Environmental Group, State Regulators Behind Mining Bill
AUGUSTA, Maine - A leading environmental group and state environmental regulators are backing a bill they say would create strict rules for mining Maine's deposits of minerals, like gold.
Mining is technically legal in Maine, but the state Department of Environmental protection and lawmakers say the existing mish-mash of rules poses legal and environmental risks.
A legislative committee last month voted 12-1 to recommend Democratic Sen. Brownie Carson's bill.
The Natural Resources Council of Maine's scientist helped draft the bill. Carson says it prohibits mining on public and protected lands and requires companies to prove they could cover a disaster's cost.
Democratic Rep. Denise Harlow said the bill lacks the perspective from mining industry experts needed to protect the environment.
The bill could receive an initial vote in the Senate on Tuesday.