Apr 10, 2012

Callahan Mine: Legislators ask: more cleanup needed? MDOT sez YES.

The Maine  legislature's transportation committee met Monday April 9th to talk Port and Harbor money in their part of LD 1907, the supplemental budget. One topic was MDOT's requirement to pay part of the costs of cleaning up one of upper Penobscot Bay's worst toxic waste pockets- the Callahan Mine  Superfund Site on Cape Rosier, part of Brooksville, on the east side of Penobscot Bay.

Callahan Mine, 1972
In this 14 minute recording of the work session,  listen to committee members quiz MDOT Deputy Commissioner Bruce Van Note ( mp3)  about the cost of  remediating this continuing ecological disaster. 

 In a fascinating reversal from MDOT's usual downplaying of the environmental consequences of their actions, here Deputy Commissioner Van Note defends the Superfund process and detail some of the poisonous mess that mankind has made at this site.  

Read research studies about the Callahan Mine site

Some of the legislators favored leaving it alone - letting silt "cap" the wastes. MDOT's Van Note pointed out the ravaged aquifer. Others didn't like the cost - a $10,000+ annual commitment by MDOT for their share in the cleanup.. Van Note noted that  a legal settlement with US EPA requires Maine  to pay  cleanup because it gave the company the permits and leased land to the company.  Others complained about the length of time the cleanup was taking. 

Callahan Mine, 2002
But in the end, the transportation committee agreed to include the allocation in Maine DOT's budget. So the cleanup will continue, as least one small part of it. Images courtesy MERI

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