Lone Tree Council and TRW
December 9th 2007 # 109
Needless to say it's been a busy
couple of weeks with regard to Dow Chemical's dioxin contamination in
our watershed. Please go to the TRW website to find a copy of the EPA
memo and a copy of the complaint filed by Dr. Priscilla Denny seeking
whistle blower protection from Dow Chemical. You can also link to the
various news stories over the past few weeks.
There were a few e-mails looking
for clarification after reading Friday's Saginaw News which implied DEQ
was reviewing sampling data based on the EPA memo. Not the case. Flawed
sampling data is being brought into question by Dr. Denny of Dow
Chemical. The EPA memo doesn't speak to this issue at all. Two entirely
Please read the EPA memo. It
documents, in many cases, what others already knew: Dow's penchant for
closed doors, confidentiality, leveraging politicians, resisting any
other entities science on dioxin and insisting on studies not needed to
carry out their legal obligations. Dow's John Musser debunked the memo
as did many of Dow's supporters in the business community. None of them
challenged any specifics in the document-- their arguments did not
challenge the accuracy of the EPA statements but instead focused on
defending Dow and calling into question how Lone Tree secured the
document-- Let me answer that-- we filed a FOIA and the document was
released. It's a bit disturbing to me that there are community leaders
who think this information should be private. Perhaps for some people
Dow's image is more important than transparency and community right to
What is all this feigned surprise
about EPA's statements anyway? Since 2004, EPA has leveled numerous
formal written complaints about Dow's shoddy work plans and lack
compliance with the company's obligations under RCRA. EPA commented
in June 2006 and again this past June EPA issued a 44 page document
severely critical of Dow. Then in a July 13th 2007 Dow Activity Report
EPA states: " Major
deficiencies include: lack of implementation schedules, human health and
ecological risk assessments that are inconsistent with U.S. EPA
guidance, lack of progress in addressing dioxin hot spots, and an
inadequate description of Dow's historic plant operations for use in
developing a target analyte list.
the discomfort over the release of this memo is because Dow is being
called out for their bad behavior.
So while Dow
and their apologist say Dow is making progress they are doing so in part
with an EPA gun to their head and sampling data that is off the map.The
real question is what is being delayed because of
failure to follow the law under RCRA. The
document speaks for itself. Please read it.
Progress has been made. The DEQ
pushing for sampling is what is driving the discovery of these hot spots
and EPA issuing the CERCLA orders has forced Dow to move on these
Human Element lost
locally but recognized in Michigan's leading newspapers
We've all seen Dow's Human Element
commercials--- infusing humans into the Element Table and drawing
humans into the chemistry equations of life while the New Harmony Waltz
( beautiful piece of music) plays in the background.
Both the Detroit News and Detroit Free
Press carried stories in recent days looking at the people who live on
the dioxin contaminated floodplain of the Tittabawassee River. People
whose homes and yards have been contaminated and their lives forever
changed because of the presence of dioxin.
The most significant issue raised at the
November DEQ meeting was a group of residents asking EPA to place them
in the SUPERFUND RELOCATION PLAN.
The Dow Human Element ad says, ďAnd in
the dazzling brilliance of this knowledge, we may overlook the element
not listed on the chart. Itís importance so obvious, itís presence is
simply understood. The missing element is the human element.Ē----
Tugs at the ole heart strings- Almost
moved to tears until you read and watch how people, their homes and
yards, resources and public process- all those things that identify them
as part of a community- are dismissed, denied or downplayed as just not
important in Dow's quest to avoid responsibility and protect its bottom
line. These people on the floodplain matter as do the people who consume
the fish and utilize the land and waters resources in this region.
People asking to be moved out of their homes because they don't want to
live on contaminated property is a very big deal. TV-5 and TV 12 covered
the story at 11 pm but nothing in the print media. Detroit Free Press
covered the meeting and reported on the request to EPA for relocation.
EPA said they will get back with residents soon about their request for
relocation. Here are the links to the stories in the Detroit News and
Dow Employee files for
Whistle Blower protection
Dr. Priscilla Denny, a Dow
Engineer brought to Michigan from Texas to oversee sampling alleges
she was demoted for questioning dioxin level sampling data submitted
to MDEQ. Dr. Denny has filed for protection from Dow Chemical for
revealing that Project Enhancement Corp., the Germantown, Md., company
hired to validate data from samples collected in August 2006, rejected
the data because of "major technical non-compliance," according to Dr.
Denny's complaint. She states she reported the flaws to her Dow
supervisors, but Dow "submitted said bad data to the state on or about
February 1, 2007.
This could be
one ugly Pandora's box.................
Dow Deadline is
Dow is suppose to submit plans for
cleanup to EPA tomorrow. We can always hope the third time is charm.
This being the third time Dow has gone behind closed doors to negotiate
About that 1.6 million
ppt in the Saginaw River
One can only hope that the 1.6
million ppt find would be the one and only. However, the suggestion was
posed to a citizen at the DEQ quarterly meeting that there are
likely others. Why? Think about it. What are the odds in 52 miles of
river that this one nugget ( Dow word not mine) was found. More
likely there are others in that region.
No less than 300 newspapers,
magazines and media outlets carried the news of Michigan's largest
watershed, our own Saginaw River being home to the nations highest
level of dioxin.
The MSU Wildlife Study
Please go to the TRW web site to
read Gary Henry's comments:
The Michigan State University
"Tittabawassee River Ecological Studies " presentation at the
11/28/07 quarterly dioxin meeting was intended to "convince" the
attendees that even though wildlife in the contaminated floodplain
are assimilating dioxin at a rapid pace, they are not exhibiting any
ill effects. The study protocol includes the tagging/banding of the
test subjects at the time of tissue and blood sampling. Depending
upon the species tested, only 3% to 27% of the 3200+ subjects tagged
where re-captured for subsequent re-testing. In other words, up to
97% of a particular species samples where taken from animals whose
prior whereabouts are unknown.
This plan was not approved by DEQ
or EPA because it fails to follow established guidelines. It begs
asking why Dow is being permitted to take up meeting time with
unapproved studies that do not meet scientific guidelines. We did ask
and are waiting for an answer.
Links to the stories
Here are the links to recent
stories. Please take a moment to also read the comments posted online by
readers. Most interesting.
FreePress Dioxin Deception 12/07/07
FreePress Fed up with dioxin: 12/09/07
Detroit News 11/23/07
Michelle Hurd Riddick
Lone Tree Council