Mercury contamination could permanently close lobster grounds at mouth of Penobscot River

Mercury contamination could permanently close lobster grounds at mouth of Penobscot River

By Abigail Curtis, BDN StaffPosted March 18, 2014, at 2:22 p.m.
BUCKSPORT, Maine — Lobstermen, concerned citizens and  environmental activists all spoke up at a public hearing Monday night on whether to permanently close mercury-contaminated fishing grounds at the mouth of the Penobscot River.

Many in the crowd at the Bucksport Middle School Performing Arts  Center shared their thoughts, questions, and in some cases, outrage with officials from the Department of Marine Resources and Maine State  Toxicologist Dr. Andrew Smith.

But no one spoke against the department’s proposal to make the Feb.  22 emergency closure permanent. State officials made that decision to  close the 7-square-mile area in upper Penobscot Bay after receiving  documents last fall from a court case about the now-closed HoltraChem factory in Orrington, which produced 23,000 pounds of toxic mercury waste each year between 1967 and 1982.

The closed area includes the mouth of the river above a line that  starts at the Fort Point Lighthouse

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