Federal government sues Mid-Michigan woman for blocking dioxin clean up
(09/19/17) - A Mid-Michigan woman is being sued by the government for not allowing federal workers on her property to clean up a dioxin contamination.
It's something Dow Chemical and the Environmental Protection Agency have been working together to do for a decade now.
Property owner Connie Braun says she has seen no proof that there is contamination on her property, but the federal government says there is.
“I told them to get off my property, that the answer was no, they couldn't have access.” said Braun.
Braun has been telling that to Dow Chemical, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Department of Justice for about two years now. So the justice department has filed a lawsuit, saying dioxins, pollutants that can cause cancer, exist on riverbanks on her property along the Tittabawassee River and it needs to be cleaned up.
“They want to come and put a road down the middle of my property and take out all the trees along the river,” said Braun.
The lawsuit states positive dioxin results were found on the property before Braun bought it. Dow Chemical and the EPA continue to clean-up other properties, like this one along the Tittabawassee River floodplain. But Braun is balking.
“You spend your whole life working and live out here, so you could be a neighborhood like this, and something like this would destroy the neighborhood,” said Braun.
The lawsuit states the EPA wants the work done to stabilize the riverbanks to prevent erosion and the re-contamination of the river system. The government hopes a judge will allow Dow contractors and the EPA on the property.
“I'm not afraid of their lawyers,” said Braun.
She says she was not aware that the soil on her riverbank tested positive for dioxin before she bought the property. But at the same time, she's not worried.
“I've been here twelve years, I've never seen a rat, or a muskrat, or a deer or a fox, I have all of them, turkeys, dying because of this water,” said Braun.
Dow Chemical and the Department of Justice did not want to comment on the legal action at this time.