Environmental and Energy Law Update

A blog from the attorneys of Verrill

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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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Energy Startups: Opportunities, Challenges, & Considerations

In a presentation during Maine Startup & Create Week , Verrill Dana partner Jim Cohen , a utilities and energy lawyer with more than 25 years of experience, moderated a panel focused on the question, " How can tech disrupt energy? " With innovation and new technologies being developed...
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How Can Tech Disrupt Energy?

On Wednesday, June 21, as part of Maine Startup & Create Week , Verrill Dana partner Jim Cohen , a utilities and energy lawyer for more than 25 years, will moderate a panel entitled " How Can Tech Disrupt Energy ?" Panelists include Ben Polito , president of Pika...
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Batten Down the Hatches: FEMA Releases New Flood Maps for Cumberland and York Counties

No Passing Zone
Landowners in Maine’s two most populous counties should take heed: the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) prepares to roll-out updated preliminary flood insurance maps for Cumberland and York counties. FEMA announced Monday it plans to issue revised flood hazard maps on April 14. This is consistent with the state’s...
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A New Model for Offshore Windpower?

Windpower
According to an article in Maritime Executive, offshore renewable power developers are about to sign an agreement for the construction of islands in the middle of the North Sea as bases for offshore wind facilities. As the article states: “[t]he generated wind energy could then be distributed from the...
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EPA Releases 2016 Enforcement Figures

This year marks the third annual post from this Blog highlighting EPA’s enforcement and compliance figures. And while this year’s data tells a number of interesting stories, no story is larger than the potential impact of the incoming Trump Administration on EPA’s enforcement figures in 2017. With that as...
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2017 Maine Legislature to Consider a Variety of Energy Bills

On Friday, January 6, Maine Governor Paul LePage released his biennial general fund budget for 2018-19. The Governor's proposed biennial budget and briefing document can be found here . The main priority in the Budget is reducing Maine's top income tax rate from 10.15 percent to 7.15 percent this...
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USCG Announces Ballast Water Management (BWM) Compliance Program Update

On December 2, 2016, the United States Coast Guard (USCG) issued its first Ballast Water Management System (BWMS) type-approval certificate, ushering in a new era in environmental compliance for companies operating commercial vessels with ballast water systems in U.S. waters (within 12 nautical miles). Based on public information about...
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Maine PUC Proposes Net Metering Rule Changes

The PUC has issued a proposed rule that would change Maine's net metering compensation for rooftop solar (and other distributed generation). Under Maine's current rule, customers that generate power are given a credit equal to the full retail rate of electricity. The proposed rule would gradually reduce the portion...
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Natural Gas: Where Do We Go From Here?

With cold weather approaching, natural gas production expected to rise and expansion projects underway, Verrill Dana and Pierce Atwood will host their fourth annual, Natural Gas: Where do we go from here? on Thursday, October 6 at The Woodlands in Falmouth, Maine. The all-day event, co-chaired by Verrill Dana...
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On Tap For Yuengling, Clean Water Act Penalties

Wastewater disposal for large breweries, mid-sized establishments, and even small craft brewers, remains a significant environmental and economic challenge. Recently, the oldest brewery in America received an unpleasant reminder of this fact. D.G. Yuengling and Sons, Inc. was issued a complaint from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) alleging...
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Not Just for Rooftops: A Look at Community Solar in Maine

Much of the discussion around solar policy focuses on rooftop solar. While rooftop solar is an option for certain homeowners with suitable rooftops and some extra cash in the bank (or the ability to obtain financing), rooftop solar is not available to a large segment of the population. Community...
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Verrill Dana Hosts E2Tech Networking Event

On Tuesday, July 26, more than a hundred professionals gathered outside in Verrill Dana's courtyard in Portland, Maine for the E2Tech Summer Networking Reception . Attendees included numerous area businesses, government officials, professionals, and non-profit leaders from across the state within the energy and environmental sectors. Verrill Dana partner...
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D.C. Circuit Remands BOEM Cape Wind Lease under NEPA and ESA, Punts on MBTA Challenge

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has dealt another setback to the Cape Wind offshore wind power project by holding yesterday in Public Employees for Environmental Responsibilities v. Hopper that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) violated...
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