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Regulators give early approval to mining exemption rules

The Board of Environmental Protection gave preliminary approval Wednesday to rules guiding metallic mineral mining projects that seek to be exempted from Maine's strict regulations.

The proposed rules create a framework for regulators to approve or reject exemptions from Ch. 200 regulations.

It includes constraints such as a size limit of no more than 10 acres of active mining at any time.

And the Department of Environmental Protection must find that the project does not have the potential to cause acid rock drainage, violate water quality standards or expose materials that could endanger people or the environment. The regulations also outline the testing that must be done to demonstrate that those impacts will not occur.

The board provisionally adopted the rules, which will now go to the legislature for approval.

Kaitlyn Budion is Maine Public’s Bangor correspondent, joining the reporting team after several years working in print journalism.