To any who hunt or fish in the Bald Mountain area of Aroostook County, or who support Downeast Maine's coastal lobster industry:

The Maine DEP is considering changing mining regulations to accommodate the Irving Corporation's proposed gold mine at Bald Mountain, in Aroostook County. Please consider the inevitable consequences of such a mine, based on the history of other such mines in this country. Gold is usually found with other metals, and they are often poisonous ones. Gold mines that played out in Montana a century ago are still poisoning once-productive trout waters downstream with leached arsenic and other toxic elements. The gold in Bald Mountain is in a bedrock that has an unusually high concentration of arsenic. It lies at the headwaters of a tributary of the St. John River, once a river famous for shad, salmon and alewives, and flowing into the lower Bay of Fundy, where currents flow southwesterly along the downeast Maine coast. . . .

Should the DEP grant Irving mining rights to Bald Mountain, it will undoubtedly lead to the destruction of the fisheries downstream all the way to the Bay of Fundy, and ultimately make Downeast Maine's lobsters toxic.

If you care about Maine's natural resources, and want to make sure they are available to your great-grandchildren and their great-grandchildren, please let the DEP know that they must NEVER permit mining in the headwaters of our best fishing streams. Those who would permit Irving to mine Bald Mountain are silently stealing your inheritance and the inheritance of all of your descendants into the foreseeable future. Moreover, Irving is a closely held foreign-owned corporation. Neither you nor anyone you know can buy stock in Irving, so nobody can attend an Irving corporate meeting to protest their behavior. Maine's DEP has already given Irving a green light to clear cut protected acreage in Maine's northern forest.

If you care about Maine's future, the future of Maine's sport fishing and the future of the Downeast coastal fisheries, you will make sure that the DEP does not permit Irving to put so much as a shovel into Bald Mountain or any other mineral resource in our state.

Dr. William Burgess Leavenworth, Ph.D., Searsmont