February 24

Maine panel holds public hearing on mining regulations

The Board of Environmental Protection approved the new rules in January. Now the Legislature must sign off on them.

The Associated Press

AUGUSTA — Maine lawmakers are holding a public hearing on new mining regulations that critics say will say will weaken land and water protections and won’t protect the environment from sulfuric acid and other toxins.

The Environment and Natural Resources Committee will examine the proposed mining rules Monday.

The Maine Board of Environmental Protection gave its stamp of approval to the new rules in January. Now the Legislature must sign off on them before they go into effect.

Renewed interest in mining of gold, silver, copper and other metals at Aroostook County’s Bald Mountain triggered 2012 legislation requiring the overhaul of the state’s two-decade-old mining regulations.

The Department of Environmental Protection, which drafted the regulations, has said the rules are based on science, meet the requirements of law and protect the environment.

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