For Immediate Release October 19
Contact: Anne Woiwode
120 Michiganders Call on Legislators to Clean Up
Industrial Livestock Operations and Pass Strong Water
Local Officials, Farmers, Students and Environmentalists Join
Together in Lobby Day
LANSING: A diverse coalition of farmers, environmentalists, local
officials, and other Michiganders met with Legislators today to urge
them to clean up large scale livestock factories and enact strong
water use laws. One hundred twenty people, including ten high
school students, traveled to Lansing from as far away as the Upper
Peninsula for a Lobby Day organized by the Sierra Club to urge
action on these concerns. Members of the Farmers Union, high
school and college students, and local township officials from
around the state participated. The volunteer lobbyists convened in
the rotunda of the State Capitol in the afternoon to talk about the
issues and their concerns.
The lawmakers were told that the threat to public health and natural resources
throughout Michiganâ??s agricultural lands is growing because of the virtually
uncontrolled expansion of massive, concentrated animal feeding operations
(CAFOs). Severe air and water pollution from CAFOs not only threaten rural
neighbors, but may harm communities down stream and down wind as well. A
large annotated photograph of a Hillsdale County CAFO was described by Sierra
Club Michigan CAFO Water Sentinel, Lynn Henning, who has been responsible
for investigating and documenting pollution problems and threats from more than
100 of Michiganâ??s CAFOs. â??These are not farms â?? these are industrial livestock
operations and they are designed to pollute,â?? said Henning, who is also a family
farmer and lives near more than a dozen CAFOs.
CAFO waste is full of pathogens and bacteria, and air pollution from CAFOs can
contain ammonia, hydrogen sulfide and other pollutants that can be damaging to
health. The DEQ has found pathogens downstream from CAFOs and upstream
from water intakes for community drinking water systems.
â??What scares us is how little we know about the damaging health effects of these
industrial livestock operationsâ??, said Anne Woiwode, state director of the Sierra
Club. â??We do know that the pollution coming from CAFOs can cause severe
illness, even death. The state of Michigan is not prepared right now to protect its
citizens from these problems.â??
Currently, the state estimates that there are about 200 CAFOs in Michigan, which
is less than _ of one percent of the 53,000 operating farms in the state. The
volunteer lobbyists called on lawmakers to support strong legislation including
requiring environmental permits for all CAFOs, stopping some of the worst
polluting practices from these operations and making CAFOs begin to pay their
own way through fees and fines that reflect the cost of permitting and monitoring
The volunteer lobbyists also urged Legislators to take quick action to protect
Michiganâ??s waters by supporting theGreat Lakes, Great Michigan platform.
â??Michiganâ??s waterways are our greatest natural resource, but unlike other Great
Lakes states, Michigan does not have laws protecting our water from irresponsible
use,â??said Kate Madigan, Deputy Policy Director for Michigan Environmental
Council. â??Without strong water use laws, large water users will continue to take
advantage of this water â??free for allâ??, treating our Great Lakes as their own, and
even selling our waters away to other states and far off places.â??
Please see the full packet of information for more details about both issues.
^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^ Anne Woiwode, State Director * Sierra Club Mackinac Chapter 109 East Grand River Avenue, Lansing, Michigan 48906 517-484-2372 ph * 517-484-3108 * email@example.com Visit the Michigan Sierra Club at: http://michigan.sierraclub.org=============================================================ENVIRO-MICH: Internet List and Forum for Michigan Environmental and Conservation Issues and Michigan-based Citizen Action. Archives at http://www.great-lakes.net/lists/enviro-mich/ Postings to: firstname.lastname@example.org For info, send email to email@example.com with a one-line message body of "info enviro-mich" =============================================================