As a private citizen, I plan to attend Wednesday’s public hearing at the State House in Augusta of the Joint Legislative Committee on Environment and Natural Resources as it considers a mining rules bill for open-pit metallic mineral mining in Maine (L.D. 146).

These mining rules would allow uncontrollable and continuous groundwater contamination from acid rock drainage at all potential mineral mining sites, including some public lands, in Maine.

This particular piece of legislation, rejected last year, is back again, but now, as “emergency legislation.” This means that should all on the Environment and Natural Resources Committee vote in its favor, the bill will go quickly before the House and Senate for approval and then be signed into law by Gov. LePage without any further public hearings.

Why is our current Legislature in such a hurry to allow J.D. Irving to dig for gold in Maine? Why would any government of a state with high precipitation and a geological composition of acidic rock be in such a huge rush to open itself to risky open-pit mining throughout Maine’s mountains when Maine happens to be the last stronghold of clean natural freshwater systems east of the Mississippi? Would this not be akin to killing the goose that lays the golden egg?

L.D. 146 is a rash and irreversible special interest “emergency” bill.

Sidney Mitchell