Back to Pen Bay 1967 Clam Study

Conference in the Matter of Pollution of the Navigable Waters of the Penobscot River and Upper Penobscot Bay in the State of Maine.
Held at the Belfast High School, Belfast, Maine, on Thursday, April 20, 1967, at 9:45 a.m.

Mr. Murray Stein, Assistant Commissioner for Enforcement, Federal Water Pollution Control Administration, Department of the Interior.

Lester M. Klashman, Regional Director, Northeast Regional Office, Federal Water Pollution Control Administration
Raeburn W. Macdonald, Chief Engineer, Maine Water Improvement Commission

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MR. YOUNG: Am I going to intrude here, being a lobster fisherman and clam man and living in the bay all my life, in Belfast?

Every one of the people here are a nice, , intelligent bunch of people, if I do say so, and our Mayor here will vouch that whatever I say is the truth.

I have dragged scallops away out and have your


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entrails from your chicken plant on my scallop wire, which is 1,200 feet long, and I have caught lobsters out there, and I fished for cod and haddock with Gloucester fishermen over the years down in our bay, which is all gone now due to pollution. We have lost a million dollars worth of scallops. We have lost our recreation. We have lost everything due to pollution.

Now, as president of Penobscot Poultry -- and you are a very fine man, without any question, and I think I talked with you years ago -- now, why, for God's sake, can't we clean up this mess?

Please, I'm right on the point of going out of business myself, because I have to dump that sea water in my lobster pound. I have a pound that I am really proud of. I handle 40,000 pounds.

I know I have fished and worked for years from Prince Edward Island way down to Bath, Maine, and I have a good name all over the coast of Maine. I've got a son who is lobster fishing, and we see our bay deteriorate day in and day out. We have lost our foundries. We have lost our recreation.

I've got 80 acres of nice shore property that I hope some day -- and I bought this from Central Maine Power of Goose River, and Mr. MacDonald will acknowledge that, that


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the State of Maine would take it over for a nice park for people.

We can't go down the shore any more. Our shores are littered. We slip and slide on the grease.

We have our Sea and Shore Fisheries. We have men right here today. Look at them, Mr. Dow and Mr. Goggins, Sea and Shore Fisheries. They worked with me for years, some of the nicest men you could ask for, but what have we got? You just dump everything on to us.

My shores are littered from A to Z. I can't go down to my shore on a picnic any more.

What are we going to do?

I mean, I am right at the point of committing suicide. Now, that's honest to God.

I have worked all my life. I've got seven grandchildren. Wouldn't I love to see the day when I can go down and see my grandchildren swimming again on the shore?

I know I am interrupting this meeting. I have put my foot right in it, but I've got to speak my piece, because if somebody doesn't do it, how are we going to get it cleaned up?

Now, you are head of the Penobscot Poultry and, pardon my figures, you made four or five million dollars last year. Why can't you help us clean up? We will work with you. We will do anything. In fact, I would just as soon help sweep


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the streets of feathers to help clean up.

You can understand my situation. Is there anybody here who can see? I've got some of the boys up here who have dug clams for years, everybody.

MR. STEIN: Mr. Young, let's see if we can--do you want to make s comment on that?

MR. YOUNG: You can shut me off any time you want.

MR. STEIN: I am not shutting you off.

MR, YOUNG: But I have to speak my piece.

MR. STEIN: You are going to get a full opportunity.

MR. YOUNG: I would like to say something else. I have stocked the pond with alewives, with the help of Sea and Shore Fisheries, and pollution came down the next day --not the next day -- the next month or two, and killed them off. We are trying to get alewives around over there.

I used to fish for the Bangor salmon when I was a kid, and I will never forget it in my life, seeing the Atlantic salmon rolling out there. You don't know what that is.

Now we go down, my boy -- well, we have been fishing down there with salmon as long as that (indicating). Okay.

Now, if we are going to keep up this pollution


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from end to end, where are we going to come out? I told my wife, I said, "Belle, if you will move up with me to Nova Scotia, we'll go up there and settle up there," and get out and let you, the Penobscot Poultry and Maplewood, have the city, but it isn't necessary.

All we ask of you, will you please work with us and help us clean up? That is all we ask. There is room enough for everybody.

Now, am I out of order here?

MR. STEIN: No, you are not out of order.

MR. YOUNG: Do you think I'm in good order and everything?

MR. STEIN: This is why we are here, and that is to frame the issue.

MR. YOUNG: Now, here is a picture that I want you to see (indicating).

This is our $50,000 landing right down here, and those are poultry feathers on the incoming tide. Can you imagine that?

My boy the other day went down along the wharf, and he was all chicken grease.

I ask you, if you had done your share in the morning and go to work and you come up over the dock all

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chicken feathers and sit in your chair, wouldn't you be mad at somebody?


MR. STEIN: When was that picture taken?

MR. YOUNG: Last fall.

MR. STEIN: Did you take it?

MR. YOUNG: No, I didn't take it.

MR. STEIN: Did you ever see conditions like this?

MR. YOUNG: Yes, right around my wharf all the time, every day, and I can go down on the end of my wharf, which used to be in good, clean water, which I was brought up in, and go and catch flounders from A to Z, and now I go down to the end of my wharf and I can sit down and cry. I could set right out there and cry, a grown man.

Now, I may be out of order here, but I am putting. my case the way it ought to be.

So you, as head of Penobscot Poultry, a nice man -- you're a nice company; you are doing a wonderful thing for the State of Maine -- but will you work with us and clean up this mess, please?

We have lost enough salmon. The Penobscot River was cleaned up a dozen times.

How are you going to pound it through to the average man how many thousands of dollars he is losing by


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neglect? This has been on my mind. I am going to go crazy. In fact, I'm a crazy man now. You could probably put me right up in a strait jacket as far as I am concerned. But I spoke my piece.

MR. STEIN: Right.

MR. YOUNG: And every one of these people here are all customers that have at some time or other bought a lobster or a good, clean clam from me, but when I've got to pump that damned stuff out of the water and try to keep my product nice -- I ship lobsters. I used to ship lobsters to Albuquerque, New Mexico. If what they got did not arrive pure, they used to say, "Ship us some more," but we can't do it with the conditions that we are up against now.

Now, you are the head of Penobscot and I know Jim Ellison is here in the crowd. Ben Hargart, if he was alive today, he started Maplewood. You could go and talk to them and clean this thing up.

Now, can you see what I am pounding at?

MR. BUZEN : May I only make one statement?
MR. YOUNG Yes, you've got your part, too. No question.
MR. BUZEN : I have just completed a statement here --
MR. YOUNG: I heard it.
MR. BUZEN: that we expect to clean up our


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pollution prior to the time which the Commission feels that it should be cleaned up in.

MR. YOUNG: Good. Well, thank you very kindly, and I'm sorry I hurt you.

MR. BUZEN: You didn't hurt me.

MR. YOUNG: But I have got to state my case, when I go to the end of my wharf and I look over and see chicken feathers, and see entrails go by. I damn you up and down.

Why? Why? Why? And I have a good many people right behind me sitting right out there, and our Mayor right there, one of the best friends that I ever had in my life, will go along with us.

Is that right?

MR. STEIN: Mr. Young, do you have another copy of that picture? Do you want to put that in the record?

MR. YOUNG: I will give that to you.

MR. STEIN: All right.

(The picture referred to will be found in the files of the Federal Water Pollution Control Administration.)

MR. YOUNG: I hope I haven't disrupted.

MR. STEIN: Mr. Young, we would like for the record also, if you can supply it to Mrs. Piere over there, to show who took the picture.


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MR. YOUNG: I will tell you who took the picture. I am not supposed to, but I mean -- I will see that somebody -- it doesn't make any difference anyway. There is no question that's chicken feathers.

MR. STEIN: I don't doubt it. (Laughter.)

All right.

MR. YOUNG: Okay.

Well, I had a nice talk with you gentlemen, and no hard feelings, President of Penobscot Poultry. No hard feelings at all.

Commissioner Dow is an old friend of mine, and I met you yesterday, and I want to thank you for giving me the opportunity to express myself. I hope I have done it, and I know everybody out in that audience is with me a hundred per cent.

A show of hands.


MR. YOUNG: Okay.

MR. STEIN: All right.

Now, let me say that we appreciate your comments, Mr. Young.

MR. YOUNG: I know I was out of order, because you had a dozen ahead of me.

MR. STEIN: That is all right. This as you can


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appreciate, is what pollution control is all about. I don't think anyone here could have expressed it any better than Mr. Young, but I do think we have this point.

We have Mr. Buzen's point of view, and what he said in the statement for the future, without commenting on this, and I think the statements and any material that Mr. Young gave us speak for themselves.

The question is that Mr. Buzen said he is going to come forward with this program. As far as I understand his program, it means no discharge. That means no feathers, no entrails, no chicken feet, none of these objectionable sight solids that go in and fill this up.

Again, the organic wastes will be reduced. The bacterial loading will be reduced.

As we see this, unless the technical people tell me something different, when the program is finished that Mr. Buzen is going to do -- and, by the way, this is going to take a full-time job both by the industry, the State authorities, the local authorities, and the Federal authorities all working together to do this -- if and when this is done we will be able to have a compatible shellfish and fishing industry and poultry processing plants in this area.

There is no reason why we cannot do it.

End of Excerpt