The Clean Water Act was passed in 1972, crafted by Senator Edmund Muskie, and inspired by the heavily polluted Androscoggin River. Today, parts of the Androscoggin River still do not meet Clean Water Act standards, because the Verso mill in Jay refuses to be a responsible corporate steward of the river. Ensuring clean up of the Androscoggin River is a high priority for NRCM, and we will not stop until this once-mighty river is again a source of pride for the people of Maine.
The Androscoggin River runs through the heart of Maine. Its waters in Gilead, upriver from the Verso (formerly International Paper) mill in Jay, support a world-class trout fishery that attracts tourists to Bethel and nearby towns. Here, the river is a source of recreation-based jobs, activities, and pride for the people who live in the region.
The Verso mill has denied these same opportunities to the communities below the mills. The Androscoggin from that point on has never met even the bare minimum standards of the Clean Water Act, passed in 1972. Despite outcry from local citizens, some lawmakers, civic leaders, and others—and considerable legislative efforts by NRCM— the Maine Legislature and the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) still have not acted to clean up the Androscoggin. World experts have shown that technology that would reduce pollution and make the Verso mill more economically viable is widely used today, but the company has not invested in these technologies in Maine.
In May 2007 the Maine Board of Environmental Protection began consideration of an appeal by NRCM and others of the DEP’s proposed wastewater discharge license for the Verso paper mill in Jay.
NRCM believes 30 years is more than enough time for the mill in Jay to do its part in cleaning up the Androscoggin, yet the company continues to drag its feet.