2007.08.15 Neil Hinkley

Written by David Green.

Tourism is a major economic asset for the state of Michigan. Our state offers 3,000 miles of Great Lakes shoreline, 36,000 miles of rivers and streams and 11,000 inland lakes—not to mention parks and woods for hiking, camping and sightseeing. However, if steps are not taken to regulate Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) one of Michigan’s greatest economic assets—our natural landscape—will be destroyed, to say nothing of the health and welfare of Michigan residents.

In his August 5 letter to the editor (Daily Telegram), Sen. Cameron Brown spoke of the need to support CAFOs, noting that they contribute to Michigan’s second largest industry—agriculture. However, he failed to mention that CAFOs are also the state’s leading polluter. If these factory farms were regulated like any other manufacturing industry, the problem of water, air, and ground pollution would be solved.

Instead Sen. Brown continues to write and push for laws (Senate Bills 447 - 448 and 501 - 504) that seem “green” but that really give CAFOs a license to pollute. In a speech to the Senate regarding these new, “strict” farm laws, Brown rebutted a fellow senator’s comment comparing North Carolina (where new open pit lagoons are banned) to Michigan. Brown asserted that North Carolina has been slow to regulate farm pollution compared to Michigan. The truth is a state ban is all the regulation North Carolina has needed. Not surprisingly a recent television news report stated that North Carolina has the cleanest beaches in the country. Compare that to tens of thousands of fish killed in Kent County’s Tyler Creek, as a result of a legal CAFO’s accidental discharge. Or compare it locally to the mysterious disappearance of fish and frogs from our streams or songbirds from our own backyards.

The field tiles coming from CAFOs run to our creeks, rivers and lakes. Concentrated animal waste, antibiotics, E-coli bacteria and who know what else are injected or spread on top of the ground for disposal. This concentrated waste does not quickly disappear like CAFO operators and certain senators would like you to believe. Michigan currently hosts more than 200 CAFOs and that number is growing, due to bans elsewhere in the country and world (e.g. the Netherlands). Hopefully the bogus laws mentioned above do not pass the State House. Watch closely to see how our representatives vote.

In future elections please vote for the well-being of our state and its residents—not, necessarily, along party lines.

– Neil Hinkley
Seneca Twp.
  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks
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    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
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    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
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    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

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