The Penobscot River Community Coalition (PRCC) is an alliance of those who live, work and play in the communities along New England's second largest river, the Penobscot River. These communities share an interest in honoring the past, enjoying the present and preserving the future of our river.
The countless rivers and streams that make up Maine's landscape have provided sustenance for the people inhabiting their banks for thousands of years. European settlers used the Penobscot for transportation to the sea, and dams were built to harness its energy.
Eventually, during the nineteenth and early twentieth century, industry, including textile mills, saw mills, tanneries, paper mills and other factories, became an essential part of these communities. They brought jobs and economic prosperity to the region.
To ensure continued restoration and preservation of the Penobscot River and the surrounding region using a balanced approach to potential future initiatives and to raise the voices of the local communities and community members along the Penobscot River who share an interest in such a balanced approach.
However, prior to the Clean Water Act of 1972, industry across the country all took part in the practice of releasing chemicals into the waterways. Similarly, it has been widely known that residents and businesses up and down the Penobscot River used the waterways as an open sewer for carrying untreated human waste and garbage to the sea.
After recognizing that we all needed to make a change, modern pollution controls were put into place and the quality of Maine's rivers has improved drastically. Several dams have been removed and we no longer see the long-familiar sight of trash or plumes of brown, unidentifiable foam floating downstream. These dramatic improvements have allowed for the return and recovery of significant recreational and tourism populations - creating economic activity for local communities.
Through the combined efforts of communities and industry, the Penobscot River continues to take giant strides forward. As part of this larger community, we are all responsible for the health of our river. But, as we always have, we must move forward only with a balanced approach - one that recognizes the importance of economic, environmental and quality of life factors for our communities. It is imperative that any future initiatives impacting the Penobscot River are considered fully to determine whether they, on balance, do more good than harm.
PRCC works to raise the voices of everyone, especially those who are otherwise unrepresented by large interest groups, to ensure that those who actually live along the banks of the river or make their living from its waters will have a say in any decisions being made about the river's future. Only then can we ensure that the decisions made are responsible, reasonable and a further step in the right direction for our river and our communities.