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Governor signs her bill to protect tribal fishing rights

June 22, 2019

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Democratic Gov. Janet Mills has signed a bill she introduced aiming to protect fishing rights for tribes.

The governor says the legislation shows what can happen when state government works in good faith with tribes. Her office says she signed the bill Friday.

The bill gives Maine until March 2020 to adopt water quality rules that ensure sustenance fishing rights and protect against toxic pollutants.

The bill designates certain water bodies for “sustenance fishing” if there may be increased fish consumption by tribes or other citizens. The Senate sent Mills the bill Monday and she has 10 days to sign, veto or let it go into law.

An EPA spokeswoman said she’s “optimistic” the bill could resolve a water quality dispute involving tribes and Maine.

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