FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE_
*Monday, January 24, 2005*
Michelle Hurd Riddick Lone Tree Council 989-799-3313
James Clift Michigan Environmental Council 517- 256-0553
Groups Criticize Dow-Granholm Dioxin Deal
Leading citizens and environmental groups today sharply criticized an
agreement between Dow Chemical Company and the Granholm Administration,
saying it fails to deliver a cleanup of dioxin contamination in the
Saginaw Bay basin.
"This agreement is a failure," said Michelle Hurd Riddick, a Lone Tree
Council member who lives in the basin. "It’s promoted as
results-oriented, but the only result will be further delays, more
studies, and it does little to protect the health of residents.
"Dow’s dioxin contamination is a public health threat, economic mess and
Dow needs to start cleanup now. We are terribly disappointed. We know
Governor Granholm cares about children, dioxin’s most vulnerable
population. And kids are not guinea pigs who should be forced to await
more years of testing and data collection by Dow Chemical."
"All this agreement promises is a house cleaning, some lawn services and
more studies," said James Clift, Michigan Environmental Council Policy
Director. "It doesn’t even rise to the level of a short-term fix. It’s
no fix at all and, in fact, moves us backward on a public health issue
of monumental importance. Instead of imposing cleanup deadlines, it
focuses on Dow’s strategy of more study, more public relations, more
In December, the Lone Tree Council, Michigan Environmental Council,
Clean Water Action, Ecology Center, CACC and Sierra Club outlined a
seven-point set of criteria to guide dioxin cleanup by Dow. The groups
Monday, along with the Tittabawassee River Watch, Citizens Against Toxic
Substances, Environmental Health Watch and PIRGIM, said they would
continue to pressure Governor Granholm on Dow’s dioxin contamination.
Riddick and Clift noted that the Dow-Granholm deal agreement derails
dioxin cleanup timelines and initiatives previously outlined by the
Department of Environmental Quality. And the new agreement fails to meet
any of the environmental groups’ cleanup guidelines, they said. The
1)Will the final goal of any cleanup result in rivers that we can swim
in, fish in, and know are safe as drinking water sources?
2)Will the public have a strong, direct role in ensuring a comprehensive
cleanup is undertaken?
3)Will the cleanup begin immediately? Are the most contaminated areas
that affect public health and Michigan’s waters being cleaned up first?
What is the specific cleanup schedule?
4) Will the current lawful cleanup standard of 90 parts per trillion be
If not, what scientific basis exists for using a standard less protective?
5) Will contaminated soils and sediments be removed using methods,
procedures and containment sites that ensure dioxin poisons will not be
reintroduced into our neighborhoods by the next major flood event?
6) Will the dioxin cleanup agreement be legally enforceable? What, if
any, impact will it have on other existing cleanup agreements between
Dow and the state? What are the consequences if Dow or the state fail to
comply with the agreement?
7) Will the cleanup agreement protect economic growth, public enjoyment
and sustainable development along the riverfront into the future? Or is
it a short-term fix that leaves pollution behind for future generations
to deal with?
Dioxin, one of the most toxic chemicals know to man, has been discovered
in the Saginaw Bay watershed in numbers as much as 80 to 125 times the
level deemed safe for Michigan families. Yet families in Saginaw Bay
watershed living in three counties along the 58 miles of dioxin
contaminated rivers leading to Lake Huron are once again told by the
state of Michigan that they must wait for a cleanup. While the
Granholm-Dow agreement confirms Dow’s responsibility for the
contamination, cleanup implementation will continue to languish for
years because of Dow’s manipulation and political power.
A copy of the agreement is at:
Tittabawassee River Watch
Michigan Environmental Council