Monday, August 29, 2005
You know... what really amazes me is that there are people who question the simple honest statements made by Congressman Moolenaar, but pay absolutely NO attention whatsoever to the bold-faced untruths presented to us by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. Do you realize that the MDEQ, because of their POWER, has designated approximately 400 residential properties along the Tittabawassee River floodplain 'facilities' based on a few actual soil samples? Ooops! Sorry! Mr. Steve Chester says my home (among the 400) is not 'designated' a 'facility' - it just 'IS' a facility based on 'rules.' Who made the rules? Mr. Chester says legislators made the rules. Who changed the rules? Our Michigan legislators are trying to, but now Mr. Chester has changed the rule! Well he didn't actually 'change' the rule... according to him he just 'explained' it better.
I am still waiting for an explanation as to how the MDEQ can sample a few residential yards and claim ALL yards in similar flood situations are contaminated. I am still wondering why Mr. Chester can say 400 residential properties are 'facilities of Dow' - especially after the Director of the Midland Department of Public Health, Mike Krecek, has pointed out that, at least in the MDCH human exposure study, MDEQ is wrong 34% of the time!
Meanwhile, I'm also looking for a 'pocket of disease' in this neighborhood full of 'facilities' that are not designated but just 'are' facilities! With a super power like MDEQ, who needs a justice system?
Watch out folks... the MDEQ may visit your backyard next! Maybe they will decide your backyard 'is' a 'facility' for some arbitrary assumption they conjure up.
Friday, August 26, 2005
This beautiful creature just stopped by this morning for a bit of dessert from the apple tree (foreground) and then went back to more of the main course in the cornfield (background). Yup, this is MY backyard!
If you didn't attend one of the latest MDEQ/Dow 'town-hall' meetings, I finally got my version of the Midland meeting put together last night.
Do you realize that approximately 33% of the residential properties designated as 'facilities' by the MDEQ are most likely not 'facilities' based on the MDEQ 'reasonable assumption' practice?
Thursday, August 25, 2005
Not many people were in attendance, perhaps less than a dozen residents. The rest were MDEQ, Dow and press... even though much of the press left without attending the meeting, but one TV station managed to show a camera's-eye panorama of attendees and short 2 person interview.
MDEQ overview of flood-areas and definition of 'facility' was a bit long for those following the dioxin drama regularly. No newbies were present; no need for all that yadda-yadda.
Dow brought us up-to-date on progress to date. You can read all about it in Kathie's article, but the bottom line is - Dow is pretty much where they should be in the remediation phase.
MDEQ then began a discussion about informational meetings - a topic that we all felt was pretty much a done-deal after the June 28 meeting in which the 'old' CAP members didn't like the idea of a 'new' CAP (relabeled CAC, but nonetheless, a CAP). Bottom line on this subject - Information meetings are a part of the overall plan to get the job done and keep residents informed. I guess that means meetings are a requirement and we will perhaps rejuvenate the 'old' CAP with some new members.
I came prepared for the discussion period, with questions about the new 'facility' terminology. I gave them the questions ahead of time with options and they chose to respond later and publish answers along with other questions brought up at the current trio of meetings after the Horizons meeting tonight. For your information, my questions were quite simple. If you care to read the questions, here they are. I will share the answers when I get them.
When I was aware they wanted to wait to answer my questions I brought up #4 - Why were you able to change the meaning (of the word 'facility') without that required legislation? The rather long-winded stock answer was not satisfactory, even with discussion and clarifications by other resident attendees.
MDEQ personnel insisted 'reasonable inference' is a fair way to assume the existence of dioxins in all of our backyards because samples were taken from a few residences. Mike Krecek called attention to the Michigan Department of Community Health study of dioxin exposure in adults, published earlier this year. See the paragraph below... from page 3 of that report (page 9 on the .pdf file noted here).
'In the summer and fall of 2003, the MDEQ sampled soil on 22 properties believedMike pointed out that MDEQ assumed all 22 of the properties were dioxin-laden - based on their criteria. Upon testing of each property - for analytical purposes - only 15 of the 22 properties contained dioxins above the 90 parts per trillion criterion. Do the arithmetic! Mike pointed out that meant that more than 33% of the supposed 'facilities' did not have the 'required' minimum amount of dioxins based on the State of Michigan criterion. Shucks! Do you realize... based on THAT information, 134 of the 400 priority 1 residential properties have no dioxin above 90 ppt. Hmmm! Whaddaya think about that?
to be frequently flooded by the Tittabawassee River. Analysis of surficial soils
for chlorinated dioxins and furans indicated DLC contamination above the MDEQ
criterion of 90 parts per trillion (ppt or ng/kg) on 15 properties (MDEQ 2004).'
Remember the little fella (or gal?) I showed you last week? Yesterday, the second one showed up... a bit bigger than the first. Today they were here again, only now they are together!
Welcome to my little piece of Wildlife Wonderland. These critters are only the latest. We've had the bunnies, birds, snakes, chipmunks and assorted other creatures forever! All we needed was the little pond. I'm thinking next year we will have to build a bigger one. This one already gets crowded when the birds stop by for their baths or the chipmunks stop by to drink. Why do we have all these creatures? ...because when we retired in 1986 we decided we wanted to create a little wildlife haven in our yard - and so it looks like we did, eh?
Please be patient. I'm working on my version of yesterday's meeting... it will come.
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
Will they try to include all 2000+ residents along the Tittabawassee River floodplain? Will they decide to only include the ~400 residents listed as 'priority 1' and according to Mr. Chester's new definition, the only residents living in a 'facility?' I hope somebody in the local news gets more information on this 'closed door' meeting.
Now the 'regularly scheduled' blog for today. Somehow a letter to the editor made it to my g-mail newsfeed: Michigan agency should be helpful instead of a hindrance - - The writer discusses in detail the time it takes to get a permit from Michigan Dept. of Environmental Quality. It concerns a permit request begun in 2003 in Escanaba. Believe it or not, DEQ personnel vaccilated back & forth, saying do this... and do that... and ended up denying the permit! Ms. Granholm, are you listening? Instead of spending taxpayer money on multiple trips to exotic countries, perhaps you should pay attention to the way MDEQ is pushing jobs away!
Monday, August 22, 2005
You need to read this article by Jeff Kart in the Bay City Times, Fish advisory signs to go up along Saginaw River published last Thursday, August 18. Thanks to an anonymous reader for pointing out this article.
Actually, Dow has put the money for signs in an account and the state will actually place them where data indicates the need. What will the signs say? I'm thinking something like, 'This park is a facility of Dow Chemical.' Then it would match my backyard designation! Of course DEQ only extrapolated 'facts' in their zeal to designate my backyard a facility. Nobody knows if there really is any dioxin back there!
What's next? I'm thinking it's time for the new license plate! Note to Governor Granholm: Since you began your international travels, Michigan jobs have decreased! Perhaps it's time to focus on homeowner's rights, eh?
Saturday, August 20, 2005
- Don't eat 'bottom feeders.' This is nothing new to many of us. When I was a child, word was that bottom feeding fish eat whatever settles - this at a time when you could literally see feces floating down the *Saginaw River.
- Trim fatty tissue from the fish you eat. I do this with 'store-bought' fish! Don't like the taste of animal fats of any kind.
- Limit the number of fish you eat per week from this source.
- Don't roll around in the dirt.
- If you insist on eating dirt, wash it first.
*Please note correction: the Saginaw River sported floating feces. (Shirley, 08/22/2005)
Friday, August 19, 2005
...but nobody bothered to show up. Ho-hum! My news feed source isn't very reliable because it didn't show up until this morning. TV12's Matt Franklin covered the informational meeting in Bay City. Read about it and view the television report: DEQ meets on dioxins. Would have caught it sooner but I seldom watch local news on ABC because their local coverage usually is mostly about the Flint area. After viewing the video clip I've surmised the attendees consisted of DEQ, Dow, and Lonetree council.
I don't recall seeing publication of the three meetings anywhere except Midland Daily News this time around. Could it be DEQ doesn't really want anybody attending these meetings any more? What happened to their goal to spread the word broadly? Ms. Howe from the Hazardous Waste group of DEQ didn't even send out notices this time... at least I didn't receive a notice from her.
For your information... next week brings us two meetings... one in Saginaw and one in Midland.
- Wednesday, August 24, 6:30-8:30pm, Holiday Inn,1500 West Wackerly Street, Midland
- Thursday, August 25, 6:30-8:30pm, Horizons Conference Center,6200 State Street, Saginaw
I guess the Saginaw meeting on Thursday is the one intended for Saginaw County people. I plan to be there with bells on. We'll see if the Lonetree gang has learned any social graces since their episode of pack animal behavior at the last meeting in Saginaw. See you there!
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
Yesterday, while gardening in our backyard, we discovered this little frog has taken up residence in the little pond Frank recently built in our new flower garden. Don't know where froggy came from... probably the county ditch that runs along the property line and down to the river. Looks to me like he has all his 'fingers' and 'toes' too!
I mowed the lawn yesterday too - yes, even the half acre of floodplain - and no, I didn't suddenly start wearing a mask while I mow. Had to slow down to let a little garden snake slither past in front of me... and along the ditch line I saw a young groundhog waddle quickly to his home. When I finished mowing, multitudes of birds returned to the feeders out back. Funny, none of these critters suddenly developed two heads or any visible deformities of any kind.
As far as I can tell, there is no more danger to our health now than there was 40 years ago prior to Dow's efforts to clean up their act.
The Saginaw News August 13 edition also carried a letter to the editor from an epidemiologist that works for Dow Chemical. Since I couldn't find it in the MLive online version, I copied it for you. Please take the time to read what Dr. Collins has to say in his letter titled Dow: Study Results Valid. He took the time to explain the various workgroups involved in that study and expressed his confusion about why state and national spokespeople would criticize the study's validity. He also suggested the few critics should complain to the Journal of Exposure Analysis & Environmental Epidemiology, where the paper was published.
The Monday Saginaw News carried two more letters to the editor. You will find them both on this pdf. document. The first letter by Dr. Neill Varner, Medical Director of the Saginaw County Department of Public Health, discusses the correct usage of statistics and further recommends we be patient until results of the University of Michigan dioxin exposure study are complete and published.
The second letter was written by Dr. Philip Cole, an epidemiologist from University of Alabama-Birmingham, who was a principal reviewer of the latest chlorophenol study published by Dow. As part of a distinguished peer review group, Dr. Cole was startled that such an ethical and well performed study could be so misrepresented in media published throughout the state of Michigan.
A Few 'Must-Read' Articles:
Our institutional memory is short-lived - Ralph E. Wirtz, managing editor, Midland Daily News, 08/12/2005. Mr. Wirtz reminds us of the Dow Corning breast implant fiasco.
Trace Toxins and the Public Health - Mary Burney, ACSH, wrote a letter to the editor of the Wall Street Journal, August 11, 2005. It was in response to an article in WSJ July 25 "Levels of Risk..." She said the article '...implies that detection of trace levels of some industrial chemicals is somehow related to an apparent increase in everything from prostate cancer to autism.' and further explains we are living longer and advances in medical technology are able to detect more diseases and conditions.
'Of course, you can't blame the public for having fuzzy ideas about where the dividing line lies between science and science fiction. The fuzziness is widespread...' - so says Todd Seavey, editor of HealthFactsAndFears.com and Director of Publications at the American Council on Science and Health in his satirical August 2 article The Year in Fear.
Monday, August 15, 2005
Wednesday, August 17,
DoubleTree Hotel, 1 Wenona Park Place, Bay City
Wednesday, August 24, Holiday Inn,
1500 West Wackerly Street, Midland
Thursday, August 25, Horizons Conference Center,
6200 State Street, Saginaw
Thursday, August 11, 2005
'Unbelievable!!! A bureaucratic demagogue makes a declaration based on inaneAn FYI for anybody planning to sit in the courtroom to observe progress of these lawsuits, the litigants' website yesterday announced that August 23 is unavailable to Judge Borrello so the thing is once again postponed.
assumptions and a family changes their whole way of life overnight. I don't
know who is more ridiculous... the bureaucrat or the homeowner! The
litigants should be suing MDEQ, for heavens sake. They obviously had no
problem until DEQ said so.'
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
DEQ's response against Homeowners' Rights is 'Cleanups that involve such things as leaking underground gas tanks in the UP and swaths of toxic lead in Detroit's soils could become slower and more expensive if each individual parcel must be tested.' That type of response is typical of the scare tactics environmental extremists like to use to further their causes. Gas leaks and lead are proven dangers. Did the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality declare UP and Detroit residential properties 'facilities'?
Dioxin administered in massive doses to small animals causes certain physical problems. Some dioxins might possibly cause certain physical problems in some people who might be predisposed to certain conditions. There is no pocket of disease in the Tittabawassee River floodplain despite the fact that dioxins were in the soil for decades. Until Dow scientists created the technology to measure dioxins in infinitesimal amounts, nobody was able to even detect most of the dioxins along the Tittabawassee River floodplain. Now, after decades, because dioxins can be detected, it is a reason to call my backyard a facility. I don't think so!
and then DEQ spokesman said the MDEQ edict '...was not meant to imply that all 2,000 properties were tainted.' and they say 'roughly 400 properties in and near Midland are contaminated with Dow dioxin -- and are legally termed a "facility" of Dow...' MDEQ originally notified everybody along the Tittabawassee River floodplain! Then they changed their minds. Do you want your residence given a title based on the whims of DEQ?
My property is a 'facility' of Dow!!! Do you see how MDEQ has taken homes along the Tittabawassee River floodplain and said each one is a 'facility' and essentially belongs to Dow! Jeepers! I don't recall turning my property over to Dow!
Without legislation to control MDEQ's invasion of residential properties, these bureaucratic bullies would be allowed to continue their ventures into backyards throughout the state of Michigan. They already control homes built in the sand dunes, the wetlands, wherever there exists a drainage ditch and floodplains, whether they are really wetlands, floodplains or whatever... or not. They also control all the rivers, lakes and streams and even the underground water! It all depends how the MDEQ dictators choose to attack the homeowner on a particular project. As Ron Arnold says in the prologue to his book Undue Influence, 'The environmental movement is not what you think it is. It is not about the environment. It is about power.'
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
I personally don't believe property values are decreasing, but then we are not trying to sell our home. We like it here... and we don't even have river front property, except for the occasional flood. If I saw a sign like this next door to a house for sale, I don't think I would want to live there... I KNOW I wouldn't want to buy that house. Why? Look at those people!
Want my read on this? Working for the Department of Environmental Quality does not make you infallible although some people may believe it does. They are human too, just like the rest of us... going to work every day and trying to do their jobs. Some of the folks who work there are environmentalists. What's wrong with that? Nothing! I'm an environmentalist myself... and I could give you many examples of my personal environmental involvement, but not now.
Not all environmentalists believe the same thing. Some environmentalists have bigger fears than others. Some are less rational on topics of interest to them... for whatever reasons. No matter how 'busy' these people are, they cannot possibly be too busy to further their own interests. Since people choose friends with similar interests it's only natural that people working for DEQ would have friends outside of work who are interested in environmental issues. Like my momma used to say, 'Birds of a feather flock together.' It just makes sense that a person with strong beliefs in an issue would try to do what they can for their cause, if at all possible.
It is entirely possible and even probable for a MDEQ employee to push his/her personal agenda and I believe Senator Goschka because I know he is an honest man!
Thursday, August 04, 2005
He told us they were here to band the birds and study them for an extended period of time, so of course we asked him if they were also looking for dioxin levels. He said that was a part of the study so naturally I was glad to hear about this first season preliminary results of the study this morning on our local NBC TV station.
That news led me to check my RSS feeds where I found an article by Jeremiah Stettler in the Bay City Times - Researcher finds no dioxin impact on animal population. Don't know why Saginaw News didn't report it since Jeremiah is staff reporter at SN.
I enjoyed looking through Tim's photos of these healthy little baby birds and their parents. It was difficult to choose but I just had to share the only photo of him holding a female bluebird. I presume this was taken when they banded the adults, since he explained how they trap them and it's no easy job. Although there are photos from eggs to the empty nest, I just couldn't resist the photo of this 14 day old juvenile.
I was delighted to hear the news - no birth defects in the babies. I realize this is only the first of several years, but it's encouraging. Let's hope the babies look just as good next year when this little fellow will be among the parents! By the way, Tim told us bluebirds eat mealy worms and whatever other meat they can find. Since they don't necessarily migrate south in the winter, we were concerned about their winter fare. I'm here to tell you they will most certainly eat a gourmet selection of birdseed since we now occasionally spot a bluebird at our feeders!
A Dow study of workers exposed to dioxin emerged recently in the Journal of Exposure Analysis and Environmental Epidemiology, so of course the local media was right on it! Not much difference between the Saginaw News: Dowstudy: No ill effects and Midland Daily News: Exposure study now in print, but basically it all boils down to a simple sentence: People who actually work with dioxin don't seem to have any more ill effects than the general population BUT environmental extremists (people who insist no level of dioxin is the only safe level) think the study is flawed. (..or would that be a compound sentence?)
...and then there's Hector Galbraith, a hired hand for MDEQ. He was hired to give a speech by two local environmental extremist groups... now what do you suppose his message would be? To quote from the Midland Daily News article, Researcher: Dioxin risk exists, published today, much of Galbraith's work... 'relied somewhat on assumption-based modeling,..' Sounds just like the local weatherperson... they always report 'The computer model indicates...' and how often are they right... or should I say wrong? Right! It's a crapshoot. I'm going with the MSU people... and of course Dr. Garabrant's team from U of M! These are people who depend on sound science to get the job done.
and it's not easy being green, so Patrick Moore quit the organization he co-founded, Greenpeace, when they started to evolve into extremism. Remember when I mentioned him in this blog last February? Well the same article we discussed emerged recently at DenverPost.com. It's too good to lose so this time I saved a copy of Moore's explanation on why he quit Greenpeace, Extreme agendas harmful...Environmentalists have lost their way,on my domain. I suggest you read it and if you read it before, read it again. I did.
Furthermore, don't forget our legislators are working for us... this time to protect the rights of homeowners.
Tuesday, August 02, 2005
Mon, 1 Aug 2005 19:51:53 -0700 (PDT)
From: "tittabawassee river voice"
Subject: Re: Comments
To: name deleted
(Name deleted per request), actually I am not a member of any environmental group either.
I just happen to be a citizen that got caught up in the middle of a battle between an environmental group and Dow Chemical. Since I've lived in the same place most of my life AND raised a family, as well as assorted dogs and cats, all along the Tittabawassee River floodplain with no signs of dioxin overload in any of us, I decided it was the environmental group that put me in the middle.
It sure wasn't Dow Chemical that decided an infinitesimal amount of a nasty chemical byproduct is in my backyard without even testing for it. It was a group of environmentalists on a mission. Some of that group are personal friends with some of the people who work for a giant bureaucracy - MDEQ. It was MDEQ that decided my neighbors and I are guilty of having a toxic waste facility in our backyards.
Nobody has proven anybody in the area has even gotten sick as a result of this infinitesimal amount of dioxin in our backyards.
The people who started lawsuits against Dow wanted to drag all of my neighbors and I into their fight by calling their lawsuits 'class action.' Although one of their lawsuits was thrown out by the Michigan Supreme Court, the other is still going forward. If Judge Borrello of Saginaw decides the remaining lawsuit is a class action, people along the Tittabawassee River floodplain who DO NOT want to be in the lawsuit will be required to sign a paper and mail it to the courts declaring we DO NOT want to be a part of the lawsuit.
Does this sound like democracy? Don't you think it's wrong for a group of bureaucrats to prey on the citizens of our state? Do you realize the DEQ preys on citizens throughout our state... in the sand dunes, the wetlands, and the floodplains and if they can't find a body of water to prove their authority they will say there is a ditch somewhere that gives them 'authority' over our private residential properties. They even declare properties floodplains where there have never been floods!!!
(Name deleted per request), you sound like a reasonable man. I will honor your request to remove reference to you in my website. Please in return will you do me a favor? Please do not encourage the environmentalists in their quest to make my property vulnerable to the whims of MDEQ. Please do what you can to defend the Consitution of the United States and the rights of all of us to own and protect our own property.