November 12, 2013

Maine Voices: Bald Mountain open-pit proposal shows need for strong mining rules

The rules that Maine has drafted will protect neither our environment nor our taxpayers.

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about the author

Nick Bennett is a staff scientist at the Natural Resources Council of Maine.

The draft rules fail to require a mine operator to place the full amount of financial assurance into a secure trust up front. Instead, they allow companies to pay only half of their financial assurance up front. Financial assurance is the money the state can use to clean up a mine if a company goes bankrupt, as frequently happens when metal prices crash.

These and other flaws in the rules are likely to allow mines to create large-scale contamination that the public pays to clean up. The abuses of the mining industry that Mr. Anderson describes in the developing world, including the use of child labor, are not a reasonable justification for having weak mining rules in Maine. When mining companies can take advantage of weak regulations, they do, whether in the United States or the developing world.

That is why the council is working to make sure Maine has strong mining rules that protect our environment and taxpayers. Without them, Maine will become the latest addition to the “dismal mining legacy” that Mr. Anderson acknowledges.

— Special to the Press Herald


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