The dioxin contamination stretches 22 miles downstream of the Dow Chemical Corporation's world headquarters and manufacturing plant located in the city of Midland. The Tittabawassee River connects to the Saginaw River and then flows out to the Saginaw Bay and Lake Huron.
Current levels of Dioxin toxicity are over 80 times the level deemed safe for human contact in residential areas. More than 2000 properties are contaminated in an area estimated to cover 16,000 acres spanning either side of 22 miles of river. The contaminated land is covered in homes, parks, churches, schools, farms, a national wildlife refuge, and many small businesses.
Here are 3 links to excellent, highly informative sources that include a historical perspective, maps and available research on the effects of this globally unprecedented level of dioxin contamination.
According to the folks at the Ecology Center, HB 4617 would remove the state's ability to designate some property as a "facility" or potentially contaminated. An amendment would also allow the polluter to decide whether a property can receive the designation.
"The result will be more expensive cleanups, slower cleanups, and increased liability for individual property owners whose property may be contaminated. Residents may actually lose the ability to force polluters to pay! In addition, the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" provisions of the bill would prevent property owners from knowing that their property is contaminated, would prevent future owners from being informed, and would prevent the DEQ from doing anything about it, even if the property owners wanted help."
Stand up and fight this bill. This bill is an attempt by the legislature to weaken the authority of the DEQ to protect the Great Lakes! Please email the Senate Majority leader and tell him you don't want the bill to move forward.