Status Maine LD 1853, Pit Mining and The Political Strangeness of Maine GovernmentApr 13, 2012 • 8:00 pm No Comments
Politics; n. A strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles. The conduct of public affairs for private advantage.” Ambrose Bierce (1841-1914). The Devil’s Dictionary, p. 101, 1911, Dover edition, 1958.
Autocracy; (n) dictatorship, tyranny. Democracy; (n) equality. Union; (n) unification, joining together, unity.
An Act To Improve Environmental Oversight and Streamline Permitting for Mining Laws in Maine
Submitted by Representitive John Martin, D-Eagle Lake and Co-sponsored by Senator Roger Sherman, R-Houlton, and Senator Troy Jackson, D-Allagash
While I’m always surprised when I find myself in the comfortable position of disagreeing, writing about difficult things is still done with difficulty for me. Today is no exception.
One would not need to probe too deeply to know my mining prejudices. Undoubtedly, pit mining is the most grotesque indignity of earth known to humanity. Perpetuated, by those incapable of fidelity to the environment, unless seduced through environmental mutilation.….
Nevertheless, the truth is, this is about basic intrinsic uncertainty, about the unknowable, and about what cannot be foreseen, complicated by considerable suggestive evidence that even with the overseeing by the EPA and DEP, neither, have absolute control over what we factually know mining is capable of doing through the natural process. Cyanide can convert to other toxic forms and just as cyanide dissolves gold from rock, it releases harmful metals as well. United States Geological Survey and Behind Golds Glitter, Torn Lands and Pointed Questions
“Much of those masses of disturbed rock, exposed to the rain and air for the first time, are also the source of mining’s multibillion-dollar environmental time bomb. Sulfides in that rock will react with oxygen, making sulfuric acid. That acid pollutes and it also frees heavy metals like cadmium, lead and mercury, which are harmful to people and fish even at low concentrations. The chain reaction can go on for centuries. Some metal mines, including gold mines, have become the near-equivalent of nuclear waste dumps that must be tended in perpetuity. Hard-rock mining generates more toxic waste than any other industry in the United States, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. The agency estimated last year that the cost of cleaning up metal mines could reach $54 billion.” ( the cost of gold, 30 tons an ounce)
Once catastrophe strikes through aquifers and various other known poisons caused by mineral mining into the earths soil, water and air, though they may eventually be stopped or, contained, if caught, they can do nothing to reverse the devastating affects.
I wonder how Martin reconciles his bill with the issue of dewatering (aquifers) which should be of enormous concern. The process of drawing down water in keeping mines dry in order to mine them, pulls water from water sources for hundreds of square miles. Not only are the sources it pulls from, rivers, tributary’s, ponds, lakes, etc., negatively impacted but, the forests, flora and fauna surrounding the mines as well.
The effects are slow but cumulative. Over time, though unnoticeable, the surrounding forest will most likely know its own dying off from lack of nourishment. The natural process of evolution for the forest is halted, and what once took years to exist in its present state, dies.
While the DEP might have us believe these forests can come back, and perhaps on a small scale they may, the process of mining lasts a matter of years, and even after closure and reclamation, aquifers and the surrounding area continue to be affected.
While mining companies may use the argument that the aquifers will recover when mining has ceased, all indications are , it could be to late for aquatic life and forest land and life dependent upon them for balance of life, and ultimately, survival.
They may also wish to convince us that; modern technology allows appropriate monitoring but, numerous reports state findings that the technology is often flawed. Sadly, little is known about the process, though more aggressive study has begun.
I am unable to discern whether Martin and his supporters pulsate with dishonesty, self-deception or, the kind of desperation that causes recklessness. But Martin’s attempt at qualifying his rushing of LD 1853 comes across as inauthentic and artificial. Authenticity takes time.
Furthermore, the suddenness and hurriedness of this bill infers an intentional act to disorient the public through loss of equilibrium by withholding information that might create a much needed balance through the fairness of disclosure, for the natural state of Maine, and our culture.
In the end, today, I am left with only one personal thought; there can apparently be ignorance, even among the educated.