Posts tagged #Maine

Maine Supreme Court Decides Seaweed Is a Plant, Not a Fish

After deliberating for a year and a half in Ross v. Acadian Seaplants, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court has unanimously held that rockweed, a type of seaweed that grows on rocks in the intertidal area all over the North Atlantic, is owned by the intertidal property owner, not the public.

The Ross brothers and other coastal property owners, represented by Verrill Dana, brought the lawsuit to help protect this ecologically vital rockweed from an escalating commercial harvest. Ken Ross, a retired teacher, and Carl Ross, a retired commercial electrician, were born and raised in Calais, Maine. Their modest coastal property on Cobscook Bay in Washington County was bought by their grandparents in 1900.

Posted on April 8, 2019 .

EPA Releases 2016 Enforcement Figures

This year marks the third annual post from this Blog highlighting EPA’s enforcement and compliance figures. And while this year’s data tells a number of interesting stories, no story is larger than the potential impact of the incoming Trump Administration on EPA’s enforcement figures in 2017. With that as our backdrop—and fully admitting that this time next year, EPA’s data may look very different giving us even more to talk about—here are just some of the interesting facts and trends spotted in last year's data. 

Posted on January 24, 2017 .

EPA Releases 2015 Enforcement Statistics

As it does each year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (the “EPA” or “Agency”) recently released its annual enforcement statistics for the past year. As the Agency has been saying throughout Administrator McCarthy’s tenure, it is focusing on high visibility enforcement with greater environmental (and financial) bang for its buck. The data is living proof—fewer actions, but larger penalty figures.

And as has been highlighted on this Blog in the past, EPA’s year-end enforcement website is a treasure-trove of information. Statistics are broken down by region, state, and statute, making it even more useful. For those of us in Region 1, it’s interesting to note that the Agency initiated just 104 cases in the past year; the lowest number in the country. Contrast that with Region 6 which topped the list by initiating 362 enforcement cases in 2015. 

My personal favorite is the interactive “Case Map” because large enforcement trends are easy to spot. For example, within Region 1, Connecticut was the only state where enforcement actions increased (24 in 2014 v. 32 in 2015). It also seems as if the large majority of water violations across the country are clustered in the northeast corridor and the majority of air violations occur in the upper Midwest states with heavy concentrations around Chicago and Detroit. 

Since everyone loves a table, here is a data compilation for four New England states, complete with a handy juxtaposition against 2014 data. Enjoy the numbers and check back again next year for new trends and a hearty three-year comparison!

Click here to download a PDF of the table below.

Total Enforcement Actions Water Air Waste CERCLA Chemical Criminal Federal Facilities
'14 '15 Δ '14 '15 Δ '14 '15 Δ '14 '15 Δ '14 '15 Δ '14 '15 Δ '14 '15 Δ '14 '15 Δ
CT 24 32 +8 3 4 +1 5 6 +1 3 0 -3 1 1 0 12 20 +8 0 1 +1 0 0 0
ME 12 9 -3 0 7 +7 6 0 -6 0 0 0 2 0 -2 4 0 -4 0 1 +1 0 1 +1
MA 56 54 -2 17 22 +5 14 8 -6 2 4 +2 2 4 +2 20 12 -8 0 1 +1 1 3 +2
RI 12 11 -1 0 1 +1 4 2 -2 0 1 +1 2 2 0 2 2 0 1 2 +1 3 1 -2
Sum 104 106 +2 20 34 +14 29 16 -13 5 5 n/a 7 7 n/a 38 34 -4 1 5 +4 3 5 +2
Posted on January 25, 2016 .

Count ME In

Count Maine “in” as one of the 18 states filing a motion to intervene to defend the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s (“EPA” or “Agency”) Clean Power Plan (“Rule”).   A coalition including 24 states wasted little time filing suit against the much-anticipated final Rule after it was posted in the Federal Register on October 23.  The coalition alleges that the Rule is an overreach of the authority delegated to the Agency by Congress and more specifically, Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act cannot be used to regulate greenhouse gases.  The petitioners are asking the court to stay the Rule while the suit is pending and ultimately, invalidate it as ultra vires. 

DEP Proposes—or Re-Proposes—Two Chemicals for Priority List

Earlier this month, Maine DEP (Department) announced it would be proposing—or more accurately, re-proposing—the addition of two chemical to its list of “Priority” chemicals.  The Department announced that it would be drafting rules to include formaldehyde and phthalates to its list of “Priority” chemicals.  

By way of background, the current law creates three categories of chemicals: “Concern”, “High Concern”, and “Priority”. Only “Priority” chemicals intentionally used within “Children’s Products” at amounts greater than de minimus levels trigger reporting requirements. 

Posted on January 28, 2015 .