Environment Maine
Associated Press
Glen Adams

Gov. Paul Maine has signed a new mining regulatory bill, but that doesn't mean mining is new in Maine. In fact, it has a long history in the state going back to the early 1800s, when iron and lead extractions added to the state's better-known granite and limestone quarrying industries.  

Environmental activists are leery of the new mining overhaul law, saying it weakens groundwater protection standards and cleanup requirements for mining operations.

Emily Figdor, director of Environment Maine, said the new mining law makes changes that could effectively be weaker than current regulations. For example, she said, it changes the definition of "mining area" so less of an area near operation would have to be restored. 

"In directing the DEP to set rules, it weakens the framework for mining operations and paves the way for large open-pit mines," Figdor said.

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