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TRW Archives 2006 1st quarter 01/01/06 - 03/31/06

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03/29/06
Dow signs confidentiality agreement with State, Feds, Indians, NRDA

Click here to view the confidentiality agreement0 which is believed to b e the final draft signed by the trustees of the Natural Resource Damage Assessment.  The trustees are Dow Chemical, the State of Michigan, the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan, and the United States of America.  Click here to learn a about the NRDA process.  A few excerpts follow:

"THIS AGREEMENT is made by and among the United States of America on behalf of its agencies, departments, and instrumentalities (the “United States”), the State of Michigan (the “State”), the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan (the “Tribe”), and The Dow Chemical Company (“Dow”), collectively referred to in this Agreement as “the Parties.” ....

1. Purpose: The purpose of this Confidentiality Agreement (Agreement) is to specify the conditions of confidentiality for facilitated negotiations among the undersigned Parties and the Convening Neutral in the non-binding alternative dispute mediation process (Mediation) described below. This Agreement may be superseded by a comprehensive Mediation Participation Agreement to be entered by the Parties at a later date.

2. Scope:

A. Except as provided otherwise in this Section, the Parties intend this Mediation and Agreement to address and extend to negotiation of the possible settlement of claims or causes of action arising from the presence of hazardous substances, wastes or constituents in the following areas as a result of alleged releases from the Dow Facility:

(i) the surficial soils of the City of Midland;
(ii) the Tittabawassee River and its sediments and floodplain soils;
(iii) the Saginaw River and its sediments and floodplain soils;
(iv) the Saginaw Bay of Lake Huron and its sediments and floodplain soils; and
(v) any other locations (other than the areas referred to in Section 2.B, below) where hazardous substances, wastes or constituents from the areas described in subsections (i) through (iv) above have subsequently come to be located or deposited

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03/23/06
Lawyers  clarifies questions about Priority 2 documents

Residents who own property classified as Priority 2 should receive a letter soon about the   AKT Peerless mailings sent to them a few weeks ago.  The letter clarifies a number of questions  concerning the "Residential Property Use Activity" and "License Agreement" documents and offers suggestions on how to respond.  The letter is being sent by the law firms, Stueve-Siegel-Hanson-Woody and Trogan &Trogan.  These firms have been appointed by the Saginaw County Circuit Court as counsel in the Class Action lawsuit against Dow Chemical (currently in Appeal).

A few excerpts (be sure to click on the link below to read the letter for accurate details):

bulletFilling out and returning the "Residential Property Use Activity" document is entirely voluntary according to the MDEQ.
bulletIf you decide to complete and return the document to   AKT Peerless, consider adding the language mentioned the the lawyers letter.
bulletThe "License Agreement" must be completed to be eligible for Priority 2 mitigation measures.
bullet If you decide to sign and return, consider adding the language mentioned the the lawyers letter.
bulletIf you already returned either of the documents to   AKT Peerless, consider following the instructions mentioned in the lawyers letter, you can still amend, cancel, or ask for them back.
bulletIf you have any questions, contact Sherry Berry at 816-714-7100 or Tara Inzerillo at 816-474-8100.
bullet Click here to view the actual lawyer letter (pdf format), print and share with those who do not have a computer.

TRW note: Some of the mitigation measures being offered by   AKT Peerless may temporary reduce dioxin exposure risk IF performed properly, the decision to sign or not sign is entirely up to the resident.  See the 3/10/06 story below for more information on the lessons learned from the Priority 1 residents.

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03/19/06
Property appraisals of contaminated properties is a complex process

Estimating the impact of dioxin contamination on Real Estate sales and value is not a simple process as some would have us believe.  Traditional appraisal processes used to evaluate a single property are limited in their ability to accurately determine the impact on a properties value when many properties in the area are contaminated.   What homes sell for in relation to the asking price is interesting, but if the asking prices are less than they would be without the contamination, then the survey results are essentially meaningless.   A few telephone calls and selected property records combined with self-serving comments of real-estate agents do not paint a fair picture of the market along the Tittabawassee or the impact of the contamination on our property values.

All of this is especially true when you have a Fortune 50 company in your midst spending millions of PR dollars with who knows who to cloud the issue.  A local wealthy individual making false promises and throwing good money after bad combined with real-estate agents downplaying the hazards of dioxin may have created the illusion for some that home sales and property values are unaffected.

Is this why people buy homes in areas with dioxin contamination at levels that scientists of the EPA, WHO, CDC, ATSDR, MDEQ, MDCH and almost every other respected health agency in the world consider hazardous to the health of humans, especially their children?  A recent MSU study found 71% of local residents consider dioxin in the flood plain to be a moderate to high risk to their health.  The MDEQ recently announced that people who do not try to reduce their exposure to flood plain soils and fish consumption can increase their dioxin levels by up to 3,900%.

We wonder if the local reporters called on residents who attempted to sell their property but took them off the market after fruitless attempts to sell.  We wonder how many others attempted to get a representative of the local tycoon to make an offer on their property and where either ignored or never received a call back after the initial encounter.  Both are examples of actual experiences and represent the true reality "reality" in the Tittabawassee flood plain.  

Viable, science based, peer reviewed processes for contaminated property appraisals have been available for years.   The methods used by a local news paper do not appear on anyone's list of approved protocols and are misleading.  Licensed Real Estate agents should be familiar with the UNIFORM STANDARDS OF PROFESSIONAL APPRAISAL PRACTICE, specifically the Advisory Opinion 9, "The Appraisal of Real Property That May Be Impacted by Environmental Contamination".  Evidently our local bunch have chosen to ignore them.  

Fortunately, experts in the field of contaminated property appraisals can be found at companies such as Greenfield Advisors.  GA has published many papers on the subject.  Visit their web site and check out the "Publications" page for all the details.  Below are a few excerpts:

       


   

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03/11/06
Tittabawassee spring flood in progress

   Click here to view more pictures

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03/10/06
How to increase your dioxin levels 3,900%
Answer: Live on the Tittabawassee River and ignore the MDEQ/MDCH Soil, Fish, and Wild Game advisories.

Click to enlargeTittabawassee River residents who are considered "Priority 2" properties in accordance to Dow's Interim Remedial Actions demanded by the state received their information packets in the mail this week.  All of it is very informative, especially on page 10 and 11. State toxicologists have created a graph comparing levels of exposure in different scenarios.  For instance, a person living in the floodplain who tries to limit exposures through dust inhalation, etc., and only eats one meal of walleye per month has a 320% increase in exposure compared to someone who doesn't live in the contaminated area.  Someone who does not try to reduce their exposure and eats 8 meals of sports fish per month have a 3,900% increase in exposure compared to a person not living in an area like ours.  Take a look, click on the graph above to enlarge.

A through explanation of the above graph can be found in the MDEQ pamphlet:

bullet Dioxin and Furans: Reducing exposure at home (includes the above graph)

Additional pamphlets included in the priority 2 package:

bullet Dioxin and Furans: Reducing exposure from agricultural activities
bullet Dioxin and Furans: Health Questions
 
bulletThis information and much more is also posted on the MDEQ website:
bullet http://www.michigan.gov/deq/0,1607,7-135-3308_21234-70485--,00.html

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03/10/06
Priority 1 lessons learned, Priority 2 residents take note

First of all, contrary to media reports, the Priority 1(P-1) and Priority 2 (P-2) Interim Response Activities (IRA) performed by Dow and AKT  Peerless are NOT a "cleanup" plan.  Their original intent was to temporarily reduce dioxin exposure to residents who live in the contaminated flood plain, the IRA's are measures that Dow may be required to repeat time and time again as the river floods redistribute the dioxin contaminated soils.   Based on comments of others who have participated in the P-1 IRA, it is our opinion that most of these activities are more of a Dow public relations campaign than anything else.  We are not saying you should not participate, some of the activities may temporarily reduce your exposure if performed properly.  Use your own judgment and consider the following when you make your decision:

bulletAnnette Lucas, the AKT Peerless employee who spearheaded the P-1 IRA last year has left the company.  Rumor has it her replacement is Melissa Robishaw.
bulletWhen speaking with a P-1 resident, Melissa indicated that "things will be different" this year for the P-2 residents and "they" will not be handing out services to everyone.  It's possible the only IRA you receive is the mailing packet sent out this week.
bulletNot everyone can be "serviced" at once, there are approximately 500 P-2 properties, P-1 had about 140 or so. So start planning early, work stops for the winter. 
bulletDo NOT assume AKT Peerless will swoop in and take care of everything without your participation.
bulletAKT Peerless is an Environmental Engineering firm hired by Dow to hire subcontractors from the area such as lawn care or nursery firms to perform the actual work.
bulletBefore meeting with AKT Peerless, do the following:
bulletBased on how you use your property, determine exactly what you want done and put them in written form using sketch's/pictures/lists and express your needs to the AKT Peerless P-2 manager.
bulletIf you do not do the following, it's unlikely anything you ask for will be done properly:
bulletPoint out the problem areas to the P-2 manager
bulletDocument problem areas with the P-2 manager.
bulletRe-explain the problems in minute detail (show them your documents) to all work crews that show up.  Every time!!
bulletSupervise the work is completed to your satisfaction.
bulletCall the P-2 manager back as often as it takes to get things right.
bulletThe MDEQ is overseeing Dow's implementation of these activities, you may request an audit of the Dow proposal by the MDEQ at any time, contact Allan Taylor at taylorab@michigan.gov
bulletIf you want dioxin sampling performed on your property, ask for it otherwise Dow may not even mention it's an option (you have to complete and sign the "License Agreement" received in your packet, more on that later).
bulletBe prepared for the following:
bulletWork crews may just show up without notice and have little idea of what they are actually supposed to do.  Patronizing work crew owners may follow to smooze and shake hands and utter platitudes about how they "cleaned up" your dioxin problem, indicating it is no longer an issue.
bulletIf you are to receive indoor IRA's such as dusting, they will not move anything out of the way, it's your responsibility.  The MDEQ "Reducing Exposure at Home" brochure recommends "When dusting and cleaning inside the home, avoid creating airborne dust (to minimize breathing and swallowing dust) ...". 
bulletObserve how the work crews dispose of contaminated material, it is not acceptable to pour contaminated wash water down your sink, drain, or toilet as was done at some P-1 properties.
bulletMost members of work crew will know nothing about dioxin or proper techniques to reduce exposure and will do whatever they think is "good"  or "pretty" if you do not intervene. (Example from P-1: a quarter inch of new dirt spread over exposed contaminated soil is NOT acceptable).
bulletDo not consider the work crews knowledgeable about the situation, most of them know nothing of the real facts (the EPA, ATSDR, CDC, WHO, MDEQ, and MDCH versions, not Dow's propaganda) and will offer opinions that range from gross misinformation to the absurd (example from P-1: dioxin comes from trees).
bulletTake a controlling stance, instead of just getting out of their way & expecting the work crews to know what to do. 
bulletTake before and after pictures.
bulletThe "License Agreement" included in the packet must be completed to be considered for any P-2 IRA  work.
bulletThe agreement authorizes Dow to access your property for the purposes of conducting soil sampling and survey work.
bulletThe agreement authorizes the MDEQ to access your property for the purposes of overseeing the Dow sampling and surveying.  Consider asking that the sampling ALWAYS be supervised by the MDEQ and that the techniques used meet EPA standards, not Dow's.  Always ask for the names and credentials of everyone who visits your property, the license states the work will be done "at times convenient to the Resident".
bulletThis is a legal document, you may want your lawyer to review, so do it now.
bulletTo be considered for P-2 IRA, you must complete the enclosed "Residential Property Use Activity Survey" or "Agricultural Property Use Activity Survey".
bulletThe State officials contributed to the design of the form but indicate they are not really sure how the information will be used by Dow.
bulletMany of the questions require a simple Yes or No answer which in our opinion cannot be properly answered if you have been following the States Soil, Fish, and Wildlife advisories/recommendations.  To do so based on your current state may require a NO answer which is misleading, you want to carry out all these activities on your property but the contamination prevents it.  The form does not provide for comments or clarifications, will they pay any attention to what you scribble in the margins or attach as separate documents?  If you answer No, will your property be disqualified?  Will the information be used in other ways at a later date?
bulletAny information provided on the form must be provided to the MDEQ and therefore may be subject to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request and become publicly available.

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03/06/06
Lone Tree/TRW Dioxin Update

bulletDow Notice of Deficiency
bullet Dow has 60 days from March 2nd to resubmit work plans to correct the 26 deficiencies noted
bulletMidland Daily News editorial
bullet The government seems to be asking The Dow Chemical Co. if it is serious about addressing local dioxin contamination.
bulletShame on you Mr. Musser
bullet Dow’s John Musser argues that Dow Chemical is not responsible to EPA. This is a bare faced lie and a deliberate attempt by Mr. Musser to deflect criticism of Dow pathetic work plans
bulletDow Remedial Investigation Work Plans for the Saginaw River NOT submitted 
bullet Dow was to submit work plans for the upper Saginaw River by March 1 2006. It didn’t happen.  Lone Tree Council, using the Freedom of Information Act, requested a copy of the work plans. DEQ responded with the following statement.  “The State of Michigan DEQ & Dow Chemical Company have mutually agreed to defer submission of the Conceptual Work Plan for the Upper Saginaw River”.
bulletDow blow's their own horn, We can't hear you Mr. Liveris
bullet Recent Dow propaganda states they are recommitting to Responsible Care in the chemical industry.  Dow is making unprecedented profits and is financially structured to meet their environmental responsibilities. They choose not to because they can. The big mistake we make is assigning any sense of ethic or social responsibility to this particular corporation. 
bulletMarch 15th deadline for public comment on Dow RIWP
bullet Lone Tree is preparing comments on the Dow’s work plans and we will send them out soon. We did ask DEQ for a public Technical Information Meeting ( TIM)  sometime after the deadline to discuss the Notice of Deficiency and how they will be remedied. It is imperative the sampling season and data collection not be delayed because of Dow’s refusal to submit adequate work plans. We remain optimistic that the DEQ will agree to hold a TIM.

 
Click here to view the entire update

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03/05/06
Judge Borrello announces his retirement

Judge Borrello, Chief Judge of Saginaw County Circuit Court,  has announced he is leaving the bench.  Judge Borrello has presided over the Henry et al. Vs Dow Chemical, Case No. 03-47775-NZ since it's inception in 2003 and recently certified the case as a Class Action Circuit Judge Robert L. Kaczmarek will replace him until the November elections.  Former state Rep. Jim Howell has announced his intention to run for Borrello's post.   Howell is a former Dow Chemical attorney.

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03/04/06
New video documentary: "Mr. Damore goes to Lansing" now on-line

Paul Damore, a Grand Valley State University student and resident of the Tittabawassee River flood plain, has created a short "opinion" documentary that is now being screened in a number of film festivals in the Grand Rapids area.    The film covers Paul's 2005 journey to Lansing in attempt to testify against the now defunct HB4617 which would have given Dow (and other sites/polluters) a free ride to escape responsibility for the extensive dioxin contamination in our backyards.  Click on the link below to view:

                                  http://www.jreedproductions.com/nowplaying.htm

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03/04/06
Commentary on Dow delay tactics and misinformation campaign

Recent Letters to the Editor of the Saginaw News

bullet Selective Reporting, David Linhardt 03/06/06
bullet Delay Tactics, Richard Maltby 03/06/06

For these and many more, visit our Editorial page, click here
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03/03/06
DEQ issues Dow Notice of Deficiency: 60 days to respond

On March 2, 2006, the MDEQ issued Dow Chemical it's official Notice of Deficiency concerning Dows proposed Remedial Investigation Work Plans (RIWP) for the Tittabawassee River and Midland.  Dow has 60 days to resubmit work plans to correct the 26 deficiencies noted.  Many of the MDEQ demands parallel the EPA's objections (see related stories below) and are intended to force Dow to use  principals and scientific methodologies acceptable to the EPA and other regulatory agencies rather than the Corporate Science they are so fond of.  Dow is well aware of the proper way to comply with regulations, they chose to ignore them to force another 60 day delay in the process.

Click here to view the entire MDEQ NOD (43 page pdf)
 

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03/1/06
Dow files Michigan Appeals Court brief

March 1, 2006  Dow submits "Brief of Defendant-Appellant the Dow Chemical Company Oral Arguments Requested" document to the Michigan Appeals court.   Plaintiffs have until sometime in early April to file a response.

Click here for other Court news

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02/24/06
DEQ agrees with EPA's criticism of Dow work plan

The MDEQ issued a DRAFT Notice of Deficiency to Dow's Remedial Investigation Work Plans on 2/10/06 which basically agrees with all of the EPA's criticism (see related story 2/21/06 story  below).  The final version to be sent to Dow is expected some time in the next few weeks which will start the EPA's recommended 60 day window for Dow to resubmit amended RIWP's.

Excerpt from MDEQ email: "MDEQ “high level” review comments on the TR RIWP and the Midland RIWP submitted by Dow to MDEQ for review and approval. Please note that the MDEQ is in substantial agreement with U.S. EPA’s comments of February 10, 2006 (also attached) and that the comments below are intended to supplement the U.S. EPA comments. These comments are not intended to be all inclusive. These do represent significant deficiencies that must be addressed in order to obtain MDEQ approval and to move forward with a more detailed technical review." 

Topics Include:

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Major Items and Issues for the Tittabawassee River and Midland RIWPs (TR RIWP and Midland RIWP)
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The RIWP must contain a single comprehensive schedule that consolidates the major work activities proposed by the RIWP and associated studies.

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In addition to lacking detail on the overall RI process, the new schedule proposed in the RIWP is not consistent with the schedule in the approved Scope of Work for the Tittabawassee River.

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The RIWP Conceptual Site Model or Current Conditions report does not address or list the specific exposure pathways that are currently known to be present or identify other exposure pathways that may be present and require investigation.

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The RIWP does not address comments previously provided to Dow on the PCOI identification process.

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Many concerns with proposed collection of soil samples randomly distributed throughout the Tittabawassee River floodplain for PCOI identification and to provide data to develop a geospatial model to predict the distribution of dioxins and furans in the floodplain.

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If Dow proposes to conduct geospatial modeling as part of the RIWP, the following information must be directly included in the work plan for review and approval:
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The statistical basis for the sampling grid (the point to area spatial representation) and a clear basis for proposing the sample population(s) for the study areas.

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The processes and equations upon which the model is built.

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The process by which the model will be calibrated to the n samples.

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Verification of the model by demonstrating that it also matches existing data.

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Dow is proposing to collect 25 sediment samples for PCOI identification (see comments in number 4) and to test their theory that sediment levels of dioxin are “random.” The workplan needs to provide detail to describe how the hypothesis of randomness is to be tested and at what scale this hypothesis may apply

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The RIWP does not address Preliminary Feasibility Study Planning or data needs as required by III.F of the approved SOW and as discussed in Dow’s “Performance Based Approach” proposal.

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The RIWP needs to specifically include mapping and sampling of erosional areas (e.g. cut banks).

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The Midland PCOI investigation strategy needs to be reevaluated as indicated by U.S. EPA.

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DQOs These will need to be revised to reflect required modifications to the RIWPs.

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Major Items and Issues for the Human Health Risk Assessment Work Plans (HHRA WP)
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Review and approval process for components of the HHRA WP.

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Preliminary Conceptual Site Model (PCSM)

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Identification of Exposure Pathways

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Exposure Data Collection

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Exposure Inputs to HHRA Equations

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Toxicity values

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Toxic Equivalency Factors (TEFs)

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Screening Level Risk Assessment (SLRA)

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Forward-looking Probabilistic Risk Assessment

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Area Wide Cleanup Criteria (AWCC) and Site Specific Cleanup Criteria (SSCC)

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Soil and Sediment Concentrations related to food-chain pathways

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Identification of other PCOIs

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Citations and/or references need to be included for all applicable Part 201 regulatory requirements or EPA guidance

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Sequence of proposed HHRA WP components

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A review and approval process for the individual workplan for each component of the HHRA work plan is necessary.

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The PSCM must describe known and expected human and ecological exposure pathways for each land use including transport mechanisms or migration routes known or expected to occur between environmental media (e.g., soil and sediment) and receptor populations.

Click here to review the entire Draft Notice of Deficiency

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02/21/06
Lone Tree/TRW Dioxin Update

The recent work plans submitted by Dow Chemical to MDEQ which were at the center of the recent DEQ- Dow meeting on Feb. 9th, have been reviewed by EPA Region V  and the review is highly critical of Dow’s plans (see the next story below for details and a link to the EPA document).  The work plans are of highest priority because they determine how the state proceeds with cleanup.

 

Failing to pass scientific scrutiny within EPA Dow once again submits plans so deficient as to be transparent. No company with the resources that Dow has can consistently submit plans so inadequate and so lacking unless it is by design. Like the Consent Order in 2002, the Risk Assessment in 2002, the Scopes of Work in 2003 and the IRA’s, Dow’s intentions are to deliberately:

 

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Ignore compliance with their license
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 Delay defining the extent of their contamination
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 Deny the toxicity of dioxin
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 Rewrite the science to benefit them
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 Rewrite the laws that govern them
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 Delay Cleanup

 

It’s a legitimate question to ask if “voluntary corrective action” really works or if it’s just a burden on the taxpayers as it drains resources and tax dollars within our budget strapped DEQ. Not to mention the natural resource and public health implications associated with deliberate delays created by a corporation that has no interest in being responsible. Under the provisions of voluntary corrective action the State of Michigan has spent years working with Dow to bring them into compliance. Folks it's not working!

Click here to view the entire update

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02/21/06
EPA finds Dow IR Workplans "Critically Deficient"

In a recent memo to the MDEQ states:"...the United States Environmental Protection Agency, Region 5 (EPA or the Agency) has conducted a preliminary review of the Tittabawassee River and Floodplain Remedial Investigation Work Plan (T-RIWP) and the Midland Area Soils Remedial Investigation Work Plan (M-RIWP) submitted to Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) by the Dow Chemical Company, Midland, Michigan (Dow) on December 29, 2005. As detailed in the attached comments,the Agency has determined that the T-RIWP and M-RIWP (RIWPs) are critically deficient".

A few excerpts:

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The RIWP deficiencies set forth in EPA’s comments need to be addressed by Dow prior to initiation of a more comprehensive review of these documents.

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Dow’s Human Health Risk Assessment Work Plans are fundamentally flawed, and it would not be a wise or efficient use of either agency’s resources to attempt to approve them with modifications in their current form.

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EPA requests that MDEQ require Dow to promptly address the deficiencies detailed in the attached comments and then require Dow to resubmit amended RIWPs to the State of Michigan no later than sixty (60) days from the date that Dow is provided written notice of the subject deficiencies.

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EPA also requests that MDEQ not approve either RIWP, in full or in part, until all of the requested changes are made by Dow and such changes have been reviewed and approved by MDEQ.

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The sampling protocol set forth in the T-RIWP by Dow to determine the nature and extent of hazardous constituent contamination in the Tittabawassee River (TR) sediments is severely inadequate.

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Existing data is insufficient to support Dow’s conclusion that sediment contaminant concentrations in the TR are random and that no consistently elevated areas of contamination exist within the TR sediments. Dow’s proposal of one sediment sampling location per mile is very likely to be orders-of magnitude greater than the actual distance of spatial correlation.  Consequently, analytical results obtained from sampling locations with a separation of one mile would have a strong tendency to exhibit the unpredictability postulated by Dow.

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EPA does not consider geospatial modeling as an acceptable substitute to an empirical characterization of the nature and extent of contamination. ...  EPA recommends that MDEQ require Dow to implement a significantly more comprehensive and intensive sampling program that will establish the nature and extent of the PCOIs within the TR floodplain.

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Dow’s proposal for three surface water sample locations in the TR to be sampled   during a base flow and flood event is inadequate.

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EPA requests that MDEQ require Dow to undertake the following four sequential steps in order to properly characterize the TR and Floodplain:

  1. Completion of a thorough PCOI study (Principle Contaminants of Interest)

  2. Completion of a thorough geochemical study on all of the identified PCOIs (or all PCOI chemical groupings)      of interest

  3. Completion of a  pilot characterization study to determine horizontal sampling grid interval for both the River  sediments and the floodplain soils
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    Sampling for both PCOIs and geochemistry should be performed on transects across the river at a minimum of 1/4 mile intervals (approximately 100 transects).

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    EPA recommends that the sampling locations be gridded on a one hundred (100) foot interval throughout both the floodplain and the River, extending from one side of the one hundred (100) year floodplain to the other.

  4. Completion of a full characterization study including the preparation of depth-based contaminant-concentration contour maps for all identified PCOIs

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EPA recommends that, at a minimum, the final work products of the T-RIWP characterization process include the following:
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90 ppt TEQ boundary line map (vertical and horizontal).

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Depth based concentration contour maps with a 100 ppt TEQ contour line.
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0-6 inch surface TEQ concentration contour map.

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TEQ concentration contour maps for all underlying 1-foot vertical compositing intervals

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Comparable boundary lines and maps should be produced for all other PCOIs.

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Dow’s proposal in the M-RIWP to delay Phase II sampling until 2008 is not acceptable to EPA.

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... this multi-year process of developing, reviewing and approving these risk-based and/or area-wide criteria will preclude a thorough evaluation of the extent and intensity of the D/F contamination within the City of Midland. Such a delay is not acceptable or appropriate in light of the significant potential risks posed by the known hazardous constituent contamination in the City of Midland.

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EPA requests that MDEQ require Dow to include in the M-RIWP’s proposed Phase II sampling plan, soil sampling at the Dow Midland facility.

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The Human Health Risk Assessment Work Plans (HHRAWPs), as proposed by Dow in the RIWPs, do not comply with EPA risk assessment policy and guidance and, therefore, cannot be approved by EPA.
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EPA requests that MDEQ require Dow to identify in the RIWPs the likely and potential specific pathways of human exposure to PCOIs in the Midland soils and TR soils and sediments. Such exposure pathways will likely include direct contact to PCOIs and indirect exposure to PCOIs after fate and transport processes have occurred, e.g. consumption of contaminated fish and/or wildlife. In addition, Dow must identify appropriate high-end receptor populations, such as subsistence fish and wildlife consumers and native American populations.

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Dow should be required to identify the specific data which will be collected and used to support the exposure assessment portion of the HHRAWPs. In addition, Dow should be required to explain how the PCOI concentrations will be incorporated into the HHRAWPs to determine levels of risk and used for comparison to Cleanup Criteria.

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Dow's proposal, in the HHRAWPs, to use probabilistic methods for deriving dose-response parameters for the PCOIs is unacceptable.
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Dow implies that the methodology for applying probabilistic risk assessment (PRA) to dose-response data in HHRAWPs would be straightforward, but this is far from the case.
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For example, Dow does not explain whether the PRA analysis will use human studies in addition to animal bioassay studies. If data from one animal species were to show a clearly defined (and human related) dose-response effect (positive), but the  data from another species did not (negative), it is not clear in the HHRAWPs whether Dow would give the data from the positive species more weight than the data from the negative species, in accordance with EPA policy and guidance.

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EPA does not believe that Dow has proposed an adequate or widely accepted methodology for constructing Probability Distribution Functions (PDFs) for dose-response data. Because the establishment of dose-response data and toxicity factors for chemicals has national implications, EPA cannot approve requested deviations on a site-specific basis. National standards are based upon scientific consensus and are established by EPA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. Recognition and use of these standards are a necessary prerequisite to national consistency. As a result, EPA, Region 5 cannot approve a PRA which includes probabilistic methods for deriving dose-response parameters.

Click here to view the entire EPA document

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02/19/06
MDEQ / MDCH respond to misinformation

Steven E. Chester and Janet Olszewski, Editorial posted in Midland Daily News 02/19/2006

A recent forum piece by Dr. Richard Reitz, former toxicologist for Dow Chemical, suggested that the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) has failed to use science to guide our decisions concerning the cleanup of historic dioxin contamination in the Midland area. This assertion is false, and with the great deal of progress we have made over the past year to move this process forward, it is disappointing to see these misleading statements made.

The MDEQ, along with our partners at the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH), have a clear goal in mind: Protecting the environment and the public health of those affected by dioxin contamination. Our combined efforts are the work of some of the top scientists and health experts in the state, all of whom have dedicated their careers to serving the people of Michigan. To suggest that they have used anything but the highest degree of scientific review to guide their work simply demonstrates a lack of understanding as to how our agencies fulfill our commitment to the public.

Dr. Reitz makes a number of misstatements throughout his article, all of which have been refuted by many people time and again, but which warrant additional response here. First, he states that soil samples that have been taken throughout the area have shown inconsistent results, causing us to simply make assumptions on the area of contamination. This is simply not true.

The results from sampling done along the Tittabawassee River have consistently shown elevated levels of dioxin within the March 2004 floodplain area. Dow has acknowledged this in their recently submitted remedial investigation work plans that specifically state, "Éthese results suggest that the 8-year flood boundary may be a good predictor of whether or not TEQ (dioxin & furans concentrations) will fall below 90 parts-per-trillion." This does not suggest that there are not elevated levels of dioxin outside of the floodplain area, however, it clearly shows that existing data provides the basis to make a consistent and reasonable estimate of the scope of contamination.

Dr. Reitz states that scientific experts from around the world disagree with our cleanup criteria for dioxin. Again, this is not correct. He cites the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) level of 1,000 ppt for dioxin exposure. The ATSDR 1,000 ppt level is an action level, meaning that they have determined that levels of dioxin in soil should trigger measures to interdict or prevent exposures. The action level of 1,000 ppt is considered protective by ATSDR only when it is combined with site-specific evaluation of levels such as Michigan's 90 ppt, which is a preventative level meant to safeguard the long term health of those living in contaminated areas. A number of other states go well below Michigan's risk level. Oregon, for example, has a residential soil cleanup level for dioxin of 3.9 ppt, while Massachusetts' is 4 ppt.

Dr. Dennis Paustenbach is quoted by Dr. Reitz as concluding that persons living near concentrations of dioxin in soil containing 1,000 ppt have no greater than a 1 in 100,000 chance of contracting cancer due to their exposure. Actual risk evaluations that have been conducted by federal and state agencies for people residing on property with soil concentrations at 1,000 ppt indicate that risk to be far higher; in fact, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has estimated that the 1,000 ppt level represents a 2.5 in 10,000 cancer risk. Those numbers certainly can not be overlooked.

As a toxicologist, Dr. Reitz should also understand that the MDEQ and MDCH have acted in accordance to common scientific practice in relying on cancer studies in rats when setting cleanup standards. In fact, we relied on a Dow Chemical Co. rodent study to derive an appropriate soil cleanup criterion for dioxin. This study has been and continues to be widely used while states and other organizations await finalization of the EPA's Dioxin Reassessment, which preliminarily estimates that the cancer potency for dioxin is approximately 10 times higher than previously estimated.

Dr. Reitz also appears to be under the impression that the U of M Dioxin Exposure Study will establish a soil cleanup level, something that it was not designed to do. The U of M study is an exposure investigation that we hope will provide valuable information, however, it is not a health study and is not designed to determine a health risk based on soil concentration.

Perhaps most troubling, however, is Dr. Reitz' claim that the work done by the MDEQ and MDCH does not undergo independent scientific review. Being public agencies, our work goes through extremely thorough public and scientific review on a regular basis. We work very closely with the U.S. EPA, ATSDR and other state and federal agencies, and our scientific processes are consistent with those of the World Health Organization, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, and others. We have in the past, and will continue to have independent scientific reviews conducted through Toxicology Excellence for Risk Assessment (TERA), a peer review organization used by Dow Chemical, among many others in our state.

All of our work is guided by the very best scientific research, methodologies, and processes accepted by the scientific community, and we make great efforts to ensure that we are transparent in how that work is done, and that it is understood by the public.

Our ultimate goal is to develop a remediation plan that is protective of human health, the environment, and local economic needs and interests.

We are requiring Dow to perform the investigations necessary to determine what cleanup alternatives are practical, however we have not reached the point to determine what those alternatives are. The MDEQ and MDCH are making progress in this area, and will continue to work with Dow Chemical to find the answers necessary to guide us toward a reasonable, scientifically-based plan that ensures the health and well-being of those affected by dioxin contamination.

Steven E. Chester is director of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

Janet Olszewsk is director of the Michigan Department of Community Health.


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02/17/06
Lone Tree/TRW Dioxin Update

Excerpts from this issue:

bullet The good the bad and the ugly
bulletMDEQ fills in data gaps
bulletSaginaw river floodplain soil not as contaminated as the Tittabawassee River flood plain
bulletSaginaw River sediment is highly contaminated
bullet Attractive Nuisance: Frankenlust Slurry pit and Dow boat docks
bullet The MDEQ, EPA, and US Fish and wildlife want to mitigate the proposed Frankenlust slurry pit as an  “attractive nuisance” because it is a hazard and  will expose wildlife to high levels of dioxin.
bullet What about the fishing docks being built by Dow Chemical ? Aren’t they an attractive nuisance for kids?
bullet Dow says dioxin only causes Chloracne
bullet Dr. Collins from Dow assures a young woman that  there was no problem with dioxin.
bulletMDEQ offers little response, Lone Tree had to do it for them.
bullet New Jersey,  dioxin  and the Passaic River ( We can dream)
bullet The NJ Department of Environmental Protection ( DEP) filed suit against Occidental Chemical to began the cleanup and dredging of the Passaic River which is contaminated with very high levels of dioxin. Levels that exceed 1million ppt in some areas.
bullet They want the river cleaned up to 17 ppt maximum level.
bullet

Why? Because it makes good economic sense and because clean healthy rivers attract people and add to the quality of life in our communities.

bullet

Dow Work Plans
bullet

If history repeats itself Dow will once again, with their army of consultants, PhD's, regulatory lawyers submit plans that will be deficient and create additional delays, tax resources at the state level and cost the taxpayers money.

bullet

It should come as no surprise that cursory review of the plans show Dow is attempting to do three  things: 
bulletRewrite the laws that regulate them
bulletDevelop the science they want (even if it takes years)
bulletDelay any semblance of real investigation

bullet

You can view Dow's proposed work plan at

http://www.michigan.gov/deq/0,1607,7-135-3312_4118_4240-53424--,00.html
bullet

 Lone Tree Council will be submitting comments. The deadline for public comment is March 15th.

Click here to view the entire update

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2/13/06 The film, "The Long Shadow",  to be shown locally.

Wednesday, 02/15/06 6:30 pm- The Long Shadow film presentation followed by a discussion with Michelle Hurd-Riddick of the Lone Tree Council, at Butman-Fish Library, 1716 Hancock, Saginaw. Admission Free.

The Long Shadow
details the dioxin controversy in 2002, from public notification by agency whistleblowers in January to the failed bailout in December. The story highlights the plight of three floodplain families concerned about their health, their property values, and the corporate and government forces that acted against them. The story is told through contemporary videography, historical photos, and interviews with floodplain residents, environmental advocates, key government officials, and state lawmakers.

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02/11/06
February 9, 2006 Community Meeting Update

bulletMDEQ: New sampling data reveals widespread contamination of watershed, see GLNPO story below
bulletDOW: Review of their proposed Tittabawassee and Midland Remedial Investigation Work Plans
bulletCorporate Science at it's finest
bulletEverything is wonderful, don't worry about anything, dioxin only causes Chloracne.
bulletPretty pictures of cute, warm and fuzzy animals
bulletMany Dow representatives present to disseminate distorted information and misinterpretations of data.
bulletMDEQ has not approved or reviewed the RIWP, expects to present their findings in May 2005 Community Meeting.
bulletCheck MDEQ website for future updates: http://www.michigan.gov/deqdioxin
bulletPriority 2 Interim Response Activities (NOT cleanup) scheduled to begin soon
bulletMDEQ approved with modifications (unspecified) on February 2/9/2006
bulletDefined as properties along the river
bulletwhere 2004 flood waters touched the property or
bulletwhere testing has shown dioxin/furan levels > 1000 ppt TEQ
bulletParticipation is voluntary
bulletAKT Peerless has been contracted to conduct the follow-up.
bulletYou may have the right to have your soil tested, request it and see what happens.
bulletDow says all Priority 1 properties complete however some say they have not been contacted.
bulletPublic Comment period on the RIWP ends 3/15/05, click here to review and respond.
bulletThe state representatives at the meeting did very little, if anything to counter the misinformation.  An attendee, Terry Miller, of the Lone Tree Council had to stand up and correct much of the Dow misinformation.
bullet The Lone Tree Council requested that MDCH be an active, recognized partner in the DEQ Dow town hall meetings; that MDCH be granted time, if needed , to be on the agenda of the DEQ Dow meetings and be available to answer questions or respond to Dow's misinformation. 
bulletLone Tree Council has requested the MDEQ to set up a TIM ( technical information meeting) sometime after the public comment period is closed on the Dow RIWP ( March 15th) to hear DEQ's critique and  modifications to ensure compliance with the Dow corrective action license.  It is the DEQ's responsibility to the citizens to address whether Dow's response meets, delays or compromised the law and/or the Dow license.
bulletU of M announces the Dow funded Human Exposure study results will be released in August 2006.
bulletResidents express concern (paraphrased, not exact quotes).
bulletWho pays for testing if you want to sell your property and buyer demands it?
bulletDow says they will not, your on your own at over $1,000 per sample.
bulletIf I played in the river muck for years as a kid, what are the risks to my health?
bulletDow's James Collins says maybe Chloracne.  This man has reserved a special spot for himself in the afterlife.
bulletKids are walking around in the recently flooded river muck at the newly remediated Freeland Festival park, what is Dow going to do about it?
bulletDow says they will test the soil and if any dioxin found will attempt to learn where it came from.  Freeland Festival park has the dubious honor of having the highest detected levels of Dow dioxin in the T.River flood plain, over 8,000 ppt TEQ.  Rather than fix the problem again, they want to delay by testing again.
bulletAre 90 samples taken down wind enough to characterize the contamination in Midland?
bulletWe think they said yes.
bulletIf I am a Priority 1 property and it is re-contaminated by another flood, will Dow remediate it again?
bulletYes, contact Dow.
bulletIf I am a Priority 1 (or 2) property, will Dow test my soil for dioxin?
bulletOnly if you ask.  Evidently not many did and Dow did not offer.
bulletIs the Probabilistic Risk Assessment mentioned in the RIWP the same one the MDEQ, and EPA shot down as flawed in Dow SOW proposed in 2002?
bulletMDEQ has not reviewed it yet.  TRW bet's it is.
bulletCan people sue Dow for the contamination?
bulletThey have.

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02/11/06
Great Lakes National Program Office Study Update: it's everywhere

Note, the height of the red >1000 ppt bars was capped at 5000 ppt for clarity.At the February 9, 2006 Tri-County Dioxin Community Meeting, the DEQ
 presented an update of the GLNPO study which presented a view of
 dioxin sampling activities of the entire Saginaw Bay watershed.  The
presentation made use of Google images superimposed with sampling
data comparing pre and post 2004 data.  Click on the image above to see a slide containing
all of the current data points.

Distribution of Samples
-212 total samples from 116 stations
  Floodplain 115, Shiawassee-22%, Saginaw-68%, Bay-10%
  Sediment 97,     Shiawassee-33%, Saginaw-45%, Bay-22%

PRELIMINARY CONCLUSIONS
1) The Shiawassee River is not a significant contributor of Dioxin/Furans to Saginaw.
2) The Saginaw River Floodplain is not as contaminated as the Tittabawassee River Floodplain.
3) The highest TEQ concentrations, (up to 16,000 ppt TEQ) were found in the Upper Saginaw
     River Sediments (non-navigational).
4) High levels (> 1000 ppt TEQ) were found in the Lower Saginaw River and west portion
    of Saginaw Bay at depth.

NEXT STEPS
1) Report due to EPA-GLNPO -Spring 2006.
2) Incorporate Dow Studies and Agency Data into Google Earth.

Contact info: Allan Taylor taylorab@michigan.gov 1-517-335-4799

Click here to view the entire presentation which is also available at http://www.michigan.gov/deqdioxin

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02/09/06
Community Meeting February 9, 2006

Dow Remedial Investigation Work Plan Available - Community Meeting Planned for February 9
A work plan to conduct a Remedial Investigation of the contamination in Midland area soils and the Tittabawassee River and floodplain was received on December 29, 2005 by the Department of Environmental Quality from The Dow Chemical Company. Submittal of this work plan was required by Dow’s June 2003 hazardous waste management facility operating license and the January 2005 Framework for an Agreement between the DEQ and Dow.

Discussion of this work plan will be the main topic of the next quarterly Midland/Saginaw/Bay City Tri Cities Dioxin Community meeting hosted by the DEQ and Dow on Thursday, February 9, 2006, at the Horizons Conference Center in Saginaw. The meeting is open to the public and will run from 6:30 to 9:00 p.m. Staff from the DEQ and Dow will be available one-half hour before and after the meeting for individual discussion with the public. Background information and supporting materials for the meeting, including the work plan, will be available at http://www.michigan.gov/deqdioxin, then click on the "DEQ/Dow Community Involvement" Quick Link.

Residents are encouraged to provide their comments on Dow’s work plan at the community meeting. Alternatively, comments can be submitted by mail to Cheryl Howe, DEQ Waste & Hazardous Materials Division, PO Box 30241, Lansing, MI, 48909-7741, or by email at howec@michigan.gov.

During 2006, additional quarterly community meetings are scheduled to be held on May 10, August 9, and November 8.

Editor’s note: DEQ news releases are available on the department’s Internet home page at www.michigan.gov/deq.

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01/29/06
WHO bars Dow from participating in setting global protection standards

According to a recent API story, The International Life Sciences Institute , funded by hundreds of corporations including Dow Chemical, was barred by the World Health Organization (WHO) from helping set global standards for protecting food and water supplies because of its funding sources.

bullet"The WHO and other public health agencies risk their scientific credibility and may be compromising public health by partnering with ILSI,"
bullet"the institute 'has a demonstrated history of putting the interests of its exclusively corporate membership ahead of science and health concerns, and that ILSI's special status with the WHO provides a back door to influence WHO activities.'"

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01/28/06
Conceptual shifts in scientific thinking - Dow scientists stuck in the old world

Recent evidence of Dow's substitution of "corporate science" for real science can be found in a  letter to the editor from one of it's own, James Collins.    Notice the twisting and omission of facts, as well as the reference to flawed data from Dow's internal "worker" studies, all a trademark of junk science.  It also demonstrates why the World Health Organization is concerned about corporations who employ such tactics (see related WHO story above).

An essay which first appeared on the San Francisco Medical Societies web site in November 2002 provides an excellent review of current scientific thinking in the area of environmental toxicology.  Rachel's Environment & Health News ( www.rachel.org ) article #757 provides a review of the essay.  Dow Chemical's behavior concerning toxic chemicals seems to be consistent, i.e.  promote  "Corporate Science" and ignore (at least publicly) this NEW shift in thinking by the rest of the worlds scientist.  The following is an excerpt from the essay,  just substitute the word DOW for OLD in the 9 points listed below.

"We're in the Midst of a Scientific Revolution...The revolution arises from scientific discoveries which establish that many chemicals -- both from the natural world and synthesized in laboratories -- interfere with the biochemical messaging systems that direct the biological development of plants and animals, including humans."   These discoveries "are forcing a series of conceptual shifts upon toxicology as it integrates these new findings with long-standing assumptions".

Conceptual Shifts in Scientific Thinking:

  1. 1. OLD: High level contamination overwhelms detoxification and other defense mechanisms. NEW: Low level contamination hijacks control of development.
  2. 2. OLD: The dose makes the poison. NEW: Non-monotonic dose response curves are common, in which low level exposures cause effects that disappear at higher levels. [See text for the meaning of non-monotonic.]
  3. 3. OLD: Only high levels of exposure matter. NEW: Impacts caused at what had been assumed to be background levels.
  4. 4. OLD: Focus on adults. NEW: Periods of rapid growth and development (prenatal through puberty) are most sensitive to exposure.
  5. 5. OLD: A small number of bad actors. NEW: Many chemicals thought safe are biological active and capable of interfering with signaling systems.
  6. 6. OLD: Immediate cause and effect. NEW: Long latencies are common; fetal programming can lead to disease and disabilities decades later.
  7. 7. OLD: Examine chemicals one compound at a time. NEW: In real life, mixtures are the rule. They can lead to effects at much lower levels than indicated by simple experiments with single chemicals.
  8. 8. OLD: Focus on traditional toxicological endpoints like mutagenesis carcinogenesis, cell death. NEW: Wide range of health endpoints, including immune system dysfunction (both hyper and hypo-active); neurological, cognitive and behavioral effects; reproductive dysfunctions; chronic diseases.
  9. 9. OLD: One-to-one mapping of contaminant to disease or disability. NEW: Same contaminant can cause many different effects, depending upon when exposure occurs during development and what signals it disrupts. Multiple contaminants can cause same endpoint [effect], if they disrupt the same developmental process.

Maybe Mr. Collins should ask his boss to pop for a refresher course.

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01/23/06
Lone Tree/TRW Dioxin Update

Excerpts from this issue:

bulletDow Playbook
bullet Wouldn't be a bit surprised if Dow opened an office in downtown Saginaw in the near future.
bulletDow RI work plan delay
bullet The data collected on the  T- River floodplain and  T- river sediments confirms, supports and reaffirms DEQ's  previous findings and scientific assumptions on the extent of the contamination.
bulletDEQ/Dow Meetings
bullet Thursday, February 9, 2006, at the Horizons Conference Center in Saginaw. The meeting is open to the public and will run from 6:30 to 9:00 p.m
bullet EPA OK with Dow not telling us about their releases
bullet A proposal by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to reduce the reporting requirements from industrial polluters will weaken the effectiveness of a database that monitors industrial pollution in communities across the country.
bullet Zilwaukee Twp and the DMDF
bullet Saginaw River Dredge  Materials Disposal Facility  will condemn hundreds of acres of wetland/farmland to a slurry pit for dioxin contaminated sediments from the Saginaw River.
bullet Saginaw County taxpayers at the end of 20 years will be responsible for this site and Dow's dioxin in perpetuity unless things change.

Click here to view the entire update

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01/19/06
Plaintiff motion for partial lift of stay denied

In a vote of 2-1, the Michigan Appeals denied plaintiffs motion for partial lift of stay on discovery.  No explanation given.

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01/18/06
Dow request for delay approved.

January 17, 2006 Michigan Appeals court grants Dow motion for extension to file their appeal brief. Dow now has until March 1, 2006 to comply.  No word on any of the plaintiffs' motions.

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01/14/06
MEC sets the record straight.

Friday night (1/13/06), Michigan Public TV "Off the Record" featured James Cliff, Policy director for the Michigan Environmental Council.  James did a great job focusing on the real issues raised in the last weeks Dow supporter puppet show.   Watch the video (James segment starts at about 13 minutes into the show) and judge for yourself, click here to view on the  WKAR website.

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01/13/06
Dow Remedial Investigation Work plans available for public commentT

The Department of Environmental Quality announces:

bulletThe Dow Remedial Investigation Work Plans are now available for public review,
bulletWhere they can be viewed (local libraries and MDEQ web site)
bulletUpcoming Community Meeting, February 9, 2006, Horizons Conference Center, Saginaw MI
bulletUpcoming cablecast of the previous Community Meeting.

Work plans to conduct Remedial Investigations of the contamination in Midland area soils and the Tittabawassee River and floodplain were received on December 29, 2005 by the DEQ from The Dow Chemical Company. Submittal of these work plans was required by Dow's June 2003 hazardous waste management facility operating license and the January 2005 Framework for an Agreement between the DEQ and Dow.

Discussion of these work plans will be the main topic of the next quarterly Midland/Saginaw/Bay City Tri-Cities Dioxin Community Meeting hosted by the DEQ and Dow on Thursday, February 9, 2006, at the Horizons Conference Center in Saginaw. The meeting is open to the public and will run from 6:30 to 9:00 p.m. Staff from the DEQ and Dow will be available one-half hour before and after the meeting for individual discussion with the public. Background information and supporting materials Community Meetings can be found at http://www.michigan.gov/deqdioxin, then click on the "DEQ/Dow Community Involvement" Quick Link. 

The direct link to the work plans is:  http://www.michigan.gov/deq/0,1607,7-135-3312_4118_4240-53424--,00.html#Recent_Dow_Offsite_CA_Documents

Residents are encouraged to provide their comments on Dow's work plans at the Community Meeting. Alternatively, comments can be submitted by mail to Cheryl Howe, DEQ Waste & Hazardous Materials Division, PO Box 30241, Lansing, MI, 48909-7741, or by email at howec@michigan.gov.

Copies of Dow's work plans are also available for public review at the following locations:

bulletGrace A. Dow Memorial Library Reference Desk, 1710 West St. Andrews, Midland, Michigan (989-837-3449)
bulletZauel (Saginaw Township) Library, 3100 North Center Road, Saginaw, Michigan (989-799-2771)
bulletDEQ, Waste and Hazardous Materials Division (WHMD), Saginaw Bay District Office, 503 North Euclid, Bay City, Michigan (contact Trisha Peters at 989-686-8025, ext. 8204)
bulletDEQ, WHMD Office, North Atrium (Lower Level) Constitution Hall, 525 West Allegan, Lansing, Michigan (contact Cheryl Howe at 517-373-9881)

During 2006, additional quarterly community meetings are scheduled to be held on May 10, August 9, and November 8.

Dow has notified the DEQ that the November 9, 2005 Community Meeting will be cablecast on Saturday and Sunday of this week at 8:00 pm on MCTV 15.  It will begin playing on MCTV 3 next week.

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01/11/06
Dow asks for another delay, Plaintiffs respond.
bulletJanuary 10, 2006 Dow filed motion in Michigan Appeals Court to extend time to file their appeal brief by 28 days, cite they are to busy.  Dow response currently due February 1, 2006, if extension granted, new deadline will be March 1, 2006.
bulletJanuary 11, 2006 Plaintiffs file two motions in Michigan Appeals Court in response to Dow's request for extension. 
bulletMotion for immediate consideration
bulletMotion for partial relief from stay.  Because Plaintiffs seek discover regardless of Class Certification status, there is no purpose in delaying non-class-related discovery, other than delay itself.  Postponing this discovery will benefit Dow and irreparably harm Plaintiffs.
bulletClick here to visit our Court Activity page for a chronological history of the lawsuit.

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01/11/06
Lone Tree/TRW Dioxin Update

Excerpts from this issue:

bulletHB4617 a cleanup bill?
bullet 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.  
bullet Body Burdens: The pollution in newborns
bullet

A benchmark investigation of industrial chemicals, pollutants and pesticides in umbilical cord blood by the Environmental Working Group, July 14, 2005: http://www.ewg.org/reports/bodyburden2/

bulletA developing child's chemical exposures are greater pound-for-pound than those of adults.
bulletAn immature, porous blood-brain barrier allows greater chemical exposures to the developing brain.
bulletChildren have lower levels of some chemical-binding proteins, allowing more of a chemical to reach "target organs."
bulletA baby's organs and systems are rapidly developing, and thus are often more vulnerable to damage from chemical exposure.
bulletSystems that detoxify and excrete industrial chemicals are not fully developed.
bulletThe longer future life span of a child compared to an adult allows more time for adverse effects to arise.
bullet Migration and persistence of Dow's dioxin in our SB Watershed
bullet Update of water quality plan is up next
bullet Cooperative strategy needed for vulnerable Great Lakes
bullet Toxins alarm tribe with few boy births


Click here to view the entire update

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01/09/06 MDEQ lab receives "Laboratory of Excellence Award"

The MDEQ laboratory recently received the National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program (NVLAP) "Laboratory of Excellence Award" based on achieving a 100% acceptable data rate in a study that compared 350 other labs in the US.  NVLAP provides an unbiased third-party evaluation and recognition of performance, as well as expert technical guidance to upgrade laboratory performance. NVLAP accreditation signifies that a laboratory has demonstrated that it operates in accordance with NVLAP management and technical requirements pertaining to quality systems; personnel; accommodation and environment; test and calibration methods; equipment; measurement traceability; sampling; handling of test and calibration items; and test and calibration reports

---------------------------------
MDEQ Press Release

January 9, 2006

Contact: Robert McCann
(517) 241-7397

DEQ Laboratory Awarded for Excellence

The Department of Environmental Quality's Laboratory Services Section has been recognized with a Laboratory of Excellence Award from Analytical Products Group, Inc. The award, given for achieving a 100% acceptable data rate in a study of 350 labs across the nation, noted that "this achievement is a demonstration of the superior quality of this laboratory."

The DEQ's laboratory services are provided for a variety of environmental programs throughout the state, including drinking water, beaches, public swimming pools, air quality, hazardous waste management, and many others. The laboratory has broad scientific capabilities for responding to new potential environmental concerns.

"This award recognizes the outstanding work performed on a daily basis by DEQ staff," said DEQ Director Steven E. Chester. "Our laboratory, along with the rest of our department, has extraordinary scientists who have dedicated themselves to protecting our environment, and ensuring Michigan's future."

This award is the result of the latest National Water Pollution Proficiency Test evaluations in which the DEQ's environmental lab scored a perfect 171 out of 171 acceptable data points.

The DEQ's drinking water lab was similarly recognized in November, 2004 for achieving a 100% score.

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01/07/06 Bill, thanks for the memories

Friday night (1/6/06), Michigan Public TV featured Bill Egerer, a know Dow supporter, on it's show "Off the Record".  The PR / Lobbyist firm "The Rossman Group", sponsored Egerer's appearance to spout off about Governor Granholm's veto of HB 4617 Polluter Free Ride bill late last month.

Mr. Egerer was in his prime, spewing misinformation and false statements as fast as he could spit them out.  The reaction of the interviewers to his obviously flawed thought process was priceless.   Get it while it is hot, the video segment can be viewed on the WKAR Public TV web site, click here.   The real danger here is that a viewer who is unfamiliar with the topic's may actually believe some of Egerer's rhetoric.

      
                 Bill Egerer                                   Rick Pluta's reaction to a incorrect factoid

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01/05/06 Dow fined $70,000 for secret dioxin testing

Dow Chemical Co. faces a $70,000 fine that flows, in part, from dioxin tests it conducted without the state's knowledge or approval.

The state Department of Environmental Quality announced this week that the chemical giant must pay a five-digit fine, plus $7,000 in investigation costs, for two violations of its operating license.  Click here for an article from the Saginaw News. or here from Midland Daily News

Secret Dow sampling reports reveals:

bullet100% of the 16 samples from the Tittabawassee floodplain down stream of the Dow plant have dioxin levels exceeding the States 90 ppt RDCC (Residential Direct Contact Criteria)
bullet75% of the 16 samples from the Tittabawassee floodplain down stream of the Dow plant have dioxin levels exceeding the ATSDR 1000 ppt  TEQ Action level
bulletA Freeland Festival Park sample of 8920 ppt TEQ is almost 2.5 time higher than previous samples taken in 2003.  It's 99 times higher than the States 90 ppt TEQ RDCC and 8.9 times higher than the ATSDR action level.  This park now has the dubious honor of having the highest level of soil dioxin (that have been released to the public) found in the flood plain since the problem was exposed in 2002.
bullet3,867 ppt at Tittabawassee Twp Park
bulletFour samples taken at Imerman Park ranged from 2,157 ppt to 4,230 ppt.
bulletClick here to view all the details posted on our "How Much" page.
bullet Click here to view MDEQ letter to Dow requesting information after catching them in the act of secret sampling, a direct violation of Dow's Hazardous Waste Management License.
bulletComment from Michelle Hurd Riddick of the Lone Tree Council: These results are consistent with Phase 1, Phase 2, and Phase 3 of sampling done by DEQ over the past three years. The conclusion has not changed. Dioxin is pervasive at high levels the entire length of the river. Dioxin will continue to move and be redistributed along this dynamic mobile river system. As it moves it will continue to be deposited and re-deposited in peoples' yards, homes, public parks and communities. Dioxin will continue to find its way into wildlife, fish and peoples' bodies. It will continue to migrate to the Saginaw River and to Lake Huron.
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01/03/06 Dow submits it's version of RI work plans to MDEQ

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 3, 2006

Contact: Robert McCann
(517) 241-7397

Dow Remedial Investigation Work Plan Available
Community Meeting Planned for February 9

A work plan to conduct a Remedial Investigation of the contamination in Midland area soils and the Tittabawassee River and floodplain was received on December 29, 2005 by the Department of Environmental Quality from The Dow Chemical Company. Submittal of this work plan was required by Dow's June 2003 hazardous waste management facility operating license and the January 2005 Framework for an Agreement between the DEQ and Dow.

Discussion of this work plan will be the main topic of the next quarterly Midland/Saginaw/Bay City Tri Cities Dioxin Community meeting hosted by the DEQ and Dow on Thursday, February 9, 2006, at the Horizons Conference Center in Saginaw. The meeting is open to the public and will run from 6:30 to 9:00 p.m. Staff from the DEQ and Dow will be available one-half hour before and after the meeting for individual discussion with the public. Background information and supporting materials for the meeting, including the work plan, will be available at http://www.michigan.gov/deqdioxin , then click on the "DEQ/Dow Community Involvement" Quick Link.

Residents are encouraged to provide their comments on Dow's work plan at the community meeting. Alternatively, comments can be submitted by mail to Cheryl Howe, DEQ Waste & Hazardous Materials Division, PO Box 30241, Lansing, MI, 48909-7741, or by email at howec@michigan.gov .

During 2006, additional quarterly community meetings are scheduled to be held on May 10, August 9, and November 8.

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1/2/06 Post Mortem: Why Governor Granholm vetoed Polluter Free Ride bill HB4617

Anne Woiwode, State Director, Sierra Club Mackinac (Michigan) Chapter wrote:

"Governor Granholm has shot down one of the most outrageous bills to come out of the Legislature in a long time. HB 4617, erroneously labeled by its proponents the Homeowner Protection Act, was vetoed by the Governor on Tuesday (DEQ press release at http://www.michigan.gov/deq/0,1607,7-135--133138--,00.html ). The bill, pushed hard by legislators from the Midland area, became worse as it moved through the Legislature, and would have gutted key portions of both the process and the standards for clean up of contaminated sites all over Michigan, both letting responsible parties off the hook for clean up AND leaving many homeowners unable to get any clean up of their contaminated property. Many communities in Michigan would have immediately seen the effect of this appalling shift of burden from the responsible parties to the victims of pollution.

An analysis of the bill provided below points out some of its worst provisions. Although many of these severe flaws were explained to the Legislature by DEQ officials at least 3 separate times in comments on the bill, they were none the less left in the bill. We can only assume, when such disturbing concerns were repeatedly raised and not addressed that the Legislative leaders and proponents of this package intended to gut Michigan’s environmental clean up law. In the press release from the DEQ, Director Steve Chester explained that the bill “would have serious implications for the state’s cleanup program, and would put property owners, the health of residents, and their environment at risk.”

The scary thing about this is that it appears that the proponents of gutting Michigan’s clean up laws are not going to simply get over the Governor doing the right thing by vetoing this bill. Already, and not surprisingly, Russ Harding, who was by far Michigan’s worst director of environmental programs ever, has weighed in with a broadside attack and a grossly distorted interpretation of the bill ( http://www.mackinac.org/article.aspx?ID=7501 ). Keeping up the myth perpetrated by the folks who clearly are looking to benefit from gutting Michigan’s clean up laws, Harding, now with the Mackinac Center, makes the ludicrous claim that current state law ignores property rights and sound science. As has happened throughout this debate, the proponents of HB 4617 have tried to use verbal slight of hand to distract Legislators and the people in Midland in particular from real goal of this legislative effort: to let Dow and others responsible for contaminating property get out of their responsibility to clean up these messes.

Thanks are due to Governor Granholm and the DEQ for holding firm on a crucial part of the clean up law in Michigan. Please take a moment to let them know you appreciate their stalwart defense of common sense and REAL science -- and while you’re at it, find out how your legislators voted (for House votes go to http://www.michiganvotes.org/RollCall.aspx?ID=168296 , for Senate votes go to

(Analysis drawn from DEQ materials)

bulletPublic Health
bulletWeakens cleanup requirements that protect Michigan’s families from contaminated soil and contamination of the food chain.
bulletBy wasting dollars on unnecessary testing, the legislation will mean less cleanup putting more citizens at risk from contamination.
bulletOur families deserve to have information on contamination that affects their lives. This bill would restrict that information flow and leave citizens unaware of contamination and how to reduce risks.
bulletEnvironment
bulletThe bill would endanger our state’s great resources by preventing the DEQ from stopping contamination polluting our lakes and streams.
bulletThe priority for any cleanup project must be placed on protecting our environment, and our citizens.
This legislation simply creates opportunities for polluters to avoid and delay cleaning up contamination, putting our environment at an even greater risk.
bulletEconomy
bulletThis legislation would waste countless dollars on unnecessary testing, disputes, and delays.
This takes away from money that could go towards clean-up and redevelopment of a contaminated property for productive use.
bulletSupporters of this legislation say that the stigma of a label hurts the economy.
They are wrong. It is the contamination itself that hurts our economy, and we must retain the tools to clean up that contamination quickly and efficiently in order to move our economy forward.

Anne Woiwode, State Director
Sierra Club Mackinac (Michigan) Chapter
109 E. Grand River Avenue, Lansing, MI 48906
517-484-2372 fax 517-484-3108

Enjoy, Explore and Protect -  www.michigan.sierraclub.org

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01/02/06  Post Mortem: Why HB4617 guts environmental laws

Section 20120a(8) lists the rules (exposure/transport pathways) that have to be considered in a generic residential cleanup.  The omission of the rules for soil direct contact, sediment cleanup, groundwater contact, and groundwater-surface water contact 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 that we 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.  R299.5728 is designed to be called on  when necessary to assure that special circumstances, not considered in development of generic criteria, be addressed as part of a remedial action that poses some additional risk.

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01/02/06 Senate and House Voting Record on HB 4617

David Holtz wrote:

"The House vote on this bill was politics at its very worse. Lawmakers who knew--or should have known--better supported not only one of the worse environmental bills in 2005, but one of the most anti-homebuyer, anti-right-to-know measures in memory. Governor Granholm did taxpayers, home buyers and all who care about holding corporate polluters accountable for cleaning up their messes a huge favor with her veto. Those who voted for this horrible measure will have to explain to their constituents why corporate polluters trumped the public interest."

Click here to view voting record of Senate and House. 

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12/27/05 Governor Granholm veto's Polluter Free Ride bill HB4617

Governor Granholm Veto's HB 4617  today
 
                Click here to read the Governor's statement on the veto.
 
Kudos to the Governor for defending public health and Michigan's natural resources.
 
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 stewardship.
  
You can reach the Governor  
  
1-517-373-3400

Lone Tree Council /  TRW

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bulletSee newspaper articles for information dating back to January 2002.  Click here
bulletFor additional archived information, click here
 

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