Recent Environmental Cases
Maine Supreme Judicial Court
- Windham Land Trust v. Jeffords, 2009 ME 29
Affirming State’s right to intervene under 33 M.R.S. § 478(1)(D) (2008) in conservation easement enforcement action, and barring commercial use of parcel limited to “residential recreational purposes” under terms of easement
- Britton v. Maine Department of Conservation, 2009 ME 60
Upholding dismissal of Rule 80C appeal for untimeliness, and holding that submerged land lease granted by State to one party under Submerged and Intertidal Lands Act (SILA), 12 M.R.S. § 1862 (2008) had no legal effect on remaining property dispute between the private parties.
- Uliano v. Maine Board of Environmental Protection, 2009 ME 89
Upholding decision of Board of Environmental Protection denying Ulianos’ application for a permit to construct a pier under the Natural Resources Protection Act, 38 M.R.S. §§ 480-A to 480-GG (2008), and the DEP’s Wetland Protection Rules.
- State v. McLaughlin 2009 ME 90
Upholding criminal conviction including jail time, and payment of penalties and clean-up costs for violation of Maine’s special waste disposal laws.
- State of Maine v. Haskell, 2008 ME 82
Title 12 M.R.S. § 13071-A(4)(A) (2007) prohibiting operation of personalized watercraft on certain bodies of water has a rational basis and thus does not violate Constitutional due process.
- Nelson et al v. Bayroot LLC and Maine Land Use Regulation Commission, 2008 ME 91
Upholding Land Use Regulation Commission’s approval of Bayroot LLC’s relocation of lots and application to amend subdivision plan.
- Najemy v. Board of Environmental Protection, 2008 ME 109
Upholding Board of Environmental Protection decision that development project was neither a subdivision nor a structure under 38 M.R.S. § 482(2)(A)-(F), and thus did not require a Site Location of Development permit.
- Friedman et al. v. Board of Environmental Protection, 2008 ME 156
Holding that Board of Environmental Protection had nonreviewable, sole, statutory discretion to decline to act on appellants’ petitions to modify water quality certifications issued by the Department of Environmental Protection to owners of hydropower projects on various Maine rivers.
- FPL Energy Maine Hydro LLC v. Department of Environmental Protection, 2007 ME 97
Affirming Board of Environmental Protection’s denial of water quality certification for Flagstaff Lake Project, owned and operated by FPL.
- Save Our Sebasticook, Inc. v. Board of Environmental Protection, 2007 ME 102
Affirming the Board of Environmental Protection’s grant of a permit to FPL Energy Maine Hydro LLC for partial removal of the Fort Halifax dam pursuant to the Maine Waterway Development and Conservation Act (MWDCA), 38 M.R.S. §§ 630-637 (2006), and issuance of a water quality certification in connection with the proposed dam removal pursuant to 38 M.R.S. §§ 464(4)(F), 636(8) (2006).
- Citizens Communication Co. v. Attorney General/Societe Colas SA v. Attorney General and DEP, 2007 ME 114
Holding that draft settlement documents exchanged in environmental clean-up litigation among certain adverse parties including the Department of Environmental Protection were public documents and must be disclosed under the Maine Freedom of Access Act.
- Hannum v. Board of Environmental Protection, 2006 ME 51
Affirming Board of Environmental Protection’s denial of Hannum’s application for a permit to install a pier, ramp, and float in a coastal wetland on the shore of property located in Long Cove, Mount Desert Island.
- Welch v. State of Maine, 2006 ME 121
Holding that where lakefront property had historic access across Rangley Lake, Welch failed to establish right to a road, an easement by necessity, through the surrounding State Park.
- Kroeger v. Department of Environmental Protection, 2005 ME 50
Affirming the Department of Environmental Protection’s denial of Kroeger’s application for a permit to build a dock on the grounds that the proposed dock would unreasonably interfere with existing scenic uses contrary to the requirements of the Natural Resources Protection Act, 38 M.R.S.A. §§ 480-A to –Z (2001 & Supp. 2004), on the grounds that the dock would unreasonably interfere with existing scenic uses.
U.S. Supreme Court
- Massachusetts et al. v. EPA, 549 U.S. 497 (2007)
Reversing EPA determination that agency lacked authority under Clean Air Act to regulate emissions of greenhouse gases.
- S.D. Warren Company v. Board of Environmental Protection, 547 U.S. 370 (2006)
Reaffirming states’ regulatory authority over hydropower dams including authority to insure fish passage via fishways, to set minimum flow releases to prevent river beds from drying up, to limit changes to pond levels to protect aquatic habitat, and to allow construction of boat access ramps to ensure public recreation.
Federal Courts of Appeal
- FPL Energy Maine Hydro LLC v. FERC and State of Maine, 551 F.3d 58 (1st Cir. 2008)
Res judicata bars federal relitigation of Clean Water Act arguments made in state court.
- Fitzgerald v. Harris, 549 F.3d 46 (1st Cir. 2008)
Affirming no Federal preemption of Maine conservation land use regulation pertaining to the Maine Allagash Wilderness Waterway Act.
- State of Maine v. Stephen Johnson, Administrator, U.S. EPA, 498 F.3d 37 (1st Cir. 2007)
Vacating EPA decision granting Maine partial delegation of Clean Water Act permitting program and confirming Maine’s environmental regulatory authority applies statewide, including to Indian reservations and territory.
Federal District Court
- Animal Welfare Institute v. Martin, Doc. No. CV-08-267-B-W (D.Me. Nov. 26, 2008) (Order on Preliminary Injunction)
Court denied animal welfare group’s motion for preliminary injunction to enjoin trapping which allegedly led to incidental takes of lynx protected under Endangered Species Act, except to require Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to clarify one portion of its trapping regulations.
Federal Agency Decision
- Maine DEP Requirements on Transportation of Cathode Ray Tubes (Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration), Federal DOT Notice of Administrative Determination of Preemption, Doc. No. PHMSA-2007-28444(PDA-32(R)) (September 2, 2009)
Upholding the Maine DEP’s regulations on classifications of, and marking, labeling, shipping documentation, and transporter requirements for, used cathode ray tubes (“CRT’s”) as universal waste, and broken CRT’s and glass removed from CRT’s as a State hazardous waste, against a Federal preemption challenge by the Electronics Industries Alliance.