Environmental Analysis - 124th Maine Legislature, Second Regular Session

The Second Regular Session of the 124th Legislature convened on January 6, 2010.  Like the First Regular Session, legislation concerning environmental and land use issues again surfaced as a prominent area of focus: of more than 350 bills considered by the Legislature, close to 50 dealt with environmental and land use issues.  Although the Natural Resources Committee considered the majority of the environmental legislation, the Utilities and Energy Committee and the Agriculture Committee also considered several measures, primarily in the areas of renewable energy and pesticides.  Making good on its vow to adjourn early, the Legislature adjourned sine die on April 12, 2010, more than one week ahead of its statutory adjournment date of April 21, 2010.  Thus, unless otherwise provided, non-emergency bills and resolves passed during this Second Regular Session will become effective July 12, 2010. 

The following is an analysis of the environmental legislation enacted during the Second Regular Session.  The analysis is organized topically and provides a brief discussion of each bill and the chapter number for those bills enacted into law.  Please note that some enacted laws were not yet signed by the Governor at the time of this summary and consequently do not have chapter numbers noted. 

If you would like more information on any of the pieces of legislation laws discussed below, please contact the listed attorney or any member of the Pierce Atwood Environmental and Land Use Practice Group.

Air Quality

  • LD 1575 – An Act to Establish a Residential Wood Stove Replacement Fund – This Act establishes the Residential Wood Stove Replacement Fund and requires the Department of Environmental Protection ("DEP") to establish through rulemaking a program to administer the fund.  Under the Act, eligible Maine residents may apply for funds towards the purchase of new, clean-burning alternatives to wood stoves.  Only wood stoves that were manufactured prior to 1988 and are used as a primary source of heat in a primary residence are eligible for replacement funding.
  • LD 1662 – An Act to Improve Maine's Air Quality and Reduce Regional Haze at Acadia National Park and Other Federally Designated Class I Areas (enacted as P.L. 2009, c. 604)  This Act imposes reductions in the sulfur content of fossil fuels.  Given the higher price of lower sulfur fuels and the potential economic impacts of the Act on mills, the Maine Pulp and Paper Association worked hard to amend the legislation in a manner that would meet DEP's needs to comply with federal law while preserving the maximum flexibility for Maine's mills. 

    In the final law, the sulfur limit on residual (#4 or #6) oil will be lowered to 0.5% in 2018, as originally in the bill.  But, the bill was amended to also allow a facility the option to achieve an equivalent sulfur reduction from a baseline year of 2002.  The reductions can be due to several factors, including reduced use, alternative fuels, and control.  Units with SO2 control are still exempt as under current law.

    The original bill required use of 0.05% sulfur distillate beginning in 2014.  However, the final law requires use of 0.005% distillate beginning in 2016.  In both the original bill and final law, in 2018 the limit will be further reduced to 0.0015% by weight.  The final law contains an exemption from distillate limits for "facilities that use distillate fuel oil for manufacturing purposes."  Distillate sulfur limits will also be subject to alternative equivalent sulfur reductions from a 2002 baseline year.

    The Act also now includes a study on reducing state reliance on fuel oil.  The advisory committee for this study will have four representatives from the industrial sector, four from the State, and three others.  DEP is also tasked with conducting a fuel oil supply study in 2014.

    Blending will still be allowed as it is under DEP's existing low sulfur oil rule.  This is not in the bill, but it is already in DEP rules and Jim Brooks has stated there is no intention to change it.  The standards apply to the oil as burned.

    DEP is directed to develop major substantive rules that will define the requirements and process for achieving equivalent reductions from the 2002 baseline year.  This option may provide facilities with flexibility to use less expensive, higher sulfur fuels if they have or will achieve sulfur emissions reductions through other means.

  • LD 1775 – An Act to Amend Mercury Stack Testing Requirements for Certain Air Emission Sources (enacted as P.L. 2009, c. 535)  This Act imposes mercury stack testing requirements on air emissions sources emitting more than 10 pounds of mercury in calendar year 2010.  Such sources must stack test twice each year in calendar years 2011 and 2012, with each test at least four months apart.  By January 1, 2013, the sources must develop and submit to DEP a mercury reduction plan, which must contain the results of the four stack tests conducted in 2011 and 2012.  The Act also authorizes DEP to approve alternatives to the stack testing requirement, including mercury input data or a continuous mercury emission monitoring system.  Finally, the Act allows air emissions sources, in accordance with guidance from DEP, to average the results of multiple stack tests to determine compliance with mercury standards.

DEP Process

  • LD 1538 – An Act to Close Loopholes in Environmental Laws (enacted as P.L. 2009, c. 537)  This Act incorporates several changes intended to clarify existing environmental laws.  For example, the Act replaces general references to "this chapter" in the "permit shield" provision of the waste discharge law with specific statutory references.  The Act also amends the language of the forest management activities exemptions in both the storm water management law and the Natural Resources Protection Act to make both exemptions consistent.
  • LD 1603 – An Act to Amend Laws Administered by the Department of Environmental Protection (enacted as P.L. 2009, c. 501)  This Act makes a number of changes to laws administered by DEP.  Among other things, the Act includes several provisions relating to discharges of oil, waste oil, hazardous waste, and biomedical waste, and the authority of DEP to recover response costs associated with those discharges.  One such provision clarifies that the DEP Commissioner may issue clean-up orders for any oil discharge that may create a threat to public health or the environment, not just discharges from oil storage tanks.  The Act also authorizes DEP to include interest when placing a lien against the real estate of a responsible party to recover costs associated with responding to an oil discharge.  In addition, the Act authorizes DEP to place a lien against the real estate of a responsible party for the costs associated with the removal, abatement, and remediation of an unlicensed discharge or threatened discharge of hazardous waste, waste oil, or biomedical waste.  Among its other changes, there are new requirements for underground tanks that are out of service.
  • LD 1805 – An Act To Correct Errors and Inconsistencies in the Laws of Maine – This Act makes many changes intended to eliminate inconsistencies in several existing Maine laws.  Among other things, the Act amends provisions in the cap and trade program established pursuant to 38 M.R.S. § 580-B concerning the allocation of carbon dioxide emissions allowances and the annual joint report to the Legislature filed by DEP and the Efficiency Maine Trust.

Invasive Species

  • LD 1607 – An Act to Regulate the Transportation of Firewood (enacted as P.L. 2009, c. 585, emergency measure effective April 1, 2010)  This Act requires the Director of the Bureau of Forestry to secure funding and issue rules for restricting the transportation of firewood into the State.  A primary focus of the Act is to protect the State's forests from two invasive species, the emerald ash borer and the Asian longhorned beetle.  More broadly, however, the Act generally authorizes the Director to regulate or prohibit the introduction of any wood or wood products into the State that may cause the introduction or spread of a dangerous forest insect or disease.

Land Use

Site Law

  • LD 891 – Resolve, to Develop Standards and Practices for Developments of State and Regional Significance in Order to Reduce Dependency on Imported Fossil Fuels and Meet the State's Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Goals (enacted as Resolve 2009, c. 206)  This bill as originally proposed would have imposed a new standard on projects subject to the Site Location of Development Act ("Site Law"), prohibiting "unreasonable emissions of greenhouse gases."  Amended to a resolve (Chapter 206), the bill as passed directs DEP, in consultation with other state agencies, experts and interested parties, to identify alternative approaches and provide recommendations regarding methods and best management practices in the design and layout of Site Law developments, to ensure that such projects minimize overall energy use and dependence on fossil fuels, avoid or minimize emissions of greenhouse gases while considering mitigation, and maximize energy efficiency.  DEP is required to report to the Natural Resources Committee by January 1, 2011, on the recommended practices and progress in developing best management practices.  DEP is also required to evaluate the energy performance of the Maine Uniform Building and Energy Code in comparison to other "benchmarking" systems such as LEED, "Green Globes" and Energy Star, and to make recommendations as to whether Site Law developments designed and operated in accordance with such benchmarking systems will further the State's Climate Action Plan, minimize energy use, reduce or avoid greenhouse gas emissions and maximize energy efficiency.  Provisions that would have related to projects in the Land Use Regulation Commission's jurisdiction were removed from this bill.
  • LD 1787 – An Act to Provide for Legislative Review of Recently Proposed Revisions to Certain Rules Adopted Pursuant to the Site Location of Development Laws and the Storm Water Management Laws (enacted as P.L. 2009, c. 602, emergency measure effective April 2, 2010)  For the past two years, Maine DEP has been holding a lengthy series of "interested party" feedback sessions, inviting comment on a substantial package of proposed amendments to the regulations implementing the Site Location of Development Act and Storm Water Management Act.  While DEP has made some changes in response to comments, the package of amendments will still impose a variety of new standards that are expected to increase dramatically the costs and difficulty of licensing new development in Maine. Stakeholders were particularly concerned that DEP proposed to adopt the regulatory amendments as "routine technical rules," without any further opportunity for review by the Legislature.  This bill, enacted as P.L. 2009, c. 602 and passed by the House and Senate as emergency legislation as a result of stakeholders' advocacy before the Natural Resources Committee, provides that rules adopted by DEP after January 1, 2010, and before January 1, 2012, concerning the Site Location of Development and Storm Water Management laws are major substantive rules requiring legislative approval.  Any rules adopted after January 1, 2012, are routine technical rules.

Natural Resources

  • LD 1518 – Resolve, Regarding Legislative Review of Section 16: Activities in Coastal Sand Dunes, a Major Substantive Rule of the Department of Environmental Protection (enacted as Resolve 2009, c. 167, emergency measure effective March 23, 2010)  This Resolve authorizes DEP's final adoption of Section 16: Activities in Coastal Sand Dunes, within the Chapter 305 Permit by Rule Standards.  The rule provides standards for projects in coastal sand dune systems and applies to a variety of activities, including among other things repair or replacement of seawalls, decks, and parking areas, repair or installation of utility lines, and construction of certain fences.
  • LD 1725 – Resolve, Regarding Legislative Review of Portions of Section 10: Stream Crossings within Chapter 305 Permit by Rule Standards, a Major Substantive Rule of the Department of Environmental Protection (enacted as Resolve 2009, c. 208)  This Resolve authorizes DEP's final adoption of portions of Section 10: Stream Crossings, within the Chapter 305 Permit by Rule Standards, only as the rule applies to new stream crossings constructed on or after the effective date of the Resolve.  The Resolve also requires DEP, in conjunction with the Departments of Transportation, Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, and Marine Resources to meet with municipal public works officials to provide training, information, and opportunities to evaluate stream crossings.  DEP and the Department of Transportation must report to the Natural Resources Committee on the outreach efforts and the impacts of the rule by January 5, 2011.  Finally, the Resolve directs DEP to adopt major substantive rules regarding stream crossings already in existence on the effective date of the Resolve, and to submit such rules to the Legislature for review by January 1, 2011.   

Groundwater and Drinking Water

  • LD 1526 – Resolve, Regarding Legislative Review of Portions of Chapter 700: Wellhead Protection: Siting of Facilities That Pose a Significant Threat to Drinking Water, a Major Substantive Rule of the Department of Environmental Protection (enacted as Resolve 2009, c. 149, emergency measure effective February 18, 2010)  This Resolve authorizes DEP's final adoption of Chapter 700: Wellhead Protection: Siting of Facilities that Pose a Significant Threat to Drinking Water.  The rule regulates the siting of specific facilities, such as automobile repair and body shops, dry cleaning facilities that use perchloroethylene, and commercial hazardous waste facilities, when those facilities are located within certain wellhead protection zones and groundwater aquifers.
  • LD 1742 – Resolve, Regarding Legislative Review of Portions of Chapter 232: Well Drillers and Pump Installers Rules, a Major Substantive Rule of the Department of Health and Human Services (enacted as Resolve 2009, c. 164, emergency measure effective March 17, 2010)  This Resolve authorizes the Department of Health and Human Services' final adoption of parts of Chapter 232: Well Drillers and Pump Installers Rules.  This Resolve was the result of successful efforts on behalf of the Maine Groundwater Association to establish licensing requirements for geothermal well drillers and geothermal pump installers.

Informed Growth Act

  • LD 1569 – An Act to Clarify the Informed Growth Act (enacted as P.L. 2009, c. 549, emergency measure effective March 25, 2010)  This Act, enacted as P.L. 2009, c. 549, adds a new section to the Informed Growth Act exempting retail businesses that propose to occupy existing buildings occupied most recently by large-scale retail developments, provided there is no proposed increase in floor area greater than 20,000 square feet.

Climate Change

  • LD 1818 – Resolve, to Continue Evaluating Climate Change Adaptation Options for the State (enacted as Resolve 2009, c. 195)  This Resolve, enacted as Chapter 195, directs DEP to continue working with a stakeholder group to evaluate the options available to Maine people and businesses to prepare for potential impacts from climate change.  The stakeholder group was initially authorized in the previous legislative session pursuant to Resolve 2009, Chapter 16, and submitted its first report, "People and Nature:  Adapting to a Changing Climate," containing over 60 recommendations, to the Natural Resources Committee in February 2010.  Chapter 195 directs DEP to submit a progress report by January 31, 2011, on the further progress made by the stakeholder group in developing a plan for state climate change adaptation, and a final report by January 31, 2012.


  • LD 1239 – An Act to Provide Funding to Educate Homeowners in Integrated Pest Management (enacted as P. & S.L. 2009, c. 31)  This law transfers $50,000 from certain Board of Pesticides Control accounts to the University of Maine Cooperative Extension to fund homeowner education on integrated pest management.
  • LD 1547 – An Act to Revise Notification Requirements for Pesticides Applications Using Aircraft or Air-carrier Equipment(enacted as P.L. 2009, c. 584, emergency measure effective April 1, 2010)  This Act repeals a provision requiring land managers to provide preseason notification of aerial or air-carrier pesticide applications.  In place of the preseason notification requirement, the Act directs the Board of Pesticides Control to develop a registry of properties that land managers must use to notify people prior to applying pesticides using aerial or air-carrier equipment.  The Act also establishes criteria for notification, specifies that only properties within certain distances from spray areas must be notified, provides for delayed notification in some situations, and provides a waiver from the notification requirements for public health emergencies and pest outbreaks.
  • LD 1726 – Resolve, Regarding Legislative Review of Portions of Chapter 28: Notification Provisions for Outdoor Pesticide Applications, a Major Substantive Rule of the Department of Agriculture, Food and Rural Resources, Board of Pesticides Control (enacted as Resolve 2009, c. 173, emergency measure effective March 25, 2010)  This bill was amended in committee and rejects the Department of Agriculture's final adoption of portions of Chapter 28: Notification Provisions for Outdoor Pesticide Applications.

Petroleum and Oil, and Oil Disposal Site Remediation

  • LD 1527 – Resolve, Regarding Legislative Review of Portions of Chapter 692: Siting of Oil Storage Facilities, a Major Substantive Rule of the Department of Environmental Protection (enacted as Resolve 2009, c. 148, emergency measure effective February 18, 2010)  This Resolve authorizes portions of the final major substantive rule adopted by the DEP limiting and controlling the siting of oil storage facilities, including variances under certain circumstances, adopted to protect groundwater supplies for public and private water supply wells.
  • LD 1632 – Resolve, Regarding Biofuel in Number 2 Heating Oil – This Resolve directs the Governor's Office of Energy Independence to conduct a study of the energy, environmental, and economic feasibility of establishing requirements for the percentage of biofuel used in Number 2 heating oil.  The study must include several considerations, including the feasibility of linking annual production of biofuel in the state to use goals and requirements, the issues surrounding biofuel supply, price and infrastructure for Number 2 heating oil, and the consideration of federal regulations and programs.  The Resolve directs the Governor's Office of Energy Independence to consult with DEP, the Public Utilities Commission, and the Efficiency Maine Trust Board in carrying out the study.  The Office must submit a report on its study findings by February 15, 2011.
  • LD 1760 – Resolve, Concerning the Proper Disposal of Motor Fuels Containing Ethanol (enacted as Resolve 2009, c. 201)  This Resolve requires DEP to conduct a statewide outreach campaign to educate residents on the proper handling and disposal of motor fuels containing ethanol.  The campaign must include information on how to determine when phase separation occurs, how to deal with and dispose of ethanol-containing motor fuel, and the problems associated with disposal.
  • LD 1827 – Resolve, to Review the Waste Motor Oil Disposal Site Remediation Program – This Act addresses, in part, DEP's desire to address funding of cleanup costs at certain historic waste disposal sites.  DEP is to conduct a review, with stakeholder involvement, of funding issues related to the existing motor oil disposal site remediation program, and produce a report of its findings and recommendations to the legislature by December 1, 2010. 

Renewable Energy

  • LD 1680 – An Act to Assist in Reviewing Wind Energy Applications (enacted as P.L. 2009, c. 492, emergency measure effective March 5, 2010)  This Act amends the process by which the Land Use Regulation Commission ("LURC") reviews applications for the siting of wind energy developments.  Among other things, the Act permits LURC to require that an applicant notify LURC before filing an application and attend a public meeting during the application's review.  In addition, the Act establishes the timeframe in which LURC must review an application and allows LURC to extend an application's processing time with the consent of the applicant.  The Act also clarifies that all proposed wind energy developments of 100 kilowatts or greater, including proposed developments that are not grid-scale, must satisfy certain provisions relating to existing uses and scenic character, and that all wind energy developments within LURC's jurisdiction are considered extraordinary projects subject to additional fees.
  • LD 1682 – An Act to Amend the Electric Utility Industry Laws as They Relate to Renewable Resources (enacted as P.L. 2009, c. 542)  Among other things, this Act amends the law governing electrical generation portfolio requirements by defining "renewable capacity resource" and specifying which resources qualify for the portfolio requirement for new renewable capacity resources.  "Renewable capacity resource" is defined as a source of electrical generation whose capacity does not exceed 100 megawatts and which relies on: (1) fuel cells; (2) tidal power; (3) solar arrays and installations; (4) geothermal installations; (5) hydroelectric generators meeting fish passage requirements; or (5) biomass generators fueled by wood, wood waste, landfill gases, or anaerobic digestion of agricultural products, by-products, or wastes.  The Act specifies that wind power installations are not subject to the 100-megawatt limit for new renewable capacity resources.
  • LD 1720 – Resolve, Regarding Waste-to-energy Power (enacted as Resolve 2009, c. 163)  This Resolve requires the Governor's Office of Energy Independence and Security to examine the merits of qualifying waste-to-energy power for renewable energy credits and resource portfolio requirements, and directs the Office to submit a report to the Legislature by February 15, 2011.  The examination must include, among other things, consultations with the Passamaquoddy Tribe, DEP, the Public Utilities Commission, and the Efficiency Maine Trust.
  • LD 1786 – An Act Regarding Energy Infrastructure Development – This bill, passed on the last day of the session, makes several changes to the law governing energy infrastructure corridors.  Among other changes, the Act designates certain areas as "statutory corridors," including the Interstate 95 corridor, the Interstate 295 corridor, and, subject to conditions, the Searsport-Loring pipeline corridor.  The Act also establishes the Interagency Review Panel, which is charged with overseeing the use of statutory corridors, and provides criteria that the Interagency Review Panel must consider in evaluating energy infrastructure projects proposed in statutory corridors.  In addition, the Act prohibits the development of an energy infrastructure project in a statutory corridor unless the project has obtained an occupancy agreement from the Interagency Review Panel, a consolidated environmental permit from DEP, and, if the project is a transmission line, a certificate of public convenience and necessity from the Public Utilities Commission.

    The Act also establishes standards for the use of "petitioned corridors" and requires an energy infrastructure project located in a petitioned corridor to obtain a corridor use certificate from the Public Utilities Commission, a consolidated environmental permit from DEP, and a certificate of public convenience and necessity from the Public Utilities Commission if the project is a transmission line.  Like the Interagency Review Panel, the Public Utilities Commission also must evaluate energy infrastructure proposals in petitioned corridors, as well as certain "high-impact electric transmission lines" of over 50 miles in length, based on specific criteria provided in the Act.

  • LD 1810 – An Act to Implement the Recommendations of the Governor's Ocean Energy Task Force (enacted as P.L. 2009, c. 615, emergency measure effective April 7, 2010)  This multi-faceted Act implements the recommendations of the Governor's Ocean Energy Task Force.  The lengthy Act makes a number of important changes, some of which are highlighted here.  For example, in amending the submerged lands leasing law, the Act adds a number of special provisions governing lease applications for renewable energy projects and establishes the Renewable Ocean Energy Trust as a dedicated fund for protecting and enhancing the integrity of the state's submerged lands.  Funds from the trust will be used by the Department of Marine Resources towards research and resource enhancement projects directed at addressing the potential adverse effects of renewable ocean energy projects on fisheries and other natural resources.

    The Act also amends provisions governing the jurisdiction of the Board of Environmental Protection ("BEP").  As originally drafted, the bill prohibited BEP from assuming jurisdiction over permit applications for offshore wind energy projects under the Natural Resources Protection Act and tidal energy projects under the Maine Waterway Development and Conservation Act.  However, as passed, the bill extends this prohibition only to offshore wind energy demonstration projects and tidal energy demonstration projects.  The bill as passed also prohibits the Commissioner of Environmental Protection from requesting that BEP assume jurisdiction over such projects.  Persons aggrieved by a decision of the Commissioner or the Board with regard to such projects may appeal the decision to the Supreme Judicial Court.

    In addition, the Act adds the term "offshore wind power project" to both the Natural Resources Protection Act and the Site Location of Development law and requires that DEP consider impacts on existing uses and scenic character in accordance with 35-A M.R.S. § 3452 when reviewing offshore wind power projects.

Wastes, Chemical Control and Products

Hazardous Waste and Toxics

  • LD 1423 – An Act to Improve Toxics Use Reduction and Reduce Energy Costs by Maine Businesses (enacted as P.L. 2009, c. 579)  This Act repeals and replaces the Toxics Use Reduction Act ("TURA"), 38 M.R.S. §§ 2301-2313, effective July 1, 2012.  In place of TURA, the Act requires DEP to establish a list of not more than ten priority chemicals by July 1, 2011.  Facilities using more than 1,000 pounds per year of a designated priority chemical must develop a pollution prevention plan by July 1, 2012, unless they have an environmental management system in place, and begin filing annual usage reports by July 1, 2013.  Facilities may rely on MSDS information to quantify the amount of a priority chemical "used."  As for the priority chemical list, the Act requires DEP to establish the list through rulemaking and review the list at least every three years.  Existing TURA fees stay in place; DEP is directed to propose a new fee structure by January 1, 2015.
  • LD 1531 – An Act to Update Laws Regulating the Maine Emergency Management Agency (enacted as P.L. 2009, c. 479)  This Act eliminates a provision allowing early submission of Tier II Chemical Inventory reports based on projected inventory levels.  The Act specifies that chemical inventory reports must be submitted annually by March 1st, consistent with federal law.
  • LD 1568 – An Act to Clarify Maine's Phaseout of Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (enacted as P.L. 2009, c. 610)  This Act implements a ban on products, other than shipping pallets, made from recycled shipping pallets containing the "deca" mixture of polybrominated diphenyl ethers.  Beginning January 1, 2012, the Act extends the ban to shipping pallets containing the "deca" mixture.  The Act requires manufacturers and owners of shipping pallets to certify compliance with the ban on an annual basis and requires manufacturers to notify the persons that sell their product of the ban's restrictions.  In addition, the Act provides criteria that a chemical alternative must meet to be considered as a replacement to the "deca" mixture.
  • LD 1790 – An Act to Implement the Recommendations of the Working Group to Study Landlord and Tenant Issues (enacted as P.L. 2009, c. 566)  This Act has many provisions addressing landlord and tenant issues, but also addresses lead hazards and radon, and expands the landlord's obligations of notification and radon remediation to those persons who enter into a lease or tenancy at will on behalf of a landlord.
  • LD 1796 – Resolve, Regarding Legislative Review of Chapter 881: Fees: Chemical Use in Children's Products, a Major Substantive Rule of the Department of Environmental Protection (enacted as Resolve 2009, c. 194, emergency measure effective April 1, 2010)  This Resolve authorizes DEP's final adoption of Chapter 881: Fees: Chemical Use in Children's Products, until February 1, 2013.  Chapter 881 requires manufacturers and distributors who are required to provide information on the use of priority chemicals under Chapter 880 to also pay a reporting fee to cover department costs associated with collecting and managing the information.  Pursuant to the Resolve, DEP is required to examine the first two years of experience assessing fees under the rule and to report its findings to the Legislature by February 1, 2013.

Product Stewardship

  • LD 1631 – An Act to Provide Leadership Regarding the Responsible Recycling of Consumer Products (enacted as P.L. 2009, c. 516)  This bill, enacted as P.L. 2009, c. 516, is intended to provide a first-in-the nation "framework" approach to the adoption of future product stewardship, or "extended producer responsibility," programs.  As enacted, the new law provides that it is Maine's policy to "promote product stewardship," and allows DEP to submit an annual report to the Legislature's Joint Standing Committee on Natural Resources, detailing products and product categories that "when generated as waste may be appropriately managed under a product stewardship program." The annual report may recommend new product stewardship programs, as well as changes to existing programs, and must include draft legislation if necessary to address such recommendations.  Importantly, from industry's perspective, DEP is required to post its draft annual report to public comment, at least 30 days before submitting it to the Committee, and must provide to the Committee all comments received along with the report.  The Committee is then authorized to act by submitting legislation to implement the DEP recommendations. 

Solid Waste

  • LD 1716 – An Act to Expedite Rulemaking Concerning Agronomic Utilization of Sludge (enacted as P.L. 2009, c. 507)  This Act eliminates the legislative approval required for rules adopted by the Board of Environmental Protection concerning the agronomic utilization of sludge.
  • LD 1794 – An Act Regarding Solid Waste Facilities (defeated)  This bill, which was defeated, would have amended the law prohibiting the expansion of commercial solid waste facilities by allowing the Crossroads Landfill to expand provided the proposed expansion is contiguous with the existing landfill and located on property owned by the licensee, and the landfill is not under order or agreement to close.  However, the Natural Resources Committee voted against the measure.  In lieu of the bill, the Committee voted to form a study committee, comprised of the entire Natural Resources Committee, to study solid waste issues, including the existing commercial landfill ban, the definition of out-of-state waste, and the state's waste disposal capacity issues.
  • LD 1797 – An Act Regarding Planning for the Management of Solid Waste (defeated)  This bill, which was defeated, would have transferred the responsibility for preparing the state solid waste management and recycling plan from the State Planning Office to DEP.  Like LD 1794 (see above), this bill received an unfavorable vote from the Natural Resources Committee, which instead voted to form a study committee, comprised of the entire Natural Resources Committee, to study solid waste issues, including the existing commercial landfill ban, the definition of out-of-state waste, and state waste disposal capacity issues.  The role of the State Planning Office, as owner of the state-owned Juniper Ridge Landfill and as the entity that prepares the state's solid waste management plan, will undoubtedly be discussed during the study committee sessions.


  • LD 1553 – An Act to Facilitate Establishment of Watershed Districts (enacted as P.L. 2009, c. 506, emergency measure effective March 15, 2010)  This Act facilitates the establishment of watershed districts by amending the laws governing site location of development and coastal and lake watershed districts.  The Act provides that for a redevelopment project subject to the Site Law, storm water management standards are met if the project is located in an area with a DEP-approved storm water management plan and the project's owner enters into and participates in the plan.  In amending the laws governing coastal and lake watershed districts, the Act specifies that municipalities are not limited in their ability to establish watershed districts through either home rule authority or inter-local cooperation with other municipalities.  The Act is retroactive to July 1, 2009, and takes effect upon approval.  The impetus for this Act was the need to establish a Long Creek Watershed District among three towns in the greater Portland area.
  • LD 1573 – An Act to Improve Water Quality through the Phaseout of Overboard Discharges and the Improvement of the Boat Pump-out Laws – This Act amends the law governing state cost-share contributions to overboard discharge replacement projects.  The Act directs DEP to provide grants to owners of overboard discharge systems to pay a portion of the costs of constructing replacement systems, and to provide loans in the event that grant funds are insufficient to cover replacement costs.  Eligibility for grant funds is based on an owner's annual income, which is determined separately for residential owners and commercial establishments.  Unlike the existing cost-share provision, the Act provides a cap on income eligibility above which an owner becomes ineligible for grant funds.  The Act also amends provisions concerning the transfer of ownership of property containing an overboard discharge system.

    In addition, the Act amends the laws governing boat pump-out facilities and requires marinas to provide easy access to such facilities during normal working hours and at all stages of the tide, and to provide pump-out services year-round if the marina serves vessels year-round.  The Act also establishes a limit on pump-out fees charged by marinas.

  • LD 1693 – Resolve, Regarding a Report on the Status of Federal Ship Ballast Water Discharge Rules (enacted as Resolve 2009, c. 198)  This Resolve requires DEP to report to the Legislature by January 5, 2012, on the status of rulemaking by the United States Coast Guard concerning discharges of ballast water from ships.
  • LD 1699 – An Act to Update and Modernize Maine's Floodplain Mapping (enacted as P.L. 2009, c. 522, emergency measure effective March 18, 2010)  This Act establishes the Floodplain Mapping Fund as a fund administered by the State Planning Office for the purposes of mapping floodplains in the state using light detection and ranging technology.  Sources for the fund include private contributions, federal funds, and bond proceeds.

For more information, contact Brian Rayback at brayback@pierceatwood.com or (207) 791-1188.