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Dow Chemical Company, Midland Michigan

Letter to Carol Misseldine from Jon Kessler


Office of
Policy, Planning and Evaluation

April 3, 1996

Ms. Carol Misseldine
Executive Director
Michigan Environmental Council
115 West Allegan, Suite 10B
Lansing, MI 48933-1712

Dear Ms. Misseldine:

I enjoyed our recent phone conversation but I wanted to take this opportunity to respond in more detail to issues outlined in the Michigan Environmental Council's letters regarding the Dow Chemical Company's proposal and Project XL. Many of the council's concerns center on the issue of compliance with State and federal regulations. Be assured that, in reviewing XL proposals and developing final project agreements, EPA makes a point of being aware of and considering whether a particular facility is currently scheduled for a planned inspection, under investigation, or involved in an enforcement action with the Agency, the State, local government, or citizens. Additionally, while a potential sponsor's past record is not necessarily an indicator of future performance, the sponsor's overall compliance history is a relevant consideration. This historical information could reveal patterns of behavior and/or compliance trends, might shed light on the sponsor's capabilities or corporate attitude, or could provide other indicators of environmental performance that the selection committee would find instructive in making its recommendations. We are particularly interested in compliance data showing patterns of exceedances, repeated violations of reporting requirements, or recurring instances of noncompliance by a potential sponsor. This information is important because validation of any superior environmental results achieved through Project XL will depend on accurate and reliable monitoring and reporting of environmental data by an XL project sponsor. Information about planned or pending EPA enforcement actions is shared on a confidential basis within EPA and with applicable states as appropriate, and is taken into account in considering whether to undertake a particular project. The results of our compliance screen are subject to discussion and evaluation whenever they reveal enforcement and compliance data which raise concerns about the project sponsor's likelihood to achieve, monitor, and report superior environmental results, or when they otherwise reflect positively or negatively on the sponsor for purposes of XL participation. The selection of a given proposal and whether or not the final project agreement is ultimately approved by EPA depends in part on the gravity of any compliance problem under review.

Proposals also are distributed for a technical review by XL contacts in EPA program offices, Regions, State, and Tribal environmental agencies. At this stage, proposals are

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I hope that this information is useful to you and to the other members of the Michigan Environmental Council. I also appreciate the concerns voiced by the Council and have taken steps to ensure they are considered as the Dow proposals progress through the XL selection process. If you have any questions or need more information, please contact Eileen McGovern of my staff at (202) 260-5352.


Jon Kessler
Acting Director
Emerging Sectors and Strategies Division

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