Maine lawmakers buck LePage, pass mineral mining rules after years of debate

Christopher Cousins, Special to The County
7 years ago

AUGUSTA, Maine — A bill to regulate large-scale mining in Maine will go into law over the objections of Gov. Paul LePage following the Legislature’s rejection of his veto.

The House of Representatives settled the matter Wednesday afternoon in a convincing 122-21 vote in favor of the bill and against LePage’s veto. Earlier in the day, the Senate voted unanimously to override the veto.

This development effectively ends what amounts to years of debate over metallic mineral mining in Maine and the state’s struggle to implement rules that adhere to laws enacted by the Legislature.

The bill, LD 820, garnered bipartisan consensus earlier this year at the legislative committee level after provisions were added that ban open pit mining and outlaw wastewater impoundments at mining sites. At the core of opposition to past attempts were that the measures didn’t go far enough to protect Maine’s environment or require enough financial assurances from mine operators that they can clean up when mining operations cease. On that basis, the Legislature has twice rejected rules developed by the Department of Environmental Protection.

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