UPDATE: Warren selectmen to hold Public Hearing regarding 180-day Mining Moratorium Ordinance
Event has passed
WARREN — The Warren Board of Selectmen will hold a Public Hearing, Wednesday, April 5, 2023, at 6:15 p.m., at the Town of Warren Municipal Complex to hear comments on the adoption of the Mining Moratorium Ordinance.
All documents may be viewed at the Town Office. Questions should be directed to Melody Sainio, Code Enforcement Officer, 273-2421.
The proposed moratorium follows:
MINING MORATORIUM ORDINANCE
The Town of Warren, Maine hereby adopts a moratorium ordinance entitled “Mining Moratorium Ordinance” as follows:
WHEREAS areas of the Town of Warren and the adjacent Town of Union have been approached in January and February of 2023 by an international mining company with the request to instigate the procedures and permit requests for the exploration, advanced exploration, mining, or extraction of Metallic Minerals, and in particular to do so in an area adjacent to a great pond located within both the Town of Warren and The Town of Union;
WHEREAS residents and officials of the Town of Warren and Union have expressed concerns about the need to review and update the existing Metallic Mining Ordinance with regard to recent inquiries for mineral exploration, advanced exploration and mining operations, extracting operations, including concerns regarding quality of life, adjacent property values, health and safety concerns, decommissioning liabilities and costs, visual impacts, environmental concerns, etc.
WHEREAS the existing Town of Warren Metallic Mining Ordinance was adopted in 1992 and is out of date and must be reviewed and reexamined to address the vast changes in scientific knowledge and awareness of best practices for mining, the impacts on public health safety and welfare, control of mining, potential for long term impacts on land, water, aquifers, great ponds, and possible environmental degradation;
WHEREAS the Comprehensive Plan was adopted in 1991, and similarly needs to be reviewed for modification and updating as it relates to the potential impacts and land use policy regarding Metallic Mining;
WHEREAS in 2011, as amended in 2017, the State of Maine adopted the Maine Metallic Mineral Mining Act (38 M.R.S. 490-LL, et seq.), which specifically provides municipal authority for the Town of Warren to regulate and control mining, including but not limited to, construction, operation, closure, post-closure monitoring, reclamation and remediation activities, all of which the Town has not addressed since the passage of the Maine Metallic Mineral Mining Act, which needs to be done to protect the health, safety and welfare of the residents of Warren and the environment;
WHEREAS the Town of Warren needs at least 180 days to consider, develop and/or amend current ordinances, the land use ordinance, the shoreland zoning ordinance, and the Comprehensive Plan as necessary, to prevent a shortage or overburden of public facilities and because the existing comprehensive plan, ordinances and other laws are not adequate to prevent serious public harm from such the commercial and industrial harm that could result from metallic mining; the Town finds that current standards as stated in the Maine Metallic Mining Act merely require “reasonable assurance” that a permitted activity will not violate water quality, and “will not unreasonably cause or increase flooding,” and merely “adequate provision for protection of public safety” are not sufficiently satisfactory standards for the Town of Warren at this time of recent failures of environmental protection in the State of Maine; and the Town finds that it must review and examine its local land use laws, plans and policies to better protect the residents, land and water.
WHEREAS, the foregoing facts demonstrate and support the need for a moratorium on the land use, the issuance of permits, and the development of land for Metallic Mineral exploration and extracting operations, pursuant to the authority provided by 30-A M.R.S.A. § 4356(1).
NOW THEREFORE, the Town of Warren hereby ordains that the following Moratorium Ordinance be enacted:
Authority: This Moratorium Ordinance is enacted pursuant to 30-A M.R.S. §4356 and the Town of Warren’s home rule authority pursuant to the Maine Constitution and 30-A M.R.S.A. § 3001.
Purpose: The purpose of this ordinance is to allow municipal officials and the residents of the Town of Warren reasonable time to evaluate the concerns raised in regard to any potential Metallic Mineral Exploration and/or Extraction, to determine the adequacy of existing Mining and Land Use Ordinances, Shoreland Zoning Ordinance, regulations, and the Comprehensive Plan, and to develop amendments or additional ordinances and regulations to provide adequate protection for the Town’s public facilities, water quality, environment, resources, and to protect and the health, safety and welfare of its residents from the potential serious public harm from commercial and industrial mining.
Moratorium on Exploration and Extraction of Metallic Minerals: The town of Warren hereby declares and imposes a moratorium prohibiting the Exploration, Advanced Exploration, Mining, or Extraction of Metallic Minerals within the Town of Warren.
For the definition of these terms, see 38 MRS 490-MM.
Moratorium on processing applications: No official, officer, board, or body of the town of Warren, including but not limited to the Code Enforcement Officer, the Planning Board, or the Municipal Officers, shall accept, process, review, deny, approve, authorize or issue any applications, petitions, plans, permits, licenses, or request for approval or authorization involving Metallic Mineral Exploration, Advanced Exploration, Mining, or Extraction within the town of Warren.
Severability: To the extent any provision of this Moratorium Ordinance is deemed invalid by a court of competent jurisdiction, the balance of the Moratorium Ordinance shall remain valid.
Effective Date: In view of the facts cited in the preamble, upon adoption by the voters, this Moratorium Ordinance shall take effect retroactively from the date of February 16, 2023, which was the date that the issues were presented in public in a Warren Select Board Meeting, and said Moratorium shall continue for 180 days as measured from February 16, 2023, subject to extension by the Select Board of the Town of Warren or repeal/modification by the voters of the Town of Warren. By establishing a retroactive date, this Moratorium Ordinance overrides and makes inapplicable the provisions of statutory construction found in 1 M.R.S. § 302.
Enforcement: The Municipal Officers are hereby authorized to institute any and all actions, either legal or equitable, that they deem necessary or appropriate to enforce the provisions of this Moratorium Ordinance.
Civil Penalties: any violation of this Moratorium Ordinance is subject to enforcement action, injunctive relief, penalties, and the Town’s legal fee reimbursement under 30-AM.R.S. § 4452. Any violation of this Moratorium Ordinance constitutes a nuisance. Each day of violation shall constitute a separate offense. All civil penalties shall inure to the benefit of the Town of Warren.