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Kathy Henry, 07/1/05, reader opinion Bay City Times

River cleanup

A meeting recently held at Delta Collage with EPA official James Hahnenberg, with the Fox River Superfund cleanup task force in Wisconsin, was informative. There was good dialogue on possible solutions for dredging and cleaning up the Tittabawassee River. Many residents left the meeting with a good feeling of hope that something can be done to save our crippled watershed.

The Saginaw News headline on the subject led one to believe nothing could probably be done. But more surprising to me was the fact that they completely left out information reported at the meeting on the economic benefits to communities undergoing river cleanup.

Mr. Hahnenberg reported that while cleanup can be costly for the responsible party, the money doesn't disappear, it's reinvested in communities. Projects take workers.

In Massachusetts, Superfund projects created 935 short-term jobs, 6,800 permanent jobs and income of an additional $240 million. Communities enjoyed tax bases broadened by $6.6 million in property value increases.

In Waukegan Harbor, also in Wisconsin, contamination cleanup meant an average property value increase of $53,000.

Is this something Midland and Saginaw area business leaders really want to ignore, in order to protect Dow Chemical from having to shell out $400 million or so to clean up their mess? They can afford to do this, and it won't close down the company. I believe their last quarter profits were about $2.2 billion.
Dow, it's time to be the good neighbor you keep telling us you are.

Voice: Kathy Henry, Freeland

2005 Bay City Times

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