Maine WTE companies files appeal over Fiberight permits

Two Maine waste-to-energy (WTE) companies have filed an appeal in the Kennebec County (Maine) Superior Court seeking to reverse solid waste and air emission licenses issued to Baltimore-based project developer Fiberight and the Municipal Review Committee (MRC).

Fiberight and MRC received approval for the permits on July 14 to build a $70 million WTE project in Hampden, Maine. The facility will convert solid waste into a renewable energy product and is expected to come online by April 2018.

The appeal was filed by Penobscot Energy Recovery Co. (PERC), Orrington, Maine, and its majority owner and managing general partner, USA Energy Group, along with Exeter Agri-Energy (EAE).

PERC is the currently is servicing 187 communities MRC represents. EAE, a subsidiary of Stonyvale Farm, based in Exeter, Maine, collects manure and food waste and converts it into electricity through two anaerobic digestion facilities.

In filing the appeal, the companies state that the project received the permits “despite serious deficiencies in the record and in contravention of existing statutory and regulatory requirements.”

The appeal cites several grounds for appealing the MDEP approvals, including:

  • MRC/Fiberight failed to demonstrate that its practices and impacts will be consistent with Maine’s solid waste hierarchy;
  • MRC/Fiberight failed to demonstrate title, right and interest in the project property;
  • MRC/Fiberight failed to demonstrate the technical ability to perform the project;
  • MRC/Fiberight failed to demonstrate the financial ability to perform the project;
  • the MDEP approval of the licenses was arbitrary, capricious and an abuse of discretion given the contradictory and conflicting nature of the assertions in the applications;
  • insufficient evidence was in the record to support approval of the minor source air emission license; and
  • the MDEP should have held a public hearing on the MRC/Fiberight licenses.

“It is important for our companies and other regulated companies in Maine to have an even playing field, and we are confident that the court will agree,” says Adam Wintle, managing partner for EAE. “The only thing more difficult for a business than too much regulation is inconsistent regulation.

Fiberight CEO Craig Stuart-Paul points out that the appeal has come from two competitors to the project.

“The appeal is groundless,” he says, stressing, “It is business as usual.”