Posted on: Wednesday, April 24th, 2013
We need your help to protect Maine’s waters, wildlife and communities from mining pollution! Support LD 1302, An Act to Amend the Maine Metallic Mineral Mining Act to Protect Water Quality (sponsor Rep. Jeff McCabe)
You Can Help in Two Ways
- Please attend a hearing at the Environment and Natural Resources Committee on Monday, April 29th at 9:00 a.m. in Room 216 of the Cross Office Building (directly behind the State House) to support a bill that would strengthen standards for mining in Maine.
Contact Jenn Gray at email@example.com or (207) 798-2900 if you can attend the hearing on Monday, April 29th beginning at 9:00 a.m., or if you have questions.
- Contact members of the Environment and Natural Resources Committee to ask them to support LD 1302! (Please see contact information below)
The Facts – The mining industry has an extremely poor track record of polluting the environment and leaving taxpayers with the costs of clean up. In 2012, the Maine Legislature passed a bill that rolled back Maine’s mineral mining laws. Proponents of last year’s legislation are considering mining Bald Mountain in central Aroostook County. Should open pit mining occur in that location, the impacts could be dramatic – open-pit mining leaves large toxic acid ponds which could potentially drain through ground and surface waters into the Fish River and the Fish River Chain of Lakes, which provide some of the best brook trout fishing in the country.
Learn more on our Open Pit Mining page »
Why we need your help – LD 1302 amends last year’s law to protect water quality and Maine taxpayers from the risks of mining. A huge turnout of concerned citizens at the State House last year helped improve the bill – we need your help!
Specifically, LD 1302 – An Act to Amend the Maine Metallic Mineral Mining Act to Protect Water Quality (sponsor Rep. Jeff McCabe) would:
- Protect Maine’s groundwater by requiring DEP to measure compliance with groundwater standards as close as possible to mining-related activities;
- Require an independent, third-party estimate of clean-up costs and ensure that mining companies place a sum equal to that cost in a secure trust;
- Make any mining permit contingent on a company proving that at least one mine has operated elsewhere in the U.S., in a similar climate to Maine’s, without polluting groundwater or surface water;
- Not allow any mines that would require wastewater treatment or other waste management activities in perpetuity (such as a tailing dams or liner maintenance). Specifically, LD 1302 would mandate that mining companies complete all clean-up, waste management and water treatment activities within 10 years of ceasing mining operations.
Maine Environment and Natural Resources Committee
House Phone Number: (800) 423-2900
Senate Phone Number: (800) 423-6900
- Cooper, Janice (D) – Representative, District 107
- Harlow, Denise (D) – Representative, District 116
- Chipman, Benjamin (Ind) – Representative, District 119
- McGowan, Paul (D) – Representative, District 149
- Saviello, Thomas (R) – Senator, District 18
- Reed, Roger (R) – Representative, District 023
- Ayotte, Bernard (R) – Representative, District 003
- Gratwick, Geoffrey (D) – Senator, District 32
- Campbell, Richard (R) – Representative, District 040
- Welsh, Joan (D) – Representative, District 046
- Grant, Gay (D) – Representative, District 059
- Boyle, James (D) – Senator, District 06
- Long, Ricky (R) – Representative, District 009
Posted on: Friday, April 12th, 2013
Yesterday, a majority of the Legislature’s Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee voted to support an amended version of LD 730. The amendment, offered by Rep. Briggs on behalf of some bass fishermen, created a phase in and limited the restriction on jigs to bare lead headed jigs. While we are clearly disappointed that the bill as written didn’t win Committee support, we are very pleased that a overwhelming majority of the Committee supports expanding the current ban on the sale of lead sinkers one-half ounce or less to a ban on the sale and use of lead sinkers one ounce or less and a ban on the sale and use of bare lead headed jigs up to two and a half inches in length. A majority of the Committee voted to make the sinkers ban effective in two years and the jig ban effective in four years. Two of the Committee members voted to delay the bans to three and five years and two of the Committee members voted against the bill. Those voting in support of the amended bill yesterday were: Sen. Anne Haskell, Sen. David Dutremble, Rep. Mike Shaw, Rep. Sheryl Briggs, Rep. Ellie Espling, Rep. Karen Kusiak, Rep. Jeff Evangelos. Rep. Paul Davis and Rep. Stanley Short Jr. voted in support of the longer delay version and Rep. Steve Wood and Rep. Dale Crafts voted against the bill. Sen. David Burns and Rep. Tim Marks were not present. The amended bill will need to be reviewed by the Committee again as a formality and then will move onto the Senate and House for final approval.
Posted on: Monday, December 10th, 2012
Attend a public hearing or submit written comments
One of the biggest environmental rollbacks passed by the state legislature last session was a complete re-write of Maine’s mineral mining laws. Despite our best efforts to improve the bill in the legislature, the bill that passed was disappointing. Open-pit mining in Maine could result in arsenic, lead, and other toxic chemicals contaminating lakes, rivers, streams, and soils as it has done in other states. Most of the discussion of open-pit mining in Maine has focused on Bald Mountain, owned by J.D. Irving, in central Aroostook County. However, Maine has significant metallic mineral deposits that mining companies hope to extract, including in the Western Foothills.
Now, as directed by the law, the Land Use Planning Commission (LUPC) is revising their zoning rules for potential mining sites in Maine. These important rules will set the criteria for what applicants will need to submit to LUPC and what LUPC must consider in reviewing applications to rezone land for new mines.
We must ensure that these rules take into consideration potential impacts to water quality, soils, sensitive natural resources, wildlife and wildlife habitat, and both scenic and recreational resources.
What you can do:
- Please consider attending one of the two public hearings LUPC is holding specifically to allow the public to weigh in on these important rules:
- Tuesday, December 11, 6:00pm
University of Maine at Presque Isle Campus Center
- Friday, December 14, 2:00pm
University of Maine at Farmington
Olsen Student Center Building
- Testify before the LUPC
- Submit written comments to LUPC by December 28th
Written comments can be submitted via email to: Samantha.Horn-Olsen@maine.gov.
The impacts on the Bald Mountain area could be enormous. Mining activities there would likely drain into the Fish River and the Fish River Chain of Lakes, which provide some of the best brook trout fishing in the country. Mines in the Western Foothills would likely drain into the Kennebec and Androscoggin Rivers, critical tourism destinations and economic drivers.
Thank you for your support!
Jennifer Burns Gray
Staff Attorney and Advocate
(207) 781-6180 ext. 224
Posted on: Wednesday, October 17th, 2012
Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife has proposed changes to its fishing regulations to ban the use of live bait on 16 lakes in northern Maine.
Maine is home to 97% of the intact wild brook trout lake and pond habitat in the eastern U.S. Brook trout are important to Maine and the nation’s ecological and sporting heritage and are also a valuable recreational and economic state resource.
This population is at risk. The quality and abundance of the fishery has declined. The biggest threat to the resource is the introduction of competing fish species into the trout’s fragile ecosystem.
The use of live bait can introduce new fish species to wild brook trout waters that can complete with local brook trout and put the population at risk. The proposed rule changes are intended to protect important headwaters that feed watersheds containing many of the state’s wild brook trout populations.
Please attend one of the hearings and submit comments in support of the proposed changes.
Public Hearing information
- Monday, Oct. 22 at 6:30 pm, Presque Isle Inn & Convention Center, 116 Main St., Presque Isle
- Tuesday, Oct. 23 at 6:30 pm, Northern Timber Cruisers Snowmobile Clubhouse, Millinocket Lake Rd., Millinocket
- Wednesday, Oct. 24 at 6:30 pm, City of Ellsworth, Council Chambers, 1 City Hall Plaza, Ellsworth
- Thursday, Oct. 25 at 6:30 pm, Brunswick High School, Multi-Purpose Room, 116 Maquoit Rd., Brunswick
Written Comments are due November 15 and should be sent to:
Becky OrffInland Fisheries and Wildlife, 284 State St., 41 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333-0041
Proposed waterbodies that would be subject to the ban
- First (Billings) Pond, Blue Hill (Hancock Co.)
- Round Pond and outlet, T10 SD (Hancock Co.)
- Fish Pond (Little), Hobel Twp. (Somerset Co.)
- Twin Island Pond, Lowelltown Twp. (Franklin Co.)
- Mountain Catcher Pond, T06 R08 WELS (Penobscot Co.)
- Webster Lake, T06 R10 and T06 R11 WELS (Piscataquis Co.)
- Carr Pond, T13 R08 WELS (Aroostook Co.)
- Chandler Lake, T9 R8 WELS (Aroostook Co.)
- Chase Lake, T09 R10 WELS (Piscataquis Co.)
- Fish River Lake, T13 & 14 R08 WELS (Aroostook Co.)
- Millimagasset Lake, T7 R8 WELS (Penobscot Co.)
- Millinocket Lake and Little Millinocket Lake, T07 R9, T8 R9, T7 R10 WELS (Piscataquis Co.)
- Munsungan Lake (including Little), T08 R9, T8 R10, T9 R10 WELS (Piscataquis Co.)
- Portland Lake, Bridgewater Twp. (Aroostook Co.)
- St. Croix Lake, T7 & 8 R4 (Aroostook Co.)
- Wheelock Lake, St. John Plt. (Aroostook Co.)
Posted on: Wednesday, May 30th, 2012
The Governor has decided to not veto LD 852, the modest $5 million bond bill for the Land for Maine’s Future program. After securing two-thirds vote in both the House and Senate, we feared the Governor would veto the bill. Now, the voters will have the opportunity to decide whether to approve the measure when it appears on the November ballot. Thanks to all of the supporters who worked hard to encourage their legislators to support the measure. This wouldn’t have happened without your help!
Posted on: Thursday, May 17th, 2012
Yesterday, the Legislature approved LD 852, the Land for Maine’s Future Bond, by more than the two-thirds votes needed. The bill now goes to the Governor’s desk for signature. Passage of the bond bill is a bright light in a session that’s been largely focused on defending core environmental protections.
This success is largely the result of the significant efforts by David Trahan, the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine. With his help, many Republicans became more appreciative of the opportunities LMF presents to protect key wildlife habitat such as deer wintering areas and streams for brook trout.
Sen. Roger Katz took over sponsorship of LD 852 when David Trahan left the Senate. He has done an excellent job providing leadership and spoke eloquently on the floor yesterday. Sen. Tom Saviello and Rep. Jeff McCabe have also been important and effective voices on this issue.
While we are optimistic that the public will approve the bond if it’s on the ballot in November, we are concerned that the Governor will veto the bill. We hope that he joins his colleagues in appreciating the important opportunities for wildlife habitat conservation LMF presents and the lost opportunities that will occur if LMF doesn’t get this funding.
Posted on: Wednesday, May 16th, 2012
Yesterday, Senator Hastings moved to indefinitely postpone LD 1810, the takings bill. There was no recorded vote. He made comments after his motion indicating that he didn’t want either the majority or minority report to go forward because he wanted there to be a “clean slate” next year. The House agreed with the Senate last night. So, the fantastic news is that the takings bill is dead due to the hard work of many including strong public opposition. We particularly thank Senators Saviello, McCormick, Katz and Rector for stopping this bill in the Senate. We expect that there will be a new proposal next year. Thanks also to the House Republicans who voted against the minority report in April: Representatives Michael Beaulieu, David Richardson, Meredith Strang Burgess, Dennis Keschl, and Brad Moulton.
Posted on: Monday, April 30th, 2012
For more than two decades, the highly successful Land for Maine’s Future (LMF) Program has provided critical funding to protect forestlands, shorelines, working farms and waterfronts, salt marshes, mountain summits and other treasures of Maine’s natural heritage for generations to come. But now the program has no money for future land purchases.
A majority of the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee is recommending that the Legislature approve a bill (LD 852) providing $5 million in bond funding to the LMF Program. Two-thirds of the House and Senate must approve the bill in order for it to move forward.
The Legislature will reconvene Tuesday, May 15, and will vote on the bond proposals. We need your help in encouraging legislators to support LD 852.
LMF funds have protected land in each of Maine’s 16 counties, where families can enjoy hiking, fishing, boating, hunting, snowmobiling, camping, skiing and other outdoor activities. This program has provided essential infrastructure that helps preserve Maine’s unique character and supports our natural resource based economy. With all that LMF has done, it is no wonder why over 60% of Maine voters support this program.
Please contact your legislators and ask them to support LD 852. Let them know that LMF-funded projects have had significant positive impacts on areas important to you and your fellow Mainers. Also share with them that a recent Trust for Public Land study found that every $1 invested in land conservation through LMF returned $11 in natural goods and services to the Maine economy. Investing in LMF is a smart investment for Maine.
Without the LMF program, more of Maine’s natural heritage would be lost to development. We need your help to ensure that this program stays funded so future generations can enjoy our natural heritage.
Thank you for your continued support!
Jennifer Burns Gray
Staff Attorney and Advocate
(207) 781-6180 ext. 224
Posted on: Monday, April 30th, 2012
The Legislature adjourned until May 15 without voting on the Takings bill, LD 1810. We are still urging lawmakers to oppose the minority report and support the majority report on LD 1810. Below is where we think the senators stand on the minority report. Please thank those who oppose the minority report and urge those who support it to change their mind. If the Senate accepts the minority report, it goes back to the House for another vote. Go here for more information. To find your senator’s contact info, go here.
Oppose: Alfond, Bartlett, Brannigan, Dill, Craven, Diamond, Gerzofsky, Goodall, Hill, Hobbins, Jackson, Johnson, Katz, McCormick, Patrick, Rector, Saviello, Schneider, Sullivan, Woodbury
Support: Collins, Courtney, Farnham, Hastings, Langley, Martin, Mason, Plowman, Raye, Rosen, Sherman, Snowe-Mello, Thibodeau, Thomas, Whittemore
Posted on: Friday, April 27th, 2012
Despite Senate President Raye’s efforts to identify additional funding for the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (DIFW), the Governor’s threat to veto the bill stopped it in its tracks. One of the biggest risks to the future sustainability of Maine’s fish and wildlife is the lack of adequate funding. We will return next year to secure a broad based source of funding for the Department.