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 This Agreement may be superseded by a comprehensive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
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
(i) the surficial soils of the City of
(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;
(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
Lawyers clarifies questions about Priority 2 documents
Residents who own
property classified as Priority 2 should receive a letter soon about the
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
A few excerpts (be sure to click on the link below to
read the letter for accurate details):
Filling out and returning the "Residential
Property Use Activity" document is entirely voluntary according to the MDEQ.
If you decide to complete and return the
document to AKT Peerless, consider adding the language mentioned the the
The "License Agreement" must be completed to
be eligible for Priority 2 mitigation measures.
If you decide to sign and return,
consider adding the language mentioned the the lawyers letter.
If 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.
If you have any questions, contact Sherry
Berry at 816-714-7100 or Tara Inzerillo at 816-474-8100.
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
Tittabawassee River residents who are considered "Priority 2" properties in
accordance to Dow's Interim Remedial Actions demanded by the state
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:
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
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:
Annette Lucas, the AKT Peerless employee who spearheaded the P-1 IRA
last year has left the company. Rumor has it her replacement is
When 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.
Not 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
Do NOT assume AKT Peerless will swoop in and take care of everything
without your participation.
AKT 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.
Before meeting with AKT Peerless, do the following:
Based 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.
If you do not do the following, it's unlikely anything you ask for will
be done properly:
Point out the problem areas to the P-2 manager
Document problem areas with the P-2 manager.
Re-explain the problems in minute detail (show them your documents)
to all work crews that show up. Every time!!
Supervise the work is completed to your satisfaction.
Call the P-2 manager back as often as it takes to get things right.
The 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
If 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
Be prepared for the following:
Work 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
If 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) ...".
Observe 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.
Most 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).
Do 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).
Take a controlling stance, instead of just getting out of their way
& expecting the work crews to know what to do.
Take before and after pictures.
The "License Agreement" included in the packet must be completed to be
considered for any P-2 IRA work.
The agreement authorizes Dow to access your property for the
purposes of conducting soil sampling and survey work.
The 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".
This is a legal document, you may want your lawyer to review, so do
To be considered for P-2 IRA, you must complete the enclosed
"Residential Property Use Activity Survey" or "Agricultural Property Use
The State officials contributed to the design of the form but
indicate they are not really sure how the information will be used by
Many 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?
Any 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.
03/06/06Lone Tree/TRW Dioxin Update
Dow Notice of Deficiency
Dow has 60 days
from March 2nd to resubmit work plans to correct the
Midland Daily News editorial
seems to be asking The Dow Chemical Co. if it is serious about
addressing local dioxin contamination.
Dow Remedial Investigation Work
Plans for the Saginaw River NOT submitted
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”.
Dow blow's their own horn, We
can't hear you Mr. Liveris
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.
March 15th deadline for public
comment on Dow RIWP
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.
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
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:
For these and many more, visit our Editorial page, click
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
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.
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
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."
Major Items and Issues for the Tittabawassee
River and Midland RIWPs (TR RIWP and Midland RIWP)
The RIWP must contain a single
comprehensive schedule that consolidates the major work activities
proposed by the RIWP and associated studies.
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
The RIWP Conceptual Site Modelor
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.
The RIWP does not address comments
previously provided to Dow on the PCOI identification process.
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
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:
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.
The processes and equations upon
which the model is built.
The process by which the model will
be calibrated to the n samples.
Verification of the model by
demonstrating that it also matches existing data.
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
The RIWP does not address Preliminary
Feasibility Study Planningor data needs as required by III.F of
the approved SOW and as discussed in Dow’s “Performance Based Approach”
The RIWP needs to specifically include
mapping and sampling of erosional areas (e.g. cut banks).
The Midland PCOI investigation strategy
needs to be reevaluatedas indicated by U.S. EPA.
DQOsThese will need to be revised
to reflect required modifications to the RIWPs.
Major Items and Issues for the Human Health
Risk Assessment Work Plans (HHRA WP)
Review and approval process for
components of the HHRA WP.
Preliminary Conceptual Site Model (PCSM)
Identification of Exposure Pathways
Exposure Data Collection
Exposure Inputs to HHRA Equations
Toxic Equivalency Factors (TEFs)
Screening Level Risk Assessment (SLRA)
Forward-looking Probabilistic Risk
Area Wide Cleanup Criteria (AWCC) and
Site Specific Cleanup Criteria (SSCC)
Soil and Sediment Concentrations related
to food-chain pathways
Identification of other PCOIs
Citations and/or references need to be
included for all applicable Part 201 regulatory requirements or EPA
Sequence of proposed HHRA WP components
A review and approval process for the
individual workplan for each component of the HHRA work plan is
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
to review the entire Draft Notice of Deficiency
02/21/06Lone 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:
Ignore compliance with their
Delay defining the extent of
Deny the toxicity of dioxin
Rewrite the science to benefit
Rewrite the laws that govern
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!
02/21/06EPA finds Dow IR Workplans
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:
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
Dow’s proposal for three surface water sample locations in
the TR to be sampled during a base flow and flood event is
EPA requests that MDEQ require Dow to undertake the
following four sequential steps in order to properly characterize the TR and
Completion of a thorough PCOI study (Principle
Contaminants of Interest)
Completion of a thorough geochemical study on all of the
identified PCOIs (or all PCOI chemical groupings)
Completion of a pilot characterization study to
determine horizontal sampling grid interval for both the River
sediments and the floodplain soils
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).
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.
Completion of a full characterization study including
the preparation of depth-based contaminant-concentration contour maps
for all identified PCOIs
EPA recommends that, at a minimum, the final work products
of the T-RIWP characterization process include the following:
90 ppt TEQ boundary line map (vertical and horizontal).
Depth based concentration
contour maps with a 100 ppt TEQ contour line.
0-6 inch surface TEQ
concentration contour map.
TEQ concentration contour
maps for all underlying 1-foot vertical compositing intervals
Comparable boundary lines and
maps should be produced for all other PCOIs.
Dow’s proposal in the M-RIWP to delay Phase II sampling
until 2008 is not acceptable to EPA.
... 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Dow's proposal, in the HHRAWPs, to use probabilistic
methods for deriving dose-response parameters for the PCOIs is
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.
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
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.
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
Janet Olszewsk is director of the Michigan Department of Community Health.
02/17/06Lone Tree/TRW Dioxin Update
from this issue:
The good the bad and the ugly
MDEQ fills in data
floodplain soil not as contaminated as the Tittabawassee River
sediment is highly contaminated
Attractive Nuisance: Frankenlust Slurry pit and Dow boat docks
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
What about the fishing docks being built by Dow Chemical ? Aren’t
they an attractive nuisance for
Dow says dioxin only causes Chloracne
Dr. Collins from Dow assures a young woman that there was no
problem with dioxin.
MDEQ offers little response,
Lone Tree had to do it for them.
New Jersey, dioxin and the Passaic River ( We can dream)
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.
They want the river cleaned up to 17 ppt maximum level.
Why? Because it makes good economic sense and because clean healthy
rivers attract people and add to the quality of life in our
Dow Work Plans
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.
It should come as no surprise that cursory review of the plans show
Dow is attempting to do three things:
Rewrite the laws that regulate them
Develop the science they want (even if it takes years)
2/13/06 The film, "The Long Shadow", to be shown locally.
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.
February 9, 2006 Community Meeting Update
Priority 2 Interim Response Activities (NOT cleanup) scheduled to begin
MDEQ approved with modifications (unspecified) on February 2/9/2006
Defined as properties along the river
where 2004 flood waters touched the property or
where testing has shown dioxin/furan levels > 1000 ppt TEQ
Participation is voluntary
AKT Peerless has been contracted to conduct the follow-up.
You may have the right to have your soil tested, request it and see
Dow says all Priority 1 properties complete however some say they
have not been contacted.
Public Comment period on the RIWP ends 3/15/05,
click here to review and respond.
The 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.
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.
Lone 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
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.
U of M announces the Dow funded Human Exposure study results will be
released in August 2006.
Residents express concern (paraphrased, not exact quotes).
Who pays for testing if you want to sell your property and buyer
Dow says they will not, your on your own at over $1,000 per
If I played in the river muck for years as a kid, what are the risks
to my health?
Kids are walking around
in the recently flooded river muck at the newly remediated Freeland
Festival park, what is Dow going to do about it?
Dow 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.
Are 90 samples taken down wind enough to characterize the
contamination in Midland?
We think they said yes.
If I am a Priority 1 property and it is re-contaminated by another
flood, will Dow remediate it again?
Yes, contact Dow.
If I am a Priority 1 (or 2) property, will Dow test my soil for
Only if you ask. Evidently not many did and Dow did not
Is 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?
Great Lakes National Program Office Study Update: it's everywhere
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
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%
1) The Shiawassee River is not a significant contributor of Dioxin/Furans to
2) The Saginaw River Floodplain is not as contaminated as the Tittabawassee
3) The highest TEQ concentrations, (up to 16,000 ppt TEQ) were found in the
River Sediments (non-navigational).
4) High levels (> 1000 ppt TEQ) were found in the Lower Saginaw River and west
of Saginaw Bay at depth.
1) Report due to EPA-GLNPO -Spring 2006.
2) Incorporate Dow Studies and Agency Data into Google Earth.
Dow Remedial Investigation Work Plan Available - Community Meeting
Planned for February 9
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
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
WHO bars Dow from participating in setting global protection standards
"The WHO and other public health agencies risk their
scientific credibility and may be compromising public health by
partnering with ILSI,"
"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.'"
shifts in scientific thinking - Dow scientists stuck in the old world
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. OLD: High level contamination overwhelms
detoxification and other defense mechanisms. NEW: Low level contamination
hijacks control of development.
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. OLD: Only high levels of exposure matter. NEW:
Impacts caused at what had been assumed to be background levels.
4. OLD: Focus on adults. NEW: Periods
of rapid growth and development (prenatal through puberty) are most sensitive to exposure.
5. OLD: A small number of bad actors. NEW:
Many chemicals thought safe are biological active and capable of interfering with
6. OLD: Immediate cause and effect. NEW:
Long latencies are common; fetal programming can lead to disease and disabilities decades
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. 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. 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
Maybe Mr. Collins should ask his boss to pop for a refresher course.
01/23/06Lone Tree/TRW Dioxin Update
from this issue:
Wouldn't be a bit surprised if Dow
opened an office in downtown Saginaw in the near future.
Dow RI work plan delay
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
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
EPA OK with Dow not telling us about their releases
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.
Zilwaukee Twp and the DMDF
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.
Saginaw County taxpayers at the end of 20 years will be responsible
for this site and Dow's dioxin in perpetuity unless things change.
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
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'
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
Dow Remedial Investigation Work plans available for public commentT
The Department of Environmental Quality announces:
The Dow Remedial Investigation Work Plans are now available for public
Where they can be viewed (local libraries and MDEQ web site)
Upcoming Community Meeting, February 9, 2006, Horizons Conference
Center, Saginaw MI
Upcoming 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
then click on the "DEQ/Dow Community Involvement" Quick Link.
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
Copies of Dow's work plans are also available for public review at the following
Grace A. Dow Memorial Library Reference Desk, 1710 West St. Andrews,
Midland, Michigan (989-837-3449)
Zauel (Saginaw Township) Library, 3100 North Center Road, Saginaw,
DEQ, 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)
DEQ, 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.
Dow asks for another delay, Plaintiffs respond.
January 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.
January 11, 2006 Plaintiffs file two motions in Michigan Appeals Court
in response to Dow's request for extension.
Motion for immediate consideration
Motion 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
Click here to visit our Court Activity page for
a chronological history of the lawsuit.
01/11/06Lone Tree/TRW Dioxin Update
from this issue:
HB4617 a cleanup bill?
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.
01/09/06 MDEQ lab receives "Laboratory of Excellence Award"
The MDEQ laboratory recently received the
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
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
"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.
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.
Rick Pluta's reaction to a incorrect factoid
Dow fined $70,000 for secret dioxin testing
Dow Chemical Co. faces a $70,000 fine that flows, in part, from
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
75% of the 16 samples from the Tittabawassee floodplain down stream of
the Dow plant have dioxin levels exceeding the ATSDR 1000 ppt TEQ
A 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.
3,867 ppt at Tittabawassee Twp Park
Four samples taken at Imerman Park ranged from 2,157 ppt to 4,230 ppt.
Click here to view all the details posted on
our "How Much" page.
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.
Comment 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
Dow submits it's version of RI work plans to MDEQ
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 3, 2006
Contact: Robert McCann
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
During 2006, additional quarterly community meetings are scheduled to be
held on May 10, August 9, and November 8.
Post Mortem: Why
Governor Granholm vetoed Polluter Free Ride bill HB4617
Woiwode, State Director, Sierra Club Mackinac (Michigan) Chapter
"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
Weakens cleanup requirements that protect Michigan’s families from
contaminated soil and contamination of the food chain.
By wasting dollars on unnecessary testing, the legislation will mean
less cleanup putting more citizens at risk from contamination.
Our 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.
The bill would endanger our state’s great resources by preventing
the DEQ from stopping contamination polluting our lakes and streams.
The 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
This 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.
Supporters of this legislation say that the stigma of a label hurts
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
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.
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.
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
See newspaper articles for information dating back to January 2002. Click here