By Paul J Sniadecki, MLSA Board Director

This article continues our focus on EGLE permits that riparians might find of interest. We will occasionally provide info about permits issued or denied. We are also providing updates about contested permits challenged by various groups in the contested permit process through the Michigan Office of Administrative Hearings and Rules (MOAHR). The permits/cases of interest in this article are:

CAFO – MOAHR Docket # 20-009773

This appeal involves the new CAFO (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation) permit requirements issued by EGLE on April 1, 2020. During the public comment period  (2019-2020) many environmental and water protection groups commented the proposed requirements did not go far enough. Farm and business groups submitted comments that the proposed requirements were burdensome and not directly related to surface or ground water quality.

Some of the new CAFO permit changes are measurement tools for phosphorus limits to evaluate fields for manure application, certain restrictions on applying manure to fields in January thru March, and inclusion of evaporation in calculations of storage capacity for holding tanks.

Subsequently, the new 2020 CAFO permit requirements were challenged by Michigan Farm Bureau, Michigan Milk Producers Association, Michigan Pork Producers Association, Michigan Allied Poultry Industries, Foremost Farms USA, Dairy Farmers of America, Select Milk Producers, Inc., and 165 Identified Livestock Farms.

Significant testimony in this case is scheduled to occur in December 2021. Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) D. Pulter has been assigned to hear and decide the appeal. MLSA will continue to monitor this matter and provide updates.

New Boating Access Site (BAS) – MOAHR Docket # 16-015208

This case involves an application by the Michigan DNR to fill just under a half acre of Eagle Lake and construct a totally new BAS without any DNR provided disinfection/decontamination station for the control of aquatic invasive species (AIS). The lake has four different AIS species present and can be viewed as a “predator” lake if exiting watercraft are not properly disinfected/decontaminated. With four AIS already flourishing, the lake can also be viewed as an “incubator” lake if any of the Michigan Watch List AIS Species enter the lake via contaminated watercraft. The matter went to a three and a half day hearing in January 2021. ALJ D. Pulter issued a Proposal For Decision (PFD) affirming EGLE’s issuance of the permit with no AIS protections. The appellants filed exceptions as allowed under the Michigan Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act.  As this newsletter goes to press, the final decision by the EGLE Director has not yet been issued.

Water Withdrawals – MOAHR Docket # 18-011549 (Correction)

This is the case involving the Nestle Company (Ice Mountain bottled water) application to increase water withdrawals from 250 GPM to 400 GPM under the Safe Drinking Water Act (PA 399). My November Article should have listed the increase amounts as 1,512,000 gallons per WEEK, (not per day). That is still a large volume of water.

Surface Water Wins!
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