The Maine Supreme Court has decided
like to hear oral arguments in
Champlain Wind LLC's (First Wind's) appeal
of DEP's denial of the Bowers Wind Project.
Wednesday, April 8th, 2:10pm - 3:00pm
Cumberland County Courthouse, 205 Newbury Street, Portland, Maine
Oral arguments will be presented by:
Appellant Champlain Wind LLC (Atty Juliet Browne)
Appellee DEP/BEP (Asst Attorney General Margaret Bensinger)
"Friend of the Court" PPDLW (Atty Frederick Costlow)
"Friend of the Court" CLF (Atty Sean Mahoney)
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For What It's Worth:
Here's how Champlain Wind's (First Wind's) law firm, Verrill Dana describes their involvement with the Bowers wind application. No mention whatsoever about their involvement in securing permits for the project. No mention of attorney Juliet Browne's involvement. This screen shot of Verrill Dana's website was taken 02/26/15. (www.verrilldana.com/champlainwind/) :
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The Bowers Timeline
Bowers Application #1 (LURC)
March 14, 2011
Champlain Wind (CW) application for Bowers Wind Project received by LURC.
June 27, 28 and July 6, 2011
LURC holds three days of public adjudicatory hearings.
Oct 19, 2011
After 16 procedural orders and three deliberation meetings, LURC holds preliminary vote on the Bowers application. LURC voted unanimously against permitting the project with two members abstaining. Denial document to be prepared for Nov 9th meeting at which time the vote will be finalized.
Nov 8, 2011
At the last possible minute, CW petitions LURC to be allowed to withdraw application avoiding the final denial vote.
Dec 7, 2011
LURC denies CW's request to withdraw but grants CW's until April 6 to address the scenic impact issues.
April 6, 2012
CW announces they are unable to modify the project. Final vote by LURC scheduled for April 20.
April 20, 2012
LURC votes unanimously to deny the project a permit because CW failed to show that the project would not have an unreasonable adverse effect on the scenic character AND uses related to scenic character of the nine “Scenic Resources of State or National Significance” within eight miles of the project. Click here to see the denial document.
Bowers Application #2
(Department of Environmental Protection (DEP))
Oct 25, 2012
Champlain Wind (CW) application for modified Bowers Wind Project received by DEP.
April 30, May 1, 2013
DEP holds two days of public hearing.
August 5, 2013
Following a two day adjudicatory hearing, multiple site visits and three months of deliberation DEP denies CW a permit for Bowers because the project would have an unreasonable adverse effect on the scenic character AND uses related to scenic character of the nine “Scenic Resources of State or National Significance” within eight miles of the project.
Click here to see the denial document.
Bowers Appeal #1
(appeal to Board of Envieonmental Protection (BEP))
Sept 4, 2013
CW files an appeal of the DEP’s denial to the BEP. Landowner Douglas Humphrey (DH) of Bowers Mountain LLC simultaneously files an appeal.
April 17, 2014
BEP holds a public meeting for AG’s office to brief them on the Wind Energy Act.
May 1, 2014
BEP holds a public meeting on the CW and DH appeals. Preliminary vote is to deny both appeals. The denial document contains several typos and two inconsequential changes were agreed. Final vote scheduled for June 5, 2014 after the denial document has been corrected.
June 2, 2014
In a move reminiscent of its last minute plea to LURC on 11/8/11, a desperate CW attempts to head off BEP’s denial of their appeal. CW writes to BEP Chairman Foley complaining that “an applicant does not have an opportunity to respond to agency feedback... until a final decision is reached, by which time it is usually too late”. Even though the official record is closed, CW also requests that the BEP remand the matter to the (DEP) to allow CW to address their concerns by presenting a modified project. The letter is accompanied by new exhibits not in the record.
June 5, 2014
BEP holds public meeting to address Champlain’s request. After hearing arguments from CW, DH, PPDLW and the Conservation Law Foundation (CLF), the Board refuses to remand the application back to the DEP. BEP then votes 4 to 1 to deny both appeals and uphold the DEP’s denial of the Bowers application on the basis of unreasonable scenic impact. Click here to see the denial document.
Bowers Appeal #2
(appeal to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court (SJC))
July 3, 2014
CW files Petition for Review of Final Agency Action with SJC.
Oct 30, 2014
CW files its Appeal Brief with SJC.
Click here to see Champlain's Appeal Brief.
Nov 26, 2014
Assistant Attorney General Bensinger files Maine DEP/BEP's response to the appeal.
Dec 8, 2014
PPDLW files an amicus curiae brief as a "friend of the court".
The SJC has an extensive record to study. The justices can decide that they have all the evidence necessary to decide the matter, in which case they will release a written decision. Alternatively they can set a date for oral arguments at which time the two parties, Champlain Wind and DEP/BEP, will make short presentations and answer questions. No decision is announced at oral arguments. The justices may deliberate further and will issue a written decision at a later date.
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