Advocacy Alert: Friends’ Position on Wolfden Mine
It is not every day that Friends of Katahdin Woods & Waters sends an advocacy alert. Our friends group followed from the courageous local, regional, and national advocacy efforts to establish the national monument and when the moment calls for it, we’ve taken positions to protect this special place. You may have heard that a metallic mineral mine is being proposed for the Katahdin Region. As Land Use Planning Commission (LUPC) hearings are set to begin next week in Millinocket and the following week in Bangor, we want to take a moment to inform you of our position. In short: Friends of KWW cannot support the Wolfden application for a zone change for the Pickett Mountain Mine Project. It runs counter to our mission as well as protective state laws and rules, and it jeopardizes the future health, outstanding environmental quality, and long-term economic vitality of this region.
Read Our Full Statement Below
The mission of the Friends of Katahdin Woods and Waters is to preserve and protect the outstanding natural beauty, ecological vitality and distinctive cultural resources of Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument and surrounding communities for the inspiration and enjoyment of all generations. Created in 2017, shortly after the establishment of Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, the Friends of KWW is a non-profit membership organization with approximately 1000 members from the Katahdin region, the state of Maine and across the U.S. Our position presents the views of the Friends of KWW, and does not purport to present the views of the National Park Service or any other entity.
In line with our mission, Friends of Katahdin Woods and Waters is voicing its objection to Wolfden Mount Chase LLC’s application for a zone change for the proposed Pickett Mountain Mine Project (ZP779A).
As we have reviewed and analyzed Wolfden’s proposal, considered the objections of the Wabanaki people and others, and reviewed the Land Use Planning Commission’s criteria for consideration of this proposal, it is clear to Friends of KWW that now is the time to voice our concerns.
The Katahdin region and the shadow of a national monument is no place to operate a metallic mineral mine. The proposed location is approximately 5 miles from the Seboeis parcel of the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. The primary issues we have identified as points of concern include:
- Water pollution in both surface and groundwater, affecting fish populations and the health of pristine lakes and ponds including some designated as Maine Heritage Fish Waters and rivers, including downstream connections to the Penobscot River, sacred to the Penobscot Nation and critical to the monument and area ecosystems
- Light pollution risking the monument’s International Dark Sky Sanctuary status
- Endangered species impacts on Canada lynx, Atlantic salmon, and northern long eared bat, from limited mobility due to fencing, car strikes, and water pollution risks
- Noise, air, and dust pollution, particularly from truck routes near monument lands, adversely affecting wildlife and the visitor experience
- Viewshed impacts from a new transmission line and equipment that rises above the 80 foot tree line
- Loss of the region’s and monument’s character and reputation as a first-class park and recreation destination, resulting in adverse economic impacts on the outdoor-recreation based economy
Furthermore, the lack of clarity around the location of Wolfden’s ore concentration facility in the region is of significant concern. Combined, the risks are substantial enough to threaten present and future generations’ enjoyment of the national monument as well as the vitality of critical ecosystems that are connected to the monument.
LUPC’s responsibility is to sustainably protect the natural character, natural resources, recreational opportunities, and forest and agricultural based economy of the region, and its mandate is to avoid undue adverse impacts on existing uses and resources of the region.
Friends of KWW supports efforts to improve economic opportunity in the Katahdin Region, and welcomes business and industry that is compatible with the preservation and enjoyment of the national monument. The national monument itself is contributing to these economic opportunities, and many new or expanded businesses are benefiting from them. Friends of KWW cannot support the Wolfden application for a zone change for the Pickett Mountain Mine Project that runs counter to our mission as well as protective state laws and rules, and jeopardizes the future health, outstanding environmental quality, and long-term economic vitality of this region.
Additional Information and How to Speak Up
- FAQs answered by Natural Resources Council of Maine (NRCM)
- Commentary: “The Katahdin Region is no place for a large mining operation” by Clarissa Sabattis, Chief of Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians and Kirk Francis, Chief of Penobscot Indian Nation
- LUPC Background, Documents on Woflden’s Proposal, and Submitted Testimony
- Notice of Public Hearing: Millinocket (10/16 & 10/17)
- Notice of Public Hearing: Bangor (10/23)
- Write to LUPC
Thank you for reading and engaging with this important process.