If we mine in Maine, let’s do it right

I recently attended a public hearing on a bill before the Environmental and Natural Resources Committee, L.D. 1302, which addresses both environmental and financial concerns relating to open pit mineral mining in Maine, and which calls for more protections than currently required.

At the end of the last session, legislators passed a bill (L.D. 1853) that rewrote Maine’s 1991 mineral mining laws. The regulations were relaxed because JD Irving, a Canadian forestry company, is interested in mining gold and copper at Bald Mountain outside Portage Lake in Aroostook County. These mining rules, however, apply to the whole state, and there are significant mineral deposits on both sides of Moosehead Lake, in Cobscook Bay and in northern Franklin County.

L.D. 1302, introduced this session by Rep. Jeff McCabe, D-Skowhegan, would greatly improve the bill passed last year. It would ensure that the new mining rules protect ground and drinking water. It also would make any company wanting to mine minerals in Maine financially responsible for cleanup and reclamation. In addition, L.D. 1302 would require any such company to provide an example of a mine operating under similar conditions to those found in Maine that has not contaminated adjacent waters.

I urge my state senator, Tom Saviello, R-Wilton, who is on the Environmental and Natural Resources Committee, to support L.D. 1302.

In Maine, where we rely so heavily on our pristine environment for tourism and recreation, we need strict laws regulating open pit mining. I encourage others to contact their legislators and ask them to vote yes on L.D. 1302.

Melanie Lanctot

Readfield

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