My response to Patricia Aho’s Maine Compass, “Shame on senator for questioning integrity of DEP’s rule-making process” on March 1, is: No, the shame goes to Commissioner Aho. And I applaud Sen. Chris Johnson, D-Somerville, (the unnamed senator in Aho’s column) for having the courage to call our Department of Environmental Protection what it is — “corrupt.” And the buck stops with Aho.
Naturally, Aho is trying to convince all who will listen that her department has done all it could to protect Maine and its residents. However, it is obvious to anyone who has studied the issue and attended the mining hearings that this is just fantasy.
The members of the Board of Environmental Protection have put in tireless hours on this project. Aho, however, deliberately withheld information from the BEP regarding two studies in the 1990s, by Boliden and Blackhawk, that demonstrated that mining Bald Mountain likely would pollute our rivers, lakes, streams with sulfuric acid runoff and arsenic pollution and acid leaching out heavy metals. Withholding that information made it impossible for the BEP to reach the conclusion that the laws it was recommending to the Legislature would be inadequate to protect the environment and the people of Maine.
The revolving door by which Aho came to be head of the DEP should send her packing right out the door of the State House. Then she can return to her roots as an industrial and corporate lobbyist.