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September 23rd, 2020
AG Nessel, on behalf of EGLE, filed a lawsuit against a large CAFO operation that continues to violate existing permit rules designed to keep runoff pollution at a minimum. The polluter in question, Slater Farms, has grossly mismanaged its waste leading to nitrogen, E. Coli, and phosphorus runoff into adjacent waterways, including the White River watershed, which could negatively impact the Great Lakes. This is not the first time this polluter has violated laws designed to protect our water. In 2012, it was determined that they were operating a CAFO without a permit, and since that time have not fully complied with terms of their settlement with the state.
It is refreshing to see stricter internal enforcement of CAFO permit rules and waste disposal regulations. Hopefully, this lawsuit sends a message to large scale polluters that it’s time to follow the laws on the books that prevent contaminants from reaching our drinking water. This action comes on the heels of the Whitmer Administration directing EGLE to conduct a formal review of its pollution inspection procedures to strengthen enforcement and accountability following the discovery of toxic ooze on a freeway near Madison Heights in late 2019.Having well-designed permitting rules based on science to protect public health is important, but without proper enforcement, staff capacity, and high-quality on-the-ground inspection procedures, rules themselves will not prevent bad actors from polluting our waterways. We look forward to a continued commitment to permit enforcement that adequately deters potential polluters from jeopardizing public health and the environment.