This proposed settlement puts forward a cooperative and productive plan to implement mercury remediation actions and focus resources on the recovery of the Penobscot River Estuary. Maine People’s Alliance, Natural Resources Defense Council, and Mallinckrodt US LLC believe the proposed measures will provide benefits to the Estuary, its communities and wildlife, and the people of Maine.
If approved by the Court, Mallinckrodt US LLC will provide $187 million in funds dedicated to primary remediation measures and long-term monitoring of the Penobscot River, with an additional $80 million in contingency funds for supplemental remedies as needed to achieve the desired goal of reducing mercury in the Penobscot River.
The primary remedies in the settlement include a combination of scientifically-targeted removal of contaminated sediments, capping of contaminated sediments with clean sediments, as well as environmentally beneficial projects. This plan also sets aside funds for continued monitoring of animal and plant life with the objective of achieving long-term results.
The remedies in this settlement are modeled on the recommendations of the third-party engineering firm appointed by the Court to conduct extensive studies and identify remedial actions that would accelerate recovery of the Penobscot River.
The settlement focuses on key areas of the River where studies show remedies can have a material impact. These areas include the Orrington Reach, Mobile Sediment Pool, and Orland River.
Maine People’s Alliance, Natural Resources Defense Council, and Mallinckrodt US LLC have selected an independent trustee, the Greenfield Environmental Trust Group, to direct the remediation work. Greenfield has 30 years of experience managing complex environmental cleanups around the country.
In addition to the proposed settlement, Mallinckrodt is requesting a “bar order” from the Court, which is an order that would prevent future litigation against Mallinckrodt by private parties or the government (1) seeking additional or different mercury remediation in the River or (2) for damage to natural resources arising from mercury contamination in the River. Such an order would prevent potential competing remediation measures and provide certainty and finality regarding the remedies in the Penobscot River and the extent of Mallinckrodt’s liability. Such an order would not bar claims for natural resource damages by federal or state trustees or claims to enforce existing obligations. MPA and NRDC share Mallinckrodt’s goal of implementing the settlement without conflicting or inconsistent demands for alternative remediation. MPA and NRDC support Mallinckrodt’s request to bar possible future claims against Mallinckrodt by other entities that may have contributed to the mercury contamination but do not support barring possible future claims by other private or governmental parties.
Online public meetings to describe the proposed settlement and answer questions will be held on September 9, 2021, 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. EDT and September 14, 2021, 4:00 – 5:30 p.m. EDT. To join one of the online public meetings, click on a link below and enter the passcode:
September 9, 2021, 7:00 p.m. EDT: https://nrdc-org.zoom.us/j/93908444748; passcode 747729
September 14, 2021, 4:00 p.m. EDT: https://nrdc-org.zoom.us/j/99485115478; passcode 219149
The proposed consent decree has been lodged with the Federal District Court in Maine and will only take effect if the Court approves it. The Court will hold a fairness hearing to review the proposed settlement and decide whether to approve it, which will be held at the Margaret Chase Smith Courthouse, 202 Harlow Street, Bangor, Maine, on October 1, 4, and 5, 2021, commencing at 8:30 a.m. each day. Members of the public may appear and provide oral comments during the hearing on October 5, 2021. To provide oral comments, you must notify the Parties and provide a one-paragraph summary of your anticipated comments by September 21, 2021, via the Contact form on this website. You also may submit written comments until September 21, 2021, via the Contact form.