Law of the Land (and Air and Water)

A blog from the attorneys of Verrill

Search Blog

Coming Soon—Reporting Requirements: Phthalates and Formaldehyde

Attention distributors, manufacturers, and some retailers of children’s products sold into the State of Maine. The December 18, 2015 deadline to report the intentional use of formaldehyde and certain phthalates in children’s products sold into the State is less than a month away. The Department of Environmental Protection has...
Go

SolarCity's Antitrust Case Survives Motion to Dismiss

Solar Panels
When the Salt River Project utility in Arizona decided to impose new charges for its customers with rooftop solar installations in February , it opened another front in the solar war being waged across the country. Normally, these fights play out before state administrative agencies tasked with setting utilities&rsquo...
Go

Count ME In

Count Maine “in” as one of the 18 states filing a motion to intervene to defend the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s (“EPA” or “Agency”) Clean Power Plan (“Rule”). A coalition including 24 states wasted little time filing suit against the much-anticipated final Rule after it was posted in the...
Go

Maine DEP Proposed Rule Changes

The Maine DEP is proposing changes to the rules affecting permitting of Site Law projects. The changes primarily involve requirements related to demonstrating adequate financial capacity to construct and operate the development. Additional changes are proposed that affect phased financing, long-term (generally more than ten years) construction projects, and...
Go

EPA and States Locked in Funhouse Litigation over WOTUS Rule

Wetlands
Eighteen states that are suing the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers to block the regulation attempting to identify jurisdictional waters of the United States under the Clean Water Act have filed a motion for a preliminary injunction with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit...
Go

Welcome to the Club: Formaldehyde and Phthalates Now Priority Chemicals

Two new rules recently adopted by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (“Maine DEP” or “the Department”) added formaldehyde and phthalates to the State’s list of Priority Chemicals. As of July 26, 2015, the Department now has the legal authority to regulate formaldehyde and four phthalates when they are...
Go

Bold Words from World Leaders Boost EPA Clean Power Plan

G7 Germany
The buzz word coming out of this week’s Group of Seven Summit (G7; formerly the G8, now sans Russia) in Germany was “decarbonisation.” (Yes, across the Pond they swap the “z” for an “s”.) In the first announcement of its type, leaders from the G7 nations agreed to a...
Go

Three Bat Species Listed Under Maine Endangered Species Act

Upon recommendation from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, Governor Paul LePage signed a bill into law today listing three bat species under the Maine Endangered Species Act. The little brown bat and northern long-eared bat were listed as endangered, and the eastern small-footed bat was listed...
Go

New Misguided Opponent of Renewables: Famous Novelist Jonathan Franzen

Jonathan Franzen
Author Jonathan Franzen In a lapse of fact checking and logic, the normally rigorous New Yorker magazine published a lengthy essay by noted novelist and bird watcher Jonathan Franzen that, among other things, called wind and solar power “blights on the landscape” that should be abandoned in favor of...
Go

USFWS Lists Northern Long Eared Bat as Threatened Species

Bat Rendering
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that it will publish a final rule in today's Federal Register designating the northern long eared bat as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The listing will become effective May 4, 2015, at which time an interim 4(d) incidental take rule will...
Go

Maine High Court to Litigious Saco RV Park Owner: Let There Be Frisbee Golf

Frisbee Golf
To the delight of Frisbee golfers across southern Maine, the Maine Supreme Court has affirmed the Saco Planning Board’s approval of a Frisbee golf course in Fitanides v. City of Saco Fred Fitanides, who owns an RV park that abuts the Frisbee golf course, opposed the development and claimed...
Go

Far-Reaching Decision: Appeals Court Finds Carbon Offsets Ensure Integrity

In a recent decision by a California Appeals court, the appellant, (Our Children’s Earth Foundation; (Appellant)), challenged the State Air Resources Board’s (Board) use of carbon offsets within its Cap-and-Trade program and more specifically, its method for establishing that the offsets achieve the requirement of “additionality.” That’s a loaded...
Go

USFWS, Congress Explore Incidental Take Exemption Under MBTA

Bald Eagle
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is reportedly planning to issue a notice of intent to create an incidental take permitting regime under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The permitting scheme would theoretically allow otherwise lawful activities to go forward with greater regulatory certainty, while allowing USFWS to require...
Go

“Arctic Caucus” called for by Sens. King and Murkowski

On Thursday of last week, the first-ever hearing dedicated to the Arctic region as a whole was held in the U.S. Senate. The hearing signaled the launch of the “Arctic Caucus” (Caucus), a body assembled by Senators Angus King (I-ME) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) to explore issues facing the...
Go

High Water Everywhere: Northeast Waters Warmin’ and A Risin’

Researchers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the University of Arizona recently released findings from tidal data collected over a two year period (2009-2010). The central conclusion of the data is this: New England sea levels are rising more rapidly than anticipated. Although the study most...
Go

EPA Considers Portion of Hackensack River for National Priorities List

EPA Workers
This article was written with the assistance of Nora Lawrence, Associate. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced plans to evaluate whether a 17-mile stretch of the Hackensack River in New Jersey should be added to Superfund’s National Priorities List (NPL). The assessment comes as a response to a...
Go

Environmental, Health, and Safety Professionals: OSHA Amended its Reporting Rules

OSHA Graphic
Here’s a post for all you Environmental, Health, and Safety professionals following this blog. OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration or Agency) has changed its reporting requirements for certain types of businesses with relatively low rates of occupational illness or injury. The list is based on the North American...
Go

Two Federal Leases Secured for Offshore Wind Projects

Two energy companies recently secured leases for offshore wind projects in the Massachusetts Wind Energy Area located 12 nautical miles south of Martha’s Vineyard. The federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced the winners of the leases totaling 354,409 acres. RES Americas Development LLC (a RES Group holding...
Go

DEP Proposes—or Re-Proposes—Two Chemicals for Priority List

Earlier this month, Maine DEP (Department) announced it would be proposing—or more accurately, re-proposing —the addition of two chemical to its list of “Priority” chemicals. The Department announced that it would be drafting rules to include formaldehyde and phthalates to its list of “Priority” chemicals. By way of background...
Go

EPA Releases 2014 Enforcement Statistics

At the close of last month, EPA released its annual enforcement numbers for 2014. As the Agency had been saying all year, the data reflects its focus on high-visibility enforcement complete with stiffer penalties and greater environmental benefits. In sum: Bigger Fish with smaller budgets. The website is truly...
Go

New Massachusetts Regulation – Limit on Commercial Organic Material

Organic Material
Anaerobic digestion converts organic waste into a biogas to supply heat and power. Photo courtesy the Univeristy of Alberta. Next month, the disposal of food wastes and vegetative materials in Massachusetts will change significantly. New regulations take effect on October 1 limiting the disposal of commercial organic material to...
Go