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Divided Michigan Senate Panel Passes Animal Farm Bills

by 5m Editor
15 June 2007, at 4:00am

US - Most of Michigan's largest livestock and poultry farms could participate in a voluntary program instead of having to apply for environmental permits under legislation before the state Senate.

The controversial measure won approval Thursday from Republicans who control the Senate Agriculture Committee, despite opposition from environmentalists and Democrats, including Gov. Jennifer Granholm's administration.

The farms are concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs, which have been blamed for polluting waterways and creating foul odors, dust, gaseous emissions and other air pollution. A CAFO has 1,000 or more "animal units" _ 700 dairy cattle, for instance, or 100,000 egg-laying hens.

Environmental groups and people who live near CAFOs want tougher state oversight of the farms, including a moratorium on new or expanded CAFOs in Michigan for five years.

But CAFO operators, backed by the Michigan Farm Bureau, favor continuing and putting into law a 2002 agreement in which they can be verified by the state Department of Agriculture and avoid a permitting process run by the state Department of Environmental Quality.

Source: WOODTV.com

5m Editor