Overriding the will of the people

9 years ago

Overriding the will of the people

To the editor:
On Monday, May 11, the legislative Committee on Environment and Natural Resources (ENR) will hold yet another public hearing on a bill about open-pit mining rules. This will be the third time in the last year or so that I have traveled to Augusta to testify in opposition to such rules, and I am once again struck with the ironies of this process.

The Board of Environmental Protection (BEP) and the ENR committee are charged with protecting our environment and natural resources. Instead of rules that would strengthen protection of the environment, they are, once again, writing and attempting to pass rules that would weaken current protections.
Why are they doing this? Have there been break-through advances in technology that would make mining of Bald Mountain safer than it was a year ago? Of course not. Has public support for mining increased in the last year? Actually, the opposite has happened; opposition to mining has increased as the public become more aware of the extreme risks of polluting the Fish River chain of waterways with arsenic, sulfuric acid, and other toxic chemicals for generations. This pollution will devastate the area’s outdoor sports industry and make a mockery of inflated promises of an economic boon.
I have been paying close attention to the debate on both sides in the media and in the legislative committee hearings, and I have to conclude that this new attempt to make it easier, cheaper, and more profitable for Irving, Inc to mine Bald Mountain, regardless of environmental consequences, is a direct testament to the power and influence of a major international corporation on our political process. It is an attempt at a dangerous override of the will and welfare of the people and emblematic of the threat big money poses to democratic principles across the country.

Alice Bolstridge
Presque Isle