Environmental and Energy Law Update

A blog from the attorneys of Verrill

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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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Microgrids: The Next “Big” Thing?

There has been a lot of conversation lately about "microgrids." And, given the significant power outages experienced in Maine and the Northeast this past week due to extreme weather events, these conversations are bound to increase. But, what exactly are microgrids, and how can they help? Not everyone agrees...
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Verrill Dana Co-hosts Fifth Annual Natural Gas Conference

On Thursday, September 28, Verrill Dana and Pierce Atwood co-hosted the 5th Annual Natural Gas Conference: Powering Maine's Future at The Woodlands in Falmouth, Maine. The conference kicked off with Keynote Speaker Governor Paul LePage who discussed the state of the natural gas industry in Maine and its potential...
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New Priorities: DEP Adds Two Flame Retardants to Priority Chemicals List

The Maine Department of Environmental Protection (“DEP” or “the Department”) recently adopted a new regulation that adds two flame retardants to the State’s “Priority Chemicals” list. The regulation requires that manufacturers and distributers who intentionally add decabromodiphenyl ether (“deca BDE”) or hexabromocylododecane to “Children’s Products” report that activity to...
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Hydropower Project Administrative Rules Update

The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Chapter 450 and Land Use Regulation Commission (LUPC) Chapter 11 regulations for hydropower projects have been updated . The new rules eliminate an inconsistency that existed between the license transfer provisions for hydropower and other environmental permits. Specifically, the revised rules apply the...
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The Future of the Kennebunk Dams

Creek
On Thursday July 20th, the Board of Selectmen for the Town of Kennebunk held a workshop to gather information regarding the Town’s potential role in the future of three dams along the Mousam River in Kennebunk, Maine. The Board workshop was centered around a presentation prepared by Verrill Dana...
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The Future of the Kennebunk Dams

On Thursday July 20 th , the Board of Selectmen for the Town of Kennebunk held a workshop to gather information regarding the Town's potential role in the future of three dams along the Mousam River in Kennebunk, Maine. The Board workshop was centered around a presentation prepared by...
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