Members of Verrill Dana's Energy Group regularly participate in appellate review of agency decisions affecting energy companies and projects. Whether defending the issuance of a permit, license or approval needed for construction of new a new energy project, or challenging an agency's denial of such a request, members of our Group appear frequently in appellate court, reviewing the conclusions and findings made by the regulatory agency. In cases of the Maine PUC, where appeals go directly to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, members of the practice group have argued several cases involving interpretation of Maine's historic Electric Restructuring Act. Similarly, under the Wind Energy Act, in which judicial appeals of certain siting decisions also go directly to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, Verrill Dana has successfully argued numerous judicial appeals of wind power projects and has defended federal approvals for such projects in the United States District Court.
The following are examples of judicial appeals handled by our Energy Group:
- T&D Utility Ownership of Generation - The Group represented Emera in a lengthy case addressing the extent to which the Maine Restructuring Act prevents affiliates of a Maine T&D utility from acquiring ownership of generation facilities. In 2011, Emera sought approval of two acquisitions: (1) 25% ownership of Algonquin Power & Utilities Corp. and (2) a joint venture with First Wind to develop new wind projects in the Northeast. The firm represented Emera in extensive litigation before the Maine PUC and Maine Supreme Judicial Court both before and after Emera closed the transactions. Verrill Dana defended the approvals before the Maine Supreme Judicial Court in two separate appeals of the Maine PUC approval orders.
- Defending Constitutionality of the Wind Energy Act - Verrill Dana successfully defended permits in which the constitutionality of the Wind Energy Act was challenged as well as numerous decisions involving the interpretation and application of sound and scenic standards that govern wind energy developments.
- Pipeline Refund - Verrill Dana represented MetroMedia, a natural gas marketer, in appealing an adverse ruling of the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. Bill Harwood argued the case asserting that the pipeline refund ordered by the Massachusetts Commission should have been paid to MetroMedia, as a gas marketer, not directly to MetroMedia's customers.
- Defending Arbitration Award-Bill Harwood and Brian Marshall represented Woodland Pulp before the Maine Supreme Judicial Court in successfully defending an arbitration award after a lengthy and contentious arbitration proceeding resolving a dispute between Woodland Pulp and a tenant over shared use of a private natural gas pipeline.