Blog Posts: Environmental and Energy Law Update

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The Environmental and Energy Law Update blog provides an analysis and discussion of the most critical and timely legal issues and announcements environmental, natural resource, and energy sectors.

Verrill Alum Bill Harwood Sworn in as Public Advocate for State of Maine

On January 26, 2022, Maine Governor Janet Mills swore in Bill Harwood as Public Advocate for the State of Maine. Bill was unanimously confirmed by the Maine State Senate and the Legislature’s Joint Standing Committee on Energy, Utilities and Technology. Prior to becoming Public Advocate, Bill Harwood worked as...
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Verrill Alumni Bill Harwood Nominated as Public Advocate for the State of Maine

On December 15, 2021, Maine Governor Janet Mills announced the nomination of former Verrill attorney Bill Harwood as Public Advocate for the State of Maine. Harwood has a four decades-long career in energy and utilities law, and he currently serves as Senior Advisor for Regulatory Affairs within the Governor’s...
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Maine PUC Releases Report on Evolution of Electrical Grid to Meet Climate Goals

On December 1, 2021, the Maine PUC released a Report on the first phase of its investigation into necessary design and operational changes to the electrical distribution grid to facilitate the State’s clean energy goals. In February of 2020, the PUC initiated this investigation in response to recent legislation...
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Incidental Take of Migratory Birds Prohibited Once Again as New MBTA Rule Becomes Effective

A U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“FWS”) final rule that presumptively reinstates liability for incidental take under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (“MBTA”) becomes effective on December 3. The new rule revokes a Trump-era regulation that had limited the scope of the MBTA to intentional take, such as hunting...
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Environmental Protection Agency’s PFAS Roadmap

Last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) announced its PFAS Strategic Roadmap. PFAS are a class of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances that have been used in a wide variety of industries since the 1940s and are still in use today. PFAS have been detected in surface water, groundwater...
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Geoff Why to Moderate "The Future is Now: 5G Wireless Networks"

On October 26, Verrill telecommunications attorney Geoffrey Why will be moderating the virtual event, “The Future is Now: 5G Wireless Networks,” hosted by The Maine State Chamber of Commerce. The Wireless Summit will explore how wireless technology will be integral to providing high speed broadband access in rural, suburban...
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New Maine Law Regarding Decommissioning for Solar Projects

Solar Panels
Maine’s new solar decommissioning law takes effect October 18 and applies to projects that have not commenced construction by October 1, 2021. The law requires solar projects that occupy an area of three or more acres to have a DEP (or LUPC if LUPC is the permitting entity) approved...
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Jim Cohen Appointed to Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority

On April 22, the Maine State Senate unanimously confirmed the nomination of Jim Cohen to the board of the Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority (NNEPRA). NNEPRA oversees the day-to-day operations of the Amtrak Downeaster and works to improve transportation, safety, and the economy of Maine. Prior to joining...
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Jim Cohen Interviews Maine Governor Janet Mills on “Eggs & Issues”

After two years as host of “Eggs & Issues,” the monthly business breakfast of the Portland Community Chamber of Commerce, Jim Cohen concluded his twentieth appearance with an hour-long interview of Maine Governor Janet T. Mills. During the virtual interview, Governor Mills touched on topics ranging from broadband connectivity...
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Maine Legislature Adopts Major Revision to Its Net Energy Billing Program

On July 1, 2021, LD 936, An Act To Amend State Laws Relating to Net Energy Billing and the Procurement of Distributed Generation became law after Maine Governor Janet Mills allowed the legislatively enacted bill to go into effect without her signature. Because the bill was not adopted on...
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Patrick Scully Nominated to Maine PUC

On May 24, Governor Janet Mills nominated attorney Patrick Scully , who was most recently the Chief Executive Officer of Bernstein Shur, to serve a six-year term on the Maine Public Utilities Commission. For over 36 years, Scully focused on municipal, energy, and utility regulations and has significant experience...
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Prop 65: Will the “Short-Form” be Short Lived?

Enacted as part of the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, Proposition 65 (“Prop 65”) requires businesses with ten or more employees that sell products in the state of California to provide notice to consumers of health risks that are associated with certain chemicals if contained...
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Task Force Releases Report on Modernizing Maine’s Electric Grid

On April 14, 2020, the Nature Conservancy and The Great Plans Institute announced the final report of the Maine Utility Regulatory Reform and Decarbonization Initiative (MURRDI) which outlines a series of steps Maine can take to modernize its electric grid in order to achieve the state’s climate action goals...
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Verrill Attorneys Present on Issues in Maine Energy and Electric Utility Regulation

The energy and environmental landscape is constantly evolving. On Thursday, April 22, 2021, Halfmoon Education Inc. presents a full-day, virtual program, "Issues in Maine Energy and Electric Utility Regulation," which will highlight the current state of the industry and regulations in the state of Maine. During the program, Verrill...
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Virtual “Eggs & Issues”: Jim Cohen Interviews U.S. Senator Susan Collins

On March 10, Verrill partner Jim Cohen moderated a virtual “Eggs & Issues” business forum with US Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine). The March forum, hosted by the Portland Community Chamber of Commerce , covered a range of timely topics, including rural broadband and infrastructure improvements, federal pandemic relief, the...
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Maine Public Utilities Commission Invites Net Energy Billing Report Comments

Yesterday, the Maine Public Utilities Commission issued a request for comments related to the MPUC’s Net Energy Billing Report to the Legislature. The Commission broadly invited any interested person to submit information or comments “that may be relevant to the NEB report to the Legislature. In particular, the Commission...
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MPUC Issues Order Setting Forth “Discrete Electric Generating Facilities” Safe Harbor

Today, the Maine Public Utilities Commission (MPUC) issued an Advisory Ruling establishing a safe harbor for the determination whether a generation facility is a Discrete Electric Generating Facility for the purposes of qualifying for the MPUC’s Net Energy Billing and Distributed Generation Programs. This safe harbor helps clarify when...
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MPUC Adopts Safe Harbor for Determination of “Discrete Electric Generating Facilities,” a Qualification for Net Energy Billing and Distributed Generation Programs

Yesterday, all three Maine Public Utilities Commission Commissioners agreed to adopt a new standard for the determination of what facilities qualify as “discrete electric generating facilities” under the MPUC’s Distributed Generation and Net Energy Billing rules. This has been an issue of significant concern among developers given the ambiguity...
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Maine Law Court Holds Citizen's Initiative Cannot Block CMP's NECEC Transmission Line

Yesterday, the Maine Law Court deemed unconstitutional a ballot initiative to overturn the Maine PUC’s approval of the transmission line known as the New England Clean Energy Connect (NECEC). The Court’s holding in Avangrid Networks, Inc. v. Sec’y of State , has potentially wide-ranging implications for Maine’s administrative and...
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Verrill Alumni Bill Harwood Nominated as Public Advocate for the State of Maine

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Maine Rural Water Association Annual Conference with Verrill Attorney Mathew J. Todaro

Verrill Attorney Mathew J. Todaro, along with two others, will be presenting at the Maine Rural Water Association’s 41 st Annual Conference and Trade Show. Their presentation, “PFAS and Practicality Regulatory Updates with a...

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Maine PUC Releases Report on Evolution of Electrical Grid to Meet Climate Goals

On December 1, 2021, the Maine PUC released a Report on the first phase of its investigation into necessary design and operational changes to the electrical distribution grid to facilitate the State’s clean energy...

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Maine Public Utilities Commission to Receive Bids for Northern Maine Transmission and Renewable Generation Projects

On or before May 2, 2022, the Maine Public Utilities Commission has requested bids for proposed transmission and generation resources that would boost energy exports from northern Maine. The northern Maine region has long...

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Verrill Alum Bill Harwood Sworn in as Public Advocate for State of Maine

On January 26, 2022, Maine Governor Janet Mills swore in Bill Harwood as Public Advocate for the State of Maine. Bill was unanimously confirmed by the Maine State Senate and the Legislature’s Joint Standing...

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NextEra Subsidiary Fined $8 Million under MBTA for Eagle Deaths at Wind Power Projects in Western U.S.

The U.S. Department of Justice announced that ESI Energy LLC (ESI), a wholly owned subsidiary of Nextera Energy Resources LLC, pleaded guilty to violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) and acknowledged at least...

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Kelsey McCutcheon Selected to Join the Environmental Law Institute’s (ELI) Emerging Leaders Initiative

Verrill associate Kelsey McCutcheon has been selected to join the Environmental Law Institute’s (ELI) Emerging Leaders Initiative. The Environmental Law Institute is a non-profit, non-partisan organization, that seeks to "make law work for people...

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Verrill Partner Mathew Todaro Presents at The National Safety Council (NSC) of Northern New England’s 51st Annual New Hampshire Safety & Health Conference

The National Safety Council (NSC) of Northern New England recently held its 51 st Annual New Hampshire Safety & Health Conference in Nashua. The two-day conference began on June 7 th and featured keynote...

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Intertidal Court Victory for Property Rights, Marine Conservation, and Public Participation

The Maine Superior Court has dismissed all claims against five intertidal landowners represented by Verrill in Masucci v. Judy’s Moody, LLC . The landowners had been sued because they contacted Maine Marine Patrol to...

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Four Verrill Attorneys Recognized by Chambers & Partners for Energy and Environmental Law in Maine

Verrill attorneys Juliet T. Browne, James I. Cohen, Gordon R. Smith, and Mathew J. Todaro were recently recognized for energy and environmental law in Maine in the 2022 Chambers & Partners Guide . Chambers...

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