustainable agriculture, while making sure that massive animal factories stop contaminating our water. This settlement will help to create cleaner water for our families, for our future.”





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