February 14, 2024
Victory! The Land Use Planning Commission has firmly rejected the Pickett Mountain mining proposal.
The North Woods, Baxter State Park, and Katahdin region make up an irreplaceable stretch of Maine wilderness – rich in biodiversity, home to many iconic Maine species, and sacred to many members of the Indigenous Wabanaki Nation. However, this vital area might be blighted if Wolfden Resources succeeds in digging a mine in the midst of it. Wolfden plans to extract heavy metals from the base of Pickett Mountain but lacks a reliable plan to prevent environmental devastation to the surroundings.
Wolfden’s proposal is irresponsible and dangerous – and must be stopped. CLF has partnered with the Penobscot Nation, Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians, Natural Resources Council of Maine, and Earthjustice to oppose the rezoning application that would allow for the developing of these 374 acres of wilderness. We need you to join us in fighting this ill-advised industrial activity and protecting the beautiful lands it threatens.
The Wrong Place for Mining
Pickett Mountain is incredibly unsuitable for a mine. These beautiful woods and waters draw tourists and residents alike for hiking, fishing, hunting, and other outdoor adventures – providing a vital source of revenue for local communities. A mine here would scar the land and could significantly contaminate nearby State Heritage Fish Waters, which provide crucial habitat to brook trout. Vulnerable neighboring rivers also nurture the Atlantic salmon, Maine’s severely depleted and iconic state fish.
The proposed project is also an offense to Maine’s Indigenous tribes. Many of the state’s native groups consider the threatened land sacred and actively use it. Despite the mining owner’s dismissive comments to the contrary, Indigenous rights are real and valued in Maine. The mine would intrude on the ancestral territory of the Penobscot tribe and be positioned close to their current trust land. Penobscot tribe members rely on this land for hunting, fishing, guiding, and ceremonial and cultural practices, all of which would be at risk if a mine contaminates the region.
The Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians, also known as “People of the Beautiful, Flowing River,” have worked hard to restore the Meduxnekeag River and reintroduce native fish like the Atlantic salmon. Pollution from the mine could also endanger their difficult, valuable work, which has allowed them to sustain their cultural traditions of sustenance fishing and foraging.
The Wrong Company for Mining
While we oppose all extractive, industrial activities on this land, Wolfden Resources is an especially bad candidate for the job. Company representatives claim to be qualified to develop this mine safely, but they’ve never dug a metal mine before. They claim they’ll start programs to train locals for mining jobs but haven’t begun in the six years they’ve been in Maine. They claim they’ll be able to restore contaminated waters to pristine condition but can’t provide any examples of other mines accomplishing this.
Wolfden simply hasn’t demonstrated the experience or know-how to ensure this project will be managed safely. I don’t want them experimenting in our backyard. The company had to withdraw its initial proposal to rezone the region for industrial use due to what a Land Use Planning Commission Planning Manager described as “numerous inconsistencies, errors, and omissions.” Why should we have faith that Wolfden has made meaningful improvements in this new effort?
The Right Next Steps
It’s not too late to stop this mine. The government is seeking public comment on the rezoning proposal that would allow the project to move forward. Please take just a minute to make your voice heard virtually or attend an in-person hearing on Monday, October 23, at 6:30 PM at the Cross Insurance Center. You don’t need to be an expert to speak up. The proposed Wolfden mine would industrialize 374 invaluable acres of wilderness and threaten entire vulnerable watersheds with contamination. Together, we can stop it.