This week in the Kennebec Journal, I took a look at the practice of receiving private contributions for gubernatorial transition expenses and some of the corporations that gave to the LePage administration.
Among the many donors obviously seeking to influence sate policy are at least two companies, iGPS and Mallinckrodt, who have no connection with the state except for ongoing legal and regulatory disagreements over environmental issues.
"Good neighbor" Mallinckrodt, the company responsible for the former Holtrachem plant site in Orrington, has announced they will be fighting the Maine DEP's order to remove tons of mercury-contaminated soil from the area.
Mallinckrodt argues that it would be easier and safer to attempt to contain the contaminants on-site, a plan the DEP has rejected.
Littell said leaving the contaminated soils in the five landfills — which encompass more than 120,000 square feet — was not an option because of the contamination’s proximity to nearby residences and the river. The department also wanted to make sure local residents and the environment are protected well into the future, regardless of Mallinckrodt’s status as a company, he said.
The recent judge's ruling continuing the study of mercury in the Penobscot marks more than three decades of conflict between Maine residents and the chemical company formerly known as Holtrachem.
The study focuses on the degree of environmental damage done by tons of spilled mercury from the Orrington site, including to lobster stocks and to humans. The court-appointed researchers are also studying ways that the bio-accumulative, persistent pollutant might be removed from Maine's largest river.
A spokesperson for Mallinckrodt, the sole remaining corporate owner of the company had this to say in the BDN: "Consistent with being a good neighbor in this community, Mallinckrodt takes its responsibility toward the cleanup of this site very seriously and remains committed to a diligent and thoughtful approach to completing the environmental remediation of the former manufacturing site."
That statement is laughable. Mallinckrodt has opposed the clean-up, and even the study itself, at every step of the way. It was only a legal victory by the Maine People's Alliance and the Natural Resources Defense Council that forced Mallinckrodt to be accountable, and the corporation appealed that decision all the way to the Supreme Court. They've pretty much been as bad a neighbor as the law will allow.