Mining could have saved Maine

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The Legislature has been debating whether to invest in the old B&A Railroad in northern Maine

Twenty-three years ago, I talked with Getty’s engineer in T6-R6 at the Pickett Mountain exploration site and this engineer said that they were waiting for a permit from the Department of Environmental Protection to start a 25-year mining project. That the ore would be trucked to a crushing plant in the Marsadis or Ashland area, crushed and then loaded into rail cars and transported to either Bucksport or Searsport and then shipped to India for processing.

But Getty, and then later Chevron Resources, abandoned further developments and left Maine because — as the engineers from these two companies said to me —  DEP’s rules were too restrictive. At the same time I talked with BHP-Utah’s vice president and he also said he was stopping all exploration and leaving Maine because of DEP.

If DEP had worked with these mining companies in the 1980s, Maine would not be in the financial situation that we are now in. And the once prosperous B&A Railroad would still be in business. Mining would have created an array of good paying jobs and Maine’s income tax base would today be in strong standing.

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Randall Probert, Bethel

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