LEWISTON — The Androscoggin River looks better these days and it hardly stinks at all. You can eat some fish from its waters and even swim if the conditions are right.
The Androscoggin is healing, but many believe it could be better.
Rep. Margaret Rotundo, D-Lewiston, and others will argue on Feb. 8 in support of a bill that would change the classification of the lower Androscoggin. That would mean mills and others would have to follow stricter standards in an effort to limit pollution.
LD 154 would change from Class C to Class B a section of the river between the Worumbo Dam in Lisbon Falls and a line formed by the extension of the Bath-Brunswick boundary across Merrymeeting Bay.
For Rotundo, co-sponsor of the bill, it's an old fight but a worthy one.
"We've been pushing for this for a long time," she said Thursday. "There's a sense that we can do it if people will rally around."
People shouldn't be a problem. For years, hundreds of joggers, walkers, fishermen, boaters and others have been lobbying for a change in classification. They want to be able to swim and fish the whole length of the Androscoggin.
The river is already Class B from the New Hampshire border to Rumford. From Rumford to the ocean, it's Class C.
"We deserve," Rotundo said, "to have a clean river running through our community."
A public hearing for LD 154 is scheduled for 1 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 8, in Room 216 at the Cross Building in Augusta.