Pig ‘factory’ draws major opposition.

January 10, 2018

Pig ‘factory’ draws major opposition.

#OceanaCountyNews

By Allison Scarbrough. Editor.

MONTAGUE — Emotions ran high at the Montague High School auditorium Wednesday evening, Jan. 10, during a Department of Environmental Quality public hearing concerning a proposed large-scale swine farm in Claybanks Township.

Approximately 200 people attended the meeting, speaking out strongly in opposition to the operation that poses potential environmental hazards.

The proposed Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) that will house 4,000 swine per cycle has area residents fuming, but the facility owner earlier assured OCP the operation will not cause any environmental harm.

Related story here

The CAFO would be located off Flower Road near 56th Avenue in southern Oceana County in a zoned agricultural area. The owner, David Marsh, currently operates a dairy farm on the property. His son, Jacob Marsh, would operate the swine facility.

It’s up to the DEQ to determine the fate of the pig farm that has so many people worried about its environmental impacts.

Because the property is in close proximity to Flower Creek and in the Flower Creek watershed, residents fear the manure could create devastating environmental impacts by polluting the water. Flower Creek, which has e-Coli issues, flows into Lake Michigan. The farm is located just two miles from Lake Michigan.

Located across the road from the Claybanks United Methodist Church, church members spoke out against the project.

Resident Dave Frederick asked DEQ Environmental Analyst Megan McMahon if an environmental study has been done, and she said no study has been done.

“If we privately fund that study, it is worth delaying it?” Frederick asked. Applause followed.

“We do not want factory farms. If the community does not want this, can’t we delay this until a study is done? We are asking for a reasonable amount of time to have the information.”

Claybanks Township has 770 residents, Frederick said. Those residents will be outnumbered by thousands of pigs.

Environmental experts, including attorneys and an analyst, cited opposition to the project.

The DEQ will review and evaluate the comments and then make a decision whether to issue or deny the permit, McMahon said. “We take (the comments) seriously and do additional research if necessary.”

Several residents who voiced their opposition to the project said they support farmers, but not animal “factories.”

“We don’t begrudge anyone’s right to earn a living and raise a family.”

“This is the equivalent of putting an outhouse in Michigan’s front yard,” one resident said. “CAFOs repel people.”

“CAFOs are Michigan’s dirty little secret.”

This story is copyrighted © 2017, all rights reserved by Media Group 31, LLC, PO Box 21, Scottville, MI 49454. No portion of this story or images may be reproduced in any way, including print or broadcast, without expressed written consent.

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