Maine Transmission Siting (8-ME-a)
The Site Location of Development Act tasks state agencies with controlling the location of development of “state or regional significance that has a substantial affect on the local environment in order to insure that such development has minimal impact on the natural environment and the health, safety, and general welfare of the people.”38 M.R.S. § 481.
A person may not construct or operate any development of state or regional significance that may substantially affect the environment without first obtaining a Site Location of Development Permit from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (MDEP). 38 M.R.S. § 483-A. Electric transmission lines of 100 kV or more are subject to the Site Location of Development Act as a development of state or regional significance that may substantially affect the environment. 38 M.R.S. § 488.MDEP regulates site development pursuant to Site Location Development Act and Maine – 06-096-372 ME. CODE R. et seq., Department of Environmental Protection – Policies and Procedures Under the Site Location Law.
Transmission Siting Process
8-ME-a.1 to 8-ME-a.2 – Contact MDEP Regional Office
The developer should contact the MDEP regional office at the outset of the project. Generally, the MDEP and the developer must hold a pre-application meeting regarding any new Site Location of Development Permit Application (Application). The MDEP also recommends pre-application meetings for all major amendments to existing projects. The MDEP may waive pre-application meeting requirements at its discretion.
The purpose of the pre-application meeting is to help the developer understand the Application review process, identify particular areas of concern, and exchange information before commitment to a final design. This meeting may lead to a substantial reduction in processing time. For information about arranging a pre-application meeting, the developer should contact the appropriate regional office. – Site Location of Development Permit Application, at 1.
8-ME-a.3 to 8-ME-a.4 – Publish Notice of Public Informational Meeting
A developer intending to file an Application with the MDEP must provide public notice of an informational meeting at least ten (10) days before the meeting is held. The developer must provide notice of the meeting sent by certified mail to all persons whose lands abut the proposed site location of the project. At least seven (7) days before the informational meeting, the developer must publish notice in a newspaper of general circulation in the area where the developer proposed to locate the project. The notice must include, at minimum:
- The name, address, and telephone number of the developer;
- Citation of the statues or rules under which the MDEP will process the Application;
- The location and summary description of the activity proposed; and
- The date, time, and place of the public informational meeting.
The developer must hold the public informational meeting prior to filing the Application. – Site Location of Development Permit Application, at 1.
8-ME-a.5 – Hold Pre-Submission Meeting
Generally, the developer and MDEP must hold a pre-submission meeting before the developer may submit an Application to MDEP. The MDEP may waive the pre-application meeting at its discretion. The pre-submission meeting allows MDEP and the developer to follow up on issues raised at the pre-application meeting. A pre-submission meeting is required for all projects for which MDEP held a pre-application meeting unless the MDEP waives the pre-submission meeting. – Site Location of Development Permit Application, at 2.
8-ME-a.6 – Publish Notice of the Application
The developer must provide notice of the Application on the form (Public Notice: Notice of Intent to File Form B) provided by MDEP. The developer must publish notice of Application once in a newspaper circulated in the area where the developer proposes to locate the development. The notice must appear in the newspaper within 30 days before filing the Application. – Site Location of Development Permit Application, at 2.
The developer must also provide notice to the owners of abutting property 30 days before filling the Application. An abutting property owner means any person who owns property that is both adjoining and within 1 mile of the delineated project boundary, including owners of property directly across a public or private right-of way. – Site Location of Development Permit Application, at 2.
The developer must also provide a copy of the public notice together with a duplicate of the entire Application to the appropriate town clerk, city clerk, or if the development is in an unorganized are, to the appropriate plantation clerk or county clerk 30 days before submitting the Application to MDEP. – Site Location of Development Permit Application, at 2.
8-ME-a.7 – Site Location of Development Permit Application
The developer must submit a complete Site Location of Development Permit Application (Application) to MDEP. The Application must include, at minimum, the following:
- The developer’s name, contact information, and address;
- A description of the proposed project;
- A copy of the title, right, or interest to occupy the proposed lands for project development;
- A description of the financial capacity of the proposed project and estimated costs;
- A description of the visual and scenic impacts that the proposed project may have on state resources;
- A soil survey map and report;
- A description of the wildlife and fisheries impacts that the proposed project may have on state resources;
- A description of the historic site impacts that the proposed project may have on state resources;
- A description of the site plan and development plan;
- A description of the proposed storm water management planning; and
- A copy of the public notice filings and certification form.
8-ME-a.8 to 8-ME-a.9 – Review Application Materials for Completeness
MDEP reviews the Application materials for administrative and technical completeness. If MDEP determines that the Application is incomplete, MDEP may return the Application to the developer indicating what information is missing. MDEP may request additional information from the developer on any aspect of the proposed development relating to the compliance standards outlined in 38 M.R.S. § 484. Maine – 06-096-372 ME. CODE R. et seq., Department of Environmental Protection – Policies and Procedures Under the Site Location Law.
8-ME-a.10 – Comment on the Application
MDEP accepts written public comments regarding the Application throughout the processing of the Application. Any interested party may submit comments about the Application to the regional office in Portland, Augusta, or Bangor, Maine. Maine Department of Environmental Protection – Site Location of Development Permit Application.
8-ME-a.11 to 8-ME-a.14 – Request Public Hearing (If Applicable)
Any interested person may request a public hearing on the Application no later than 20 days after MDEP receives a complete Application. MDEP has the discretion to hold or not hold a public hearing. If MDEP holds a public hearing, it will publish notice and hold the public hearing at its discretion. Maine Department of Environmental Protection – Site Location of Development Permit Application.
8-ME-a.17 to 8-ME-a.18 – Does the Project Cross Maine Land Use Planning Commission Land?
If a proposed project crosses Maine Land Use Planning Commission (MLUPC) land, then the MLUPC must certify that the project complies with zoning requirements and meets MLUPC land use standards prior to the MDEP approving Permit. If a project crosses MLUPC land and the MLUPC does not certify the proposed project, then the MDEP may not approve the Permit.
8-ME-a.19 to 8-ME-a.21 – Review the Application for Approval
In accessing an Application for approval, MDEP must consider the size, location, and nature of the proposed development in relation to:
- The potential primary, secondary, and cumulative impacts of the development on the character, quality, and uses of the land, air, and water on the development site and on the area likely to be affected by the proposed development; and
- The potential effects on the protection and preservation of the public's health, safety, and general welfare.
MDEP may approve an Application whenever:
- The developer has the financial capacity and technical ability to develop the project in a manner consistent with state environmental standards and with the provisions of Maine – 38 ME. REV. STAT. §§ 481-490 Site Location of Development Act;
- The developer has made adequate provisions for fitting the development harmoniously into the existing natural environment and that the development will not adversely affect existing uses, scenic character, air quality, water quality, or other natural resources;
- The proposed development will be built on soil types that are suitable to the nature of the undertaking;
- The proposed development meets the standards for storm water management;
- The proposed development will not impose an unreasonable risk that a discharge to a significant ground water aquifer will occur;
- The developer has made adequate provisions of utilities, required for the development, and the development will not have an unreasonable adverse effect on the existing or proposed utilities in the municipality or are served by those services; and
- The activity will not unreasonably cause or increase the flooding of the alternation of area or adjacent properties nor create an unreasonable flood hazard to any structure.
MDEP will provide notice of the Application decision. 38 M.R.S. § 485-A(2).
8-ME-a.22 – Site Location of Development Permit
MDEP may place terms and conditions on the approval of the proposed development. Maine – 06-096-372 ME. CODE R. et seq., Department of Environmental Protection – Policies and Procedures Under the Site Location Law.
8-ME-a.23 to 8-ME-a.26 – Request Review Hearing (If Applicable)
If MDEP has issued a decision on the Application without a hearing regarding the development, the developer may request, in writing, a review hearing before the Maine Board of Environmental Protection (Board) within 30 days after notice of MDEP’s decision on the Application. The request for a hearing must include the findings and conclusions of MDEP to which the person objects, the basis of the objections and the nature of the relief requested. Upon receipt of the request, the Board must schedule and hold a hearing limited to the matters set forth in the request. The Board must conduct the hearing in accordance with 38 M.R.S. § 486-A. 38 M.R.S. § 485-A(2).
8-ME-a.27 – Appeal Decision (If Applicable)
Any person who is aggrieved by a final MDEP decision may file a Petition to Appeal with the Superior Court in accordance with. 5 M.R.S. §§ 11001-11008.
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