Dioxin Update

Lone Tree Council and TRW

July 9 th  2007 #96
Removal of dioxin hotspots- AMEN!
It's taken five years but the removal of these sediments in Reach D is reason to celebrate. It is however only the first step, one of many, many steps needed to restore the river system in the Saginaw Bay Watershed. Savor the moment.
About the EPA Press Release
This past week EPA issued a press release announcing action being taken by the agency to compel Dow Chemical to proceed expeditiously with  the cleanup of dioxin hotspots along the Tittabawassee River.  It would appear DEQ and Dow had already agreed to proceed this coming week on one of the hotspots ( Reach D) before the EPA issued their orders. DEQ's press release can be found at http://www.michigan.gov/deq/0,1607,7-135--171694--,00.html.
Ripping into DEQ unwarranted
I could not find the Saginaw News editorial comment from Thursday July 5th on line. As such I cannot provide a link. If you did not read it please find your copy or a neighbor’s copy and read it.  It was outrageous. Totally at a loss to explain where the SN editorial board gets their information.  While I respect their right to editorial license and commentary the Saginaw News has a responsibility to its readers to speak with some semblance of accuracy. Below are two of many outrageous comments from the editorial  followed by some information and perspective in bold print:
1" Apparently there has been no real sense of urgency here. Does it take four years for Dow to acquire all the various state permits and wrap up the required paperwork to close this deal, especially if the company has worked on it like the DEQ's Siamese Twin.  The delays are NOT due to four years of failure by the state to issue permits and wrapping up the required paperwork requires Dow Chemical to submit acceptable work plans to the state.  Section XI of Dow's  license lays out clearly and concisely what is expected of Dow Chemical. If fact the license was hammered out with Dow Chemical over a number years. 
DEQ hit the ground running in 2003 with a sense of urgency. When Dow realized in 2004 that DEQ was going to  enforce the license ( including soil testing in Midland) you remember what happened? Dow called out their legislators who threatened to gut DEQ's budget, eliminate the Hazardous Waste Division overseeing the cleanup and they went to the Michigan Economic Development Corporation to threaten Governor Granholm with jobs.  Like Blanchard and Engler, Dow also got  what they wanted from Granholm…….to go behind closed doors for 8 months and derail the established process and  timeline for sampling, interim response activities and work plans. HUGE DELAY- that had nothing to do with permits.
In 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007 Dow Chemical submitted numerous plans to the DEQ which have been rejected by DEQ and EPA as “deficient”, “incomplete” or “ critically deficient”. Memos and documents reveal Dow’s failure to follow the "corrective action process" , failure to follow established "scientific guidelines" and "regulatory guidelines"  as well as their (Dow) failure to submit to timelines, details, and public scrutiny. Again, nothing at all to do with permits.  Other memos detail Dow’s failure to send decision makers to meetings so that activities could advance. Others detail identify  Dow not sharing information with the regulatory agencies. 
A June 14th 2006 EPA document addressing Dow' penchant for studies states:
"The scientific basis for the proposed extensive (and time intensive) exposure studies, and bioavailability study does not appear to be legitimate.  Rather, these studies appear to be intended to delay the remediation process."  

How about this August 2005 memo from EPA:

"EPA and MDEQ have concerns with the manner in which Dow is conducting corrective action.   Concerns include:  apparently concealed data which was produced by unapproved studies conducted over the last 2 years (License violation); unrealistically short time frames for MDEQ to review work plans (Framework Violation); performing corrective action studies without approved work plans; and Dow’s unwillingness to meet with MDEQ to discuss work plans. "
" We're no apologists for Dow, which certainly isn't blameless in this matter. But in its defense it has done what DEQ has asked with no guidance from the state agency". Over the past few years Lone Tree Council has amassed thousands of pages of documents, emails, letters, memos and CD's giving detailed responses and guidance from DEQ to Dow Chemical. Many of these  in response to Dow's  chronically deficient work plans ........plans required by law in the corrective action license Dow signed in 2003. 

These documents, many obtained using the Freedom of Information Act clearly show DEQ and Dow have met over 150 times in the past three years in-group meetings or phone conferences.   From detailed handwritten notes, lengthy e-mails with attachments, to Power Points and algorithms, DEQ could not have given more guidance to Dow.  Dow's repeated failure to address their legal obligations is by design. 
This corrective action is resource intensive. Dow is unnecessarily monopolizing DEQ's  staff time and taxpayers dollars with their deficient work plans, delays and public manipulation of the cleanup process.  If DEQ is guilty of anything it is the failure  of the agency to right out the entire plan for Dow and then enforce it.  Leveling unfounded accusations at DEQ, as the Saginaw News  did, is being an apologist for Dow Chemical.  " No guidance from the state agency" is just an unfounded, baseless, untruth which plays well to the anti-regulatory, DEQ bashing faction in this community........and that's the only thing it plays to.



Let me extend an invitation to the editorial writer responsible for Thursday’s commentary.  You are most welcome to come to my home and view Lone Tree Council’s massive collection of documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. Please call me at 989-799-3313 if you are interested or you can e-mail me at michdave@aol.com
Once again a thank you to all of you who pass this update along and/or share it with your lists. Much appreciated.
Michelle Hurd Riddick
Lone Tree Council
"There is no trifling with nature; it is always true, grave and severe; it
is always in the right, and the faults and errors fall to our share."
-- Goethe

See what's free at AOL.com.

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.