Since 1989 Matt Manahan has worked closely with businesses to find innovative solutions to the environmental and land use law and energy project permitting issues they face. He provides strategic counsel in regulatory, legislative, and judicial proceedings involving a broad range of environmental, permitting, and land use issues, including those relating to renewable energy project permitting, transfer and development of contaminated property, water use, 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 renewable 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 has experience permitting all kinds of renewable energy projects, including hydropower, solar, and wind, as well as the transmission lines needed to connect those projects to the grid.

Honors & Distinctions
  • Recognized for Environmental Law by "Who's Who Legal" (2023)
  • The Best Lawyers in America® "Lawyer of the Year" in Environmental Litigation in Maine (2017 & 2020)
  • The Best Lawyers in America® “Lawyer of the Year” in Land Use and Zoning Law in Maine (2016, 2018, 2024)
  • The Best Lawyers in America® “Lawyer of the Year” in Environmental Law in Maine (2015 & 2021)
  • Recognized by The Best Lawyers in America® for Environmental Law, Land Use & Zoning Law, and Litigation - Environmental (2009-present)
  • Recognized by Chambers USA for Environmental Law
  • Rated AV® Preeminent™ by Martindale-Hubbell
  • Bowdoin College Volunteer of the Year Award for service on Bowdoin Alumni Schools and Interviewing Committee (2008)
  • Received Maine Bar Foundation Special Recognition Award for outstanding volunteer service (1994)
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
Civic Activities
  • Treasurer, Senator Susan Collins' Dirigo Leadership PAC (2015-2022)
  • Member, Senator Susan Collins' Advisory Committee on Federal Appointments in Maine (2016-2020)
  • Member, Governor LePage’s Hydropower Development Advisory Group (2013-2014)
  • Member, Town of Cumberland, Maine Board of Adjustment and Appeals (1999-present); Chair, (2019-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


  • Represent Sappi North America with respect to the relicensing of Brookfield Power’s Shawmut Dam on the Kennebec River in Fairfield, Maine.
  • 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.
  • Represented Sappi North America in the negotiation and permitting of the surrender of the FERC license for the Saccarappa Hydro Project in Westbrook, Maine. On April 18, 2019 FERC issued an order approving the surrender of the license for the Saccarappa Hydro project and the extension, by 10 years, or the licenses for Sappi’s other Presumpscot River hydro projects (Mallison Falls, Little Falls, Gambo, and Dundee), until 2053.
  • 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 starting in 2014 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.
  • Represented 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.
  • Represented Madison Paper Company in the comprehensive settlement of the relicensing of Madison’s Anson and Abenaki projects on the Kennebec River in Maine.
  • Represented several hydropower project owners on several Maine rivers in successfully defending existing water quality certifications in proceedings before the Maine Board of Environmental Protection to reopen the certifications to require immediate construction of fish passage facilities, as well as in the court appeals of that BEP decision. Watts v. Maine Board of Environmental Protection, No. AP-06-19 (Me. Super. Ct., Ken Cty., Dec. 6, 2006); Friedman v. Board of Environmental Protection, 2008 ME 156 (Oct. 9, 2008).
  • Represented FPL Energy in contested proceedings 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 and the related agency agreements. After successful defense of the dam removal permits at the federal, state, and local levels, the dam was removed in August 2008. Save our Sebasticook, Inc. v. Board of Environmental Protection, 2007 ME 102 (Aug. 7, 2007); Save our Sebasticook, Inc. v. Department of Marine Resources, No. Mem. 05-142 (Me., Oct. 12, 2005).
  • Represented 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.
  • Represented 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.
  • Represented 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).
  • Represented the owner of the Union Gas Dam in successfully defending a Maine DEP water quality certification order allowing dam repair work to proceed, in the face of a challenge that the dam impeded fish passage. Friends of the Kennebec Salmon, Inc. v. Maine Dep’t of Environmental Protection, No. AP-05-76 (Me. Super. Ct., Ken Cty., July 19, 2006).
  • Represented dam owner in negotiating a landowner agreement requiring conveyance of FERC-mandated hydropower project conservation easements for no consideration, and then defending the validity of that requirement. Great Northwoods, LLC v. Great Lakes Hydro America, LLC, No. Mem. 08-88 (Me. May 8, 2008).


  • Represented NextEra Energy in all permitting aspects of the 97 MW West Hills Wind Project in Somerset County, Maine, in 2015-2016, as well as the Moose and Alder Stream wind projects, in 2017-2018.
  • Represented 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. Barnett v. BEP, No. BEP-14-537 (Me. Jan. 29, 2015).
  • Represented Patriot Renewables before the Maine Board of Environmental Protection with respect to sound issues associated with the Saddleback Wind Project.


  • Represented NextEra Energy with respect to permitting of the 20 MW, $30 million Winslow Solar Project, located in Clinton, Maine. On February 20, 2019 the Town of Clinton, Maine Planning Board issued all town approvals for the project; Maine DEP had issued permits for the project in May 2018.
  • Represented NextEra Energy with respect to Maine DEP permitting of its 50 MW, $70 million Sanford Airport Solar project. DEP issued the Site Location of Development Act and Natural Resources Protection Act permit on January 15, 2019.
  • 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 represented 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.


  • Part of the Pierce Atwood team that represents Central Maine Power Company and NECEC Transmission LLC on the $950 million New England Clean Energy Connect transmission project to bring Canadian hydropower to the New England grid. This representation includes serving as lead counsel in the federal, state, and local environmental and land use permitting for construction of transmission lines and associated infrastructure, such as substations.
  • 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.


  • Representation of Sappi North America in the 2022 sale to Dichotomy Power of Sappi’s hydropower projects on the Presumpscot River in Maine.
  • Representation of BlueWave Solar with respect to land use and zoning issues for the financing of several solar projects in Maine.
  • Represented Madison Paper in 2017 with respect to the sale of two hydroelectric facilities in Madison and Anson, Maine (27.8 MW).
  • 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 Augusta Food Bank in addressing contaminated property issues in the 2016 transfer of property for a new food bank location, including VRAP liability protection.
  • Represented Bath Iron Works in 2011 in successfully defending against appeals of dredge permits issued to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for dredging of the Kennebec River to allow the U.S.S. Spruance to sail from BIW’s Bath, Maine shipyard. Appeals were filed with the Maine Board of Environmental Protection and the U.S. District Court. Phippsburg Shellfish Conservation Comm’n v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, No. 2:11-cv-00259-JAW (D. Me. July 29, 2011).
  • Representation of Domtar Inc. in the 2010 sale of its Woodland Mill and related assets in Maine.
  • Represented Expera Specialty Solutions, LLC, a portfolio company of KPS Capital Partners, LP, in its 2014 purchase of Maine's Old Town Fuel and Fiber paper mill and related assets. We obtained a DEP permit transfer order in 21 days.
  • Represented J.D. Irving in 2012-2013 in successful effort to amend Maine’s mining laws to allow metallic mineral mining in Maine.
  • Represented hospital in the sale of an office building in Portland, Maine, using Maine’s Voluntary Response Action Program for the sale of contaminated properties to obtain no action assurances.
  • Represented a group of wastewater discharge licensees in Maine v. Johnson, 498 F.3d 37 (1st Cir. 2007), in which EPA had withheld NPDES permitting authority from the State of Maine for Tribal discharges, and had applied a case-by-case analysis for determining State authority over the non-Indian discharges. The First Circuit Court of Appeals held that Maine has authority under the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act to regulate all wastewater discharge facilities in the State, including those owned by Indian Tribes and those owned by non-Indians but discharging into disputed “Indian Territory.”
  • Represented the owner of a closed manufacturing facility landfill in Solon, Maine in the transfer of the Maine DEP closure order for the landfill.
  • Represented oil companies and other potentially responsible parties with respect to alleged petroleum contamination of groundwater and other natural resources, including lawsuits in state and federal court and administrative proceedings before the Maine Board of Environmental Protection.
  • Successfully challenged imposition by the Maine DEP and the Fund Insurance Review Board of a $40,000 deductible under the Maine Groundwater Oil Cleanup Fund, for payment of oil contamination cleanup costs. Boris Dev. Corp. v. Fund Insurance Review Board, No. CV-96-430 (Me. Super. Ct., Ken. Cty., Feb. 13, 1998).
  • Representation of several companies in successfully obtaining tribal documents relating to tribal efforts to regulate the companies’ wastewater discharges. Penobscot Nation v. Georgia-Pacific Corp., 254 F.3d 317 (1st Cir. 2001); Great Northern Paper, Inc. v. Penobscot Nation, 2001 ME 68.
  • Represent a coalition of municipalities and other river users defending against an action brought by the Penobscot Nation asserting that its reservation boundaries extend into the Penobscot River in Maine and thus leading to potential tribal control of non-tribal members’ wastewater discharges and other water uses. Obtained a favorable outcome for our clients in the First Circuit Court of Appeals. Penobscot Nation v. Frey, No. 16-1424 (1st Cir. July 8, 2021).
Representative Experience
  • Successfully challenged a town’s denial of permits for a mobile home park expansion in Bangs v. Town of Wells, 2000 ME 186, including a separate suit to recover attorneys’ fees from the Town, in Bangs v. Town of Wells, 2003 ME 129.
  • Represented Bates College in 2015-2016 in obtaining municipal land use approvals for the construction of a replacement rowing team boat house on the Androscoggin River in Greene. This work included defending an appeal of site plan approval to the Greene Board of Appeals.
  • Assisted Charter Realty & Development in 2014 with City of Portland permitting needed to change the use of a restaurant to a Dunkin Donuts, with a drive-through window.
  • Represented abutting landowners in 2015-16 in successfully appealing to the Town of Eliot, Maine Board of Appeals Planning Board site plan and subdivision approvals for a 21-unit elderly housing subdivision development.
  • Represented the Gulf of Maine Research Institute in obtaining an amendment to the City of Portland ordinances to allow construction of GMRI’s new research laboratory on Commercial Street.
  • Represented Hammond Ridge Development before the Maine Land Use Regulation Commission in the rezoning of land on Millinocket Lake to allow for development of the $65 million Ktaadn resort.
  • Represented H.M. Payson in successfully defending against an appeal to the Town of Scarborough Board of Appeals and ultimately the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, filed by the Portland Museum of Art, challenging local permits for a single family residence adjacent to the Winslow Homer Studio on Prout’s Neck in Scarborough, Maine. Portland Museum of Art v. Town of Scarborough, No. Mem 12-133 (Me. Nov. 1, 2012).
  • Represented Lowe’s in obtaining local site plan and subdivision permits, as well as state and federal environmental approvals, for a new home improvement store.
  • Represented opponents of McPherson Timberlands' 70-lot subdivision proposal in Beaver Cove on Moosehead Lake.
  • Represented Mercy Hospital in obtaining state and local permits for a major new hospital campus project along the Fore River in Portland. This representation included negotiation of a contract zone agreement as well as site plan, storm water, and wetlands permitting for the project.
  • Represented Olympia Equity Investors, a regional real estate developer, in rezoning property for a medical office building, obtaining the necessary permits, and acquiring, leasing and financing the property.
  • Represented the nonprofit Penobscot Bay YMCA in obtaining and defending land use permits for construction of its new facility in Rockport, Maine against administrative and court appeals filed by several neighbors. Allen v. Town of Rockport, No. AP-01-013 (Me. Super. Ct., Knox Cty., Mar. 31, 2002).
  • Represented homeowner in Winthrop, Maine in shoreland zoning enforcement action for failure to obtain permits for an illegal second dwelling unit. Town sought $152,000 penalty; settled the enforcement action for $10,000 plus attorneys’ fees.
  • Represented a motel business in appealing the denial of a building permit based on insufficient street frontage. Successfully argued that two non-contiguous street frontage locations could be combined to satisfy the minimum required. Andrews v. Town of Ogunquit, No. AP-98-059 (Me. Super. Ct., York Cty., Mar. 23, 1999), aff’d, No. Mem. 99-166 (Me. Dec. 23, 1999).
  • Obtained and successfully defended permits for the WMTW television tower in Baldwin, Maine, which opponents argued was inconsistent with the town’s comprehensive plan. Adelman v. Town of Baldwin, 2000 ME 91, 750 A.2d 577.
  • Obtained state and local permits for development at the Topsham Fair Mall and successfully defended those permits from a challenge by an abutter relating to the use of existing public roads and associated traffic impacts. Thacker v. Konover Dev. Corp., 2003 ME 30.
  • Represented Hannaford Bros. in successfully defending against an appeal to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court challenging local permits for a new grocery store in Turner, Maine. Bizier v. Town of Turner, 2011 ME 116 (Nov. 22, 2011).