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Water Quality

Sea Run: A Study Regarding the Impact of Maine Policies on the Quality and Quantity of Traditional Tribal Fish Stocks and Sustenance Practices

MITSC has recently completed and published a new special report, Sea Run, which addresses the impact of Maine policies and activity on the quality and quantity of traditional tribal fish stocks and sustenance lifeways practices, spanning from the time of first contact between Europeans and the Wabanaki Nations to the present day. This report provides a broad overview of actions and inactions by the State of Maine, whether those actions/inactions were based on express policy, informal policy, or on decisions simply not to have any policy at all. The report includes specific recommendations for implementation that are intended to promote discussion and cooperative action.

State of Maine v. Johnson, 498 F.3d 37 (1st Cir. 2007)

That case involved a decision by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) which gave the State of Maine permitting authority, under the Clean Water Act and MICSA, with regard to discharge of pollutants into territorial waters of the Penobscot Nation and Passamaquoddy Tribe, but exempted two Tribal-owned facilities from the State's permitting program. Despite a detailed Opinion Letter from the U.S. Department of the Interior supporting the Tribe's claims, the court upheld the State’s authority to regulate all of the disputed sites, including the two tribal-owned sites located on tribal lands which the EPA had found to have insignificant consequences for non-members of the tribes.

EPA Action on Maine Water Quality Standards 2/2/15

Combined document including 1/30/15 letter from US Interior Solicitor Hilary Tompkins to EPA General Counsel Avi Garbow; Responses to Public Comments Relating to ME's January 14, 2013 Submission to EPA for Approval of Certain of the State's New and Revised Water Quality Standards (WQS) That Would Apply in Waters Throughout Maine, Including Within Indian Territories or Lands; 2/2/15 letter from EPA Region I Administrator H. Curtis Spalding to Maine DEP Commissioner Patricia Aho; & Analysis Supporting EPA's February 2, 2015 Decision to Approve, Disapprove, and Make No Decision on, Various Maine Water Quality Standards, Including Those Applied to Waters of Indian Lands in Maine

8/8/12 letter ME Attorney General William Schneider to Stephen Perkins, EPA re: alewives

Maine Attorney General William Schneider's 8/8/12 response to Stephen Perkins, EPA, concerning the Federal Government's contention that Maine was in violation of its overall water quality standards due to the law passed in 1995 to block river herring passage on the St. Croix River. Schneider chose to assert that because the EPA failed to raise in its July 9 letter certain jurisdictional issues that have been in dispute concerning the St. Croix River “it will never suggest that Maine’s environmental regulatory jurisdiction is in question.”

7/9/12 letter Stephen Perkins, EPA, to ME Attorney General William Schneider re: alewives St. Croix

On July 9, 2012, Stephen Perkins, Director, Office of Ecosystem Protection, US Environmental Protection Agency Region I, wrote to William Schneider, Maine Attorney General. The EPA found 12 MRSA §6134(2), the law passed by Maine in 1995 to block river herring passage on the St. Croix River, in noncompliance with the overall water quality standards set by Maine for that stretch of river which must support naturally occurring species. EPA concluded its letter by stating, “To address EPA’s disapproval and protect designated and existing uses, Maine should take appropriate action to authorize passage of river herring to the portions of the St. Croix River above the Grand Falls Dam.”

5/31/12 letter ME Office of the Attorney General to the EPA & Attorney General, US Dept. of Justice

The 5/31/12 letter from the Maine Office of the Attorney General to the US EPA and Attorney General, US Dept. of Justice, notifying the Federal Government of the State of Maine's intent to sue for the failure to perform a non-discretionary duty under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act.

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