The Maine Department of Environmental Protection recently gave initial approval to Old Town Fuel and Fiber's request to increase the amount of carbon monoxide it's allowed to emit, even as the department and the pulp mill negotiate over a $497,000 fine for violating its emissions levels.
According to the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, the DEP on July 14 approved the mill's carbon monoxide emissions levels from 407 tons per year to 929 tons a year, though the mill had sought a 1,045-ton limit. The department is seeking public comment until Aug. 3., at which point Commissioner Patricia Aho will make a final decision. According to Melanie Loyzim, DEP's air quality bureau director, the approved limit is less than what's considered harmful. The DEP's final decision can be appealed to the Board of Environmental Protection.
Last year, the DEP proposed a fine against the mill for violations. According to the journalism organization, Old Town Fuel and Fiber would avoid future fines with a higher emissions limit.