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E-M:/ FW: Groups Urge 'Successful' Dow dioxin cleanup

-----Original Message-----
From: David Holtz [mailto:dholtz@cleanwater.org]
Sent: Monday, December 27, 2004 10:49 AM
Subject: Groups Urge 'Successful' Dow dioxin cleanup



For Immediate Release


December 27, 2004


Contacts: James Clift (517) 256-0553

Terry Miller (989) 686-6386



Groups Challenge Granholm On Dioxin Cleanup Goals

/Urge ‘Secret’ Dow Talks Toward Successful Finish/


Community residents and state and local environmentalists today released

a seven-point set of dioxin cleanup guidelines for the Midland-Saginaw

Bay area, urging the Granholm administration to successfully conclude

still-secret talks with Dow Chemical Company over the fate of the

Tittabawassee and Saginaw River watersheds.


"This situation has gone on long enough," said Michelle Hurd Riddick, a

Midland area resident and Lone Tree Council member. "The recent

disclosure confirming highly elevated levels of dioxin contamination

along the Saginaw River must be taken by the Granholm administration and

public health officials as clear indication of the need to require Dow

to move swiftly to remove dioxin contaminated soils and sediments from

our communities. The guidelines we are releasing today outline what

community residents believe an acceptable cleanup plan should address."


Although the cleanup guidelines are targeted at the Saginaw Bay

watershed, the same questions need to asked about rivers throughout the

state, said James Clift, Policy Director of the Michigan Environmental



“We want to know when Michigan’s citizens are going to get to swim and

fish safely again in the Kalamazoo, Rouge or Grand rivers. We refuse to

accept that the state is turning its back, that the day we can safely

use Michigan’s rivers is gone forever,” said Clift.


Closed negotiations between Michigan and Dow Chemical Company regarding

the cleanup of the deadly poison dioxin were slated to conclude October

31st,but have dragged on an additional two months. The Michigan

Environmental Council, the Lone Tree Council, Sierra Club, Ecology

Center, Clean Water Action, Tittabawassee River Watch, Citizens Against

Toxic Chemicals, and Environmental Health Watch released today’s dioxin

cleanup guidelines in anticipation that the results of the negotiations

will be announced soon.


“Residents of my community just want to know that the contaminated soils

and sediments are going to be removed from the rivers, the riverbanks

and their yards, and put somewhere we know they are going to be safe and

not re-released into our community,” said Terry Miller, a resident of

Bay City, also from the Lone Tree Council.


Michigan law contains a dioxin standard of 90 parts per trillion as the

benchmark for protecting families’ health in a residential setting.

Environmentalists and local residents are concerned about Dow’s attempts

to avoid cleaning up dioxin to that standard and the subsequent impact

on public health.


The eight groups released the following guidelines that will be used to

evaluate any proposed cleanup plan coming out of the Granholm-Dow



1) Will the final goal of any cleanup result in rivers that we can swim

and fish in, that we know are safe as drinking water sources?


2) Will the public have a strong, direct role in ensuring that a

comprehensive cleanup is undertaken?


3) Will the cleanup begin immediately? Are the most contaminated areas

that affect public health and Michigan’s waters being cleaned up first?

What is the specific cleanup schedule?


4) Will the current lawful cleanup standard of 90 parts per trillion be

used? If not, what scientific basis exists for using a standard less



5) Will contaminated soils and sediments be removed using methods,

procedures and containment sites that ensure dioxin poisons will not be

reintroduced into our neighborhoods by the next major flood event?


6) Will the dioxin cleanup agreement be legally enforceable? What, if

any, impact will it have on other existing cleanup agreements between

Dow and the state? What are the consequences if Dow or the state fail to

comply with the agreement?


7) Will the cleanup agreement protect economic growth, public enjoyment

and sustainable development along the riverfront into the future? Or is

it a short-term fix that leaves pollution behind for future generations

to deal with?






David Holtz

Michigan Director

Clean Water Action

Clean Water Fund

517-203-0754 East Lansing

313-300-4454 cell