Brian M. Rayback

Brian Rayback focuses his practice on environmental and land use law, with expertise in all aspects of water, air, natural resources, solid waste, and zoning regulation. He is the Chair of Pierce Atwood's Environmental Practice Group.

Brian provides cost-effective, strategic advice on project permitting, enforcement matters, appeals of agency decisions, regulatory compliance, and legislative issues for property developers and owners, trade associations, utilities, construction companies, and industrial and manufacturing facilities. He regularly appears before federal, state, and local boards and agencies to assist clients in navigating the complex and often overlapping array of environmental and land use regulations.

Honors & Distinctions
  • The Best Lawyers in America® “Lawyer of the Year” in Maine for Environmental Law (2022)
  • Recognized by Chambers USA for Environmental Law
  • Included in The Best Lawyers in America® for Environmental and Land Use & Zoning Law (2013-present)
  • Named to MaineToday Media's "Forty Under 40" (2011)
Professional Activities
  • Vice Chair, American Bar Association Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources, State and Regional Environmental Cooperation Committee (2010-2015)
  • Member, Maine State Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education Committee (2009-2016)
  • Participant in multiple Maine Department of Environmental Protection Stakeholder groups, including on scenic and aesthetic impacts, the Site Location of Development Act, the Shoreland Zoning Act, and industrial stormwater issues 
  • Law Clerk, Maine Supreme Judicial Court for Justice Paul Rudman and Justice Susan Calkins (1998-1999)
  • Co-author, A Practical Guide to Land Use in Maine, MCLE New England (2016 and 2018, 2021 supplements)
  • Author of chapter on Maine water rights in Waters & Water Rights, a national treatise published annually by Matthew Bender
Civic Activities
  • Board of Directors, Cape Elizabeth Soccer Club (2016-present), President (2022-present)
  • Board of Directors, Biodiversity Research Institute (2010-2012)
  • Board of Directors for the Nathan and Henry B. Cleaves Law Library (1999-2007), Treasurer (2005-2007)
  • Volunteer coach, U.S. Soccer "D" License, youth soccer

Practice Areas

Brian has broad experience advising clients on complex regulatory issues involving air emissions, wastewater and stormwater discharges, solid waste disposal, and natural resources issues. Recent projects include:

Representative Experience
  • Assisted Twin Rivers Paper Company with infrastructure development crossing the St. John River between Maine and Canada pursuant to a Presidential Permit review.
  • Served as national coordinating counsel for Verso Corporation at paper mills in multiple states. This involved advice on an array of topics, including regulations related to air emissions, wastewater discharges, and managing hazardous substances.
  • Advising a proposed data center on the permitting of a cooling water intake structure under Clean Water Act § 316(b).
  • Advised multiple clients on obtaining sales & use tax and property tax exemptions under Maine law for air and water pollution control facilities, including for landfill liners, nuclear waste storage, and stormwater management facilities.
  • Assisted the operator of Maine's Juniper Ridge Landfill with several permit amendments, including a 9.35 million cubic yard expansion and negotiation of a new limit for oversized bulky waste.
  • Represented the Greater Portland Council of Governments in advocating for revisions to the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer (MS4) General Permit under EPA's Remand Rule, including defending the new permit on appeal to the Maine Board of Environmental Protection.

Brian's land use practice covers a broad range of development projects, and includes advice on issues such as takings, variances, vested rights, and contract zoning that frequently arise under state and local rules. Recent projects include:

Representative Experience
  • Advised Irving Woodlands, LLC on the successful concept plan rezoning by the Maine Land Use Planning Commission for about 51,000 acres in northern Maine, including a potential conservation easement of more than 16,700 acres. The project proposes rezoning for residential, commercial, forestry, and recreational lodging uses along four lakes in the Fish River Chain of Lakes, and includes innovative new rules for managing phosphorus export, provides alternatives for septic systems at existing camp lots, and requires implementation of sustainable forestry practices.
  • Led the legal team on the development of a new spring water site, pipeline, and loadout facility for Poland Spring in Rumford, Maine. This project included negotiating a long-term water supply and lease agreement with the Rumford Water District, multiple real estate acquisitions, and permitting by the Maine DEP Maine Drinking Water Program, and both the local selectmen and planning board.
  • Advised purchaser of medical office building on stormwater issues related to the Long Creek watershed under a general permit issued by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection pursuant to the Clean Water Act's residual designation authority.
  • Successfully overturned for Hannaford Bros. the denial of a permit for a pylon sign with an appeal to the City of Belfast Zoning Board of Appeals. The panels on the sign had been damaged by a storm and needed to be replaced. This required a permit from the local code enforcement officer, who denied the application to repair the sign on the ground that it was a nonconforming, off-premises sign. Ultimately, the Board agreed that the sign was legally nonconforming and could be replaced. An interesting wrinkle was that the City has either lost or misplaced the file with the original permit for the sign, initially built in 1983 by a predecessor, and thus Hannaford had to rely on a 2004 renewal of that permit to support its claim that the sign was lawfully present.
  • Successfully advised Whole Oceans on the state and local site and zoning permitting for its proposed land-based recirculating aquaculture system.
Representative Experience
  • Assisted Poland Spring with state and local site permitting a 10 MW behind-the-meter solar array at its bottling plant in Hollis, Maine.
  • Led the legal team for local permitting on Central Maine Power Company's Maine Power Reliability Program, a $1.4 billion project across approximately 75 municipalities to ensure the reliability and safety of its high voltage transmission system.
  • Represents potential investors in environmental and land use due diligence, including a review of ongoing permitting matters, for multiple renewable energy projects, including investments in off-shore wind, solar, and biomass projects.
  • Advising multiple solar developers in dozens of communities in Maine on land use and zoning issues related to development of solar projects, including moratoria, variances, contract zoning, subdivision, conditional use approvals, and the application of Maine's net energy billing program.