River Watch www.trwnews.net
TRW Archives 2009 2nd quarter 04/01/09 - 06/30/09
|Timeline for achieving comprehensive cleanup|
|Superfund process and negotiations at the Dow site|
|Proposed Community involvement activities|
06/07/09 Study finds possible link between dioxin and learning disability and ADH
In a study published June 6, 2009 in Environmental Health, Dioxins and related compounds are found suspect of causing neurological disruption. Epidemiological studies indicated that exposure to these compounds caused neurodevelopmental disturbances such as learning disability and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, which are thought to be closely related to dopaminergic dysfunction.
For other Dioxin related Health Issues, click
06/07/09 EPA schedules next Dow Dioxin Meeting for June 17
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced an informational meeting on the Dow dioxin cleanup.
The meeting, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. June 17, will be held in Curtiss Hall at Saginaw Valley State University.
The EPA states they plans to take a leadership role in seeing that Dow conducts a comprehensive cleanup of harmful pollutants discharged in past years to the Saginaw Bay watershed.
The purpose of the meeting is to update residents and answer questions about new developments in the cleanup of the Tittabawassee and Saginaw rivers and Saginaw Bay.
At the meeting, the EPA also will present details of its plan, including milestones and schedules for achieving "a comprehensive and expeditious cleanup,"
More information is online at www.epa.gov/region5/sites/dowchemical
06/07/09 Richard Maltby publishes his last book in the Pollution Signature series
This volume, Implementation of the Framework Agreement, Part Two, is the latest in a series of books including the Pollution Signature, The Dioxin Story, and Revival of the Tittabawassee, The Aftermath, Restoration of a Failed Ecosystem, The Aftermath, a supplemental report, and Implementation of the Framework Agreement
Copies are available in local libraries.
Mr. Maltby a retired professional urban and environmental resource planner 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.
05/27/09 EPA announces new plan to deal with Dow's watershed contamination
|EPA Press Release: EPA Administrator pledges strong Federal Cleanup Presence at Dow dioxin site in Michigan and accelerated assessment of Dioxin's Human health impacts|
|EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson's letter|
Statement of the Lone Tree Council and the
Ecology Center on today's announcement by EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson related
to a plan to address the dioxin contaminated watershed in the Saginaw Bay.
Our groups are cautiously optimistic based on the commitments made in the letter released today by EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson. Our groups are particularly cheered to hear that transparency will be a pillar principle for the Agency moving forward. We are also heartened that the Administration has again committed to a timely completion of the dioxin reassessment and interim cleanup numbers for the site. We also believe the intention to create timelines and benchmarks will be critical to achieving a timely cleanup, and we look forward to participating in that process. The plan released today is an outline and we will continue to evaluate it as the details unfold. We look forward to the June 17 meeting in which more details will be made available. This will allow us to more fully evaluate the plan. While optimistic, we remain guarded given the history of this site.
We will hold the EPA's feet to the fire on the principles they articulated for the site. 1) expeditious with clear milestones and goals, 2) protective of health and the environment (for humans, wildlife and aquatic life), and 3) transparent in its process.
As we have previously communicated to EPA, we believe the following need to be the immediate priorities for the Agency. Some of these priorities have been addressed in the announcement, while others require more discussion.
|Immediately commit to open up negotiations on this site to concerned residents and environmentalists.|
|Immediately address the concerns of residents living in highly contaminated areas whose daily exposure to dioxin threatens their health and the health of their children|
|Immediately support ongoing state efforts, and launch additional efforts to inform subsistence anglers and sports people of the dangers of consumption of some fish and wild game. These exposures represent an immediate public health threat|
|Appoint a local ombudsman for the cleanup to help residents cope with the many challenges of living in a contaminated area|
|Respond to the mischaracterization of the science of dioxin, the threat posed by the contamination, and the role of government agencies in addressing the cleanup|
|Commission a study of potential economic benefits to the region from a robust cleanup|
|End the practice of co-hosting community information meetings with Dow Chemical, allowing the company to dictate the content of the meetings|
|Update the EPA’s outdated dioxin soil standard which we believe is not scientifically defensible. Support Michigan’s 90 ppt residential cleanup guidance, as supported in the OSWER directive.|
|Address the deficiencies and misuse of the University of Michigan Dioxin Exposure Investigation|
The history of this site has been one of regulatory
inaction, and aggressive tactics by Dow Chemical to deny and delay, seeding
controversy and confusion. The company’s efforts in this regard rival the most
controversial cleanups in the nation’s history. It has been eight years since
the extent of the contamination has been known, and it has been more than thirty
years since dioxin contamination in the watershed was documented. Although the
site would outscore most sites on the National Priorities List (NPL), the site
has thus far escaped NPL listing. Although the site contains some of the highest
levels of dioxin ever measured, there have been only a few limited soil and
sediment removals to date.
Lone Tree Council
Michelle Hurd Riddick
Lone Tree Council
989 327-0854 cell
05/24/09 Dow's Perception Management Message: Dioxins ok in fish, women and children should eat.
In contrast to the common business practice of Public Relations, Dow is investing in a more insidious version termed Perception Management. The purpose of PM of is to get the other side to believe what one wishes it to believe, whatever the truth may be
Recently exposed lies in Dow's annual Securities and Exchange Commission filings illustrate their Dioxin PM project, similar to a past Dursban campaign, is in full swing.
The Michigan Messenger reports:
"Dow Chemical Co. (NYSE:DOW) — which is sponsoring a walleye tournament, “Celebrity Chowder Challenge” and fresh fish market at BayFest in Bay City over the Memorial Day weekend — says that it learned about the state’s walleye consumption advisory just last week when it was brought to its attention by Michigan Messenger.
Midland-based Dow has been party to conversations about regional environmental contamination and fish advisories since the 1970s, but a disconnect between the company and state public health officials was revealed this week when Michigan Messenger reported that the company included inaccurate — and misleading — information about the state’s fish advisory in filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission."
A few comments from local citizens:
"Like many others I have attended numerous DEQ meetings where MDCH presented power points or discussed at length the fish advisories for the Tittabawassee-Saginaw Rivers and Bay. Dow had no less than 10 representatives in attendance at these meetings including their contractors--which by the way challenged MDCH on those advisories. Perhaps, Dow is not talking with their contractors or sleeping through the meetings. "
"It's not 'ignorance', it's arrogance and our well meaning public protectors are shying away from confrontation. What Dow is doing this weekend (and during the last Walleye fest) is destroying what the DEQ/EPA/MDCH have done over decades of hard work.
Dioxin is toxic to Dow's profits and our protectors scurry in the shadows as Dow's outrageous lies grow in scope and recklessness.
Is the EPA that afraid of Dow? Are the politicians that far in bed with Dow's money? Are we to be left that much worse off because no one will waste the effort to stand up to the bully? This whole thing has been such a tragedy and it only seems to be getting worse. Dow is succeeding in making everyone that can stop them look like simpletons and idiots; powerless and toothless. So much for hope for a change. So much for a change of direction. If the government had the balls to confront these outrageous lies then things would change."
05/18/09 Dioxin Update: May 6 DEQ Tri-Cities Community Meeting
EPA came through (APPLUASE, APPLUASE ) with a $75,000 for MDCH to target at risk populations eating contaminated fish from our local chemically impacted waters.
§Women of childbearing age, pregnant women, mothers nursing babies
§Children under the age of 15 years old
§People who fish and eat those fish for sustenance
Here is the link to EPA Administrator’s letter to Lone Tree Council responding to our request and the request of river residents and state wide environmental orgs to evaluate the Superfund Alternative process initiated during the Bush Administration. To that end EPA has suspended the negotiation process. Administrator Jackson will make a decision on how to proceed.
Comments and perspective
The sheer magnitude of this site is enormous in terms of complexity, toxicity and geographic size. And Dow digging in their heels and dictating the terms of engagement with state is destructive and disservice to the community and the resource. Bottom line Dow does not want to deal with 1. MDEQ/RCRA 2. Saginaw River 3. Saginaw Bay ----- hence the company’s request for superfund alternative process which would give EPA the lead and not MDEQ.
Will expound with greater detail in the next update but to demonstrate the impact of Dow’s refusal to address Saginaw River issues? Dredging has started on the Saginaw River, which has minimal sampling to date. EPA and MDEQ both acknowledge this process will re suspend contaminated sediments in the water column advancing migration to the already sediment impaired Saginaw Bay. BUT DOW DUG IN THEIR HEELS AND REFUSES TO DEAL WITH THE SAGINAW RIVER OR INSTALL SEDIMENTS TRAPS. Instead Dow took the cash strapped taxpayers represented by MDEQ to court (filed in Midland circuit court) knowing the state has no money to take on any legal battles.
Based on new data MDCH has determined that enhanced fish consumption advisories are in order, which require amending warning signs along the river system. Anticipating future needs the signs were designed to be updated by placing a laminate with the new information over existing signs. This is a low cost item, which Dow is refusing to pay for even though it is required by law as an interim response. Again taking advantage of cash- strapped taxpayers; Dow knows the state cannot afford the signs or a legal challenge.
In summary Dow’s commitment to the community and resource is fickle:
Doesn’t want to deal with MDEQ unless on company terms
Suing the state
Looking for a new “path forward” with EPA behind closed doors
Refusing to place sediment traps
Refusing to pay for enhanced signs
Refusing to pay for a stenographer to create a public record
Refusing to answer question at a public meeting when asked (May 6 2009)
Refusing to do work on the Saginaw River required by their federal (RCRA) operating license which states:
At the end of the four year period beginning on the date this license is issued, the licensee shall continue or commence the corrective action process for any of the off-site areas that are identified in Condition XI.B.6.
Identified in Condition x1.B.6 is the Saginaw River, its floodplain and Saginaw Bay. Fours years from license issue (June 12 2003) is June 2007.
Dow acknowledged that commitment when Dow’s Sue Carrington signed on the dotted line in 2003 sealing a contract with the people of this region and this state to address their contamination. In early 2004 Dow began push back with MDEQ and have done so since then. Now they want the EPA to take over. Likely to set up a re-match of the 1980’s feud when Dow dominated push back with EPA and sent them running. EPA turned it over to MDEQ in the mid 90’s. Now EPA is entertaining getting back on the merry go round. Frankly it’s a nauseating 30 year old ride that has got to stop.
*Let’s look at Riverside and W. Michigan Park. Dow’s work being done on Riverside and West Michigan Park is being done under orders from the federal government. Failure to do so would result in EPA doing the work and applying treble damages: Treble damages, in law, is a term that indicates that a statute permits a court to triple the amount of the actual damages to be awarded to a prevailing plaintiff, in this case EPA, generally in order to punish the losing party for willful conduct. Not to say what Dow is doing is not important, because it is, but let’s not hoist the red diamond and salute them for being good corporate neighbors-- they are doing it with a gun to their head.
Everyone appreciates what Dow’s philanthropy in these tough economic times. But they are also taking advantage of these most unfortunate times--- Dow is revealing a greater commitment to its public persona and PR then to real substance and commitment to GREAT LAKES BAY REGION. ---Michigan largest watershed.
More soon on the, SAS, dredge project (www.dredgeitright.org) Saginaw Bay and some old EPA documents.
Michelle Hurd Riddick
Lone Tree Council
To view past Lone Tree Council / TRW Dioxin Updates, click here
05/15/09 Saginaw River dredging contaminating Mid-Michigan's water supply?
A few snippets from the Michigan Messenger :
This satellite photo shows a plume of sediments entering the Saginaw Bay from
the Saginaw River
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has started a project to remove contaminated sediments from the Saginaw River without safety measures requested by the state, a move that sparked worry because toxins such as dioxin could make their way into the water supplies for Saginaw and Bay City, which don’t test for the toxins.
Early Sunday morning, an Army Corps contractor began scooping up sediments from shallow areas in a lower Saginaw River navigational channel, sending them via pipeline to an unlined slurry pit that straddles rural Zilwaukee and Frankenlust townships. The dredging project, which will be expanded with $4 million in federal stimulus grants, is expected to remove 600,000 cubic yards of sediment from the river. Local officials say that over the next six weeks, work will focus on areas between the 6th Street turning basin in Saginaw and the mouth of the Saginaw River at Bay City.
...Although local, state and federal environmental officials agree that dredging will cause contamination to migrate downstream, DEQ officials have been unsuccessful in getting Dow Chemical to install sediment traps to limit the migration of toxins.
...“We want to minimize stirring up contamination in these sediments,” he said, but the agency has not been able to negotiate installation of containment measures.
...Dioxin and other toxins dumped into the Saginaw River watershed have been shown to end up in Lake Huron’s Saginaw Bay, where the cities of Bay City and Saginaw get their municipal drinking water.
...An EPA report from 1978 states that migration of dioxin from Dow’s Midland plant may pose a risk to anyone who gets their water downstream from the plant.
According to the report:
The evidence of [dioxin] contamination in widely dispersed fish notwithstanding, perhaps the finding of most concern is that the caged trout held six miles downstream from the Dow outfall were found to have detectable levels of [dioxin] (whole fish analysis) following a mere 30 days of exposure. This is most distressing for several reasons. Firstly, it demonstrates that [dioxin] is being transported downstream in flowing water. This point offers clear refutation of any argument that the instances of [dioxin]-contaminated fish resulted from movement of the fish downstream and not the movement of the [dioxin] itself. In addition, this raises concern of [dioxin] exposure for any persons taking their drinking water from the Tittabawassee or Saginaw Rivers or the Saginaw Bay.
...With the dredging underway, it appears that no agency has stepped forward
with a plan to set up monitoring of area drinking water.
....Click this link to view the entire article.
05/14/09 Dioxin Update: 30% Dow Share holders urge transparency
Midland, Michigan. Almost 30% of Dow's voting shareholders voted to urge the company to report on progress to clean up a massive contamination site at Dow's mid-Michigan global headquarters. This is the third year in a row that this resolution has received significant support from shareholders.
Shareholders were responding to a resolution forwarded by the Sisters of Mercy challenging the company's potential liabilities associated with the slow pace of cleanup. The vote follows on the heels of continued controversy on the company's progress in cleaning up the contamination downstream from their global headquarters. There has also been continued controversy surrounding the ousted EPA Regional Director and her removal from office allegedly for requiring the company to remove contaminated sediments.
The resolution, which 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," garnered unusually strong support with 28.5% of shares voted, according to the preliminary count of votes reported by the company at the meeting. Shareholder resolutions requiring reports of this nature typically garner 3-10% of voting shares. Last year's vote garnered 22% of the voting shares.
Shareholders may be concerned about potential ongoing liability from the company's handling of the more than 50-mile long contamination stretching from the company's headquarters to the Saginaw Bay of Lake Huron. Fish and wildgame in the region are contaminated and advisories were strengthened last year. Area residents have elevated levels of dioxin in their blood when compared with a control population. In a high profile move in the past two years, the company was required by the Environmental Protection Agency to remove highly contaminated "hot spots" from the river. Also in the last year, the highest level of dioxin ever measured in the country was found 25 miles from the Dow facility.
Dow's response has been to downplay the hazards of dioxin, the toxic compound which characterizes the contamination. Dow has also sought to negotiate behind closed doors, outside of public scrutiny.
"We believe this vote for the third year in a row signals an interest in a more forthright approach to protect shareholder value," said Valerie Heinonen of the Sisters of Mercy Detroit, who filed the resolution on Midland contamination. "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." She continued, "we are concerned that they are investing more in public relations than in efforts to provide real solutions."
"When nearly 30% of Dow's 939 million shares voted for more transparency and action on this issue, the company should take notice," said Sanford Lewis, attorney, who drafted the resolution. "The company has appeared in a series of high profile negative media stories related to the contamination. The reputational damage to the company is significant, and suggests a resolution to this issue is long overdue."
Sanford Lewis, Attorney is with the Strategic Counsel on Corporate Accountability Valerie Heinonen, O.S.U., is a consultant on corporate social responsibility for the Sisters of Mercy-Regional Community of Detroit and for the Mercy Investment Program
05/3/09 University of Michigan study flawed,
An article in today's Detroit News by AP Environmental writer John Flesher reveals that
|A statistician, John Kern, hired by the Department of Environmental Quality recently advised regulators not to use the Dow-funded study as a basis for decisions about dealing with the dioxin contamination-at least until problems he identified were fixed.|
|DEQ spokesman Robert McCann said the department still had concerns about the project and how company supporters in communities near the Dow plant in Midland had interpreted the results|
|"There's a common misperception out there about what this report says. Example: "At public meetings, people will say that the U-M study showed there's no problem with the dioxin," McCann said. "|
|One of the issues is that Garabrant's team did not assess the health of the people it examined|
|Kern also contended the study may have included too few subjects representing groups with the highest exposures to dioxin contamination from the Dow plant, a complaint echoed by the DEQ and the Michigan Department of Community Health.|
|Only about 14 of the roughly 900 people who provided blood samples lived in areas with the most highly contaminated soil, said Linda Dykema, manager of the community health department's toxicology section.|
|Also lacking were statistics on dioxin levels for people who regularly eat bottom-feeding fish such as catfish and white bass, which are known to carry particularly high concentrations of toxins, Dykema said.|
|Click here to view the Kern report|
This is not the first critical review of the University of Michigan study. Back in October of 2006, ChemTelligence Inc. released an analysis of the U of M study with the following points:
|Michigan dioxin blood serum levels are much higher than US national levels|
|The U/M found that breastfeeding reduces dioxin blood serum levels in women. The U/M claimed that benefits to the infant from nursing outweigh the potential health risks of dioxin exposure.|
Midland dioxin serum levels were affected by sample location which the U/M has kept strictly confidential.
Dioxin blood serum levels found in the Jackson/Calhoun control group are considerably higher than the national levels.
Background. dioxin serum levels in the Midland/Saginaw area are much higher than expected.
The ATSDR and MDCH Health Consultation Pilot Exposure Investigation performed back in 2005 spent approximately $40,000 and used samples from 11 actual floodplain residents. The Dow/Garabrant cost $15,000,000 study and uses 14? Evidently the extra $14,960,000 Dow spent bought a study designed to obscure the facts.
The PEI reports the "mean TEQ levels for age groups 45-59 years and 60 years and older were higher than the mean background estimates for people the same age. Because of the small number of people participating in the PEI, generalizing from these limited results to the larger population living in or near the flood plain is not possible."
The reports last statement above is important in real scientific studies such as the PEI but is evidently "optional" in the junk science of a Dow Chemical study and those who promote it as fact.
05/3/09 Communities asks Obama to release the long delayed EPA Dioxin Reassessment
· Community-based and environmental justice organizations;· Indigenous groups;· Health-impacted groups; and· Organizations concerned about Agent Orange.
President Barack ObamaThe White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20500Lisa JacksonEPA AdministratorU.S. Environmental Protection AgencyAriel Rios Building1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.Washington, DC 20460April 28, 2009Dear President Obama and EPA Administrator Jackson,As community members living in dioxin-impacted neighborhoods, indigenous groups, Vietnam Vets concerned about Agent Orange, and health-affected groups concerned about endometriosis, breast cancer, reproductive health, and learning and developmental disabilities, we are writing to implore you to cancel the Science Advisory Board’s review of EPA’s Dioxin Reassessment, release this long awaited report, and move ahead in setting dioxin policies that will protect the health of our communities and the American people.A municipal incinerator in Connecticut . . .a Dow chemical plant in Michigan . . . a medical waste incinerator in Florida. These are some of the ways dioxin, the most toxic man-made substance on earth, is produced and released into our communities. Every day, we continue to live with dioxin contamination in our neighborhoods, food, and bodies, while the EPA’s Dioxin Reassessment study has been delayed for almost twenty years. As a result, we have been left to argue with our state agencies over how much cleanup is needed and what’s a safe level of exposure.Now, the EPA is proposing to form yet another scientific panel to review the dioxin report which will only delay the release of the report once again. According to the EPA’s website, this next review will take until 2012 to complete. Enough is enough.Dioxin is a byproduct of the manufacture and burning of products that contain chlorine. Plastics made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) are a major culprit. So is paper that is bleached with chlorine or chlorine compounds. Incinerators across the country belch out this toxic substance every single day. Airborne, dioxin falls on farms, settles on plants and works its way up the food chain. Dioxin also gets into water from industrial discharges. Dioxin is now pervasive in fish, beef, milk, poultry, pork and eggs. Infants are even exposed to dioxin in breast milk.Dioxin has been ranked among the most dangerous of chemicals, a "known human carcinogen," by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). Dioxin has been linked to liver, lung, stomach, soft and connective tissue cancers as well as Non‑Hodgkins lymphoma.Learning disabilities, birth defects, male and female infertility, endometriosis and diabetes have all been linked to dioxin exposure. Dioxin weakens the human immune system and decreases the level of the male hormone testosterone. It can disrupt the proper function of hormones ‑- chemical messengers that the body uses for growth and regulation.The EPA was poised to warn Americans about dioxin in 1994. But under industry pressure, the agency postponed their report. Now, fifteen years later, under pressure from the chemical industry, that study has still not been released and our communities suffer as a result.We have a right to air, water, soil and food free of dioxin. We the undersigned believe the public has a right to know about the health consequences of exposure to dioxin.We urge you to cancel the Science Advisory Board’s review of EPA’s Dioxin Reassessment, release this long awaited report, and move ahead in setting dioxin policies that will protect the health of the our communities and the American people.Thank you.Sincerely,Monique Harden and Nathalie Walker, Attorneys and Co-DirectorsAdvocates for Environmental Human RightsNew Orleans, LAPam Miller, Executive DirectorAlaska Community Action on ToxicsAnchorage, AKLaura Abulafia, MHS, Director, Environmental Health InitiativeAmerican Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (Formerly AAMR)Washington, DCBetty Mekdeci, Executive DirectorBirth Defect Research for ChildrenCelebration FLDavid MickeyBlue Ridge Environmental Defense LeagueGlendale Springs, North CarolinaJoyce Bichler, ACSW, Deputy DirectorBreast Cancer ActionSan Francisco, CAJeanne Rizzo, R.N., President and CEOThe Breast Cancer FundSan Francisco, CATeresa Mills, DirectorBuckeye Environmental NetworkColumbus, OHBruce Wood, PresidentBURNTNashville, TennesseeSteve Zeltzer, ChairCalifornia Coalition For Workers Memorial DaySan Francisco, CAJane Williams, Executive Director
California Communities Against Toxics
Rosamond, CALois Gibbs, Executive DirectorCenter for Health, Environment and JusticeFalls Church, VABarbara Warren, Executive DirectorCitizens' Environmental CoalitionAlbany, NYLaurence TunsillCitizens Organized For Environmental Justice Inc.Caroline Snyder Ph.D.Citizens for Sludge-Free LandNorth Sandwich NHLinda L. Young, DirectorClean Water Network of FLTallahassee, FL 32303Jackie ElliottC.L.E.A.R.Claremont, NHTamara= MaschinoClean Air Clean LakeTXSharyle Patton, Director, Biomonitoring Resource CenterCommonwealBolinas, CAJana Chicoine, SpokespersonConcerned Citizens of RussellRussell MAMark A. Mitchell M.D., MPH, PresidentConnecticut Coalition for Environmental JusticeHartford, CTBecky BornhorstDownwinders at RiskDalas-Ft. Worth, TexasPatricia Wiitanen, Executive AssistantEndometriosis AssociationMilwaukee, WIEndometriosis Research Center
Delray Beach, FLPaul and Ellen ConnettFluoride Action NetworkCanton, NYMonica Wilson, International Co-Coordinator
GAIA: Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives/ Global Anti-Incinerator AllianceBerkeley, CABill Owens, PresidentGlynn Environmental CoalitionBrunswick, GABradley Angel, Executive DirectorGreen ActionSan Francisco, CALaura Weinberg, PresidentGreat Neck Breast Cancer CoalitionGreat Neck, NYTracy FrischGreenwich Citizens Committee, Inc.Greenwich, NYAlan Muller, Executive Director
Port Penn, DEBrent BaeslackHaverhill Environmental LeagueHaverhill, MADebra Hall, FounderHopewell Junction Citizens for Clean Water
Hopewell Junction, NYTom Goldtooth, Executive DirectorIndigenous Environmental NetworkBemidji, MNAna BaptistaIronbound Community CorporationNewark, NJSheila Buckley, Executive Director
Learning Disabilities Association of America
Pittsburgh, PAMichelle Hurd Riddick
Lone Tree Council
Saginaw, MITerry MillerLone Tree CouncilBay City, MIMr. Edgar Mouton, PresidentMossville Environmental Action NowWestlake, LANick Bennett, Staff ScientistNatural Resources Council of MaineAugusta, MENancy Hone, Founder and CoordinatorNeighbors Against the BurnerSt. Paul, MNRick Engler, DirectorNJ Work Environment CouncilLawrenceville, NJFlorence T. RobinsonNorth Baton Rouge Environmental Assn.Baton Rouge, LADiane D’Arrigo, Radioactive Waste Project DirectorNuclear Information and Resource ServiceTakoma Park, MDVivian Stockman, Project CoordinatorOhio Valley Environmental CoalitionHuntington, WVDarlene SchanfaldThe Olympic Environmental CouncilSequim, WAJane Harris, Executive DirectorOregon Center for Environmental HealthPortland, OregonEden Brightspirit Hendrix, PresidentP.E.A.C.H.-People for Environmental Action & Community HealthFresh Abundance LOCAL & Organic FoodsSpokane, WAE.M.T. O'Nan, DirectorProtect All Children's EnvironmentMarion, NCShawna LarsonResisting Environmental Destruction on Indigenous Lands (REDOIL)Anchorage, AKJudy BraimanRAMP (Rochesterians Against the Misuse of Pesticides)Rochester, NYAlonzo SpencerSave Our County IncEast Liverpool, OHMaureen Headington, PresidentStand Up/Save Lives CampaignBurr Ridge, IllinoisJoe ParrishUS Environmental WatchElizabeth, NJ, and New York, NYMerle E. Ratner, Co-Coordinator
Vietnam Agent Orange Relief & Responsibility Campaign
New York, NYMichael Eckstein, Chairman, Agent Orange/Dioxin CommitteeNew Jersey State Council, Inc., Vietnam Veterans of AmericaStanhope, New JerseyRobert Gronko and Joe Miller
Vietnam Veterans Against the War
Chicago, ILOgonnaya Dotson-Newman, Environmental Health and Community-Based Research CoordinatorWE ACT for Environmental Justice, Inc. (WE ACT)New York, New YorkAlexandra Scranton, Director of Science and ResearchWomen's Voices for the EarthMissoula, MTJohn TaylorSaginaw, MIJohn CaulfieldSanta Barbara, CA
CC: Nancy Sutley, Chair, the White House Council on Environmental QualityEnclosure: Quotes from Dioxin-Impacted Communities
04/30/09 Dioxin Community Meeting scheduled
The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) is hosting the next quarterly Midland/Saginaw/Bay City (Tri-Cities) Dioxin Community Meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 6, 2009, in Lecture Theater G160 at Delta College, 1961 Delta Road, University Center. Please note the new location for this meeting. Agency staff will be available one-half hour before the meeting and one-half hour after the formal portion of the meeting for individual discussion with the public.
A meeting location and parking area map for Delta College is available at: http://www3.delta.edu/maps/deltamaps/Map%20sheet%20w_legend%20(print).pdf
The press release and agenda for the meeting are available at:
Please share this notice with others who might be interested in attending this meeting or forward their e-mail addresses to me for inclusion on the distribution list. If you should have any questions, please contact me.
Environmental Engineering Specialist
Hazardous Waste Section
DEQ Waste and Hazardous Materials Division
P.O. Box 30241, Lansing, MI 48909-7741
04/23/09 A new twist in the war on poverty
Dow sponsored walleye fest to donate contaminated fish to the poor
Comments from Science Blogs
"This Eartha Melzer story we have up at the Michigan Messenger this morning is absolutely unbelievable. Dow Chemical is located in the Saginaw/Midland area in Michigan and they have polluted the place like you wouldn't believe, especially with dioxin and PCBs. The state has warned people for years not to eat any fish caught in the rivers in the area because of the high dioxin levels, especially children and pre-menopausal women. They just shut down a major park near one of the rivers because even the dirt was so contaminated that it wasn't safe for people to be there.
So guess what they've decided to do there?
Next weekend they're going to host a walleye fishing festival in the Tittabawassee and Saginaw rivers. Because it's walleye breeding season and the fish are running. In fact, they run right through a zone that is in the process of being listed as a Superfund site, a site where the EPA recorded the highest levels of dioxin ever measured in this country.
That's dumb enough, right? It gets worse.
The fishing festival is sponsored by Dow Chemical, the company that put the pollution there in the first place. Yes, that's even more ridiculous. But it actually gets worse. They're donating the fish from the festival to a local food bank to give to the poor. Apparently they ran out of pox-ridden blankets."
The current Tittabawassee Township stupidvisor was selling these hats a few years ago at the festival.
Excerpts from the Michigan Messenger article
"Despite advisories that warn people to avoid contact with river sediments and consuming locally caught fish, thousands are expected to participate this weekend in a Dow Chemical-sponsored walleye festival along the Tittabawassee and Saginaw rivers, where the watershed has been contaminated with harmful dioxin and other toxic substances.
And just as the Michigan Department of Community Health is warning that children and pre-menopausal women should mostly avoid eating river fish including walleye because of contamination from polychlorinated biphenyls and dioxin, organizers of the festival say they plan to donate walleye fillets to a local food bank. “Dow and MidMichigan Health [the local hospital system] have always been the biggest sponsors of the festival,” said Steve Doyle, spokesman for the Freeland Lions Club which has organized the festival for 24 years."
More information about Michigan fish advisories is available at the website
for the Michigan Department of
04/09/09 Midland Dioxin Cleanup?
In regards to the dioxin contamination in the Midland area, I thought you would be interested in the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s report, “Dioxin Contamination in the Midland Area” (July 2, 2004)? What health effects occur from exposure to dioxin in the city of Midland and adjacent areas?
As reported by DEQ, higher exposures to dioxin in human populations have been linked with many adverse effects including chloracne, increased incidence of cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, birth defects, and blood disease (porphyria). Fetuses, infants, and children may be especially sensitive to dioxin exposure because of their rapid growth and development. Low-level exposures to dioxin in human populations have been linked to more subtle effects on developing fetuses including alterations in thyroid function, immune function, learning disabilities, behavior, and effects on tooth enamel.
Other effects of dioxins, including changes in liver enzymes, hormonal effects, and effects on the developing nervous system, appear to occur in many or most species, including humans. Based on available information, dioxins are believed to have the potential to cause a wide range of adverse effects in humans. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has characterized the mixture of group of dioxins to which people are usually exposed as “likely human carcinogens.” The EPA has also characterized 2,3,7,8-TCDD – the most toxic chemical in the dioxin group – as a known “human carcinogen.”
In conclusion, the Midland city residential and industrial areas and adjacent properties, school sites, Tittabawassee River sediments and floodplain soils, all exceed the 90 parts per trillion (ppt) cleanup standard, ranging from 90 ppt to 17,030 ppt.
So, why is the city of Midland withholding information on dioxin contamination? To protect property sales? Now is the time for the city officials to end its withholding of information on dioxin contamination and start cleaning up the mess.
Richard A. Maltby
04/05/09 Obama's EPA Administrator Sussman a former Chemical Industry lobbyist
It appears President Obama's EPA Administration Policy Advisor, Robert Sussman, was recently a lobbyist for the chemical industry. Is this really the individual that should be making a recommendation as to whether Dow Chemical's dioxin contamination cleanup should be taken away from the state and "Alternative Superfunded"- A Bush era guidance that is not regulated?
“Sussman is "representing" Jackson on a wide range of issues within the agency. And an EPA source says Sussman has been "very active in the day-to-day business of" EPA…Despite his broad role, sources say he is unlikely to be elevated to a political role in part due to controversy over his past role as an industry lobbyist while serving at the law firm Latham & Watkins, where he represented chemical and energy industry clients.”
Inside EPA April 3, 2009 http://insideepa.com/
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