Michigan government is not out of control
To the editor:
I beg to differ with the article on the views and opinions page in the Christmas issue (Dec. 25) of the Herald Review, under the headline, "Hoitenga: Government has gotten out of control."
The person who wrote this must not have been out here last March, when the weather was so awful.
There had been a heavy spread of manure slurry on hundreds of acres of fields. We had a series of days with above-freezing temperatures followed by a day of pouring rain. On the 14th of March, toward evening, I set out with my dog on the path back through my woods, toward the Rails to Trails.
I found myself sinking through the snow, down into the black muck, 5 inches up my jeans leg, over the tops of my boots. We had to walk through yards and yards of this pond to get back to the trail. I found afterward that my dog had an open cut on her foot.
In response to my call that evening to the emergency pollution number, a representative of EGLE got back to me, saying the muck had also flowed from the fields south of the Rails to Trails, onto private property south and into the Muskegon River -- the drinking water source of Big Rapids and lots of other people.
Later, on the advice of the Cadillac office of EGLE, I filed a complaint on a website, to which an MDARD representative responded at 9 a.m. the next day.
He walked the path back with me and took pictures of the deposits. He said, "This is not environmentally sustainable. They will be given 90 days to write a new plan of how they will farm the land in an environmentally sustainable way."
EGLE and MDARD were out here doing the right, responsible thing. Our Michigan government is not out of control.
My first phone call the evening of March 14 was to the Osceola County Sheriff's Office. The lady who answered the phone said, "There's water everywhere. That's not manure, it's fertilizer. It's down there so the farmer can raise a crop next season. Just don't walk back there."
I said, "You mean I can't use my own land, that I pay taxes on?"
That's what we'd be stuck with if it weren't for EGLE and MDARD.
The MDARD representative, when he was here, said that people think "Right to Farm" means the farmer can do whatever he pleases. That's just not so.
Anna M. Hradel