AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - The Maine Board of Environmental Protection has approved new mining regulations that advocates say will weaken the land and water protections on the books and won't protect the environment from sulfuric acid and other toxins.
Renewed interest in mining in Aroostook County's Bald Mountain triggered legislation adopted in 2012 calling for the overhaul the two-decade-old state mining regulations.
The BEP vote was unanimous on Friday.
Nick Bennett from the Natural Resources Council of Maine said the BEP made some last-minute changes and ignored hundreds of public comments calling for stronger rules.
He says the BEP opened up some conservation land to mining, allowed mining companies to treat contaminated water in perpetuity.
The Department of Environmental Protection has said the rules are based on science and meet the requirements of law.
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