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E-M:/ Sierra Club contests three CAFO water quality permits

Enviro-Mich message from Tom & Anne Woiwode <woiwode@voyager.net>

For immediate release                                           For
information contact:
Anne Woiwode 517-484-2372

The environmental organization calls on DEQ to revoke or fix the permits

On Monday, August 9, 2004, the Sierra Club filed three petitions for
contested cases against water quality (NPDES) permits issued by the DEQ in
June.  The Sierra Club's petitions contend that the three permits (General
NPDES permit for New, Large Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, and the
first two individual NPDES permits approved by the DEQ for new operations)
violate the Clean Water Act and seek to have the DEQ revoke or fix the flaws
in the permits. 

According to Anne Woiwode, State Director of the Mackinac Chapter of the
Sierra Club, the permits are very similar, leading to very similar
petitions.  "The DEQ issued permits raise the specter of a rubber stamp of
the poor practices at Michigan CAFOs that are already known to pose threats
to our waterways," Woiwode said.  "Animal factories in Michigan are upstream
from water intakes for city water systems, fishing areas and parks with
swimming beaches.  Sadly, the DEQ issued permits have so limited the
agency's own ability to assure in advance that the operations will be well
designed and properly managed that we expect that, despite the permits, any
enforcement of water pollution standards will continue to depend upon
downstream citizens and communities discovering potentially deadly wastes in
the waters they depend on."

The Sierra Club petition cites multiple problems with the permits in seeking
action in the quasi-judicial contested case process against the permits.  In
specific, the Club claims that the permits violate the Clean Water Act

1) Plans for the management of the manure and other wastes produced at the
animal factories are not provided to the DEQ for review prior to approval of
the permit, even though these plans are central to assuring that pollution
from the facilities does not occur.  The public is never given access to the
plans in their entirety, and the DEQ is only given access on the premises of
the CAFO, and then only after permit approval occurs;

2) The permits allow CAFO operators to give away or sell manure wastes to
other parties and thus remove these wastes from any permit coverage.

The schedule for the consideration of the contested cases before DEQ
Administrative Law Judges has not yet been set.

Tom, Anne, Nate and Pete Woiwode
5088 Powell Road
Okemos, MI 48864

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