Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Ann Doyle Letter to the Editor, Saginaw News

I just today read the following letter to the editor in Saturday's Saginaw News. I must say Thank You, Ann Doyle for saying what the majority of us living along the Tittabawassee River feel about the dioxin saga!!! It is great to hear our elected representatives speak up for us... once again proving we made a wise choice!

From The Saginaw News
Saturday, February 25, 2008

Adjust dioxin studies, clean-up

Editor, The News:

I chose not to attend the Dec. 7 Department of Environmental Quality/Dow Chemical Co. meeting. I was still disappointed with the Environmental Protection Agency from last fall's meeting when the representative was asked by University of Michigan's Dr. Garabrant if they had read his research regarding dioxin/furan exposure in the Tittabawassee River. The reply was ''no'' and therefore not incorporated into their moving-forward plans.

When I heard the EPA had ended discussions with Dow, I was bewildered. Why would discussions be terminated at this stage? Even if the EPA and Dow don't agree with what should be done, negotiations cannot take place if there is no communication. Residents, no matter what side of the issue, want communication between the EPA, DEQ and Dow.

Dow did not participate in the Feb. 7 meeting due to lack of new information. The EPA did not come because of the weather, which is understandable. That left the DEQ. I was happy to read that the DEQ wants to move ahead with less invasive procedures than what we saw last fall. They, too, must have been shocked when they saw the land stripped of trees and vegetation. True, it grows back, but in the meantime it upsets the natural balance of wildlife. There's also the question of whether dioxins and furans are more of a danger by being exposed rather than staying buried.

I've attended these meetings since they started. I still have not heard evidence of dioxins or furans getting into anyone's bloodstream as a result of the Tittabawassee flooding or from activities on the river. Nor have I heard of someone being ill as a result of exposure to the river. While I feel bad for anyone who is ill, and I understand the need to be able to determine the cause, it seems premature to blame the dioxins and furans.
Until there is factual data showing that the Tittabawassee is harming residents, the DEQ needs to remove the facility designation. Dow must continue to clean ''hotspots'' that have consistently tested high. The community needs to be more careful with our land and water as we move forward.

And, our legislators must review the new research and the 90 parts per trillion level and make adjustments if supported. Just like other areas in our lives, we revise how we do things as we grow older because we learn new and better ways based on past experience and new findings.

Ann Doyle

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

from Midland Daily News///

Dow appeals plan for dioxin cleanup
By Tony Lascari
The Dow Chemical Co. is appealing a plan for dioxin cleanup that it says extends past the Saginaw Bay into Lake Huron.
The company is required by the state to investigate contamination in the Saginaw River and Saginaw Bay, but not Lake Huron, Dow spokesman John Musser said.
The company appealed modifications to its latest scope of work document made by Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, mainly because the changes add about 300 square miles to be tested in Lake Huron, Musser said.
The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality said that Dow's assertion is "absolutely wrong."
"We're not making them go out there because we already have samples that show we don't have contamination out there," MDEQ spokesman Bob McCann said.
Dow might be confusing sampling done previously in Lake Huron, McCann said. He said the state is only requiring investigation to show where the contamination went to that came from Dow's property.
Musser said the company has worked on substantial cleanup in the Tittabawassee River and is prepared to do remedial cleanup actions in the first six miles of the Saginaw River if necessary. Dow completed some sampling in 2007 to get ahead on finding solutions to the contamination, Musser said.
Beyond that stretch of the river, Dow hoped to take a more restorative approach to the work. Musser said the company is not the only contributor to contamination of the Saginaw River and should not be solely responsible for its cleanup.
When the MDEQ approved the scope of work plan, it added modifications that go beyond what legitimately would be called the Saginaw Bay, Musser said.
"As it turns out the modifications are just not acceptable," he said. "The modifications were unilaterally made and beyond the scope of DEQ's legal authority."
Musser said about 300 square miles of Lake Huron were added to the required sampling area, which would go beyond the state's authority to require Dow to investigate Saginaw Bay.
"The modifications would require Dow to take on an endless and pointless series of studies which will clearly distract from the important work we thought ought to be addressed and what the public really cares about," Musser said. "What they're putting out here is that there's no real end in sight in what they expect us to do."
That's why Dow filed an appeal to the plan on Thursday.
"Our hope would be that the result of this would be for DEQ to withdraw the modified scope of work and for us to get back together and look at the data that is there and the data that's coming March 1, and make our decisions based on that," Musser said.
"Hopefully it's something we can work through and put behind us quickly so important work isn't delayed," McCann said, adding he thinks the issue is simply a matter of misunderstanding.

©Midland Daily News 2008

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Len's Excellent Commentary on EPA/MDEQ Meeting at SVSU

The bureaucrats were out in force at EPA's Great Lakes National Program Presentation at Saginaw Valley State University. While I applaud their efforts concerning cleanup of the Great Lakes due to pollution, invasive species and bringing together involved parties, there is a major hiccup in one area. This area is dioxin and how it is being approached.

After listening to a very sanctimonious presentation concerning corporate responsibility in the area of environmental cleanup, the EPA leaves one wondering. In the face of scientists who pioneered dioxin research, and refute the so-called dangers in the area of dioxin, the EPA and MDEQ continue in their quest to force cleanup in our area. Even though evidence is abundantly available that dioxin has never harmed any population, and there is no scientific proof to the contrary.

We are still subject to the bureaucratic mindset. It was very sad to listen to the biased presentation of a Mr. Dollhopf from the EPA, but stereotypical when considering EPA's past comments. While The Dow Chemical Co. has been forthright in their efforts to supply cleanup monies and data concerning this subject, they still have an obligation to not throw money away needlessly. This concept does not connect with the EPA. It has to be very frustrating for Dow to continue this process when the EPA has inserted a moving target for them to complete the cleanup issue.

We have generated an enormous amount of undeniable, statistically sound scientific data that proves dioxin is not entering the human system through dust or soil. The U of M human blood serum study is irrefutable in this area. The MSU wildlife study proves that our ecosystem is healthy and vibrant. This is contrary to the outdated information the EPA and MDEQ use in their extrapolations to determine cleanup numbers. Why are the EPA and MDEQ so reluctant to embrace this data and use it? Our area is suffering from the effects of dioxin but it is not from health issues. It is the continuing diatribe we hear from the EPA and MDEQ that is harming us economically while disparaging the image of our community.

While I support the EPA in all other areas, I feel they should revisit their efforts in the dioxin area. Their continuing push in this area has the potential to alienate our largest employer to the point that the pubic stands to suffer greatly. A corporate expansion, freeze or downsizing would not be out of the question when facing the irresponsible demands the EPA and MDEQ have put upon them. When the cure outweighs the benefits of an issue, then it is time for listening and caution before moving forward.

Leonard Heinzman Freeland

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Where I Stand...

I stand in the middle of my backyard where we experience at least one flood per year, compliments of the dams further upstream that empty into the Tittabawassee River whenever the waters get too high... usually after the spring thaw. My property exists on one of the lowest areas along the Tittabawassee River floodplain.

I mow the lawn here - a whole acre. I still have asparagus we planted when we moved here 50 years ago. We had vegetable gardens for several years when my children were young..... and yes, this is also where our girls had their playground equipment.

Then... in the new millenium, a few environutz from a neighboring community started denigrating our property, saying it was contaminated by the big bad chemical company. They found a greedy few willing to sue Dow claiming their property is worthless because of the contamination.

In late 2003 or early 2004 I read in the newspapers that these Lonetree Council recruits were trying to sue Dow Chemical in a class action suit. This is the same bunch of weirdos that later told me to 'shut up' at a public meeting in June 2005! I guess they believe in freedom of speech for anybody who agrees with them.

These environutz DO NOT represent me nor my neighbors, many of whom have lived here even longer than I. We are the Tittabawassee River Voice and we are tired of special interest groups and bureaucrats defiling the environment along our river.

We DO NOT want to sue Dow. We want MDEQ and EPA to get out of our backyards! We want the environutz and bureaucrats to allow Dow Chemical to clean up their own mess!

Friday, February 01, 2008

Answer to Environutz... Where I Was in 2003

Some environutz have asked where I was in 2003 when the first dioxin/MDEQ meetings began.

It all started with a paper spitball blown across the room in a high school. That spitball resulted in an accusation by a Pakistani that one of my grandsons committed ethnic intimidation. The entire story is surreal, including police brutality and a misinformed district attorney.

My husband & I spent most of 2003 driving across the state to show our support. Some court appearances were cancelled without notice. We were convinced the delays were calculated for my grandson to plead guilty to something of which he was innocent.

Bottom line: In desperation my daughter sent a letter to her State Representative and I sent a letter to mine, explaining the problem. An assistant noted on my letter the incident was not within his district so he could do nothing. Wrong!

Rep. Moolenaar read my letter and responded that he would try to help. Finally our trial was not delayed again. The grandson was found not guilty.

Representative John Moolenaar may not even remember who I am but I will always remember him! He is my hero. His thoughtfulness taught me that there is such a thing as an honest politician.

Now the Lonetree Council and their little group of litigants in the dioxin case started catching my attention. They did not represent me and I knew most of my Freeland neighbors felt the same. I made noise at some of the Dow informational meetings... I started this blog... and I met Leonard & Cheryl Heinzman... kindred souls. They kicked things into high gear and the Tittabawassee River had a Voice.