Maine House Votes on Mining Measure 

The Maine House of Representatives on Tuesday reaffirmed its support of a key environmental measure that would protect water quality from metal mining pollution. The vote was 97-40.LD 1302, introduced by Assistant House Majority Leader Jeff McCabe of Skowhegan, strengthens protections in the state’s mining laws. 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.Among bill’s key components are:• Analysis by the applicant of best practices in model mines in the United States and an explanation of how such techniques would be used in Maine:• Mine design that does not require perpetual care or ongoing water treatment:• The House action on Tuesday follows a vote against the measure in the Senate.• Creation of a stand-by trust system (one that requires funds to be put in after a triggering event rather than up front) to ensure that proper funding is available for site cleanup and closure protocols: and • Information from the applicant about the number and duration of jobs that would be created and an estimate of how many of the jobs would be available to Maine workers with the necessary experience.Since its introduction, the bill was amended to make it even more worthy of bipartisan support. Key among the changes is the clause on job creation.Concern about open-pit mining has focused on Bald Mountain in Aroostook County, but McCabe noted that mining has the potential to be an issue elsewhere in the state. Significant mineral deposits are located in other parts of Aroostook County as well as Franklin, Hancock, Oxford, Penobscot, Piscataquis and Somerset counties.The bill now goes to the Senate.