October 23, 2018

Industrial dairy with history of environmental violations seeks State approval to expand in Barry County

Expansion will annually add 900 animals and generate 5,402,597 additional gallons of manure; Public Comments due November 1

Oct. 23, 2018
Media Contact:  Gail Philbin, Sierra Club Michigan Director, 616-805-3063,
Lansing--Prairie View Dairy LLC, a concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) in Prairieville Township, is seeking a change in its state Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) permit to reflect an expansion of its animal herd by 900 animals (40%) to a total of 3,150 cows. The increase means the operation will generate 27,610,432 gallons of waste per year, an annual increase of 5,402,597 gallons in a lake-filled region of the state already saturated with CAFOs and animal waste.

Concerned area residents have the opportunity to request a Public Hearing by November 1 to learn more about Prairie View’s request and the dairy factory’s handling of animal waste as well as submit comments about the proposal by emailing Megan McMahon at the Michigan DEQ, Submitting comments and having a public hearing are the only ways local residents can get their voices heard about the dairy expansion. Deadline for a hearing request and comments is November 1.

Animal waste from some of the nearly 300 CAFOs in Michigan frequently makes its way into our waterways, leading to a host of environmental and health problems. In the case of Prairie View, a significant spill in 2015 ran into West Gilkey Lake and led to the DEQ issuing a Consent Order and fining Prairie View Dairy CAFO.

Manure feeds the algae blooms that plague our inland waters and was a key factor in the growth of the toxic algae that poisoned drinking water for Toledo and southern Michigan in 2014. Water and soil pollution can occur at any point in a dairy operation, including from over-application of waste to fields of manure slurry containing untreated feces, urine, disease-causing bacteria, anti-biotics, and hazardous chemicals such as ammonia and methane.

Sierra Club has been at the forefront of battling CAFO pollution in Michigan for nearly three decades. To learn more, visit

For questions about submitting public comments, email

October 3, 2018

PRESS RELEASE: Sierra Club Statement on Snyder - Enbridge Oil Tunnel Deal

For Immediate Release
October 3, 2018
Contact: Anne Woiwode 517-974-2112 
               David Holtz   313-300-4454 

Sierra Club Statement on the Disastrous Snyder-Enbridge Oil Tunnel Deal

This statement responding to a deal announced today between Governor Rick Snyder and Enbridge to build an oil tunnel under the Straits of Mackinac can be attributed to Anne Woiwode, chair of the Sierra Club Michigan Chapter.

Today Rick Snyder and Enbridge have doubled down on their dangerous backroom deal last November. The Governor has once again shut out the public, ignored the experts, failed to honor the treaty rights of Michigan’s tribes and tried to lock in a deal that forces generations of Michiganders to take all of the risk, while Enbridge reaps all the profits. 

Instead of adopting a solution that protects the Great Lakes and Michiganders from an unneeded, leaky and damaged oil pipeline crossing hundreds of waterways, Snyder and Enbridge are using the last days of a lame duck governor to lock in a short cut for Canadian oil across our state and the Great Lakes. And the Governor is putting the state's Mackinac Bridge Authority in the bulls eye of this ill-conceived scheme - putting one of Michigan's most effective and iconic agencies in the role of providing cover for a foreign, polluting corporation. 

In the five years since the dangerous condition of Line 5 was brought to public attention we have seen Enbridge lie about the condition of the pipeline to state and federal officials, grossly understating the condition of the coating and delaying reports about gouges caused by an anchor strike last April. We’ve learned that a tunnel will take up to a decade to build, leaving this dangerously deteriorating pipeline in place all that time. We’ve learned that the Coast Guard is unprepared to respond to a disastrous oil spill in the Great Lakes, and that clean up response teams could take days to get on site.  We’ve learned a clean up of a oil disaster would take many years, would cost billions of dollars, would reclaim less than half the oil spilled, and that there is no where near enough money committed now to conduct a complete clean up. And, we’ve learned that the economy of the Straits region would be left in shambles, with drinking water polluted and tourism destroyed. 

We’ve also learned that alternatives for providing propane to UP households are readily available and affordable. We’ve seen the increasing impacts of climate change in our state and around the world, arguing for keeping the oil in the ground. We’ve seen the need to invest in our state’s infrastructure - roads, water and sewer systems, schools, and much more - grow astronomically and with those investments instead see sustainable jobs and a healthier, more economically competitive state. 

The Great Lakes are too precious for Michiganders to allow an oil tunnel under the Straits of Mackinac. It is time for the lame duck Governor to stop making deals with Enbridge.