January 25, 2011

Phase I of Gov. LePage's regulatory reform proposal

(Continued from page 1)

•    Repeal the “new crossing” statute created by the 124th Legislature regarding culverts.

•    Repeal BPA rule and rely on federal EPA and FDA standards.

•    Repeal DEP regulations requiring that medical sharps be shredded prior to disposal

•    Adopt a statute of limitations for filing suit for environmental violations based on the federal statute of limitations of 6 years.

•    Eliminate “per day” penalty minimums of $100 to allow discretion in setting penalties for long-term or long-passed violations and prohibit penalty assessment when delay has been caused by the state.

•    Define currently ambiguous terms in the Uncontrolled Hazardous Substances Sites Law (“UHSSL”).  Adopt a statutory cause of action for contribution to the UHSSL.  Adopt UHSSL regulations and guidance consistent with existing Federal standards.

•    Adopt an environmental audit law or policy, identical to the version used by the federal EPA.  This forgives gravity-based penalties for discovery of non-compliance during a compliance assessment or part of an environmental management program when the problem is promptly disclosed and corrected.

•    Require Notices of Violation (“NOV”) to be issued by DEP within 30 days of an observed violation.

•    Establish a statute of limitations on DEP sign-off on spill clean up.

•    Align the details of state’s requirements for reporting of estimated hazardous waste with the less expansive federal standards.  Specifically, with regard to:
-    de minimis exemptions
-    list of compounds
-    reporting thresholds

•    Allow businesses to inspect their hazardous waste weekly rather than daily.  The federal EPA currently requires a weekly inspection, but the Maine DEP requires daily.

•    Align state universal waste rules with federal universal waste rules.  Currently, DEP has more stringent and costly regulations than those that are required at the federal level for universal waste (which includes fluorescent lamps and certain batteries).


•    Create exemptions in DEP rules that recognize that many valuable materials are not hazardous wastes or solid wastes and managed and transferred as commercial materials

•    Amend the Natural Resource Protection Act to clarify that the setback for shorebird feeding and roosting area and waterfowl wading habitat is 75 feet, consistent with the setback for rivers, streams, brooks & wetlands.

•    Reduce setback requirements related to vernal pools. 

•    Exempt modification to existing residential or commercial structures in coastal sand dune systems from any State permitting requirement where the modification does not extend beyond the existing impervious area and does not increase the building’s total height.

•    Create a DEP waiver for construction in sand dunes required for ADA purposes.

•    Change DEP rules to allow vertical building additions in the frontal sand dunes regardless of whether or not the entire building is on posts.  Currently, for any of these additions, it is required to be on posts, regardless of the scale or importance of the project.

•    Review the Site Location of Development Act (“SLODA”) and the Natural Resources Protection Act (“NRPA”) and implementing regulations to modify applicability thresholds and to set objective standards for review of applications.

•    Repeal the Informed Growth Act.

•    Create a process for minor added projects or revisions to large projects that have already been approved under Site Law to reduce administrative burden of these smaller initiatives.

•    Review the Site Location of Development Act (“SLODA”) and the Natural Resources Protection Act (“NRPA”) and implementing regulations to modify applicability thresholds and to set objective standards for review of applications.  Specifically:
-    Require a decision within 30-days of receipt.
-    Eliminate 3rd Party Inspectors
-    Eliminate DEP review if there is adequate review at the municipal level
-    Require DEP neutrality on the merits of a project.
-    Reduce Site Law filing fees.
-    Extended the manufacturing exemption in 38 MRSA §488 (7) to other types of facilities.
-    Align standards with the Natural Resources Protection Act.
-    Create a minor projects permitting process for minor added projects or revisions to large projects that have already been approved under Site Law to reduce administrative burden of these smaller initiatives.

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