Blog Posts: Law of the Land (and Air and Water)

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The Law of the Land (and Air and Water) blog provides careful analysis and discussion of the most critical and timely legal issues pertaining to the environment and natural resources, that our clients, industry professionals, policymakers, non-profit organizations, and engaged citizens turn to as a valuable resource.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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“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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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Firm Highlights

News

After the EPA Inspector Leaves

On July 17, environmental attorney Mat Todaro appeared on an episode of Amplify Your Process Safety, a process safety and risk management podcast. Co-host Rob Bartlett and Mat discuss EPA inspections, what to expect...

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When the Weather Outside Gets Frightful: Moving Indoors in COVID-19

As the sun fades on another Maine summer and autumn rushes by, the appeal of outdoor seating at tasting rooms, bars, and restaurants starts to fade like our fall colors. Yes, there are space...

Matter

FEMA National Flood Insurance Program

Verrill represents and advises waterfront landowners in all aspects of FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program, including appeals of floodplain map designations, permitting structures and other development in mapped floodplains, and negotiation of FEMA insurance...

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Verrill Helps State’s Largest Solar Project Obtain Principal Environmental Permit

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Maine Law Court Holds Citizen's Initiative Cannot Block CMP's NECEC Transmission Line

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Maine Public Utilities Commission Invites Net Energy Billing Report Comments

Yesterday, the Maine Public Utilities Commission issued a request for comments related to the MPUC’s Net Energy Billing Report to the Legislature. The Commission broadly invited any interested person to submit information or comments...

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MPUC Adopts Safe Harbor for Determination of “Discrete Electric Generating Facilities,” a Qualification for Net Energy Billing and Distributed Generation Programs

Yesterday, all three Maine Public Utilities Commission Commissioners agreed to adopt a new standard for the determination of what facilities qualify as “discrete electric generating facilities” under the MPUC’s Distributed Generation and Net Energy...

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MPUC Issues Order Setting Forth “Discrete Electric Generating Facilities” Safe Harbor

Today, the Maine Public Utilities Commission (MPUC) issued an Advisory Ruling establishing a safe harbor for the determination whether a generation facility is a Discrete Electric Generating Facility for the purposes of qualifying for...

News

38 Verrill Attorneys, Across Four Offices, Recognized in 2020 Chambers & Partners Guide

(April 27, 2020) – Verrill has been rated as a Leading Firm in a total of ten categories and subcategories as evaluated by London-based Chambers & Partners , one of the world's most respected...

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Verrill Helps State’s Largest Solar Project Obtain Principal Environmental Permit