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E-M:/ Vreba Hoff builds unauthorized lagoon despite enforcement actions



The week before Christmas and New Years, like every holiday these days, is

dreaded by the residents of south central Michigan who have experienced the

opportunism of the CAFO polluters taking advantage of distracted and

understaffed Michigan DEQ staffers to go wild. 


The Vreba Hoff Dairy CAFO has to all appearances spent the past week

building a new waste storage lagoon -- without any notice to any agencies,

without any approvals from any level of government, despite current

extensive violations and enforcement actions by the Michigan Attorney

General and the Michigan DEQ.  A volunteer pilot with Lighthawk has taken

the ECCSCM's president up for photographs, with the most recent ones

yesterday showing the massive hole built during this week (go to

www.nocafos.org/news.htm ) without knowledge by any officials.  The pit is

almost hidden from the road, far from the CAFO's production areas (2 miles),

and the photos show clearly that there are wetlands immediately next to the

pit.  Vreba Hoff clearly chose to blow off even the voluntary siting review

that the Michigan Department of Agriculture asks facilities to go through,

and raced to get this pit dug for reasons that are unclear at this time. 


Complaints have been filed with MDEQ and EPA by Sierra Club and others both

before the overflight with photos from distant roads showing the extensive

construction work and again when the aerial photos came in.  With Vreba Hoff

having more than 75 violations, with recent notices from the Attorney

General and the DEQ that despite a consent judgment last year the situation has "deteriorated substantially over the last few months", it is far past time for Michigan officials to take effective action to stop the

overt and egregious flouting of our state's laws at this operation, even if

that requires shutting this operation down.  As the flagship operation for

the massive Vreba Hoff franchising operations in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana,

it is even more critical to make it clear that as weak as our laws are,

those who so blatantly ignore them will be held to account. 


But it is clear the Vreba Hoff is banking on the state to continue to be

paralyzed with regard to enforcement.  Not only are they planning expansions

of this very facility (according to documents recently FOIA'd from Michigan

Department of Agriculture) Vreba Hoff is also proposing to build a new 5000

head dairy CAFO in Ogden Township near Adrian


For years we have all marveled at the extraordinary effort and skill of the ECCSCM volunteers and our own staffer Lynn Henning in this area who have documented the unbelievable failure of CAFOS and the disgrace our laws and leaders have allowed to exist as we fall deeper into the cesspool of failure to act.  This is the poster child needed for action.  Please tell us, what more could possibly be needed to prevent the public health and environmental disasters waiting in the wings?


Anne Woiwode




Anne M. Woiwode, State Director, Sierra Club Michigan Chapter  - 109 E.

Grand River Avenue, Lansing, MI 48906


517-484-2372    fax 517-484-3108 --  <mailto:anne.woiwode@sierraclub.org>



Sierra Club Michigan Chapter celebrating our 40th Anniversary on September

9, 2007


Visit us at  <http://michigan.sierraclub.org/index.shtml>





"Conservation is never complete. To conserve is the act of preservation: the

very name implies an ongoing process."


Dr. Edgar Wayburn, past president of Sierra Club