The Maine DEP is proposing changes to its wetlands rules that clarify the definition of wetlands of special significance. Wetlands of special significance (WOSS) include coastal wetlands and great ponds, as well as other freshwater wetlands with certain qualifying attributes such as size, the presence of critical or imperiled plant communities, or location within significant wildlife habitat or a peatland. Activities within a WOSS are allowed only for limited purposes including health and safety, crossings by road, rail or utility lines, water dependent uses, certain expansions of existing facilities, mineral excavation, walkways, and restoration projects. The existing rule provides that any wetland that contains qualifying attributes is a WOSS. This has meant that even those portions of a wetland that do not contain the qualifying attributes were still treated as a WOSS. In some cases, this has meant heightened protection for lower value wetlands distant from the protected resource that resulted in the WOSS designation.
The Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has proposed changes to Chapters 850 (identification of hazardous wastes), 851 (standards for generators of hazardous waste), 852 (land disposal restrictions) and 858 (universal waste rules). The proposed changes, which were posted for public comment on February 21, incorporate new and revised federal regulations, update formatting of the rules, and reflect changes in Maine’s hazardous waste laws.
Americans are increasingly sensitive to the ingredients that go into the food that we eat. Recently, Congress passed a law requiring manufacturers to label or place QR codes on products containing or made from genetically modified organisms (“GMOs”). Now, consumer advocates have turned their attention to food products bearing the word “natural,” raising legal risks for all food manufacturers who label products with that term.
After more than a year of pre-rulemaking process including the issuance of two drafts, the Maine DEP has commenced formal rulemaking and today issued draft rules for wind energy developments in Maine. The formal draft largely tracks the most recent pre-rulemaking version issued in January 2017. The draft rules include standards for evaluating scenic impacts, limits on shadow flicker, provisions related to public safety, and requirements for demonstrating significant tangible benefits.
The Maine Department of Environmental Protection (“DEP” or “the Department”) recently adopted a new regulation that adds two flame retardants to the State’s “Priority Chemicals” list. The regulation requires that manufacturers and distributers who intentionally add decabromodiphenyl ether (“deca BDE”) or hexabromocylododecane to “Children’s Products” report that activity to the Department no later than August 31, 2017.