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DISCLAIMER: This blog is published for general information only - it is not intended to constitute legal advice and cannot be relied upon by any person as legal advice. While we welcome you to contact our authors, the submission of a comment or question does not create an attorney-client relationship between the Firm and you.


Supreme Court Says “No Frog Habitat, No Critical Habitat”

You might assume that if an endangered species is nowhere to be found on your property, you can rest easy.  “No,” said the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which decided in 2012 that if your land might be a good place for the Dusky Gopher frog to live, you might be subject to development restrictions under the Federal Endangered Species Act.

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Pipeline Appeals Grant of Summary Judgment to South Portland Regarding Its Ban on Marine Loading of Crude Oil 

Judge Woodcock of the U.S. District Court in Portland, finding that the South Portland’s Clear Skies Ordinance (the Ordinance) was neither a “preempted pipeline facility safety standard or a discriminatory ordinance enacted for an economically protectionist purpose, granted summary judgment to the City on October 9, 2018. Last month, on November 7, 2018, the Portland Pipeline Line Corporation (PPLC) filed a notice of appeal from that summary judgment order, a hearing date is pending. According to a press statement, PPLC remains convinced “that the so-called Clear Skies ordinance is preempted by state and federal law and otherwise violates the United States Constitution.” “Portland Pipe Line Corp. plans to appeal court ruling on ‘Clear Skies’ ordinance,” Portland Press Herald (Nov. 7, 2018). At a time when attention and pressure is mounting for infrastructure projects around the State, this order—and whether the First Circuit affirms it—will be a noteworthy signal for energy and utility industry stakeholders regarding the bounds of local control.

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Maine Street Solutions - Legislative Update

Election night is now (mostly) in the books. As the night wore on, the blue tide turned into a blue wave and ended as a mini blue tsunami crashing on the Maine shore. More results are still coming in, but here’s what we know about the top of the ticket races: 

  • Janet Mills (D-Farmington) becomes the first woman to be elected Governor of Maine, garnering nearly 50% of the vote in a four-way race.

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Sixth Annual Natural Gas Conference Focused on the Future 

More than 100 professionals from the energy industry gathered at The Woodlands Club in Falmouth, Maine on Thursday, October 18 for the 6th Annual Natural Gas Conference: Focus on the Future, co-hosted by Verrill Dana and Pierce Atwood. The conference kicked off with a keynote address by Mark Vannoy, Chair of the Maine Public Utilities Commission, which was followed by a video address from United States Senator Angus King, during which he explained, “natural gas is at the forefront of an energy revolution and energy transformation in this country.” The Bangor Daily News article entitled, “Natural gas touted as best alternative while Maine looks to renewables,” provides a detailed overview of Senator King’s remarks, in addition to information on what the future of natural gas might look like in Maine from Verrill Dana attorney William Harwood.

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Natural Gas: Focus on the Future

As the cold weather approaches and the topic of natural gas is top of mind, Verrill Dana and Pierce Atwood will be hosting their 6th Annual Natural Gas Conference: Focus on the Future on Thursday, October 18 at The Woodlands Club in Falmouth, Maine.

The all-day event will be led by attorney William Harwood and feature keynote speaker Mark Vannoy, Chair of Maine Public Utilities Commission, followed by a video address by United States Senator Angus King and lunch speaker Portland Press Herald’s Reporter Tux Turkel. Panelists will cover topics of:

  • Power Generation in the Northeast
    Featuring Verrill Dana attorney Jim Cohen
  • Pipeline Expansion: Challenges and Opportunities
  • LNG: Imports and Exports - Why Not Interstate?
  • Forward - Thinking Solutions

For more details on the event and the full agenda, visit Verrill Dana’s website here.



Verrill Dana Utilities Attorneys Publish Book on Maine Regulation of Public Utilities, the Only Book of Its Kind in Maine

Verrill Dana’s Utilities Group has released the second edition of Maine Regulation of Public Utilities, the only treatise on the subject of public utility regulation in Maine.

At more than 200 pages and with nearly 1,200 footnotes, the well-researched book provides a comprehensive look into public utilities regulation in Maine, from adjudicatory and rulemaking processes to review of utility mergers and acquisitions, and from state and federal regulation to opening utility industries to competition.

“This new edition reflects most of the significant changes in Maine utility law since we published the first edition of the book in 2008,” said William Harwood, Chair of Verrill Dana’s Utilities and Energy Group. “The book, which draws heavily on the group’s more than 100 years of collective experience, aims to provide a complete picture of utility regulation in Maine today and how it has dramatically evolved.”

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At NECPUC: Takeaways from the Annual Symposium

At the end of May, Verrill Dana attorneys James Cohen, William Harwood, Geoffrey Why, Katie Gray, and Brian Marshall attended the 71st New England Conference of Public Utilities Commissioners (NECPUC) Annual Symposium at the Cliff House in Cape Neddick, Maine. The conference sessions covered a range of topics, from net neutrality to the future of the power grid to electric vehicles in New England to natural gas safety, and featured special guests Maine Governor Paul LePage and, via video address, Senator Angus King.

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