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E-M:/ citizens out of the loop and outraged about proposed dioxin study

Enviro-Mich message from "Dave Dempsey" <davemec@voyager.net>

For Immediate Release                                         Michelle
Hurd-Riddick  989-799-3313
August 16, 2002                                                   Diane
Hebert, 989-832-1694

Terry Miller 989-686-6386

John Taylor 989-781-2950

Citizens Out of the Loop and Outraged


Petitioners and the residents of the Watershed were stunned to learn last
week that despite early assurances from ATSDR and MDCH staff that citizens
would be part of any agency outcomes resulting from the discovery of high
levels of dioxin in the Tittabawassee River and city of Midland, the two
agencies have put together a draft Comprehensive Health Study with virtually
no citizen input.

Moreover, the Governor’s Science Advisory Board at the request of Director
Haveman of MDCH and Director Harding of DEQ, have solicited Dow Chemical
Company to fund the proposed multi-million-dollar proposal – and the
Midland-based chemical giant has agreed.

“ My property and my family’s health, it doesn’t get any closer to home”,
said John Taylor, who lives on the Tittabawassee River.  I was not
consulted, asked to participate in, or even provided a copy of the proposal.
Dow’s funding is clear conflict of interest, and one has to ask how state
and federal decision-makers became so cozy with Dow.

  “As far as I’m concerned there is no proposal on the table.  Any proposal
developed without active citizen participation is meaningless and a slap in
the face”, said petitioner, Diane Hebert of Midland.

Environmentalists have contended, and preliminary DEQ sediment and soil
sampling supports, that the source of the dioxin contamination has been
historical, accidental, and flood-related releases from Dow Chemical
Company.   Some areas in the floodplain of the Tittabawassee River contain
dioxin concentrations 80 times the State’s residential cleanup standard of
According to the draft plan written by the State: “Dow Chemical has
expressed a willingness to provide funding for the entire comprehensive
health study, including all costs for laboratory analysis of soils, foods,
and blood samples”.

“After Dow repeatedly denied responsibility for the dioxin, opposed further
soil sampling, and attempted to influence public opinion against a
comprehensive health study  -- it will now fund it?” asked Lone Tree Council
Chairman Terry Miller.   “It appears to be a final environmental sham by a
lame duck Governor – and if I lived along the Tittabawassee I would be
In letter ( attached)  to policy makers this week, citizens and petitioners
are urging the rejection of the draft and formation of community
organization that would include the petitioners and representatives of
citizens impacted by the contamination.  They are seeking public funding for
the study, either state or federal, and are asking citizens to call their
elected representatives and urge them to support such funding.

 “We want to scrap this plan and require officials to uphold their
commitment to include petitioners in the planning process and to develop a
community advisory group,” said Michelle Hurd-Riddick.  "A proposal to deal
with dioxin contamination from Midland to Saginaw that was drafted in secret
can only further erode public confidence.  Those whose health may be at risk
need to be consulted first on any such plan.

To learn more or to get involved citizens are welcome to attend the monthly
meeting at 6pm at Green Point Nature Center this Monday, August 19th.
(Always the third Monday of the month)


Governor John Engler
Dr. Henry Falk
P.O. Box 30013
  Assistant Administrator
Lansing, Michigan 48909

1600 Clifton Road, NE (E28)
James Haveman, Director
Atlanta, GA  30333
Michigan Department of Community Health
Lewis Cass Building, 6th Floor
Alan Yarbough
320 South Walnut
Lansing 48913
1600 Clifton Road, NE (E32)

Atlanta, GA

Russ Harding, Director
Dr. Mark Johnson
Department of Environmental Quality
ATSDR Region 5
P.O. Box 30457
77 W. Jackson Blvd
Lansing 48909-7873
Rm 413, M/S 4J

Chicago, IL 60604

August 14, 2002


We the undersigned Petitioners to ATSDR and residents of Saginaw and Midland
County, Michigan, demand your immediate attention to the matter of public
participation in the Health Consultation for Dioxin Contamination in Midland
Michigan, and in the Tittabawassee River Floodplain. We are specifically
asking for a meeting with you and other decision makers, to discuss the
process for our ongoing, active participation in all matters concerning the
above health consultations.

In a February meeting the “technical team” working on the issue, and again
in a May meeting with DEQ Director, Russell Harding  and MDCH Director,
James Haveman, we were assured that an active, transparent process for the
public would take place. Indeed, several letters from elected
representatives to ATSDR, MDCH and MDEQ have insisted on an open process. To
date nothing of the sort has occurred. In fact, quite the opposite.

Despite the assurances of our participation from ATSDR and MDCH, we were
stunned to learn last week of a health study proposal drafted by MDCH to be
funded by Dow Chemical.

We reject such decision making in the absence of the petitioners and
representatives of the affected citizens. This entire Health Consultation
has consisted of the petitioners and representatives being asked for comment
after the fact--- this does not constitute active participation in the
process. The petitioners’ and citizens’ lack of knowledge of ongoing
negotiations between ATSDR, MDCH, and the Dow Chemical Company does not
constitute transparency, and the State’s denying citizens’ access to
information without employing the Freedom of Information Act does not
constitute openness. Our ongoing struggle to have a voice in the health and
well being of our lives and our watershed continues to fall on deaf ears in
Lansing and Atlanta.

Again, we insist on meeting with you, and the other decision makers. It
would be most helpful if you would come to an agreement on a date and time
convenient for you to come to Saginaw. We are more than willing to
accommodate your schedule and your visit. If this is not possible we will be
happy to come to Lansing and meet with you. Please make arrangements with
Lone Tree member, Michelle Hurd Riddick. 989-799-3313 or michdave@aol.com .

We look forward to hearing from you in the very near future.


Michelle Hurd Riddick
& 50 others…………………………

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