Governor Granholm veto's Polluter Free Ride bill HB4617
Governor Granholm Veto's HB 4617 today
here to read the Governor's statement on the veto.
Kudos to the Governor for defending public health and Michigan's natural
Please call her and thank her for protecting our most treasured resources
and our Great Lakes
This veto is one of the most important things the Governor can do to protect
the Great Lakes for future generation. She is to be commended for standing
up to the legislators who would systematically derail piece by piece the
very legislation that has made this state a national leader in environmental
You can reach the Governor
Lone Tree Council / TRW
Detroit Free Press supports veto of Polluter Free Ride bill HB4617
"ill-conceived bill that would effectively cripple state
efforts to respond to pollution problems."
"she should not sign it, and anyone who professes to care
about the environment in this state cannot seriously want her to."
"Calling it the "Homeowner Fairness Act" is doubly
"Moolenaar's bill is an overreaction"
"test for pollution in every individual parcel of a
contaminated area and allow the suspected polluter to contest the findings,
case by case"
"From a scientific standpoint, such testing also is
"The cost of such testing would be enormous, draining
money much better spent on cleanup plans, as would the delays in fixing
pollution problems that really do affect property values."
Over 100,000 people
support veto of
Polluter Free Ride bill HB4617
Press Release issued by
22 groups representing over 100,000 people from around the state
Peninsula Environmental Coalition
Interfaith Power & Light
League of Conservation Voters
Lakes Bioregional Land Conservancy
Citizens for Water Conservation
for Alternatives to Chemical Contamination
the Detroit River
Hamtramck Environmental Action Team
League of Conservation Voters
Michigan Citizens Against Toxic Substances
Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS)
Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life (MI-COEJL)
UAW Region 1A Local 898
Toxic Waste Squad
Working for Environmental Justice
Governor Granholm to veto
Polluter Free Ride bill HB4617?
Local news quotes
Governor Granholm stating she will veto HB4617:
"This bill is not acceptable," she said. "They've got to go back to the
drawing board. It doesn't achieve the balance we need for protecting the
health of citizens and creating cost-efficient cleanup."
To Governor Granholm:
On behalf of the hundreds of residents represented by the
Tittabawassee River Watch (TRW) we want to thank you and encourage you to stay
the course on your plans to veto HB 4617 ( S3). Our concern is not with the
“facility” designation. Our concern rests with dioxin contamination along the
river which caused us to be facility. It is the dioxin that is a problem.
Efforts to detract from the real issue of contamination as
well as efforts to malign the DEQ serve the political agenda of Dow Chemical and
the City of Midland who have shown little regard for public health or the
natural resources of the watershed we all call home.
Our properties will be made whole and the value restored
to property and quality of life only if we move forward with cleanup on this
contamination. HB 4617 will create confusion and delays.
Yes, we do care about our property values and homeowner
fairness. Our properties are impacted by the presence of the dioxin, as is our
daily perspective on living in homes and yards surrounded by contamination.
There is nothing fair about Dow’s chemical trespass onto our yards.
Again, on behalf of the Tittabawassee River Watch let us
extend our appreciation to you for your veto of this legislation.
Fair and balanced reporting?
Other than for the headline,
today's local news coverage of Granholms possible veto of HB4617, the story
is entirely one sided with no input from the homeowners and the rest of the
state that want the bill vetoed. Recently (12/8, see
story below), the local newspaper published an article about toxins in
the Great Lakes and edited out a key paragraph about the human health effects of
dioxin and other compounds. This pattern was repeated on a local radio
station which aired two interviews this morning. The first segment was
with an individual from Midland representing those few which favor Dow Chemical,
the second was with Lone Tree Councils Terry Miller, representing the rest of
us. The radio host was all warm and gushy with the Dow guy and
virtually attacked Terry. Click on the links below to listen to the Lone
Tree radio broadcasts:
The Midland/Dow group started running their radio spots yesterday and plan on
running full page ads in the Saginaw and Lansing papers promoting the
Polluter Free Ride bill. The Lone Tree Council paid for two
expensive radio ads that ran this week against H4617. Who is bankrolling
the Midland Matters group for it's ads? Dow? Chamber of Commerce?
Why does a tiny group of individuals in Midland want to weaken our
Michigan's environmental cleanup laws? It's pretty obvious someone is
calling in all it's favors and orchestrating the PR blitz.
Maybe the news media ought to try a little investigative reporting.
Governor Granholm: Stay the course and veto HB4617.
Lone Tree/TRW Dioxin Update
from this issue:
Saginaw Chamber of Commerce
It's unfortunate that they view a clean environment as a competing
interest. There is an economic value and quality of life that comes
with clean rivers and healthy environments.........the concept however
is not lost on all the Chamber members because a couple members saw fit
to send the alert to us (see next story).
"Home Owner's Fairness" is smoke and mirrors and so is the " sound
science" mantra and the Chamber knows it. This legislation is
designed to benefit Dow Chemical, delay cleanup and it is intended to
hamstring the DEQ. If you read the
article in the Midland Daily News you can see the City of
Midland taking on DEQ. For two years properties were listed as
facilities and not word one from anybody............then the DEQ,
enforcing Dow's license, wanted to commence with testing in Midland. All
of a sudden being a facility was a problem for Midland and these elected
Our water resources are our greatest economic resource and one of our
greatest quality of life assets. We could only hope that someday the
Chamber of Commerce would acknowledge the same. Tourism remains our
third largest industry. It is the position of the Lone Tree Council
that economic development and a clean environment can co-exist and in
fact will compliment each other for years to come.
Senate OKs controversial 'facility' bill
Granholm not likely to sign homeowner bill
Great Lakes' healing mechanisms under attack, scientists say
CALL GOVERNOR GRANHOLM AT 1-517-373-3400 AND ASK HER TO VETO HB 4617
Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce Exposed.
Veronica Horn of the Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce admits to being the
prime Dow stooge behind the scene pressing for the passage of the HB4617
Polluter Free Ride bill. Take a look at an "Alert" she emailed
yesterday to stir up support from the others in the CC. Notice that not
one word of concern is mentioned about the health and safety of the 1000's of
men, women, and children who live in the dioxin contaminated flood plain of the
Tittabawassee. Ken and Veronica Horn have seen
the facts and choose to ignore them. They know the real problem is the
persistent and migrating dioxin in peoples homes, yards, and bodies. IF
successful, their quest to eliminate the word 'facility' from our environmental
laws will leave a toxic legacy in Michigan for generations to come. The
Horn's, Moolenar, and Goschka have lost touch with their community and now serve
one corporate master in Midland. Remember this the next time you vote, Ken
will be up for election soon. Click on the two links that follow to view
Veronica's email. Page-1Page-2 (large PDF
files, may take a while to load)
Call Governor Granholm immediately and tell her to veto HB4617. She can be reached at 517-373-3400. If
not vetoed, the result will be more expensive cleanups, slower cleanups, and
increased liability for individual property owners whose property may be
contaminated. Residents may actually lose the ability to force polluters to
pay. In addition, the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" provisions of the bill would
prevent property owners from knowing that their property is contaminated, would
prevent future owners from being informed, and would prevent the DEQ from doing
anything about it, even if the property owners wanted a clean-up. This bill actually diminishes the rights of owners
and future owners of properties and will require Michigan residents to pay for
Michigan Appeals Court grants Dow's request for stay by vote of 2-1.
December 7, 2005: The
Michigan Court of Appeals has just agreed to hear Dow Chemical's appeal
request on the class action certification of the Tittabawassee River
dioxin class action law suit, and has stayed all proceedings until the case is
heard and a decision rendered. No date has been set for the hearing yet.
to Senator Goschka the taxpayers get to pick up some of Dow Chemical's
CALL GOVERNOR GRANHOLM AT 1-517-373-3400 AND ASK HER TO VETO HB 4617
Don't kid yourself - toxins persist in the Great Lakes.
All but one paragraph of this report was printed on front page (not
on-line) by the local newspaper.
Below is the section the left out:
"(The board cites) compelling
evidence that contaminants we've known about for decades -- PCBs,
dioxin and mercury -- are causing increased disease, reduced IQs and
other serious health problems in humans," said Mike Magner, a
researcher with the center. "On top of that, they warn that a host
of other chemicals -- flame retardants, plastics additives and even
cosmetics and health-care products -- may be compounding those
Lone Tree Radio Announcements, HB4617
passed by Senate
Lone Tree Council radio ads
are being played on a local radio stations WGER and WSGW.
If you missed them, click on the links below. The
announcements tell the truth about
Free Ride legislation SB390 and HB4617 passed today. The bills re-write
laws to benefit Dow
Chemical & other corporate polluters at the expense of every person living
Michigan. Now EVERYONE IN MICHIGAN
must pay for
Dows dirty deeds.
The bill include
language to the effect that the "Department" (MDEQ?) will reimburse the
polluter if a test sample if negative. The "Department"? They really mean YOU, the
Click here to review the
Dioxin moves through the soils of the flood plain every year after a flood,
samples from the same
yard may return test results of less than 90 ppt in one spot and over 5000 ppt a few feet
determines where and how much sampling is performed?
Though the bill passed, it is NOT veto proof,
please call Governor Granhlom and let tell her to veto HB4617. She
can be reached at 517-373-3400. For the fence sitters out there, it's your
The ads where bought and paid for by the Lone Tree Council. TRW stands
behind every word.
ALL ABOUT HB 4617 S1
BECAUSE IT’S ALL ABOUT DOW CHEMICAL
Seems a great many
people want us to believe this legislation is not about Dow Chemical nor
was this legislation drafted for Dow Chemical. Dow Chemical says it’s
not taken a position, they cop ignorance by saying they’ve not seen the
amended bill introduced by Senator Goschka; the bill which would grant
them final authority over contaminated property on the floodplain.
to protect Dow Chemical are proposing to change the way the State
manages our cleanup laws with negative consequences for everyone in
Michigan. HB 4617/SB1 would remove the state's ability to designate
some property as a "facility" or potentially contaminated. An amendment
would also allow the polluter to decide whether a property
can receive the designation. The result will be more expensive
cleanups, slower cleanups, and increased liability for individual
property owners whose property may be contaminated. Residents may
actually lose the ability to force polluters to pay! In
addition, the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" provisions of the bill would
prevent property owners from knowing that their property is
contaminated, would prevent future owners from being informed, and would
prevent the DEQ from doing anything about it, even if the property
owners wanted help.
Who is backing
and who is lobbying for the HB 4617
Dow Chemical says
they've not taken a position on the legislation and in yesterday’s
Saginaw News, Dow went on
to say they've not seen the amended version of the bill. Odd!
Jerry Howell, was in attendance at the Senate Appropriations Committee
meeting when the bill was passed.
He must have forgotten to turn in his homework.
Dow has everything
to gain by the passage of this legislation and they lose nothing
In the spirit of the season, we are making a list and checking it twice.
The voting record on these bills will determine which politicians receive
lumps of coal in their next election campaign.
11/30/05 Goschka sneaks in amendment
letting Dow decide what is contaminated
State Sen. Michael J. Goschka has added language to a
hotly contested environmental bill that would require written consent by the
property owner, the state and the polluter before including any
property in a contaminated "facility."
The revised Senate bill essentially negates the
argument that this is about property rights or homeowner fairness,"
There is nothing fair about giving the polluter control
over your property and your children's safety
Dow will use the language of the bill to shield
themselves from liability, potentially blocking the inclusion of properties
in a facility without on-site sampling.
Goschka sneaked in the amendment after the
Saginaw Board of Commissioners approved a
resolution in support of the bill. Do they still? This is
exactly what citizens warned the board about last month to no avail.
Will they issue a retraction? Goschka and the gang are running around
Lansing waving the Boards resolution implying they support an amendment they
Goschka is a lame duck Senator, perhaps someone should
investigate his finances to determine who is feathering his nest. Any
bets on where his pay check will come from after he leaves office?
Michigan's "State Board of Ethics" exists, file a
for a summary posted in the Saginaw News
Plaintiffs file opposition to Dow's
request for stay in Appeals Court.
Plaintiffs file "Appellee's answer in opposition to Dow's Emergency
Application for leave to appeal" in Michigan Appeals Court.
Click here to read the Midland
Daily News coverage. Click here to review all court
New warning signs posted in most local
Freeland Festival Park
<< no warning signs posted, fishing in progress
West Michigan Park
Caldwell Boat Launch
soil advisory signs posted.
Lone Tree/TRW Dioxin Update
from this issue:
Carl Williams Health Alert newsletter
Rep Williams votes against
HB4617 will delay
frequently flooded areas of the Tittabawassee River are highly
contaminated with dioxin. Hundreds and hundreds of samples demonstrate
it beyond a doubt. As the Tittabawassee River moves and floods and
experiences high water events these contaminants are being transported
and deposited within the floodplain and down river; a scientific fact
dangerously ignored in this irresponsible piece of legislation. Any
sampling data of property is only a snap shot in time altered by the
next movement of large volumes of water and contaminated sediment
across property lines and township borders. We keep hearing the call
for "sound science" but these legislators ignore it when the relevance
doesn't support their agenda
Goschka amends HB4617 to allow Dow to
decided what is cleaned up.
Goschka amended HB 4617 in the Senate Appropriations committee with
language which stipulates a homeowner would need the agreement
of the responsible party, in this case Dow Chemical, before
their property could be listed as a facility. Unbelievable but true.
MDEQ calls HB4617 "The Polluter
Relief Act" because
Click here for details from the
Midland Daily News
1st epidemiological evidence of human
dioxin body burden & endometriosis
The results of an August 2005 study published in
Fertility and Sterility found
the first HUMAN epidemiological evidence of an association between increased
and PCB body burden and endometriosis.
71 women participated in the Belgium study,
click here for the details.
Goschka admits HB4617 bill will delay
Five Commissioners tell Senate to
reject HB4617 and SB309
Sent to members of the Michigan Senate
Tim Novak, Bob Blaine, Cheryl Hadsall, Mike
O’Hare, Robert Woods
Saginaw County Commissioners
Saginaw, MI 48602
We are writing to let you know of our
opposition to SB 390 and HB 4617. In light of our Board of Commissioners
voting to pass a resolution in favor of this poor legislation, we wanted you
to know that it was not without opposition and disagreement.
While on the surface the intent of the
legislation looks to be noble, it will in fact make it more difficult to
assure that those responsible for the contamination of the area will address
the problem as it affects other people’s property. Not only will the
legislation slow the pace of necessary and already agreed upon cleanup, it
will increase the cost of cleanup and redevelopment.
We believe that scientists are better suited to
decide the area of contamination than politicians. Your DEQ has studied
over 600 soil samples, and using scientific based assumptions, drew a
boundary around the area most affected by contaminants. This area is also
targeted for initial cleanup and/or treatment.
The bottom line is that the property values of
these homeowners may be devalued because of the presence of contaminants, in
this case dioxin, NOT because of a property being designated a “facility”.
Disclosure laws still require a homeowner to inform a buyer of
contamination. The legislation will not do what the lawmakers intend it
will. It will only delay the cleanup by the responsible party and increase
the cost of cleanup and redevelopment.
We urge you to reject this legislation if it
reaches your desk.
If you should have any questions, please do not
hesitate to contact us at
989-xxx-xxxx (Commissioner Novak’s home phone
Saginaw County Commissioners pass
"Polluters Free Ride" resolution
On October 25,
2005 10 out of the 15 Saginaw County Board Commissioners
passed a resolution
which intends to release of Dow Chemical for any responsibility for the
dioxin contamination of the Saginaw Valley watershed.
The mission statement of the board of
commissioners charges them with the protection of the health and safety
of the people of Saginaw county. The 10 in support of this
resolution obviously never read the mission statement. They also
ignored the pleas of citizens against HB4617 as well as to testimonials
of those demonstrating real and present danger to the health of
themselves and their children.
Special thanks to Commissioners
All the above had the insight and courage to vote against the resolution.
They understand the real implications of this bill which hurts public
health, stalls cleanup and protects the polluter.
A number of TRW
members/Residents spoke at the October 11, 2005 public hearing on the
resolution. We also presented a number of documents to further the
education of the board members (evidently reading is not one of their
Over 72% of area residents
believe that the dioxin contamination presents a moderate to high risk
to the health of floodplain residents according to a recent
The commissioners supporting this resolution are obviously out of touch
with their constituents.
Review all the
content of www.trwnews.net
and then read the boards resolution. One especially troublesome
point in the resolution:
to ignore the facts and instead voted to release Dow Chemical from
any responsibility for this mess.
Click here to view the meetings minutes, the resolution activity
starts at the bottom of page 35.
Plaintiffs file response to Dow's
request for delay
Plaintiffs file "Plaintiffs Memorandum in
opposition to defendants motion to stay proceedings pending appeal" November 4,
2005. Click here. A hearing is schedule in Saginaw
County Circuit Court November 7 at 1:30 PM.
Dow asks judge to delay class action.
Dow files "Defendants motion to stay proceedings pending appeal" on
October 31, 2005.
Bruce Trogan, an attorney for residents suing Dow, said he anticipated
the request and opposes it. "They want to delay as long as possible,"
Even as attorneys prepare a mass mailing, Dow officials have vowed to challenge
Borrello's decision before the Michigan Court of Appeals. Spokesman Scot Wheeler
said attorneys will file an appeal sometime this month.
What could stop the mailing is Dow's request for a stay on all local
proceedings. The chemical giant filed such a request with the Saginaw County
Circuit Court this week, which attorneys will discuss in a hearing at 1:30 p.m.
Attorney Bruce Trogan, who represents residents along the river, hopes to send
out letters by the end of the year.
Once the letters are mailed, residents will have 60 days to opt out of the suit.
...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.
HB4617 Moving through Senate - What's the rush?
... 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 ...
... 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. ...
announce the 1st of 5 "Midland/Saginaw/Bay City Tri-Cities Dioxin Community
Meetings to be held November 9, 2005 6:30-9:00 pm at the Horizons Conference
Center in Saginaw Township. Future meetings will be held February 9
2006, May 10 2006, August 10 2006, and November 8 2006.
On-Going community involvement process
corrective action and license related activities time line
Judge Borrello read his decision to a packed court room. The Decision?
Class Certification granted. The judge went through the 5 components of
Rule 3.501: numerosity, commonality, typicality, adequacy, and superiority and
cited laws and/or previous cases that support his decision. He
specifically stated that Dows attempts to argue the merits of the case during a
Class Certification hearing was inappropriate at this stage. Dow is
expected to appeal his decision.
Plaintiffs attorneys intend to mail all property owners in the class further
information once the content of the letter is approved, expect something in the
mail in the next 30-60 days. Every property owner meeting the class
definition (will be provide once we have hardcopy of the Judges decision) is
automatically part of the class, you do not have to do anything. For those
that want to remove themselves from the class, instructions will be provided in the
letter mentioned above. A number of class representatives have volunteered
to represent the class in court, other property owners will not be involved in
the actual trail. Click here
for a summary from the Midland Daily News and visit our
Court Activity page for all the details leading up to this decision.
Dow Class Action decision due today Click here for details from the
Midland Daily News
MDEQ says plans to manage river toxins
endanger public health
Class Action decision rescheduled to
The class certification decision announcement has been rescheduled by Judge
Borrello until October 21st at 11:00 am due to a problem related to the hearing
Death comes to Midland?
While corporations crank up the PR and politicians ponder and labor over
their next steps, and
we fight our daily environmental battles, we often forget that real people with
families and children
are the victims of the chemical trespass we are all forced to live in. My hope
is that Dave will continue
to share these stories with all of us. Dave Linhardt is author of
Michelle Hurd Riddick
Lone Tree Council
Dow's mortality studies provide ample evidence that employee death rates from
certain cancers are elevated,
some being statistically significant. Due to a lack of data, we do not know if a
similar increase in mortality
has been experienced by persons living in Midland and riverside
neighborhoods which have high levels of
Statistics have definite value but they do not provide any information about
the persons that died prematurely
or the pain and loss suffered by their family and friends. In fact, "medical
privacy" laws prohibit the release of
personal information. Perhaps, if a name and a history was associated with each
premature death, the long
overdue correct action would have been already implemented.
In the spring, I placed an ad in the Midland Daily News requesting contact
with anyone that believes his/her
illness or a death is related to dioxin exposure. The response was far
greater than expected.
From time to time, I would like to share what I know about a person whose
death may have been related
to dioxin exposure and whose death came too early.
Saginaw County Commissioners to debate
resolution in support of Moolenaar's facility designation has bee sent back to
the Saginaw County Board of Commissioner's legislative committee for a full
Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. The image on the left is
aftermath of the March 2004 Tittabawassee flood event. Click on the image
Which of the homes pictured did not receive any dioxin laden soil deposits into
their yards? Which of
them will not be able to hold Dow accountable if the "Facility" bill is passed?
Most of the commissioners do not have a clue of what this bill means to
Michigan and are dependent
upon the likes of Goschka and Mollenaar to "explain" it to them. We
strongly urge the board to invite
a representative from the MDEQ to attend the session for a fair and balanced
debate. Click here for
the MDEQ's interpretation of the bills impact on state regulatory affairs.
It's obvious that Senator Goschka wants Saginaw County's support to embolden his
push for passage in
the senate as designer legislation for Dow Chemical.
The meeting is October 11 at 3pm in the Commissioner's chambers- 2nd floor at
the Saginaw Court House.
Dredging lawsuits dropped for now, may