Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Call Cropsey TODAY: Vote No on the destructive CAFO bill

Michigan environmentalists have been engaged in an uphill fight with Senate Repubs concerning regulation of CAFOs. What, you might ask, are CAFOs? Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations. Think hundreds or thousands (of small animals) jammed into a confined space doing little but eating and defecating. That’s a CAFO.

Senate Republicans have been working hard to allow CAFOs to pollute at their hearts content. And pollute they do. If you live within a mile of a large CAFO, you are the beneficiary of the stench that rises from animal sewage in holding ponds. Unfortunately, these ponds sometimes leak into nearby streams and lakes, creating health hazards in addition to the already sickening smells.

The Senate will be voting today on whether or not to allow CAFOs to escape environmental laws. Senate Bill 504 would require CAFOs that are 5 times the size of a “large” CAFO (there are about a dozen in Michigan) to have a water permit. All others will be self-policing (“I don’t see any discolored water in the river, do you?).

Once a CAFO escapes such permit requirements, their records of safety, compliance with existing laws, etc., will become secret at the Dept of Agriculture and exempted from the Michigan Freedom of Information Act.

The bill also lets CAFOs escape enforcement of animal waste applications that might run off into lakes or streams due to rain or thaws. “Gosh, I’m sorry your property values are gone just because the lake you built next to is now a cess pool. But you can’t do nothin’ about it!” Oh, and those citizen investigations? Forget it: not allowed.

This bill will gut any and all environmental regulations, both state and federal. Call you senator and tell him or her to vote againist this flagrant (fragrant?) disregard to our environment.

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