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Re: E-M:/ Good news long overdue

Enviro-Mich message from "Alexander J. Sagady" <ajs@sagady.com>

At 12:03 PM 06/02/2007, you wrote:

>''The Saginaw Bay has been identified as one of the worst environmental problem areas in the Great Lakes,'' Barcia said in testimony before the committee. 
>''The results have been a diminished quality of life for area residents and business and a threat to a vital freshwater resource for over 500,000 people.'' 

It doesn't look like Barcia's remedy is appropriate to the problem....

The article says:

"in testimony before the committee, Barcia said the $520,000 in federal money would go to promote regional tourism, fund a pilot project to identify the sources of algae and E. coli bacteria washing up along shorelines, protect and restore high quality wetlands, control invasive phragmite plants, assist with dredging costs, restore the Saginaw River corridor and launch a voluntary effort to reduce phosphorous loading to the bay. 

''The public health and safety of these residents and the economic vitality of local communities are threatened by the ongoing environmental problems facing Saginaw Bay,'' 

Barcia looks at this problem and sees "pork barrel" opportunity and then 
uses it as a public relations opportunity.   

First, I have no idea why it is appropriate for the federal government to fund
promotion of regional tourism and that doesn't have anything to do with control programs to solve 
the algae problem.

Second, this Saginaw Bay problem is far beyond the scope of "pilot programs"
to address in identifying the source of algae.   The problem is a violation of 
Michigan narrative water quality standards, but MDEQ's posture is to de-emphasize
narrative water quality standard enforcement and listings of impaired 
waterways under the Clean Water Act. 

Despite the high priority and visibility of this problem, MDEQ has been 
violating the Clean Water Act for many years by failing to properly 
identify both Saginaw Bay as impaired for nutrients and violations of 
Michigan narrative water quality standards.   Michigan and MDEQ also 
violate the Clean Water Act by failing to list the entire Saginaw
River watershed along with Saginaw Bay as nutrient impaired.

Michigan also violates the Clean Water Act by failing to impose 
water quality based effluent limitations for phosphorus on concentrated 
animal feeding operations in the form a mandatory best management practice 
requirement for phosphorus planning in comprehensive nutrient 
management plans (CNMPs).   Under phosphorus planning in CNMPs, 
CAFO animal waste spreading operations are not allowed to apply more 
phosphorus in both animal waste and artificial fertilizers than would be 
used by the crop in the current growing season.   A ban on winter 
application of animal waste should also be imposed.  

Until phosphorus planning is implemented, CAFO animal waste applicators 
will continue with nitrogen planning which means that animal waste disposal 
lands will continue to receive many times the amount of phosphorus than 
is taken up in crops grown in any given year.

Despite repeated attempts to bring the matter before MDEQ, the agency 
still refuses to impose appropriate water quality based effluent limitations
in CAFO permits and allows impermissible water quality degradation from 
additional CAFOs going into areas that are already impaired.

Agriculture in the entire Saginaw River watershed is not living up to 
clear requirements to control both sediment and phosphorus pollution because
MDEQ at every opportunity....whether through the impairment listing process or 
the permitting process...  undermines these clear requirements for 
water quality impairment identification and water quality based effluent limitations.

MDEQ's law violations in failing to have clear identification of all sediment, phosphorus, 
nitrate and turbidity water quality violations is a systematic failure.   I consider
it likely that they will never change and they will have to be sued in order to 
comply with the Clean Water Act.   

In my opinion, getting more money for "voluntary" programs to control 
phosphorus and providing money for dredging programs is actually 
harmful to the cause of Saginaw Bay cleanup.   What we have now
is a so-called "voluntary" program in the form of administrative agency and agricultural industry
sandbagging of clear statutory requirements.   And where do you think 
that dredging money is going to go and where will the dredge spoils go?
If you pump money to drain commissioners in the watershed, you're 
just going to end up with more sediment impaired waterways where 
MDEQ refuses to acknowledge water quality problems with their 
Category 4 off-ramp approaches to problem identification.   And look 
for those dredge spoils to go into wetlands that the money is supposed to 

There will be no "cleanup" of Saginaw Bay until and unless the issues
above are addressed.   Any public relations posturing by Sen. Barcia
that doesn't confront the water pollution control realities and clear 
statutory requirements presently being violated means only that 
the public is being misled by politicians that ought to grow some 
gonads if they are going to claim the leadership mantel for cleanup 
of the Saginaw Bay.

Alex Sagady

Alex J. Sagady & Associates        http://www.sagady.com

Environmental Enforcement, Permit/Technical Review, Public Policy, 
Expert Witness Review and Litigation Investigation on Air, Water and 
Waste/Community Environmental and Resource Protection
Prospectus at:  http://www.sagady.com/sagady.pdf 

657 Spartan Avenue,  East Lansing, MI  48823  
(517) 332-6971; (517) 332-8987 (fax); ajs@sagady.com

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