Department Rulemaking Proposals

Opportunity for Comment

How do I find out about Department rulemaking and other opportunities for comment?

Information about petitions to require agency rulemaking

All Current DEP Rules (off-site, Secretary of State)

Subject to Maine’s Administrative Procedures Act, the Board of Environmental Protection performs rulemaking for the Department.

For more information contact Mark Margerum (207) 287-7842.


Board Meetings

The Board of Environmental Protection generally holds meetings for considering rulemaking actions and public hearings on proposed rulemaking the first and third Thursdays of the month or as needed.

See the BEP meeting calendar for information.

Pursuant to Maine law, interested parties are publicly notified of proposed rulemaking and are provided an opportunity for comment. Written comments may be submitted by mail, e-mail or fax to the contact person before the end of the comment period. To ensure the comments are considered, they must include your name and the organization you represent, if any.

Routine technical proposed rulemaking actions

Major substantive proposed rulemaking actions


Routine Technical

Chapter 526: Cooling Water Intake Structures

Ch 526 Fact Sheet :: Ch 526 Draft Rule

Concise Summary:

The Department is proposing a new rule: 06-096 C.M.R. Chapter 526: Cooling Water Intake Structures. This rule establishes requirements that apply to cooling water intake structures at new and existing facilities that are subject to section 316(b) of the Clean Water Act (CWA), 33 U.S.C. 1326(b). These requirements include standards for minimizing adverse environmental impact associated with the use of cooling water intake structures and required procedures (e.g., permit application requirements, information submission requirements) for establishing the appropriate technology requirements at certain specified facilities as well as monitoring, reporting, and record keeping requirements to demonstrate compliance.

The purpose of the rulemaking proposal is to enable the Department to seek delegated authority under the Clean Water Act section 316(b), as required by Maine's Memorandum of Agreement with USEPA. The proposed rule does not contain any substantive changes to the existing rule as currently administered by USEPA. Chapter 526 is based on the EPA rules found a 40 CFR part 125, subpart I and subpart J.

Agency contact:
Matthew Hight
17 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333
207-719-0703

Public hearing: December 7, 2023, 9:00 AM
Marquardt Building, 32 Blossom Lane, Entrance located on east side of building (Door D7)
Augusta, Maine 04333

Public noticed: November 14, 2024

Comment deadline: December 18, 2023, 5:00 PM

Chapter 534: Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator Certifications - Revocation or Suspension

Ch 534 Fact Sheet :: Ch 534 Draft Rule :: Comment on this Rule

Concise Summary:

The purpose of this proposed new rule is to establish procedures for the Commissioner's consideration of revoking or suspending a wastewater treatment plant operator certification through notice and opportunity for a hearing pursuant to the Maine Administrative Procedures Act, 5 M.R.S. 8001-11008. The Department may revoke or suspend wastewater treatment plant operator certifications pursuant to Maines Sewage Treatment Operators law, 32 M.R.S. 4175-A and the Departments Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator Certification rule, 06-096 C.M.R. ch. 531.

Agency contact:
Matthew Hight
17 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333
207-719-0703

Public hearing: A public hearing is not scheduled. There will be a 30-day written comment period. A public hearing will be held if the Department receives 5 or more requests before the end of the comment period.

Public noticed: February 8, 2024

Comment deadline: March 18, 2024, 5:00 PM

Chapter 428: Stewardship Program for Packaging

Ch 428 Fact Sheet :: Ch 428 Draft Rule :: Comment on this Rule

Concise Summary:

This proposed rule provides details for implementing the Packaging Stewardship Program pursuant to 38 M.R.S. 2146, with the goals of reducing the burden to municipalities of managing packaging material and improving the design and management of packaging material. It characterizes packaging material, provides a method for determining municipal reimbursement and producer fees, provides a method and criteria for investing in infrastructure and education, details alternative collection programs, establishes a cap for the packaging stewardship fund, and provides mechanisms for ongoing assessment and updates to the program.

For more information regarding the EPR/Packaging program, please visit the Maine Department of Environmental Protection Extended Producer Responsibility for Packaging webpage.

Agency contact:
Brian Beneski
17 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333
(207) 592-0248

Public hearing: March 7, 2024, 9:00 AM
Augusta Civic Center, 76 Community Drive
Augusta, Maine 04333

Public noticed: February 5, 2024

Comment deadline: March 18, 2024, 5:00 PM

Emergency Rulemaking: Chapter 305 Natural Resources Protection Act - Permit by Rule

Ch 305 Emergency Fact Sheet :: Ch 305 Draft Emergency Rule :: Ch 305 Emergency Rulemaking Board Memo :: CH 305 Emergency Rule

Concise Summary:

Public Law 2023, ch. 97 directed the Department to undertake rulemaking to amend Chapter 305 Natural Resources Protection Act (NRPA) - Permit By Rule to allow for the use of biodegradable stabilization materials in dune restoration projects. This law became effective October 25, 2023. Department staff have been working on a draft rule revision to implement the law that will be introduced to the Board in the coming weeks. Due to the recent storm events, there is an immediate need to allow for expedited approval of dune restoration and construction projects through permit by rule. This emergency rulemaking would put into place revisions to Chapter 305, Section 16A to allow coastal sand dune restoration using biodegradable stabilization materials to receive NRPA permits through permit by rule. All emergency rulemaking expires after 90 days, so this rule revision would be temporary.

Due to the emergency nature of this rulemaking, there will be no public hearing or official comment period. However, there will be an opportunity for the public to comment on the proposed emergency rule at the February 1, 2024 Board of Environmental Protection Meeting.

Agency contact:
Naomi Kirk-Lawlor
17 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333
207-287-7844

Public hearing: none: emergency rulemaking

Public noticed: January 29, 2024

Comment deadline: none: emergency rulemaking, 5:00 PM

Effective Date: February 2, 2024

Chapter 2: Rule Concerning the Processing of Applications and Other Administrative Matters

Ch 2 Draft Rule :: Ch 2 Fact Sheet

Concise Summary:

Chapter 2 governs the processing of license applications, appeals of Commissioner license decisions to the Board, petitions and motions to modify, revoke or suspend licenses, petitions for corrective action orders, and other determinations on specific matters as described in the rule. The purpose of this rulemaking proposal is to revise or establish new procedural requirements and improve the clarity and organization of the rule based on the Department's experience applying Chapter 2 across a wide range of programs, and to incorporate recent legislative changes to the Boards responsibilities and duties.

Agency contact:
Bill Hinkel
17 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333-0017
207-314-1458

Public hearing: January 18, 2024, 9:00 AM
Augusta Civic Center, 76 Community Dr
Augusta, ME 04330

Public noticed: December 19, 2023

Comment deadline: January 29, 2024, 5:00 PM

Chapter 167: Tracking and Reporting Gross and Net Annual Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Ch 167 Draft Rule :: Ch 167 Fact Sheet :: Ch 167 Final Rule

Concise Summary:

This proposed update to Chapter 167 revises the methods for the calculation of gross and net annual greenhouse gas emissions in the State for the purpose of assessing attainment of the reduction requirements set out at 38 MRS 576-A(1), (2) and (3). Methods and data sources used to calculate greenhouse gas emissions are regularly updated and the proposed changes to Chapter 167 will align the rule with recent updates.

Agency contact:
Stacy Knapp
17 State House Station
Augusta
(207) 287-2235

Public hearing: No public hearing is scheduled. There is a 30-day written comment period. A public hearing will be held if the Department receives 5 or more requests before the end of the comment period.

Public noticed: September 26, 2023

Comment deadline: October 30, 2023, 5:00 PM

Effective Date: February 6, 2024

Chapter 128: Advanced Clean Trucks Program

Ch 128 Fact Sheet :: Ch 128 Draft Rule :: Public hearing transcript

Concise Summary:

In response to a citizen petition, this rule is proposed to establish a program to reduce emissions from on-road vehicles over 8,500 pounds gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) by incorporating the requirements of the California Advanced Clean Trucks regulation and is intended to accelerate sales of zero-emission vehicles over 8,500 pounds GVWR beginning model year 2027.

Public comment

Agency contact:
Lynne Cayting
17 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333-0017
(207)-287-7599

Public hearing: August 17, 2023, 9:00 a.m.
Augusta Civic Center, 76 Community Drive
Augusta, ME 04330

Public noticed: July 26, 2023

Comment deadline: August 28, 2023, 5:00 PM

Chapter 127-A: Advanced Clean Cars II Program (Reposting)

Ch 127 Fact Sheet  :: Ch 127 Draft Rule :: Public hearing transcript

Concise Summary:

Reposting

In response to a citizen petition, this new rule was proposed to establish motor vehicle emission standards for new passenger cars, light-duty trucks, and medium-duty vehicles by incorporating the requirements of the California Advanced Clean Cars II regulations, beginning model year 2027.

A public hearing on the proposed Chapter 127-A was held on August 17, 2023, and the comment period closed on August 28, 2023. A final vote on the proposed rule was scheduled for the Board meeting on December 21, 2023, however, due to the state of emergency resulting from the December 18 storm, that meeting was cancelled. This prevented a Board vote on whether to adopt the proposed rule, and forced any potential adoption beyond the rule's proposed effective date of January 1, 2024. This also prevents the rule from taking effect in time to apply to the 2027 model year. Therefore, the proposed rule has been amended to begin with model year 2028, and the Department is now requesting comments from the public concerning this substantive change. The Department has also proposed other non-substantive changes to the proposal.

Public comment

Public comment - reposting

Agency contact:
Lynne Cayting
17 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333-0017
(207)-287-7599

Public hearing: August 17, 2023, 9:00 a.m.
Augusta Civic Center, 76 Community Drive
Augusta, ME 04330

Public noticed: July 26, 2023

Comment deadline: February 5, 2024, 5:00 PM

Chapter 101: Visible Emissions Regulation

 :: Ch 101 Proposed Rule :: Ch 101 Fact Sheet :: Ch 101 Final Effective Jan 1, 2024

Concise Summary:

Chapter 101 establishes visible emission standards, also known as opacity limits, for facilities, both licensed and unlicensed, and is a part of the State Implementation Plan (SIP) to fulfill requirements of the Clean Air Act. The Department is proposing various amendments to this existing rule to comply with federal requirements. Due to the potential need for facilities to reprogram existing data collection systems, the amendments are proposed to become effective the first day of the first calendar quarter that is at least 60 days after final adoption of the rule.

A public hearing was held on June 15, 2023, and the comment period closed on June 26, 2023. In response to public comments, and after discussions with EPA, substantive changes were made to the proposed amendments. The Department is now accepting public comments on the revised draft.

The new COMMENT DEADLINE is: September 29, 2023

Agency contact:
Lynn Muzzey
17 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333
207-332-1279

Public hearing: June 15, 2023, 9:00 AM
Marquardt Building, 32 Blossom Lane (Door D7, East side entrance)
Augusta, Maine 04333

Public noticed: May 10, 2023

Comment deadline: September 29, 2023, 5:00 PM

Effective Date: January 1, 2024


Major Substantive

Chapter 375: No Adverse Environmental Effect Standards of the Site Location of Development Act

Ch 375 Fact Sheet :: Ch 375 Draft Rule :: Comment on this Rule

Concise Summary:

In P.L. 2023 ch. 448, the Legislature directed the Department to establish a compensation fee program for renewable energy development projects, specifically solar energy development, wind energy development, and high-impact transmission lines that trigger the Site Location of Development law. The new statute requires this program to allow for the payment of a compensation fee when the Department determines that off-site habitat improvement or preservation is necessary to mitigate the adverse effects of a renewable energy development on large undeveloped habitat blocks, important wildlife corridors, and other habitat types identified in consultation with the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

The Department is proposing to amend Chapter 375, No Adverse Environmental Effect Standards of the Site Location of Development Act, to define these habitat resources and establish a compensation fee program. Compensation would be required if there would be any alteration to a deer wintering area, habitat of rare, threatened or endangered species, migratory bird pathway, or important wildlife corridor, or when there are certain alterations to large undeveloped habitat blocks. Compensation would be required if there would be more than 150 acres of alteration to core habitat in a large undeveloped habitat block in the Southern ecoregion, 250 acres in the Central Interior and Midcoast ecoregion, and 350 acres in other ecoregions, or when the development would eliminate a large undeveloped habitat block in the Southern or Central Interior and Midcoast ecoregion. A map intended to help understand the proposed amendment is available.

Agency contact:
Naomi Kirk-Lawlor
17 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333-0017
207-287-7844

Public hearing: March 7, 2024, 9:00 AM
Augusta Civic Center, 76 Community Dr,
Augusta, ME 04330

Public noticed: January 31, 2024

Comment deadline: March 18, 2024, 5:00 PM

Chapter 200: Metallic Mineral Exploration, Advanced Exploration and Mining

Ch 200 Draft Rule :: Ch 200 Fact Sheet

Concise Summary:

In response to P.L. 2023, ch. 398, the Department is proposing to amend the existing Chapter 200: Metallic Mineral Exploration, Advanced Exploration and Mining (06-096 C.M.R. 200) to allow applications for exclusion from Chapter 200 requirements. In accordance with the law, this rule revision allows applications for exclusion for the physical extraction, crushing, grinding, sorting, or storage of metallic minerals. The revision creates a process for exclusion applications that includes pre-application geologic and hydrologic investigations and criteria for granting an exclusion.

To approve an exclusion, the Department must determine that the project will not have the potential to create acid rock drainage or alkali rock drainage, violate water quality standards (other than sedimentation and turbidity), or expose radioactive or other materials that could endanger human health or the environment. If an exclusion is granted, the excluded activities would be regulated under other existing laws: performance standards for quarrying, performance standards for borrow pits, Site Location of Development Law, or by the Land Use Planning Commission's statutes. The proposed revision also requires ongoing water quality monitoring in cases where an exclusion is granted.

Agency contact:
Naomi Kirk-Lawlor
State House Station 17
Augusta, ME 04333-0017
207-287-7844

Public hearing: January 18, 2024, 9:00 AM
Augusta Civic Center, 76 Community Drive
Augusta, ME 04330

Public noticed: December 19, 2023

Comment deadline: January 29, 2024, 5:00 PM

Chapter 80: Reduction of Toxics in Packaging

Ch 80 Fact Sheet :: Ch 80 Draft Rule :: Ch 80 Final Rule

Concise Summary:

The purpose of this rulemaking proposal is to update the existing Chapter 80 in accordance with changes in the law and to update language and formatting. The proposed changes include the incorporation of an existing statutory sales prohibition on the use of phthalates in food packaging. The proposal also adds a new section 5, establishing a sales prohibition on the use of specific applications of intentionally added PFAS to certain types of food packaging. The addition of the new section 5 is major substantive rulemaking.

Agency contact:
Kerri Malinowski
17 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333-0017
(207) 215-1894

Public hearing: November 16, 2023, 9:00 AM
Marquardt Building, 32 Blossom Lane. Entrance located on east side of building, Door D7.
Augusta, ME 04333

Public noticed: October 23, 2023

Comment deadline: November 30, 2023, 5:00 PM

Effective Date: February 6, 2024

Chapter 355: Coastal Sand Dune Rules

Ch 355 Fact Sheet :: Ch 355 Draft Rule

Concise Summary:

The Department proposes to update the Chapter 355, Section 3(H) definition of coastal sand dune systems to reference the current coastal sand dune maps prepared by the Maine Geological Survey in accordance with the best available science. Areas of the State that meet the definition of coastal sand dune systems are protected natural resources pursuant to the Natural Resources Protection Act (NRPA) and the Department's Chapter 355 Coastal Sand Dune Rules.

Supplemental documents:

Ch 355 Board Posting Memo

Ch 355 Memo Attachment 2 - MGS Summary Table

Ch 355 Memo Attachement 3 - Coastal sand dune geology maps_ Kittery to Robbinston Maine

Agency contact:
Naomi Kirk-Lawlor
17 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333
207-287-7844

Public hearing: September 21, 2023, 9:00 AM
Augusta Civic Center, 76 Community Drive
Augusta, ME 04330

Public noticed: July 26, 2023

Comment deadline: October 4, 2023, 5:00 PM

Chapter 305: Natural Resources Protection Act - Permit by Rule

Ch 305 Draft Rule :: Ch 305 Fact Sheet :: Ch 305 Final Effective Dec 9, 2023

Concise Summary:

The purpose of this proposed revision is to bring the Department's rules into alignment with statutory changes concerning minor expansions in coastal sand dunes and to allow some beach nourishment projects to qualify for Natural Resource Protection Act (NRPA) permit by rule. The proposed revision also allows for planting native dune vegetation by hand with a NRPA permit by rule.

This proposal was originally posted to public comment on August 10, 2022. A public hearing was held September 1, 2022. The first comment period on the draft rule closed on September 12, 2022. The proposal was reposted to a second public hearing and comment period beginning on October 12, 2022.

Section 16, Provisionally adopted December 15, 2022

Section 16-A, Effective date December 27, 2022

Agency contact:
Naomi Kirk-Lawlor
State House Station 17
Augusta, Me 04333
207-287-7844

Public hearing: November 3, 2022; 9:00AM
Marquardt Building, 32 Blossom Lane, Entrance located on east side of building (Door D7)
Augusta, Maine 04333

Public noticed: August 10, 2022

Comment deadline: November 15, 2022, 5:00 PM

Effective Date: December 9, 2023