May 22, 2012: Potential Growth Opportunities in Northern Maine
The Governor of Maine, Paul LePage, recently signed a bill to revise Maine's mining regulations as a result (in part) of Aroostook Timberlands LLC's interest in metal reserves in Aroostook County's Bald Mountain.
In a State House ceremony, Governor LePage said the bill opens the door to jobs while protecting the environment. Supporters said it was adopted after a thorough review process.
"It's time to modernize Maine's metallic mining regulations — now more than two decades old and under which a permit has never been issued — to reflect improvements in mining technology. This effort has the potential to create hundreds of jobs in northern Maine. It's an opportunity we simply can't afford to lose," LePage said in a statement.
Aroostook Timberlands LLC was one of the proponents of the bill which was sponsored by Senator Troy Jackson of Aroostook County and Maine State Representative John Martin.
According to Martin, it is estimated that Bald Mountain could generate up to 700 jobs during the life of the mine and inject an estimated $120 million in tax revenue to the state.
“There would be more business for truck drivers and gas stations and restaurants. Plus, there would be an excise tax on the minerals that come out of there,” Martin told the Bangor Daily News.
“That would have a huge impact on Aroostook County,” he said. “And that is what we need. We need to create jobs that pay well.”
The bill also received support from many of the local communities in the area (Ashland, Portage Lake, and Caribou) as well as several organizations dedicated to economic development and new job opportunities in the County (LEAD, Aroostook Partnership for Progress, Northern Maine Development Corporation, and Maine State Chambers of Commerce).
The commissioner of the state Department of Environmental Protection, Patricia Aho, said the new law starts a process of updating the state's mining rules and regulations, which will be presented to the Legislature in 2014.
Left to right: Governor Paul R. LePage, State Senator Tom Saviello (R-Wilton),
State Representative John Martin (D-Eagle Lake)
PHOTO: Courtesy of Mark J. Ellis