January 27, 2015  

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Maine Environmental News
Announcement - Saturday, January 24, 2015 

Thanks for visiting Maine Environmental News, the most comprehensive online source available for links to Maine conservation and natural resource news stories and events. I have posted links to more than 35,000 news articles and announcements. I 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 my attention a few days after they are published. Follow us on Twitter @MaineEnviroNews. Will Sugg is the website developer. ~ Jym St. Pierre, RESTORE: The North Woods
Announcement - Saturday, January 24, 2015 

WinterKids helps children develop healthy lifelong havits through fun, outdoor winter activities. See the schedule of upcoming events.
A Wild Wish
Action Alert - Sunday, January 18, 2015 

This year, for my twenty-second birthday, I would like to raise $2,200 for the Northeast Wolf Coalition (NEWC). This alliance of conservation organizations and scientific advisers recognizes the ecological, economical and ethical reasons for potential wolf recovery in the Northeast. My hopes are that NEWC can use this money to fund research, public education, and outreach programs focused on the value of wolves and other large carnivores. ~ Melissa Dinino
Woodlot Management Adult Education Course, Feb-Mar
Announcement - Saturday, January 17, 2015 

The information and contacts you gain from this free course will help you make decisions on how to sustainably manage your woodlot. At Bangor High School, Feb-March, Monday evenings, 6-8 pm. Registration required. Sponsored by Penobscot County Soil and Water Conservation District and Prentiss & Carlisle.
Great Maine Outdoor Weekend, Feb 13-15
Event - Posted - Friday, January 16, 2015 

The list of events for GMOW is growing.
Behind the scenes on the Appalachian Trail, Feb 3
Event - Posted - Friday, January 16, 2015 

Claire Polfus, Conservation Resources Manager for the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, will share a peek "behind the scenes on the A.T." At Curtis Library, Brunswick, Feb 3, 7 pm. Sponsored by Appalachian Mountain Club Maine Chapter.
Transmission in the Northeast Conference, Feb 2-3
Event - Posted - Friday, January 16, 2015 

This conference will address challenges to the integration of economic renewable resources, the siting of transmission reliability projects and opening up access in the Northeast United States to resources in Eastern Canada. At Boston, MA, Feb 2-3. Attorneys and industry executives $1145; government employees $765; students, people in their job less than a year, and public interest NGO's $572.
Viles Arboretum 11th Annual Super Bowl Sunday Table Tour, Feb 1
Event - Posted - Friday, January 16, 2015 

Trails open at 11 am and trail food will be served till 1 pm. Desserts, coffee and hot beverages will be served until 2 pm. Participants get to indulge in some of the best culinary delights available from restaurants and food providers in and around our Capital City. $25 (members $22.50), 12 and under $5, no charge for toddlers. Sponsored by Viles Arboretum, Augusta.
Maine Youth Wilderness Leadership
Announcement - Thursday, January 15, 2015 

Friends of Baxter State Park invites current Maine high school sophomores and juniors to apply for a leadership program that includes a nine-day wilderness experience in Baxter State Park. Participants backpack from one end of the Park to the other, working with a variety of specialists and Park staff to understand the wilderness through science, art, storytelling, photography, writing, history, and recreation. Application deadline is Feb 8.
Diary of a River: Solargraphs of the Kennebec River
Announcement - Thursday, January 15, 2015 

Johanna Moore produced images between the summer and winter solstices of the sun as it crossed the sky. She built 120 pinhole cameras and set them out along the Kennebec River and several of its tributaries, from historic sites to river dams, from Indian Pond to Phippsburg. Exhibit at USM, Glickman Library, 5th Floor, Portland, Jan 22-May 22; opening reception Jan 22, 6 pm; artist conversation April 9, 6 pm.
Birds of Gujarat, India, Jan 28
Event - Posted - Wednesday, January 14, 2015 

Mike Waters and Cathie Murray will speak about “Birds of Gujarat” in western India. At Viles Arboretum, Augusta, Jan 28, 7 pm. Sponsored by Augusta Bird Club.
Students Present: Cathance Preserve Field Studies, Jan 27
Event - Posted - Wednesday, January 14, 2015 

Students will present their field studies of the Cathance Preserve. At Topsham Public Library, Jan 27, 6:30 - 8 pm. Sponsored by Cathance River Education Alliance (CREA).
Organic Fertilizers, Supplements & Compost, Jan 25
Event - Posted - Wednesday, January 14, 2015 

Master Gardener Linton Studdiford will discuss organic soil management techniques, composting, organic supplement products, soil testing. At St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Brunswick, Jan 25, 2-3:03 pm. Sponsored by Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust.
Liberal Cup Biathlon, Jan 25
Event - Posted - Wednesday, January 14, 2015 

Just like the Olympians, racers will have to both cross-country ski and target shoot, but racers in the Liberal Cup Biathlon should expect way more smiles along the way. At Hidden Valley Nature Center, Jefferson, Jan 25, 8 am.
Art & Wildlife, Jan 22
Event - Posted - Wednesday, January 14, 2015 

John Bryan has been a woodcarving artist and sculptor for over 35 years. He will share a retrospective of his work and the inspiration he finds in birds, fish and other wildlife. At Gilsland Farm Audubon Center, Falmouth, Jan 22, 7 pm. Maine Audubon members free; non-members $5.
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News Items
Letter: Wood biofuel better than wind
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, January 28, 2015 

No energy source could ever be totally “carbon neutral.” It’s really a question of how much extra CO2 is expelled to get renewable energy to market. Unlike wind power, wood biofuel is easily stored and dispatched as needed. A wood-burning power plant requires a fraction of the land used by wind projects. Harvesting and transporting Maine’s indigenous biofuel provides a much needed boost to the forest products industry and forest landowners, especially as paper mills are shuttered. By my calculation, wood biofuel is a much better renewable energy investment for Maine — and the planet. ~ Paula Moore, Orono
Former Millinocket manager hired for Hancock County post
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, January 27, 2015 

Eugene Conlogue will become Hancock County's first-ever manager when he starts work in mid-February. Conlogue served as Millinocket’s town manager for 13 years, resigning in September 2012 to take the job in Houlton. He then resigned as Houlton’s town manager in April 2014, after having held the position for a year and a half.
Blog: Maine TV: Which of these 10 fictional television towns would you want to call home?
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, January 27, 2015 

Maine’s wild — in many cases, mysterious — landscape has provided fertile ground for imaginations for decades. So it’s perhaps no surprise that when television producers have wanted to locate fantastical or supernatural stories someplace on Earth, they’ve often turned to the Pine Tree State. The following is a list of the top 10 fictional Maine towns used on television shows.
Obama Administration Releases New 5-Year Offshore Drilling Plan
Sierra Club - Tuesday, January 27, 2015 

The Obama administration today released its proposed 2017-2022 Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program. The proposal keeps dirty fuel development off-limits along the Pacific and Northern Atlantic coasts, as well as in some areas of the Arctic Ocean, while opening up new areas off the Atlantic and Alaskan coasts to drilling.
Groups Petition to Reclassify Gray Wolves to Threatened Status under ESA
Other - Tuesday, January 27, 2015 

Animal protection and conservation organizations petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to reclassify gray wolves under the Endangered Species Act as threatened throughout the contiguous United States, with the exception of the Mexican gray wolf which remains listed as endangered. If adopted, the proposal would continue federal oversight and funding of wolf recovery efforts and encourage development of a national recovery plan for the species, but would also give the Fish and Wildlife Service regulatory flexibility to permit state and local wildlife managers to address specific wolf conflicts.
Blog: Baxter In Winter
Other - Tuesday, January 27, 2015 

The winter hiking handbook issued by the Baxter State Park Authority sums it up quite nicely: “Simply put, winter travel will take longer than summer travel. A basic rule of thumb is to expect to travel approximately two miles per hour in a small group, plus: ½ hour per thousand feet of elevation gain, ½ hour per mile for carrying a heavy pack or towing a sled, and ½ hour per mile for trail-breaking in deep snow.” My experience has been that if you add poor weather conditions to this calculation — the ability to make forward progress can be brought to an almost complete standstill. But the calculation lacks a critical footnote. Every hard-earned mile on a winter trip to the iconic park has its own rewards. The park is never more of a wilderness than during the winter months. ~ Jim Andrews
Ski: The Bait Hole
Aislinn Sarnacki Act Out Blog - Tuesday, January 27, 2015 

The Bait Hole public recreation area — named after a small pond on the property where baitfish used to be kept — lies just 3 miles southwest of downtown Millinocket and is home to several miles of maintained trails. In the summer, bicyclists and hikers use the trails, which lead through a beautiful mixed forest to the shore of Elbow Lake, where you get views of nearby mountains, including Katahdin. In the winter, the trails are groomed for cross-country skiing, and snowshoers use the trails by walking to the left of the ski tracks.
7 top Maine snowshoe spots, plus winter hiking tips
Aislinn Sarnacki Act Out Blog - Tuesday, January 27, 2015 

Maine’s busiest hiking trails during the summer are usually quiet in the winter, when many people store their backpacks and take a break, uninterested in slogging through the snow in freezing temperatures. But some hikers consider winter to be the best season to be on the trails. After all, during the winter, there are no mosquitoes, blackflies or ticks. The mountaintops aren’t crowded. In fact, you often have a hiking trail entirely to yourself. And then there’s the landscape, which coated with snow and ice, takes on an entirely different type of beauty in the winter. here are a few Maine places I’ve enjoyed snowshoeing at over the past couple of years.
Study: Pollinator decline poses huge human health risks
Summit Voice - Tuesday, January 27, 2015 

Declines of crucial crop pollinators like bees is likely to put huge numbers of people in developing countries at risk for malnutrition, according to a new study that bolsters links between ecosystem stability and human health. The research by scientists at the University of Vermont and Harvard University tested the claim that pollinators are crucial for human nutritional health by connecting what people actually eat in four developing countries to the pollination requirements of the crops that provide their food and nutrients. UVM scientist Taylor Ricketts said, “Ecosystem damage can damage human health so conservation can be thought of as an investment in public health.”
Three men convicted in Township 37 pot farm case seek new trials
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, January 27, 2015 

A federal judge will consider whether three men convicted on drug charges in connection with the Township 37 marijuana plantation should be granted new trials. Malcolm French of Enfield, Rodney Russell of South Thomaston, and Kendall Chase of Bradford were found guilty on a variety of charges in connection with the pot farm. Corporation Haynes Timberland Inc., which owned the land where the pot was found, also was found guilty last year but is not seeking a retrial.
Opinion: Our schools need to learn the ABCs of energy efficiency
Portland Press Herald - Tuesday, January 27, 2015 

Some schools that have done the right thing by investing in new and energy-efficient systems often realize only a fraction of their potential savings. There are a number of reasons for this, including human error (such as improper installation); changes in building operations staff, and interference by competing equipment or systems (i.e., installation of photocopiers that generate significant heat too close to thermostats). To fix this, some buildings are in need of retro-commissioning — a readjustment of a building’s energy systems so they can operate optimally given the building’s use, occupancy and multiple systems functioning at any given time. ~ Todd Chase, Viridis Engineering, Gorham
Letter: Avoid overtaxing Maine nonprofits; establish a public service fee
Portland Press Herald - Tuesday, January 27, 2015 

The proposal to tax certain nonprofits (with an assessed value over $500,000) at the prevailing property tax rate seems abusive. Many of these organizations may find it necessary to go out of business, or reduce their services significantly. Instead, why couldn’t a public service fee be established for them by negotiations with their community? The law should be written so that the only mandate would be for the community governing body to establish an agreement with its nonprofits at whatever figure is decided. ~ Thomas F. Shields, Auburn
Letter: Trapping is cruel
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, January 27, 2015 

Trapping done for love? John Holyoke has to be kidding. It’s too bad that none of the photos accompanying his Jan. 23 article show what really happens. When an animal is caught in a trap, held there struggling in pain and fear until it dies, or the trapper arrives to execute it at point blank range, where’s the compassion, the kindness or the affection that love implies? Instead, there’s an indifference to life that condones suffering in the name of a “recreational sport.” It’s entirely possible, as most Mainers have discovered, to enjoy nature and the outdoors without killing. ~ Don Loprieno, Bristol
Letter: Park makes sense
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, January 27, 2015 

I am studying for my Bachelor of Science degree in parks, recreation and tourism while pursuing a minor in psychology at the University of Maine. Attending the School of Forest Resources has taught me a lot, including that there can be a balance between recreation, tourism and the forest products industry. I don’t think the proposed national park is the golden answer, but it is an opportunity we need to grasp because it is going to bring more people to the area. ~ Cody McEwen, Millinocket
Senate Democrats stall vote on Keystone XL Pipeline
Associated Press - Monday, January 26, 2015 

Senate Democrats temporarily stalled progress Monday on a bill to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline, the top priority of the Republican-controlled Congress. In a 53-39 vote, the Senate blocked an attempt by Republican leaders to wind down debate. That’s short of the 60 votes needed. President Barack Obama has threatened to veto the bill if it reaches his desk.
‘Reformulated gas’ to make a comeback in Maine
Portland Press Herald - Monday, January 26, 2015 

Gas stations in seven southern and coastal counties in Maine will be required to sell cleaner-burning “reformulated gas” beginning June 1 as part of an agreement between the state and federal governments. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Monday that only reformulated gas – a blend designed to reduce emissions of air pollutants – can be sold in York, Cumberland, Sagadahoc, Androscoggin, Kennebec, Knox and Lincoln counties starting in June. Maine opted out of the federal government’s reformulated gas program in the late 1990s because of contamination caused by methyl tertiary-butyl ether, MTBE, which was one of the additives at the time. But MTBE is no longer used in gas, and the Maine DEP asked the EPA to allow the state to rejoin the reformulated gas program.
Legislature Considering Measures to Lower Solar Power Costs
Maine Public Broadcasting Network - Monday, January 26, 2015 

Maine could increase the use of solar power for electricity, heating and cooling homes under measures before the state Legislature this year. Among the proposals under consideration, allowing more cooperation between individuals to generate solar energy, and providing rebates to lower costs and improve affordability. Advocates for solar energy in Maine say that the costs of photo-voltaic panels are going down, and efficiency of the systems is improving. And while at times it seems as though the sun disappears for long periods of time in this part of the U.S., Dylan Voorhees of the Natural Resources Council of Maine says solar power can pay off.
UMaine System Votes to Divest from Coal
Maine Public Broadcasting Network - Monday, January 26, 2015 

The University of Maine System Board of Trustees took a historic vote Monday by adopting a policy to divest all direct holdings from coal companies. Unity College in Unity, Maine was the first college in the country to divest from all fossil fuel holdings in 2012. But this marks the first time a public land grant institution or university system has taken a smaller step toward that goal.
For Maine’s winter recreation industry, blizzard warning means ‘white gold’ on way
Portland Press Herald - Monday, January 26, 2015 

Weather reports warning of an oncoming blizzard striking Maine have put Wayne Keniston in such a good mood that he laughs out loud just thinking about it. “It’s white gold for us,” said Keniston, who owns Keniston’s Auto & Snowmobile Supplies in Falmouth. His shop was busy all day Monday with customers getting maintenance done on their sleds and buying accessories such as helmets. For Maine businesses that are involved in winter recreation, the snowstorm is arriving just in time to revive what has been a mediocre season. The Maine Snowmobile Association says that industry generates about $350 million in spending annually.
Milk industry fights back against ‘anti-dairy folks’
Associated Press - Monday, January 26, 2015 

The milk industry is fed up with all the sourness over dairy. As Americans continue turning away from milk, an industry group is pushing back at its critics with a social media campaign trumpeting the benefits of milk. The association says it needs to act because attitudes about milk are deteriorating more rapidly, with vegan groups, non-dairy competitors and other perceived enemies getting louder online. On Tuesday, the “Get Real” social media campaign will be announced. The campaign is intended to drown out milk’s detractors with positive posts about milk on Facebook, Twitter and elsewhere.
Opinion: The American eel’s ‘endangered’ designation isn’t backed up by the science
Bangor Daily News - Monday, January 26, 2015 

Over the past decade, eel fishermen in Maine and all along the Atlantic coast have been part of a responsibly managed fishery, adhering to stringent regulations developed across state, provincial and international lines. Even as demand for eels has spiked in the last few years, the fishery has set a course of proactive management, with sustainable catch limits helping to secure the future of the stock. Despite these notable management efforts, in late 2014, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature placed American eel on its “Red List” of endangered species. But a close examination of all of the available evidence — including a 2007 report by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which the agency has called “the most comprehensive analysis of the American eel’s range wide status ever undertaken” — reveals that the IUCN designation is misplaced, at best. ~ Julie Keene, North Trescott, Maine Elver Fishermen Association; Tim Larochelle, Woolwich, American Eel Sustainability Association
Column: LePage’s tax plan is DOA
Forecaster - Monday, January 26, 2015 

Colleges — along with hospitals, land trusts and just about every other sizable nonprofit organization in Maine — are keeping a wary eye on the governor, who, in addition to raising and expanding the sales tax, has proposed paying for cuts in the income and inheritance taxes (both of which benefit the rich disproportionately) by allowing towns and cities to tax nonprofits. Now there’s a lousy idea. If LePage’s tax plan is not DOA, it is among the walking dead. The idea of taxing nonprofits was floated by Republicans in 2013, when LePage cut revenue sharing to municipalities. It was such a radical proposal that a task force was detailed to study it. In January, 2014, the Final Report of the Nonprofit Tax Review Task Force unanimously reached the conclusion that a statewide tax on nonprofits was “neither a feasible nor desirable recommendation.” ~ Edgar Allen Beem
Last year tied with 2010 as warmest on record
Reuters - Monday, January 26, 2015 

Last year tied with 2010 as the hottest on record, in a new sign of long-term global warming stoked by human activities, according to British data on Monday that back up U.S. findings of record-breaking heat in 2014.
Letter: Time to put aside Yarmouth's 'dam issue'
Forecaster - Monday, January 26, 2015 

I was surprised to hear that the “dam issue” in Yarmouth is back in play. I don't understand why anybody would want to remove those Royal River dams. By removing the dams you put several businesses in danger. Fish, seems to be the main reason. Well come down to the river this spring and watch the river literally boiling with fish. ~ Jerry Farnham, Gorham
Letter: Beem wrong about Obama, oil, Keystone XL
Forecaster - Monday, January 26, 2015 

In his latest blather about the Keystone XL pipeline, Edgar Allen Beem blames Republicans for “standing in the way of transportation infrastructure improvements." Please Mr. Beem, name them. Later Beem says that paying $2.20 a gallon does not even cover the cost of highway maintenance. So Republicans block highway maintenance, but then there is not money for it anyway? And then there is the totally false claim that President Obama, apparently all by himself, has increased oil production by 50 percent. With Beem’s anti-oil attitude I think it high time he quit using oil. Good luck with your bicycle. ~ Harry White, Scarborough
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News Feeds

Maine Organic Farmers
and Gardeners Assn

Portland mayor wants cafeterias to serve more local fish, boost demand for commercial fishing
By Set Koenig - Portland Mayor Michael Brennan wants students, hospital patients and jail inmates to eat more fish – particularly, locally caught fish.
1/24/2015 11:00:00 PM

As the scallop fishery rebounds, divers hope for a break
By Mary Pols - Some argue that diving is the most sustainable way of fishing for scallops and that the state should recognize that in its rule-making.
1/24/2015 11:00:00 PM

Regulations have done little to boost cod in Gulf of Maine: Lobster management offers clear direction
Editorial - Today, the groundfishing industry faces an uncertain future of depleted stocks, consolidation of the fleet, restrictive regulation and questions about whether species that long sustained some New England fishing communities will ever rebound.
1/23/2015 11:00:00 PM

Meet the Modern Farmer: Chris Hirsch
By Jesse Hirsch - It recently occurred to me that my dad is the ultimate modern farmer. After decades working as a high level hospital administrator, he left to work part-time on a 4-acre restaurant farm [Primo], tending to the bees and the hogs and the pea shoots. I got him on Skype for a very formal interview.
1/22/2015 11:00:00 PM

Reinventing the Potato
By Ferris Jabr - For most of my life, I have been severely prejudiced against the potato. Like many Americans, I regarded potatoes as among the most banal of vegetables. They were clearly less interesting than other tubers and roots, lacking the lip-staining intensity of the beet, the bright color and crunch of the carrot, the surprising heat of the radish. Potatoes were just generic lumps of starch best used as couriers for salt, fat and ketchup.
1/22/2015 11:00:00 PM

USDA considers freeing organic growers from promotion fees
By Michael Doyle - Organic farmers are fertilizing a proposal to broaden their exemption from paying industry fees that largely support conventional agriculture.
1/22/2015 11:00:00 PM

Battle in Iowa about who is to blame for water pollution could affect farmers nationwide
An impending lawsuit in Iowa about who is to blame for water pollution could have a major impact on farmers throughout the country, Donnelle Eller reports for The Des Moines Register. "The federal government now considers water from farmlands as surface runoff and exempts it from oversight." But Des Moines Water Works, which says three northwest counties are to blame for polluting central Iowa's water supply, "contends the underground tiling widely used by farmers bypasses the natural filtering soil provides, acting as 'a continuous mechanism for transporting nitrates to streams.'"
1/22/2015 11:00:00 PM

Lawsuit Challenges California Plan Allowing Pesticide Spraying on Schools, Homes, Organic Farms
By Sara Sciammacco - San Francisco: Eleven groups and the city of Berkeley sued the California Department of Food and Agriculture today over the agency’s approval of a statewide “pest management” plan that allows pesticide spraying on schools, organic farms and residential yards, including aerial spraying over homes in rural areas.
1/22/2015 11:00:00 PM

Natural Resources Council
of Maine

Our Schools Need to Learn to ABCs of Energy Efficiency
It’s disheartening to see how many schools in the state literally burn money using outdated boilers. By ...
1/27/2015 1:57:50 PM

Remove Vinyl Stains
Scrub the stain out of your vinyl recliner, chairs, or couch by dipping a cloth in lemon juice and using a lit...
1/27/2015 4:00:38 AM

Legislature Considering Measures to Lower Solar Power Costs
by Mal Leary MPBN news story AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine could increase the use of solar power for electricity, hea...
1/26/2015 7:00:55 PM

Snowy Owls Popping Up Again Across Northern U.S.
They’re being reported on the online eBird database this winter across the northern third of the Lower 4...
1/26/2015 2:06:13 PM

My Maine This Week: Steve Cartwright
“Love the late afternoon light in this photo of the Rockland breakwater in January. Love this place, too...
1/26/2015 12:33:50 PM

Power Off the Blanket
If you regularly use an electric blanket, try going one night without it. Skipping it for one 10-hour period w...
1/26/2015 4:00:11 AM

Keep the Dryer Door Closed
Even  if the dryer door is open just a crack, that’s plenty of opportunity for frigid winter air to seep...
1/25/2015 4:00:20 AM

5 Degrees of Separation
If you’re leaving the house for an hour or more, turn the thermostat down 5 degrees to maximize efficien...
1/24/2015 4:00:00 AM

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