Colin Durrant, CLF Director of Communications
Augusta, ME (February 7, 2008) – In a major step forward for efforts to clean up the Androscoggin River, Maine Bureau of Environmental Protection (BEP) today ordered two paper mills to meet strict new water pollution standards by 2010 – five years earlier than prior discharge permits.
In a 1972 speech, Senator Ed Muskie said, “there is no comfortable way to do the job of cleaning up streams like … the Androscoggin River in Maine. You have to spend money. You have got to impose standards and you have to enforce them. There is no easy way to do it.”
That statement is as true today as the day Muskie said it”, said Greg D’Augustine, President of the Androscoggin River Alliance’s Board of Directors in Lewiston, Maine. “The Androscoggin River is quickly becoming the centerpiece for economic development and pride in our communities. And we are united in this effort, and speaking with one voice for the first time in years.” said .Greg D’Augustine.
Today’s order comes in response to appeals filed in 2005 by the Androscoggin River Alliance (ARA), Conservation Law Foundation (CLF), Androscoggin Lake Improvement Corp. (ALIC), and Maine Rivers.
“The Androscoggin is the last of Maine’s big rivers to finally get the protection required by the federal Clean Water Act,” said CLF staff attorney Steve Hinchman, who represented the trio of environmental groups. “The residents of the Androscoggin River Valley have gone more than five generations without being able to use the river due to pollution from the upstream paper mills. The Board clearly heard their plea to that the river meet minimum water quality standards as soon as possible.”
“We don’t all agree on the science, or the process but, we support the State’s position that it is finally time to bring the Androscoggin into compliance with class “C” standards,” said Molly Saunders of the Androscoggin Lake Improvement Corporation.
The Conservation Law Foundation works to solve the environmental problems that threaten the people, natural resources and communities of New England. CLF’s advocates use law, economics and science to design and implement strategies that conserve natural resources, protect public health, and promote vital communities in our region. Founded in 1966, CLF is a nonprofit, member-supported organization. It has offices in Boston, Massachusetts; Concord, New Hampshire; Providence, Rhode Island; Montpelier, Vermont; and Brunswick, Maine.