Home → DEP Highlights
Commissioner's Highlights - January 13, 2012
Mark Bergeron, who most recently was a project engineer at Sevee and Maher Engineers, has been selected as the division director for Land Resource Regulation. Mark has specialized in land development projects, highway design and construction and local, state and federal permitting, and has been managed some of the most balanced developments in Maine in recent years, including Backyard Farms greenhouses in Madison, the redevelopment of Pineland Farms and capital improvement projects at many of our state parks including Popham Beach, Sebago Lake and Camden Hills.
Ken Winters has joined the department as Deputy Commissioner. Ken, who earned both a BA in psychology and an MBA from the University of Maine, is an internationally experienced leader in human resources management, having consulted for public, private and not-for-profit clients around the world including McCain Foods, Westinghouse Electric Corporation, Bowater, Louisiana-Pacific Corporation and many others. He also has served as the Personnel Director of the University of Maine System, VP of Administration at Webber Energy, a two term management member of the Maine Labor Relations Board and an adjunct faculty member at the University of Maine, Husson University and the University of Port Elizabeth in South Africa. Actively committed to education on environment and natural resources stewardship, Ken has served four terms as a trustee of Unity College and is also an active sportsman and longtime Registered Maine Guide who was past president of the Maine Professional Guides Association and on the board of Operation Game Thief.
The department announced the relaunching of the Governor’s Awards for Environmental Excellence. Nominations are now open for the awards, to be presented in April by Governor LePage and Commissioner Aho, which will honor businesses in four workforce size categories, nonprofits and public entities for going beyond standard techniques or regulatory requirements to creatively meet environmental challenges. Already many businesses have written to request applications and applaud the department’s decision to reinstate the awards. “A strong economy and protecting our natural resources go hand in hand and Maine DEP has done a great job moving in this direction,” said Dana Connors, president of the Maine State Chamber of Commerce. “The Maine State Chamber of Commerce thanks the Maine DEP for relaunching the Governor’s Awards for Environmental Excellence officially recognizing that Maine’s business community is one of our greatest environmental stewards.”
The Board of Environmental Protection voted unanimously to accept a rule proposed by the department that will ease the process by which landowners can develop near moderate value inland waterfowl and wading bird habitat (IWWH) by allowing them to use the permit-by-rule process. While the eventually approved rule was not as flexible as what the department initially proposed to the board, it still creates a less burdensome process that we believe will provide the protections for the resource while still streamlining the permitting process so that it is faster and more affordable for landowners. The rule now moves to the Legislature for final review and adoption.
EPA has finalized standards regulating emissions from oil and coal fired power plants known as the “Power Plant Mercury and Air Toxics Standards” (MATS). Maine has only one facility potentially subject to these standards, but expects significant reductions in mercury deposition to Maine’s water bodies due to emission reductions from upwind states. These standards will also result in emission reductions of other metals, acid gases, organic air toxics like dioxin and particulate matter.
The Department approved construction of a three-lot commercial development on Route 1 in Thomaston, to be known as Thomaston Commons. The project is estimated to cost $21.5 million and will have a Wal-Mart as its anchor store.
Through the department’s Clean Water State Revolving Loan Fund program, the Portland Water District received a $2,700,000 loan ($270,000 in loan principal forgiveness) for upgrades to the Spurwink Avenue pump station and wastewater treatment facility in Cape Elizabeth. These upgrades will eliminate the discharge of untreated wastewater discharges through an emergency overflow at the pump station and increase the treatment capacity at the wastewater treatment facility, thereby improving water quality and decreasing a public health hazard. The project created/sustained an estimated 35 jobs.