The Department of Environmental Protection will look into a permit awarded to the Oxford Casino, following a court decision that invalidates it. However, the department said it has no intention of directing the casino to close during the review.
Ruling on an appeal, a Superior Court justice has nullified the permit the casino received from the Maine Board of Environmental Protection, saying the board broke its own rules in approving the permit. The ruling, issued Wednesday and delivered to the parties Saturday, remands the permit to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection for reconsideration, according to the Sun Journal.
Stephen Hinchman, the attorney for Androscoggin River Alliance, which filed the appeal, said that action will force the casino to close. However, David Van Slyke, who represents casino owner Black Bear Development, said the casino can remain open, since the court decision relates to certain aspects of one of Black Bear's permits.
Androscoggin River Alliance filed its appeal last August, arguing the BEP only considered the first phase of the project, not all three planned phases, when it approved the permit. The alliance argued the casino would harm groundwater supply at its full build-out.
Justice Michaela Murphy agreed that the future phases of the project should have been considered as part of a comprehensive plan during the permit review process. Van Slyke said he disagreed with the ruling and that Black Bear is still reviewing the decision to decide how to proceed.
The casino opened its doors June 5.