State and town officials said April 13 that a recent decision of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court means the state will have some money to improve safety at the former R.D. Outfitters rifle range on Route 90 in Warren.

“It means the state is going to get some money,” said Project Manager Mike Parker of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. Parker said he has been working on issues with the gun range for the past 10 years.

“This is great news,” Town Manager Grant Watmough said April 13.

The Maine Department of Environmental Protection has been monitoring the situation with the shooting range owned by parent company Steamship Navigation for years. In particular, concerns have been raised about tons of flammable polyester fiber waste material stored on the range.

Steamship Navigation has been engaged in a legal struggle with Camden National Bank for a number of years. In April 2001, Steamship filed a complaint against the bank and three weeks later the bank brought foreclosure action against Steamship, according to background provided in the Supreme Court decision.

In September 2004, a jury awarded Steamship $1.5 million in the case, according to the document. In September 2006, the court denied Steamship’s motion to set aside the foreclosure judgment and deducted that judgment from Steamship’s award, leaving a balance of $638,290. The bank also had to pay some post-judgment interest, leading to a payment of $739,000 to the court, to be distributed to Steamship’s creditors.

Steamship had made an agreement in 2004 to pay its attorney Daniel Lilley 35 percent of what was awarded to Steamship in its lawsuit against Camden National. It was determined in Oxford County Superior Court that Lilley was owed 35 percent of the $1.5 million jury award, plus interest, which would mean taking about $525,000 before the state could collect any of that money for the cleanup.

On April 1, the Supreme Court vacated this part of the previous judgment, arguing that the attorney’s fee should be based on the net amount received by Steamship from the bank after the foreclosure costs were deducted rather than on the whole $1.5 million award.

As a result, the state may be able to collect nearly $500,000 for work on the Route 90 gun range site.

Parker and Watmough said the project would likely involve covering the polyester fiber material over, making it safe, rather than removing all of the material. Watmough said it would be similar to a landfill project.

Parker said the state has had estimates on the cost of the project ranging from $400,000 to $800,000.

He said he is excited about this court decision.

As part of the decision, the case is being remanded to Superior Court for recalculation of Lilley’s fees consistent with the Supreme Court decision.