Monday, February 20, 2006

Michigan CAFO legislation

Gayle Miller from the Sierra Club writes:
House Bills 5711 – 5716 take the pro-CAFO and pro-pollution forces to new lows, guaranteeing that all CAFOs will be able to pollute with impunity, while victimizing family farmers and rural residents being poisoned by their waste. Among other things, the bills would:
Remove regulatory authority over most CAFOs from the DEQ. This would give a free pass to polluting CAFOs and eliminate any ability of citizens to take action to protect themselves from toxic air and polluted water.
Exempts all CAFOs signed up under the voluntary and ineffective MI Agricultural Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP) from regulatory action.
Require that citizens who have legitimate complaints about pollution discharges or poisonous air to actually pay the costs of the inspection of that complaint.
Require victims who file complaints against a CAFO pollution discharge or air quality violations to provide their name and address, which could be disclosed to the CAFO operator, potentially exposing the victim to harassment or threats.
Exempts discharges of CAFO waste by defining the waste as "storm water."

These bills are appalling. They benefit corporate polluters and victimize Michigan citizens and family farmers. CAFOs are exempt from the single business tax, exempt from laws that cover other corporate polluters, and they receive huge quantities of taxpayer money through subsidies. Animal Factories DO NOT deserve a "Get Out of Jail FREE"
pass. They need BETTER regulations, MORE enforcement, not less.

The Good Bills:

Senator Liz Brater will be introducing a GREAT package of CAFO bills on Wednesday, Feb. 22nd! This is the package of bills the Sierra Club has worked on for the last year. The bills would establish a regulatory framework that would provide higher performance standards for CAFOs, provide the resources for the DEQ to adequately enforce the regulations, and protect Michigan from CAFO pollution.


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