April 05, 2020

Steamed over caption

I had to respond to your Dec. 30 front-page photo of Great Northern Paper Co.’s East Millinocket mill with a misleading caption which starts with “Smoke billows from the smokestacks…” An uninformed reader would look at the picture and caption and think Great Northern is severely polluting the air in the Katahdin region. The truth is that at least 95 percent of the “smoke” you see in the picture is water vaper (steam) from the papermaking process, and that Great Northern’s air emissions are well within state and federal guidelines.

Great Northern’s parent company (Bowater) has mills in Tennessee, South Carolina, Nova Scotia and Maine. With Maine’s difficult business climate and environmental regulations and the recent and ongoing forestry debate, where would you invest your capital money if you were on the company’s board of directors? A recent news article on the Internet reports that Bowater is even considering investing in a mill in Korea!

Great Northern (along with other Maine industries) needs the support of Maine people, regulators, politicians, workers and, yes, the local newspaper, to remain an attractive place for corporate leaders to grow their businesses. A misleading front-page photo and caption unfairly damage the company’s efforts to attract capital and improve public image through best management forestry practices and conscientious environmental stewardship. Kevin Bernier Lincoln

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