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Friends of Lincoln Lakes v. Board of Envtl. Protection

ELR Citation: 40 ELR 20080
Nos. No. 09-467, (Me., 03/11/2010)

The Maine Supreme Court upheld the Board of Environmental Protection's decision to affirm the issuance of permits to a company to construct a wind energy generation facility. A citizen group challenged the Board’s findings on the grounds that the company did not meet applicable licensing criteria with respect to sound level limits, impact on public health, and minimized impact on wildlife habitats. The Board’s factual findings were supported by substantial evidence in the record, based on the final reports of an independent consultant, a sound assessment study, and the opinions of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and Maine Centers for Disease Control. Whether alternative findings could be supported by the record is not determinative. In addition, the provisions in 38 M.R.S. §§344(2-A)(A)(1), 346(4), precluding the Board from assuming jurisdiction of the permit applications and allowing direct appeal from the Board to the court, do not violate the Equal Protection Clauses of the U.S. and Maine Constitutions. The group failed to show that no conceivable state of facts supports the legislative action. Moreover, although not required to do so, the Maine Legislature has articulated a legitimate state interest in facilitating the rapid development of alternative, renewable energy resources.