"Trial on Penobscot River Mercury Contamination Begins Tuesday"

"A trial in federal court in Bangor beginning Tuesday will decide whether a chemical company responsible for dumping mercury from a now-closed plant in Orrington will be required to clean up the contamination that still remains decades later along the banks of the Penobscot River and the mouth of Penobscot Bay.

The trial, expected to last four weeks in U.S. District Court, comes less than a month after state officials formalized an order banning lobster and crab harvesting in the area for at least the next two years, and two months after the state’s high court ruled that the company, Mallinckrodt US, had to carry out an estimated $130 million cleanup on the site of the former HoltraChem Manufacturing Co.

While the state case focused on the contaminated land where the plant once stood, the federal lawsuit – which was first brought against Mallinckrodt in 2000 by a citizens group, Maine People’s Alliance, and the environmental action group Natural Resources Defense Council – focuses on cleaning up the contamination along the river and at the mouth of the bay."

Scott Dolan reports for the Portland Press Herald June 2, 2014.

Monday, June 2, 2014