House Passes Mining Regulation Bill 

A bill to revise Maine’s regulations on mining, prompted by interest in northern Maine deposits, has received initial approval in the House of Representatives.The 80-65 vote Thursday sent the bill to the Senate. The bill was prompted by interest by J.D. Irving Co. to get permits to mine gold, silver, copper and other metals in Aroostook County’s Bald Mountain. The bill has the support of business groups, including the Maine State Chamber of Commerce, which said current restrictions in the law hamper the ability to develop potential mines in the state.Environmental groups are worried about the legislation.The Natural Resources Council of Maine says the bill would allow much more groundwater contamination than Maine’s current standards do, and all of its impacts are not yet known.