Lone Tree Council and TRW

Dioxin Update

November 3 , 2005  # 52


Saginaw County Board of Commissioners
Indeed it was a sad day October 25th when 10 members of the Saginaw County Board of Commissioners supported the resolution for HB 4617 to essentially lift the facility designation off the frequently flooded areas of the floodplain. ( Read more below on the impact).
One thing of interest. Several of the residents who spoke in support of the legislation to remove the "facility" from their properties also dismissed the toxicity of dioxin and trivialized its human health impacts in their statements to the commissioners.  Yet many of these residents took advantage of their properties being a "facility" and permitted contractors, this past summer, to come into their homes and clean carpets, wash walls, clean duct work and landscape their yards to minimize their exposure to a chemical they are not worried about?  They would, however, by supporting HB 4617, deny the same interventions to other residents whose homes and properties are contaminated.  
Someone pointed out that the mission statement of the board of commissioners charges them with the protection of the health and safety of the people of Saginaw county. But heck, they were worried some guy couldn't build a fire pit.  If and when this facility legislation is removed the remaining  properties on the floodplain designated a Priority One or Priority Two may not receive mitigation activity because they will not be considered a facility...........to bad for the mom with kids but we can all find comfort in knowing that fire pit will get built.   Special thanks to Commissioners Hadsell, Blaine, Novak, O'Hare and Woods for voting against the resolution which hurts public health, stalls cleanup  and protects the polluter. You can find your county commissioner at the link below.
What's the rush
Homeowners Fairness Act moving through Senate
Midland Daily News - Kathie Marchlewski
Two snips:
 If the bill makes it through the entire Senate, it would amend Part 201 of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, which designates properties having hazardous substances as "facilities."
   "This is an accountability measure," State Rep. John Moolenaar said. In response to local fears of casting a negative stigma on mid-Michigan based on dioxin contamination,....................
Everyone is accountable except Dow Chemical.
This is nothing but designer legislation for Dow Chemical and the City of Midland. The stigma is caused by the dioxin not the facility. The "facility " is triggered by the presence of high levels of dioxin. The " property rights" issue being touted by Moolenaar and Goschka is a smoke screen. The real intention is to rewrite Part 201 which governs Dow Chemical's corrective action license. The properties listed as a facility are subject to remedial investigation and clean up by law. Without the "facility" no response may be required.
Moolenaar and Goschka's zeal to get this done by the first of the year may have  everything to do with Dow's requirements to submit Remedial Work Plans for the Tittabawassee River and Midland by Dec. 31st. HB 4617 is intended to limit the authority and ability of DEQ to enforce Dow's license and pursue one of the worst dioxin  contaminations in the Midwest. It is once again an attempt to relieve Dow of their liability along the river. The best way for Dow avoid responsibility  is to prevent individual properties from being tested and this legislation accomplishes does just that. HB 4617 will piecemeal properties being tested. By design this legislation will impede any large scale cleanup efforts in Michigan's largest watershed. How shameful.
HB 4617 doesn't take away any stigma. It does nothing to restore properties or make them whole again. It does nothing to address the economic impediments associated with poisoned watersheds.  This summer a young physician, anxious to move away from the contamination with his children, did not voice concern about any facility,  he voiced concern about his kids exposure to dioxin. No doubt the same was true for the Dow Chemical employee, who, new  to the area, contacted the DEQ for assistance in settling in a community not on the Tittabawassee River. ( FOIA DEQ MEMO)   
The provisions for the “facility” have been in Dow’s license since the first public hearing in 2002 with no objection from the sponsors of HB 4617. It wasn't until the DEQ began enforcing the license and the law, that these legislators became engaged.  Now Moolenaar and Goschka and Kahn, hiding behind a smokescreen of fairness,  have decided to weigh in on the issue but they have taken up the corner with polluter and special interest. The heck with children, families and the potential for restoration of our watershed. Remember that it was Moolenaar who came to Dow's defense last year and threatened to gut the DEQ budget and eliminate the  division responsible for execution of Dow's license. All because the DEQ insisted on soil samples. All because the DEQ was doing its job.
 DEQ's Bob McCann is correct,"You don't put the administration of the law into the hands of the person who broke it."  HB 4617 does just that.
Stay Tuned
Things are moving wild and crazy on HB 4617. Senator Barcia, who was also a sponsor of this pathetic legislation, is looking for a resolution and mechanism do fact finding.  Also, Senator Goschka  offered an amended bill that is more polluter friendly. As always feel free to share this e-mail.
Regards to all,
Michelle Hurd Riddick
Lone Tree Council
" A popular government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy or, perhaps, both.  Knowledge will forever govern ignorance, and a people who mean to be their own Governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives."               James Madison

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.