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Richard Maltby, 10/01/07, Letter to the editor, Midland Daily News

EPA Bashing

This letter is in response to the Midland Daily News editorial "EPA should finish work" (September 17, 2007). I would like to comment on the Daily News’ accusation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency not being helpful in "pushing to complete its own reassessment" of dioxin and related compounds. The Daily News also failed to mention the Dow Chemical Company’s intervention to complete the dioxin reassessment.

As I said in a previous letter to the Midland Daily News, given the recent intervention of the EPA into Dow’s dioxin remediation work plans, I am reminded again of editor Jack Weinberg’s 1995 testimony given at a congressional hearing on "Scientific Integrity and Federal Policies and Mandates: Case Study 3 – EPA’s Dioxin Reassessment." The EPA had just completed its 1994 "Health Assessment Document for 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenso-p-Dioxin (TCDD) and Related Compounds," describing the health hazards of TCDD to humans and animals.

Regarding Dow’s involvement in EPA’s Dioxin Reassessment, Weinberg said that a new trade group, the Chlorine Chemistry Council, was launched "to handle public relations, political lobbying, and ‘scientific initiatives’ on all issues for the chlorine industry. From its origin, the CCC was a Dow-led effort. The Council’s first managing director was Brad Lienhardt, a career-long Dow employee."

Weinberg gave more information in regard to the release of EPA’s 1994 long-awaited draft of the Dioxin Reassessment. Weinberg said, "Dow and the CCC moved immediately to undermine EPA’s alarming findings. CCC organized a public relations push, and EPA public hearings in Washington on the reassessment were dominated by the CCC’s hired scientific consultants. The main thrust of the Dow/CCC offensive, however, centered on the EPA Science Advisory Board, which was slated to review the draft reassessment."

In view of this testimony, Weinberg said, "Dow and its chemical industry allies … have achieved another victory. Delay and confusion have always been primary industry goals. This is the third EPA dioxin reassessment in 10 years, and the existence of an on-going reassessment has been used as an excuse for making no decisions in the interim. Each new study has been undertaken at the urging of the chemical and paper industries."

Let’s stop bashing EPA and get on with the work of cleaning up the dioxin contamination of our communities.



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