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NRDC

Holtrachem and the Penobscot


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.