AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) – Maine lawmakers are beginning to examine proposed new mining regulations that are likely to spark a hot debate in the Democrat-led legislature.
Supporters of the rules told the Environment and Natural Resources Committee on Monday that Maine’s current regulations are so onerous that they’ve essentially discouraged all mining and that the rules must be brought up to date.
But the rules are getting fierce pushback from environmental groups who say they don’t go far enough to protect Maine’s natural resources.
The Maine Board of Environmental Protection approved the new rules in January. Now, the Legislature must sign off on them before they go into effect.
The overhaul of Maine’s two-decade-old mining regulations was brought on by renewed interest in mining at Aroostook County’s Bald Mountain.