Lone Tree Council and TRW
Dioxin Update
January 11 th 2006 # 60
HB 4617 a cleanup bill?
Not sure why the Saginaw News chose the headline they did  ( Cleanup bill nixed) to lead their coverage of the Governor's veto. HB 4617 is anything BUT a cleanup bill.  This Trojan Horse piece of legislation is not a cleanup bill and the DEQ rightly defined it as a Polluter Relief Act. In paragraph 3 of her  press release on the veto the Governor points out the devil hiding in the detail of the legislation.  
Governor Granholm states:
In addition to these deficiencies, House Bill 4617 is poorly drafted, containing incomplete citations to administrative rules. These technical problems were identified by the Department of Environmental Quality yet were ignored during the legislative process. These technical omissions have consequences. By referencing the incorrect rules, this legislation would foreclose the ability of the state to protect surface water from contamination, increasing health risks for homeowners and Michigan's environment.  
A great deal of statutory verbiage but in essence the failure of Moolenaar and Goschka to include the administrative rules in the bill would have eliminated the soil and sediment contact criteria for dioxin. With the sweep of the legislative pen these bills would eliminate the 90 ppt soil contact criteria for dioxin. Still think this bill isn't about Dow Chemical or what the City of Midland want?
These incomplete citations and rule omissions in HB 4617 aren't limited to just dioxin. It includes a lengthy list of chemicals harmful to people and all biota. Section 20120a(8) lists the rules (exposure/transport pathways) that DEQ must  consider in a generic residential cleanup.  The omission of the rules for soil direct contact and  sediment cleanup would prevent the DEQ from considering any of  these criteria for generic residential cleanups.  The pertinent rules are 299.5720, 299.5730, 299.5712, and 299.5716, respectively.  In addition, the omission of R 299.5728 could mean the DEQ would be unable to require response activity to address other risks (such as food chain contamination) that are not ordinarily factored into generic cleanup criteria. 
For the proponents of this bill the best way to act on their visceral contempt for the DEQ is to cripple their power and authority  by legislative measures with no apparent regard for the outcome.   Michigan is the only state entirely in the watershed of the Great Lakes. Either the Great Lakes are a national treasure to be protected or they are not. Either public health matters or it does not.
Governor Granholm did not nix a cleanup bill. She defended public health and our water resources.  Below are the Saginaw News and Midland Daily News coverage.
Cleanup bill nixed
The Saginaw News - Jeremiah Stettler
Granholm vetoes facility proposal
Midland Daily News - Kathie Marchlewski
Body Burdens The Pollution in Newborns

A benchmark investigation of industrial chemicals, pollutants and pesticides in umbilical cord blood by the Environmental Working Group, July 14, 2005

One of the relevant findings is the presence of dioxin, both polychlorinated and polybrominated, in most samples taken from infant cord blood. The  Environmental Working Group (EWG) commissioned laboratory tests of 10 American Red Cross cord blood samples for the most extensive array of industrial chemicals, pesticides and other pollutants ever studied. The group found that the babies averaged 200 contaminants in their blood. The pollutants included mercury, fire retardants, pesticides and the Teflon chemical PFOA. In total, the babies' blood had 287 chemicals, including 209 never before detected in cord blood. More and more science is pointing to the adverse effects of chemical exposure while the infant is developing. Please take time to read the study. http://www.ewg.org/reports/bodyburden2/
In 1993 the National Academy of Sciences listed in a Congressionally mandated study, the primary factors that contribute to children's unique vulnerability to the harmful effects of chemicals (NAS 1993):
  • A developing child's chemical exposures are greater pound-for-pound than those of adults.
  • An immature, porous blood-brain barrier allows greater chemical exposures to the developing brain.
  • Children have lower levels of some chemical-binding proteins, allowing more of a chemical to reach "target organs."
  • A baby's organs and systems are rapidly developing, and thus are often more vulnerable to damage from chemical exposure.
  • Systems that detoxify and excrete industrial chemicals are not fully developed.
  • The longer future life span of a child compared to an adult allows more time for adverse effects to arise.
None of these vulnerabilities have been disputed and they are most relevant to the lives of children living in Dow's dioxin mixture along the river.  There are those who for many reasons do not want to talk about children and dioxin ............but we must. The failure to do so is unfair to the kids and a deliberate denial of the science that surrounds their development and quality life.
Migration and persistence of Dow's dioxin in our SB Watershed
Below are few links to stories written in the past month regarding the persistence of chemicals and toxins in the Great Lakes. Dioxin is one of them. In the near future DEQ will finalize data on the dioxin concentrations in the Saginaw River which came from the Tittabawassee River and are making their way to Lake Huron. Part of the discussion which is not taking place, in context of the Great Lakes degradation, is how do STOP dioxin from migrating  any further into the Saginaw Bay. Seems pretty important and worthy of priority status and attention in 2006.
Update of water quality plan is up next
Traverse City Record-Eagle - John Flesher, AP
Cooperative strategy needed for vulnerable Great Lakes
Ann Arbor News - John Mulcahy
Toxins alarm tribe with few boy births
Scientist links loss to chemicals near reservation lands
Lansing State Journal - Matt Crenson, AP
Let me wish all of you a Happy New Year and peace in 2006. This watershed remains the commons and property of the people and I encourage you to defend your right to fishable and swimmable waters and the clean water resources that should be a given here in the heart of Michigan's largest watershed.
This e-mail list is growing and I appreciate all of you who pass it along to others. Please continue to do so. As always go to the Tittabawassee River Watch web site for the latest news and updates.
Best Regards,
Michelle Hurd Riddick
Lone Tree Council
Next  Update
EPA OK with Dow not telling us about their releases
Dow's RI submittals
Zilwaukee Twp Dredge Facility Nightmare

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.