Political campaign contributions: Michigan Dow
Public officials and their connections to Dow, Detroit Free Press 9/29/04
Many public officials representing residents with dioxin-contamination property in
Midland and Saginaw counties have ties to Dow Chemical Co ... "Obviously, these
connections are troubling" ... "I don't think campaign contributions necessarily
buy votes, but they certainly buy access" ...
Rep. Moolenaar has challenged the 90 ppt standard dioxin cleanup standard in Michigan as
not based on sound science. This is the same Moolenaar who has introduced the attached
bills in the Michigan house. A quote:
" In the science standards, all references to "evolution"
and "how species change through time" shall be modified to
indicate that this is an unproven theory"
Moolenar wants to spend $800,000 of taxpayer money to fund a study for Dow
-- MDEQ Budget - fiscal year 2004-05, the
House approved a budget for the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) that
reinstated the Hazardous Waste Management Program, but retained reductions in staffing
levels by 8%, and reduces general fund support for the department by 15%.
The bill also includes $800,000 to pay for a dioxin
bio-availability study using Clean Michigan Initiative (CMI) funding (1998 bond approved
by the voters for contamination cleanups).
The authorizing language established in the CMI
legislation back in 1997 states that if a responsible party exists that taxpayers will not
be burdened with the cost.
(e) That the responsibility for the cost of response
activities pertaining to a release or threat of release and repairing injury, destruction,
or loss to natural resources caused by a release or threat of release should not be
placed upon the public except when funds cannot be collected from, or a response activity
cannot be undertaken by, a person liable under this part.
(f) That liability for response activities to address
environmental contamination should be imposed upon those persons who are responsible for
the environmental contamination.
The use of CMI money to pay for a study to benefit the
Dow Chemical Company is an inappropriate use of those funds - and breaks a promise to
voters who supported the CMI bonds. At the same time, no new sites of environmental
contamination are being addressed by the state due to budget shortfalls. Click here for additional details.
Michigan's 28 term-limited lawmakers have raised more than
$1 million for their campaign war chests in this election
cycle -- even though they're ineligible to run for
re-election to their offices in November. ... Goschka,
who held another fundraiser earlier this month at the Beer &
Wine Wholesalers banquet facility in Lansing, has raised
$76,352 this election cycle and spent virtually all of it.
Among items on his expense list: $1,431 for season tickets
to the Saginaw Spirit minor league hockey team; $510 on
Michigan State University basketball tickets; $472 on
University of Michigan football tickets; $426 on MSU
football tickets; and $318 to buy jerseys for a hometown
basketball team. He also directed $3,245 to a losing bid for
the Saginaw County Register of Deeds office.
Goschka said he usually gives the Spirit tickets to
constituents. And he said attending U-M and MSU sporting
events is part of his job as chairman of the Senate
subcommittee that deals with the university budget.
David Camp - Republican US House Representative for Michigan
Owns at least $500,000 Dow Chemical stock
Married to former Dow attorney
Dow donated $215,000 in 2002 to Republican
Nation State Election Committee & others excluding "Soft money". Who
knows how much of this was directed to Mr. Camp.
"Behind Closed Doors", a CHEJ
report, chronicles how the Chemical Industry (including Dow Chemical)
"methodically and strategically attempted to influence policy makers and conceal from
and mislead the public about the health impacts of dioxin". Click here for the full report which
includes data on Dow Chemical's political campaign contributions to supporters of dioxin
A poll found 90% of Michigan voters
support a comprehensive policy to phase out persistent toxic chemicals (like dioxin).
Yet these "representatives" advance the cause of Dow over their citizens.
How ironic, Camp states "We need to
let these scientist complete their work" in reference to the EPA's Dioxin Reassessment,
yet the company & industry he supports are the primary reason it has been delayed time and time again.
Specifically from Dow Chemical and it's employees: $216,469
Governor Jennifer Granholm
Contamination of public process as big a deal as contamination of watershed
While both the Free Press and Bay City Times call on the public to get
involved and scrutinize the process from this point forward it remains troubling
that every editorial comment has failed to admonish the state for going behind
closed doors with the polluter to conduct the business of the people over
resources we own.
History does repeat itself. Whether it was the EPA in the 1980’s, the
administration in the 1990’s or the Granholm administration in the 21st
century, regulatory agencies and politicians are always willing to grant Dow
Chemical a dark corner to hide in, away from the public, the light of day and a
full scientific vetting and debate over dioxin. Dow Chemical is happiest
operating in the sphere of vague regulatory language like the recent agreement
with DEQ; a plan that permits them to be flexible and commits them to nothing
As citizens are permitted back into the process we can only
hope that it's permanent and not contingent on whether Dow or their legislators
and apologists are content with how things are going. The people's place at the
table is always first and foremost and it doesn't matter where any resident of
this watershed lines up on the issue. An open transparent process and the chance
to hear all sides of the issue from all viewpoints is imperative if we are to
arrive at a sustainable solution to this contamination. Transparency in
government should be sacrosanct but it was sacrificed by many and tolerated by
others because secrecy benefited their economic or political agendas. Is Dow
Chemical a stakeholder? Yes. But the deference and privilege given Dow
demonstrates the ongoing and every increasing power of corporations over both
political parties and the democratic process. The contamination of Michigan's
largest watershed is a big deal but so is the contamination of public process.
After years of the public information control freaks in the Engler/Harding
DEQ it was with great relief and enthusiasm that we heard Governor Granholm's
inaugural address in January 2003 calling for public participation:
................ And now that the door has been opened, my friends, you must
come in. All of you. Come into the halls of government.
In light of recent events I am not so sure this invitation didn't come with a
few caveats. Needless to say our enthusiasm has been dampened! The shape and
format of upcoming public meetings regarding this issue will be extremely
telling. We can only hope it will not be the command and control of information
and participation that we witnessed in 2004. Cautious optimism is in order. But
we do have a responsibility to be engaged and I encourage everyone to attend
public meetings held by the state. Just show up. It's your backyard and your
watershed. Be heard and offer up suggestions and ideas which can move this issue
along. The Saginaw Bay Watershed is our home and the quality of its natural
resources are paramount to our economic and physical well being.
MIchelle Hurd Riddick, Lone Tree Council
Governor Granholm meets with Citizens over concern with dioxin
In a 45 minute session on Monday afternoon, representatives of the MEC, Lone Tree, TRW,
and individual citizens met with Governor Jennifer Granholm, Lieutenant Governor Cherry,
and MDEQ Director Steven Chester over our concerns about the Dow Chemical dioxin
contamination of Midland and the Tittabawassee River flood plain. A few highlights:
The Governor assured us of her interest in protecting the publics health.
The Governor was very interested in hearing first hand accounts of people who must live
their lives in the poisoned soil and the impact it has had on their families health and
We expressed our concern with the out of control Dow backed legislators efforts to
dismantle our environmental agencies and laws to suit the needs of a corporation in lieu
of public health. These individuals are doing anything but "representing"
We emphasized that the dioxin Residential Direct Contact Criteria (RDCC) should remain
at it's current level of 90 ppt TEQ based on the mountain of "sound" scientific
evidence relating low dose dioxin exposure to human disease. Comparing 90 ppt Vs
1000 ppt dioxin is like comparing apples to oranges, the 90 ppt RDCC is designed to
prevent the development of disease in humans, whereas the ATSDR 1000 ppt action
level is a red flag accompanied by the wail of warning sirens.
We encouraged the Governor to continue supporting the staff and scientists of the MDEQ
and MDCH in their efforts to protect the health of Michigan's citizens.
We asked that the whole process of finding a resolution remain an open and transparent
process which includes the participation of the citizens who are affected.
Request no state funds be used for further stuides, the issue has been studied to death.
Request there be no delay in action while current studies are underway.
Request clean up of residential properties with high levels of dioxin, prioritizing
areas where kids are exposed.
We stated we do not seek the demise of the Dow Chemical Company and recognize it's
importance to Michigans's economy. However, there must be a balance in the equation
of profits Vs public health. Dow has the capacity to do what is right for the
citizens of Midland and the floodplain, unfortunately, for now, they have chosen a
Dow backed legislation introduced by their hacks (aka
The points below, in reverse chronological order, depict local efforts by Dow
to pass the HB461/SB309 "Polluter free ride" bills. Dow says they have
nothing to do with any of this, however their lobbyist are working overtime in
Lansing to get it passed.
03/05/12 "Sound Science" debunked.
The significance of EPA’s
recent release of the non-cancer portion of the dioxin reassessment cannot
In 2005 many Dow Chemical
apologists across the region and in Lansing insisted that the Michigan
Department of Environmental Quality abandon the use of 90 ppt for dioxin in
soil for residential contact. Hoping to improve the outlook on Dow’s
pervasive contamination as well as to undermine MDEQ’s regulatory authority
this cadre of apologists insisted on using the EPA’s outdated (1980’s) soil
contact criteria of 1,000 ppt for dioxin in soil.
These apologists also
cited, misused and incorrectly portrayed the Centers for Disease Control
(ATSDR) use of 1,000 ppt because it was convenient for them to do so.
In public meetings and
press releases alike the Dow Chemical apologists demanded " sound science”
even as they attempted to legislate the use of EPA’s outdated science. They
attempted to legislate the use of every Dow funded study while legislating
the elimination of MDEQ’s authority overseeing corrective action. There was
nothing these apologists would not do or skew to accommodate Dow’s agenda.
Their idea of sound science was whatever Dow Chemical told them or whatever
outcomes were divined in any one of the many studies funded by Dow. There
was no room for independent scientists or public health advocates. No room
or considerations for vulnerable populations
Dow apologists, supporters
and dioxin deniers ignored the following:
·A plethora of current science on dioxin toxicity
·1998 EPA directive (OSWER) allowing a state’s more stringent
contact criteria be used in place of EPA’s 1,000 ppt
·2006 Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry letter
from the agencies director, Dr. Peter Frumkin:
….we understand that certain
Michigan state legislators have been referring to our Action Level in
proposed legislation to modify the state cleanup for dioxins in soil. This
is an example of how our guidelines have been applied in ways that we did
·The algorithm used by MDCH/MDEQ to arrive at the 90 ppt
·The fact that no other community or state in the nation was
using any number even close to 1, 000 ppt e.g., Florida 7.0 ppt, Oregon 3.6
ppt, Iowa 14 ppt
·EPA’s support for Michigan’s 90 ppt
·The evolving science on the toxicity of dioxin at lower
·The vulnerability of children, women, infants or the
Hell bent on doing Dow’s
bidding, Dow Chemical became the only conduit of information for these
apologists. They refused to hear any truth, argument or science not stamped
with the Dow seal of approval.
Two weeks ago, on February
17th EPA released the non-cancer portion of the dioxin
reassessment. For the first time ever the agency established a reference
dose for dioxin of .7pc/kg/day. This number is important because it speaks
to the toxicity of dioxin at low levels. When the science is distilled a
soil concentration of about 49 ppt for dioxin in soils is extrapolated.
Michigan’s public servants
take serious their commitment to public health and the protection of people
and natural resources in this state. MDEQ’s use of 90 ppt was correct and
appropriate. But because of political interference by Dow and their
apologist the states’ protective number was supplanted by a politically
expedient and outdated number.
The disservice foisted on
the taxpayers and the people of the Saginaw Bay Watershed is surpassed only
by the injustice done to property owners, families and children impacted
daily because they happen to live on dioxin contaminated property.
So who embraced outdated
science, politics and Dow’s agenda?
Senator Roger Kahn
Senator John Moolenaar
Senator Mike Gotchka
Governor Jennifer Granholm
Public Sector Consultants
Representative Ken Horn
Senator Tony Stamas
Local Chambers of Commerce
City of Midland
Congressman Dave Camp
(The elected officials and
community leaders who sat silent and let it happen have to take some blame
Supplanting the state’s
more protective number with a 1,000 ppt denied many residents the
opportunity for interim response activities over the past several years. It
has resulted in lengthy delays and wasted taxpayers’ dollars, undermined the
importance of legitimate science in policy decisions and placed the
polluter’s agenda ahead of public health protection.
Corporate driven politics,
whose primacy is embraced by these elected officials, is anathema to the
work of the people and the transparency needed for communities be engaged.
The regulatory timidity that ensues when these legislators attack good
public servants who rely on legitimate science further hinders public
engagement. It is an affront to democracy.
The activities of the
aforementioned individuals are not abstractions and their efforts to
undermine public health are real. Much works remains to be done. EPA needs
to speak loudly and clearly about the toxicity of dioxin and the unique
contamination issues that confront this Michigan watershed awash in dioxin.
MDEQ’s 90 ppt was not junk
science. Their science has been vindicated and EPA’s recent release speaks
to the ever-increasing base of knowledge on the toxicity of dioxin.
Senators Kahn and
Moolenaar, perhaps two of the most outspoken proponents of outdated science
will hopefully embrace the recent release by EPA with as much veracity as
was exhibited in their in 2005 press conference demanding MDEQ use the
outdated 1,000 ppt.
New video documentary: "Mr. Damore goes to Lansing" now on-line Paul Damore, a
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:
12/27/05 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
Over 100,000 people
support veto of
Polluter Free Ride bill HB4617
Press Release issued by
22 groups representing over 100,000 people from around the state
Peninsula Environmental Coalition
Interfaith Power & Light
League of Conservation Voters
Lakes Bioregional Land Conservancy
Citizens for Water Conservation
for Alternatives to Chemical Contamination
the Detroit River
Hamtramck Environmental Action Team
League of Conservation Voters
Michigan Citizens Against Toxic Substances
Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS)
Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life (MI-COEJL)
UAW Region 1A Local 898
Toxic Waste Squad
Working for Environmental Justice
Governor Granholm to veto
Polluter Free Ride bill HB4617?
Local news quotes
Governor Granholm stating she will veto HB4617:
"This bill is not acceptable," she said. "They've got to go back to the
drawing board. It doesn't achieve the balance we need for protecting the
health of citizens and creating cost-efficient cleanup."
To Governor Granholm:
On behalf of the hundreds of residents represented by the
Tittabawassee River Watch (TRW) we want to thank you and encourage you to stay
the course on your plans to veto HB 4617 ( S3). Our concern is not with the
“facility” designation. Our concern rests with dioxin contamination along the
river which caused us to be facility. It is the dioxin that is a problem.
Efforts to detract from the real issue of contamination as
well as efforts to malign the DEQ serve the political agenda of Dow Chemical and
the City of Midland who have shown little regard for public health or the
natural resources of the watershed we all call home.
Our properties will be made whole and the value restored
to property and quality of life only if we move forward with cleanup on this
contamination. HB 4617 will create confusion and delays.
Yes, we do care about our property values and homeowner
fairness. Our properties are impacted by the presence of the dioxin, as is our
daily perspective on living in homes and yards surrounded by contamination.
There is nothing fair about Dow’s chemical trespass onto our yards.
Again, on behalf of the Tittabawassee River Watch let us
extend our appreciation to you for your veto of this legislation.
Lone Tree/TRW Dioxin Update
from this issue:
Saginaw Chamber of Commerce
It's unfortunate that they view a clean environment as a competing
interest. There is an economic value and quality of life that comes
with clean rivers and healthy environments.........the concept however
is not lost on all the Chamber members because a couple members saw fit
to send the alert to us (see next story).
"Home Owner's Fairness" is smoke and mirrors and so is the " sound
science" mantra and the Chamber knows it. This legislation is
designed to benefit Dow Chemical, delay cleanup and it is intended to
hamstring the DEQ. If you read the
article in the Midland Daily News you can see the City of
Midland taking on DEQ. For two years properties were listed as
facilities and not word one from anybody............then the DEQ,
enforcing Dow's license, wanted to commence with testing in Midland. All
of a sudden being a facility was a problem for Midland and these elected
Our water resources are our greatest economic resource and one of our
greatest quality of life assets. We could only hope that someday the
Chamber of Commerce would acknowledge the same. Tourism remains our
third largest industry. It is the position of the Lone Tree Council
that economic development and a clean environment can co-exist and in
fact will compliment each other for years to come.
Senate OKs controversial 'facility' bill
Granholm not likely to sign homeowner bill
Great Lakes' healing mechanisms under attack, scientists say
CALL GOVERNOR GRANHOLM AT 1-517-373-3400 AND ASK HER TO VETO HB 4617
Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce Exposed.
Veronica Horn of the Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce admits to being the
prime Dow stooge behind the scene pressing for the passage of the HB4617
Polluter Free Ride bill. Take a look at an "Alert" she emailed
yesterday to stir up support from the others in the CC. Notice that not
one word of concern is mentioned about the health and safety of the 1000's of
men, women, and children who live in the dioxin contaminated flood plain of the
Tittabawassee. Ken and Veronica Horn have seen
the facts and choose to ignore them. They know the real problem is the
persistent and migrating dioxin in peoples homes, yards, and bodies. IF
successful, their quest to eliminate the word 'facility' from our environmental
laws will leave a toxic legacy in Michigan for generations to come. The
Horn's, Moolenar, and Goschka have lost touch with their community and now serve
one corporate master in Midland. Remember this the next time you vote, Ken
will be up for election soon. Click on the two links that follow to view
Veronica's email. Page-1Page-2 (large PDF
files, may take a while to load)
Call Governor Granholm immediately and tell her to veto HB4617.
She can be reached at 517-373-3400. If
not vetoed, the result will be more expensive cleanups, slower cleanups, and
increased liability for individual property owners whose property may be
contaminated. Residents may actually lose the ability to force polluters to
pay. In addition, the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" provisions of the bill would
prevent property owners from knowing that their property is contaminated, would
prevent future owners from being informed, and would prevent the DEQ from doing
anything about it, even if the property owners wanted a clean-up. This bill actually diminishes the rights of owners
and future owners of properties and will require Michigan residents to pay for
Lone Tree Radio Announcements, HB4617
passed by Senate
Lone Tree Council radio ads
are being played on a local radio stations WGER and WSGW.
If you missed them, click on the links below. The
announcements tell the truth about
Free Ride legislation SB390 and HB4617 passed today. The bills re-write
laws to benefit Dow
Chemical & other corporate polluters at the expense of every person living
Michigan. Now EVERYONE IN MICHIGAN
must pay for
Dows dirty deeds.
The bill include
language to the effect that the "Department" (MDEQ?) will reimburse the
polluter if a test sample if negative. The "Department"? They really mean
Click here to review the
Dioxin moves through the soils of the flood plain every year after a flood,
samples from the same
yard may return test results of less than 90 ppt in one spot and over 5000 ppt a few feet
determines where and how much sampling is performed?
Though the bill passed, it is NOT veto proof,
please call Governor Granhlom and let tell her to veto HB4617. She
can be reached at 517-373-3400. For the fence sitters out there, it's your
The ads where bought and paid for by the Lone Tree Council. TRW stands
behind every word.
12/01/05 ALL ABOUT HB 4617 S1
BECAUSE IT’S ALL ABOUT DOW CHEMICAL
Seems a great many
people want us to believe this legislation is not about Dow Chemical nor
was this legislation drafted for Dow Chemical. Dow Chemical says it’s
not taken a position, they cop ignorance by saying they’ve not seen the
amended bill introduced by Senator Goschka; the bill which would grant
them final authority over contaminated property on the floodplain.
to protect Dow Chemical are proposing to change the way the State
manages our cleanup laws with negative consequences for everyone in
Michigan. HB 4617/SB1 would remove the state's ability to designate
some property as a "facility" or potentially contaminated. An amendment
would also allow the polluter to decide whether a property
can receive the designation. The result will be more expensive
cleanups, slower cleanups, and increased liability for individual
property owners whose property may be contaminated. Residents may
actually lose the ability to force polluters to pay! In
addition, the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" provisions of the bill would
prevent property owners from knowing that their property is
contaminated, would prevent future owners from being informed, and would
prevent the DEQ from doing anything about it, even if the property
owners wanted help.
Who is backing
and who is lobbying for the HB 4617?
Dow Chemical says
they've not taken a position on the legislation and in yesterday’s
Saginaw News, Dow went on
to say they've not seen the amended version of the bill. Odd!
Jerry Howell, was in attendance at the Senate Appropriations Committee
meeting when the bill was passed.
He must have forgotten to turn in his homework.
Dow has everything
to gain by the passage of this legislation and they lose nothing
11/30/05 Goschka sneaks in
amendment letting Dow decide what is contaminated
State Sen. Michael J. Goschka has added language to a
hotly contested environmental bill that would require written consent by
the property owner, the state and the polluter before including
any property in a contaminated "facility."
The revised Senate bill essentially negates the
argument that this is about property rights or homeowner fairness,"
There is nothing fair about giving the polluter
control over your property and your children's safety
Dow will use the language of the bill to shield
themselves from liability, potentially blocking the inclusion of
properties in a facility without on-site sampling.
Goschka sneaked in the amendment after the
Saginaw Board of Commissioners approved a
resolution in support of the bill. Do they still? This is
exactly what citizens warned the board about last month to no avail.
Will they issue a retraction? Goschka and the gang are running
around Lansing waving the Boards resolution implying they support an
amendment they never reviewed.
Goschka is a lame duck Senator, perhaps someone
should investigate his finances to determine who is feathering his nest.
Any bets on where his pay check will come from after he leaves office?
Michigan's "State Board of Ethics" exists, file
for a summary posted in the Saginaw News
Five Commissioners tell Senate to
reject HB4617 and SB390
Sent to members of the Michigan Senate
Tim Novak, Bob Blaine, Cheryl Hadsall, Mike
O’Hare, Robert Woods
Saginaw County Commissioners
Saginaw, MI 48602
We are writing to let you know of our
opposition to SB 390 and HB 4617. In light of our Board of
Commissioners voting to pass a resolution in favor of this poor
legislation, we wanted you to know that it was not without opposition
While on the surface the intent of the
legislation looks to be noble, it will in fact make it more difficult to
assure that those responsible for the contamination of the area will
address the problem as it affects other people’s property. Not only
will the legislation slow the pace of necessary and already agreed upon
cleanup, it will increase the cost of cleanup and redevelopment.
We believe that scientists are better
suited to decide the area of contamination than politicians. Your DEQ
has studied over 600 soil samples, and using scientific based
assumptions, drew a boundary around the area most affected by
contaminants. This area is also targeted for initial cleanup and/or
The bottom line is that the property values
of these homeowners may be devalued because of the presence of
contaminants, in this case dioxin, NOT because of a property being
designated a “facility”. Disclosure laws still require a homeowner to
inform a buyer of contamination. The legislation will not do what the
lawmakers intend it will. It will only delay the cleanup by the
responsible party and increase the cost of cleanup and redevelopment.
We urge you to reject this legislation if
it reaches your desk.
If you should have any questions, please do
not hesitate to contact us at
989-xxx-xxxx (Commissioner Novak’s home
Tim Novak Bob Blaine
Cheryl Hadsall Mike O’Hare Robert Woods
Saginaw County Commissioners pass
"Polluters Free Ride" resolution
On October 25,
2005 10 out of the 15 Saginaw County Board Commissioners
passed a resolution
which intends to release of Dow Chemical for any responsibility for the
dioxin contamination of the Saginaw Valley watershed.
The mission statement of the board of
commissioners charges them with the protection of the health and safety
of the people of Saginaw county. The 10 in support of this
resolution obviously never read the mission statement. They also
ignored the pleas of citizens against HB4617 as well as to testimonials
of those demonstrating real and present danger to the health of
themselves and their children.
Special thanks to Commissioners
All the above had the insight and courage to vote against the resolution.
They understand the real implications of this bill which hurts public
health, stalls cleanup and protects the polluter.
A number of TRW
members/Residents spoke at the October 11, 2005 public hearing on the
resolution. We also presented a number of documents to further the
education of the board members (evidently reading is not one of their
Over 72% of area residents
believe that the dioxin contamination presents a moderate to high
risk to the health of floodplain residents according to a recent
The commissioners supporting this resolution are obviously out of
touch with their constituents.
Review all the
content of www.trwnews.net
and then read the boards resolution. One especially troublesome
point in the resolution:
to ignore the facts and instead voted to release Dow Chemical from
any responsibility for this mess.
Click here to view the meetings minutes, the resolution activity
starts at the bottom of page 35.
Saginaw County Commissioners to debate
resolution in support of Moolenaar's facility designation has bee sent back to
the Saginaw County Board of Commissioner's legislative committee for a full
Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. The image on the left is
aftermath of the March 2004 Tittabawassee flood event. Click on the image
Which of the homes pictured did not receive any dioxin laden soil deposits into
their yards? Which of
them will not be able to hold Dow accountable if the "Facility" bill is passed?
Most of the commissioners do not have a clue of what this bill means to
Michigan and are dependent
upon the likes of Goschka and Mollenaar to "explain" it to them. We
strongly urge the board to invite
a representative from the MDEQ to attend the session for a fair and balanced
debate. Click here for
the MDEQ's interpretation of the bills impact on state regulatory affairs.
It's obvious that Senator Goschka wants Saginaw County's support to embolden his
push for passage in
the senate as designer legislation for Dow Chemical.
The meeting is October 11 at 3pm in the Commissioner's chambers- 2nd floor at
the Saginaw Court House.
Michigan House of "Shame"
passes Polluter Free Ride Ticket (bill 4617)
Only 29 Michigan state
representatives voted today against a
Company-backed bill to conceal awareness of widespread dioxin
contamination in the Saginaw River watershed.
Approved 77-29, the bill would require the state specifically to test any
one of the thousands of property units in a large area like the downstream
stretches of the Saginaw River before declaring it contaminated. The goal is
to prevent DEQ from publicizing the truth about such gross contamination by
tying it up in prohibitively expensive testing. This would also prevent
prospective land buyers from knowing when they purchase contaminated
The 77 votes are a veto-proof margin, should the Governor choose to deep-six
the bill. The 29 "good" votes were cast by:
Stephen Adamini of Marquette, Glenn Anderson of Westland, Kathy Angerer of
Dundee, Doug Bennett of Muskegon, Steven Bieda of Warren, Pam Byrnes of
Dexter, Dianne Byrum of Onondaga, Brenda Clack of Flint, Paul Condino of
Southfield, Marie Donigan of Royal Oak, Matt Gillard of Alpena, Lee Gonzales
of Flint, Hoon-Yung Hopgood of Taylor, Herb Kehrl of Monroe, Chris Kolb of
Ann Arbor, Kathleen Law of Gibralter, Lamar Lemmons Jr. of Detroit,
Alexander Lipsey of Kalamazoo, Gary McDowell of Rudyard, Andy Meisner of
Ferndale, Fred Miller of Mount Clemens, Clarence Phillips of Pontiac, Gino
Polidori of Dearborn, Alma Wheeler Smith of Ypsilanti, Steve Tobocman of
Detroit, Mary Waters of Detroit, Gretchen Whitmer of East Lansing, Carl
Williams of Saginaw and Paula Zelenko of Burton.
Four representatives didn't vote: Republican Jack Brandenburg of Harrison Township and Democrats Marsha
Cheeks, Morris Hood III and Lamar Lemmons III, all of Detroit.
The rest have cast their lot with polluters.
if the bill should pass in the Senate,
real-estate disclosure form requires the the seller to answer the
following question: "Are you aware of any substances, materials, or
products that may
be an environmental hazard
such as, but not limited to, asbestos, radon gas, formaldehyde, lead-based
paint, fuel or chemical storage tanks and contaminated soil
on the property?" Be very careful how you answer this question.
of the jokers voting to pass this bill where aware of the following and made
the decision to vote against the citizens of Michigan anyways:
would increase the cost of cleanup for both the state and other parties
The bills would slow progress in cleaning up
The bills would prevent many properties from
being eligible for state and local financial incentives that support
The bills would prevent the state from
undertaking investigation and cleanup actions on a “homestead” regardless of
whether the homestead property owner wanted that work to be done.
The bills would prevent prospective
purchasers and lessees of contaminated property from getting important
information about the contamination through disclosure provisions of Part
“Due Care” obligations would no longer
include compliance with land or resource use restrictions that were imposed
on a property as part of a cleanup.
Unless samples had been taken on a
particular property to confirm contamination, or the owner of that property
agreed to it being part of a facility in the absence of sampling, a liable
party would not have an obligation to address contamination on that
Some of the new language added to Section
20120a(2) by the bills is unnecessary. Other new language added to this
section may not achieve the apparent objective.
Residents not allowed to speak
at HB 4617 Facility "hearing"
The majority of residents showing up at
today's hearing in Lansing were
not allowed to speak. With the exception of the MDEQ, Dow supporters were
allowed by the committee to
monopolized the entire 90 minute session.
The following is a
copy of the letter our representative intended to read to the committee (copies
emailed to all):
Committee members: Leon Drolet (R), Committee Chair, 33rd District Jacob Hoogendyk (R), Majority Vice-Chair, 61st District Robert Gosselin (R), 41st District John Garfield (R), 45th District Fulton Sheen (R), 88th District Steve Tobocman (D), Minority Vice-Chair, 12th District Alexander Lipsey (D), 60th District LaMar Lemmons III (D), 3rd District
Michigan House Government Operations Committee May 24th 2005
Dear Chairman Drolet and members of the committee:
I am here today on behalf of many of my neighbors living in the contaminated
floodplain of the Tittabawassee River in Saginaw County.
We oppose HB 4617 and the removal of the “facility designation” label for
residential properties contaminated with toxic compounds.
In our situation, our yards and homes are contaminated with dioxin, often
referred to as "the most toxic substance ever known". It has been proven that
Dow Chemical in Midland is the responsible party for this extensive
contamination. Levels of dioxin of up to 7200 parts per trillion have been found
in the flood plain of the Tittabawassee River, where safe residential contact by
the state has been set at 90 ppt. It is our contention that this legislation is
being done for the benefit of Dow Chemical and residents in Midland, who care
little or nothing about the contamination of the down river communities.
The facility designation in this instance, defines a geographic area which under
Dow’s license is subject to interim response, remedial investigation and
cleanup. We believe HB 4617 is designed to make it difficult for the State of
Michigan to: 1. enforce Dow Chemical's license 2. Access property 3. Protect
public health and resources 4. Delay cleanup.
In addition, it buys into ever increasing efforts to blur and confuse the issue
thereby creating additional delays.
While we understand the impact of facility designation on property values, it is
our belief that the real impact comes from the presence of Dow’s dioxin
contaminating our property, parks and communities. We are much more concerned
about the dioxin on our property and in our community then we are about being
labeled a facility. This is compounded by the failure, year after year, of the
state to deal with this issue in a timely manner. This issue has become more
about politics than about science and public health protection.
We do not oppose the use of facility designation because this label will
ultimately be instrumental in restoring our yards to a safe environment. Soil
sampling by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has
demonstrated consistent and pervasive high levels of dioxin the entire length of
the Tittabawassee River and floodplain. The dynamic movement of this river and
its frequent flooding constantly deposits contaminated sediments from the river,
its banks and people’s yards to new locations. Therefore, is it really necessary
that every single property be tested to confirm that it is contaminated? The DEQ
has collected data from three rounds of sampling, and though more is needed, we
are confident in their ( DEQ) assessment that frequently flooded areas of the
floodplain are contaminated and warrant being a facility subject to corrective
action in accordance with the laws of Michigan and Dow’s license.
The floodplain we call home is so contaminated that the Michigan Department of
Community Health, MDEQ, MDNR , Michigan Department of Agriculture and most
recently the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry issued a
consumption advisory for wild game along the Tittabawassee River and floodplain.
This is only the second such advisory in the state’s history. Dow’s dioxin is
hurting our property values, economic development, tourism and ability to raise
our families in a safe environment. You need to know indoor sampling has found
dioxin in excess of 90ppt in the house dust of our family rooms and living
The facility designation is appropriate because it would require Dow Chemical to
take actions along the entire river to mitigate exposure to their dioxin and to
eventually give us back the unrestricted use of our property and our homes.
Dioxin moves freely along this dynamic river system. Without the facility status
for this area, contaminated soils will be transported and re-distributed over
and over along the river. After last years flooding event depositional sampling
showed areas contaminated anywhere from 500 to 2,000ppt; some in the parks some
samples were in parking lots. This legislation does nothing to assist in getting
a handle on cleanup let alone interim response activities.
HB 4617 is an attempt to give Dow Chemical what they could not achieve in the
2002 consent order where they would have no responsibility for their
contamination down river. You need to know that Dow signed their corrective
action license in June of 2003. Dow did not contest the license or the use of
the “facility” designation and neither did Mr. Moolenaar. Why now? Why two years
Representative Moolenaar has a history of doing Dow’s bidding. Last year,
commensurate with their license Dow was to begin soil sampling for dioxin in
Midland. Something Dow did not want to do, nor did the City Fathers of Midland.
A huge town hall meeting attacking the DEQ was orchestrated by economic groups
in Midland. Representative Moolenaar accused the DEQ of being out of control but
we believe the DEQ is doing its job and enforcing the law. Last year in an
attempt to stop the testing in Midland, Mr. Moolenaar threatened to eliminate
the hazardous waste division of the DEQ, gut their budget, stop all dioxin
testing in the state and raise the standard from 90 ppt to 1,000ppt. Worth
noting is that there are no residential areas in Midland that are known to
exceed 1000ppt. HB 4617 is “designer” legislation intended to make the dioxin
contamination go away with the sweep of a pen. This legislative detoxification
is an injustice to every living thing in the watershed and disrespectful to the
hard working homeowners whose lives have been turned upside down by Dow
How did Dow Chemicals' contamination of a watershed get twisted into being the
fault of the DEQ for enforcing laws already in existence to protect the
environment and hold the responsibility party accountable?
The facility label is not an unfair label to property owners. If anything, this
committee should be holding hearings on how Dow should be cleaning up their
contamination, not on how to try and legislate the problem away. Our entire
river community is contaminated with Dow’s dioxin, we have all kinds of
restrictions on the use of our property, not because of the facility designation
but because it’s contaminated. The presences of dioxin on our property
constitute a “takings” by Dow. We cannot use our properties as we choose or
intended at the time of purchase.
In closing it is our contention that:
· This bill jeopardizes public health by encouraging the sale of contaminated
property to unknowing buyers. This is not ethical or moral
· This bill prevents the MDEQ from protecting public health by prohibiting
access to properties
· This bill violates the Michigan Constitution Article IV sec. 52 that requires
you, the legislature to protect the natural resources of “ this state from
pollution impairment and destruction”
· The only way to protect property rights in Michigan is to require the
responsible party to cleanup contamination.
· There should be no special rules for dioxin as defined in this bill. ( page 18
line 25 and page 24 line 19)
· This legislation will increase the cost of the testing. Blur the lines of
cleanup and further delay resolution of this dioxin contamination of Michigan’s
· The use of an exposure investigation (page 19 lines 1) further treats dioxin
differently. We do not rely on exposure investigations to protect children from
mercury, lead or arsenic. Why would you do this for dioxin?
· This “ designer legislation” with all its trappings lays the blame for
devalued property on the phrase” facility designation” when the real culprit is
Thank you for the opportunity to speak to you today. We would also like to
extend an invitation to any of you to come visit our yards and our homes.
Gary Henry Kathy Henry John Taylor Gloria Taylor Amy Taylor Jim Brasseur Joy Brasseur Marcia Woodman Vito Damore Betty Damore Paul Damore Richard Stimpson Marti Stimpson Greg Whitney Mary Whitney
Shaun Whitney Howard Steinmetz Barb Steinmetz Bill Hard Jan Hard Roz Berlin Carol Chisholm Russell Kubik Laura Burtt Kim Ortman
On May 27, 2004, a group of Michigan Republican Lawmakers from Midland (Stamas &
Moolenaar) filed 2 bills in the Michigan Legislature to raise the States dioxin
Residential Direct Contact Criteria (RDCC) to over 11 times the
current standard, from 90 ppt to 1000 ppt. In our opinion, this is a attempt to
relieve Dow Chemical of it's clean up responsibilities under it's current operating
license. These individuals have shown their true colors: their allegiance to
Dow Chemical company overrides their concern for public safety in City of Midland,
Tittabawassee River flood plain, the State of Michigan, and the United States of
America. A poll found 90% of
Michigan voters support a comprehensive policy to phase out persistent toxic chemicals
(like dioxin). Yet these "representatives" advance the cause of Dow over
their citizens. If passed, these bills may set a precedent that could affect dioxin
standards across the entire United States. Now is the time for concerned citizens
from around the country to get involved in this debacle unless you want Dow Chemical
interfering in your backyard.
Public officials and their connections to Dow, Detroit Free Press 9/29/04
Many public officials representing residents with dioxin-contamination property in
Midland and Saginaw counties have ties to Dow Chemical Co ... "Obviously, these
connections are troubling" ... "I don't think campaign contributions necessarily
buy votes, but they certainly buy access" ...
Bills HB4617 and SB309 are based upon the fraud of "Sound Science"
Definition: "sound science," is used in reference to
any research, no matter how flawed, that can be used to challenge, defeat, or reverse
environmental and public health protection ( Trust Us, We're Experts, ISBN
1-58542-139-1, p. 222-223).
Definition: "junk science" is the term that
corporate defenders apply to any research, no matter how rigourous, that justifies
regulations to protect the environment and public health ( Trust Us, We're Experts, ISBN
1-58542-139-1, p. 222-223).
For additional information on the fraud of "Sound Science"
and and how it is used by unscrupulous Legislators like those listed above to promote
industry agenda's, click here
In a public meeting on May 26 2004,
Mike Krecek of the Midland County Health Department acknowledges residents of
Midland have a higher incident of diabetesthan those in the rest of the
state and nation. Many residential areas in the vicinity of Dow's
incinerators are covered with dioxin. Krecek doubts it's because of dioxin but
thinks it should be looked into. Department of Veterans Affairs and the Institute of
Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences have a strong suspicion dioxin can be linked
to diabetes, Click here for details.
Perhaps Mr. Krecek should consider the Precautionary Principle NOW rather than waiting for
the outcome of some inconclusive, Dow sponsored health study to be complete years from
now. Listen to the EPA's Dr. Linda Birnbaum speak about other non-cancer effects on
humans, click here.
In a public meeting on May 26 2004, Mike Krecek told Midland residents they have one of the
lowest cancer rates in the country 2.2 in 100,000 deaths. Re-evaluation
of study data and statistics reveal the real ratio could be as high as 5,081 in 100,000
deaths. "The County Health Department should not have
conducted a review of the health of county residents as it should have conducted a review
of the health of exposed residents living within the five mile radius. Dilution with high
numbers of non-exposed residents invalidates the study as to whether dioxin exposure has
impacted the health of the residents" This quote is an excerpt from
a document published by a former Dow Chemical Engineer, David Linhardt, visit his web site or click here to view the entire document (pdf).
It should also be noted Mr. Krecek mentioned spikes of prostatic cancer over the
last few years that exceed national averages.
In the EPA report on Midland Soils by Milton Clark, pH.D.
(Oct. 11, 1985 page 17 paragraph 6) Dr. Clark stated the 1,000ppt should be abandoned
because it was not protective of public health.
The ATSDR 1,000ppt is old science and does not
incorporate recent studies and findings from the EPA dioxin reassessment.
The use of the 1,000ppt best accommodates, is more
convenient and best supports the City of Midland's historical objection to soil testing.
For Midland the picture is less grim at 1,000ppt. The ATSDR number does not
matter.......... does not protect public health.......... is not relevant to Dow's legal
obligations under their RCRA license
In April 1998, US EPA issued a directive (OSWER
9200.4-26) permitting more stringent state cleanup standards at RCRA sites. Dow's license
is a RCRA license, replete with legal requirements for testing and remediation of Dow's
offsite release of dioxin and other contaminants.
Since Dow and the City of Midland defer to ATSDR for
their science perhaps the following information will be useful. In an article,
"Public Health Assessment for Dioxins Exposure from soil," Chemosphere, 1995,
the ATSDR authors ( H. Pohl et al) note, "recent studies suggest that noncancer end
points may be more sensitive indicators of dioxin exposure," and derived a value of 40ppt
for chronic exposure of children, which they called an environmental media
evaluation guide or EMEG.
Let's look at some other states and regional dioxin
standards. Arizona 38 ppt, Florida 70ppt, Massachusetts 40ppt, Oregon 39ppt, Region 9 EPA
39 ppt , Region 3 EPA 43 ppt
The ATSDR Health Consultation for the City of Midland
states, " It is not known whether people exposed to low levels of dioxins will
experience the same health effects seen in animal studies. However, based on the available
information, dioxins are believed to have the potential to cause a wide range of adverse
effects in humans, including cancer.
2002 all over again, EPA told them no last time
In 2002, Dow Chemical and the former Republican governor Engler MDEQ administration
tried to raise the RDCC from 90 ppt to 831 ppt and a last ditch move to approve Dow's CACO before
Engler left office. The Michigan Attorney General office commented that the move was
illegal and fatally flawed. Note: the current Governor Granhom's MDEQ is the total
opposite of Engler's as their client is now the citizens of Michigan rather than corporate
polluters such as Dow.
Click here for more on Dow's political
maneuvering in 2002
Below are a few media articles covering current and past attempts of Dow to manipulate
public policy. Hundreds of other related articles can be found on our Newspaper/Media page dating back to January 2002.