Tittabawassee River Watch www.trwnews.net
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT:
OCTOBER 22, 2002 Diane Hebert Petitioner 989 832-1694
Michelle Hurd Riddick Lone Tree Council
Greg Whitney River Watch 989-781-4518
Terry Miller Lone Tree Council
DOCUMENTS SHOW DEQ IN COLLUSION WITH DOW
TO CREATE "DIOXIN ZONE" IN MIDLAND THROUGH ILLEGAL AGREEMENT
DEQ Director and Deputy Working to Bail Out Polluter
Before Leaving Office
Government documents obtained by citizens in Saginaw County demonstrate that top management of the Michigan DEQ is working hand-in-glove with the Dow Chemical Company to craft an agreement relieving the company of costly dioxin cleanup requirements and exposing the public to dioxin contamination.
Rejected by attorneys for the state as "illegal" and "fatally flawed" the proposed agreement is now on a fast track to enable Dow to get relief before a new Governor takes office.
Under the agreement Dow and DEQ Deputy Director Art Nash are negotiating:
Documents obtained by citizens include:
"For years I have watched Dow manipulate and influence the system much to the detriment of Midlands health. Disgusting as these memos are its politics and business as usual for Dow", says Midland activist Diane Hebert.
In the October 11 e-mail, Assistant Attorney General Robert Reichel wrote Nash: "Unfortunately, the course of action outlined in your note, and reflected in even the most recent Dow re-draft of the proposed order utterly fails on all those counts and is therefore illegal what DEQ cannot legally do, as contemplated by the proposed order, is to delegate its own regulatory authority to third parties and arbitrarily approve in advance a particular regulatory action based upon the results of the studies. DEQ cannot lawfully bargain away its continuing statutory duty under Parts 111 and 201 to require corrective action/cleanup as needed to protect public health and the environment. In sum, the course of action you propose is fundamentally illegal. We urge you to instead enforce Dow's corrective action obligations as provided by law and stand ready to work with you to that end.
" you should be aware of the factual background against which DEQ's actions in this matter may be judged by others. Regardless of DEQ management's own actual motivations for attempting to immediately conclude a written agreement with Dow on these issues, many outside observers will inevitably draw the inference that the proposed agreement is an "11th hour " and "sweetheart deal." Frankly, we are at a loss to understand why the DEQ would want to unnecessarily subject itself to such criticism states an attorney in a letter to DEQ, Deputy Director Art Nash.
" This has always been about what Dow has wanted. It has never been about what was in the best interest of the public health or watershed. Dows political influence is immense," said Curt Dalton of Tittabawassee River Watch after reading one of the memos about Dows desire to get something in writing because the next governor may not be as favorable.
In a memo dated 10-03-02, the DEQ is informed that the "Corrective Action Consent Order", clearly purports, both in form and practical effect, to be a release from liability".