Letters, May 29

May 29, 2014

MPA is going to court

In one week the Maine People's Alliance and NRDC are going back to court to continue a 20-year legal fight to hold corporate polluter Mallinckrodt accountable for dumping toxic mercury into the Penobscot River.

As an MPA member, I'm proud to see this landmark citizen-initiated lawsuit finally get its day in court. It's not a moment too soon ― as the Maine Department of Marine Resources just announced in February that they're closing a portion of the river to lobstering because of mercury contamination.

When a big chemical company puts the livelihoods, health and safety of Maine people at risk, they need to bear the responsibility. It is time for Mallinckrodt to clean up their mess.

This trial will decide whether a large, out-of-state corporation gets to cut and run or if they'll finally be held accountable for their toxic pollution. Mallinckrodt has and will spend big and fight hard to delay any cleanup. Now's the time for us to stand with MPA.

Much is at stake. Corporate polluters across America are watching this case and waiting to see if big corporations with deep pockets can break the law and escape justice.

One of MPA's great strengths is that they don't give up and don't back down no matter how long or difficult the fight. Few other organizations have the ability to pursue an issue like this over a period of decades, but the solid backing of grassroots members like us allows MPA to be tenacious.

It's time to step up.

Hannah Pingree

Former Speaker of the Maine House

Why you should bring your own bags to the grocery store

By voting to charge a 5-cent fee on all plastic and paper grocery bags, the Portland City Council will help clean up our environment and save countless animals.

According to Rebecca Hosking, who made the riveting documentary "Hawaii: Message in the Waves," plastic bags often end up in our oceans, where they can remain for years. More than 100,000 birds, sea turtles, dolphins and other marine animals die every year after they mistake floating plastic bags for food and eat them.

Paper bags aren’t an animal- or environmentally-friendly choice either. The National Co-op Grocers Association estimates that 14 million trees are used annually to make paper bags for Americans. When forests — which absorb greenhouse gases — are cut down, wildlife habitats are destroyed and animals are displaced.

Fortunately, reusable tote bags are a humane, inexpensive and environmentally friendly option. Check out Ingrid E. Newkirk’s book, "One Can Make a Difference," for more information and tips on how you can help animals and the environment.

Heather Moore

PETA Foundation

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