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E-M:/ Animal Factory Polluter Bills - Update



Update – Animal Factory Polluter Bills (HB 5177-5716)

 

Yesterday, partisan politics and bad policy were dealt a blow to the belly! Six key Republicans House members joined Democrats in opposing the bad package of Animal Factory Polluter bills (HB 5711-5716) that would have given animal factories free reign to pollute Michigan’s waters. A solid coalition of opposition to these bills prevented their coming up for a vote, thus delivering a hard won victory for the environment!

 

Key to the success of this effort were House Democrats and six republican lawmakers who stood firm against the bills. Instead, they promised support of a negotiated package of substitute bills that would have given farmers everything they were seeking, except the freedom for animal factories to pollute. The Sierra Club still had some considerable concerns about the negotiated package, but was willing to allow it to come up for a vote to move the issue forward.

 

The negotiated substitutes were hammered out in the spring by the administration, state agencies, the Farm Bureau, agriculture producer groups and the environmental community. As reported in the June issue of the Michigan Milk Messenger, a publication of the Michigan Milk Producers Association, “Michigan Farm Bureau helped to coordinate and facilitate a large portion of these negotiations and staff members worked tirelessly to ensure an agreement was reached.”

 

Despite the agricultural community’s apparent delight at the negotiated agreement, this week the Farm Bureau and then the producer groups walked away from the deal, leading to confusion and frustration among many lawmakers. Confusion over the agricultural community’s position on the bills also likely played into the failure of the package to come to a vote.

 

Legislators who deserve special recognition for their hard work on this issue include:

 

•           Rep. Dianne Byrum (D-Onondaga), House Minority Leader, who worked hard to keep her members united and guided strategy on the House floor

•           Rep. Frank Accavitti (D-Eastpointe) and Rep. Jeff Mayes (D-Bay City) who provided significant leadership in this fight. Accavitti, along with Sen. Liz Brater (D-Ann Arbor) are the lead sponsors of legislation to better regulate animal factories. Mayes is a member of the House Agriculture Committee who worked hard to bring the agricultural and environmental communities to the table for constructive negotiations.

•           Republican Representatives David Law (R-Commerce Township), Jack Brandenburg (R-Harrison Township), Ed Gaffney (R-Grosse Pointe Farms), Jim Marleau (R-Lake Orion), John Stewart (R-Plymouth) and Majority Floor Leader Chris Ward (R-Brighton) were solid in their alliance against the bad bills. Rep. Law was particularly helpful by being willing to offer floor amendments to spoil the bad bills had they come to a vote. As Majority Floor Leader, Rep. Ward was instrumental in postponing a vote, giving critical time for the negotiations to take place.

•           Democratic Representatives Pam Byrnes (D-Chelsea), Kathy Angerer (D-Dundee), Dudley Spade (D-Tipton) and John Espinoza (D-Croswell). They, along with Minority Leader Byrum, were sponsors of the negotiated substitute bills, attempting to strike a balance between the competing interests of agriculture and environment on this issue.

 

It should be noted that these bills could still resurface. Between the weeks of campaigning over summer break, legislators will be back for occasional session days. The Sierra Club will watch and raise the alarm if this occurs.

  

During the summer, the Sierra Club will continue to raise public awareness about the pollution from animal factories in the media and in local communities. Copies of the Sierra Club’s 24 minute documentary, "Living a Nightmare: Animal Factories in Michigan" are available from the Chapter office. Send $10 to:  Sierra Club, 109 E. Grand River, Lansing, MI, 48906 and indicate whether you want VCR or DVD format.

 

This video tells the story of the residents of Lenawee and Hillsdale Counties who are suffering from the pollution of 12 animal factories in south central Michigan. The video may be used for any kind of public presentation, house parties or the enlightenment and education of local units of government. The video is free to members of the media following this issue.

 

 

Gayle Miller

Legislative Director

Sierra Club

109 E. Grand River Ave.

Lansing, MI 48906

ph - (517) 484-2372

fax - (517) 484-3108

gayle.miller@sierraclub.org

 

Sign up to receive legislative alerts at:

http://mackinac.sierraclubaction.org/

 

 

 

 

Gayle Miller

Legislative Director

Sierra Club

109 E. Grand River Ave.

Lansing, MI 48906

ph - (517) 484-2372

fax - (517) 484-3108

gayle.miller@sierraclub.org

 

Sign up to receive legislative alerts at:

http://mackinac.sierraclubaction.org/