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E-M:/ State News reports AG declines to prosecute MSU Trustee for enviro violation

Showing an apparent flair for investigation, the Michigan State University student newspaper reported today on a situation where the recommendation of DEQ that criminal charges be pursued against a company headed by a member of the MSU Board member was declined by AG Mike Cox -- see below.   This raises some questions for me as well about recent efforts in the legislature to exempt food processing operations from nuisance claims (SB 668-669). AWM



Trustee's company accused of polluting

>From staff and wire reports

Graceland Fruit Inc. and the state have been negotiating a civil settlement in a dumping case involving thousands of gallons of blueberry waste.

Donald Nugent, a member of the MSU Board of Trustees, is president and chief executive officer of the Frankfort-based company.

The State News could not reach Nugent after repeated attempts Sunday, and university spokesman Terry Denbow was unable to be reached for comment.

Farmer Charles Brozofsky said he discovered contamination, illegally dumped upstream from his property in Benzie County, in late 2002.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, or DEQ, began an investigation into the dumping in 2003, and eventually recommended that criminal charges be pursued against Graceland Fruit Inc. and Bonney Bros. Pumping Co., the company responsible for hauling and dumping the waste.

Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox denied the request to prosecute the case, and opted to pursue the civil settlement instead.