LePage nominates PUC alternates to overcome stalemate in Poland Spring case

Posted April 22, 2014, at 5:56 p.m.
Paul Rudman in 2005.
John Clarke Russ | BDN
Paul Rudman in 2005. Buy Photo

AUGUSTA, Maine — Gov. Paul LePage has nominated three retired judges to serve as alternates on the Maine Public Utilities Commission in an effort to move forward consideration of a 25-year water sales contract between Nestle Waters North America, the owner of Poland Spring, and its Fryeburg water supplier.

The appointees are John Atwood, Francis Marsano and Paul L. Rudman. The governor’s office said in a statement that the appointees will require confirmation before the Legislature’s Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee, which is expected to meet when lawmakers return to the State House on May 1.

If the appointees are confirmed, the PUC then would select one or more of the former judges to serve as an alternate in the case that recusals leave the commission without a quorum, as happened in the Nestle case.

The deal between Nestle and Fryeburg Water Co. was held up after two of the three PUC commissioners said they could not deliberate on the sale because of potential conflicts of interest.

PUC Chairman Tom Welch recused himself from the case last October because he had been the attorney for Nestle Waters while working at the Portland law firm Pierce Atwood in 2011. Commissioner Mark Vannoy earlier had recused himself from the case because he had worked for the engineering firm Wright-Pierce on projects for Nestle Waters.

 

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