A legal question arose at an agency consultation that I attended last week, which is in need of an answer. A developer is proposing to install a tidal barrage across the mouth of a bay in eastern Maine. The proposed facility operations would cause the tidal cycle to be delayed by 1.5 hours inside of the bay and extend the high tide for 1 - 1.5 hours inside the bay. The Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) consulted with their Attorney General's office and asked if these tidal changes would require easements from property owners of the intertidal zone? Maine is one of five states where property ownership extends to mean low water in the intertidal zone. The AG's office did not have an answer to this question, so DEP instructed the developer to investigate this with their own lawyers and come back with a proposal for review.
We currently have two separate developers proposing tidal barrages in eastern Maine and this question is pertinent for both cases.
I welcome guidance on this matter that I could pass along to Maine DEP.
On Tue, Mar 19, 2013 at 10:41 AM, Stephanie Showalter Otts <[log in to unmask]>
Perfect timing! I was just thinking about reaching out to a few individuals, but this makes it so much easier. I've wanted to update the National Sea Grant Law Center's white paper on offshore renewable energy (http://nsglc.olemiss.edu/offshore.pdf
for a couple of years now, but I've personally been more involved in working waterfronts this past year and I'm a bit out of the loop.
I'd love to learn more about what the legal questions currently are (if there are pressing ones) and how the NSGLC might be able to help individual Sea Grant programs or this network start a conversation about them.
Looking forward to hearing what everyone is working on!
Stephanie Showalter Otts