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TRW Archives 2005 1st quarter 01/01/05 - 03/31/05

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03/31/05 Tittabawassee River over the banks

Minor flood event of the Tittabawassee River is in progress due to snow melt and rain,

For additional information on past floods of the Tittabawassee, including pictures of the the aftermath, visit our Flood page, click here.  The dioxin laden soil is on the move again.  Residents should avoid contact with flooded areas, especially children and pets.  Click here for graph of peak flows of the river from the past.

MDCH Warning:, people should take precautions when entering the flood plain: "There are some common sense steps you can take to limit your exposure to the dioxins found in the flood plain. If you have been playing or working in soil that could be contaminated, wash your skin to remove any dirt. Thorough hand washing is especially important before eating. Children playing outside should be prevented from putting toys or other dirty objects in their mouths. Clean fill dirt can be added over contaminated dirt in gardens, on lawns, and in play areas if dioxin contamination is known or suspected. However, if the area is flooded after clean fill is added, the surface soil could be recontaminated. Care should be taken not to disturb the layer of clean soil covering the contaminated soil. Because they may be especially sensitive to dioxins, children should not play in soil or sediment that is known to contain elevated levels of dioxins. "

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03/29/05 Death by Dioxin

Robert E. Martin recently published an excellent article  in our local "The Review" magazine.  Included is a 2002 interview with Governor Granholm conducted before her election in 2003. 

"If somebody pollutes, they should be responsible. If you can trace it directly to that party they need to take away whatever they put into the land & water."  Governor Jennifer Granholm

Compare these statements to her actions in 2004 & 2005, it's a 180 degree flip flop.

"....Apparently, Granholm does not heed her own words very well. After a protracted negotiating period with all the parties involved, DEQ had a public process in place that was working well. However, in June 2004, Granholm agreed to go behind closed doors with Dow Chemical until February of this year...."

Other topics covered in the article

bulletThe ill conceived plan to dredge the Saginaw River
bulletDangers of dioxin
bulletLegacy of delay
bulletMuzzling the DEQ
bulletGranholm responds

Click here to view the entire article on the Review website: www.review-mag.com

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03/29/05 Lone Tree/TRW Dioxin Update

Excerpts from this issue:

bullet Focus groups: Having a hard time seeing the point
bullet "...The meetings, though open to the public, required you to be on the invitation list if you wanted to speak. Imagine needing an invitation to speak at a meeting held by a state agency concerning policy ( Framework) about natural resources ( watershed) that we the people own. It's an all time low. ..."
bullet Reinventing the wheel - Stop, we are all getting dizzy
bullet "...Dow has dozens of Community Groups around the country in every community they pollute. These groups are a staple of Dow's public relations strategy and they are most adept at mobilizing and organizing community groups. They're a Fortune 50 company, replete with the money, PR machine and talented people. Dow imploring the public to "help us get you involved" is as disingenuous as the DEQ asking "who are the stakeholders?" ...
bulletThem with the power calling the shots
bullet "...Because Dow has the money and political influence they can walk right into the fray in Lansing and fight tooth and nail to not clean up their poison and to position themselves along side the regulatory agencies in setting the public agenda.  Three years since this contamination was discovered and the agenda is searching for stakeholders and messaging. How sorry is that? ..."
bulletDr. Linda Birnbaum
bulletDon't forget Dr. Birnbaum's presentation on April 13th at Swan Valley HS --6:30 pm in the Auditorium. She is the first in a Speakers Series - Dioxin in the Saginaw Bay Watershed. Currently, Dr. Birnbaum serves as the Director of the Experimental Toxicology Division at Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, and is the 2004-2005 President of the Society of Toxicology. A leading authority on dioxin you will not want to miss this presentation.

Click here to view

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03/21/05 Dr Linda Birnbaum to speak at  Swan Valley High School  April 13, 2005

Lone Tree Council is pleased to announce a public presentation by Dr. Linda Birnbaum, EPA on April 13th, 2005 at 6:30 pm to take place at Swan Valley HS.   Topic: Dioxin and Human health.

Dr.  Birnbaum is the current Division Director of the EPA Office of Research and Development, National Health and Environmental Effects Laboratory and is considered one of the worlds foremost experts on dioxin.

The presentation is the first in a series of speakers Lone Tree is planning for the coming months.

There are no invitations. This meeting is open and transparent for the public's participation .

Contact Michelle Hurd Riddick of the Lone Tree Council if you have any questions: 989-799-3313

TRW note:   Click here for a copy of the flier, please print and share with others.  Thanks

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03/17/05 Citizen groups demand open and transparent process

 

Pictures from Citizens protest before meeting, click for for larger view.

It is the saddest of commentary that during the week designated by journalists as Sunshine Week, an effort  designed to emphasize open and transparent government,  that the Granholm administration has failed miserably to deliver transparency on the Dow Chemical's dioxin contamination of the Saginaw Bay Watershed.

 The  tremendous progress and transparency on this issue came to an abrupt halt when the state went behind closed doors  for 7 months with the polluter to the exclusion of every citizen and every other stakeholder in the watershed.
These closed door meetings were attended by Lieutenant Governor Cherry, DEQ Administration, Dow Chemical and their Lansing lobbyists, Jack Bailes and Bill Rustem.  No citizens-----not one. These meetings we are told are not subject to the Freedom of Information Act.

When  the regulator and the polluter emerged from their dark corner the detailed comprehensive plan to move forward on this issue was derailed and replaced with  a nebulous 10 page FRAMEWORK agreed upon by only DOW and DEQ. No citizens---not one.
 

Before going into those closed door meetings the state suspended their stakeholders group (DEQ CAP)  which included citizens, Dow Chemical, chamber of commerce, enviros, twp officials, health department officials, fisherman and elected officials. DEQ has never engaged their own DEQ CAP for discussion on the Dow-DEQ Framework. This DEQ CAP was established after "focus groups" met in 2003.
 
But it get worse:
 
In tandem Dow Chemical and the State of Michigan have now  put together an invitation list of community leaders and citizens - a list they vetted with each other.  A series of four "focus group" meetings were announced in a full page letter in local papers, purporting to "discuss how we can best inform and involve the broader community in the future."  ( all this while ignoring the existence of the DEQ CAP) The letter was signed by the DEQ director and a Dow representative. The ad was paid for by Dow Chemical. In addition Dow Chemical is paying for the meeting place, a privately owned conference center.
But it gets worse:
 
Dow and DEQ each invited 15 people from their vetted lists to attend  these meetings. Other citizens  may observe but we are not allowed to speak. It's as though the waters of this  watershed are  the province of Dow and DEQ only. Some of us will be invited to other focus meetings at which time we can speak.

Since June this has been command and control by DEQ and Dow over process, information and planning. Citizen participation is being limited to the rules set by the two entities with the greatest concentrations of power. It's getting harder and harder to distinguish them............

 
Dow Chemical was looking for cover and control. This administration granted both.
 
 
Michelle Hurd Riddick
Lone Tree Council
Saginaw Bay Watershed

Local media coverage (pre meeting):  Saginaw News   Midland Daily News  WJRT-TV

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03/16/05 Citizen groups challenge Lt. Gov. Cherry to restore transparent process

March 16, 2005

Dear Lt. Governor Cherry; Department of Environmental Quality Director Chester:

We are writing on behalf of several environmental and citizen groups concerned about the Community Stakeholder meetings that were recently announced. These meetings have been narrowly defined around the controversial Framework, and purport to "discuss how we can best inform and involve the broader community in the future." However, these meetings are not being sponsored by the community, nor has the community had any role in setting them up, defining the agenda, or determining the invitation list.

It is our understanding that the Dow Chemical Company and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) vetted their lists with each other to come up with agreed upon attendees.

Further, citizens who have not been explicitly invited by the joint organizers - Dow (the polluter) and the DEQ - are allowed only to observe, they are prohibited from speaking. We are both angry and perplexed by this process. There was an existing, open, participatory process in the form of the DEQ Community Advisory Panel (CAP). The state made the unilateral decision to halt meetings of the CAP without consulting those stakeholders. In fact, the decision to not convene the DEQ CAP for a discussion on the Framework before venturing into another participatory venture is disrespectful of the time and effort invested by DEQ CAP participants.

Why is the DEQ launching an effort to involve the community by initiating a series of tightly controlled meetings, in which Dow has an opportunity to hand pick the participants, approve of the agenda, and then make a presentation? It simply makes no sense if the DEQ is indeed committed to an open and transparent process. The process makes the Granholm administration look like a puppet of the Dow Chemical Company. Citizens are not being given equal deference. Dow has had substantial opportunities for input, and substantial opportunities to communicate with the public. In fact, the company took out a full-page ad to announce the meetings. This clearly signals to the community that the company is in charge of this "public" process. We recognize Dow is an important stakeholder, but so are the thousands in the watershed that are impacted by its contamination. In fact, over 1100 individual signatures have recently been collected urging more aggressive action on the dioxin issue by the Granholm administration.

It is a sad commentary that during the week designated by journalists as Sunshine Week, an effort designed to emphasize open government, the end result of eight months of meeting behind closed doors is a command and control process that is a significant deviation from the honest, open and transparent government promised by Governor Granholm. The citizens of this watershed deserve better.

We urge you to open these meetings up to full public participation. We believe that the public should be invited to share their perspective, whether or not they made it on Dow's list of invitees or the DEQ's list. We also believe that people concerned about preserving the resource, and protecting the public health, should be given equal deference in these meetings. We urge you to convene the DEQ CAP in the very near future for full discussion of the framework

We look forward to a reply

Terry Miller
  Lone Tree Council
Gary Henry
  Tittabawassee River Watch
Sue Cameron
  Citizens Against Toxic Substances

 

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03/15/05 National Wildlife Federation comments on Saginaw River dredging

The National Wildlife Federation has issued a response to the MDEQ request for public comments concerning the dredging of the Saginaw River and the storage of the spoils on 281 acres of farmland adjacent to the Saginaw River.  While their response focus on PCB's, recent testing has also revealed dioxin levels of over 16,000  ppt TEQ in the area intended to be dredged!

"Dear Mr. Saalfeld:

I am writing on behalf of the National Wildlife Federation (“NWF”) in response to the
public notice of a proposed Water Quality Certification for the Department of the Army’s Upper
Saginaw River Navigational Dredging Project and associated Dredged Materials Disposal
Facility. NWF opposes the issuance of this certification by the Michigan Department of
Environmental Quality (“DEQ”) for the reasons provided below, as well as for the reasons set
forth in the letter of December 17, 2004, to you from Tracy J. Andrews of Olson, Bzdok &
Howard, on behalf of Citizens Against Toxic Substances."

The comments address 2 main areas of concern and a conclusion:

1. The DEQ may not establish effluent limitations that merely prohibit concentrations higher
than those found in the Saginaw River that are effective after March 23, 2007.

2. The DEQ may not authorize a quantification level of 0.2g/liter for PCBs.

3. Conclusion.      For the foregoing reasons, the DEQ may not issue the draft certification.
 

Click here for the entire document

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03/11/05 Resident receives dioxin results but says did not have blood drawn

Update: 3/13/05 The resident stating he never had his blood drawn now states he was mistaken, his blood was sampled and he has retracted his statements.  

At last nights public meeting presented by the University of Michigan Dioxin Exposure Study CAP, a local resident announced he had receive dioxin blood level results from the University last month.    The problem:  he never had his blood drawn for the analysis. 

Also of interest:  The study proposes to use residents of Jackson County as a control group for the Saginaw/Midland area.  Levels of dioxin in Jackson County residents will be used to compare with local residents to determine if living by a Dow plant causes dioxin to be absorbed by their bodies.  The problem:  Jackson county is home of a waste incinerator with known dioxin output.  The studies protocols provides very little information about the Jackson area topography and it's incinerator.  Dr. Garabrant says residents who live in the plume of the Jackson incinerator may be included in the study. 

Recent studies of residents downwind of an incinerator in New Zeeland prove that their bodies absorbed the dioxin from the smoke plume.

It seems the study has been designed with a preconceived outcome.  Jackson residents will most likely have higher levels of dioxin than found in the CDC studies of dioxin background levels in other areas of the country.  In the final analysis, the U of M will conclude that local residents dioxin blood levels are similar to Jackson County and therefore no problem exists.

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03/04/05 Dow Community publication dioxin half truths and distortions exposed.

"In November 2004, Dow distributed a Community Update filled with distortions and half truths about dioxin. It was one of Dow's most blatant efforts to date to minimize the risks associated with dioxin. We were told by DEQ management that a response was being prepared but it never came to fruition. The last we heard it was sent to the Governor's communications people and never returned. It is with absolute impunity and with no apparent fear of reprisal from the state that Dow continues to shamefully put communities and our natural resources at risk."   Michelle Hurd Riddick, Lone Tree Council

The MDEQ analysis comments where evidently leaked and posted on a list-server, TRW did not receive an actual copy of the MDEQ document and we have no information concerning the author(s) or how the document was obtained.   Click here to view a chart which provides a direct comparison between the Dow publication statements and the alleged MDEQ analysis which points out the distortions and half truths of the Dow PR machine.

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02/24/05 Sportsman to appeal to Governor

TIRED OF DIRTY FISH IN DIRTY WATER, SPORTSMEN TO ASK GRANHOLM TO HELP CLEAN THE SAGINAW RIVER AND BAY

An effort to recruit the sports fishing community in the battle over Saginaw River and bay water quality has environmental group leadership pleased at the out pouring of concern.

Brian Weber, outreach worker for the Lone Tree Council, a watchdog group active on dioxin and other issues linked to bay water quality said today, “He couldn’t keep the pen in his hand, fisherman couldn’t sign up fast enough.”

What they were signing was a petition to Governor Jennifer Granholm urging her to take a more forceful stand on plugging the sewage being dumped in area waters, more aggressive action on Dow’s cleanup of dioxin, and making a clear commitment to protecting coastal wetlands. .....

Click here to read the entire Press Release.

For groups wanting copies of the petition or information, contact Brian Weber at (989) 892-4356 or Terry Miller at (989) 686-6386

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02/24/05 Dow / MDEQ Framework & U of M Dioxin study based on questionable science

A comprehensive review of the Dow/MDEQ  "Framework"agreement was recently published  by David Linhardt, a former Dow Chemical Engineer.  In this 22 page document, Mr. Linhardt analyses the agreement in the following context:

bulletImpact on City of Midland residents
bulletImpact on Tittabawassee River residents
bulletFramework Deficiencies-City of Midland
bulletFramework Deficiencies-Tittabawassee River
bulletUniversity of Michigan Dioxin Exposure study deficiencies.

The analysis includes a historical review and correlation of Dow waste treatment methodologies to Tittabawassee River flooding as well as correlations of Midland's neighborhoods to prevailing winds and Dow plant processes.  A number of maps, graphs, and tables of data illustrate his conclusions.

The analysis of the U of M Dioxin Exposure study focuses on two main defects:

bulletChildren were excluded from the study
bullet To all parents, the detection of high dioxin levels in the bodies of adults is one thing; the
detection of high levels of dioxins in the bodies of their young children is yet another. It
is believed that the U of M study team and the sponsoring company may have fully
understood this distinction when excluding children from the study.
bulletOnly a single location will be sampled to characterize dioxin levels on portions of the property not adjacent to the residence.
bullet It is not known, at the present time, if the U of M study will attempt to correlate dioxin
blood levels with dioxin levels at the single location distance from the residence. Based
on the wide variation of dioxin levels that can occur on the same property, it is very likely
that there will be no correlation. Without a correlation between body burden levels and
soil dioxin levels, the DEQ may be reluctant to request extensive cleanup of riverside
properties. Lack of a correlation may be an asset to The Dow Chemical Company as it
defends itself against the lawsuit filed by some riverside residents.
bulletTRW Note:  The U of M did not make the protocol of their study public until 3/8/05, which is 9 months after the start of the study.  Reports from a number of residents contacted by the U of M report irregularities which indicate the protocol was being developed and modified on the fly.  This is "sound science"?

Visit Mr. Linhardts website, www.dioxinspin.com for complete details of his analysis as well as many others which illustrate the deficiencies and deceit of other Dow sponsored junk science projects. 

bulletDow/MDEQ Framework Analysis, David Linhardt, 2/16/05 (pdf)
bulletDowMDEQ Framework for an agreement - details -1/20/05 (pdf)

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02/23/05 Public meeting concerning Saginaw River Dredging

PUBLIC NOTICE OF A MEETING TO DISCUSS ISSUES RELATED TO THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY’S UPPER SAGINAW RIVER NAVIGATIONAL DREDGING PROJECT AND ASSOCIATED DREDGED MATERIALS DISPOSAL FACILITY.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality announces a public meeting at 7:00 p.m., March 1, 2005 at Saginaw Valley State University, Performing Arts Center, Recital Hall, 7400 Bay Road, University Center MI 48710. (Parking is available in lot J1.)

DEQ staff will present the overall regulatory framework for the facility and status of DEQ permits. The meeting will allow the public an opportunity to informally discuss all aspects of the project with DEQ and Corps of Engineers staff.

Information Contact: David A. Hamilton, Land and Water Management Division, at 517-335-3174, or e-mail: hamiltod@michigan.gov.

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02/18/05 God did not put dioxin in our bodies

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency the average level of dioxin found in the general U.S. population is at or near the level that can be linked to adverse health effects observed in both animals and people. The EPA interprets this to mean that there is little or no "margin of exposure," meaning that we are nearly "full" and that any additional exposure of dioxin can result in adverse health effects.

Dioxin is not a normal constituent of the human body and we should not accept that there are normal levels of this contaminant in our bodies or those of our children.  Please remember this when dioxin blood samples come back and Dow Chemical tries to tell you these are normal, average or within guidelines. Pregnant woman, children and the developing fetus are the most vulnerable............don't accept Dow's dioxin as a normal part of their lives or bodies.   

The above is an excerpt from the latest TRW / Lone Tree Dioxin Update, click here

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02/18/05 Contamination of public process as big a deal as contamination of watershed

While both the Free Press and Bay City Times call on the public to get involved and scrutinize the process from this point forward it remains troubling that every editorial comment has failed to admonish the state for going behind closed doors with the polluter to conduct the business of the people over resources we own.

History does repeat itself. Whether it was the EPA in the 1980’s, the Engler administration in the 1990’s or the Granholm administration in the 21st century, regulatory agencies and politicians are always willing to grant Dow Chemical a dark corner to hide in, away from the public, the light of day and a full scientific vetting and debate over dioxin. Dow Chemical is happiest operating in the sphere of vague regulatory language like the recent agreement with DEQ; a plan that permits them to be flexible and commits them to nothing substantive.

As citizens are permitted back into the process we can only hope that it's permanent and not contingent on whether Dow or their legislators and apologists are content with how things are going. The people's place at the table is always first and foremost and it doesn't matter where any resident of this watershed lines up on the issue. An open transparent process and the chance to hear all sides of the issue from all viewpoints is imperative if we are to arrive at a sustainable solution to this contamination. Transparency in government should be sacrosanct but it was sacrificed by many and tolerated by others because secrecy benefited their economic or political agendas. Is Dow Chemical a stakeholder? Yes. But the deference and privilege given Dow demonstrates the ongoing and every increasing power of corporations over both political parties and the democratic process. The contamination of Michigan's largest watershed is a big deal but so is the contamination of public process.

After years of the public information control freaks in the Engler/Harding DEQ it was with great relief and enthusiasm that we heard Governor Granholm's inaugural address in January 2003 calling for public participation:

................ And now that the door has been opened, my friends, you must come in. All of you. Come into the halls of government.

In light of recent events I am not so sure this invitation didn't come with a few caveats. Needless to say our enthusiasm has been dampened! The shape and format of upcoming public meetings regarding this issue will be extremely telling. We can only hope it will not be the command and control of information and participation that we witnessed in 2004. Cautious optimism is in order. But we do have a responsibility to be engaged and I encourage everyone to attend public meetings held by the state. Just show up. It's your backyard and your watershed. Be heard and offer up suggestions and ideas which can move this issue along. The Saginaw Bay Watershed is our home and the quality of its natural resources are paramount to our economic and physical well being.

The above is an excerpt from the latest TRW / Lone Tree Dioxin Update, click here

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02/16/05 State to warn outdoorsman of dioxin risk

The State wants to more outdoorsmen to be aware of the dangers of dioxin contamination. A new program seeks to educate hunters and fishermen on how to select game from areas of elevated dioxin levels.

The toxic chemical is found in the soil and river sediment along the Tittabawassee River in Saginaw County. It was a byproduct of manufacturing processes at Dow Chemical's Midland operations. Critics worry that dioxin exposure can lead to health problems like cancer.

TV 6 News, Lansing MI

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02/9/05 Are we doomed to let Dow repeat it's misinformation campaigns of the past?

New Feature: The Hebert Chronicles

Diane Hebert  has spent over 25 years raising public awareness about the hazards of dioxin contamination and battling pollution issues, many of which are linked to the Dow Chemical Company.  In 2003 she received the Petoskey Prize for Environmental LeadershipVisit the Hebert Chronicles page to view items of interest that Diane has shared with others over the years.  

A few of the topics

bulletA snapshot of birth defects in Midland County, 1995
bulletHealth studies in Midland Michigan, 1985
bulletPublic comments on Dow injection wells, cancer in residents, dioxin sludge on crops, 2002
bulletTop EPA dioxin expert resigns, Midlanders never fully informed of risks, 1985

Click here to begin  

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01/31/05 How far will Dow Chemical cleanup go?

Interesting article & radio broadcast from the Great Lakes Radio Consortium

For years, a big chemical company has been negotiating with government officials on cleaning up an area contaminated with dioxin. Environmentalists say Dow Chemical has used its power and influence to drag out the talks. The chemical company has agreed to plan for some kind of clean-up… but it's still not clear how far that clean-up will go. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium's Rick Pluta reports:

You can listen to the broadcast at the GLRC site: www.glrc.org

World Health Organization: Assessment of the health risks of dioxin

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01/24/05 Press Release: Groups Criticize Dow-Granholm Dioxin Deal

*Monday, January 24, 2005*

More information:
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
delay.”

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
guidelines are:

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
used?
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.

More information:

A copy of the agreement is at:

www.mi.gov/deq/0,1607,7-135-3308_21234---,00.html

Tittabawassee River Watch www.trwnews.net

Ecology Center  www.ecocenter.org/healthdow.shtml

Michigan Environmental Council www.mecprotects.org

Sierra Club  www.michigan.sierraclub.org

PIRGIM  www.pirgim.org

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01/21/05  Dow/MDEQ final framework to address dioxin contamination issue available

The MDEQ has released the final version of it's "framework" agreement with Dow Chemical to address the extensive dioxin contamination of Midland and watershed downstream thereof.   The large 73 page pdf document is available on the MDEQ website www.michigan.gov/deqdioxin or click here.  Below is an excerpt from page 1.  We have not had time to analyze the agreement, more to come....  If you have any comments or observations, send them to info@trwnews.net

FRAMEWORK FOR AN AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE STATE OFMICHIGAN AND THE DOW CHEMICAL COMPANY PURPOSE AND SCOPE OF FRAMEWORK

This Framework for a proposed agreement between the State of Michigan ("State") and The Dow Chemical Company ("Dow") (collectively "the parties") establishes the path forward to achieving three goals:

(1) Ensuring that certain immediate actions will be initiated to address
government and public concerns about the presence of dioxins/furans in
the City of Midland and in and along the Tittabawassee River;

(2) Creating a defined process for moving forward to address remaining
concerns regarding these areas and the Saginaw River and Bay by
ensuring that ecological and human risk reduction and restoration projects
can be implemented that provide environmental protection and meaningful
local environmental and public benefits, including enhancement of
ongoing regional economic development efforts; and

(3) Providing a structure for Dow to resolve with finality potential
government claims arising from various historical releases.

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01/20/05  Dow/MDEQ announce framework to address dioxin contamination issue.

The MDEQ and Dow announced they have reached agreement on the framework to address the Dow dioxin contamination of the Midland,  Tittabawassee River, and Saginaw river and bay.   No details have been provided, until then consider the following:

bullet Contrary to media coverage,  the details mentioned so far are interim measures, NOT cleanup measures. That means that Dow is going to have to do a lot more. These measures do not address clean up or resolution of the ongoing contamination that occurs every time there is any flooding.  So even the interim clean up of the properties will not be lasting, and that will not be resolved until the river is cleaned up.
bulletIn our opinion, "You can put fresh soil on people's yards for a hundred years, but it's not a solution,"  "This is just putting on a Band-Aid that's going to be ripped off when it floods again," Kathy Henry, TRW.

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01/14/05  An open letter to State Representative John Moolenaar:

Tittabawassee River Watch has recently learned that legislation is being drafted to lift the facility designation off of the Tittabawassee River flood plain, and to change language in real estate disclosure laws on property contamination at the time of sale.

Although these are real concerns for the city of Midland, and realtors trying to sell houses along the Tittabawassee River, the implications state wide if such a bill passed could be devastating for the entire state of Michigan. To encourage people to lie about toxic chemicals to unsuspecting buyers is not in the publics best interest.

We ask that you consider the following letter to a Tittabawassee River resident from Andrew Hogarth, Chief of Remediation and Redevelopment Division, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality before attempting to introduce legislation of this nature.

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