Welcome To Mining In Maine Then & Now

Bald Mountain Across Carr Pond

Bowker Associates Science & Research In The Public Interest operates from Stonington Maine and has been compiling and posting  historical data on past mining initiatives as well as tracking and providing technical  and policy analysis on  Maine’s revised statute ( C. 653 Pl 2011) and the drafting of its implementing rules.  The site is intended for use by all stakeholders giving accurate information and reporting as well as sharing Bowker Associates’ commentary and engagement with the regulatory agencies, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, Maine Department of Agriculture Conservation and Forestry and the two legislative Committees Environment & Natural Resources, Agriculture Conservation & Forestry.

Obviously this site is under construction.  We are in the process of moving all Mining In Maine posts at lindsaynewlandbowker.wordpress.com to this site.

We hope to get it together in time to support stakeholders & press in following and understanding  policy actively under consideration at the regulatory and legislative level.

 

 

LD580 A Trojan Horse Preserving Lower Environmental Standards For Mining Than Apply Even to Public Works

February 16, 2017

Dear Co- Chairs Tucker & Saviello and Members of the Joint Standing Committee on Environment and Natural Resources.:

 

 Bowker Associates writes to offer an informed technical review of  LD580, a concept bill drafted by Senator Saviello which offers an alternate course to moratorium and repeal of Maine’s Mining Laws as proposed in LD253 and LD254 and corrections to Title 12 as proposed in LD 244 now  before the JSCACF.

 

 

 

The “fix” in lieu of moratorium and repeal offered  by LD580 is in large part simply a list of prohibitions addressing  specific lands  and some waters for which there has been strong continuing advocacy by NRCM, Audubon and Appalachian Trails. And of course there is overwhelming public support for the protections of these lands for their continuing highly valued public and business uses However,a list of prohibitions, as Judge Tucker I am sure will concur, does not make sound law.  That is especially so in the context of PL2011 C.653 which has no clear framework other than its intent of setting different and lower standards of environmental security for mining, globally the worst polluter, than apply to all other Maine businesses and public projects. 

 

 

 

LD580 Preserves that landowner driven framework of giving metallic mining separate and lower environmental performance standards than apply to all other endeavors. it is this permission to pollute which the people of Maine and the legislature representing them do not accept.

 

 

 

Moreover, as explicated in Bowker Associates  technical review of LD 244   “in” “on” and under” prohibitions do not protect and preserve the associated highly valued public use if the framework of law does not drive to loss prevention through statutorily mandated standard of  best available technology, best practices and best knowledge as the governing standards of law. Lands protected in this list of prohibitions could be completely and forever transformed in minutes by a catastrophic tailings dam failure which travels kilometers not feet  or meters at the scale of the 32 million of tailings Bald Mountain alone would generate.

 

 

 

 

 

The  LD580 “fix” mandating financial assurance for catastrophic loss is uin fundable and in doable on an actuarial basis.   There is no third party transfer for man made catastrophe’s resulting from conscious avoidance of sound engineering practices in the design and  management of mine facilities.  That is the undisputed main cause of catastrophic loss from mines worldwide .  At Samarco the present prosecutor established loss at Samarco Brazil, $45 billion, exceeds the market cap of co responsible miner BHP ,one of the top 10 mine producers in the world.

 

 

 

The  appropriate statutory response to such catastrophe’s is prevention through sound law with clear standards and adequate technical competence for regulatory oversight.  LD 580 provides none of that ( CPCU after my name means Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriter, ie possessing expertise in actuarial science, risk assessment and loss prevention, and in risk finance ( ie the existence of reliable  third party markets for risk transfer).  

 

 

 

Bowker associates has long advocated for strict and expert ( mine economic/mine finance) third party validated financial capacity standards for the miner and  the economic viability of the deposit itself viz global markets.  DEP has refused to develop the mandate in  our statute.  The lower our statutory standards for the financial capacity of the miner and the economic viability of the deposit the lower the possibility of any valid reliably third party  financial assurance.

 

 

 

It is important as well to provide a little context and history for the  “fix” as addressed in item 3,adding statutory language on  “mining area” and mandating unspecified revisions to the present  groundwater contamination allowed by the mining statute is in the first instance and grows from a twisted debate that goes back to those weeks in which the particulars of Pl2011 C653 were hammered out.  Audubon and other registered environmental lobbyists came up with this idea that ground water exposures could be limited by limiting the surface geography defied as mining area.  It’s an absurd idea.

 

 

 

The major source of groundwater and off site contamination is from ongoing poorly designed and managed n  large mine waste facilities, principally the deposition areas for mine tailings.  The surface area required for some 32 million tons of  tailings that would result from a full extraction of metallic ore at Bald Mountain  is immense and exposes not only ground waters but all surrounding surface waters to pollution.  This advocacy for keeping “mining area” as small as possible grew from a fundamental lack of understanding about the components of a mine operation and the scale and risk associated with these components.  It makes no sense as a strategy for mitigating the effects of present statutory provisions allowing miners to exceed measured pre mining background.

 

 

 

Moreover the term “mining area” is a “term of art” as used and defined throughout the industry and  refers to to the entire geographic area associated with a specific mine development. The advocated approach of  defining “mining area” as basically the land under each facility component isn’t workable or sensible.

 

 

 

“Pre Mining Background” is the standard  for all ground and surface waters.  Our landowner written provisions setting different and lower standards for mining that spurred this distorted and aberrant   approach to  defining “mining area””

 

 

 

LD580 is, in short,  a trojan horse that attempts to appease environmental advocacy with a long list of prohibitions ( that don’t offer full protection) while preserving the core of lower and different environmental standards for the worst polluting sector globally.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lindsay Newland Bowker, CPCU, ARM Environmental Risk Manager

 

Bowker Associates

 

Science & Research In The Public Interest

 

15 Cove Meadow Rd.

 

Stonington, Maine 04681

 

 

 

207 367 5145

 

 

 

lindsaynewlandbowker@gmail.com

 

lindsaynewlandbowker.wordpress.com

 

LD395 ( Approval of Mining Rules) A Leap Into Unlimited Unfundable Public Liability

Dear Co-Chairs Tucker & Saviello and Members of the JSCENR:

 

I write to ask you not to take up LD395, consideration of the revised Chapter 200 rules,   until you have taken up LD253, the bill for a moratorium on  all mining permits and then heard  and LD254  the bill for complete repeal of PL 2011 C.653, the entire set of statutory changes to environmental law made to accommodate mining.  This third set of  rules DEP has sent for legislative approval  and which as of yesterday are e referred to you , constitute a limitless risk to protected lands, to surface and groundwater, possibly to public health and almost certainly to existing natural resources based sectors of Maine’s economy, aprtly but not wholly as a result of the specific provisions of  PL2011 C653. 

 

DEP has knowingly and with determination avoided measures which were in no way limited by statute but which could have substantially  lowered public risk. For example  even the provisions which allow groundwater contamination on site ( a provision advanced on scientifically false information that the waters at Bald Mountain were already polluted ) need not have been construed as a license to pollute especially in light of science  which shows unquestionably that mine waste polluted  groundwater will eventually become polluted off site ground and surface waters. And  one might reasonably ask why  DEP didn’t  then or any time in the past five years correct the record on the condition of groundwater at Bald Mountain?  DEP possess those records.  We re presented those records and even sent a confirming mail to us by  the author of the cited reports  to this Committee and to the DEP. One might reasonably ask why  this committee for 5 years never spoke up for the pure and pristine   waters of all the other possible mine sites, known and unknown. 

 

Tom Doyle, attorney for Landowners and all past leaseholders for mining at Bald Mountain has publicly bragged about this provision and the other worst aspects of our statute as his doing.( Mining Enginering , December 2012)  

 

 

“(Doyle & Avery) were asked to help draft legislation ..Though what was adopted varied in several ways from what was introduced, many of the most important provisions were enacted into the new law.Ground water issues dominated the debate over the legislation. This new law, however, manages to relax restrictions affecting ground water in important ways. In particular, discharges to ground water may occur within a “mining area,” which is defined more broadly than priorlaw. “Mining area” includes ground water and surface water treatment systems, extending the compliance boundary beyond these systems.”

Over the course of 4 years DEP and this Committee have been presented with guidance in the form of best knowledge, best science and best practice.

This Committee and DEP have  avoided all that with determination. 

On the last day these incompetent rule s were voted out by BEP neither Jeff Crawford nor Mark Stebbins were clear on exactly what a tailings impoundment is ( video documentation available).

Tailings impoundments are, of the course, the principal source of man made mine catastrophes such as Mt Polly and Samarco. That is an undisputed and widely known fact  A full extraction of the deposit at Bald Mountain would produce about 32 million tonnes of toxic tailings more than enough to cause a catastrophic failure with an impact area of  several kilometers. That is an undisputed and widely known fact. Our work explaining the factors that give rise to such failures is globally known and respected within the mining industry, among regulators and law makers and among major environmental entities.  I refer you to our two best known research works  done in partnership with the eminent  geophysicist Dr David M. Chambers.

 

Bowker, L. N. and Chambers, D.M. (2015). “The Risk, Public Liability, & Economics of Tailings Storage Facility Failures.” July 21, 2015, http://www.csp2.org/technical-reports, (June 14, 2016).

 

Bowker, L N. and Chambers, D.M. (2016). “Root Causes Of Tailings Management Failures: The Severity  Of Consequence Of  Failures Attributed to Overtopping 1915-2015”

 September 2016, Proceedings of Solutions 2016 , (June 14, 2016). (attached)

 

 

At the beginning of the most recent rules session at BEP Bowker Associates transmitted the attached  rating of Maine’s Statute and the third round chapter 200 rules against the 5 most crucial provisions of law and policy in preventing these high consequence non remediable, non fundable man made losses. It was nevertheless possible to adopt through rule changes alone ,with no limitation in statute, provisions  that could have realized a score of 16 out of a maximum best score of 5.  DEP avoided every single one of this changes.

 

The language forbidding ” tailings impoundments” is pure gobbledy gook possibly deriving from the fact that after 5 years neither Mark Stebbins nor Jeff Crawford or any one else at DEP actually knows anything about tailings management or the science of ARD prevention.  And ne might reasonably say,nor should they.  It is not within the purview and scope of a DEP to know these things and that is another dimension of our statute went wrong at the outset.

 

Mining needs a qualified Mining Board.

 

My career for more than 4 decades has involved writing law and regulation.  When I first read the mining statute it seemed possible that the intent was to preserve the same environmental performance  standards in law as apply to all other endeavors, including public works, but through regulation to reframe the particulars to work for mining.  Site of Development Law for example has the critical policy, authority and other principles of law that are core for responsible sustainable metallic mining but the particulars don’t work for mining because of it scale and nature as compared with other “large scale development” one might contemplate in Maine.

 

Last session forced a clarification of  intent.  It finally became clear through landowner agent testimony and this committee’s words and actions  that the intent and agreement implied was exemption.  The  intent was to hold mining, the largest polluting sector in the world, to lower environmental standards than all other endeavors including for example the construction of  a large manufacturing plant that might directly employ a 10000 workers. 

 

It makes no sense at all and it is not in alinement with the values of the majority of Mainers and the legislators they have elected to represent them.

 

The statute itself needs to be redone from scratch along with a redo on what our policy is for mining on public lands or within a range of catastrophic loss or alteration in suitability for designated use.

 

To take up these reckless, incompetent chapter 200 rues ahead of these other bills that reflect the public will would constitute an obstruction of the already expressed and very clear public will.  Appropriate action on LD 253,LD254 will obviate the need for any rules until we  reframed law on sounder better informed principles.   The majority of Mainers, including Aroostook county residents ad business owners is of one mind and one voice on this.

 

Thank you for your careful consideration of what we have offered you here.  I am more than glad to answer any technical questions you may have.

  

Lindsay Newland Bowker, CPCU, ARM Environmental Risk Manager

Bowker Associates

Science & Research In The Public Interest

15 Cove Meadow Rd.

Stonington, Maine 04681

 

207 367 5145

 

lindsaynewlandbowker@gmail.com

lindsaynewlandbowker.wordpress.com

LD244 GOES A LONG WAY BUT NOT ALL THE WAY TO SOLVING PROTECTIONS OF MAINE PUBLIC LANDS FROM CATASTROPHIC MINE FAILURE CONSEQUENCES

impacto_2

Sent moments ago to the Joint Standing Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, this is the third constructive well aimed and well farmed bill put forward by Dr. Ralph Chapman,  a physicists and member of the legislature who serves on this committee.   Bowker Associates endorses the bill but suggests an addition to address the “loss of constructive use” through mining impacts and other large scale development . We also advocate a companion “Moratorium ” and Repeal Bill addressed to the Mining On Public Lands Statute.

RE: LD244  An Act To Clarify the Use of State Lands Designated for Conservation or Recreation Purposes. Bill Sponsor, Representative Ralph Chapman of Brooksville

Dear Members of The Joint Standing Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry of Maine’s 128th Legislature:

Bowker Associates writes to endorse this Bill, sponsored by Ralph Chapman which goes a very long way to a reconciliation of mining policy as between mining on public lands under Title 12, and mining elsewhere as presently addressed by C.653 PL.2011. The following simple change forecloses all possibility of mining on designated lands whereas existing Title 12 allows that by a 2/3 majority vote of the legislature.

“Substantially altered” does not mean the conveyance of an access right by easement in accordance with section 1814-A. For the purposes of this chapter, the use of designated lands for the mining of minerals, as those terms are defined in section 549-A, subsections 6 and 7, constitutes a substantial alteration in use.”

The protection of designated lands has been a core issue, lead and championed by Lew Kingsbury An absolute prohibition of mining on such lands is embraced by the supermajority of stakeholders and of virtually all of the 50O committed active identified “interested parties” to Maine’s 5 year struggle with revised policy on metallic mining. Through Lew’s thorough research and perseverance both DEP and JSCENR have been forced to address rather than avoid this deep offensive flaw in our legal framework for mining.

Last session Bowker Associates presented a summary of law to JSCENR and Legislative Analyst Dan Tartakoff who responded that JSCENR had or some time been aware of and even in private sessions discussed these issues but felt there was no adequate opportunity to visit or resolve them. JSCENR had no dispute with our “brief” in particular of the issues of DEP’s authority over any aspect of “Mining On Public Lands”.

Subsequently our Attorney General wrote a brief which clarified that DEP via the Chapter 200 Mining Rules had no authority to prohibit metallic mining on public lands, that this authority was reserved and addressed under Title 12.

Last session a low point in deliberations before the JSCENR was the moment when Co Chair Saviello, a member of this Committee then and now, and Representative Robert Duchesne and Representative John Martin “ganged up” on Lew ( a deserved characterization if you actually watch the video and make note of facial expressions and body language with which this was delivered ) dismissing his concerns and findings with an un-named citation to the Title 12 “Mining On Public Lands” statute that the law provides for Mining on Public Lands and can’t be over ridden by regulation.

This bill, in part, solves and clarifies policy at least for “Designated Lands” and we therefore urge that it be taken up as soon as possible by JSCACF. As the whole picture on Mining on Public Lands is not resolved in this bill and as this really does not fully protect even “Designated Lands” public hearings would be very fruitful and would finally allow a full open truthful exchange on the broad issues not addressed .In particular it might address the gaps of protection created by the limiting prohibition of “on” and “use” when the impacts of mining failure ( our principal recognized expertise) occur at a scale that poses a risk of constructive “loss of intended use and character”.

This gap is further described immediately following.

PROTECTION FOR “DESIGNATED LANDS” AND THEIR PURPOSE IS NOT COMPLETE VIA THIS BILL AND MUST BE ADDRESSED BY A MORE COMPLETE AND CLEAR LEGAL FRAMEWORK

A “Mine Waste”, “Mine Waters” “Process Solutions” failure at Bald Mountain, even for mining limited to the small Gossan capping the “massive sulfide” has a radius of impact on land, groundwaters and surface waters measured in kilometers and usually permanent non remediable impact. There is no recovery, no restoration to former condition and use post failure. As with all the significant public interest issues attending metallic mining, this cannot be conveyed or explained to you in a five minute window at an “opportunity for public comment”, but I am happy in a work session to brief you via skype and will , in any event , share with your clerk some suggested readings that would be helpful to this point on the scale and nature of impact.

At Bald Mountain for instance, that 33 million tons of “massive sulfide ore” translates to 32.5 million of wastes, most of that in ARD generating Tailings. Failure of a 30 million cubic meter deposition of tailings could travel between 4 and 6km depending on the amount of moisture contact and thrust of precipitating failure. The volume of polluted mine waters and process solutions could cause permanent non recoverable loss and damage off site to wetlands, habitats, rivers, streams, brooks, and ponds and highy protected areas under the present LUPC zoning. Nothing in the technically incompetent Chapter 200 rules DEP drafted and BEP endorsed which are being send to JSCENR for adoption address any of these issues.

 

Throughout the public hearings the JSCENR, BEP and DEP have addressed adjacency impacts only in terms of “visual impacts”, and “set backs” that do not recognize or understand at all the scale of “mining affected area” and the nature of loss and harm to which such areas are exposed. This perhaps accrues to the complete lack of experience and technical knowledge of metallic mining though that is no excuse for DEP. BEP( and to my recall also JSCENR) went through tortured and almsot comical discussions on adjacency impacts resisting set backs apparently drawing on windmill debates, about natural contours protecting the “view shed”.

Without some further language this most welcome first step is incomplete in protecting a “continuity of qulaity, charcter and suitability” of designated use .We advocate that such language be added to this “fix”. We need time for further review and thought but as astarting point for this fix perhaps something like the following might work:

“”Substantially altered” does not mean the conveyance of an access right by easement in accordance with section 1814-A. For the purposes of this chapter, the use of designated lands for the mining of minerals, as those terms are defined in section 549-A, subsections 6 and 7, constitutes a substantial alteration in use as does the significant risk of loss of. Qulaity, character and suitability of designated use from mining or from any other manufacturing, industrial or extractive endeavor “.

PROTECTION OF “DESIGNATED LANDS” DOES NOT EXTEND TO OTHER PUBLIC LANDS E.G. ”SUBMERGED LANDS” OR TO LAKES, RIVERS,STREAMS,TIDAL LANDS,SUBMERGED COASTAL WATERS

 

The term “Designated Lands” does not address or include other categories of hghly valued highly protected public lands eg under the LUPC zoning or tidal flats, lands underneath coastal waters, lands underneath lakes, rivers and streams. The 1985 “Mining on Public Lands” statute specifically allows the draining diversion and use of lakes and streams to further mining and in conjunction with our present mining statute and the third set of chapter 200 rules DEP/BEP have sent over to the legislature, opens the way for the use of such areas as “wet mine waste units” for cheap sub aqueous disposal of reactive (acid generating) tailings and other mine wastes. The companion Bills LD253( Moratorium) and LD254 (Repeal) do not fully address this problem as mining could still continue under the revised Title 12, the “Mining on Public Lands Statute and the old 1991 mining rules.

What is needed is a parallel set bills to LD253 and LD254 addressed to the “Mining on Public Lands Statute”. That set of bills would hopefully bring forward a complete legislative record on the drafting and enactment of the 1985 statute.

Bowker Associates may have more to offer by way of technical guidance as this important bill and hopefully others directed more realistically to the threat of modern mining come before you. We are glad to provide you with technical assistance during your work sessions or to brief you via skype. ( I am disabled and not able to travel much beyond Cove Meadow, my island home.)

In closing, your Committee, the Attorney General and the people of Maine owe a great deal to Lew Kingsbury who without funding or active support in his research and presentation of mining issues affecting public lands has single handedly brought these issues forward mapping them constructively d for you for JSCENR and for the people of Maine. His oral and written presentation of these issues has been respectful, moderated, clear and of aa professional caliber. When he comes before you this session, as he no doubt will, I hope you will receive him in the same manner, listen in the same manner and express your appreciation for all he has done and all he has accomplished in mapping this public issue within the scope of your mandate on this committee.

Thank you for your deep consideration and endeavor to understand the many issues we have raised here.

Lindsay Newland Bowker, CPCU, ARM Environmental Risk Manager
Bowker Associates
Science & Research In The Public Interest
15 Cove Meadow Rd.
Stonington, Maine 04681
 
207 367 5145
 
lindsaynewlandbowker@gmail.com
lindsaynewlandbowker.wordpress.com

 

LD159 and LD160 Offer Trickery & Incompetence Among A Large Slate of Mining Bills on Tap for Maine’s 128th Legislative Session

christmas-gladiator

RE: LD160“An Act to Prohibit the Mining of Massive Sulfide Ore Deposits under the Metallic Mineral Mining Act ” sponsored by Representative Duchesne; Co-Sposored by Senator Saviello

   http://legislature.maine.gov/legis/bills/bills_128th/billtexts/HP011801.asp

   LD159 An Act To Prohibit the Mining of Massive Sulfide Ore Deposits on State Lands; Presented by Senator Saviello Co-sponsored By Senator James Dill

  

http://legislature.maine.gov/legis/bills/bills_128th/billtexts/HP011701.asp

 

January 23, 2017

     

 

 

 

Dear Senators Saviello & Dill & Representative Duchesne::

 

With reference to the two identically worded bills you have sponsored, LD159 directed to the Mining on Public Lands Statute and,LD160 to  Pl 2011 C653 , The Maine Metallic Mineral Mining Act,  Maine has no identified massive sulfide deposit with > 1million tons of “metallic minerals” . Bald Mountain, Maine’s largest identified  massive sulfide is a deposit  of 33 million tons per USGS ( Slack et al,)  most recent re examination of core contains far less than  1 million tons of “metallic minerals”( somewhere around 300,000).

 

As you also know, all of the identified metalically mineralized deposits in Maine are “Massive Sulfides”, the others much smaller than Bald Mountain so the framing of both bills has no effect whatsoever on how or where any of Maine’s existing known  massive sulfide  deposits can be mined and no effect whatsoever in lowering  the extremely high level of potential public liability of metallic mining which can accrue under our present two mining statutes and under the third round of Chapter  200 rules DEP is advancing. 

 

Even a complete ban on sulfide mining would still allow gold and silver  mining of the Gossan at Bald Mountain and I refer you to the Black Hawk application, coordinated by MarK Stebbins, for a better understanding of the never resolved possibilities of total loss .  Under our present legal framework and the third round of Chapter 200 rules these liabilities are not reduced but actively accepted as public loss through exemption from previously applicable environmental law, most egregiously specifically allowing onsite groundwater contamination.

 

From the beginning, JSCENR has not been completely truthful with the people of Maine or the legislature on the fact that our Metallic Mineral Mining Statute (Pl 2011 C 653).  restructured all previously existing Maine environmental law to remove those provisions that Bolidens mining consultants at Bald Mountain had identified as not attainable by any known mining technology. The effect of that  was to simply accept the public liabilities of removing those standards from mining while leaving them in place for all other public and private enterprise.

 

The JSCENR has not been forthcoming with the people of Maine or our legislators on the conflicting provisions of the pre existing 1985 Mining on Public Lands statute.

 

It is more than disappointing in light of this legislative history as lead by JSCENR and further enabled by DEP to see these two bills put forward when the need identified over these several years is to start over with both laws.

 

Here is the exact language of both bills

 

 

 

 

“Massive sulfide ore deposit” means a metal sulfide ore deposit that, contains in total 1,000,000 tons or more of metallic minerals.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So many elements of these two  seeming simple and straight forward bills repeat exactly the same kind of legislative errors that have kept us from  meaningful progress towards a clear, well informed legal framework for mining.

 

(1) inventing definitions inconsistent with established and universal definitions and terminology in the mining industry “Massive Sulfide” ( more properly “Volcanogenic Massive Sulfide” for our geology here in Maine”) is a designation within the science of geology that already has a definition. Recall how much time has been wasted over these several years over DEP’s made up term “wet mine waste units”.  Making up terms or alternate definitions is not helpful  or  even responsible in the context of a legal framework for an industry as complex and high risk as metallic mining . Such practices do not  not inspire confidence among quality prospective investors and responsible mine developers.  There is no clarity if law makers reinvent and misapply the  lexicon of the regulated industry.

 

(2) lack of due diligence in understanding the complexity and nature of mining operations and applying that to the framing for our legal  structure for mining. The “massive” part of the geological classification “massive sulfide” has nothing to do with size ( I believe it refers to the extraordinarily high concentration of sulfides compared to other types of ore, eg porphyry the dominant source of metals globally). VMS deposits the most prevalent form we have in Maine, are the second highest risk category among all geological designations and the public risk inherent in a given deposit derives from  geochemistry not  its size.   Our Bald Mountain which has much less than 1 million tonnes of metals t is off  the charts high public liability  risk .No massive sulfide of any size  anywhere in the world has ever been developed with higher arsenic and sulfide levels than exist at Bald Mountain.  Reams and reams of scientific and technical documentation constituting “best knowledge” has been presented to JSCENR and to DEP for several years.  It is incomprehensible that these very basic truths about VMS deposits are still avoided with determination by both DEP and by JSCENR when these should be the very focus of how we define “the public interest” in our legal framework for mining.

 

 A deposit like our anomalous Bald Mountain that may now be well beyond any known proven technology for protecting against off site degradation of ground and surface waters may in time become economically and environmentally feasible.  We need to build a legal framework that survives and works well over time as technology develops and understanding deepens.  This is the perfect moment to undertake that work as the entire mining industry is in economic  chaos and recovery is not expected until around 2020.

 

As you stripped out the entire contents of Ralph’ Chapmans well informed LD750 for a completely different purpose , I ask you to do the same with these two bills. Use them to repeal both the Mining on Public Lands Statute and the Maine Metallic Mineral Mining Act and to create a mandate for a sructure involving a multidisciplinary super panel of mining expperts to give us the foundation elements of modern mining law from which we can build new and better law  from scratch with participation by all stakeholders.

 

Lindsay Newland Bowker, CPCU, ARM Environmental Risk Manager

Bowker Associates

Science & Research In The Public Interest

15 Cove Meadow Rd.A collaeague

Stonington, Maine 04681

 

207 367 5145

 

lindsaynewlandbowker@gmail.com

lindsaynewlandbowker.wordpress.com

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ADDITIONAL LINKS AND RESOURCES

Economic Geologist Dr. William Williams, who knows the Bald Moungain deposit well also wrote to both Joint Standing Committees to express his concerns about these two companion bills.

From: Bill Williams [mailto:billwms17@gmail.com] Sent: Thursday, January 26, 2017 9:37 AM To: ‘Bob Duchesne’ <duchesne@midmaine.com>; ‘Senator Tom Saviello’ <drtom16@hotmail.com>; jdill@umext.maine.edu Cc: ‘Marvinney, Robert G.’ <Robert.G.Marvinney@maine.gov>; ‘Tartakoff, Daniel’ <Daniel.Tartakoff@legislature.maine.gov>; ‘Honorable Paul Mercer,Commissioner’ <paul.mercer@maine.gov>; ‘Nicholas Livesay, Executive Director LUPC’ <Nicholas.Livesay@maine.gov>; sendavis@myottmail.com; Michelle.Dunphy@legislature.maine.gov; Ralph.Tucker@legislature.maine.gov; steven.langlin@legislature.maine.gov Subject: RE: LD159 and LD160 Prohibiting Mining of Massive Sulfides Containing >1 million Tons of Metals Under Mining On Public Lands Statute & Under Maine Metallic Mining Mineral Statute

 

Dear Sirs:

I write to  you over my concern of a disconnect between public policy and science, which I believe proposed Acts LD159 and LD160 clearly manifest.

I am a consulting Economic Geologist with over 25 years of experience in mining exploration, development, and operations throughout the Americas and Europe.  During my career, I evaluated the metals endowment of Maine and, in fact, I am one of the few geologists who have not only reviewed the Bald Mt. data and core, but have visited the site.  In addition, I led the team that was granted the second permit under Michigan’s Part 632 mining regulation that was enacted earlier in this century.  In sum, I consider myself qualified to make a statement on this matter.  Please be advised that I am not contracted by anybody to advocate any position regarding the enactment of a revised mining statute in your state and do not have a personal stake in the matter as I reside in Brookline, MA.  Again, I am merely concerned about the divergence of public policy, and therefore regulation, and science.

It is presumed that your efforts to draft meaningful mining regulations result in a balance of attracting mining investment, with the intent of a successful development, and environmental stewardship of such mining activities.  If so, respect of scientific principles and clarity of purpose are fundamental in order to reach your goals as legislators and public-policy makers.

The term “massive sulfide” is a descriptive term only and is self-explanatory.  In Maine, there are various occurrences of Volcanogenic Massive Sulfides (“VMS” in geological jargon), e.g., Bald Mt., Ledge Ridge, Mt. Chase, which terminology, in geological circles, is not only descriptive, but carries a genetic connotation as well. In these Acts, a well-defined geologic term is (re)defined as a “metal sulfide ore deposit……..that contains in total 1,000,000  tons or more of metallic  minerals.”  Not only is an established geologic term misconstrued, but a random size component is assigned to it as well.  Furthermore, it is rare that any mining company would estimate the tonnage of metallic minerals; they would estimate the tonnage of ore, the grade of the commodity or metal, and thus the tonnage of commodity or metal.  For instance, an ore deposit that contains 1,000,000 tons of 1% copper would contain 10,000 tons of copper metal; I am not aware of an example whereby the tons of the mineral(s) that contain copper are cited in such estimates, although a geologist could easily estimate that tonnage. Please be advised that such an estimate could very possibly exclude at least one deposit in your state.

Such a regulation is not consistent with nearly all mining regulations and statutes throughout the world.  Redefining established geologic terms is not advisable, using the metric of tons of contained metallic minerals is not industry standard, and to specifically limit any metal-sulfide deposit based on an arbitrary tonnage of metallic minerals only creates an uncertainty for any potential investor(s); if an investor should discover and delineate an ore deposit greater than 1,000,000 tons of metallic minerals, do they lose their investment?  If so, will they be reimbursed?  Would the reimbursement be for expenditures or the value of the ore deposit?  Please be advised that it is highly unlikely that any major mining company would even consider investing in metals exploration in Maine under these Acts given, for instance, a common hurdle for a copper project is 2,000,0000 million tonnes of contained copper (I worked for Phelps Dodge, now Freeport-McMoRan, in the past and this was our minimum size at that time; I do not suspect that number has decreased).

To any mining person, beyond the aforementioned technical issues, these proposed Acts would encourage an attempt to try to decipher its intent and likely would discourage exploration and development of metallic ore deposits.

Please feel free to contact me if you should want to discuss these issues.

Best regards,

Bill Williams, PhD

Economic Geologist

 

 

Maine’s Statute & It’s Draft Implementing Rules Score Poorly on Catastrophic Failure Risk Assessment

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE   September 14, 2016  1333 EST   Contact lindsaynewlandbowker@gmail.com 207 367 5145

RISK OF FAILURE ASSESSMENT OF MAINE MINING STATUTE AND DRAFT IMPLEMENTING RULES

Lindsay Newland Bowker, CPCU ARM, Environmental Risk Manager

Risk of Catastrophic Failure analysis of Maine’s Mining Statute ( Pl 2011 c.653) and its now under review draft rule concludes that Maine’s statute itself is a potential root cause of such failure as has been the case in many of history’s most dramatic and costly failures including Mt Polley and Samarco, both modern mines and both among in history’s top 10 in terms of consequence and scale of failure. Maine’s statute scored 43 out of a maximum “worst case” score of 50 and is classified as “High Risk”, against 5 key criteria focused on most commonly found root causes of catastrophic failure.

 

Although the poorly framed, poorly informed Maine statute is among the worst among post 1990 new laws and overhauls it nevertheless contained a few very common mandates including “technical and financial capacity of the applicant” and a mandate for the use of best proven technology . Otherwise it is vague on mandates on policy, but with no changes in statute at all it would be possible to write a rule substantially reducing risk of catastrophic failure. This risk assessment analysis concludes that a score of 16 out of a possible best case score of 10 can be attained within the existing statute despite its many flaws, gaps, internal inconsistencies and contradictions through wiser better informed rules alone.

The statute’s implementing rule drafted by the Department of Environmental  Protection (DEP) and accepted for review by Maine’s unique Citizen Panel (Board of Environmental Protection,(BEP)) scored lower than the statute itself at 44 out of a “worst case”  score of 50 because it constructively nullified the key mandates of the statute by not developing them. Its low score was otherwise attributable to  dropping better and more professional language in the 1991 draft rule that is not in any conflict with statute and not including any useable language that would be effective in preventing or reducing the risk of catastrophic non remediable failure.

Michigans new rule for non ferrous metals, well known to Maine’s DEP and the legislative committee of jurisdiction ( JSCENR)  and developed specifically for sulphides, the  kind of high risk metallic mineralization Maine has, contains provisions  addressing may of the root causes of catastrophic failure scores 32 out of  a worst case score of 50.

In Maines latest draft rules, that difference between what is possible and its best possible outcome score of 16 and the score of 44 is a void in which the seeds of catastrophic failure can germinate, incubate and mature to a manmade catastrophic failure. Of the 33 million tons of metallically mineralized rock at the state’s largest metallic deposit, Bald Mountain, 22 million tonnes will become toxic high arsenic tailings with high ARD potential and another 11 million tonnes of wastes posing high level environmental security risks so there is significant  potential for a man made catastrophic failure at Bald Mountain , should any mining at all ever become economically viable, under the present statute as “risk elevated” by DEP’s draft rule.

A tailings facility failure would travel many kilometers not thousands of feet and result in a complete non remediabe loss of downstream lands ponds, streams and brooks and all terrestal and marine habitat .Tailings can never become soils capable of supporting and sustaining any kind of plant life long term as a recent evaluation of the Los Frailles failure in Spain has shown . At a previously undocumented 1937 failure in Mexico which we discovered and have added to our global failures database 1906-2016, to this day no sustained growth has occurred on the lands despoiled by the tailings flow 80 years ago.

Michigan’s statutes, indeed most presently governing statutes world wide including New Mexico’s relatively new statute  would score not much better than Maine’s.  Improvements in the legal framework for mining have come mainly through  rules.  West Australia for instance working form a very primitive pre modern legal framework has developed one of the wisest and most comprehensive rules in the world.

Looking forensically at the history of man-made catastrophic failures there are five identified root causes of these failures, all preventable if sound legal frameworks and effective enforcement existed.(Bowker Chambers 2016)

  • Improper/incompetent assessment of the economic feasibility of developing the deposit or undertaking the planned expansion of extraction areas viz global trends and emerging major market changes.
  • Lack of technical, geophysical and mining economics expertise in making the assessment in (1) above and in correctly assessing efficacy of mine development and waste management technology life of mine and prior to approval of a mine development or mine expansion.
  • Impaired financial capacity and/or inability to attract adequate capital through quality capital markets and regulated exchanges
  • Inadequate command of, and adherence to, best knowledge, best practice, best proven technology in similar deposits in similar climates
  • Failure/Inability to recognize and act on unplanned or changing conditions that elevate risk of catastrophic failure

 

To evaluate statutes and regulations for effectiveness in addressing these five key root causes of catastrophic failure requires some translation to language of regulatory standards, expression as statutory/regulatory criteria.

We made these translations as follows.

1.Expert Independent Determination of Economic viability viz global markets Life of Mine (which in Statute or Regulation would be further developed e.g. required for acceptance of an application, including clear standard or method, establishing standards or acceptable methods for evaluating economic viability life of mine, etc)

2. Continual involvement of competent independent expertise in mining economics by both regulator and miner to make the assessment in (1) above. (in statute or regulation would at a minimum be required and provide for long term continuous engagement with the mine rather than brought in at agency’s discretion to address specific reviews, submissions or circumstances)

  1. The ability of the applicant to attract sufficient capital in a world of ever shrinking quality capital  and the presence of  an established mining cash flow from other developed assets which are viable life of mine.( In statute or regulation at a minimum would stipulate “financial capacity” as independent expertly verified as both a condition for acceptance of an application as well as stipulating that financial capacity be reviewed annually or by specific review triggers ( e.g. a significant change to an adverse investment rating, excessive debt, inadequate cash flow, balance sheet impairing liabilities at other sites. To be effective would also have to provide language providing for intervention and remedy (.see 5 below))

4) Foundations both in law and in self-monitoring/self-regulation of cited command of best knowledge, best practice best proven technology at similar deposits in similar climates ( While this mandate in statute and rule is central and governing , there is no single governing universally acknowledged archive. It is issue and problem specific, evolves over time and sometimes what has been widely used and is built into mines all over the world is suddenly revealed to be inadequate and not effective. For example the Mt Polley Failure Review Committee has pronounced slurry deposition of mine tailings, the practice most widely used all over the world for the past 50 or 60 years as an “outmoded technology. (Mt Polley Expert Panel, 2015). At any given point in time however each expert on an independent panel of experts can a priori lay out the main elements for “best practice”, Best knowledge” “Best proven effective technology in similar climates and geology and geochemistry” as performance standards to which statute and regulation can refer as having the force of statute and regulation. The legal framework can require that the body of work that supports those standards be cited and summarized. At a minimum “best practices” is not the same as “widely used “as stipulated in the Michigan Non Ferrous Mining Rules. To be workable in statute and in regulation it must be dynamic and continually informed. That should also be mandated in statute and regulation. A second important dimension is competence of the miner and its core staff.   Without adequate built in mastery through experience in similar geological, geochemical and climatic conditions there can be no meaningful discernment or oversight. BHP, one of the largest mining companies in the world, had no in house geophysical experts and no common policy or framework for its many tailings facilities globally. Only after the catastrophic Samarco failure did BHP start correcting that.

5) Ability to detect and react soon enough to fundamental changes in global markets that change the economic viability of an already established, operating permitted mine or to emerging conditions within the mine that could escalate to a failure circumstance (Statute and regulation need to provide police powers and clearly indicate the events and conditions that warrant use of these powers. Specifying “compliance with this rule” or only specifying specific detection limits will not adequately identify emerging structural weakening or a crashing balance sheet or a major change in the global market place that could have a dramatic effect on the mine’s viability. At Iron Cross in New Zealand the parliament met in crisis when they realized they had not reserved sufficient power for themselves to intervene to correct an imminent failure condition.

To create a basis for comparing among statutes and enable the same rating system for statute as for rules, we adopted a simple 1 to 10 rating system for each catastrophic loss root cause parameter.  Almost anyone asked

to rate something on a scale of to 10 can do so readily given a reference standard and a significant body of expertise or experience on the subject matter, i.e. “deontically”. This is also the rating system developed by Rio Tinto for its financial risk assessment of potential mine sites and investments and utilized by Dr. David Chambers in development of the GO/NO Go technical risk criteria (Chambers 2014).

In this application, a 10 point scale gives room for the variations in language and strategy a given jurisdiction might adopt even aiming at identical standards.

In this application 10 is complete absence of essential reasonably effective provisions (“worst case”) and 1,”exemplary”. “Exemplary would be a clear recognition of the root cause, a detailed clear mandate for the stated criteria and well developed guidance on attainment of those standards. “5” is “moderately effective” meaning that there are some specific mandates/requirements in the legal framework but the language leaves room for improvement ( eg ambiguous through exemptions or modifying clauses, internal inconsistencies or contradictions that leave some room for debate).

This approach to rating allows several different approaches by different jurisdictions to have the same rating as long as the measures provided in the legal framework are aimed at root causes, based on global forensics and best knowledge, best practice. (There is no one proven system for translating any of the five criteria to legal code, no one fixed “model language” or approach

A maximum score of 50 is absolute worst case, i.e. no provisions in that sector of the legal framework ( statute or regulation) which effectively address prevention of catastrophic failure A “perfect score” of 5 would require that regulation has clear support in statute for each of the 5 catastrophic loss prevention criteria and a clear development of thee mandates in regulation. The purpose of statute is to “steady the helm” of the ship of state, to insulate it against changes in political winds, to reflect the enduring shared fundamental values of governance. So changes effected solely through regulation albeit with no contradicting limitations in statute, cannot be fully effective in preventing catastrophic loss.

The summary scores for each component of the legal framework (statute and regulation) fall into five risk levels as follows:

95% percentile and above (individual component of legal framework( 45-50) combined statutory and regulatory 90-100 “Very High Risk”; Legal Framework relies entirely on “self-regulation” by the miner, environmental law, and the checks and balances of the market)

90th percentile 38-44 individual component 76-89 combined “High Risk”; limited effective oversight in statute and regulation for effective detection, intervention and prevention of catastrohpic loss; some useable but indirect mandates little fully developed workable criteria proven workable under challenge).

50th percentile 19-37 individual component 37-75combined “Moderate Risk”; an incomplete legal framework but with some handlholds or bits and pieces which together could be helpful

10th percentile 13-18 individual component 25 to 36 combined “Acceptable Risk”; a reasonably complete articulation in statute well developed in regulation with only a few where further improvement in effectiveness or clarity could be made.

“5h percentile  5-12 individual component 10-24 combined statutory and regulatory /“Exemplary/Low Risk “; the statute provides clear and well supported mandates addressed to all five criteria which are clearly developed in workable life of mine regulations

The Case study legal framework, Maine, scored 42 “High Risk” for the statute, and 43 also “High Risk” for the draft implementing Regulation.. The combined rating of 85 puts Maine at the high end of the range for that

This indicates that accepting applications for advanced exploration, mining, or mine expansion under the combination of existing statute and draft rules as released for public comment would put the state at an unavoidably high high likelihood of being unable to detect, monitor, or intervene in circumstances on a strongly indicated track to catastrophic loss.

The full report  was submitted as  Bowker Associates testimony on the draft DEP .  The full report :(https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bw0jCpuVRzgEQTlub2dYVGVrWVE/view?usp=sharing)

Bowker Associates Endorses LD253 An Act To Repeal Maine’s 2011 Landowner Written Metallic Mining Statute

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January 30, 2017

 

The following E-letter was sent this morning to the Joint Standing Committee on Environment and Natural resources urging that LD 253 be taken up as soon as possible after enacting companion bill, LD253 effecting a moratorium on metallic mining pending repeal of the statute. Both bills are sponsored by Dr. Ralph Chapman, a physicist, who represents the Maine legislative district including the two failed mines, the Callahan, a superfund site and Kerramerica a site where funds for agreed settlement with the miner have all been expended and the site closure is clearly failing. The costs of fix will fall to Maine taxpayers. Dr. Chapmans two bills reflect the supermajority will of the people and of the elected officials who represent them in the legislature. Bowker Associates is recommending public hearings not to discuss the merits of the bill but to create a forum for open collaborative deliberation on the plan posy repeal. Repeal of the Metallic Mineral Mining Act would leave the old 1991 Rules and the separate Mining On Public Lands in place, both antiquated and out of date. Mining could still proceed under these old frameworks which leave the state with huge public liabilities even thug mining would be held to the same environmental performance standards as apply to all other large scale endeavors, public and private.

 

 

 

 

RE: LD253 An Act To Repeal C.653 PL2011 In Its Entirety

 

January 30, 2017

 

Dear Co Chairs Tucker & Saviello & Members of Maines 128th Legislative Session  Joint Standing Committee on On Environment & Natural Resources.

 

Bowker Associates writes to ask you to take this bill up and hold public hearings on it immediately after taking up and unanimously approving the companion moratorium bill, LD254, also sponsored by Representative Ralph Chapman.

 

There is almost certainly a strong consensus by  people of Maine and a Bi-Partisan supermajority of their elected  legislative representatives  that repeal of c653 PL2011 is the right action.  Public Hearings are not needed to establish that but they would afford an open collaborative and broad based discussion about what to do after that.

 

As Bowker Associates wrote this morning on LD254 it would be a shame, in our opinion, to simply settle for repeal.  Mining in Maine under both the original statutory mandates for the old Chapter 200 rules and mining under Maine’s Title 12 provisions for Mining on public lands could still go forward and that legal framework is almost as unsound and ineffectual as the framework that would be rejected by LD253.

 

As we wrote this morning in support of LD254, the moratorium in anticipation of repeal, there will sometime in the future, perhaps soon after 2020,  be a recovery cycle for global mining that could once again peak interest in mining in Maine, especially at Bald Mountain.  It is important that we have the right legal framework in place when that moment comes.  We don’t want to have yet another rushed reactive legislative response as we have  done three times in our history.

 

  1. 653 PL 2011 was huge mistake . 

 

Its aims and strategies and as claimed by Tom Doyle in Engineering Journal  its actual authorship was by landowners and their attorney’s who know absolutely nothing about mining.  They took the history of expert guidance to the many prior Pierce Atwood  clients with an interest in Bald Mountain pointing to specific environmental laws applicable to all enterprise in Maine, public and Private, and simply removed mining from accountability to those laws.  That in essence is c 653 pl2011.  Not a worthy or sensible way to build law for a high public risk enterprise like metallic mining in VMS deposit like ours.

 

Last year in the JSCENR’s questionably meritorious decision to allow reconsideration of the same implementing rules that had been rejected by the legislature  the prior year, then Representative Robert Foley  who had been Chair of the BEP that framed those rules, testified that he and the Board as a whole found no guidance and no answers to their many questions in framing rules. It was clear in this round of rule making, which we have in its entirety on video, that the many aspects they wanted to include that afforded better protection and more informed oversight were specifically  blocked  by C.653 PL 2011.

 

C653 PL2011 is without question the worst mining statute we have ever encountered and in our work we have cause to examine dozens of statutes all over the world. Globally we are best known for the work we have teamed up with the distinguished Dt. David M. Chambers to undertake mapping the in fundable public liability risks associated with poor management of tailings wastes. Hoping to influence DEP/BEP’s third try at implementing rules for the 2011 mining statute Bowker Associates offered a rating of the statute and the rules as initially brought forward as the third  try at implanting Chapter 200 Rules. The rating is based on adequacy of provisions in effective loss prevention accruing to poor tailings management .  Poor tailings management is the source of the largest catastrophic mine failures and their associated in fundable public liabilities and their non remediable impacts.

 

Maine’s statute scored 43 out of a maximum “worst case” score of 50 and is classified as “High Risk”, against 5 key criteria focused on most commonly found root causes of catastrophic failure.

 

DEP’s guidance to BEP which is reflected in the rules as transmitted to the legislature don’t begin to address or even comprehend the complexity of tailings management and will have no effect whatsoever in preventing catastrophic loss from poor tailings management.

 

If you work through our ratings you will see that it was possible for DEP/BEP to make a significant improvement in protections against catastrophic loss with no changes whatsoever in the present terrible C.653 PL2011.  DEP/BEP simply elected not to do that.  My point being that the chapter 200 rules that have been put forward are not a good faith effort to either recognize or address the huge public liabilities attributable to poor tailings management. They are not worth the time and effort of serious consideration and should simply be voted out ought not to pass with no public hearing.

 

Thank you for your earnest and careful consideration of what we have offered you here.  We stand ready to provide you pro-bono  with whatever technical assistance you may need to frame the most efficient JSCENR “master plan” on mining this term.

 

Lindsay Newland Bowker, CPCU, ARM Environmental Risk Manager

Bowker Associates

Science & Research In The Public Interest

15 Cove Meadow Rd.

Stonington, Maine 04681

 

207 367 5145

 

lindsaynewlandbowker@gmail.com

lindsaynewlandbowker.wordpress.com

Bowker Associates Requests Immediate Action on LD254 Metallic Mining Moratorium Pending Repeal Of 2011 Mining Statute

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The following e-letter was sent to Maine’s Joint Standing Committee on Environment and Natural Resources urging that they readjust their schedule to act immediately and unanimously to send this bill to the legislature for action. The Bill was drafted by Dr. Ralph Chapman, legislative representative of a district that includes the Callahan Mine, now a superfund site and the failed Kerramerica mine. In the last session Dr. Chapman, an applied physics professor, put forward LD750 which also would have corrected the legislative error that allowed the 2011 mining statute to go into effect without its implementing rules. The JSCENR stripped out the bill with no real hearing on its merits and used it to advance their agenda of approving and resubmitting to the legislature the exact same implanting rules that had been rejected in the previous session by a majority of both braches. JSCEBR’s version of LD750 was rejected by a supermajority of both senate and house. The bipartisan supermajority made it clear that they want mining in Maine only a “net plus” basis to all Mainers and to the immediately affected local community.

RE:LD254 Emergency Bill To Effect Immediate Moratorium on All Metallic Mining In Manie Until The Present Statute Is Repealed: Sponsor Ralph Chapman Broosville, Maine

 

January 30, 2017

 

Dear Co Chairs Tucker & Saviello & Members of Maines 128th Legislative Session Joint Standing Committee on On Environment & Natural Resources.

 

Bowker Associates writes to endorse LD 254, which proposes an action JSCENR should have taken last year, and the year before.  We further urge that you revise your schedule to immediately take up this bill and send it as soon as possible with your unanimous approval for legislative action without public hearing.  This is the will of the people.  This is the only path to effect the supermajority bi partisan will of the legislature that Maine have a legal framework for metallic mining that is “net plus to Maine” in terms of existing natural resource  based economic enterprise, protection of our natural resources  on the same  standards that apply to all other large scale public development, independent  expert affirmed likelihood of an immediate improvement on employing the unemployed and fostering local spin off economic opportunity and growth.  It makes no sense to even entertain metallic mining in Maine’s off the charts high risk VMS deposits without a legal framework that upholds these values. Pl2011 C.653 does just the opposite.

 

It was through JSCENR’s own gross legislative error that we are in the present situation of having a landowner written statute that provides none of these safeguards and standards go into effect on June 1st without its legislatively approved implementing regulations.  JSCENR refused Representative Chapmans well informed proposal in LD750 last session to correct that straight out mistake in drafting and instead elected to push ahead with approval of the same implementing rules the legislature had rejected the previous year. JSCENR did this with manufactured facts presented in an orchestrated and tightly controlled parade of “witnesses”. (For new members, we have every word on video which you can view to assess for your yourself the accuracy of our characterization of last years session on mining.  The Committee has them or you can contact independent videographer Eric A. Tuttle, cc’d above)

 

There is overwhelming supermajority public opposition to the present statute, including within Aroostook County and the same level and intensity of opposition to   implementation of these deeply flawed , frankly incompetent rules written by DEP and advanced by the BEP.  I believe Nick Bennet at NCM did some actual tabulations on those numbers and we refer all of you to his stats.

 

It should be clear to all after all this time that DEP,LUPC,JSCENR,JSCAGC and our entire network of “interested parties” do not have and  have made no meaningful attempt to secure on behalf of the people of Maine a competent multidisciplinary panel of mining experts to help us all lay the foundations of modern mining law from which we can , with their guidance and feedback, frame a law and regulation  that is workable for the mining industry, will invite and encourage the highest caliber of mine explorers and developers and the highest caliber of global mining investors who actually know mining and do some underwriting.  

 

 If the State can fund boondoggle trips to Michigan to visit mines that have nothing to do with our realities here in Maine, it can afford the very low cost of getting a list a basics from 10 or 12 of the worlds leading mining experts.  Over the summer and initiated by Senator Saviello, Bowker Associates outlined the best composition of that panel and a means of coordinating and compiling their input for presentation to you, to the full legislature, to all stakeholders. This could be done for under $100k including a skype interactive presentation.  DEP spent far far more than that on the North Jackson contract to draft the implementing rules for pl2011 c.653 and then just tore them up and went their own way.  North Jackson, while hardly recognized experts, did  a very competent job  and none of the DEP commenters, including then First Deputy Heather Parent offered any negative comment on them.( For New members NRCM has the full North Jackson work product; Bowker Associates has most of it)

 

All of what this Committee has done, what DEP has done, what the BEP has done has taken a situation in which it was once possible for all to work in good faith to build a sound modern legal framework for mining and created a strong anti- mining back lash.  That accrues mainly to this committee.

 

As someone with recognized technical competence in metallic mining and 4 decades of high level involvement in framing public law and  policy I think it is imperative not to simply settle for a repeal but to take this uniquely right moment in history to articulate sound workable law. 

 

This rush for immediate accommodation of interests in mining will come again the next time there is a mining supercycle of  sustained long term price increases across all commodities globally. (2011 was the peak of the most recent supercycle when metals prices reached all time highs) We have made bad law and bad decisions in response to a frenzied and urgent interest in mining three times in the past.  We have Callahan and Kerramerica  to witness what that approach got us.  We have a remnant of that in the Mining on Public Lands statute which also needs repeal and restart. We have the worst mining statute ever written anywhere.

 

Metallic mining will come back to us sometime after 2020.  Now is the time to build a thoughtful well informed framework that can meet that frenzied urgent in a hurry rush we will surely see again with wise modern law and policy.  I think it very unwise to just stop at repeal.

 

Bowker Associates has always been and continues to be available to answer any technical questions about mining and current directions in mining.

 

Thank you for your deep and through consideration of what we have put forward here.

 

 

 

Lindsay Newland Bowker, CPCU, ARM Environmental Risk Manager

Bowker Associates

Science & Research In The Public Interest

15 Cove Meadow Rd.

Stonington, Maine 04681

 

207 367 5145

 

lindsaynewlandbowker@gmail.com

lindsaynewlandbowker.wordpress.com