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  • Producer/Host: Meredith DeFrancesco

    Program Topic: President Trump’s Executive Order on Climate and Energy and Environmentalist Split on Metallic Mining in Maine

    1) Today, we look at a split between grassroots environmentalists and non-profit environmental groups over legislation that could open Maine to devastating metallic mining ground water pollution.
    2). Seven bills are currently before the Maine legislature’s Committee on the Environment and Natural Resources. LD 160 would ban mining outright. LD 253 would repeal a 2012 rule change which negated more protective standards that had been put in place in 1991. Today we look at LD 820, which a number of non-profits have supported, while others in the environmental community reveal would allow substantial and irreversible onsite groundwater pollution by mining companies. The bill sponsor now seeks amendments to the bill for further protection, but it is now in the hands of the Committeee.
    3) We also look at President Trump’s sweeping executive order on climate and energy, with Janet Redman, the US policy director from Oil Change International.

    Guests:
    Janet Redman, US policy director for Oil Change International and Associate Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies.
    Lew Kingsbury, activist with Alliance for a Common Good and freelance journalist for The Cryer thecryeronline.com/. Find his article “ Twice Defeated Metallic Mining Rules Faces Third Vote in Legislature”“ in the April edition.

    This program was produced in partnership with the Sunlight Media Collective.

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  • Producer/Host: Meredith DeFrancesco

    Issue: Environmental and Social Justice

    Program Topic: Board of Environmental Approves Passes Mining Regulations

    Key Discussion Points:

    1) Today, the Maine Board of Environmental Protection voted to support changes to environmental regulations that would allow metallic mining in Maine. The Proposed rule changes now go to the legislature.
    2) Over the paste past 5 years, the Department of Environmental Protection has tried to push the rule changes through the legislature, where it has been voted down. Changes to Maine’s mining law were originally designed by JD Irving, who has interest in mining Bald Mountain in Aroostook County.
    3) Widespread public opposition has organized around com batting the DEP’s proposed rule changes, while trying to offer alternative protections to the state’s current inadequate statute.

    Guest: Lindsay Newland Bowker, Environmental Risk Manager, Bowker Associates, Science and Research In the Public Interest

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  • Producer/Host: Amy Browne
    Engineer: John Greenman

    Mining in Maine, what could possibly go wrong? Ask the residents of Blue Hill peninsula and they’ll tell you about the toxic legacy of the Callahan and Black Hawk/KerrAmerican mines. The representatives of the mining companies — who stand to make millions– say new technologies will prevent future disasters– but what are the guarantees? And is it worth the risk?

    Today we talk with Mainers who have been working to prevent more mining disasters as the state legislature considers weakening existing mining regulations, and we open the phone lines for your calls.

    Sidney Mitchell is a founding member of Friends Of The Piscataquis Valley, a group that formed in January of 2012. She says that as an active concerned citizen who opposes the Cianbro East-West Corridor, she became acutely aware of the threat posed by weaker mining regulations particularly after reading the OpEd in the BDN by Peter Vigue of Cianbro called ‘Embrace Change’ that promoted the Irving Gold Mine project in Aroostook. This lead her to begin connecting the dots between the East-West Corridor and other related corporate interests, including mining. Since that time she has twice traveled to El Salvador to learn how they are dealing with the mining issue there. And back here in Maine she has been following the issue closely, attending public hearings, submitting testimony and writing letters to the editor warning of the dangers of metallic mining.
    Hendrik Gideonse lives in Brooklin, Maine not far from the legacy of at least 2 environmental disasters caused by mining. He’s a former selectman, retired educator and policy analyst and has been following the mining regulations rewrite since it started back in 2012. Like Sidney Mitchell, Hendrik Gideonse has devoted himself to attending public hearings & work sessions, offering testimony and writing letters to the editor and opeds, including one published 3 days ago in the BDN.

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  • Producer/Host: Meredith DeFrancesco

    Issue: Environmental and Social Justice

    Program Topic:Maine’s legislature works to relax mining standards

    Key Discussion Points:
    a) Today we speak with two citizen activists on current legislative proceedings aimed at relaxing state environmental standards to allow metallic mining in Maine.
    b) This week the Maine legislature’s joint committee on Environment and Natural Resources has been in work sessions, reconfiguring a new bill based closely on rule changes proposed by JD Irving, the company seeking to mine Bald Mountain in Aroostook County. In this session, the ENR Committee has reviewed mining bills LD 146 and LD 750. The current bill retains the number LD 750, but no longer contains the stringent environmental and financial stipulations of it’s original sponsor, Rep. Ralph Chapman.
    c) A public hearing on the new LD 750 will be held on May 11th, 9:00 am at the Augusta State House Cross Building, Room 216.

    Guests:
    Lew Kingsbury, environmental activist
    Dennis Chinoy, activist, volunteer Power In Community Alliances (PICA)

    www.pica.ws
    www.maineminingwatch.org
    www.nrcm.org
    bangordailynews.com/2015/02/22/opinion/contributors/mining-is-on-augustas-agenda-public-hearing-reality-tv-or-charades/

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  • Producer/Host: Amy Browne
    Engineer: John Greenman

    Segment 1: Work sessions are got underway in Augusta this week for the Environment and Natural Resources Committee to sort through the details of proposals to rewrite Maine’s mining regulations. Monday the committee considered strategies for assuring that the state won’t be left paying for the clean up if something goes wrong at a mining site. For a sense of what some of the environmentalists following this issue think about the proposals being discussed, in our 1st segment today we’ll hear what Nick Bennett, Staff Scientist and Watersheds Project Director for the Natural Resources Council of Maine had to say

    Segment 2: The Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee held public hearings for a slew of bills related to gun owner’s rights are underway in Augusta this afternoon, including LD 652 An Act To Authorize the Carrying of Concealed Handguns without a Permit, also known as the “Constitutional Carry” bill. Sponsor Sen. Brakey of Androscoggin presented it to the committee:

    Segment 3: Open phone lines for listener reactions to today’s news, and an update on Mumia Abu Jamal’s health crisis from a concerned area resident.

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  • Producer/Host: Amy Browne
    Engineer: John Greenman

    Segment 1: Monday’s public hearing before the Environmental & Natural Resources Committee for LD 750 “An Act To Allow Regulated Metal Mining in Maine”. LD750 is sponsored by Representative Ralph Chapman of District 133, which includes Blue Hill, Brooklin, Brooksville, Castine, Sedgwick and Surry – areas where they have some experience with what can go wrong with mining.

    Segment 2: Another piece of legislation sponsored by local Representative Ralph Chapman is LD506, “An Act to Improve Public-private Transportation Partnerships”, which will be discussed and likely voted on by the Transportation committee tomorrow. We have 2 guests with us in the studio to explain why this bill is considered so important to opponents of an E/W corridor. Jane Crosen and Hendrik Gideonse are members of STEWC (Stop the E/W Corridor) & a local spin off group called Advocates for Sustainable Futures Downeast.

    We also open the phone lines for calls, and hear from Amy Hughes Scaccia, the coordinator of this year’s HOPE Festival, and annual event sponsored by the Peace and Justice Center of Eastern Maine.

    No Comments
  • Producer/Host: Meredith DeFrancesco

    Issue: Environmental and Social Justice

    Program Topic: The legislature’s public hearing on a bill that would open Maine to metallic mining

    Key Discussion Points:

    a) Today we hear some of the public testimony and reactions to the legislature’s hearing yesterday on LD 146, a bill that would open Maine to metallic mining. Testimony was almost entirely in opposition to the bill.

    b) LD 146 contains Department of Environmental Protection(DEP) rules that were rejected by the 125th Legislature.Opponents say the rules are not protective ground and surface water or tax payers, who could end up paying for extensive cleanup or disaster costs. The metallic mining industry’s historic and current operations around the world are synonymous with water pollution that lasts for decades. The last mining site in Maine, the Callhan mine in Brooksville, continues to pollute 40 years after closure, with tax payers footing the bill.

    c) Another point of contention with this bill is the legality of the process in re-introducing the DEP rules. The Maine Attorney General’s office confirms that under Maine’s Administrative Procedure Act (MAPA) these rules should go before a DEP public hearing prior to going before the legislature. The AG office has said the legislature can only preempt the act with a vote by the full legislature.

    Guests:
    Alice Bolstridge, Presque Isle
    Shelley Mountain, Portage Lake
    Rep. Janice Cooper (D- Yarmouth), former member of Joint Committee on Natural Resources and Environment
    Browne Carson, former director of Natural Resources Council of Maine
    Current members of Joint Committee on Natural Resources and Environment: Chair, Sen.Tom Saviello (R-Franklin), Rep. Bob Duechene (D-Hudson), Rep. Denise Harlow (D-Portland), Rep John Martin (D-Eagle Lake)
    Anthony Hourihan, Aroostook Resources, JD Irving subsidiary
    Jim Mitchell, lobbyist for Aroostook Resources, JD Irving subsidiary
    Nick Bennett, staff scientist, Natural Resources Council of Maine

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  • Producer/Host: Amy Browne
    Engineer/Reporter: John Greenman

    The Maine legislature’s committee on Environment & Natural Resources held a public hearing today in the latest round of the controversial re-write of Maine’s mining regulations. As we’ve reported previously, the original legislation was introduced on behalf of the Irving Corporation, and consisted of an industry wish list of changes to existing protections. Irving wants to changes that would allow them to mine Bald Mountain in Aroostook County—a prospect that has been rejected by other companies in previous decades as being environmentally and economically unfeasible- but these new mining rules would open up mining at locations across the state. Following a convoluted path through the legislature, the same proposed rules that were rejected last year are being re-introduced. This has resulted in allegations of administrative misconduct in addition to public outcry against loosening environmental protections.

    Today on the WERU News Report we’ll be talking with Lisa Pohlmann, Executive Director of the Natural Resources Council of Maine about that group’s legislative priorities for this session, including the mining regs re-write, and we’ll be taking your calls with questions or comments. But first we start with some of the testimony from today’s public hearing

    FMI: www.nrcm.org

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