Lone Tree Council and TRW
DIOXIN UPDATE # 133
October 11, 2008
NRDA Trustees comment on Dow’s shoddy work plans
For several years now we have read, scrutinized and shared with you, MDEQ and EPA’s frequent and critical comments on Dow Chemical’s derelict work plans, insufficient response to agency concerns and creation of the company’s own scientific guidelines while ignoring those established by regulatory agencies.
The end of July found the Trustees to the Natural Resource Damage Assessment also weighing in heavily with critical comments on Dow Chemical’s work plans for the Saginaw River, floodplain and Bay. Dr. Lisa Williams of US Fish and Wildlife Service notified Dow’s Mr. Ben Baker of those deficiencies on behalf of the Trustees in a letter dated July 30th 2008.
By way of history the work plans for the Saginaw River, floodplain and bay were sent to MDEQ in December of 2007.MDEQ approved those plans with modifications and the support of EPA in February 2008. Dow resented those modifications and went ahead in defiance of MDEQ and EPA and resubmitted yet again another round of work plans that were –you guessed it, once again deficient.
The purpose of the NRDA is to assess the loss of natural resources, the injuries incurred to those resources in the region as a result of the release of contaminants from the Dow facility. The goal of the NRDA is to restore injured natural resources and the services they provide--An accurate assessment of those injuries and losses are incumbent on Dow Chemical producing solid science based work plans.
The NRDA process is distinct from Dow’s obligations under RCRA but the work of the Trustees does run a parallel track; the Trustees weigh in on almost every activity surrounding Dow’s actions on the river. Hence the lengthy comments to Dow in July from the Trustees.
As you may recall there were several local media reports in June of 2007surrounding the NRDA process relative to Dow’s contamination. At that time the Chamber of Commerce and Dow held a number of meetings where officials created a wish list of sorts in the form of compensation/amenities (translate $) from Dow Chemical upon completion of the NRDA. I believe the same type of meeting was held in Bay City a little later in the summer of ’07.
Local municipalities deserve to be compensated and the river system made whole as best can be done. Yet once again this company falls flat on its butt in delivering quality work to make compensation and restoration a reality -----and it is my design. It is in Dow’s financial best interest to limit the full categorization of the Saginaw River and Bay with regard to the NRDA as well as their RCRA obligation that direct the cleanup process. When Dow short shrifts the RCRA process they are directly impacting restitution to communities under the NRDA. Frankly all the agencies are trying to save time and money by coordinating activity—Dow however, wastes their time and our tax dollars by deliberately submitting limited and deficient work and creating delays. The company’s penchant for delays has now become legendary.
Some of the Trustees’ comments
The Trustee comments total 13 pages in which they lay out clearly for Dow where their deficiencies are and what is needed to remedy those failings. We’ll see if Dow delivers.
The Trustees want much better sampling than Dow is proposing. Dow’s contractors ATS did a great job utilizing Geo-Morph for sampling in the Tittabawassee River and flood plain—Dow need not re-invent the wheel on the Saginaw River and Bay. Fact is Dow just doesn’t want to do it. Dow is proposing limited sampling in the upper Saginaw, very limited sampling in the lower Saginaw, no sampling in the floodplain and nothing in the Bay. What are they hiding? In addition Dow only wants to address dioxins and furans and NONE of the other dozen other chemicals of concerns released to the river by the company.
In closing, it has been very quiet since about May of this year. There has been no testing by Dow on the Saginaw River this summer as envisioned and litigation by Dow against MDEQ to delay and avoid sampling, which by the way is required under the company’s license, still looms.
We remained concerned that the Granholm administration will appease Dow Chemical and agree to less than a full characterization of the Saginaw River, floodplain and Bay thereby undermining a comprehensive cleanup, resource restoration and full compensation to the communities under the NRDA.
I encourage you to go to the TRW web site to read the July 30th comments of the Trustees to the irresponsible and recalcitrant Dow Chemical.
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.