By ALANNA DURKINAUGUSTA, Maine (AP) â¿¿ Activists say mining regulations drafted by the Maine environmental department will weaken the land and water protections and won't protect the environment from sulfuric acid and other toxins. The state Board of Environmental Protection held a hearing Thursday at which environmental groups, residents and lawmakers pushed back against the proposed regulatory overhaul. The changes have been brought on by renewed interest in metallic mining of gold, silver, copper and other metals in Aroostook County's Bald Mountain. The Natural Resources Council of Maine and others criticize the new regulations. But supporters say opponents merely want to stymie future mining operations altogether. They cite jobs and other opportunities for struggling northern Maine.