Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Maine Pulp Mill - We Want You. No We Don't.

By: Duane Craig

A convoluted story emerges from Old Town, Maine, where a pulp mill continues to rack up fines for air pollution while also collecting money from taxpayers so it can continue to operate, according to an article in the Bangor Daily News.

The problem stems from an old wood-burning boiler the company says is too expensive to retrofit to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions to acceptable levels. The company, Old Town Fuel and Fiber, says instead, the community should put up with the pollution in return for the 216 jobs it provides. Maine’s Department of Environmental Protection, however, sees it differently and has currently planned to fine the company $497,000 because of pollution it put into the air over the past year. The Environmental Protection Agency has already fined the company $331,000 for air pollution going back five years.

Meanwhile, the mill’s owners have been promised, or given, more than $56 million during the past eight years so the facility will stay open. From here the story gets murkier and murkier, with public money chasing private money and politicians and corporations making side deals involving millions of dollars. Complicating the story even more are companies going broke, buyouts and grants from government agencies.

You can read the entire mystery novella right here.

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