House OKs bill to bolster Maine mining regulations

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) -- The Maine house has approved a bill tightening Maine's mining regulations, including provisions to protect water quality from metal mining pollution.

The House voted 91-49 on Wednesday, sending it to the Senate for a vote. The sponsor, Assistant House Democratic Leader Jeff McCabe of Skowhegan, says the measure would ensure that any metallic mineral mining that occurs in the state will not pollute Maine waterways or stick Maine taxpayers with cleanup costs.

Opponents of the bill say it would return Maine's mining laws to what they were before the last Legislature updated them. Opponents, who include business groups, say it would put at risk a proposed mining development at Bald Mountain in Aroostook County.