RadioActive 4/4/19

Penobscot Nation and Other Affected Communities Speak Out at Public Hearing on Solid Waste Reform Bill

Producer/Host: Meredith DeFrancesco

Today we follow up on reforms afoot for solid waste policy in Maine, as affected communities, including the Penobscot Nation, policy makers and the Department of Environmental Protection look to address long standing problems. Yesterday, the Maine Legislature’s Joint Committee on Environment and Natural Resources heard public testimony on three waste bills, including LD 401, “An Act to Preserve State Landfill Capacity and Promote Recycling”, (

LD 401 would request the accurate tracking and record keeping of waste from its generation to final disposal point, including as landfill leachate discharged into Maine waterways, including Juniper Ridge Landfill leachate deposited into the Penobscot River. It would walk back a 2011 state statute that allows out of state waste to be re-classified as in-state waste. It would also walk back the ability for the state to meet recycling goals by counting construction and demolition debris used as landfill covering and waste biosolids used as agricultural fertilizer. It would strengthen protections for the health of those living in close proximity to waste disposal facilities.

Today we hear some of the testimony from those present, including representatives of the Penobscot Nation. And we speak with Hillary Lister, longtime waste organizer and co-author of LD 401, on how things are developing, as the Department seeks to incorporate elements of LD 401 into a bill that also go before the ENR Committee soon.


Rep. Ryan Tipping, sponsor of LD 401, District 123, Orono
John Banks, Director of the Department of Natural Resources, Penobscot Nation
Mauilian Dana, Penobscot Nation Ambassador
Sarah Lakeman, Sustainable Maine Project Director, Natural Resources Council of Maine
Hillary Lister, solid waste activist
Dawn Neptune Adams, environmental activist, member of Penobscot Nation
Heather Linnet Whittier
Rep. Lori Gramlich, District 13

Today’s program was produced with the Sunlight Media Collective, including Dawn Neptune Adams, Andrea DeFrancesco and Josh Woodbury. Audio recording by Josh Woodbury.