LINCOLN, Maine — Town officials say a deal between the bankrupt Lincoln Paper and Tissue and federal environmental regulators would tie up all of the property with cleanup efforts for at least 20 years.
The town of Lincoln filed an objection Tuesday to the settlement deal and laid out their vision for how they hope to see the site redeveloped for biomass energy production, light manufacturing or wood products businesses.
The town told the bankruptcy court that it also wants to take over the Mattanawcook Dam and that it would be willing to forgive some of the mill’s past due taxes to adjust terms of the settlement.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed the settlement in April, which calls for the company’s management team to oversee early cleanup efforts before designating the property as a Superfund site.
Approval of that settlement, the town argued, “would be detrimental to the town’s ongoing attempts to rehabilitate the community and attract new investments and tourism.”
The town has proposed the court allow modification of the settlement, putting about 90 to 100 acres the town says is less contaminated into the EPA’s less stringent Brownfield program. The town said the site could be remediated faster under that plan and then restored to industrial use.
Town officials in March endorsed pursuing a Superfund designation for the site, but expressed a wish to keep a portion out of the program.
The town argued its proposal would not harm creditors of the bankrupt mill, as it still has a tax claim against the estate for $364,431. It estimated the land and dam it wants to more quickly repurpose are worth $140,000 combined, a value it said it could make up to the bankruptcy estate by reducing that outstanding tax bill.
The EPA argued previously that its settlement proposal would not affect the town’s plan, but the town argued the deal would subject the entire property as a Superfund site.