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STOCKTON SPRINGS, Maine — Maine’s Department of Marine Resources announced Tuesday the immediate closure of the Fort Point-area lobster fishery because of high levels of toxic mercury contamination found in surrounding parts of the Penobscot River and its local marine life, according to a news release from the Maine People’s Alliance.
According to a court-appointed scientific panel, the source of the mercury contamination in the river is the HoltraChem chemical processing plant, the alliance release stated.
Mallinckrodt LLC, which ran the Penobscot River-front chemical plant from 1967 to 1982, was in court recently in connection with its dispute with the Department of Environmental Protection about cleanup of mercury pollution from HoltraChem.
The now-closed HoltraChem factory produced 23,000 pounds of toxic mercury waste each year while developing chemicals for papermaking and other industries before the adoption of significant hazardous waste disposal regulations, according to court documents.
The Maine People’s Alliance said the closure of the lobster fishery in the area “ensures the broader Maine lobster fishery remains strong and consumers can feel confident that Maine lobster is safe for consumption.”