Opinion

Limitations make mining amoral

To the editor:

On March 20th, two dozen Aroostook County citizens attended public hearings in Augusta speaking against the third attempt to weaken Maine’s metal mining laws. They included farmers, business people, sportsmen and folks familiar with the rivers and numerous lakes that are at grave risk in Aroostook County. The issue of metal mining is of special significance to Aroostook County because of the location of Bald Mountain.

Bald Mountain exists in a water rich location at the very start of the Fish River Chain between Carr Pond and Clayton Lake. Its runoff feeds into numerous brooks and streams that form the Fish River. Open pit mining would be a disaster for the waters and reputation of the Fish River Chain — one of the nation’s finest brook trout fisheries.

The cost effective mining of Bald Mountain is not within our generation’s legitimate technical ability, and therefore it is not our generation’s right. Mining in that location would be an amoral and ugly theft from all of the generations of Mainers who come after us.

Aroostook County’s future does not lie in the toxic tailings of open pit mining. Our future lies in the guarantee of clean water — an increasingly rare life and recreational resource that Mainers of today are morally obligated to preserve for the future. There is no true “clean up” of an open pit metal mining site, which leaches arsenic and sulfuric acid and other toxic substances into ground and surface waters.

Let Maine lead by demanding laws mandating the use of advanced mining technology that does not sacrifice our health, lakes, air, rivers and groundwater. Maine must lead by demanding that any and all metal mining be conducted in a manner that does not saddle future generations of Mainers with a toxic legacy.

I am writing to encourage people to contact their state legislators and to demand laws that prohibit any open pit mining, prohibit wet waste management and containment ponds, and prohibits the contamination of any ground or surface waters.

Sarah LeClaire, Esq.
Presque Isle

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