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.

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.

Brian is the Chair of Pierce Atwood's interdisciplinary Land Use Team.  Prior to joining Pierce Atwood in 1999, Brian was a law clerk for Justice Paul Rudman and Justice Susan Calkins of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.

Honors & Distinctions

  • Recognized in Chambers USA for Environmental Law and in The Best Lawyers in America® for Land Use & Zoning Law since 2013
  • Named to MaineToday Media's "Forty Under 40" list in 2011

Professional Activities

  • Vice Chair, American Bar Association's 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 


  • Co-author, A Practical Guide to Land Use in Maine, MCLE 2016
  • Author of chapter on Maine water rights in Waters & Water Rights, a national treatise published annually by Matthew Bender
  • Regular contributor to American Bar Association's Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources newsletter
  • Principal editor of Pierce Atwood's Environmental Regulatory Compliance Calendar

Civic Activities

  • Board of Directors, Cape Elizabeth Soccer Club, 2016-present, Vice President, 2018-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 "E" License, youth soccer

Practice Areas

Brian is experienced in all aspects of state and federal water law, ranging from assessing jurisdictional issues under the Clean Water Act to developing effective strategies for obtaining regulatory approvals for complex projects.

Representative Experience

  • Wastewater and stormwater permitting for facilities such as pulp and paper mills and municipalities, including a proposed redesignation of a receiving waterbody 
  • Oil spill planning and auditing for an oil storage facility
  • Negotiating a consent agreement to resolve an enforcement action at a saw mill for stormwater issues
  • National coordinating counsel on all environmental matters for a pulp and paper company with operations in multiple states, including in the mid-west, south, and mid-atlantic
  • Represented scrap metal dealer in settling an enforcement action brought by the U.S. Department of Justice under the federal industrial stormwater program at facilities in five states
  • Provided advice to the Republic of Kazakhstan on the adoption of best practices for regulation of air emissions
  • Represented a solid waste company in amending its license to expand a landfill after a two-day hearing before the Maine BEP 

Brian's air practice includes all aspects of air permitting, including obtaining Title V and New Source Review permits. Recent projects include:

  • Advising a pulp and paper mill on a compliance strategy for boiler MACT, BART, and NAAQS
  • Participating in state and federal rulemakings on various issues involving air toxics and new source performance standards
  • Performing due diligence on air issues for significant corporate transactions, including at a food processing plant and a coal-fired power plant
  • Assisting a nuclear power plant with obtaining pollution control tax certifications

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

  • Advising a client on a concept plan rezoning for over 50,000 acres, including a potential conservation easement of 14,600 acres
  • Permitting groundwater withdrawal and loadout sites and negotiating water supply agreements for a bottled water company
  • Wetland and vernal pool permitting for multiple developments, including shopping centers, piers, subdivisions, and transmission lines
  • Site plan and shoreland zoning approvals for transmission lines and substations
  • Subdivision approvals for residential developments, including for single-family homes and a mobile home park 
  • Wharfing out approvals for piers and docks
  • Coastal sand dune approval for residential development 

Representative Experience

  • 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