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E-M:/ April 19 Sierra Club News Release: Radio Ads Urge Citizens to Speak Up

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News Release

For Immediate Release:  April 19,  2004


                                                                        Contact:   Rita Jack at 517-484-2372 


Sierra Ads Urge Citizen to Speak Up About Proposed Water Permits

for Large Livestock Operations


Hearings April 26 in Battle Creek and April 28 in Bay City



The Michigan Sierra Club is running radio ads across the state to urge citizens concerned about growing threats to clean lakes and streams posed by huge livestock operations to attend two upcoming public hearings or to submit written comments on a new permit proposed by the MDEQ.  The ads, which start today, will let the Michiganders know about the Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) proposal to require new and expanding Large Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) to obtain permit coverage before they can begin operations.  Hearings will be held in Battle Creek on April 26 and in Bay City on April 28, and written comments can be submitted until May 7th (see details below).


“Up until now, the voices of CAFO-neighbors, local residents and communities dependent on clean water for drinking, tourism, and recreation have been largely ignored,” said Rita Jack, Sierra Club’s Michigan Water Sentinel.  “We welcome the MDEQ’s announcement of the hearings and comment period, and encourage anyone who is concerned about clean water and clean beaches to relay their comments, concerns and questions to the MDEQ, either by attending the public hearings or by submitting their written comments.” 


The new general permit as proposed would require certain new or expanding large CAFOs to get individual surface water discharge permits, while others would be required to obtain coverage under the general permit for new large CAFOs.  According to Anne Woiwode, Sierra Club’s Michigan Director, the proposed permit “is a step forward” because it would require the largest new and expanding operations to obtain permit coverage before beginning operations.  However, Woiwode said, “many problems with the current permit and regulations will remain unaddressed, including the lack of opportunity for public input on most permitting decisions for CAFOs.  Public input is critical to assure the best possible permit is adopted by the state.”   


The proposed permit (MIG010000) can be seen on the MDEQ's website or by contacting Mike Bitondo at the MDEQ at (517) 335-3303 or email at bitondom@michigan.gov.  DEQ hearings on a proposed General National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit for New Large Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) will be held:


April 26, 8 p.m.


Comfort Inn at 2590 Capital Avenue


April 28, 8 p.m.


Bay Valley Resort Hotel at 2470 Old Bridge Road 


Both hearings will be preceded at 7 p.m. by a public meeting during which DEQ staff will take questions and provide information.




The Sierra Club is a non-profit environmental advocacy organization with over 18,500 members in Michigan.  The Sierra Club’s mission is to enjoy, explore, and protect the planet.