December 3, 2016  
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Maine Environmental News
Announcement - Saturday, December 3, 2016 

Thanks for visiting Maine Environmental News, a service of RESTORE: The North Woods. MEN is the most comprehensive online source available for links to Maine conservation and natural resource news and events. We have posted summaries and links to 50,000 news articles and announcements. We also post breaking stories and exclusives. Be sure to check not only today's news, but take a look at the headlines from the past several days as well. Articles often come to our attention a few days after they are published. Follow us on Twitter @MaineEnviroNews. ~ Jym St. Pierre, Editor
Becoming Acadia, Dec 10
Event - Posted - Saturday, December 3, 2016 

Filmmaker Jeff Dobbs presents the film “Becoming Acadia” about how George Bucknam Dorr became known as the “Father of Acadia National Park.” At Jesup Memorial Library, Bar Harbor, Dec 10, 7 pm.
Grafton Notch Table Rock hike, Dec 10
Event - Posted - Saturday, December 3, 2016 

hike to Table Rock in Grafton Notch. Meet at Grafton Notch parking area, December 10, 10 am. Sponsored by Maine Appalachian Trail Land Trust.
Forum on Climate Change & RGGI, Dec 8
Event - Posted - Thursday, December 1, 2016 

This forum examines the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative's cap-and-trade system and how it works; evaluates RGGI's performance so far; looks at the role RGGI plays in achieving state greenhouse gas reduction and energy savings goals; and weighs revisions and alternatives for the future. At Cloudport, 63 Federal Street, Portland, December 8, 4-5:30 pm, E2Tech members $15, nonmembers $30.
Northern Forest Canoe Trail, Dec 8
Event - Posted - Thursday, December 1, 2016 

Nicole Grohoski tells her story as the first woman to thru-paddle the Northern Forest Canoe Trail, a 740-mile waterway which links the New York, Vermont, Québec, New Hampshire and Maine. At Jesup Memorial, Bar Harbor, December 8, 7 pm.
RESTORE: The North Woods Annual Gathering, Dec 7
Announcement - Wednesday, November 30, 2016 

Program includes presentation on Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument; Restoration Leadership Awards; anniversary acknowledgements for Acadia National Park, National Park Service, Baxter State Park, Allagash Wilderness Waterway, Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge, and Bigelow Preserve; door prizes. At Curtis Library, Brunswick, December 7, 6 pm.
National Parks Adventure, Dec 7
Event - Posted - Wednesday, November 30, 2016 

Narrated by Robert Redford, this film takes you on the ultimate off-trail adventure into the nation’s awe-inspiring great outdoors. Post-film discussion led by Lucas St. Clair, who led the effort to get President Obama to designate Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. At Maine College of Art, Portland, Dec 7, 6:30 pm. Sponsored by Sierra Club Maine.
Northern Forest Canoe Trail auction
Announcement - Wednesday, November 30, 2016 

The annual Northern Forest Canoe Trail auction is live with more than 200 items to bid on. Ends Dec 1, 10 pm.
Farmland Access Conference, Dec 5
Event - Posted - Monday, November 28, 2016 

A day of hands-on learning and discussion related to farmland access issues. 400,000 acres are potentially in transition as Maine’s senior farm owners contemplate the future of their farms. At Augusta Civic Center, December 5, 8 am - 5 pm.
Damned If You Do, Dammed If You Don’t, Dec 5
Event - Posted - Monday, November 28, 2016 

A seminar about the evolution of pro-active dam removal over the last quarter century. Speaker: Speaker: Laura Wildman, Director, New England Regional Office, Princeton Hydro. At UMaine, Orono, Mitchell Center, December 5, 3-4 pm.
Waterfowl Walk, Giant Stairs, Dec 3
Event - Posted - Saturday, November 26, 2016 

Join Merrymeeting Audubon for a look at the winter waterfowl of eastern Casco Bay from one of Harpswell’s most scenic locations. December 3, 8:30 am.
Weatherize Rockland Home Energy Fair, Dec 3
Event - Posted - Saturday, November 26, 2016 

At Rockland Community Center, December 3, 11 am - 3 pm.
The 2016 Election Results and the Future of Maine’s Environment, Dec 1
Event - Posted - Thursday, November 24, 2016 

Natural Resources Council of Maine staff will discuss the outcomes of the 2016 elections and what they may mean for Maine's environment. At Frontier Cafe, Brunswick, December 1, 6 pm, pre-register.
Are Plastics Contaminating Our Bay? Dec 1
Event - Posted - Thursday, November 24, 2016 

Madelyn Woods of Marine Environmental Research Institute in Blue Hill and Sarah Wakeman of Natural Resources Council of Maine discuss a recent scientific analysis of water from Penobscot Bay, and outline how serious plastic pollution is worldwide. At Belfast Free Library, December 1, 6:30 pm.
Water Is Life: Indigenous Lands and Environmental Issues, Nov 30
Event - Posted - Wednesday, November 23, 2016 

Panelists Matthew Klingle (Bowdoin College), Darren Ranco (UMaine) and Nicholas James Reo (Dartmouth College) will address the entwined histories of Native sovereignty and natural resource use and abuse in North American history. They will highlight ways in which indigenous communities in the United States, particularly Maine, resist environmental destruction. At Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Nov 30, 7 pm.
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News Items
Marathon Man
Down East - Saturday, December 3, 2016 

Who wants to run 26.2 miles through the Maine North Woods in the middle of December? And who really believes that doing so will make a lick of difference for a mill town on the ropes? This guy does.
$32K grant to fund equipment for Maine’s marine biotoxin testing program
Bangor Daily News - Saturday, December 3, 2016 

A few months after domoic acid was detected at harmful levels along Maine’s coast, the state has received a $32,000 grant to improve its ability to test for the presence of the toxin. Phytoplankton species that generate the acid have been found in Maine marine water for years, but never to the extent that it appeared earlier this fall, according to the Maine Department of Marine Resources. The levels raised concerns that people might be exposed to amnesic shellfish poisoning by consuming tainted shellfish.
More than $5,000 reward offered in Canada lynx killings in Maine
Bangor Daily News - Friday, December 2, 2016 

Rewards of up to $5,500 are being offered for information leading to a conviction in each of two cases involving a Canada lynx found shot dead in November in Oxford and Aroostook counties. It is illegal to shoot Canada lynx, which are listed as a threatened species under the Federal Endangered Species Act. A 2006 Canada lynx population survey by Maine DIF&W estimated the population between 750 and 1,000 adult lynx in their core range of northern Maine. Agency biologists believe that Canada lynx are increasing in population and expanding their range in Maine, according to MacDonald. A federal judge also will soon decide whether enough is being done in Maine to protect the Canada lynx from being killed or injured by trappers.
Officials celebrate Sunrise Trail extension into central Ellsworth
Bangor Daily News - Friday, December 2, 2016 

Right behind the L.L. Bean outlet in the center of Ellsworth’s commercial district — and right next to the Comfort Inn — is the new western end of the Down East Sunrise Trail, which was ceremonially opened Friday morning by state and local officials and other supporters who see the 95-mile multiuse trail as a potential economic engine for far eastern coastal Maine. The wide gravel trail follows the old Calais Branch rail corridor, which had fallen into disuse and disrepair before the railbed was rebuilt as an off-road multiuse trail, open to snowmobilers and all-terrain vehicle riders as well and hikers and bikers and cross-country skiers.
Mercury Levels in Gulf of Maine Tuna on the Decline
Maine Public - Friday, December 2, 2016 

There’s some good news for sushi lovers. A new report finds that over an 8-year period, mercury levels in Gulf of Maine tuna declined 2 percent a year — a decline that parallels reductions in mercury pollution from Midwest coal-fired power plants.
Outdoor Enthusiasts Gather to Mark Completion of Downeast Sunrise Trail
Maine Public - Friday, December 2, 2016 

A recreational rail-trail project that has been nearly 30 years in the making was completed Friday with the addition of two final miles connecting Ellsworth to Calais 87 miles away. The multi-use Downeast Sunrise Trail is the longest trail of its type and part of the East Coast Greenway, which extends all the way to Key West, Florida. The final phase of the $1.3 million project is expected to boost the Ellsworth-area economy.
Rewards totaling $11,000 offered in illegal killings of 2 Canada lynx
Portland Press Herald - Friday, December 2, 2016 

The Maine Warden Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are offering a reward up to $5,500 for information on the recent illegal killings of two Canada lynx in northern Oxford and Aroostook counties, according to a statement. Other groups are also offering rewards in the two cases, for a total of $11,000. The Canada lynx is listed as a threatened species under the Federal Endangered Species Act, and the unlawful killing of a Canada lynx carries a maximum fine of up to $100,000 and/or a maximum imprisonment of one year.
Reward Offered After Pair of Rare Lynx Killed in Maine
Associated Press - Friday, December 2, 2016 

State and federal wildlife authorities are investigating the killings of a pair of rare Canada lynx in Maine. The Maine Warden Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service say the lynx were shot to death in northern Oxford and Aroostook counties. The lynx is listed as a threatened species under U.S. endangered species laws and killing one unlawfully carrier a fine of up to $100,000 and imprisonment of up to one year.
Editorial: As they decline, Maine’s rural communities face a choice
Bangor Daily News - Friday, December 2, 2016 

The counties along the rural rim of Maine passed a milestone in 1995 when deaths began to outnumber births. Communities can be honest with themselves. Their leaders and residents can make a choice. What purpose will their town serve in 20 years? Why will people want to live there Some communities may try to change course. They may decide they have natural resources that tourists would like to see and experience and build around that concept as a way to draw in new people. Or they may conclude that new residents are unlikely and opt to simply make life as easy as possible for retirees. Either way, it’s important for communities to not simply let decline happen to them but to make a choice about how they will respond.
Much of Maine still considered in severe drought despite rain
Bangor Daily News - Friday, December 2, 2016 

Most Mainers who live south of the snowbelt woke up Thursday morning to the welcome sound of rain on their roofs and to the sight of rivers and streams that were bony and low a few weeks ago once again full of rushing water. But all this rainfall — 1.35 inches in Augusta during this storm and nearly an inch in Bangor, according to weather observations taken at Bangor International Airport — still doesn’t mean that the drought is over. In fact, data released first thing Thursday morning by the National Drought Mitigation Center reported that a big central swath of the state remains in severe drought.
Princess cruise company to pay record $40M for pollution cover-up
Reuters - Friday, December 2, 2016 

Carnival Corp’s Princess Cruise Lines will plead guilty to seven felony charges for polluting the seas and deliberate acts to cover it up, and pay a record $40 million criminal penalty, the U.S. Justice Department said on Thursday. The charges against Carnival’s Santa Clarita, California-based Princess unit stem from “illegal dumping of oil contaminated waste from the Caribbean Princess cruise ship,” the department said in a statement on the company’s “deliberate pollution of the seas and intentional acts to cover it up.” The ship, which can carry more than 3,100 passengers and 1,200 crew members, has made numerous visits since 2008 to Bar Harbor and Portland.
Graffiti on new Bangor City Forest signs is the last straw, enough is enough
Aislinn Sarnacki Act Out Blog - Thursday, December 1, 2016 

Graffiti has been plastered across new trail map display in the Bangor City Forest. The graffiti — an essay written in black ink — covered the right side of the map, which people use to navigate the forest’s many intersecting trails. I’ve seen way too much graffiti on trails lately. This is the straw that broke the camel’s back. Last week, in Vaughan Woods in Hallowell, I saw beautiful trees marred with initials and hearts. The week before, atop Mount Pisgah in Winthrop, I found one of Maine’s last standing fire towers covered with spray painted symbols and words, including a neon pink F bomb painted in the cab, where families gather to take in the beautiful views. And I can’t tell you how many times I’ve come across graffiti on the Appalachian Trail. Maybe next time you see vandalism on a trail, you’ll report it, and maybe you’ll even try to help fix it.
Youths’ climate lawsuit could force changes in U.S. policy
Washington Post - Thursday, December 1, 2016 

A federal judge in Oregon has ruled that a groundbreaking climate lawsuit will proceed to trial. And some experts say its outcome could rewrite the future of climate policy in the United States. The case, brought by 21 youths ages 9 to 20, claims that the federal government isn’t doing enough to address the problem of climate change to protect their planet’s future – and that, they charge, is a violation of their constitutional rights on the most basic level. Should the plaintiffs prevail, the federal government could be forced to develop stringent carbon-cutting measures.
Portland forum will examine effects of climate change on Bayside
Portland Press Herald - Thursday, December 1, 2016 

The city is sponsoring a community forum this month to discuss ways to protect Portland’s Bayside neighborhood from the effects of rising seas and climate change. A stakeholder’s group made up of property owners, members of the East Bayside and Bayside Neighborhood Organizations, business representatives, Portland Housing Authority officials, Portland Trails and other groups will meet earlier in the day with officials from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to discuss methods that have been used in other parts of the country to combat the effects of climate change.
Environment Maine launches campaign to block attacks on solar power
Other - Thursday, December 1, 2016 

With solar power on the rise around the country, a national network fossil fuel and utility-backed organizations have joined forces to put the brakes on this fast growing pollution-free energy resource. Trade groups and think tanks backed by deep pocketed anti-clean energy ideologues and fossil interests are bankrolling campaigns, promoting model legislation and media campaigns to provide cover for anti-solar campaigns across the country, according to a new report released today by Environment Maine Research & Policy Center.
Maine Solar Power Backers Vow Effort to Preserve 'Net Metering'
Maine Public - Thursday, December 1, 2016 

Backers of solar power fired a preemptive shot today in the latest battle over so-called "net metering." That's the practice of having utilities pay retail prices for excess power purchased from solar panel owners. Andrew LaVogue of Environment Maine said there's a "network of fossil fuel and utility-backed organizations" that are campaigning against the spread of solar power. LaVogue said he expects Gov. Paul LePage's public utilities commissioners to issue a ruling against net metering any day now. Glen Brand, of the Sierra Club's Maine chapter, says the group is ready to go back to the Legislature to defend the right to generate their own power and be compensated for the power they feed into the electric grid.
Maine Bill Aims to Increase Testing for Arsenic in Private Wells
Maine Public - Thursday, December 1, 2016 

A bipartisan group of legislators has introduced a measure that aims to bolster the rate of testing in the tens of thousands of private wells across the state. Federal studies indicate that less than half of the state’s households that rely on well water test for arsenic. Lawmakers supporting the legislation argue that the state needs to do more to educate well owners and achieve a statewide goal of 65 percent testing by 2020. Gov. Paul LePage vetoed a similar bill two years ago.
Obama stays busy on environmental front in final weeks
Associated Press - Thursday, December 1, 2016 

With his days in office numbered, Obama has pushed ahead with several executive actions aimed at protecting the nation's land, air and water, even as he acknowledges his successor may try to undo the work before the ink is dry. The president has been cheered on by environmental groups and advocates braced for a new uphill fight in the next administration, and criticized by those who say an outgoing president shouldn't use his final days to stop what they say is the responsible development of the country's natural resources.
Maine’s Pre-eminent Environmental Reporter Dies at 75
Free Press - Thursday, December 1, 2016 

Phyllis Austin, the pre-eminent environmental reporter in Maine, died last week at 75. She wrote hundreds of incisive, well-researched and clear stories about complex issues that helped shape the state’s environmental and economic future. She was as fearless a reporter as she was climbing an icy overhang with a rope in one hand, an ax in the other and her legs chattering beneath her. She was short and pretty and sinewy with an explosive laugh and eyes as clear and blue as the sky. Now Phyllis has left us, and with her an era in which journalists were society’s watchdogs, snappy and unafraid. She was a noble practitioner of our craft; may there be some wrong that needs righting where she’s gone. ~ Jay Davis, former Maine Times editor, Belfast
Austin’s News Reporting Changed the Maine Woods
Free Press - Thursday, December 1, 2016 

Many of us in the 1970s to 1990s generation of Maine forest professionals know that Phyllis Austin and her work at the Maine Times blazed a path that helped transform the Maine woods. Before then, forestry was dominated by the forest industry establishment, which was backed by the political establishment. Phyllis’ work helped tip the balance toward greater public participation and the adoption of broader-based forestry standards. We will miss her. ~ Gordon Mott, forester, Lakeville
A Visionary, Persistent Woman
Free Press - Thursday, December 1, 2016 

I first met Phyllis Austin through her extensive stories in the Maine Times in the early 1980s. She educated me on Maine’s environmental issues of the day. I met Phyllis in person after I began working for the Natural Resources Council of Maine in 1990. We began a decades-long relationship consisting of innumerable phone calls and interviews. She was passionate about wild places to the end and the best tribute we can pay to her is to continue that passion, each in our own way. ~ Cathy Johnson, Natural Resources Council of Maine
The 2017 Watch List — Maine Forests, Parks and Public Lands
Free Press - Thursday, December 1, 2016 

In the nation’s capital, the Anti-Parks Caucus has started pushing to overturn national monuments created by President Obama. The fight over federal land ownership isn’t new, but anti-public lands sentiment has gained considerable clout in recent years. Meanwhile, in Maine, much of what has happened in the past few years is still being played out on the ground, even if it isn’t in the news.
Maine’s Downeast Sunrise Trail Done After Nearly 30 Years
Associated Press - Thursday, December 1, 2016 

Maine officials say an 87-mile recreational trail system that has been in the works for almost 30 years has been completed. The Downeast Sunrise Trail stretches from Pembroke to Ellsworth. The project began in 1987. An 85-mile stretch of trail from Pembroke to Hancock was completed in 2010. The second phase of the trail extended it another two miles into Ellsworth. The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry says that piece of the trail is now complete. State agriculture commissioner Walt Whitcomb says the trail links to 800 miles of all-terrain vehicle and snowmobile trails.
The forces pulling apart the lives of Maine’s iconic loggers
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, December 1, 2016 

Ten paper mills in Maine have closed in the last decade. The new landscape means loggers must pay truckers more to haul wood to mills located farther and farther away. Once the wood arrives, the loggers are paid less for it because the market is flooded with wood cut by their colleagues who have fewer and fewer places to sell it. Mill closures are just one of the factors that have made logging in Maine more difficult in recent decades. Huge swaths of land have been bought and sold, disrupting loggers’ contracts. And the necessity of expensive equipment has driven loggers deep into debt. Some loggers will weather these changes, but not all of them, and those remaining will have fundamentally different lives from their logging ancestors.
Maine looking for rainmaker to revive forest markets
Portland Press Herald - Thursday, December 1, 2016 

The LePage administration is seeking help to “stem the slide of Maine’s forest products industry” and identify additional wood markets following mill closures and other events that have rocked the state’s forest-based economy. The LePage administration’s latest request for proposals is financed with the help of a federal grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The winner of the contract – worth up to $210,000 over three years – would be expected to research new opportunities for Maine wood products while actively marketing the state’s industry to potential investors via a “What Maine has to Offer” guide. Additionally, the contractor would identify bottlenecks to new investment or policy issues hurting the current industry.
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