I moved to Maine because of its beautiful mountains, winding rivers and serene lakes. If the Board of Environmental Protection’s proposed changes to the mining regulations are passed, they will cause irreversible damage to some of Maine’s most valuable wilderness.

The proposed changes to Maine’s mining rules will only weaken already environmentally relaxed regulations. Mining will cause environmental damage, and changing these regulations would lead to indefinite cleanups, possible contamination of protected wilderness and uncertain financial coverage for cleanup.

Large mining corporations will take advantage of weak regulations, and we will have to live with the consequences. Bald Mountain in Aroostook County is one of these threatened places. J.D. Irving Ltd. is interested in open-pit mining the mountain for gold, silver and copper. Harmful chemicals such as arsenic, lead and sulfuric acid will be released into the surrounding watershed, killing aquatic organisms such as the native brook trout, and potentially leeching into our drinking water supplies. Bald Mountain has unusually high levels of sulfur and arsenic, so open-pit mining here will be very dangerous.

I do not want Maine’s wilderness to be threatened by irresponsible mining. The Board of Environmental Protection should not approve these changes. They will not only threaten Maine’s wilderness today, these rules also will cause harm to both human health and the environment that will last for generations.

We need to act now to stop these harmful changes from being approved. I urge others to join me in sending comments to BEP by 5 p.m. Monday. Email Jeff Crawford at [email protected]

Eliza Baker-WacksWaterville