Potential $267M settlement on Penobscot River pollution in hands of judge

A legal battle that has spanned two decades in nearly over.
A legal battle that has spanned two decades in nearly over.(WABI)
Published: Oct. 5, 2021 at 12:06 PM EDT
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BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - A legal battle that has spanned two decades in nearly over.

A settlement agreement over mercury pollution in the Penobscot River is now in the hands of a federal judge.

Tuesday marks the end of public testimony on the proposed agreement the Maine People’s Alliance and the Natural Resources Defense Council worked out with Mallinckrodt.

The settlement comes after ongoing lawsuits against the company to pay for decades of mercury pollution from the HoltraChem plant in Orrington, which at one time was owned by Mallinckrodt.

A study found upwards of 12 metric tons of mercury entered the river between 1967 and 2000.

The settlement would have Mallinckrodt pay between $187M to $267M for cleanup efforts using two primary solutions, dredging and capping.

“I was happy with today’s events,” said Jesse Graham, Co-Director, Maine People’s Alliance. “We had lots of people come out from the community that live up and down the Penobscot River to come out in support of the agreement, and yeah, I started working on this in 1999, so it’s been over 20 years that we’ve been working to get a resolution and move forward with cleaning up the Mercury.”

“The Penobscot River is iconic to the state of Maine, and this cleanup is ever so important to our visitors and to our citizens,” said Rep. Jan Dodge, (D) - Belfast.

“I think the last three days have been a service to the people of Maine and these communities because it’s been a very transparent process,” said Mark Robinson, Spokesperson, Mallinckrodt US LLC. “They were able to see that the parties are really largely in agreement, and I think that’s reassuring folks to see that the settlement, at least among the parties, is a good thing.”

The judge in the case will ultimately make the final decision on the agreement.

No time table was given.

The Maine People’s Alliance hopes it comes before the end of the year.

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