HoltraChem can be cleaned quickly

Your May 2 article regarding the proposed cleanup of the HoltraChem site does not accurately reflect the facts. For example, only Landfill 1 — the one proposed for removal by our company (which sold the site in 1982 but remains responsible for its cleanup) — is leaking mercury at levels above Maine’s drinking water standards.

The data show that all of the other four landfills are stable and contained. Their removal as proposed by the Maine Department of Environment Protection would risk mercury exposure. The article inaccurately reported all five landfills as leaking.

Mallinckrodt’s alternative clean-up plan will eliminate any ongoing threats of mercury contamination to groundwater and the Penobscot River. In fact, the federal Environmental Protection Agency and the DEP technical staff supported a far less extensive cleanup plan than the alternative supported by the Town of Orrington.

The town and its residents recognize that Mallinckrodt’s alternative plan will eliminate 100 percent of the ongoing source of mercury to the groundwater by removing Landfill 1, the waste lagoon that lies within that landfill and the soil beneath the former manufacturing plant.

That plan will also achieve the cleanup in half the time and with considerably less traffic and environmental impact than the state’s plan.

Mallinckrodt’s alternative plan presented to the Maine Board of Environmental Protection and supported by the town provides an environmentally sound, common-sense solution to move forward with the cleanup of this site.

JoAnna Schooler
Mallinckrodt LLC
St. Louis, Mo.

 

FairPoint would never charge ‘thousands’ for cable

 

A May 9 editorial commented on FairPoint’s plans and items to be addressed as we work through the Chapter 11 process. However in doing so, it misinterpreted one of the key points.

Recent hearings were held at the Maine Public Utilities Commission to consider approval of the regulatory settlement that came out of discussions with the representatives of the MPUC and the Office of the Public Advocate.

The editorial states that the settlement gives FairPoint the ability “to charge rural customers the full costs of individual service — which could run into the thousands of dollars.” Under no reasonable scenario would FairPoint charge customers thousands of dollars for broadband service.

Who would sign up for the service at this price? The answer is no one.

FairPoint’s goal is to add customers wherever we offer broadband service. Currently, FairPoint is required to offer the same price for broadband in all our markets. The regulatory settlement gives us the flexibility to vary the price of broadband service, thereby allowing us to respond to competition and changing market conditions.

In any event, once we build out the network, we have incentive to price our services at levels that will attract customers to sign up with us.

The MPUC commissioners now must rule on the settlement that will keep the Chapter 11 process moving, so that FairPoint can emerge from Chapter 11 early this fall.

We believe the agreement balances the various interests, and puts FairPoint in a stronger position to succeed going forward.

Mike Reed
Maine president, FairPoint Communications
Portland

 

Appalachian Trail hikers value Bigelow without windmills

 

There are many reasons to oppose the Highland Wind Project — environmental, economic and health-related — but as much as anything, there is the loss.

For five months a year I work in a canoe on the Kennebec River, ferrying hikers at the Appalachian Trail crossing. These hikers come from all over the country and the world, more than 1,200 of them last year alone.

The northbound hikers have just come through the Bigelow Preserve and the area set to be destroyed by the Highland Wind Project when they get to me. The one thing they all say is that this is one of the most beautiful, scenic and wild places that they have ever seen. The view from Bigelow is one of the high points of their 2,178-mile hike.

All other arguments aside, how could anyone support the loss we will all face if this area is industrialized? The Bigelow Preserve is such a unique and important natural area that voters chose to set it aside forever. How can we condone such destruction literally on its doorstep?

The website www.highlandmts.org shares the truth about this project; it is a truth that developers and politicians are not telling us.

David P. Corrigan
Registered Maine Master Guide
Concord Township

 

Sometimes, transplant dreams really do come true in time

 

I read Steve Solloway’s May 5 article on the University of Maine student, Ashley Drew, needing the lung transplant, and it brought back memories. We have a son who is now 39 years old. He too has cystic fibrosis.

On March 16 he called us around 11 at night and told us he was dying. He was. At around 2:30 in the morning his wife called and ambulance to take him to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Hospital.

He did not want to go. He wanted to die at home. Luckily, an off-duty police officer was there and convinced him to go. He only had 5 percent of his lungs working.

They started hooking up to pain killers to let him die without pain. His cell phone rang in the emergency room. It was Brigham and Womens’ Hospital. They said that someone had just died, they had a set of lungs, and he was a match! He had waited 16 months on the transplant list.

He was put on a helicopter and flown to Boston. He had a double lung transplant. He is doing excellently. He has put on weight and doesn’t need machines to breathe.

He even took his 4-year-old daughter sliding, pulling her up the hill in a sled by himself. Miracles do happen.

Carrie Ann Nadeau
Orrington

 

Column correct: Mars trip would be costly, wasteful

 

Congratulations for the apt headline on page 1 of your Insight Section on May 2, namely: “Putting people on Mars doesn’t rate a place in the sun.”

I believe that pursuit of that goal can wait until humans on this planet solve the many problems evident every hour of every day of every year. Among other reasons: the scientist-mathematician, Stephen Hawking, figures that it will not be a happy day for humankind if and when we do meet “creatures” out there.

Normally, I cheer for so-called progress, but the cost of the Mars endeavor seems so outrageously high it would be almost obscene to cheer! Keep that headline for further use.

Roy P. Fairfield, Ph.D.
Biddeford

 

Why limit just gun rights to the technology of 1787?

 

On May 2 there was a letter from Paul Oppenheim of Yarmouth, who criticized backers of the Second Amendment and wrote, “Under a strict reading of the U.S. Constitution, I fully support every American’s right to own and carry — a vintage 1787 muzzleloader.”

Setting aside for the moment the question of whether this “strict reading” might be more accurately described as a “creative interpretation,” I wonder if Mr. Oppenheim would sanguinely agree to the equivalent technological limitation on his First Amendment rights?

The technologies available in 1787 meant that firearms — the tools of the Second Amendment — were more primitive than they are today. But the same holds true with the tools of the First Amendment.

So, Mr. Oppenheim, did you write your letter to the editor with a quill pen and deliver it on horseback?

Russell Frank
Gorham