WERU News Report 8/19/14

Producer/Host: Amy Browne

Segment 1: We have some breaking news today about the highly controversial proposal to dredge in Searsport Harbor and dump nearly a million cubic yards of sludge in the bay near Islesboro. In a report being released this week, an independent scientist who previously worked on the Holtrachem/Mallinkrodt mercury case in the federal court system raises serious concerns about the plan– among them the possibility that inert mercury in the sediment may be converted to a more toxic form and make its way into the food chain in Penobscot Bay. He also criticizes the methology the Army Corps used in the studies they are submitting with the permit applications. The agency was provided with a copy of this new report, but declined offers to discuss the findings with Dr. Kevin Yeager, the author, and instead is moving forward with plans to apply to the Maine DEP for the required Water Quality Certification, possibly as soon as the end of this week. There is still an opportunity for the public to request a hearing on the issue, and later in the program we’ll be talking with Attorney Kim Tucker about that, but first we’re checking in with Dr Yeager

Segment 2: Earlier this year we spoke with Mike Belliveau, Executive Director of the group “Prevent Harm” about their campaign to have formaldehyde listed as a priority chemical under Maine’s Kid Safe Product Act. At the time, he reported that the state was backing away from steps they had already taken, under pressure from the lobbyists, including the powerful Koch Brothers. The rationale that was given was that the state needed further evidence of the dangers of formaldehyde. Now the results are in, a new report confirms the health risks and we checked back in with Mike Belliveau for an update

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