In a move that is just stunning, the DEQ has issued an
individual NPDES permit to Timothy den Dulk for the proposed
While the DEQ apparently has made a minor modification in the issued permit saying that now Mr. den Dulk’s operation will be required to submit the complete CNMP to the DEQ prior to population of the facility with animals, and that the CNMP will be made available to the public, the permit has already been issued so this will do nothing to promote the supposed purpose of NPDES permitting, which is to prevent and eliminate contamination of our waterways. In fact, under the permit issued for Mr. den Dulk’s previously permitted facility, Hartford Dairy CAFO, the operation was required to file an Executive Summary of their CNMP prior to population of the facility with animals, which translated into this document being FAXED to the DEQ at 4:30 in the afternoon of the day the operation moved the first 200 cows onsite.
Enviro-Mich readers will recall the enumeration of the
comments made by an extremely well informed crowd at the hearing held on this
permit in February (this message can be found in the Enviro-Mich archives at
February 23rd - http://www.great-lakes.net/lists/enviro-mich/2005-02/index.html
). The responsiveness summary prepared by DEQ reads like a set of excuses for
not taking action to protect the people of
The site for this den Dulk CAFO is apparently already being prepared – in fact, earth moving began on March 28th according to the neighbors. It is unclear from correspondence from MDA whether in fact the facility has received an Approval to Construct under the Right to Farm siting GAAMPs, which would be required in order to give this operation immunity from nuisance lawsuits. Apparently no opportunity for a public hearing on the siting has yet occurred, even though that is to be offered to the local unit of government, whose members have spoken out in opposition to this facility.
Another note on this whole issue: After the Supervisor from Hartford Township and another resident came to testify at the hearing to let the people of Orleans know how awful their experience with the den Dulk dairy CAFO in their community has been, an attorney for the CAFO showed up at the Township Board meeting and reportedly told them they could not appoint a water monitor for the Township because this was the DEQ’s responsibility, and chastised the Supervisor for going to the hearing in Orleans on the other facility. A week later the Supervisor and other resident were sent letters by an attorney for den Dulk asserting that they has made false statements at the hearing and demanding they retract their comments. This kind of SLAPP action is clearly aiming at intimidating people out of the right to exercise their free speech.
Anne Woiwode, Director, Sierra Club Mackinac Chapter
517-484-2372, fax 517-484-3108 www.michigan.sierraclub.org