AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — A Maine legislative panel has rejected a contentious proposal to overhaul the state’s mining regulations.
The Democratic-controlled Environment and Natural Resources Committee voted 7-5 in favor of denying the proposed mining regulations drafted by the Department of Environmental Protection. The committee wants the department to redraft the rules, but not re-introduce them until 2016.
The measure now moves to the full House and Senate.
The Portland Press Herald reports, that Democrats said waiting two years will give the department time to improve the rules.
Environmental groups have fiercely criticized the proposed rules which they say don’t include strong enough land and water protections. But business groups that are backing the rules say the state’s regulations need to be updated to allow mining that could greatly benefit Aroostook County.