Since 1989 Matt Manahan has worked closely with businesses to find innovative solutions to the environmental law issues they face. He provides strategic counsel in regulatory, legislative, and judicial proceedings involving a broad range of environmental and land use issues, including those relating to energy project development, transfer and development of contaminated property, water use, energy, and Native American regulatory claims.

Matt is adept at stakeholder negotiations, including with state and federal regulators, that are a necessary part of large development permitting matters, including especially energy and commercial development projects. Matt appears before and works with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and state and federal environmental, fish and wildlife, and conservation agencies, as well as numerous municipal planning boards and zoning boards of appeals.

Matt also counsels clients on legal issues relating to citizen-initiated referenda and people's veto campaigns in Maine. For example, Matt represented the successful landowners in the 1996, 1997, and 2000 "clearcutting" referendum campaigns, and Matt has represented clients before Maine's Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices.

Honors & Distinctions

  • 2017 The Best Lawyers in America® "Lawyer of the Year" in Litigation - Environmental in Portland, Maine
  • 2016 The Best Lawyers in America® “Lawyer of the Year” in Land Use and Zoning Law in Portland, Maine
  • 2015 The Best Lawyers in America® “Lawyer of the Year” in Environmental Law in Portland, Maine
  • Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America® since 2009
  • Chambers USA Band 1 attorney for Environmental Law
  • Rated AV® Preeminent™ by Martindale-Hubbell  
  • Recognized in Super Lawyers for Environmental Law
  • 2008: Bowdoin College Volunteer of the Year Award for service on Bowdoin Alumni Schools and Interviewing Committee
  • 1994: Received Maine Bar Foundation Special Recognition Award for outstanding volunteer service

Professional Activities

Member, Maine State Bar Association

Member and former Chair, Maine State Bar Association Natural Resources and Environmental Law Section

Member, New Hampshire Bar Association; Environmental and Natural Resources Law Section

Publications

Manahan, Matthew and Connors, Catherine. Water, Tribal Claims, and Maine’s Not-So-Settled Settlement Acts, Natural Resources & Environment, ABA Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources, Vol 31, Number 2, Fall 2016.

Manahan, Matthew. Editor and Co-author of A Practical Guide to Land Use in Maine, MCLE New England (2016).

Manahan, Matthew.  Local Land Use Regulation. Environmental Law in Maine seminar, 2016.

Manahan, Matthew and Formella, John. Protection of Endangered Species & Bald Eagles.  Environmental Law in Maine seminar, 2016.

Manahan, Matthew and Formella, John. Renewable Energy.  Environmental Law in Maine seminar, 2015.

Day, Avery T.; Doyle, Thomas R.; Manahan, Matthew D. About face: How a mine moved toward opening in Maine, Mining Engineering (2012).

Manahan, Matthew and Rayback, Brian. Developments in Maine Environmental Law 2011, MSBA Legal Year In Review 2011.

Manahan, Matthew. Water Rights and Hydropower. Environmental Law in Maine seminar, 2011.

Manahan, Matthew and Rayback, Brian. Developments in Maine Environmental Law 2010, MSBA Legal Year In Review 2010.

Manahan, Matthew and Verville, Sarah. Water Quality Certification and Relicensing: Sharing Legal Strategies. Hydro Review Magazine, April 2006.

Manahan, Matthew and Verville, Sarah. FERC and Dam Decommissioning. Natural Resources and Environment Journal, Winter 2005.

Manahan, Matthew. When Do Permitted Rights ‘Vest' in Maine?. New England's Environment, August/September 2004.

Civic Activities

Member, Senator Susan Collins' Advisory Committee on Federal Appointments in Maine, 2016-present

Treasurer, Senator Susan Collins' Dirgo Leadership PAC, 2015-present

Member, Governor LePage’s Hydropower Development Advisory Group, 2013-2014

Member, Town of Cumberland, Maine Board of Adjustment and Appeals, 1999-present

Member, Bowdoin Alumni Schools and Interviewing Committee

Member, Cornell Alumni Admissions Ambassador Network

Campaign Counsel, Steve Abbott for Governor, 2010

Campaign Counsel, Maine Senator Susan M. Collins, 1994, 1996, 2002, 2008

Member, City of Portland, Maine Board of Appeals, 1991-1998; Chair, 1995-1998

Member, City of Portland, Maine Task Force on Regulation, 1997-1998

Member, Maine Indian Tribal-State Commission, 1994-1996

Member, Maine Critical Areas Advisory Board, 1991-1992

Practice Areas

Representative Experience

  • Represented the largest consumer of electricity from a hydropower project in Washington State in proceedings before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission challenging mandatory conditions and prescriptions imposed on the project by federal agencies, resulting in a settlement that required the agencies to submit revised conditions and prescriptions that allowed economic operation of the project. FERC approved the settlement in 2010.
  • Represented a hydropower dam owner in contested proceedings to surrender the project's FERC license and remove the dam, because the project was not economical with the required fish passage facilities. After successful defense of the dam removal permits at the federal, state, and local levels, the dam was removed in August 2008.

Representative Experience

Hydro

  • Represent Woodland Pulp Co. with respect to FERC jurisdictional issues relating to three water storage projects on the St. Croix River in Washington County, Maine.
  • Represent Sappi Fine Paper in the negotiation and permitting of the surrender of the FERC license for the Saccarappa Hydro Project in Westbrook, Maine, in 2013-2016. Also represented Sappi before the Maine Supreme Judicial Court in defending a challenge to the water quality certification issued by the Maine DEP for the FERC relicensing of the Eel Weir Project, at the outlet of Sebago Lake. See Watts v. Board of Environmental Protection, 2014 ME 91. Represented Sappi in the first ever petition to force construction of a fishway under Maine's fishway statute. After contested hearings spanning more than a year, Matt facilitated a settlement in 2010 that resolved the matter through construction of a fishway costing less than one-half of the original estimated cost. 
  • Representation of Butte County, California in 2014-2015 with respect to host community benefit issues associated with the Oroville Hydropower Project.
  • Representation of Georgia-Pacific Co. in 2014-2015 to protect its downstream water quality interests in the FERC licensing of a proposed addition of generating capacity at the Claiborne Hydroelectric Project in Alabama.
  • Representation of the Town of Middlebury, Vermont in 2014-2015 with respect to FERC dam licensing issues for the Middlebury Upper Hydroelectric Project.
  • Representation in 2012 of Vortex Hydro, the developer of the proposed St. Clair River hydrokinetic project in Michigan.
  • Representation in 2010 of Kruger Energy with respect to the potential impact on FERC-licensed hydropower dams of the listing of the Gulf of Maine Atlantic Salmon as an endangered species.
  • Representation of Ponderay Newsprint Co., the largest consumer of electricity from the Box Canyon hydropower project in Washington State, in proceedings before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission challenging mandatory conditions and prescriptions imposed on the project by federal agencies, resulting in a settlement that required the agencies to submit revised conditions and prescriptions that allowed economic operation of the project. The FERC approved the settlement in 2010. 
  • Representation of Madison Paper Company in the comprehensive settlement of the relicensing of Madison’s Anson and Abenaki projects on the Kennebec River in Maine.
  • Representation of several hydropower project owners in successfully defending existing water quality certifications in a proceeding before the Maine Board of Environmental Protection to modify the certifications to require immediate construction of fish passage facilities, as well as in the court appeals of that BEP decision; the Maine Supreme Judicial Court's October 2008 decision can be viewed here.
  • Representation of FPL Energy before federal, state, and local agencies in connection with the decommissioning and partial removal of the Fort Halifax Dam on the Sebasticook River in Maine, as well as with federal and state court proceedings involving the proposed partial dam removal. Save Our Sebasticook v. FERC, 431 F.3d 379 (D.C. Cir. 2005). 
  • Representation of S.D. Warren before the U.S. Supreme Court in its appeal of a water quality certification issued by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection for five hydroelectric power dams on the Presumpscot River in Maine.
  • Representation of FPL Energy in administrative and judicial appeals of state water quality certification, and the subsequent denial of certification, for a storage reservoir on the Dead River in Maine for which the certifying agency interpreted state water quality aquatic habitat standards to require hydropower reservoirs to be operated as natural lakes; resolved by waiver of certification. Successful defense of an appeal of a state water quality certification issued for the relicensing of FPL Energy’s Upper-Middle Dams Storage Project in Maine. Assisted FPL Energy in relicensing six separate FERC-licensed hydro projects. Handled judicial and administrative appeals, including successfully overturning burdensome minimum instream flows imposed by the Department of Interior. FPL Energy Maine Hydro LLC, 95 FERC ¶ 61,016 (2001). Negotiated numerous complex multi-party settlement agreements covering more than a dozen projects.
  • Representation of Brookfield Renewable Power in relicensing and compliance matters for Brookfield’s hydropower projects in Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts, including the relicensing of and settlement agreement for a multi-reservoir storage project and a successful judicial appeal of three FERC license orders. Conservation Law Foundation v. FERC, 216 F.3d 41 (D.C. Cir. 2000).

Wind

  • Represented NextEra Energy in all permitting aspects of the 97 MW West Hills Wind Project in Somerset County, Maine, in 2015-2016.
  • Representation of Patriot Renewables before the Maine Board of Environmental Protection in November 2014 in successfully defending the Maine Department of Environmental Protection permit issued for the 23-MW Canton Wind Project in Canton and Dixfield, Maine, and in an appeal of the DEP permit to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, which upheld the DEP permit in an order issued on February 3, 2015.

Solar

  • Representation in 2014 of Great Bay Hydro in obtaining FERC’s permission for a solar panel installation at the Clyde River Hydroelectric Project in Vermont.

Oil and Gas

  • Represented Portland Pipe Line Corporation in 2013 in opposing a citizen initiated ordinance (the Waterfront Protection Ordinance) that would have effectively shut down petroleum handling operations on the South Portland waterfront. Also represent PPLC in a lawsuit filed in February 2015 challenging the City of South Portland’s ordinance, adopted in 2014, prohibiting the bulk loading of crude oil onto ships. 
  • Responsible for handling all state permitting issues associated with Downeast LNG, LLC’s proposed development of a liquefied natural gas import terminal and pipeline in Robbinston, Maine, 2006-2016. Applications withdrawn because of market conditions.

Transmission

  • Part of the Pierce Atwood team that represented Central Maine Power Company on its $1.4 billion Maine Power Reliability Program to ensure the reliability and safety of its high voltage transmission system, the largest transmission line project in the State’s history. This representation included serving as counsel in the federal, state, and local environmental and land use permitting for construction of approximately 350 miles of transmission lines and associated infrastructure, such as substations.
  • Representation of Brookfield Renewable Power to obtain within eight months all required permits for construction of a new 27-mile transmission line to tie existing hydropower projects to the public utility grid.

Transactional

  • Represented Verso Paper in 2014 with respect to the transfer of the Jay-Riley-Livermore and Otis Hydroelectric projects from Verso Androscoggin LLC to Verso Androscoggin Power LLC, including obtaining the necessary governmental approvals. Also represented Verso Paper in connection with the transfer to the Town of Orland, Maine of the Orland Dam, in 2010.
  • Representation of Madison Paper Industries in the 2009 sale to Brookfield Renewable Power of the 15.5 MW Hydro Kennebec hydropower project on the Kennebec River in Maine.
  • Represented Brookfield Renewable Power for all real estate due diligence and transactional documentation for the acquisition of two hydroelectric generating facilities in Rumford, Maine. The project involved a complex division of the hydro facilities from the adjacent paper mill site with multiple agreements for easements, rights and responsibilities related to the co-habitation of the property by facilities in separate ownership.
  • Representation of Brookfield Power in connection with the purchase of the 127-MW Great Northern Paper hydropower system on the Penobscot River in Maine, as well as several other hydropower projects in Maine and New Hampshire.

 

Representative Experience

  • Represented metals recycling facility, successfully defending appeals before the Maine Board of Environmental Protection of the air emissions license for the first large industrial metal shredder in the state of Maine, as well as in petitions to revoke the DEP permit and in challenges to related town permits, in Duffy v. Town of Berwick, 2013 ME 105.
  • Represented the owner of a non-power producing dam in the first-ever petition to force construction of a fishway under Maine's fishway statute. After contested hearings spanning more than one year, Matt facilitated a settlement in 2010 that resolved the matter through construction of a fishway costing less than one-half of the original estimated cost.
  • Represented hydropower owners in successfully defending existing water quality certifications in a proceeding before the Maine Board of Environmental Protection to modify the certifications to require immediate construction of fish passage facilities, as well as in the court appeals of that BEP decision; the Maine Supreme Judicial Court's October 2008 decision can be viewed here.