I was in Colorado this summer when torrential rainfall caused massive mudslides. The amount of rainfall also caused tailing ponds – or what recent Maine rule changes call “wet waste management units” – to overflow. The toxic liquid covered and poisoned large tracts of land that are now contaminated and unusable.

Given the flooding Maine has experienced this winter, when frozen land cannot take up the excess water and fields are like skating rinks, we should all have deep concerns about mining operations that can permit waste to be held in perpetuity!

The irresponsibility of members of the Maine Board of (note that it is not “for”) Environmental Protection, who have unanimously voted to further weaken protection regarding mining, moves me to suggest that every board member who voted to weaken protection be required to live within a mile of these “units” – with their families – so that they can experience the level of protection they have handed to the land and the people of Maine.

It seems that forcing decision-makers to bear the effects of their work will be the only means to guarantee that Mainers receive reasonable, rather than merely legal, protection of their environment – and their lives.

Heidi Brugger


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