Mining rule compromise sailing for passage after Maine House vote
AUGUSTA, Maine — A compromise bill that would allow mining in Maine with strict environmental protections sailed easily through the state House of Representatives on Thursday, putting it on a smooth path toward final passage in the Legislature.
It could end the five-year struggle over mining in Maine, prompted by a Republican-backed 2012 law aiming to allow mining at Bald Mountain in Aroostook County after a subsidiary of the Canadian industrial behemoth J.D. Irving expressed interest in it.
Since 2012, draft sets of rules have so far been blocked by Democrats and assailed as weak by environmentalists. The Natural Resources Council of Maine — which spearheaded that opposition — is behind this year’s bill from Sen. Brownie Carson, D-Harpswell.
It would add protections that include banning large-scale open-pit mining and ensuring that companies pay to mitigate contamination stemming from a catastrophic event or failure.
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