Lobstermen to report on catch

About 850 lobstermen, representing 10 percent of those licensed in Maine, will have to turn in logbook reports of how many times they went out on the water, how many traps they set or hauled each time, and how many lobsters they caught.

The purpose of the reports is to give Department of Marine Resources officials and scientists a better idea of how many traps are being used and how long they are in the water. more

– A.P.

Proposed ban of calcium chloride

A legislator is proposing a statewide ban on calcium chloride, a liquid salt mixture used to melt snow and ice from roads. Many mechanics believe the substance is causing a lot of damage to vehicles.Brewer auto mechanic Andrew Bowden has worked on a lot of vehicles over the years. He said he’s doing a lot more brake jobs these days and he thinks it’s due to calcium chloride.

“The stuff on the roads, no matter what it is if it’s metal it seems to rust,” he said.

That’s one of the reasons State Rep. Dave Miramant of Camden wants to ban calcium chloride from roads. He testified in a hearing in Augusta today on the proposed legislation.

“You see experienced automotive technicians and mechanics finding the same problems over and over,” he said. “Five year old cars with rusted out brake lines.”

State fines mortgage broker


A licensed mortgage loan broker has entered into a Superior Court Consent Decree that resolves the state’s Unfair Trade Practice Act Complaint.

The State charged that Maine Mortgage Group helped falsify a homeowner’s mortgage application in order to persuade the lender that the homeowner was a good loan risk.

The state’s complaint alleged that Maine Mortgage Group made a $7,000 short-term loan to the homeowner in order to make the homeowner’s assets appear larger than they actually were.

Supreme Court upholds groundwater testing


Portland scrap yards must comply with environmental and zoning regulations that were enacted by the city council in 2004, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court has decided.

The decision affects E. Perry Iron & Metal Co. and New England Metal Recycling in Portland’s Bayside neighborhood, which the city has targeted for redevelopment. It also affects Louis Mack Co. on Warren Avenue.

Under the ordinance, scrap yards must submit groundwater test results to receive annual operating permits, said Penny Littell, assistant city attorney.

State passes emergency bill for truckers


An emergency bill to help truckers in Maine’s forest products industry was signed today by Gov. John Baldacci, just hours after it was passed by the House and Senate.

The bill temporarily allows truckers hauling forest products to increase the weight of their loads by 5 percent. It is effective immediately and will expire April 1.

“We know that our forest product industry and Maine’s truckers are being hurt by record high diesel prices,” Baldacci said. “They are struggling right now, and they need help. With the quick action on this legislation, they’ll get some relief right now.”

AG files unfair trade suit


Maine Attorney General Steven Rowe has has filed an unfair trade practices complaint against a Maine oil dealer after receiving 124 complaints from customers.

The complaint alleges that Nicholas Curro, doing business as Price Rite Oil, Veilleux Oil & Service and Perron Oil, misrepresented when and how the oil in pre-paid contracts would be delivered, failed to deliver oil according to the contract terms and failed to honor customers’ request for refunds.

Fishing groups bring suit to protect groundfish

The Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance and the Midcoast Fishermen’s Association have brought a lawsuit to have federal regulatory agencies to enforce laws meant to protect populations of cod, haddock and other groundfish from industrial herring boats.

“Small fishermen in New England have made sacrifices to preserve a livelihood for future generations. But the current rules are undermining our hard work,” said Glen Libby, a commercial fisherman and chairman of the Midcoast Fishermen’s Association. “When the rules are applied unevenly, everybody suffers.”

Mid-water trawlers drag massive small-mesh nets behind them, sometimes working in pairs towing an even bigger net between them. Stretching to 165 feet, these vessels can hold more than one million pounds of catch.

Midwater trawlers were initially banned from groundfish-closed areas in 1994. But in 1998 federal regulators decided to re-open these areas to trawlers, based on an assumption that the herring ships would catch little or no groundfish in their nets.

The policy has proved disastrous. While shortcomings in the federal monitoring program make precise numbers difficult to obtain, it is estimated that in recent years midwater trawl vessels have caught hundreds of thousands of pounds of mature and juvenile groundfish as bycatch. In a well-publicized 2004 enforcement sweep, personnel from the Maine Marine Patrol and Massachusetts Environmental Police caught midwater herring trawlers illegally trying to land thousands of pounds of juvenile haddock and hake mixed with their herring catch.


Right-of-Way Easements in Maine


This article describes right-of-way easements in Maine.  Right-of-way easements are a common type of easement in the state, and this article is meant to provide a basic overview of this legal right, how the right comes to be, who holds it, what it provides and also how this right can be lost. 

An easement, at its most basic, provides certain rights to a person, or group (the “easement holder”) to use a piece of land that is owned by another (the “burdened estate”).  There are several different types of easements, they can be created in different ways, and they can be extinguished as well. An example of a right-of-way easement would be when the general public is allowed to cross over private property to access water.  In Maine, often people are unaware that the reason they are able to reach a shoreline (be it the ocean, a lake, or a river) is because of a legally established right that lets them cross over someone’s private property.  

The full article is now free on the Teel Law Office website


Maine joins suit against EPA

Maine joined California and 15 other states and sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday for preventing the states from setting greenhouse gas limits for vehicles.

The states, together with five environmental groups, are asking a federal appeals court in San Francisco to overturn the EPA’s denial of a waiver that would have cleared the way for California to impose the nation’s first emissions limits.

At least 16 other states planned to follow California’s lead and impose the standards on at least 45 percent of the U.S. auto market.

The EPA denied California’s waiver on Dec. 19, arguing that it would result in a patchwork of state regulations. State officials and environmentalists accused the Bush administration of blocking progress against global warming.


Law students seeking to have RIAA suit dismissed

Two University of Maine law students are representing their fellow classmates against the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in a file sharing suit. The RIAA filed a suit in October, apparently as a first step in pursing individual students who allegedly downloaded music illegally. The RIAA suit does not name individual students, but will use the case as a means to subpoena the school, then go after individuals.

The law students filed a Motion to Dismiss the suit based on a Supreme Court decision that rejected similar tactics.

The two student lawyers, Hannah Ames and Lisa Chmelecki, are part of the Cumberland Legal Aid Clinic, which allows third-year law students to gain legal experience while providing legal services for clients with low incomes, including college students.

Ames and Chmelecki have been sworn in before the court and practice under supervision of a faculty member, who must sign off on their briefs before they are filed with the court.

The Forecaster

Here is the Supreme Court opinion.  The article incorrectly identifies it as a May 21 decision.