January 29, 2020
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Janet Mills says radioactive material cleared at Lincoln mill

Micky Bedell | BDN
Micky Bedell | BDN
The Lincoln Paper and Tissue mill, as seen from the town cemetery.

Maine’s Attorney General said industrial sensors containing radioactive material have been removed from the site of the bankrupt Lincoln Paper and Tissue mill, as part of the facility’s long cleanup ahead.

Attorney General Janet Mills informed the bankruptcy court Thursday that the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention has verified disposal of gauges containing the radioactive materials cesium-137 and krypton-85 and signs containing tritium.

The removal of those materials is one small part of the cleanup that could take decades.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed a plan for that cleanup that calls for the company’s management team to oversee early cleanup efforts before designating the property as a Superfund site.

Lincoln town officials have objected to that settlement, arguing that it would tie up a portion of the property they say is less polluted and could be redeveloped through the EPA’s less intensive Brownfield program.

The mill’s owners, who continue to manage it through the bankruptcy, wrote in a filing Wednesday that it’s been negotiating with town officials over the 90 to 100 acres it seeks to redevelop.

“The town’s objection is nothing more than a blatant attempt to try and leverage [Lincoln Paper] into a deal with the town in return for resolving the town’s objection,” the mill’s attorney wrote Wednesday. “[Lincoln Paper] has no interest in catering to these tactics.”

The company and its creditors with unsecured claims have asked the court to approve terms of the settlement with the EPA. The agency has claimed the bankrupt mill owes it $80 million in administrative expenses related to the cleanup. The court has not ruled on that settlement, which would resolve those claims.


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