Plan due on Halloween

Thursday, September 16, 2004


The state Department of Environmental Quality has emerged from negotiations with Dow Chemical Co. not with an agreement about how to proceed with dioxin cleanup, but with a date.

State officials set a deadline this week for hammering out an action plan on how to deal with dioxin contamination downstream and downwind of Dow's Midland plants.

DEQ spokeswoman Patricia Spitzley said the parties plan to reach agreement by Sunday, Oct. 31.

"We are providing an end point to the discussion phase of this project and moving toward our goal of seeing actual results," said Lt. Gov. John D. Cherry. "My hope is that the deadline provides everyone involved with an incentive to aggressively work together to reach a consensus on the appropriate course for corrective action."

Cherry is among state officials negotiating with Dow.

The announcement was the first public update since negotiations began almost three months ago -- a delay that fueled frustration among some residents and environmental groups, who chided the state for too much talk and too little action.

Rep. John A. Moolenaar, a Midland Republican, believes the state is marching in the right direction with its negotiations with Dow.

"It's helpful to have a deadline," said Moolenaar, who met with state and Dow leaders early Wednesday. "There is urgency in terms of trying to resolve this in a constructive way."

Moolenaar said he received no indication what direction the administration will turn in addressing dioxin in Midland or along the Tittabawassee River in Saginaw County. State officials provided no additional information about the nature of the discussions with Dow. t

Jeremiah Stettler is a staff writer for The Saginaw News. You may reach him at 776-9685.

© 2004 Saginaw News


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