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E-M:/ 120 Michiganders call on Legislature to Clean Up CAFOS, protect Mich Waters

------------------------------------------------------------------------- Enviro-Mich message from "Anne Woiwode, Sierra Club Mackinac Chapter" -------------------------------------------------------------------------


For Immediate Release October 19

Contact: Anne Woiwode

Cell 517-974-2112

Office 517-484-2372

120 Michiganders Call on Legislators to Clean Up

Industrial Livestock Operations and Pass Strong Water

Use Laws

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

these facilities.

The volunteer lobbyists also urged Legislators to take quick action to protect

Michiganâ??s waters by supporting the Great 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 * anne.woiwode@sierraclub.org
Visit the Michigan Sierra Club at: http://michigan.sierraclub.org
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