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E-M:/ Press Release: Internal Documents Show Dow in Collusion with State
- Subject: E-M:/ Press Release: Internal Documents Show Dow in Collusion with State
- From: Tracey Easthope <email@example.com>
- Date: Tue, 22 Oct 2002 11:16:33 -0400
- Delivered-To: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Delivered-To: email@example.com
- List-Name: Enviro-Mich
- Reply-To: Tracey Easthope <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Title: Press Release: Internal Documents Show Dow in
Lone Tree Council Press
For Immediate Release
Michelle Hurd Riddick, Lone Tree Council -
Terry Miller, Lone Tree Council -
Diane Hebert - 989 832-1694
Internal Documents Show MDEQ
in Collusion with Dow Chemical to Create "Dioxin Zone" in
Michigan through Illegal Agreement
Leadership of State Environmental Agency
Working to Bail Out Polluter from Liability -- Contamination of Entire
Watershed at Stake
Government documents obtained by citizens in Saginaw County
demonstrate that top management of the Michigan DEQ is working
hand-in-glove with the Dow Chemical Company to craft an agreement
relieving the company of costly dioxin cleanup requirements and
exposing the public to dioxin contamination. Dioxin
contamination at extraordinarily high levels has recently been
discovered in the flood plain for miles downstream from Dow Chemical's
global headquarters in Michigan.
attorneys for the state as "illegal" and "fatally
flawed" the proposed agreement is now on a fast track to enable
Dow to get relief before a new Governor takes office.
agreement Dow and DEQ Deputy Director Art Nash are negotiating:
o A dioxin zone would be created in Midland, where permissible levels
of dioxin in soils could be more than ten times above the health
standard that applies in the rest of the state;
o The same lax standard could later be applied to highly contaminated
soils along the floodplain of the Tittabawassee River in Saginaw
o Key scientific decisions about the risk posed by dioxin and how to
address it would be pulled from DEQ scientists and delegated to a
process that Dow could manipulate;
o Dow would be relieved of potentially huge financial liabilities for
fouling Midland and areas downstream to Saginaw Bay.
obtained by citizens include:
o An e-mail from an Assistant Attorney General to Nash dated October
11 that warns the DEQ Deputy that the agreement he is seeking to
negotiate is illegal;
o A previous e-mail from the Department of Attorney General
instructing Nash to scrap a previous version of the agreement;
o A letter from the U.S. EPA saying highly complicated scientific
issues associated with the agreement will take months to resolve, and
that the agreement should not proceed on a fast track.
"For years I have
watched Dow manipulate and influence the system much to the detriment
of public health. This is part of a larger pattern of
influence-peddling that has left local residents with a legacy of
dioxin contamination. Disgusting as these memos are it's
politics and business as usual for Dow Chemical and for this DEQ
Administration," says Midland activist Diane Hebert.
In the October 11
e-mail, Assistant Attorney General Robert Reichel wrote Nash:
"...the order is illegal and that DEQ lacks the legal
authority to sign it. He explained that among other things, the
order: 1) unlawfully purported to relieve Dow of certain liability to
the state, 2) arbitrarily and illegally established certain
"action levels" for dioxin in soils ten times greater than
DEQ's existing statewide standards under Part 201 through processes
not in compliance with Parts 111 and 201, 3) unlawfully delegated DEQ
regulatory authority to private parties, and 4) illegally substituted
"dispute resolution" procedures involving a de novo trial in
Midland County Circuit Court for the administrative and judicial
processes specified in applicable law..."
should be aware of the factual background against which DEQ's actions
in this matter may be judged by others. Regardless of DEQ management's
own actual motivations for attempting to immediately conclude a
written agreement with Dow on these issues, many outside observers
will inevitably draw the inference that the proposed agreement is an
"11th hour " and "sweetheart deal." Frankly,
we are at a loss to understand why the DEQ would want to unnecessarily
subject itself to such criticism."
has always been about what Dow has wanted. It has never
been about what was in the best interest of public health or the
watershed. Dow's political influence is immense," said Curt
Dalton of Tittabawassee River Watch after reading one of the memos
about Dow's desire to get something in writing because the next
governor may not be as favorable.
Hudson River-sized contamination came to light when citizens learned
through FOIA that high levels of dioxin had been found nearly 20 miles
downstream from Dow's manufacturing facility. Subsequent testing
confirmed that the watershed and flood plain downriver from Dow's
headquarters are contaminated with elevated levels of dioxin.
Levels range from background to more than 7,200 ppt. The state
residential cleanup standard is 90 ppt.
High levels have been found in public use areas and parks.
To see copies of
two internal email memos, and for more information on the
contamination of the watershed, go to www.ecocenter.org.
Also Department of Environmental Quality's
web page on the dioxin contamination