LD 1643/ Public Law chapter 452
Work Group - Review of Ground Water Regulations 2005-2006
November 15, 2005

Meeting minutes

1. Bob Marvinney welcomed everyone and introduced the importance of this process.

2. Tim Glidden (facilitator) reviewed the process for the group and discussed some basic ground rules for the group. We will strive for consensus as a group, but be frank about differences where they occur and will acknowledge these in the final report. Glidden emphasized the group's role as an advisor to the Land and Water Resources Council.

3. Marvinney reviewed the provisions of PL Chap. 452.

  1. Part A. This section makes parallel changes in statutes for each of the agencies involved in regulating water withdrawals. This section clarifies the responsibilities of the permitting agencies to consider the effects that a proposed withdrawal would have on other water-related natural resources and existing ground water uses.
  2. Part B. This section requires permitting agencies to develop consistent hydrogeologic review processes. John Hopeck and Andy Tolman reported that the state agencies were on track for completing this process by early next year. A summary of this information will be made available to the group.
  3. Part C. This is the section that defines the study we are undertaking. It falls under the auspices of the Land and Water Resources Council, to which our group must make recommendations no later than October, 2006, any of which must be passed on to the Legislature no later than November, 2006. (Note that the law incorrectly states November 2007.) The law includes a list of factors that must be considered in the review process but this should not be limiting to our discussion.
  4. Discussion at this point centered on the definition of "water-related natural resources." DEP looks at those that specifically require water - streams, ponds, etc. IFW considers state trust resources that are water dependent. Hopeck will bring back a definition based on DEP usage.

4. Marvinney reviewed past efforts regarding water policy. Marvinney worked from a 2-page synopsis taken from a lengthy summary that he compiled last year with the assistance of others. There has been considerable debate on water policy for decades and many of the recommendations from past efforts have been implemented while others have not.

  1. Water Resource Management Board. We noted that this temporary board (1989-90) recommended considerable local involvement in water management. This has been adopted after a fashion in the Aroostook Water Use Policy (1996) and the Downeast Rivers Water Use Management Plan (2000). The merits of this approach should be considered in our discussions.
  2. Dave Bell pointed out that while the state has been discussing policies for many years, much has not been implemented, at least partially due to the lack of resources/funding for implementation. It might be best to develop a policy framework but apply scarce resources to a few areas of potential conflict.

5. Perspectives. Each member of the group offered a few points on the issues/process:

  • Gene Bergoffen
    • concerned with the issue of sustainability versus use, and best regulatory means to insure sustainability
    • how do you determine what is sustainable?
    • how do you assess impacts on surface water bodies?
    • important for locals to coordinate with State agencies
  • John Delahanty
    • interested in coordination of permitting and regulation among State agencies
    • public education, in particular educate the public that water resources are currently regulated
    • interest in seeing water used to it's full potential for economic development
  • Rick Knowlton
    • has dealt with local and State agencies in using ground water resources, and all have different regulations
    • experience with one local ordinance was onerous
    • would like to see uniform criteria in assessing impacts of water use
  • Andy Tolman
    • interested in source protection - both quality and quantity
    • uniform State policy, but
    • would like a screening process to focus regulator efforts on cases where sustainability issues and conflicts might arise
    • policy shouldn't impose bureaucratic burden on developers
  • T.J. Tavares
    • foster economic development but protect the resource
  • John Hopeck/Mark Margerum
    • are we looking at the right criteria?
    • are we looking at these criteria in the right way?
    • must look at the bigger picture; cumulative impact
    • need good science behind the regulation; a scientifically defensible process, but not more than the applicant need to do.
  • Todd Burrowes
    • no real desires
    • would like to see State provide support for community planning efforts around water management
  • Steve Timpano
    • public-trust resource perspective
    • interested in protection of aquatic resources -- maintenance of habitat and surface flows throughout the species life cycle
    • ground water/surface water interaction
    • willing to share the resource
    • stresses conservation of the resource before accepting habitat loss
    • uses for hatcheries, etc.
  • Sebastian Bell
    • Maine has significant, current aquacultural uses of ground water
    • Maine has significant additional aquaculture possibilities; an economic development opportunity
    • need for high quality ground water
    • need for high volumes
    • small but important group of users; don't ignore them
  • Dave Bell
    • agrees with the need to look at ground water alternatives to surface water in some cases
    • who owns the ground water?
    • would like to see incentives to raise stewardship levels of owners
    • need to minimize the costs to government
    • need to minimize cost of stewardship for owners
    • investments made by the owners in stewardship and development of sustainable resources must be protected in the future
    • would like to see basin-wide planning efforts
  • Jim Wilfong
    • ownership; ground water of the state is a public resource
    • overall control of water resource management is an important issue
    • sustainability - for all users in the community
    • citizen equity in the ground water resource for their investment in ground-water quality
    • must take the long term view and assess all impacts of ground water use
    • needs to be a Statewide discussion
  • Dana Dow
    • State should use natural resources to fullest economic benefit but in a sustainable manner
    • all data should be looked an in an objective way
  • Jack McKee
    • use resource to the fullest for economic development
    • insure that local jurisdiction has authority to insure sustainability of quality and quantity
  • Keith Taylor
    • works with small districts in negotiating with other users
    • has found it to be a relatively easy process, especially in identifying what is an "adverse impact" on the water district
    • likes the current "shoreland zoning" model - State guidance with local implementation
    • public education very important
    • allocation/conflict resolution must be dealt with in the future
  • Jeff McNelly
    • recognizes need for sustainability
    • regulation must not be onerous - must be reasonable
    • what we do regulate, we must regulate well
  • Marcia Spencer-Famous
    • current LURC regulation too general; need to be more specific
    • need to be predictable and consistent
    • must regulate to maintain sustainability
    • keep "no adverse impact" as highlighted in LURC statute as prime motivation in regulation
    • planning very important
  • Paul Gauvreau
    • sustainability of sound public policy
    • interested in the process
    • the process must be fair and acceptable to participants
    • a sound, democratically principled process will result in a policy that is stable, self-vindicating
  • Dan Locke
    • impacts of ground water withdrawals on surface water and other users
    • ground water/surface water interaction
    • how do we define a "significant" or "adverse" impact? Very seldom defined in regulation
  • Jane Eberle
    • grateful for everyone's participation; seems people have much in common
    • prevention is good -- proactive protection of the resource; protect and preserve is better than restore and reclaim
    • promote the economy through the use of natural resources
    • all groups must work together in promotion and protection
  • Bob Marvinney
    • science has a key role to play in making policy
    • ground water is the State's most renewable resource
    • but still needs review and regulation to insure sustainable quality and quantity
    • use existing information to identify potential problem areas and focus attention on these areas
    • fair treatment of all users
    • public education important

6. Review of proposed schedule.

  1. Next meeting (Dec. 13) will provide background on Maine's ground water setting with invited speakers covering various topics. The speaker list and format are still being developed. This could possibly be a day-long (or most of a day) meeting. May invite others to this meeting, but not to be a huge open session.
  2. We discussed whether or not the meat of our discussion would be pushed too many months away. Marvinney noted that the proposed schedule has the group reviewing regulations in January and we don't expect this to be simply static presentations, but rather a discussion as the various regulations are reviewed.
  3. No decision was made on whether or not to invite speakers from other states at a later meeting to present overviews of their regulations.
  4. Try to get the bulk of the work done before July/August when participation will likely be low.

7. Action items:

  1. Provide a definition of "water-related natural resources." (Hopeck)
  2. Provide a summary of the consistent hydrogeological review criteria to the group (Hopeck, Tolman)
  3. Outline of final report to Land & Water Resources Council (major headings) by December meeting. (Marvinney)
  4. Invite members of legislative committees of jurisdiction to the Dec. 13 meeting. (Marvinney)
  5. As soon as possible, provide an outline of presentations and presenters for the December meeting. (Marvinney) Meeting participants make recommendations on possible presenters. (All)
  6. A summary of presentations and questions and answers should go in the final report. (Marvinney)
  7. Propose possible meeting dates for January and perhaps recommend consistent monthly times to meet thereafter. (Marvinney)
  8. Develop a summary list of the types of ground water use. (Marvinney, with the assistance of all)
  9. Any amendments/additions to the various perspectives outlined under #5, or any other points of interest should be directed to Marvinney. (All)
  10. Circulate a compendium of statues and regulations, with pertinent web links, via e-mail. (Marvinney)

Last updated on January 26, 2006