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Michelle Hurd Riddick, 01/24/07, Letter to the editor, Response to Saginaw News Editorial

'Playing to people's fears' Wednesday, January 24, 2007 Editor, The News:

For The Saginaw News to suggest public concern be tempered because only 2 percent of these chemicals are the "most toxic of dioxin" demonstrates a level of ignorance about the science and profile of dioxins/furans. ("Dioxin hot spots: Do no more harm," editorial, Jan. 18)

That the editorial proffers additional false reassurance because these sediments are buried under a foot of sediment attests to the lack of knowledge about how the Tittabawassee River is prone to frequent fast flooding with movement of large amounts of sediment.

The editorial echoes Dow Chemical Co.'s position that these sediments are pre-World War I, while ignoring Dow's herbicide production into the 1970s. Just how much longer should we allow these sediments to contaminate people, wildlife, fish and properties, both public and private? How much longer should we tolerate their migration to Lake Huron?

Dow has objected to dredging on more than one occasion, calling sediment removal "draconian." The editorial also cautions about making matters worse by dredging and dispersing sediments. The News is standing on quicksand with its argument. These sediments, according to state Department of Environmental Quality documents, have migrated to the Saginaw River and Bay by hydraulic forces for decades. The News failed to point out the very high concentrations in the Saginaw River -- hits as high as 16,000, 11,000 and 8,000 parts per trillion. Rivers are being dredged and restored every year in the United States.

Like Dow Chemical, the editorial cites the Dow-funded University of Michigan study as a compelling reason not to rush into cleanup activities. The editorial again regurgitates Dow's position while ignoring Environmental Protection Agency comments saying the U-M study did not thoroughly target susceptible subpopulations and is not the type of information that forms the basis of remediation decisions.

The "punitive economic hardship" the editorial suggests could befall Dow Chemical should it be forced to clean up their mess is a red herring playing to people's fears.

Shameful commentary from the largest editorial venue at the heart of Michigan's largest watershed.

Michelle Hurd Riddick

Lone Tree Council

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