Maine LUPC rejects Wolfden proposal to narrow evaluation for Pickett Mountain mine bid

PATTEN, Maine — The Maine Land Use Planning Commission denied a request to reduce its evaluation of a rezoning petition from a Canadian company interested in establishing a mineral mine on Pickett Mountain, located near Mt. Chase in northern Penobscot County. 

Wolfden Resources, which is based in Thunder Bay, Ontario, had written a letter to the LUPC requesting that several parts of the evaluation, such as checking for water quality, financial practicability and impact on natural resources, be deferred to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. 

Wolfden argued that such evaluations would already be looked at by the DEP, which will review the proposal once it moves from the rezoning stage to the permitting stage.

At the monthly commissioner’s meeting on Sept. 16, the LUPC rejected Wolfden’s request, saying that the commission needs to obtain as much information as possible to make a proper decision on the rezoning process. 

“I would say the general consensus here among the commissioners is that the staff is proceeding correctly, and they need to be provided the information,” said Everett Worcester,  LUPC chairman. “Unless they receive that information, I don’t see how they’re going to be able to make that kind of determination [on rezoning].” 

George Tsiolis, an attorney representing Wolfden, denied claims made by the LUPC that Wolfden was threatening a lawsuit with the call for narrowing the evaluation, and called for greater dialogue between the LUPC and Maine DEP. 

“We’re not saying that none of this should happen with the terms of the information request,” said Tsiolis. “We think a dialogue would be useful and that stakeholders should participate in that dialogue between the two agencies.”

With the evaluation determined, the LUPC plans to visit the site of the 528-acre land area in mid-October. 

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