The closure of a seven-square-mile area at the mouth of the Penobscot River to crab and lobster harvesting due to mercury pollution of the water is a powerful reminder of the importance of protecting our water from industrial pollution (“Mercury levels close mouth of Maine river to lobster, crab harvesting,” Feb. 19).

Fortunately, the plant responsible for discharging chemical waste into the Penobscot River is no longer doing so.

Unfortunately, we cannot trust that other companies will not make business decisions that threaten our water.

We cannot protect ourselves from industrial pollution; only our government can protect us through appropriate oversight and regulation.

Our Legislature is currently considering new rules regulating water pollution from mining operations that will significantly weaken protection of our groundwater.

As one example, the new rules, proposed in L.D. 1772, will allow unlimited pollution of groundwater under the “mining area.” Groundwater, however, is not confined, and a point source of pollution can contaminate very large areas.

Clean water is essential for the health of Maine’s citizens, let alone for the long-term health of Maine’s economy.

Robyn K. Goshorn, M.D.

South Portland