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E-M:/ BRAVO! DEQ Dir. Chester on bills' "license to pollute"



I want everyone to make sure to read this opinion piece, and to publicly thank Steve Chester and his staff for really, clearly articulating the enormous threat posed by proposals to deregulate CAFOs in Michigan.  The DEQ’s job is to be objective, to based their conclusions on the information they have available to them, and to take action where they believe harm may occur to the environment.  In this case, the effort to deregulate most of Michigan’s CAFOs falls cleanly into that set of mandates, and Director Chester deserves great credit for clearly articulating that threat.


The greatest problems with the success of the small group of people who are the only ones who benefit from CAFOs in convincing misguided legislators to do their dirty work in the halls of the Capitol is that instead of talking about what needs to be done, we are in an unproductive debate about trying to stop an outrageous diminution of the already limited authority of the DEQ to accomplish its mandate. The Vreba Hoff Dairy LLC court case high-lighted clearly some of the worst holes that exist in current law.  Among those is the inability to shut down a CAFO that is polluting, the lack of any mandatory siting controls and voluntary siting that fails to address most environmental concerns.  The irony is that some of the window-dressing put on the lousy package of bills passed by the Senate in fact acknowledges and begins to talk about the flaws in current law.  However, it is as if the Senate failed to recognize that there is a huge hole in the bottom of the ship and was patching smaller ones on the sides of the ship instead. 


Again, many thanks to Steve Chester and his staff.  To protect the environment, we first must have leaders willing to speak the truth about those who would profit from destroying it.


Anne Woiwode, State Director

Sierra Club Michigan Chapter

(517) 484-2372


From: owner-enviro-mich@great-lakes.net [mailto:owner-enviro-mich@great-lakes.net] On Behalf Of Janet Kauffman
Sent: Tuesday, June 26, 2007 8:12 AM
To: enviro-mich
Subject: E-M:/ DEQ Dir. Chester on bills' "license to pollute"


in Free Press today, DEQ Director Steve Chester on the risks from the Senate's CAFO bills:


Don't give large farms the leeway to pollute

....This legislation makes these factory farms a unique, unregulated class of industry in Michigan, essentially giving them a license to pollute our waters, subject communities to potential harm, and diminish their neighbors' quality of life and property values...