Friday, October 15, 2004

The River Voice and Midland Matters met with Lieutenant Governor Cherry and Director of MDEQ Steve Chester

The River Voice and Midland Matters met with Lieutenant Governor Cherry and Director of MDEQ Steve Chester yesterday at 2:30 p.m. in Lansing. Here are the fellows - prior to the meeting; I'm behind the camera. Didn't think about using my camera again until after the meeting and it was too late. Maybe next time.

I think it went pretty well. After Mr. Cherry and Mr. Chester brought us up-to-date on the dioxin situation in our area, Bill Egerer gave them an overview of how we, the residents of Midland and the Tittabawassee River floodplain, feel about being in the middle of the MDEQ/Dow dioxin debate.

Dr. Richard Rietz, our toxicologist and expert on dioxin, explained his knowledge of dioxin, pointing out some of the inaccuracies in DEQ's science that were pointed out but never corrected. Dr. Rietz also suggested formation of an unbiased expert panel to oversee the scientific results of studies done by MDEQ. Perhaps this would take care of the uncorrected mistakes in their decision making process.

As Mr. Cherry further discussed the methods and procedures of the whole mess, I suggested they get down to earth and decide if there really is a problem. Giving them my 45 year background experience living in the Tittabawassee River floodplain, I suggested there are plenty of people living here to prove dioxin is not problematic... or we would be seeing a big area of sick people. After all, the dioxin problem caused by Dow's production of chlorine-based chemistry has been since approximately 1906.

Len Heinzman explained the formation of Tittabawassee River Voice, beginning with the meeting with legislators at his home, showing Chester and Cherry the list of signatures obtained by his canvassing of residents along the river plain. Len emphasized that residents want the term 'facility' removed from our properties and even suggested the possibility that we should be exempt from property taxes until this situation is resolved.

Our government now knows the environmental extremists do NOT represent the majority of our residents. Mr. Cherry said he really was unaware that was the case and appreciates our bringing him up to speed.

I also gave Messrs. Cherry and Chester each a CD with a photo album depicting My Town and my prepared notes for the meeting. More will follow.

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