Dear, Rita (and Enviro-Mich readers):
You raise some good points. I had a similar thought when I read the announcement this morning.
When I first started work for the DNR in 1977, one of the first projects we were involved in was monitoring dioxins in fish from the Tittabawassee River. That was almost thirty years ago…………adds new meaning to the term “expedite”…..
“Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though sometimes checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much.....because they live in that gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.”
~~ Teddy Roosevelt
email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] On Behalf Of Rita Jack
Please see the announcement below, released yesterday by the Governor’s office. I would like to see some clarification, and to have some words and phrases defined, and I would like to know more about exactly how this moves the process along any faster, how this removes dioxins from the floodplain, how this protects children now. I’ve used quotation marks to help discern the language of the announcement from my comments. The full announcement is below my message.
1. “The Governor and Liveris agreed that Dow will continue current activities to develop and complete remedial investigation work plans in cooperation with the state’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). Also, by the end of 2006, the DEQ and Dow will be responsible for accelerating completion of activities necessary for achieving significant progress consistent with the requirements of Dow’s operating license and the framework agreement signed in January 2005.”
How does Dow and MDEQ concurrently “develop and complete remedial investigation work plans” AND “accelerate completion of activities necessary for achieving significant progress”?? How is “achieve significant progress” defined, what does that actually MEAN? How does one measure “significant” progress? Does it mean there will be measurably less dioxin contamination on the Tittabawassee floodplain and in the Tittabawassee River sediments? The framework agreement was signed in January 2005 – and the end of 2006 will be almost two full years since it was signed. It seems to me that anything less than “significant progress” by the end of 2 years after such a huge hoopla would be awful embarrassing.
2. What does “address” mean as it is used in “pledged to the residents of the region to address the dioxin/furan situation”. Does that mean to actually clean up the dioxins, or just to cover them up so that the spring floods of 2007 and 2008 and 2009 and beyond can uncover them again? And in the subject line, what is meant by “resolution”, exactly? Does THAT mean cleanup, does that mean they’ll remove the dioxins???
3. “The state and Dow have already created a roadmap to resolve the outstanding issues in the framework. Now we need to build on that success.” A friend recently said in response to this announcement “Somewhere on the contaminated floodplain a child was born in 2001. This fall she will be entering kindergarten. I submit when she graduates from high school her river and yard will still be contaminated….” My friend is correct. How many more years will children of the Tittabawassee River floodplain be subjected to these insidiously toxic compounds? It’s already been many generations. Success is not a “plan” to “address” toxic contamination. Success is when that contamination is actually gone, when it’s safe for little kids to play in the dirt in their yards and at the city park, and when hunters can safely consume the wildlife they hunt and anglers can safely eat the fish they catch, and it’s when the Tittabawassee and the Saginaw Rivers are no longer passing more toxic contamination to Lake Huron.
Water Sentinels Project, Sierra Club Mackinac Chapter
Make all Michigan's waters fishable and swimmable.
State, Dow Commit to Expedite Resolution of Dioxin/Furan Situation
LANSING – Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today announced that she and Andrew Liveris, president, CEO and chairman of the Dow Chemical Company (Dow), have reaffirmed their commitment to resolve the historic Mid-Michigan dioxin and furan situation.
The Governor and Liveris agreed that Dow will continue current activities to develop and complete remedial investigation work plans in cooperation with the state’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). Also, by the end of 2006, the DEQ and Dow will be responsible for accelerating completion of activities necessary for achieving significant progress consistent with the requirements of Dow’s operating license and the framework agreement signed in January 2005.
“Dow is obligated through its operating license and has pledged to the residents of the region to address the dioxin/furan situation and ensure the environment and public health are protected,” Granholm said. “Focusing on accelerating progress, while supporting the framework and the on-going negotiation process, is the best path forward toward a comprehensive resolution that enhances the economic, residential, and recreational opportunities for the Mid-Michigan region.”
Liveris added, “The state and Dow have already created a roadmap to resolve the outstanding issues in the framework. Now we need to build on that success. When you focus on key activities and hold all parties accountable for completing them, things get done. This approach will drive the process forward more expeditiously, and that is good for the Mid-Michigan region, the state, and the company.”
The discussion about the dioxin and furan situation was part of a much broader discussion the Governor and Liveris recently had about the economic vitality of Mid-Michigan. Liveris reaffirmed Dow’s commitment to the region and the state and his desire to see increased manufacturing located in the region. They also discussed new and innovative ways for the state to continue attracting operations of other globally competitive companies to Michigan.
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