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Robert Ciaffone, 05/04/06, Letter to the editor, Saginaw News

Who pays?

Editor, The News:

Dioxin is a toxin found in hazardous quantities in the Tittabawassee and Saginaw river flood plains from the Dow Chemical Co. plant in Midland.

One would think that the polluter should be paying for everything related to the cleanup, but some Republican legislators are trying to stick Michigan taxpayers with part of the bill.

Testing for the presence of dioxin is expensive and often produces uneven results. Each testing can cost more than $1,000. Tests of a single property can find a safe concentration of dioxin in one place and a concentration of a hundred times greater in another. Testing near the floodplain rim is reasonable, but individual property testing for any location clearly lying within the floodplain is a waste of money.

Midland Republican state legislators Rep. John Moolenaar ($4,732 in chemical industry campaign donations) and Sen. Tony Stamas ($29,727 in chemical industry campaign donations) have sponsored a bill that mandates testing for each property before it is declared contaminated. If the test result shows the dioxin pollution to be below the contamination threshold, Dow, the polluter, does not have to pay for it. The taxpayer pays the bill. This is outrageous.

Moolenaar and Stamas are both candidates for re-election in 2006. Moolenaar's district lies partly in Saginaw County -- downstream from Dow. Moolenaar is supposed to represent the public, but he doesn't. Let's replace him with someone who will represent the public interest.

Robert Ciaffone

Saginaw Township

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