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Dow negotiations conclude; proposed cleanup pending

Release Date: 09/28/2009
Contact Information: (EPA) Mick Hans, ( 312-353-5050 (MDEQ) Bob McCann, 517-373-7917

For Immediate Release
No. 09-OPA184

EPA and Michigan to initiate robust public participation process in mid-October

(CHICAGO - Sept. 28, 2009) U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 and Michigan Department of Environmental Quality said today that negotiations with Dow Chemical concluded Friday, Sept. 25. The talks will likely result in a proposed agreement on an administrative order on consent to comprehensively address dioxin and other Dow Chemical contamination along the Tittabawassee River and Saginaw River and Bay.

Internal reviews are now under way by senior management at EPA, MDEQ and Dow. EPA and Michigan have committed that they will not sign any proposed agreement with Dow until after the agencies have engaged the community and fully considered public comment.

EPA and MDEQ expect Dow to sign the proposed agreement by Oct. 15.

"In June, EPA outlined our non-negotiables to the community at a public meeting and we have held firm," said EPA Region 5 Acting Regional Administrator Bharat Mathur. "EPA listened to the community before the negotiations began and we won't sign off on any cleanup agreement before public concerns have been discussed and considered."

"Cleaning up the Tittabawassee and Saginaw river systems is crucial and the public will soon have an opportunity to review the proposed negotiated agreement, "said MDEQ Director Steven E. Chester. "We are looking forward to hearing from the public during the upcoming comment period and getting their insights and opinions on this proposed agreement."

Once Dow signs the proposed agreement, the agencies will make it publicly available along with plain-language summaries. Following a comprehensive public participation process, including a 30-day comment period and a public meeting, EPA and MDEQ will decide whether to sign the proposed agreement and whether revisions are necessary.

Details on the topics that have been negotiated are contained in a June 2009 EPA fact sheet posted online at

On a separate track from the negotiations, applications are now available for membership on the Community Advisory Committee being formed. Applications are due by Oct. 16. EPA has identified a steering committee that will review the applications and select the membership. The five steering committee members —-- who will not be eligible to serve on the CAG --— were selected from nominations received from the community. All area stakeholders are invited to submit an application for membership on the CAG. More information and applications are available at or by calling EPA's Jeff Kelley at 312-353-1159.

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