For those concerned about proposed mining rules that would cause significant pollution to mining areas, especially “perpetual waste ponds.” Contact Lew Kingsbury (email below) if you have questions about the legislation.
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From: Kelly Kingsbury <firstname.lastname@example.org>Date: March 25, 2014 7:20:03 AM EDTSubject: Maine’s Metallic Mining Rules come to a vote
Please send the below email to your mailing list. The final wording is out of committee and may come up for a vote this week per Rep Gay Grant. The below email addresses are for the entire Maine senate. We need support from both side of the aisle to insure passage and a veto over ride. Emails supporting reject of the rules to all the senate members would be greatly appreciated.
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Subject: Maine’s Metallic Mining Rules come to a voteMaine’s newly developed metallic mining rules have many flaws but none as egregious as the allowance for perpetual storage of mine waste in waste ponds. These rules also provide a financial mechanism to turn the responsibility for the waste ponds over to the taxpayer at DEP’s sole discretion. The Board of Environmental Protection over stepped their authority when they developed rules providing an exemption for wet mine waste units (waste ponds) in conflict with statutory requirements for final mine closure. Perpetual storage of mine waste in waste ponds has proven to be a high risk technology subject to long term treatment mismanagement and contamination.
On February 2, 2014, up to 82,000 tons of coal ash and up to 35 million gallons of waste water leaked from a waste pond in Eden, North Carolina into the Dan River. A 48-inch storm water pipe beneath the waste pond ruptured due to heavy rains, draining water and ash from the 27-acre waste pond. It is unknown if any of the other 31 waste ponds at the facility had leaked. According to EPA reports, there are 676 coal ash waste ponds in the US with 45 classified as “high hazard”. In total, 207 were listed as having been subject to spills or contamination. The waste pond that leaked in Eden, North Carolina is analogous to Group B wet mine waste units in the proposed rules.
This is the same wet waste management technology that the mining industry will tell you is proven and safe.
Our legislators owe their constituents a chance to amend these rules to better protect Maine’s environment and way of life. We expect that when a mine in Maine is closed, it has been returned to essentially its pre-mining condition. This expectation does not include perpetual waste ponds.
Passages allowing perpetual waste ponds, which must be removed from the mining rules, are presented in bold below.
Page 24: Mining Operation Plan.
(12) Waste management plan including descriptions by waste stream type, source, anticipated volumes, characteristics, provisions for minimization, treatment, on-site storage, containment, management, transportation, and disposal endpoints. Waste management plans shall not include perpetual treatment methodologies. For the purpose of this rule, any treatment necessary for wet mine waste units in excess of the 30-year post-closure period shall not be considered perpetual treatment.
Page 81: Length of the Post-Closure Care Period
The post-closure care period for Group A and Group B wastes must end 30 years from the time of closure certification, provided the Department determines the mine waste unit has been closed in compliance with the performance requirements of this Chapter and the post-closure performance standards of this section, and that the site will continue to remain in compliance with such standards. The post-closure care period for Group A and Group B wet mine waste units may exceed 30 years from the time of closure certification provided a Department-approved long-term monitoring and maintenance plan is in effect, and a Department-approved financial assurance mechanism is in effect for the length of term determined to be necessary by the Department.
Lew KingsburyPittston, Maine