Tuesday, September 28, 2021


Does North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper's criminal-justice reform go far enough? Plus, Congress is running out of time to prevent a shutdown and default, and Oregon tackles climate change.


The nation's murder rate is up, the Senate votes on raising the debt limit, the DEA warns about fake prescription painkillers, a new version of DACA could be on the way, and John Hinckley, Jr. could go free next year.


A new Oklahoma museum honors tribal nations, while Iowa's history is back on the blacktop; mixed news on COVID-19 comes with a warning about unconventional drugs; and electric cars and buses are coming to rural America.

Groups Urge Input on Mercury Removal Proposal for Penobscot River


Friday, August 27, 2021   

BANGOR, Maine -- A proposed settlement for cleaning mercury out of the Penobscot River is in its 90-day public-comment phase, with court hearings set to begin later this fall.

The agreement requires the company Mallinckrodt to pay between $187 million and $267 million for mercury remediation.

Part of the Penobscot River has been closed to lobster and crab fishing since 2014 because of high mercury levels from a Mallinckrodt chemical plant.

Jesse Graham, co-director for Maine People's Alliance, the group that initially filed the lawsuit, pointed out mercury doesn't go away. It is consumed by aquatic life and becomes more concentrated as it moves up the food chain.

"Mercury is definitely a pretty potent neurotoxin, so it can certainly affect brain development," Graham explained. "Certainly dangerous for fetuses and so, pregnant women should really be avoiding eating any fish or shellfish that have high mercury contamination."

The plant is closed, but Graham said the cleanup effort has been underway for two decades. However, even if the settlement goes through, the Penobscot has other pollution problems. For example, last year, more than 30,000 gallons of chemicals entered the river after a spill at a paper mill.

Graham said first, a major study had to be done to assess the amounts and locations of mercury pollution. He noted attention now has been turned to how to clean it up, and engineers are making recommendations, from removal of sediment to capping certain areas with high mercury concentrations.

"There's lots of mercury that's right outside the plant, but there's also this mobile pool of mercury that moves with the tides that continues to be a major source of mercury getting out into aquatic life," Graham outlined. "So, we want to go in and remove that sediment."

Groups like Maine People's Alliance and the Natural Resources Defense Council urged Mainers to get involved and submit public comments on the cleanup settlement, either online or at an October public hearing in Bangor.

get more stories like this via email
Public schools need to minimize arrests at schools by using emergency mental-health teams instead of police officers to address behavioral incidents at school, according to a Sentencing Project report. (Adobe stock)

Social Issues

ARLINGTON, Va. -- As a Northern Virginia school system transitions away from using police officers in schools, a new report suggests COVID stimulus …

Social Issues

DES MOINES, Iowa -- In five weeks, voters in many Iowa cities will cast their ballots for local elections, and the Secretary of State's office is …

Social Issues

AURORA, Colo. -- School districts across Colorado had to get creative to ensure families could access critical meals during pandemic-related closures…

Companies behind a proposed natural-gas plant for Wisconsin hope to break ground by 2025. (Adobe Stock)


SUPERIOR, Wis. -- Legal proceedings continue involving a proposed natural-gas plant for northwestern Wisconsin. The plans have been approved by state …


PORTLAND, Ore. -- Draft rules are out for a program designed to confront climate change in Oregon, but organizations say it does not go far enough to …

West Virginia families have struggled to find and keep work, pay rent and bills, and care for kids and older relatives, and anti-poverty advocates say the pandemic has made things worse. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said lawmakers are slated to vote on the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill Thursday…

Health and Wellness

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- A veterinary drug doctors call unsafe for treating COVID-19 has caused the deaths of two people in New Mexico, according to the …

Social Issues

RALEIGH, N.C. -- North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper signed sweeping criminal-justice reform into law this month that is meant to hold police more …


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021