16 May 2014: Pleasant Pond Mill LLC contemplating an Army Corps of Engineers NRPA Permit

According to information recently obtained from the Town of Whitefield, Pleasant Pond Mill LLC has requested an inter-agency, pre-application meeting with the Army Corps of Engineers and representatives of other State and Federal Agencies to discuss permitting issues surrounding the repair and/or ​replacement of the Clary Lake dam. A pre-application meeting is standard operating procedure when contemplating a project requiring an NRPA (National Resource Protection Act) permit. Mr. Kelley must be contemplating a major dam reconstruction project involving significant alteration of lots of fresh water wetlands and possible damage to the downstream ecology to require pursuing an NRPA tier 1, 2, or 3 permit, especially considering that back in 2011 he felt (and DEP agreed) that the repairs he contemplated required a simple Permit By Rule approach. What has changed?

I understand that this inter-agency pre-application meeting is tentatively scheduled for the 17th of June. This date incidentally is 2 weeks past the next upcoming Water Level Order deadline of June 2nd when Mr. Kelley is supposed to have submitted a survey of the historical normal high water line of Clary lake, and not quite one and a half months before the August 1st deadline by which time Mr. Kelley is to have completed dam repairs and installed a water level gauge. It’s going to be a busy summer for him!

Some of the Agencies involved in this inter-agency, pre-application meeting besides the Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) are the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Maine Department of Marine Resources (DMR), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), the Maine Historic Preservation Commission (MHPC), and of course, DEP. I wouldn’t be surprised to find the Maine Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) is invited too. Sounds like a party!

Pursuing a full-blown NRPA permit with Army  Corps of Engineers review will takes months, possibly years. The question is, will the DEP relax their timetable for implementing the water level order to give Mr. Kelley time to pursue this permit? What do you think?