Dioxin Update
Lone Tree Council and TRW
February 2 , 2008 #113






Thursday Dow Chemical issued a press release that was a bit misleading:  “Joint Dow/MDEQ Dioxin Meeting Canceled”— so read the opening title. As a result of the headline a few news outlets and a number of citizens were left with the impression the quarterly meeting was canceled which it is not. DEQ and EPA will host this meeting. Please plan on attending.  One needed to read the body of the press release where the message  stated the meeting would go on without Dow's participation.  


In the company's press release, Dow’s Greg Cochran stated the company felt it was not a good use of time since there was no new information to discuss. I would disagree.













EPA Meeting Thursday night at SVSU 


A great turn out and great presentations on the many issues impacting the Saginaw Bay were presented and discussed at Thursday’s  meeting.  The impairments facing the Bay and Lake Huron are as massive as they are diverse and the public vocalized their impatience for many of these issue, which are decades old (not just dioxin). People called for action from EPA and DEQ and well they should. But restoring the Bay is not free—nothing worth having is free. We cannot have legislators, at the state or federal level, refusing to fund the very agencies whose expertise is needed to clean up this mess. The Michigan legislature will be speaking loud and clear, as will the Governor, in the coming weeks with regard to funding the DEQ. Stay tuned! Show us your budget and we'll see if the Great Lakes and public health are a priority.


The second half of the meeting Thursday night was an overview of the extensive dioxin contamination and the work completed in the last year. The most important statement made came from EPA’s Ralph Dollhopf in explaining why EPA Region V ended negotiations with Dow Chemical:

 "I can only emphasize for you, that it would be a travesty for the EPA to do anything that would undermine the progress that has been made to date over the last several months, over the last year, with respect to getting Dow to step up and accept responsibility for its legacy in environmental contamination," he said.

The quote was reported in the Midland Daily News. http://www.ourmidland.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=19254420&BRD=2289&PAG=461&dept_id=472542&rfi=6 

DEQ  did a great power point illustrating how contaminated river banks are a constant source of dioxin and furans to the river system and Lake Huron. The agencies are hopeful that as part of an interim response Dow will deliver a final report on the feasibility of sediment traps to help slow down these migrating dioxins. In the meantime the question remains what will be done about the banks that keep feeding this poison to the river?

Addressing head on an issue raised by the Chamber of Commerce, in the recent past, and Thursday night about Dow answering to DEQ or EPA, (echo of Dow’s position they will not serve two masters), EPA was accurate to point out that  by utilizing RCRA and CERCLA, the agencies were able to facilitate the removal of highly contaminated sediments accomplishing more this summer than in thirty years. It’s called progress. Dow Chemical was commended for the progress made last summer making it all the more regrettable that  Dow undermined the summer's progress.

A Midland resident demanded to know from the agencies where the risk assessment was. I would point all of you the TRW web site: click on FOIA documents on the left and go to the DOW HHR Brief 9-07. Perhaps the Midland resident should be asking Dow where the risk assessment is---Would appear by reading this document Dow wants another 3.5 years to complete the human risk assessment and does not wish to use widely accepted scientific practice. Oh- and Dow has already been working on this for 2.5 years.

 One public official commented that stories like the ones that ran in the Free Press serve no purpose. Respectfully disagree--  Public information and an honest airing of regulatory laundry is good for democracy and the role of the media in community right to know  should be lauded and encouraged by all of us. Residents impacted by this contamination are entitled to be heard above Dow's PR spin. These stories are important........the truth may burst a few bubbles, shatter some rose colored corporate glasses or make us uncomfortable but the implications surrounding the  human element caught up in this contamination cannot be denied.

As always please pass this update along. Much appreciate those of you who do.
 Best Regards,
Michelle Hurd Riddick
Lone Tree Council


Source: Lone Tree Council / TRW

For additional articles like this one, go to the Tittabawassee River Watch web site www.trwnews.net. for complete coverage of the Tittabawassee River Dow Chemical dioxin contamination saga.. The source organization's web site link is listed above. The Newspaper / Media page of our site contains an extensive archive of media articles dating back to January 2002. The Newspaper / Media page may be accessed by scrolling down to the bottom of the CONTENTS section and clicking on the Newspaper/Media link.