As a resident of Orrington, I am writing concerning the recent events at the HoltraChem plant. Many residents and nonresidents are justifiably concerned about chemical spills. I join in that concern. However, after looking at the facts, I believe a different outlook needs to be taken.
Many people are focused on HoltraChem’s discharge to the river. The fact is that many industries and municipalities in Maine and throughout the United States discharge into surface waters with legal permits. While it is acknowledged by everyone that spills of mercury should and will stop, there are a wide range of mercury sourcs, including air release from factories in the Midwest.
This area needs economic growth. HoltraChem brings many jobs, necessary materials for Maine mills (which also employ many hundreds of Maine workers) and direct and indirect economic benefits to our community. Orrington residents enjoy one of the lowest property taxes in the area, due in part to the Holtrachem plant. HoltraChem is one of Bangor Hydro’s largest ratepayers. Shutting down the HoltraChem plant would be a step backward.
We we need to put our trust in the state and federal environmental protection agencies and allow them to work with HoltraChem to find solutions to the problems they are experiencing. That is what these agencies are for working on solutions to keep businesses open while protecting our environment.
I would ask that we look at this matter sensibly. Shutting down HoltraChem is not the answer. Krista Veenhof Orrington