Archives for Penobscot River

WERU News Report 4/30/14

Producer/Host: Amy Browne

Segment 1: It’s not unusual to hear of small businesses struggling, and eventually being forced to close, especially in this economy—but it IS unusual when a community rallies to save them. News broke earlier this month that Coastal Farm and Food in Belfast was shutting down. The local farmers and food producers who relied on them were being forced to move out. But some local residents decided they weren’t going to let that happen, at least not without a fight. Here to tell that story are two of the people most closely involved (Steve Fein and Peter Wilkinson):

Segment 2: The problem of mercury contamination in the lower Penobscot river and upper bay has been receiving a lot of attention in recent weeks, after it forced the closure of the lobster and crab fisheries in the area. State officials estimate that it will be at least 2 years before the area is re-opened. But work to expose and deal with the source of the mercury from the former Holtrachem plant started more than 20 years ago, led by a grassroots movement of concerned area residents, the Maine People’s Alliance, and other environmental groups. Over the years, the Maine People’s Alliance has pursued the issue through the court system, winning a series of rulings forcing the former owners of the Holtrachem plant, a giant corporation called Mallinkrodt, to address contamination at the site in Orrington, as well as in the river. Their next big day in court is coming up in June, and they are inviting anyone who is concerned about the issue to join them in court on the opening day, June 3rd. At a presentation in Stockton Springs Saturday, Nancy Galland, one of the plaintiffs in the case, gave some background on the issue:

RadioActive 11/7/13

Producer/Host: Meredith DeFrancesco

Issue: Environmental and Social Justice

Program Topic: Penobscot Nation Natural Resources director on the work to protect the health of the Penobscot River Watershed

Key Discussion Points:

a) Today we hear a talk by John Banks, a member of the Penobscot Nation and the Natural Resources Director for the tribe. He has been an active and tireless advocate for environmental sustainability and tribal rights.
b) In his talk, he outlines the Penobscot Nation’s work to protect the health of the Penobscot River Watershed from the impacts of paper mill dioxin, to the work of the Penobscot River Restoration Project to dismantle dams, allowing for the expansion of fish species into original habitats, to legal issues on state vs federal control over pollution permits, with explicit industry pressure, and now the tribes current court case to oppose the 2012 state Attorney General’s opinion that the Penobscot Reservation does not include any of the Penobscot River.

c) John Banks spoke at the University of Maine’s 10th annual Eco-Peace Sustainability Training and International Affiliates Conference on October 25th in Belfast. This years Conference was titled “Reclaiming the Commons : Water Ethics and Nature Rights in Maine”. We spoke with organizer Hugh Curran on RadioActive October 10th, 2013.

Guest:

A) John Banks, Natural Resources Director for the Penobscot Nation; Penobscot tribal member

RadioActive 6/14/12

Producer/Host: Meredith DeFrancesco
Issue: Environmental and Social Justice

Program Topic: Penobscot River Restoration Project, with John Banks of the Penobscot Nation: Great Works at Old Town going down.

Key Discussion Points:

a) On Monday, work began to remove the Great Works dam on the Penobscot River in Old Town. It is the first step in re-opening 1000 miles of the river to sea run fish, including alewives, herring, sturgeon and Atlantic salmon. In 2013, the Veazie Dam is scheduled to be removed. The Milford and Howland dams will install new fish lifts and by passes.

b) The Penobscot River Restoration Project has been called one of the largest fishing restoration projects in the history of the country, and now serves as a global model for cooperative conservation efforts. The project includes conservation groups, utilities, government entities, including the Penobscot Indian Nation.

c)The Penobscot Nation, which has been on the ground floor of this project, has offered instrumental perspective and leadership on the project, based on their unique relationship with the Penobscot River

Guests:

A) John Banks, tribal member, Director of the Department of Natural Resources for the Penobscot Nation, founder and member of the Penobscot River Restoration Project www.penobscotriver.org/

Call In Program: no

Weekend Voices 1/30/10

Producer/Host: Amy Browne

The company responsible for cleaning up hundreds of thousands of tons of soil contaminated by mercury at the former Holtrachem chemical plant in Orrington, is asking the state to approve a cheaper, less thorough, and quicker, clean up plan for the site.   Mallinckrodt Incorporated, a subsidiary of a multibillion dollar corporation, would save an estimated $100 million, and leave behind a large quantity of mercury in the soil, if their plan to remove only the most contaminated section is approved.   Mercury is a potent neurotoxin, and the former Holtrachem site is on the banks of the Penobscot River, just a few miles upstream from Penobscot Bay.

The Board of Environmental Protection held a public hearing in Orrington, Thursday night to hear what people think about the proposal.  WERU was there, and today we bring you excerpts from the testimony.