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TRW Archives 2007 2nd quarter 04/01/07 - 06/30/07
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06/29/07  Dow has another go at the "Facility" label

Confirmed.  The Chamber of Commerce is coordinating a new attack on the Dow "Facility" label assigned to all the residential properties contaminated by their dioxin, see 6/22/07 Current News entry below.  Yesterdays article in the Saginaw News spells it out in black and white.

"Thomas and Tittabawassee officials said they'd like the state Department of Environmental Quality to lift the "facility" label the agency applied to many properties along the Tittabawassee, sparking outrage among some residents and lawmakers who said the designation has affected property values and wasn't based on sound science."

The article mentions the few property owners who support this move but makes no mention of the 100,000 plus citizens who oppose it the last time in 2005 which was fortunately vetoed by Governor Granholm.  Click here to view all the details of that battle.

The MDEQ mailed a 4 page newsletter to local residents in 2005 addressing it's new 'Facility' language contained in a "Revised Advisory".  The revision clarifies language used in the original "Supplemental Advisory Regarding Part 201 Requirements Applicable to Property Contaminated by Dioxin" published in June of 2003.

Click on image to the left to view a few excerpts from the MDEQ 2005 newsletter clarifying a facility.

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06/27/07   EPA: Dow Chemical must clean up Tittabawassee Hot Spots Immediately

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
No. 07-OPA110

CHICAGO (June 27, 2007) -U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 today notified Dow Chemical Co. that it must immediately start cleanup of three dioxin-contaminated hot spots downstream of its Midland, Mich., facility on the Tittabawassee River.

The action is being taken using the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980 and requires that Dow and EPA negotiate the final terms of three administrative consent orders for the cleanup within 15 days and start field work by August 15.

EPA has documented that dioxin contamination in soil poses risks to human health and the environment. Cleanup must take place in a significant portion of the Upper Tittabawassee River this construction season.

In late November 2006, Dow identified dioxin hot spots along the first six miles of the Tittabawassee River contaminated with levels up to 87,000 parts per trillion, far in excess of state and federal requirements. The areas of concern are subject to flooding and erosion that could spread the contamination.

Dow's corrective action work under its 2003 Michigan Resource Conservation and Recovery Act license has taken too long, prompting EPA to require the following actions.
bullet Development of a removal plan, including field sampling.
bullet Excavation and/or dredging of soil, bottom deposit, sediment, submerged sediment, riverbank and floodplain soil to an EPA-approved cleanup level.
bullet Cut-back and stabilization of river bank.
bullet Proper disposal of all dioxin-contaminated material, including water.
bullet Re-vegetation of floodplain areas with native plants, backfilling and erosion control.
bullet Sampling and chemical analysis as removal progresses.

Dow has five days to respond to EPA's notice letter.

The Dow facility is a 1,900-acre chemical manufacturing plant located in Midland, Mich. Dioxins and furans were byproducts from the manufacture of chlorine-based products. Past waste disposal practices, fugitive emissions and incineration at Dow have resulted in on- and off-site dioxin and furan contamination. Contamination of the Saginaw Bay Watershed extends over 50 miles into Saginaw Bay.

 
# # #
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

CONTACT: Karen Thompson, +1-312-353-8547, thompson.karen@epa.gov, of U.S.

Environmental Protection Agency

Web site: http://www.epa.gov/

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06/22/07  Township eyes funds to increase residents dioxin exposure

A recent article in the Saginaw News indicates at least one Saginaw Township official is excited about the possibility of creating additional avenues of dioxin exposure for the areas residents.  "Saginaw Township Supervisor Tim Braun envisions a network of pedestrian paths ... Hopefully we can come up with a project that would benefit all the communities along the Tittabawassee River ...".

Freeland officials followed the Dow money trail back in 2005 when they accepted funds for improvements in the Freeland Festival Park.  When the river is below flood stage, the results are beautiful ....

 However, almost every year seasonal flooding saturates the entire park with new deposits of dioxin contaminated river sediment coating the surfaces of almost every structure in the park.  The levels and location of the dioxin contamination change with every flood, park soil sampling in 2005 revealed levels of 8,900 ppt which is 2.5 times the levels sampled in 2003.

The Dow plan included a wall to keep residents from roaming the riverbank and a dock to allow access to the river.  The stone walls effectively keep toddlers off the banks; however you can visit the park on almost any given day and see kids (and adults) who have used the decks and walkways as access points to climb down onto the river banks to fish.  Freeland officials recognized the potential dangers of the river back when the walls where installed: "It looks nice -- we're trying to be natural -- but we're also trying to say, 'Hey, don't walk down here,' " said Brian Kischnick, manager of Tittabawassee Township."  Curious statement as Freeland elected to REMOVE warning signs at the same time all the other parks posted updated versions.  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.

Additional river sediment testing in 2007 found levels as high as 100,000 ppt.  Where will Mr. Braun's future pedestrian paths be located and how can he insure the nearby banks and soil are not contaminated?  If they are "clean" this year, what about next year?  Will his proposal include proper fencing to keep kids from climbing down on to the river banks?    Currently, the river banks are difficult to reach in most areas, until Dow cleans the river and it's floodplain soils, do not encourage further exposure.

The "settlement" funds mentioned in the article are part of the Dow/MDEQ Framework whose goals include "Creating a defined process for moving forward to address remaining concerns regarding these areas and the Saginaw River and Bay by ensuring that ecological and human risk reduction and restoration projects can be implemented that provide environmental protection and meaningful local environmental and public benefits, including enhancement of ongoing regional economic development efforts."  If the process includes Dow buying public officials with pet projects via the Chamber of Commerce puppets, our concerns about the framework agreement are as valid as ever:

"Dow Chemical is not the only stakeholder in this process. People living in Dow's dioxin everyday of their lives deserve to be part of this process. Taxpayers supporting public parks and the citizens as the rightful owners of these natural resources are being denied, until after the fact, a place at the table. It is important how our government chooses to conduct our business. Divisive issues like the contamination of watershed belong in the public arena because they are about public health, resources and democracy."

Unfortunately, all the talk of "pedestrian walkways" is just smoke and mirrors to reel local officials into the net.  Could the real intent of the Chamber of Commerce be to  mount another attack on the Dow "Facility" regulation?  We think so, click here for all the gory details of their last attempt which fortunately was vetoed by Governor Granholm in late 2005..

We all want our river back, lets do it the right way.  Dow Clean It Up!

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06/15/07  Dow's Michigan plan to be applied in Thailand?

"Dow Chemical is committed to turning Thailand into its largest production base in Southeast Asia," Kosit said, adding that the company's concerns lay in the government's measures to control toxic emissions in the Map Ta Phut Industrial Estate, where the new plants are expected to be located."
 

Is Dow concerned because they may not be able to persuade Thailand to capitulate to the same level as Michigan?
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06/09/07 Blah ba blah ba blah

The Dow puppet masters and their U of M traveling road show made another appearance in town this week promoting their "Trust us, we're the experts" campaign.  The sparsely attended event audience was composed of about 30 people consisting of Dow/U of M staff , a few local newspaper reporters, and a handful of Dow supporters.  Noticeably absent where the estimated 2000 other property owners who live along the Tittabawassee River who recognized this event for what it was, a snake oil pitch.  The theme consisted of rehashing and manipulating statistics to down play the extensive contamination of the properties and bodies of floodplain residents.  The $15,000,000 provided by Dow to the U of M for this "study" evidently came with a condition that the troops return periodically to convince themselves and the media that contrary to the beliefs in the rest of the world, dioxin contamination is something we should just accept.

The Media has latched on to the Dow mantra that residents only have a "small" increase of dioxin in their bodies above those of a "control" group in another part of the state (and it's levels are higher than those found in many areas in the rest of the nation).  What they fail to mention is that reputable scientist have established that current levels of dioxin in the environment are associated with body burdens in the general population which are at or near the point where effects may be occuring.  The key phrase here is "general population", i.e. the average citizen living in non-contaminated areas.  Tittabawassee flood plain residents live in HIGHLY CONTAMINATED areas.

A case in point.  The primary statistic being repeated by the press is the median value associated with the one person of the 945 who participated that had a dioxin level 28% higher than the "control" group in Jackson.    The median is the one value which happens to be in the exact middle of all the results.  In other words, 50% of those tested had levels HIGHER than 28% statistic mentioned by the press.  That's 465 people with levels higher than the 28% increase reported.  Dow and the U of M are intentionally creating an atmosphere of complacency.

  I would be very concerned if I where Joe "median" or any of the other 465 citizens with an increase of "only 28%" or more of the most deadly toxin know to man.  Especially when Dr. Birnbaum of the EPA says they are observing adverse health effects on humans at "background" levels

The data used to generate the U of M statistics are not available to the public.  Dow understands this and recognizes that statistics are a wonderful tool which can be used to present or skew data in ways that boggle the mind.  You will never see them provide the raw data (which can easily be done to preserve the privacy of individuals) to other researchers for non-biased analysis. 

David Linhardt, a Chemical Engineer formerly employed by Dow, performed an analysis of the U of M reports and found:

The recent U/M Dioxin Exposure Study did not fully explain the significance of elevated dioxin blood serum levels found in Michigan residents. In addition, the U/M did not discuss many of the significant findings presented in the supplied data tables.

  1. When compared on a year 2005 to year 2005 basis, Michigan median serum levels are 70% higher than the national levels. This elevation is much greater than the 10% increase reported by the U/M. When compared on a mean, 95th percentile and maximum level basis, Michigan serum levels are from 52% to 125% higher than US levels.
  2. Dioxin serum levels in the Midland Dow Plume are lower than other Michigan areas. The U/M has kept the specific locations that were sampled confidential. However, based on data from previous soil sampling programs, more than 70% of the locations sampled in Midland by the U/M may have been two miles or more from the Dow incineration complex. Only 2 out of a total of 31 samples may have been taken in heavily contaminated neighborhoods. Although Midland serum levels are low compared to other Michigan study zones, average serum levels in Midland are still nearly 150% higher than the corresponding 2005 US level.
  3. The U/M found very high dioxin blood serum levels even in background areas believed to be regions of low dioxin contamination. Every Michigan area studied by the U/M was found to have dioxin serum levels significantly higher than 2005 US national levels. The study confirmed that dioxin contamination in Michigan is more wide-spread than previously believed and not just confined to the Midland/Saginaw area.

A comprehensive analysis of the U/M study, including information not discussed in the U/M report, can be found on a new website  www.MI-Dioxins.com  The website will only carry information related to the U/M dioxin blood serum report.

The Executive Summary of the analysis has been provided as an attachment to this email. If you believe that the analysis has value, please forward information on the analysis and the website to persons concerned about the levels of dioxins being found in the human body.
 

The media coverage of our situation have definitely taken a pro Dow stance, kind of hard to deny the whims of a 50 billion dollar corporation that lives in your backyard.  Review the recent newspaper headlines and then scroll back in time, the headlines tell it all. According to one of the recent articles, the Dow PR campaign is affecting a few residents math skills as some now believe the 2+2=0.

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05/29/07 Lone Tree Council / TRW Dioxin Update

Judge Ludington rules against Lone Tree Council

In a 58 page judgement, Judge Thomas Ludington ruled against Lone Tree Council in our suit against the Army Corp of Engineers and Saginaw County to secure an Environmental Impact Study (EIS) for the dredge slurry pit on the Saginaw River. The site is intended to be a final resting place for dioxin/chemical laden sediments from the navigational dredging of the river. This tax payer owned site is also of interest to Dow Chemical as part of their remediation of the Saginaw River.

Lone Tree is consulting with our attorneys and reviewing the 58 page document. We will have it up on the www.dredgeitright.org  web site in a few days. In the meantime, please go to the web site and view the huge footprint ( aerial shots) of this slurry pit nestled along the Saginaw River, the Crow Island Game Preserve and some of the Saginaw Valley's most fertile farmland.  
 
Stay tuned.
 
Michelle Hurd Riddick
Lone Tre Council

Click here to view the entire update

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05/14/07 Lone Tree Council / TRW Dioxin Update

bullet Great News from Dow Share Holders Meeting
bullet The real story was the passage of the Resolution to report to the shareholders on the remediation down river from the Dow Chemical facility in Midland.
bullet This  is huge for a first time resolution! OVER 20 % OF SHAREHOLDERS SUPPORTED TRANSPARENCY
bulletPress Release: Unprecedented Dow Shareholder Vote Urges Transparency on Cleanup
bullet The resolution required the company to "issue a report to
shareholders...summarizing the pace and effectiveness of the
environmental remediation process being undertaken by Dow in the
vicinity of and downstream from its Midland headquarters,"

Click here to view the entire update

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05/10/2007: Dow share holders vote down resolutions to protect human health

Three resolutions presented at Dow Chemicals Annual Share Holder meeting "raise serious concerns about the companies ability to manage risks, reputational damage that could harm expansion plans, and failures to disclose material liabilities to investors. Two of the resolutions relate to contamination that Dow has failed to remediate dioxin contamination in mid-Michigan and abandoned waste in Bhopal, India; the third resolution seeks to address the asthma epidemic and links to pesticides made by Dow."

bulletMidland Resolution
bullet"As shareholders, we are concerned that the continued delays in Dow's remediation of dioxin exposures near their flagship Midland facilities could lead to increased long-term liabilities Dow's reluctance to address such a publicly documented contamination problem, especially in its own backyard, raises red flags about how the company deals with environmental and human health concerns more broadly."  Resolution presented by Sisters of Mercy Detroit.
bullet Shareholders voted down resolutions that would have required the board of directors to issue a report to shareholders by April 2008 summarizing the pace and effectiveness of the dioxin cleanup.
bullet129M for
bullet481M against
bulletAsthma
bullet Trillium Asset Management, which filed the resolution on asthma, has a similar complaint and is requesting a report analyzing the impact of Dow products linked to asthma, including end-use pesticides, pesticide active ingredients and other chemicals.
bullet42M for
bullet576M against
bullet Bhopal
bullet"First and foremost, we must consider our fiduciary obligation, and that includes ensuring that the companies we invest in are responsible corporate citizens not only in the communities where they operate today, but wherever their business decisions have impacted human lives. In Bhopal, India, Dow has inherited a legacy connected to Union Carbide, and we believe that addressing any outstanding liabilities that exist is absolutely necessary if Dow is to ensure expansion in the critical Indian market."
bullet51 M for
bullet566 M against

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05/09/2007: Press Release from Amnesty International USA

Dow Chemical Investors Worth $305 Million Challenge Company on Social and Environmental Catastrophes

Three resolutions demand reporting on alleged harms to human health and the environment in Dow's hometown and around the globe

(CSRwire) MIDLAND, MI- May 9, 2007- Shareholders of Dow Chemical (NYSE: DOW) representing $305 million will challenge CEO Andrew Liveris and top management at its annual stockholders meeting on Thursday, May 10, 2007, to address concerns about the companies destructive impact on human health and the environment.

Stockholders will vote on three resolutions which raise serious concerns about the companies ability to manage risks, reputational damage that could harm expansion plans, and failures to disclose material liabilities to investors. Two of the resolutions relate to contamination that Dow has failed to remediate dioxin contamination in mid-Michigan and abandoned waste in Bhopal, India; the third resolution seeks to address the asthma epidemic and links to pesticides made by Dow.

The National Academy of Science recently re-affirmed that there is no safe threshold for the cancer-causing effects of dioxin. Evidence has accumulated that dioxin causes additionally dangerous health problems even at low levels, including developmental problems in children, immunologic problems in children and adults, reproductive problems, and diabetes. A study funded by Dow confirmed increased levels of dioxin in the blood of residents living in the contaminated floodplain downstream from Dow's Midland plant, with median blood levels 28% higher than a comparison group. Yet according to a June 14, 2006 EPA document, "Dow's time frame for the implementation of final remedies is not reasonable or acceptable," and "[studies] are intended to delay the remediation process." Meanwhile, a class-action lawsuit by individuals representing 2,000 residents living along the Tittabawassee River and flood plain alleges that dioxin from the Midland plant threatens their health and lowers property values. The lawsuit seeks damages up to $100 million.

"As shareholders, we are concerned that the continued delays in Dow's remediation of dioxin exposures near their flagship Midland facilities could lead to increased long-term liabilities Dow's reluctance to address such a publicly documented contamination problem, especially in its own backyard, raises red flags about how the company deals with environmental and human health concerns more broadly," said Valerie Heinonen of the Sisters of Mercy Detroit, who filed the resolution on Midland contamination. "We are concerned that they are investing more in public relations than in efforts to provide real solutions."

Investors have expressed similar concerns about Dow's response to Bhopal. On the night of December 2, 1984, 27 tons of poisonous gas including methyl isocyanate leaked from a Union Carbide (UC) pesticide plant in Bhopal, India, taking the lives of more than 7,000 people within days, and resulting in an additional 15,000 deaths in the years since. Pollution continues to contaminate drinking water, and combined with long term effects of the disaster, has led to serious health problems for more than 100,000 people. Because UC is a fully-owned subsidiary, Dow has become the focus of survivors' efforts for justice, and multiple liability cases connected to Bhopal are pending.

New York City Comptroller William C. Thompson, Jr., who filed the resolution on Bhopal along with Amnesty International USA (AIUSA), said, "First and foremost, we must consider our fiduciary obligation, and that includes ensuring that the companies we invest in are responsible corporate citizens not only in the communities where they operate today, but wherever their business decisions have impacted human lives. In Bhopal, India, Dow has inherited a legacy connected to Union Carbide, and we believe that addressing any outstanding liabilities that exist is absolutely necessary if Dow is to ensure expansion in the critical Indian market."

Dow's concerns about expansion in India were confirmed recently in a letter between Dow CEO Liveris and the Indian Ambassador Ronen Sen, uncovered by Bhopal advocates through the Right to Information Act. "This letter is strong evidence that Dow believes pending legal liabilities for the legacy of Bhopal present a barrier to investing in India, but the company has not disclosed this to its shareholders," said Sanford Lewis, an attorney who has represented Dow shareholders.

Added Neil Sardana, an AIUSA activist who is attending the shareholder meeting, "The fact is, while people are dying, Dow has shunted their responsibilities and looked to others to clean up their mess. The suffering in Bhopal is compounded by Dow's refusal to disclose the chemical makeup of toxins that are poisoning people, making it impossible for them to receive adequate medical treatment."

Trillium Asset Management, which filed the resolution on asthma, has a similar complaint and is requesting a report analyzing the impact of Dow products linked to asthma, including end-use pesticides, pesticide active ingredients and other chemicals. The list of Dow pesticide products with ingredients linked to respiratory problems is long and Dow is the basic manufacturer of many active ingredients, including 2,4-D and chlorpyrifos. The Centers for Disease Controls most recent National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals found 93% of the U.S. population has chlorpyrifos metabolites in their bodies, and children ages 6-11 have exposure at four times the level EPA considers acceptable for long-term exposure. Additionally, more than 25% of the U.S. population has 2,4-D in their bodies, with children having the highest concentrations. In the opinion of the shareholder proponents, CDC's data will aid the correlation of exposure to disease, and increase the likelihood of liability suits against Dow.

Proponents of these three resolutions believe that their concerns are interconnected, and that for Dow to become a truly ethical company as described in its annual corporate citizenship report  it must address the full range of social and environmental issues. This also includes issues that were not represented on today's ballot, such as legacy issues connected to Agent Orange in Vietnam and Nemagon use in Central America. Outside the shareholder meeting, activists representing a wide range of environmental and human health concerns will be protesting the apparent hypocrisy of Dow's new "Human Element" ad campaign, demanding of Dow, "Where is the human element?"

The shareholders who filed the resolutions represent over 6.6 million shares including the New York City Pension Funds, New York State Common Retirement Fund (NYSCRF), Trillium Asset Management, Amnesty International USA (AIUSA), Dominican Sisters: Grand Rapids, Sisters of Holy Cross and Sisters of Mercy Regional Community of Detroit Charitable Trust.

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05/08/07 Court of appeals hears dioxin arguments,

Excerpts from May 8, 2007 Midland Daily News article: Court of Appeals hears dioxin arguments

bulletThe case, which could grow to include as many as 2,000 property owners, is on desks of Michigan Court of Appeals judges, who heard arguments Monday (5/7/07) on whether Saginaw County's Circuit Court erred when it granted the suit class action status more than a year and a half ago.
bulletAttorneys speculate it could be another three to six months before the lawsuit against The Dow Chemical Co. over dioxin contamination moves forward or back.
bulletLitigants want Dow to pay them the value of their property, saying it has been made worthless by Dow's historical deposits of the toxin linked to cancer, diabetes and a multitude of other health issues.
bulletDow said that because not all properties have been tested, and because location on the 100-year flood plain doesn't guarantee contamination, some people who would be included in the class if it is certified don't have a valid complaint.
bulletThat group of possible class litigants is different from lead plaintiffs Kathy and Gary Henry, Kurtenbach said, because the class litigants are suing based on the possibility they have contamination, or will have contamination, on their property in the future. The Henrys, on the other hand, have had their property tested and have been made aware that elevated levels of dioxin exist on their land.  "They don't have to rely on a "threat" claim, they've actually got a contamination claim," Kurtenbach (Dow lawyer) said.
bulletTheresa Woody (Plaintiff attorney) said , "the fact that the state of Michigan via its Department of Environmental Quality has warned every property owner in the 100-year flood plain of elevated levels, has issued safety warnings about soil contact and inhalation and has put out wildlife and fish advisories is proof enough that each person has been affected by the dioxin problem".
bullet "These go out to everybody, not just specific people," Woody said. They're also seen by the public, she said. That fact, paired with laws that require sellers to disclose information about contamination to potential buyers, impacts sales and therefore property values.
bulletWoody said Dow is trying to change Michigan law,  "Right now what they're saying, is: Make them prove they can win before they get class action (status)," she said. "They are trying to graft onto the law a requirement of physical intrusion. That's not the law in the state of Michigan."
bulletThe trio of judges hearing the case scarcely commented during the hearing: Kirsten F. Kelly, Patrick Meter, Karen Fort Hood. 
bulletJudge Kelly questioned Saginaw Circuit Judge Leopold Borrello's decision certifying the class
bulletJudge Meter brought up the possibility of separating the case into two parts
bulletJudge Hood did not comment during the hearing

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05/06/07 Lone Tree Council / TRW Dioxin Update

bullet Saginaw Earth Day stories on the Lone Tree Council
bullet Lone Tree Council Memberships
bullet Henry et al vs. Dow Chemical
bullet Lone Tree Council vs. Army Corp of Engineers
bullet Good news from the DEQ Dow Quarterly Meeting

Click here to view the entire update

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05/06/07 MDEQ announces spot cleanup of Tittabawassee River

bulletThe MDEQ announced at it's quarterly Midland/Saginaw/Bay City (Tri-Cities) Dioxin Community Meeting that two "hot spots" will be cleaned up this summer.  Both areas are located just downstream of the Dow Midland Headquarters with reported levels ranging from 30,000 to 60,000 ppt TEQ dioxin.
bulletA third spot with levels as high as 87,000 ppt TEQ Dioxin was mentioned, however cleanup may not begin until 2008.
bulletInteresting, a 4th spot with a 100,000 ppt TEQ was not mentioned.
bulletLevels as high as 100,000 TEQ of dioxin (page 303) are noted in a recent Geomorph study document which summarizes dioxin levels in samples collected in and around the first 6 miles of the river down stream of Dow's Midland plant.
bulletHydraulic Dredging was specified as the clean up method.
 
bullet Environmental dredging is used to remove contamination from targeted areas. This technology is very precise and is designed to minimize re-suspension of small sediment particles that may be contaminated with PCBs, heavy metals, or other toxic materials. This process is much more controlled than navigational dredging, using technologies like the hydraulic dredge, which functions like a large vacuum cleaner to remove contaminated sediments with strong suction pumps. Click here for additional details
bulletThe two sites account for 3,600 feet of the river sediment which is 3% of the 22 miles (116,00 feet) of contamination.
bulletWhile cleanup goes after a small portion of the dioxin source, it does not directly address the estimated 16,000 acres of contaminated properties in the rivers flood plain.
bulletFlood events are constantly re-distributing the contamination, cleaning up a few hot spots is a start.  However, until all the "hot spots" are identified and cleaned, the river will never be "clean".  Once the sediment is removed, the contaminated floodplain soils will continue to move around and redistribute it's poison.  As part of the final solution, flood plain soils must be remediated as well.
bulletThe current sampling and analysis is limited to the first 6 miles of river downstream of Dow.  Only 16 miles to go!
bulletThe most interesting development this week was the announcement by the MDEQ Deputy Director that Michigan's economic problems could slow down efforts to clean up the three hot spots along the Tittabawassee River due to cuts in his staff if the State reduces or eliminates his budget.
bulletCoincidence?  We think not when you consider the ties that some of our legislative puppets have to Dow Chemical.
bulletDow has had every opportunity to resolve this issue on it's own.  Unfortunately, they have no intention of doing so unless forced to by the State or EPA.
bulletOur only hope is to let your legislators know you want a cleanup to be a high priority; Call or email them today.
bulletKenneth Horn (R), House district 94, 517-373-0834, kennethhorn@house.mi.gov
bulletAndy Coulouris (D), House district 95, 517-373-0152, andycoulouris@house.mi.gov
bulletJohn Moolenaar (R), House district 98, 517-373-1791, johnmoolenaar@house.mi.gov
bulletRoger Kahn (R), Senate district 32, 517-373-1760, fax 517-373-3487, senrkahn@senate.michigan.gov

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05/03/07 Tri-Cities Dioxin Community Meeting

The Department of Environmental Quality and The Dow Chemical Company are
hosting the next quarterly Midland/Saginaw/Bay City (Tri-Cities) Dioxin
Community Meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 3, 2007, at the
Horizons Conference Center, 6200 State Street, Saginaw.  This meeting is
open to the public.  The press release and agenda for the meeting are
available at:
 
 
Supporting materials will be available at the following location prior to the meeting:
 

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04/22/07 Lone Tree Council / TRW Dioxin Update

bullet Let a Lake Touch you this Earth day
bullet As a Michigander, you have at your doorstep four of the five Great Lakes…
bullet Brett Cherry reviews the dredge site for Review
bullet Part 1 of 2 of a detailed story in Review Magazine on the debacle of the dredge disposal site
bullet From Midland County's former Planning Director
bulletOur list is growing

Click here to view the entire update

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04/1807 Dredge Materials Disposal Facility Update

Just a reminder to all of you interested in the Dredge Materials Disposal Facility being constructed in the floodplain of the Saginaw River, you can follow this issue by visiting www.dredgeitright.org. We recently posted the depositions of Saginaw County's Public Works Commissioner and DEQ Deputy Director Jim Sygo which were taken for Bay County Circuit Court. Worth noting that Saginaw County's attorneys asked the court to keep these documents sealed. Bay County's Judge Sheeran had the decency to say no!
 
Why is this site important? It will set a precedent for future dredging of contaminated sediments within the Great Lakes of Michigan. This site, which is owned by the taxpayers of Saginaw County, was sited  in the floodplain of the Saginaw River with the blessings of DEQ, minus an EIS and will be a repository for dioxin, mercury laden sediments from the navigational channel of the river. This site, next to a game preserve,  is also minus an NPDES permit which DEQ did not feel was necessary. I do recall a gentlemen from the AG's office telling us in a meeting in September 2005 that the COE would scrap the project before they would surrender to an NPDES. He was most impressed with the omnipotence of the COE.
 
The failure to do the EIS and look for alternative sites resulted in bypassing brown-fields or other alternative sites. Instead several hundred acres of farmland were confiscated under the threat of eminent domain and two townships forced to live with a toxic pit in their backyards. MDEQ has been meeting with Dow about this site...........absent any transparency it continues to be our position that this site will be used by Dow Chemical in the future for their cleanup, reinforcing the need to do  this project correctly. The precedent is huge!
 
Thanks to those of you who have inquired and please do visit the web site.
 
Michelle Hurd Riddick
Lone Tree Council

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04/16/07 Lone Tree Council / TRW Dioxin Update

bulletUpcoming court dates
bullet Henry et al vs Dow Chemical
bullet Lone Tree vs US Army Corp of Engineers
bulletStatus of other litigation
bullet National Wildlife Federation and Lone Tree Council vs Michigan Department of Environmental Quality
bullet Saginaw County (Jim Koski) against Pat Bradt, ZilwaukeeTwp
bullet Zilwaukee Twp contested case before the Administrative Law Judge at the DEQ.
bullet Frankenlust Twp vs Saginaw County
bulletKoski-Sygo Depositions
bullet If you've ever wondered if Dow will use the dredge site?
bullet Six step help program for Mr. Koski courtesy of Dow Chemical
bullet The County Board of Commissioners has never taken a position?
bullet Jim Koski elected official or volunteer?

Click here to view the entire update

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04/15/07  New dioxin related health studies

Dioxin contributing to drop in male births?

Where are all the missing boys?

It is a question posed by a new study that has found the proportion of boys born over the past three decades has unexpectedly dropped in both the United States and Japan. In all, more than a quarter of a million boys are missing, compared to what would have been expected had the sex ratio existing in 1970 remained unchanged.

The study also says the world's most skewed sex ratio is in Canada, in a native community surrounded by petrochemical plants in Sarnia, Ont., where the number of boys born has plunged since the mid-1990s at a rate never seen. ... [more]

Study finds dioxin increases liver tumors and lung metaplasia

Epidemiological studies indicated that people exposed to dioxins were prone to the development of lung diseases including lung cancer. Animal studies demonstrated that 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) increased liver tumors and promoted lung metaplasia in females. ... [more]

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04/12/07  It's Time to Put the Saginaw Valley in Ecological Order

In view of Governor Granholm’s silence in providing the leadership and resources in cooperation with the counties of Midland, Saginaw and Bay for developing an environmental enhancement plan of action for the Saginaw Valley, I felt it necessary to summarize the findings of the "International Environmental Study: Environmental Enhancement of the Niagara River." I also commented on the environmental enhancement study in my previous essay, "It’s Time to Plan Ahead". (TRW note, see 3/12/07 entry below)

The "International Environmental Study" emphasized the implications and impact of the Niagara River system on the larger regional environmental framework in terms of tourist oriented land use concentrations, transportation, environmental health, landfill and waste management, natural areas, governmental management and coordination practices, air and water pollution generators and vacant developable land adjacent to the river.

The planning approach used to develop the Niagara River corridor plan is applicable to the development of a regional environmental enhancement plan of action for the Tittabawassee River and Saginaw River corridors and Saginaw Bay. The future of the Saginaw Valley clearly depends on the utilization and management of its water and land resources in a planned, ecological order.

The Niagara River and its shores represent a single system, as do the Tittabawassee and Saginaw rivers and Saginaw Bay. Changes in one part of shore may restrict or preclude meaningful use or preservation of other parts. The goal-related findings and conclusions pertaining to the "Niagara River Environmental Plan" included the following:

bulletAbatement of Pollution
bulletPreservation of Natural Areas
bulletEnhancement of Scenic Beauty
bulletExpansion of River Oriented Recreational Opportunities
bulletScope and Quality of Residential, Commercial and Industrial Development
bulletImprovement of Access to the River
bulletImprovement of Appreciation of Historical Heritage

The "International Environmental Study" technical report included the following components:

bulletRecommendations (Priorities, Selected Plans, Programs)
bulletGoals and Objectives
bulletThe Current Environmental Situation Along the Niagara River
bulletProblem Areas
bulletFuture Development Proposals
bulletAlternative Plans (Short-range and Long-range)
bulletRange of Solutions for Managing the Environmental Aspects of the Niagara River
bulletProcedure for Evaluating Alternative Plans

Although aimed at preserving natural areas and enhancing the scenic beauty of the Niagara River area, neither the short-term nor the long-range programs were directed at returning the area to its primitive scenic state. The programs recognized commerce and industry as prime contributors to the area and as essential features of the Niagara River environment. They also aimed at a change that would more effectively accommodate these and other productive functions in a scenic, recreation-oriented environment.

It’s time to put the Saginaw Valley in ecological order.

 Richard A. Maltby, AICP
 Midland, Michigan

TRW Note: Mr. Maltby is a retired professional urban and environmental resource planner and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planers (AICP) and the American Planning Association.  He has 38 years of experience in Michigan, Illinois, and New York; the most recent as the Midland county planning director from 1983-1998.  He currently resides in the Midland area and was a Freeland resident form 1942-1957.
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04/01/07  Tittabawassee River Residents Concerns

Delta college students produced a video in 2004 covering Dows dioxin contamination of the Tittabawassee River and flood plain.  Included are segments of a  TRW Meeting in which  residents express concerns about the dioxin contamination of their homes and properties as well as ways to avoid contamination from the flood plan.  Terry Miller of the Lone Tree Council is featured and includes his commentary on the source of the contamination and Dow's attempt to avoid responsibility for it.  Posted on YouTube in November 2006.  Click here to view.

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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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