On September 28, 2021, the Maine Board of Environmental Protection approved a new policy on remote attendance at its meetings. The new policy, titled Policy Regarding Remote Participation in Board Proceedings, allows board members and members of the public to remotely attend board meetings under limited circumstances.
The Board’s new policy follows the Maine Legislature’s enactment of An Act Regarding Remote Participation in Public Proceedings in June 2021. Because the official state of emergency for the pandemic has ended, the act was necessary to empower public bodies, like the Board, to adopt a policy to allow its members and members of the public to continue to participate in meetings remotely.
Under the Board’s new policy, board members may participate in meetings remotely only when attending in-person would not be practicable, in circumstances including:
- Illness or other physical condition that makes it difficult to travel
- Temporary absence from Maine, and attending in-person would be significantly difficult
- The need to travel a significant distance
- Living in a place where geographic characteristics would impede or slow the ability to travel
Members of the public will be allowed to participate remotely only when a board member does so, thereby significantly limiting the flexibility of the new policy. The Board will provide notice of meetings when the public can participate remotely.