The Maine Department of Environmental Protection is in the process of modernizing and improving environmental oversight of the state’s 20-year-old mineral mining rules, pursuant to a law that received bipartisan support from the 125th Legislature (LD 1853).
The rule updates will put in place a framework for the recovery of minerals in a responsible, respectful way that keeps Maine’s air, land and water clean. Among the areas to be addressed are ground and surface water protection, the management of waste rock and the inclusion of financial assurance mechanisms that will guarantee any proposed mining operation provides financially for adequate long-term closure and remediation.
DEP has contracted with the North Jackson Company, an environmental science and engineering firm based in Michigan, to work under the Department’s direction to draft the new rules. North Jackson Company was awarded the work after DEP initiated a competitive nationally advertised bidding process because they have experience not only with mineral mining activities through their consulting work, they also helped Michigan – a state with similar climatic conditions to Maine – with a comparable mining rule updating process. They have subcontracted with the Maine-based S.W. Cole Engineering, Inc. to provide geotechnical engineering consulting services, given that firm’s extensive expertise of Maine’s environmental regulations and familiarity with the state’s landscape.
The rule drafting will begin in November of 2012 with the Department’s proposed rules being brought to Maine’s Board of Environmental Protection for their review and approval by January 10, 2014. The 126th Maine Legislature will then have to approve the rules before they are finally enacted by the statutory deadline of July 1, 2014. Throughout this transparent major substantive rulemaking process, updates will be published here and on our rulemaking page and there will be multiple opportunities for public comment.
Jeff Crawford at (207) 287-7647
- Maine DEP Routine Technical Rulemaking Chapter 200
- An Act To Improve Environmental Oversight and Streamline Permitting for Metallic Mineral Mining in Maine
- Department Press Release Announcing Selection of Rule Drafting Contractors
- Mining in Maine