Environmental and Energy Law Update

A blog from the attorneys of Verrill

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Maine Public Utilities Commission Approves Weaver Wind Power Contract

On July 12, 2019, the Maine Public Utilities Commission unanimously approved a long-term contract for the purchase of power from Weaver Wind, a 72.6 MW wind power project in Hancock County Maine. The expected commercial operational date for Weaver is no later than December 2020. Chairman Philip Bartlett remarked...
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Dynamic Pricing Triggers EV Owners’ Load Shift to Early Morning Hours

Supplying electricity during peak demand, the period of highest customer demand for electricity (typically around 4 – 7 p.m.), increases the costs of supply – both for transmission and distribution utilities and customers. Dynamic pricing is one potential remedy to this economic challenge of electricity supply. A recent study...
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Draft Adult Use Marijuana Rules Released

Marijuana
Yesterday, the Department of Administrative and Financial Services Office of Marijuana Policy released a preliminary draft of the Adult Use Marijuana Rules . The preliminary draft includes comprehensive provisions on business licenses for marijuana establishments, which include cultivation, testing, and products manufacturing facilities, and marijuana stores. In addition to...
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Maine Supreme Court Decides Seaweed Is a Plant, Not a Fish

Seaweed
After deliberating for a year and a half in Ross v. Acadian Seaplants , the Maine Supreme Judicial Court has unanimously held that rockweed, a type of seaweed that grows on rocks in the intertidal area all over the North Atlantic, is owned by the intertidal property owner, not...
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The Latest: Governor Reported to Hire Burgess as Maine’s Energy Director

Reports are circulating that Governor Mills may have selected Dan Burgess as the Director of the Governor's Energy Office. Burgess is a native of Newport and University of Maine alum. Burgess has been at the forefront of several renewable energy initiatives over the past decade. He has most recently...
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MPUC Approves Term Sheet for Three Rivers Solar Power, LLC’s 100 MW Solar Project

Today, the Maine Public Utilities Commission approved a term sheet for a long-term contract for Three Rivers Solar Power, LLC's 100 MW solar project. The Three Rivers Solar project will be located in Hancock County, Maine. It is a ground-mounted solar photovoltaic project, with an expected commercial operations date...
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U.S. Supreme Court Asked to Review Zero Emissions Credit Schemes

In two related cases, Petitioners are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down state generator subsidies that Petitioners argue distort competitive wholesale power markets that are under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) under the Federal Power Act (FPA). Both cases concern "zero emission...
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Governor Mills Lifts Wind Power Moratorium

On Thursday, Governor Mills issued an Executive Order lifting a moratorium on new wind energy permits. Former Governor Paul LePage issued the moratorium in January 2018 and created a Maine Wind Energy Advisory Commission to study the economic impact of wind turbines on tourism and local communities. Controversy surrounded...
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An Interview with ME PUC Chair, Commissioners, and Former Chair

Sourced from Steve Mitnick, Public Utilities Fortnightly , "A Day (Two Actually) at the Maine PUC" (January 2019). In this posting, I summarize a recent series of interviews with the current Maine PUC Chair, Commissioners, and Chair Emeritus, Tom Welch. The interviews appeared in the January 2019 edition of...
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Net-metering News from Maine and California

On December 17, 2018, the Maine PUC exempted medium and large non-residential customer classes of CMP and Emera from compliance with the Commission's net energy billing provisions in Chapter 313, section 3(f), which require measurement of a customer's production of "nettable energy." The Commission enacted, effective for facilities in...
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Supreme Court Says “No Frog Habitat, No Critical Habitat”

Frog
U.S. Department of Agriculture, via Wikimedia Commons You might assume that if an endangered species is nowhere to be found on your property, you can rest easy. “No,” said the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which decided in 2012 that if your land might be a good place for...
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Supreme Court Says “No Frog Habitat, No Critical Habitat”

You might assume that if an endangered species is nowhere to be found on your property, you can rest easy. "No," said the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which decided in 2012 that if your land might be a good place for the Dusky Gopher frog to live, you...
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Maine Street Solutions - Legislative Update

Election night is now (mostly) in the books. As the night wore on, the blue tide turned into a blue wave and ended as a mini blue tsunami crashing on the Maine shore. More results are still coming in, but here's what we know about the top of the...
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Sixth Annual Natural Gas Conference Focused on the Future

More than 100 professionals from the energy industry gathered at The Woodlands Club in Falmouth, Maine on Thursday, October 18 for the 6th Annual Natural Gas Conference: Focus on the Future, co-hosted by Verrill Dana and Pierce Atwood. The conference kicked off with a keynote address by Mark Vannoy...
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Natural Gas: Focus on the Future

As the cold weather approaches and the topic of natural gas is top of mind, Verrill Dana and Pierce Atwood will be hosting their 6th Annual Natural Gas Conference: Focus on the Future on Thursday, October 18 at The Woodlands Club in Falmouth, Maine. The all-day event will be...
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A New Hurdle in Prop. 65 Compliance: Inter-Supply Chain Information Requests

Caution Sign
Most industry professionals are aware that a revised set of California Proposition 65 or “Prop. 65” regulations will take effect at the end of the month on August 30, 2018. Prop. 65 is a so-called right-to-know statute that, among other things, requires manufacturers and retailers to provide any California...
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At NECPUC: Takeaways from the Annual Symposium

At the end of May, Verrill Dana attorneys James Cohen , William Harwood , Geoffrey Why , Katie Gray, and Brian Marshall attended the 71 st New England Conference of Public Utilities Commissioners (NECPUC) Annual Symposium at the Cliff House in Cape Neddick, Maine. The conference sessions covered a...
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Maine DEP Proposes Changes to Wetlands Rules

Wetlands
The Maine DEP is proposing changes to its wetlands rules that clarify the definition of wetlands of special significance. Wetlands of special significance (WOSS) include coastal wetlands and great ponds, as well as other freshwater wetlands with certain qualifying attributes such as size, the presence of critical or imperiled...
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Congratulations to Cianbro on BOLD!

Cianbro recently shared that in April, Cianbro's Power & Energy team placed its first BOLD® (Breakthrough Overhead Line Design®) structure on a project in Indiana. According to Cianbro "BOLD is a high-capacity, high-efficiency transmission line design with a low-profile, compact configuration." I'm not an engineer, but BOLD looks pretty...
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Maine DEP Seeks Public Comment on Proposed Changes to Hazardous Waste Rules

The Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has proposed changes to Chapters 850 (identification of hazardous wastes), 851 (standards for generators of hazardous waste), 852 (land disposal restrictions) and 858 (universal waste rules). The proposed changes, which were posted for public comment on February 21 , incorporate new and...
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Maine Wind Energy Update

Ten years ago, Maine's Task Force on Wind Energy set ambitious goals for wind development in the State, including a 2015 target of 1,000 MW and a 2020 target of 3,000 MW (including 300 MW offshore) of installed capacity. Today, Maine has less than 1,000 MW of installed capacity...
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It’s Only “Natural:” Avoiding the Risk of Consumer Lawsuits Over Food Labels

Americans are increasingly sensitive to the ingredients that go into the food that we eat. Recently, Congress passed a law requiring manufacturers to label or place QR codes on products containing or made from genetically modified organisms (“GMOs”). Now, consumer advocates have turned their attention to food products bearing...
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Maine Department of Environmental Protection Issues Draft Wind Energy Act Rules

Wind Power
After more than a year of pre-rulemaking process including the issuance of two drafts, the Maine DEP has commenced formal rulemaking and today issued draft rules for wind energy developments in Maine. The formal draft largely tracks the most recent pre-rulemaking version issued in January 2017. The draft rules...
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Maine Department of Environmental Protection Issues Draft Wind Energy Act Rules

After more than a year of pre-rulemaking process including the issuance of two drafts, the Maine DEP has commenced formal rulemaking and today issued draft rules for wind energy developments in Maine. The formal draft largely tracks the most recent pre-rulemaking version issued in January 2017. The draft rules...
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