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E-M:/ harassment of water monitors



Title:
ECCSCM condemns vandalism, harassment
of volunteers monitoring animal factories

     A recent grisly incident has prompted Environmentally Concerned Citizens of South Central Michigan (ECCSCM) to denounce all intimidation tactics against citizen volunteers who monitor air and water near Confined Animal Feeding Operations in Hillsdale and Lenawee Counties.  Four dead and bloodied animals were placed on the property of an ECCSCM volunteer who conducts routine monitoring of CAFOs, documenting the spraying of liquid manure, contamination of waterways, and potential air quality violations. Dead animals were placed in the family's mailboxes, another splayed on the family's car, and another set at their doorstep.  

      "The trespass and vandalism will not deter ECCSCM from its ongoing monitoring programs,” said John Klein, President of the Hudson area organization.  "Our philosophy is to observe, record, and inform, while our continued goal is to help stop this ongoing environmental disaster we are experiencing from the CAFO discharges."

     ECCSCM has one of Michigan's most effective volunteer water monitoring programs, documenting persistent pollution from animal factories.  In the last four years, their monitoring programs have helped state, local, and federal officials identify the serious issue of liquid manure discharges through field drainage tiles.  Discharges of manure and other agricultural wastes into Bean Creek Watershed and the River Raisin Watershed led to more than 60 citations from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality against eleven CAFOs for violations of the Clean Water Act and Michigan's water protection laws.  

       In the last month alone, with spring thaws, ECCSCM monitoring identified numerous sites where liquid manure applied to frozen ground was running off or draining through tiles to streams.  The DEQ investigated and cited several CAFOs for multiple violations. 

         ECCSCM has recently begun a project of air monitoring for hydrogen sulfide, a major air emission of animal factories.  Details on ECCSCM's on-going monitoring programs can be found on the group's website, www.nocafos.org.
       
       The trespass and vandalism are not the first incidents of harassment of ECCSCM volunteers.  In the last two years, a volunteer's car has been blocked on the road by two large manure-hauling tanker trucks, volunteers have been followed and verbally harassed, frivolous police complaints of reckless driving and trespass have been filed against volunteers.  "Strong-arm tactics by polluters won't stop volunteer monitoring of animal factories," said Janet Kauffman, ECCSCM volunteer. "Not here, not in Ohio, not Indiana, not anyplace neighbors care about kids wading in streams or fishing in lakes."

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CONTACTS:
John Klein, President, ECCSCM 517-383-2234
Janet Kauffman, Water Monitoring Project, ECCSCM 517-448-4973