Dioxin Update

Lone Tree Council and TRW

March 8   2007 # 84



Saginaw News Editorial gets it wrong!

Suits imperil river shipping SN Editorial

February 27 , 2007

Editorial comments are opinion and everyone has one and is entitled to one but they are not entitled to their own facts. Editorial boards must deliver accurate information when sounding off atop their daily soapbox. Accuracy being a core editorial value…so one would think.  Last week’s editorial by the Saginaw News could not be more wrong in their opening editorial statement: 

“In the latest twist to clear the Saginaw River for shipping traffic, a pair of environmental groups filed suit in Ingham County to block Saginaw County and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from building a dredging spoils disposal site.”  

WHAT? Just not true. This suit was not filed as the Saginaw News stated to block the building of the dredge spoils site. This suit was filed to compel MDEQ to do their job and apply the law when permitting discharge of water from the dredge disposal site back into the river. The End. We would have filed this suit even if we were in agreement with the location of the dredge site.  The state cannot permit contaminated water to be returned to the Saginaw River. The precedent is huge for the entire Great Lakes region. This is not just about this local project….. To not require the legally mandated permits on a project of this magnitude when  handling large amounts of toxic sediment and water slurried into a pit is shortsighted and irresponsible. The need to dredge the river does not preclude doing this publicly financed project correctly. Commitment to the watershed and the taxpayers deserve better…………..

 If efforts fail to obtain the discharge permit we seek and contaminated water is allowed to flow back into the river’s water column and move out to Lake Huron ……is that OK? Of course it isn't. We asked the Saginaw New for a correction but they declined. You can view the filing in Ingham County by visiting http://www.dredgeitright.org/.






Below is the link to detailed Bay City Times and Saginaw News (which ran a week later) articles addressing efforts by Saginaw County attorneys to keep confidential information surrounding the dredge site along the Saginaw River.  Saginaw County attempted to keep confidential the depositions of Saginaw County’s Jim Koski and Jim Sygo of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. Not sure what Saginaw County’s attorneys were trying to hide and nobody asked or if they did it was not reported in the stories.


Bay City Times

Feb. 9th 2007

Crystal Harmon

Foiled by eagles Nature does what two lawsuits have aimed to do - halt construction on the dredging spoils facility

As two lawsuits grind their way through the courts and allegations of secret plans swirl, the final touches on a facility to store dredge spoils from the Saginaw River shipping channel have halted.


Bay County Circuit Judge Joseph K. Sheeran recently issued a ruling addressing ''the concern about secrecy'' in the case, and that ''this is a subject of much interest in Bay County and Saginaw County.''

''To unnecessarily shroud these proceedings in secrecy would be detrimental to the public,'' he said. He denied requests from attorneys for Saginaw County to keep certain depositions in the lawsuit filed by Frankenlust Township secret.





Three cheers to Judge Sheeran for taking a stand for transparency. Would someone please ask Saginaw County’s attorneys why they wanted to keep these depositions secret?






It’s one year this month that MDEQ sent Dow back to the drawing board with their work plans for the Tittabawassee River; Work Plans that Dow submitted in December of 2005.   Dow re-submitted them on December 1st 2006.


Of particular interest in the game of Work Plan delays is Dow Chemical’s Human Health Risk Assessment. It has been three years and Dow has been unable to submit a HHRA Work Plan that meets with approval of MDEQ and EPA.



 A year ago on February 24 th 2006, a Saginaw News article highlighted DEQ’s criticisms of Dow’s work plans and method for conducting a human health study. The SN story read:


The document calls on Dow to intensify its soil and sediment sampling, to rethink its methods for conducting human health study and to prepare a detailed schedule of all its work.”



 There’s more. In a June 22, 2006 letter from EPA, EPA states that the Human Health Risk Assessment plans as proposed by Dow Chemical, “ do not comply with EPA risk assessment policy and guidance and therefore, cannot be approved by EPA…” 


During the Feb 8th 2007 DEQ/Dow meeting at Horizons, DEQ stated there were still a number of issues with Dow’s human health risk assessment one year later. Dow sat silent and said nothing.  After three years it is inconceivable that Dow cannot submit a plan that adheres to EPA guidelines and policy. Delay game by design? Probably. No less than 20 Dow scientists or hired contractors are present for the DEQ/Dow town hall meetings………..yet collectively they cannot, in three years, come up with a risk assessment that follows EPA guidelines. Yeh, right!


Time for DEQ and EPA to either abandon it or write it for them.





I encourage anyone who has not been to the TRW website recently to visit soon and read the story on the front page submitted by a Midland resident.



We have added six more names to this Update list and several of you have informed us you are sharing the updates with your personal lists. As always……….thank you for caring.


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.