News & Notes

Speak Out…Against Open Pit Mining in Maine

Monday, December 10th, 2012
Posted on:

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:

  1. 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
      Allagash Room
    • Friday, December 14, 2:00pm
      University of Maine at Farmington
      Olsen Student Center Building
  2. Testify before the LUPC
  3. Submit written comments to LUPC by December 28th

Written comments can be submitted via email to: [email protected].

Important information

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
[email protected]