Dioxin Update
Lone Tree Council and TRW

March 4 , 2008 #114



Dow asking Appeals Court to reconsider  


On February 14, 2008 Dow filed a motion for reconsideration with the Michigan State Appeals Court regarding the Courts January 2008 decision to grant Class Action Certification to the Tittabawassee floodplain residents case against Dow Chemical. No surprise there. You can read the motion on the TRW web site.


DEQ writes it for Dow and rights it for the community


After months of waiting for a revised Scope of Work from Dow, DEQ did an Approval with Modifications of Revised Dow Remedial Investigation Scope of Work for the Saginaw River and Floodplain and Saginaw Bay (2/1/08). DEQ has the authority under RCRA ( Dow Chemical agreed to that athority) to modify these plans so as to not further cause  delays because of Dow's failure to submit acceptable work to the state.


The approved plan with DEQ modifications ( see sections labeled Rationale) lays out clear expectations, plans and guidance for Dow Chemical in accordance with the company's obligations under the law as they proceed to address the Saginaw River, floodplain and Bay. DEQ's modifications were warranted so as to not lose sampling opportunities by doing battle with Dow during warm weather months. EPA agreed with DEQ.


Dow's game plan has been procrastinate, politics and PR. Kudos to DEQ. A great job for the environment and people of this watershed.




The smaller more gentle environmental  footprint lost on Rep Horn.


At the DEQ quarterly meeting on Feb 7th DEQ assured those in attendance, just as they have in the past, that the agency’s goal is to settle on a less intrusive footprint when remediation occurs.  Dow's activity this past summer removed a great many trees disrupting a significant amount of landscape.


It's unfortunate but Rep Horn apparently has not read the local papers which reported widely that a much smaller footprint along the river was being planned for areas of removal. Local radio also reported it. Last Friday’s My View Column found the good representative ranting about many items related to the cleanup but he  made some erroneous statements that need to be corrected. OK-  I too love a good rant and I can rant with the best of them but the truth cannot get buried in the process.  In Rep. Horn's  My View Column, he stated:


 " More than three hundred majestic 100 year old oak trees were ripped from the ground, root and limb....."


Actually there were 3 oak trees, one swamp and two white, that were ripped from the ground root and limb. We all have some reflective and unexplained love of the almighty oak tree but it really was only three---  Go to trwnews.net to see the inventory. While I would agree that too many trees were removed, most of the trees, not to pick on any specific , were cottonwoods. This tree on the eroding bank with roots exposed by frequent flooding  were destined to end up in the river.


Using fear, counting on property owners to be alarmed, Rep Horn goes on to warn river residents:


 "Your trees are next on the EPA chopping block".


 It’s just not true. Recall this past summer there was a township official and a resident, on site JK with Dow, wearing their hard hats, totally outraged by the tree removal and damage to the environment. Call me cynical-------but like I said at the time, I think the whole thing was staged and calculated by Dow Chemical to outrage the public and put fear in people about what would happen to their property if remediation and cleanup progresses.  It’s unfortunate that Ken Horn feels the need to perpetuate this fear. It’s not conducive to community involvement or constructive resolution. 


But Rep Horn goes on to say: :" our river banks were carted away and replaced with sterile soil, likely to be washed away as silt next spring". That site was already an eroding bank washing contaminated sediment down the river. The restoration provided stabilization and minimizes future erosion by giving  the river room to spread/expand up the bank to help reduce its energy during high water events like the spring flooding that's right around the corner. What EPA, DEQ and Dow did was a good thing. It's keeping contaminated sediment and silt from migrating down river. Hopefully Rep. Horn, since he is concerned, and rightfully so, will get on the bandwagon and support the sediment trap studies on the Saginaw River. Dow is due to submit them the end of this month.


For years this watershed has suffered from knee jerk planning, failed policies, shortsighted political decisions and failure to see the systemic impact on the entire watershed of ill planned projects. DEQ doesn't think we need such a large footprint in the remediation process. EPA agrees.  Hopefully Dow will see the benefit of a smaller footprint too. Here's the story in the Saginaw News from Feb. 8th. Sorry Rep. Horn missed it!







The Center for Public Integrity on the Area of Concerns in the Great Lakes


From the Press Release:


snip:For more than seven months, the nation’s top public health agency has blocked the publication of an exhaustive federal study of environmental hazards in the eight Great Lakes states, reportedly because it contains such potentially “alarming information” as evidence of elevated infant mortality and cancer rates.


snip: The Center for Public Integrity has obtained the study, which warns that more than nine million people who live in the more than two dozen “areas of concern”—including such major metropolitan areas as Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, and Milwaukee—may face elevated health risks from being exposed to dioxin, PCBs, pesticides, lead, mercury, or six other hazardous pollutants.



Go to Chapter Four in the PDF document link (above) to access Tittabawassee and Saginaw River and Bay information; the latter two the only Area of Concern in Lake Huron on the US side.  


 According the Washington Post: The lead author and peer reviewers of a government report raising the possibility of public health threats from industrial contamination throughout the Great Lakes region are charging that the report is being suppressed because of the questions it raises. The author also alleges that he was demoted because of the report.

Chris De Rosa, former director of the division of toxicology and environmental medicine at the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), charges that the report he wrote was a significant factor in his reassignment to a non-supervisory "special assistant" position last year.


 Coal Fired Plants


A number of folks on this Dioxin Update have e-mailed asking about  information on the coal fired plants being proposed for Midland and Bay City. This update is devoted strictly to the dioxin issue as a result of Dow Chemical's releases to the tri-cities. One writer was correct to point out that dioxin is a by-product of coal burning. Indeed it is... However this update will remain about Dow Chemical's dioxin contamination. Sorry! I am happy to direct those interested to the Midland Cares web site  at  http://midlandcares.org.  There are some dynamite women moving this issue along in Midland and the Bay City community is organizing.


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.