MOUNTAIN X: WOULD YOU ISSUE A PERMIT TO THIS MINE

A Clinical Reassessment of Bald Mountain, Aroostook County Maine

February 28th, 2014

 LD 1772 A Resolution to Reject Maine’s Draft Mining Rules

Dear Co-Chairs Boyle and Welsh & Members of the Joint Standing Committee On Environment & Natural Resources:

I attach a major policy work by the eminent geophysicist Dr. David Chambers which was commissioned specifically to inform and guide the development of Maine mining policy We hope it will take you in the direction of a “best knowledge” based framework for responsible mining. Bowker Associates has commissioned, funded, managed and directed this work .

My cover transmittal explains what we were trying to convey in this work and why we went about it in this way fading the realities of Bald Mountain into the background as just an anonymous “mountain X” with a set of attributes indicating severity and source of environmental risk. We bring to the foreground the elements of this risk itself through two independent systems of risk assessment each of which is an authoritative expression of best knowledge (MEND/GARD GUIDE), best science and best available technology.

Each system produces an overall risk score intended to establish when a given mine is “No Go”,  that is,  is fatally flawed .

Yes, we did find that from a point of view of modern best knowledge and modern best available technology nothing has changed since 1990. Best policy would definitely not lead to issuance of a permit for any open pit extraction of the Bald Mountain sulfide itself and it is highly questionable whether even a small open pit focused only on the gossan above the deposit  itself is environmentally viable today any more that it was in 1997 when Black Hawk withdrew its application

This isn’t news.

I have been reporting this to all since June when I acquired  and compiled all the most relevant data  on Bald Mountain between its discovery in the late 70’s and 1997 when Black Hawk walked away.

We didn’t select and engage Dr. Chambers to just “grade my homework”

It was obvious to Dr. Chambers, who has more in depth experience at more northern cold wet climate volcanogenic massive sulfides than anyone else I’ve found, that there was no new proven technology that changed the advice SRK gave and Boliden took in 1990 ( before the 1991 mining rules were written)

I testified to that in my Oct 17th written comments to BEP.

What we really wanted to show is WHY it is the case;,to make it obvious what elements of law and regulation need to be in place to identify such risks and evaluate them in  a reliable decision framework where environmental risk and effective technology for controlling risk is the basis of granting or refusing a permit.

This work has never been about revelations on “the truth”  at Bald Mountain. It has never been a political work or intended to be used to support heated rhetoric, deeply held ideologies and preconceived positions. It has always been about trying to offer you the best possible guidance on what modern mining statutes and regulations have to look like to identify and avoid public risks of immeasurable and non recoverable loss.

We ask you to consider and use it in the spirit we offer it to understand how far off course the rules before you are. Please work through the the two independent risk screening tools we applied to Bald Mountain. Look at each criteria, look at its weight for severity of risk then see if you find anything in the rule before you that will bring the right information together to identify and evaluate the risk of catastrophic environmental loss.

We also ask you to then forget the rule before you , to forget that this environmental risk assessment is about “Bald Mountain” and all the controversy it conjures.  Consider it as “Mountain X “, a place you know nothing about . Work through the two screens and at the end ask yourself honestly would you issue a permit for “Mountain X’?.

I thank Dr. Chambers for allowing me to transmit this in a state we both consider not quite finished. It’s more a close to final working draft but it is serviceable for the purpose here and we hope you find it a constructive and informative guide to the task before you now.

With Appreciation & Gratitude For Your Willingness to Serve Us In This Challenging Deliberation

Lindsay Newland Bowker, CPCU, ARM Environmental Risk Manager

Bowker Associates

Science & Research In The Public Interest

15 Cove Meadow Rd.

Stonington, Maine 04681 Transmittal Letter:https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bw0jCpuVRzgERDRHamMwampkdVE/edit?usp=sharing Dr. Chamber’s Case Study On Bald Mountain: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bw0jCpuVRzgEZ3lPYmFibzB2RDFoWm1ZSmNGekpoc0FtQ0w4/edit?usp=sharing   ADDITIONAL BACKGROUND & RESOURCES This paper on risk that can be inferred from geology is particularly helpful in understanding the preliminary assessment  portion of the Rio Tinto Risk Assessment protocol.https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bw0jCpuVRzgEZEllbklZNjg0dlE/edit?usp=sharing  YT John Kwong ” ARD Assessment in Exploration” Mend Report 1.31.2 This paper by Dr. A.Mac G. Roberson & Shannon Shaw Explains how a mine plan is driven by the feasibility of closure http://www.infomine.com/library/publications/docs/e-book%2002%20mine%20closure.pdf.  Dr. Robertson applied this process to the work he and Linda Broughton did for Boliden in 1990 and 1992 at Bald Mountain.  Their professional analysis using this approach is borne out by both the Rio Tinto risk assessment ratings ( driven by issues with successful/viable closure) and the Chambers Go No Go technical criteria. ( where the No Go scores were related to  feasibility for a viable closure plan).  Dr. Robertson has not commented yet on our completed work but responding to my description of what Dr. Chambers & I had found, he said he was delighted to see that confirmation of this early work at Bald Mountain. The long debate over the Pebble Mine, which would be one of the largest  copper mines in the world if allowed to be developed faces EPA challenge over  potential irreparable risk to Bristol Bay Salmon http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2014/2/28/epa-deals-blow-toalaskacopperminepotentialboonforslamon.html This illustrates the point of the work Bowker Associates has been doing through Dr. Chambers to define where the line is between private privilege and the public interest. A partner had previously withdrawn over the salmon impacts issue.

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About lindsaynewlandbowker

Bowker Associates, Science & Research In The Public Interest, is an independent non profit providing self initiated pro bono analysis on key issues with a potential for massive adverse environmental impact . Bowker Associates has been an internationally recognized and cited voice in analysis of the Samarco failure, its consequence, and the possibilties for recovery. In 2015 Bowker Associates collaborated with globally respected geophysicist David M. Chambers to recompile global authoritative accounts of significant TSF failures in recorded history and to analyze these data in the context of gloal mining economics 1910-2010 ( Risk, Economics and Public Liability of TSF Failures, Bowker/Chambers July 2015) In 2014 Bowker Associates commissioned globally respected geophysicist and hydrogeologist Dr. David Chambers to undertake two technical works: (1) development of technical go no go criteria for vetting mine applications tp://lindsaynewlandbowker.wordpress.com/2014/01/05/a-new-statutory-regulatory-framework-for-responble-sulfide-mining-should-this-mine-be-built/ and (2) a case study of Maine's Bald Mountain, an un mined low grade high risk VMS deposit demonstrating the efficacy and accuracy of two risk assessment tools in vetting mine proposals https://lindsaynewlandbowker.wordpress.com/2014/02/28/mountain-x-would-you-issue-a-permit-to-this-mine/ In Maine, Bowker Associates has deeply engaged and been a public voice in the Searsport DCP LPG Tank, The Cianbro proposal for a Private East West Toll Road, JD Irvings rolling pipeline of Bakken crude to its plant in St. John and review of Phase II plans at The Callahan Superfund site in Brooksville, Maine, and Maine's revisitation of mining in statute and regulation... Our only “client”: is always “the pubic interest”. Our model is to focus on only one or two issues at a time so that we have a substantive command of the relevant field as our foundation for ongoing engagement. Our core work is in envirommental risk management, science and technology as well as bringing any available “best practices” models to the fore. The legal and regulatory history/best models are also a major thrust of our work in building and evaluating public policy. Director/Principal Lindsay Newland Bowker, CPCU, ARM is a recognized expert in Environmental Risk Management., Heavy Construction Risk Management and Marine and Transit Risks and has more than 3 decades of engagement in buiding public policy. Appointed by Governor Mario Cuomo to New York State Banking Board (served 1986-1996); President New York Chapter Chartered Property and Casualty Insurers; Environmental Committee, Risk and Insurance Management Society; Director, Convenor/Co-Chair Bermuda Market Briefing "From Captive to Cats" Hamilton Bermuda. Published Articles of Significance The Risk Economics and Public Liability of Tailings Facility Failures, co-authored with David M. Chambers, July 2015 Beyond. Polarization: Superfund Reform in Perspective, Risk & Insurance Managing Risk For Loss Prevention & Cost Control (Jan. 24, 1997). Lead Hazards and Abatement Technologies in Construction: A Risk Management Approach CPCU Journal 1997 Employee Leasing: Liability in Limbo Risk Management June 1 1997 Environmental Audit Privilege and the Public interest Risk & Insurance Managing Risk For Loss Prevention & Cost Control, April 1997 Asbestos:Holes In Abatement Policies Need To Be Plugged, Lloyd’s Environmental Risk International, May 1993 Editor Published Letters Evironmental Risk Management Beware of Facile Policies Like Fetal Protection Business Insurance 1995(?) High Court Review May Increase Sale of Bank Annuities Business Insurances August 8, 1995 Professional Profiles Protecting the Big Apple’s Core Managing Risk For Loss Prevention & Control December 1996 Major Career Highlights First rigorous analysis showing Relationship Between declining ore grades and TSF Failures of increasing consequence ( July 2015) FIrst Documentation that Gentrification Has Same Impacts as Unassisted Displacement from Urban Renewal Sites Direted Court Ordered EIS of FHA Mortgage Scandal Created Nation's First Homeownership Program for Low Income People (SHIP) Created Earliest Geographic Information Systems Using Defense Technology Developed By IBM Designed and Conducted Parallel Census Count to Show Systematic undercount in minority neighborhoods Documented Bias in ISO Territory Rating Plans for Private Passenger Auto Insurance Using ISO's own Rating Techniques Demonstrated Inherent Bias in Mortgage Policies of Banks With Inner City Branches Demonstrated that NY Telephones Plan for Area Code Split To accommodate anticipated cell phone demand was not efficient and would exhaust in 5 years ( which it did) Undertook First Systematic Evaluation of Child Protective Services Caseload Using Multi Variate Analyic Techniques Developed Child Protective Caseload Management and Tracking System (CANTS) and directed implementation in 4 client states including Illinois, Florida and New York Created and Ran Office of Risk Management for NYC DEP the Nations largest Water & Sewer Authority . Designed, Created and Administered Nation's First Owner Controlled Insurance Program (OCIP)for High Risk Tunneling Education Masters NYU Graduate School of Public Administration BSC New School For Social Research Maine Public Schools Deering High School
This entry was posted in Bald Mountain Aroostook Maine, BEP, Black Hawk Mining Co., Boliden, Bowker Associates, Bowker Associates Science & Research In The Public Interest, Center For Science in Citizen Participation, David Chambers, Environmental Risk Management, GO NO-GO Technical Framework, LD1772 126th Maine Legislature, Lindsay Newland Bowker, Maine Mining Regulations, Maine Mining Statute, massive sulfide risk management, Mining Regulation, politics of mining, volcanogenic massive sulfide and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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