Opinion

Mining company not to be trusted

To the editor:

Since time immemorial the Penobscot and Maliseet have shared an inherent connection to the environment.  We have a responsibility, passed down from our ancestors, to care for the land, water, air, and all life that depends upon a healthy ecosystem to thrive. 

We also share a mutual concern and opposition to Wolfden Mt. Chase’s proposal to develop a metallic mineral mine in the T6R6 Pickett Mountain area.

Metallic mineral mining is a dangerous, risky and costly venture that should not be entered into lightly. A thorough assessment is needed to prevent speculative operations and disastrous environmental damages.  We have seen the long-lasting devastation that poorly planned mining operations have caused other tribes across North America.  

Wolfden has had much opportunity through LUPC’s rezoning process to provide information that will allow regulators and communities to evaluate their ability to protect our natural resources and health.  Wolfden failed. Their most recent petition, filed almost a year ago, had 59 errors, omissions and failures to provide information.  

Now, instead of revising their submission, Wolfden is asking surrounding towns to support the mine, making claims they will treat wastewater from mining to background levels, but Wolfden has not provided appropriate examples or information about how they will do so.  No other metallic mine in the world has done what Wolfden says they will do. 

Penobscot and Maliseet people use areas that will be impacted by the proposed mine for sustenance practices, including fishing, hunting and gathering foods and medicines, and for cultural and ceremonial purposes.  These waters and lands are precious resources for our tribal citizens and for all Maine people.  Many of these waters contain critical habitat for endangered Atlantic salmon and wild brook trout. Efforts are underway to restore sea-run fish here.  Wolfden has stated publicly they have consulted with tribes. That is not true.

Wolfden is asking Maine people to take their word and trust them.  They have repeatedly demonstrated they are not to be trusted.  We value the health of our natural resources and people too much to do so.

Chief Clarissa Sabattis, Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians
Chief Kirk Francis, Penobscot Nation

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