Michigan Farm Bureau (MFB) is disappointed with the recent announcement that the state Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has chosen to designate Michigan’s waters in the western Lake Erie basin (WLEB) “impaired.”
This unnecessary and unwarranted designation threatens to impose an equally unwarranted burden of federal-level regulation on the farm families of southeastern Michigan—farm families who are already making remarkable strides toward minimizing potential pollution risks.
This impairment designation adds no additional value to what’s being done in the basin, particularly the remarkable environmental stewardship efforts already being implemented on a voluntary basis by farms having earned verification in the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP).
On behalf of our more than 44,000 members statewide, MFB is concerned this designation will ultimately lead to a mandatory regulatory structure that yields no measurable benefit to the waters of western Lake Erie.
Among our concerns:
MFB remains committed to championing MAEAP’s proactive, voluntary approach to minimizing potential pollution risks, and will vigorously oppose efforts that presume farmers as causing pollution of public or private water supplies near agricultural operations or require additional environmental permits regarding agricultural nonpoint source pollution.
It is vital for the continued growth of our industry to provide flexibility without additional mandated regulatory approaches. We believe retaining our state’s decision making is superior to a path that is directed by federal agencies that provide little to no additional value.