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Action Alert: Push Back Against Mining Pollution in Maine

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017
Posted on:

We need your help to defend against mining pollution and the threat it poses to clean water in Maine.

Weak mining rules were defeated in 2014 and 2015 that would have allowed dangerous mines near some of Maine’s most treasured places. Unfortunately, in January, the Board of Environmental Protection (BEP) again passed weak rules to facilitate open-pit mines throughout Maine. Now these Rules are back at the Legislature (LD 395) and we must defeat them.

Luckily, a bill has been proposed — LD 820 — that amends the 2012 mining law to require strong protections and a rewrite of the weak rules.

What You Can Do

Attend the March 20 Hearing
Please come to this hearing in front of the Environment and Natural Resources (ENR) Committee and help us push back against mining pollution in Maine:

What: ENR Committee hearing on mining pollution
When: Monday, March 20, at 9:00am (likely to run all day)
Where: Room 216 of the Cross Office Building
Note: Let us know if you are coming and need our staff to sign you up to speak. All those speaking will be held to a 3-minute time limit.

Please urge ENR Committee members to defeat LD 395 and support LD 820
Let them know you want strong protections against mining pollution in Maine!

Maine needs strong, clear mining laws and rules to protect our water, woods, and wildlife. We can’t allow mining companies to pollute our waterways or to leave taxpayers with the bill for cleaning up polluted sites.

If you can’t attend the hearing, please take a moment and either send your written testimony to the Committee Clerk, Steven Langlin ([email protected]) which will be distributed to Committee members OR contact ENR Committee members directly and urge them to oppose LD 395 and support LD 820.

  • Senator Tom Saviello, chair (Wilton)
    [email protected]
    (207) 645-3420
  • Senator Amy Volk (Scarborough)
    [email protected]
    (207) 229-5091
  • Senator Geoff Gratwick (Bangor)
    [email protected]
    (207) 947-0637
  • Representative Ralph Tucker, chair (Brunswick)
    [email protected]
    (207) 725-7639
  • Representative Dick Campbell (Orrington)
    [email protected]
    (207) 287-1440
  • Representative Bob Duchesne (Hudson)
    [email protected]
    (207) 745-7748
  • Representative Jessica Fay (Raymond)
    [email protected]
    (207) 415-4218
  • Representative Denise Harlow (Portland)
    [email protected]
    (207) 409-0870
  • Representative Jonathan Kinney (Limington)
    [email protected]
    (207) 637-2366
  • Representative John Martin (Eagle Lake)
    [email protected]
    (207) 444-5556
  • Representative Jeff Pierce (Dresden)
    [email protected]
    (207) 441-3006
  • Representative Scott Strom (Pittsfield)
    [email protected]
    (207) 313-3895
  • Representative Stanley Zeigler (Montville)
    [email protected]
    (207) 323-6044

The weak rules passed by the BEP in January are destructive for many reasons, including because they:

  • Allow mining on and under Maine’s spectacular Public Reserved Lands.
  • Allow tailings impoundments, the most dangerous type of mine waste disposal facility.
  • Leave Maine taxpayers on the hook for mining disasters, which happen far too often.
  • Allow even the most hazardous parts of mines — such as wasterock piles and tailings ponds — in floodplains and flood hazard areas.
  • Allow open-pit mines.

In the past, legislators defeated the bad mining rules because they from heard from you loud and clear that the proposed rules did not protect Maine’s clean water and taxpayers.

Please speak up again in support of strong protections against mining pollution in Maine by attending the public hearing or by contacting the ENR Committee and urging them to reject the weak mining rules in LD 395 and to support LD 820 to bring strong protection against mining in Maine.

Thank you for helping us push back against mining pollution and protect clean water in Maine!

To sign up for Maine Audubon’s Action Alert e-mails, please click here.

 

Action Alert: They’re Back! Help Us Defeat Weak Mining Rules!

Friday, September 9th, 2016
Posted on:

Even though Maine’s Legislature has twice overwhelmingly defeated bad mining rules that would have allowed dangerous mines near some of our state’s most treasured places, the mining rules are back.

Let the Board of Environmental Protection (BEP) know you oppose the proposed  weak mining rules by testifying at a public hearing next Thursday or by emailing them at [email protected].

Board of Environmental Protection Hearing on Mining Rules
When: Thursday, September 15, 9:00 am
Where: Augusta Civic Center.

If you can’t attend, please contact the BEP and let them know you oppose the proposed mining rules.

Maine’s Legislature has twice overwhelmingly defeated bad mining rules that would have allowed dangerous mines near some of our state’s most treasured places, including Moosehead Lake and the Down East coast.

Now The Department of Environmental Protection has revised the bad rules and the Board of Environmental Protection (BEP) is asking for public comment. While some improvements have been made, the rules are still not strong enough and, if approved, would put Maine’s water and aquatic resources at risk.

The proposed rules are problematic because they would:

  • Allow mining on and under Maine’s spectacular Public Reserved Lands.
  • Allow tailings impoundments, the most dangerous type of mine waste disposal facility.
  • Leave Maine taxpayers on the hook for mining disasters, which happen far too often.
  • Allow even the most hazardous parts of mines—such as wasterock piles and tailings ponds—in floodplains and flood hazard areas.

In the past, legislators defeated the rules because they from heard from you loud and clear that the proposed rules did not protect Maine’s clean water and taxpayers. Please speak up again by attending the public hearing or by contacting the BEP.

Learn more about the rules and open pit mining in Maine on our website.

To sign up for Maine Audubon’s Action Alert e-mails, please click here.

 

Take action! Comments on Mining Rules due December 23

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013
Posted on:
mining_in_maine_big

Maine taxpayers are still paying for clean-up costs of the Callahan mine in Brooksville, Maine.

Maine Audubon is asking our members and supporters to help protect our water, woods and wildlife from the harmful effects of metallic mining pollution

Please email the Board of Environmental Protection:
[email protected]

Tell them that Maine’s mining rules need to be strengthened – NOT weakened – to protect our waters, woods and wildlife from mining pollution.

The deadline for public comment is December 23, 2013.

The Issue

In 2012, JD Irving (a large conglomerate active in many industries and Maine’s largest landowner) pushed a bill through the Maine Legislature to weaken mining pollution regulations in Maine. In fall 2013, the Board of Environmental Protection (BEP) asked for pubic comment on the new regulations. Even though they received over 2,250 comments opposing the weak rules, the BEP has proposed changes that would further weaken the already ineffective rules.

Need some talking points for your comments? Read our concerns with the new rules and other background information about the potential effects of mining on wildlife and wildlife habitat in Maine. You can also visit Maine Mining Watch.

Questions? Please get in touch!

Jennifer Burns Gray
Maine Audubon Staff Attorney and Advocate
(207) 781-6180 x224
[email protected]

 

Action Needed: Open Pit Mining in Maine, LD 1032

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013
Posted on:

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
  1. 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 protected] 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.
  2. Contact members of the Environment and Natural Resources Committee to ask them to support LD 1302! (Please see contact information below)


Rio_tinto_river_CarolStoker_NASA_Ames_Research_CenterThe 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
Contact Information

House Phone Number: (800) 423-2900
Senate Phone Number: (800) 423-6900