by Susan Sharon
Maine Public news story
The Maine House and Senate have overridden the governor’s veto of a bill to protect Maine from the hazards of mining pollution.
This marks the third time in the past five years that lawmakers have blocked the Department of Environmental Protection from adopting mining rules that critics said were not protective enough of taxpayers or the environment.
Nick Bennett of the Natural Resources Council of Maine says any future changes will require legislative approval first.
“The reason for that is this is such an important issue and the potential consequences of doing mining in the wrong way are so great that if the Department wants to make changes to the rules, then it should be prepared to convince both houses of the Legislature that that’s a good thing to do,” he says.
The bill bans open pit mining and the storage of wet mine waste that can leak into water bodies. It also requires mining companies to provide upfront funding for the costs associated with a spill.