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.splash
    Water Fun—Carter Seitz and Colson Walter take a fast trip along a plastic sliding strip while water from a sprinkler provides the lubrication. The boys took a break from tie-dyeing last week at Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program to cool off in the water.
  • Front.starting
    BIKE-A-THON—Children in Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program brought their bikes last Tuesday to participate in a bike-a-thon. Riders await the start of the event at the elementary school before being led on a course through town by organizer Leonie Leahy.
  • Front.drum
    on your mark, get set, drum!—Drew Joughin (black shirt), Maddox Joughin and Kaleea Braun took the front row last week when Angela Rettle and assistants led the Stair District Library Summer Reading Program kids in a session of cardio drumming. The sports and healthy living theme continued yesterday with a Mini Jamboree at Lake Hudson State Park arranged by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Next week’s program features the Flying Aces Frisbee show.
  • Front.art.park
    ART PARK—A design created by Poggemeyer Design Group shows a “pocket art park” in the green space south of the State Line Observer building. The proposal includes a 12-foot sculpture based on a design created by Morenci sixth grade student Klara Wesley through a school and library collaboration. A wooden band shell is located at the back of the lot. The Observer wall would be covered with a synthetic stucco material. City council members are considering ways to fund the estimated $125,000 project and perhaps tackling construction one step at a time.
  • 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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