Law of the Land (and Air and Water)

A blog from the attorneys of Verrill

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Verrill Dana Hosts E2Tech Networking Event

Verrill E2Tech 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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Gray Areas for Green Labels: The Current State of Environmental Marketing

Green Label Icon
“Natural,” “green,” “sustainable,” “biodegradable,” – it seems like everywhere you look, from the big box stores to your local farmer’s market, products are being marketed for their environmental and healthful benefits. For a range of reasons, consumer demand for ecologically conscious or healthy products is exploding and the market...
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U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Proposes Revisions to Mitigation Policy

US Fish & Wildlife Logo
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (the “Service”) recently proposed revisions to its Mitigation Policy, which has been in place since 1981. March 8, 2016 Fed. Reg. 12380 . The Mitigation Policy serves as “over-arching Service guidance applicable to all actions for which the Service has specific authority to recommend...
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Vapor Intrusion Intruding on EPA’s Hazard Ranking System under CERCLA

Section 105(a)(8)(B) of CERCLA sets forth the outlines of the scoring system used by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (the “EPA”) Superfund program to assess and rank the potential and actual threat associated with sites across the country. The scoring system is known as the Hazard Ranking System (the...
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Maine Supreme Judicial Court Affirms MPUC's Finding that Smart Meters Pose No Credible Health or Safety Threat

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the Maine Public Utilities Commission’s decision that Central Maine Power Company’s advanced metering infrastructure (“AMI”) system (aka “smart meters”) pose no credible threat to the health and safety of Central Maine Power Company (“CMP”) customers. Friedman v. PUC, 2016 ME 19, — A.3d...
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EPA Releases 2015 Enforcement Statistics

As it does each year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (the “EPA” or “Agency”) recently released its annual enforcement statistics for the past year . As the Agency has been saying throughout Administrator McCarthy’s tenure, it is focusing on high visibility enforcement with greater environmental (and financial) bang for...
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USFWS Issues Expansive Final 4(d) Rule for Northern Long-Eared Bat

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) issued its final rule under section 4(d) of the Endangered Species Act regarding conservation measures for the northern long-eared bat (the “Final 4(d) Rule”). The Final 4(d) Rule replaces the interim 4(d) rule issued in April, 2015 . The Final 4(d) Rule prohibits...
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Beyond Net Metering: Solar Stakeholders Seek Common Ground

Since September, solar stakeholders have been participating in regular work sessions at the Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to develop an alternative to Maine’s current net metering rules. Net metering or “net energy billing” allows utility customers who also generate some of their own power (with solar panels, for...
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WOTUS Rule Saga Gets Weirder with EPA "Covert Propaganda"

The EPA rule attempting to clarify the scope of Clean Water Act jurisdiction took another gut punch when the Government Accountability Office found that the EPA's use of social media in connection with its rulemaking violated anti-lobbying laws . The rule in question attempts to define the term "waters...
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Large-Scale Solar Having Its Moment in the Sun

Solar Panel Install
Last week the Portland Press Herald reported that the Maine Public Utilities Commission will direct Maine’s transmission and distribution utilities to enter into a long-term contract with Dirigo Solar for the construction of up to 75 MW of new solar installations across the state. The Commission was especially pleased...
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Washington Post on Electric Vehicles: Coal Generates Electricity

Last week the Washington Post exposed electric cars’ dirty secret: they use electricity! The piece makes the astute point an electric vehicle (EV) is only as clean as the electricity that is used to power it. It is true that in many parts of the world that still heavily...
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