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Swift River Co. v. Board of Envtl. Protection

Citation: 19 ELR 21073
No. No. Ken-88-135, 550 A.2d 359/(Me., 11/08/1988)

The court rules that a Maine statute designed to protect outstanding rivers prohibits the construction of new dams on protected rivers and prohibits dam redevelopment that would diminish the river's significant resource values. The court holds that although the Maine legislature sought to encourage hydroelectric development under the Maine Waterway Development and Conservation Act, it specifically singled out a limited number of stream segments for a complete prohibition of dam development in an earlier river protection statute. The statutory language clearly states that there will be no new dams without specific legislative authority and that no permit shall be issued for development or redevelopment of existing dams if doing so would diminish the significant resource values of the river or stream segment. The court holds that an administrative board's denial of a redevelopment permit on the Penobscot River was proper in light of the potential diminishment of historic, recreational, and wildlife values.

Counsel for Appellant
John C. Bannon
Murray, Plumb & Murray
75 Pearl St., Portland ME 04101
(207) 773-5651

Counsel for Appellee
Phyllis Gardiner, Ass't Attorney General
State House, Augusta ME 04330
(207) 289-3661

Before McKUSICK, C.J. and ROBERTS, WATHEN, GLASSMAN, CLIFFORD and HORNBY, JJ.