MAEAP en Snyder signs first bills, boosts voluntary standards for farmers <p>Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has signed into law measures that will enhance a voluntary environmental program for farmers.</p><p>From the Associated Press:</p><blockquote><p>The two bills signed by Snyder on Tuesday afternoon in Lansing were his first as governor. The bills that the Legislature approved earlier this month are putting aspects of the <a href="">Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program</a> into state law.</p><p>Snyder says the bills are important for the state&#39;s agriculture industry.</p><p>The program aims to help farmers evaluate their operations to better identify and prevent possible environmental problems. About 1,000 farms have become verified through the program. Thousands<br />more are in earlier stages of the verification process.</p></blockquote><p>Critics of the bills say they&#39;re too much carrot and not enough stick.</p><p>They worry large farms could increase pollution without strict state oversight.</p><p>Anne Woiwode of the Michigan <a href="">Sierra Club</a>, a group that has long battled against pollution from large-scale livestock operations, says the new measures protect polluters.</p><p>This from the <a href="">Michigan Messenger</a>:</p><blockquote><p>Opponents say the legislation violates the Clean Water Act and <a href="">jeopardizes the state&rsquo;s water quality </a><a href="">program</a>.&ldquo;With just barely 2 months in this new legislature and Governor, it appears the course toward weakening Michiganders&rsquo; well-being is off to a jump start here,&rdquo; Michigan Sierra Club Director Anne Woiwode said via e-mail.</p></blockquote><p>Laura Weber, of the Michigan Public Radio Network, reported that Governor Snyder said it was important to him to put the voluntary program into law:</p><blockquote><p>&quot;Because our Ag community is a critical part of our state,&quot; said Snyder. &quot;It&rsquo;s one of our largest industries. It&rsquo;s one of our greatest opportunities, and it was one of the areas that supported us over this last decade of really tough times.&quot;</p></blockquote><p> Tue, 08 Mar 2011 21:20:32 +0000 Mark Brush 1552 at Snyder signs first bills, boosts voluntary standards for farmers