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Maine lawmakers begin considering new mining rules for a 2nd time

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AUGUSTA, Maine — An effort to overhaul Maine's mining regulations is reigniting a contentious debate in Augusta.

The proposed mining rules were reintroduced by Republican Gov. Paul LePage's administration after they were rejected by the Democratic-controlled Legislature last year. Supporters say that current regulations are out-of-date and that mining for various metals will help Maine's economy.

Opponents say the proposed rules lack adequate environmental protections. Democratic Sen. Chris Johnson urged the Environment and Natural Resources Committee on Wednesday to reject the rules, saying that mining needs to be done right or not at all.

Critics also say the administration didn't follow the proper rule-making process by simply resubmitting the rejected regulations to the Legislature. They point to a memo from Attorney General Janet Mills' office that says the administration violated those procedures.

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