December 15, 2017  
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Maine Environmental News
Announcement - Wednesday, December 13, 2017 

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 over 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
Maine Energy Planning Roadmap hearings, Dec 19, Dec 29, Jan 10
Event - Posted - Tuesday, December 12, 2017 

The Governor’s Energy Office is asking Mainers for input in developing an Energy Planning Roadmap. Public hearings:
• Dec. 19: University of Southern Maine, Portland
• Dec. 29: Energy, Utilities, & Technology Committee, Augusta
• Jan. 10: University of Maine, Presque Isle
Help wanted: Visitor Center Assistant
Announcement - Monday, December 11, 2017 

Seasonal position, May 1 - October 31, 2018, representing Audubon’s Seabird Restoration Program at the Project Puffin Visitor Center in Rockland.
Free Skiing & Learn-to-Ski Clinics, Dec 16
Event - Posted - Saturday, December 9, 2017 

Waterville Parks & Rec, with support from Friends of Quarry Road, will provide free trail passes, free rentals, and free learn-to-ski clinics at Quarry Road Trails, December 16.
Meadow Brook/Hurds Pond Preserve Hike, Dec 16
Event - Posted - Saturday, December 9, 2017 

Cloe Chunn will lead a hike of Meadow Brook/Hurds Pond, a preserve of Coastal Mountains Land Trust. Meet at Swanville Transfer Station, December 16, 10 am. Sponsored by Belfast Bay Watershed Coalition.
Tax bill would slam the brakes on solar and wind energy
Action Alert - Friday, December 8, 2017 

The tax bill passed by the Senate last Friday includes an obscure provision that could pull the rug out from under solar and wind power. The House version also takes aim at renewable energy by rolling back key tax credits. These provisions "would have a devastating ... impact on wind and solar energy," according to renewable energy industry leaders. ~ Environment Maine
Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, Dec 14
Event - Posted - Thursday, December 7, 2017 

Tim Hudson, Superintendent, will take you through the landscape of Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument with pictures. At Belfast Free Library, December 14, 6:30 pm. Sponsored by Belfast Bay Watershed Coalition.
Whales of the Gulf of Maine: A Naturalist’s Report, Dec 14
Event - Posted - Thursday, December 7, 2017 

Zack Klyver, chief naturalist for the Bar Harbor Whale Watch Company and founder of Flukes whale watch ecotours, will present an engaging review of the 2017 whale watch season. At Schoodic Institute, Winter Harbor, December 14, 12 pm.
Olive oil tasting, Dec 13
Event - Posted - Wednesday, December 6, 2017 

FIORE Artisan Olive Oils & Vinegars will host an evening to support the Brunswick Topsham Land Trust at its tasting room in Brunswick, December 13, 5-7 pm.
The Arctic Needs Your Help
Action Alert - Tuesday, December 5, 2017 

Buried deep within the Senate tax bill is a provision to open the pristine Arctic Refuge, a national treasure, to oil and gas drilling, which will cause widespread pollution and harm to the wildlife and people who call this place home. Express your disappointment to Senator Susan Collins and urge her to protect our natural legacy by working to remove this damaging language before the tax bill becomes law. ~ Maine Conservation Voters
Birds from the Footbridge in Belfast, Dec 9
Event - Posted - Saturday, December 2, 2017 

Join Ron Harrell and Gary Gulezian to watch ducks, loons and other birds in the harbor. At the Belfast Footbridge, December 9, 8-10 am. Organized by Belfast Bay Watershed Coalition.
Win $1,000 L.L.Bean shopping spree and an outing with David Sibley
Announcement - Friday, December 1, 2017 

Wildlife Acoustics, makers of the Song Sleuth bird identifying app, launched the Sibley Sweepstakes on December 1. Ends March 1. No purchase necessary to enter.
Baxter State Park sign auction, ends Dec 6
Announcement - Thursday, November 30, 2017 

Auction of retired Baxter State Park signs, plus the historic dinner bell from Kidney Pond Camps. Friends Baxter State Park will donate half the proceeds to Baxter State Park, and half will support FBSP programs. Ends December 6.
Blazing Ahead: the Rivalry that Built the Appalachian Trail, Dec 7
Event - Posted - Thursday, November 30, 2017 

Jeffrey Ryan tells the story of the unlikely creation of the Appalachian Trail. At Bangor Public Library, December 7, 6 pm. Sponsored by Appalachian Mountain Club Maine Chapter.
Celebrate CREA and the Season, Dec 7
Event - Posted - Thursday, November 30, 2017 

Meet new Executive Director Wendy Van Damme, hear about new programs and plans, and contemplate the joy of winter activity at the Cathance River Education Alliance’s 235 acre nature preserve in Topsham. At Frontier Cafe, Brunswick, December 7, 4:30 to 6:30 pm, RSVP.
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News Items
Maine Natural Gas proposes gas pipeline to Augusta
Capital Weekly - Tuesday, January 31, 2012 

Maine Natural Gas has begun discussions with potential large customers for the development of a natural gas distribution system to serve Augusta. The first phase of the project would serve customers in the city’s east side. The line will tap into an existing interstate pipeline in Windsor and run approximately 10 miles along Route 17 — also known as Eastern Avenue — to Route 9 — Hospital Street. Maine Natural Gas is a subsidiary of Iberdrola USA, which is also the parent company of Central Maine Power.
PUC releases confidential transcript in wind energy case
Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting - Tuesday, January 31, 2012 

A proposal for a joint venture that would undertake major construction of wind towers across the state and region has encountered more regulatory complications, a week after reports were published that state officials recommended the proposal be turned down. The Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC) was set to decide on Jan. 31 whether the proposal by First Wind, Emera Inc. (the Nova Scotia-based parent company of Bangor Hydro and Maine Public Service) and Ontario-based Algonquin Power and Utilities Corp. could move ahead. But that meeting has been indefinitely postponed while attorneys for the deal’s proponents and opponents wrestle over actions taken by First Wind and Bangor Hydro over the last week. A confidential and contentious meeting between PUC staff and lawyers for the parties in the case was held on January 25.
Officially Listed as Endangered, Sturgeon Are on the Slow Way Back
Other - Tuesday, January 31, 2012 

To prevent the Atlantic sturgeon from vanishing entirely, the Natural Resources Defense Council filed a petition in September of 2009 to list the fish under the Endangered Species Act. Today, the petition was granted: the National Marine Fisheries Service listed four distinct population segments as endangered: the New York Bight, the Chesapeake Bay, the Carolina, and the South Atlantic. All “take” of the fish—e.g., killing, collection, and harassment—is prohibited without a permit. The northernmost DPS, the Gulf of Maine, will be listed as threatened.
Hunt for tiny, sap-sucking tree-killer expands to MDI
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, January 31, 2012 

Staff from the Maine Forest Service will be on Mount Desert Island this week searching for additional infestations of a tiny, sap-sucking bug that is wiping out hemlock groves up and down the East Coast. The hemlock woolly adelgid — an invasive insect from Asia — has expanded its presence in Maine over the past five years and is now approaching areas Down East where hemlock trees are a common and ecologically important species.
Maine DEP: Smaller Juniper Ridge expansion than proposed would benefit public
Maine Campus - Tuesday, January 31, 2012 

The Maine Department of Environmental Protection has said the public would benefit from an expansion at the Casella Waste Systems-operated Juniper Ridge Landfill in Old Town landfill, but not one nearly as large as it applied for.
Maine DEP favors limited expansion of Juniper Ridge Landfill
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, January 31, 2012 

The Maine Department of Environmental Protection decided Tuesday that increasing the size of Juniper Ridge Landfill would benefit the public, but only if the expansion were limited to less than half the space the landfill’s operators wanted. Casella Waste Systems Inc., which operates the state-owned landfill in Old Town, wanted to expand by 21.9 million cubic yards, but the DEP’s partial approval states that a 9.35 million cubic yard expansion would suffice.
Opinion: Propane tank in Searsport benefits one
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, January 31, 2012 

David Cole’s Jan. 26 BDN OpEd supporting the proposed propane tank in Searsport is wrong on a number of levels. What Mainers need is access to the cheap natural gas that runs through the state. Why not work to bring sustainable exports to Mack Point so Searsport and all Mainers could benefit? Mr. Cole might consider exerting his influence on Sprague to get it to put in the high-speed bulk loading and unloading capacity that the Mack Point terminal needs to be competitive exporting Maine’s biomass to waiting markets in Europe. ~ David Italiaander, Searsport
Clean energy won't be on November ballot in Maine
Portland Press Herald - Tuesday, January 31, 2012 

Supporters of an effort to require the use of more renewable resources to generate electricity failed to meet Monday's deadline to turn in signatures calling for a statewide referendum in November. Maine Citizens for Clean Energy came close, but not close enough, to the 57,277 voters' signatures it needed. They said they will try for 2013 instead.

• The renewable-resource initiative is necessary to reduce Maine's dependence on foreign oil.
• It could bring 11,700 jobs to Maine.
• Electricity rates would increase initially, then drop dramatically in later years.

• The initiative is a "job killer" that would keep businesses from coming to Maine.
• It would send Maine residents and businesses to other states where electricity is cheaper.
• Electricity prices in Maine are the 12th highest in the country.

Maine’s 2011 lobster haul breaks record at over 100M pounds
Associated Press - Tuesday, January 31, 2012 

Maine lobster fishermen last year caught more than 100 million pounds of lobster for the first time, indicating the state’s signature seafood is robust as other fishery resources continue to flounder, the state’s top fisheries official said Tuesday. But even with a whopper of a harvest, Maine lobstermen continue to struggle with lower prices that began with the global economic meltdown in 2008.
Moose lottery tweak faces test
Portland Press Herald - Tuesday, January 31, 2012 

Some say the new system will bring more people back to the lottery, but others still doubt it's fair.
Another natural gas proposal
Kennebec Journal - Tuesday, January 31, 2012 

Three proposals could bring natural gas to the Augusta area:
* Kennebec Valley Gas Company's plans for an $86 million, 56-mile pipeline, stretching from an existing Maritimes and Northeast compressor station in Richmond to Madison. The state Public Utilities Commission last year granted preliminary approval.
* A town of Madison proposal to bond $72 million to build a pipeline similar to what's proposed by Kennebec Valley Gas, also from Richmond to Madison. The town has set a ballot vote March 13 on whether the town should bond for $72 million, even though residents rejected the bond proposal in a vote last November.
* Maine Natural Gas announced plans Monday to bring a natural gas distribution line from the existing Maritimes and Northeast pipeline in Windsor, about 10 miles along Route 17 to Augusta. The company says it is talking with potential large customers and, if those are successful, will file for state and local permits this spring. An estimated project cost was not disclosed.
Letter: Build refineries, not pipelines, and create jobs
Kennebec Journal - Tuesday, January 31, 2012 

Has anyone in their right mind actually asked why does a pipeline have to be built for thousands of miles? Why can't a refinery be built close to the oil? If the studies are true, [the Keystone] pipeline will pass over a reservoir of fresh water the size of the Great Lakes. Clean water is vital. Why take a chance of polluting it with pipes that will leak? If it is a border issue, build a refinery on both sides, share the cost and share the profits. Doing this will save millions of acres of land, protect vital drinking water and put thousands of people to work. ~ Ed Morris, Benton
Letter: Searsport’s atomic bombs
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, January 31, 2012 

A DCP Midstream spokesperson said she “did not want to speculate what would happen” if an accidental BLEVE (boiling liquid expanding vapor) explosion occurred in its proposed 22.7 million gallon liquefied petroleum gas tank at Searsport. We should not speculate what would happen, but we should try to predict what could happen. Because these LPG risks are far higher than any conceivable benefits, the Searsport LPG tank project should not be approved. ~ Randall Parr, Appleton
Underwater turbines could pose safety risk to mariners, say attendees at Lubec hearing
Bangor Daily News - Monday, January 30, 2012 

The U.S. Coast Guard fielded comments and suggestions Monday evening from Cobscook Bay fishermen and others attending a public hearing in Lubec to discuss a proposal to test five experimental underwater turbines. Portland-based Ocean Renewable Power Co. has been engineering and field-testing its turbine designs in waters off Eastport since 2004. It now wants to submerge five turbines in 82 feet of water with a 61-acre footprint between Goose Island and Grove Point. If an eight-year pilot project permit is approved by FERC, placement of the first of the units would happen sometime next year. The Coast Guard has determined that the submerged turbines would not pose a hazard to vessels at the surface, but would pose a “significant” hazard to underwater activities such as dredging, dragging, anchoring and diving.
Maine Group Pushing Renewable Energy Initiative Short of Signatures
Maine Public Broadcasting Network - Monday, January 30, 2012 

Maine Citizens for Clean Energy had planned a press conference today to announce they had the required number of signatures for a referendum on renewable energy this November. But this morning, they called it off. It turns out the group doesn't have enough signatures, and they will have to push the ballot initiative ahead to next year. Chris O'Neil, the president of Friends of Maine Mountains, says, "Pretty much the only generation sources that would have stood to fulfill this newer, acceleraged, increased mandate would be mountain-top windpower. And that's something that we find wholly unsustainable and wrong for Maine."
Maine PUC Chair: Maine's Energy Price 'Gap' Closing
Maine Public Broadcasting Network - Monday, January 30, 2012 

High energy prices are often cited as one of the main obstacles to doing business in Maine. In fact, the issue surfaced again in last week's State of the State address by Gov. Paul LePage. "The electricity prices in Maine are the 12th highest in the country," LePage said. "We pay 42 percent above the national average." According to Tom Welch, however, Maine's situation may no longer be as a bad as the governor and others are saying. "I'm pretty sure that number is not 42 percent anymore," he says. "I'm not sure what it is but I think it's moving back towards the national average."
See Maine Black Bear Cubs Live in Their Den!
George Smith BDN Outdoor News Blog - Monday, January 30, 2012 

See a Maine black bear live in her den with her cubs right now. You can see it all, 24/7, at a new website established by the Wildlife Research Foundation, founded by the Goodmans of Patten. When I led the 2004 referendum campaign to save Maine’s bear hunt (with my sister Edie Smith who managed our campaign and who is helping the Goodmans with this project), against large national animal rights groups that put an initiative on Maine’s ballot to end bear hunting and trapping in our state, I had to raise $1.5 million to educate Mainers about hunting and bear conservation in this state. Most of that money went to brief TV ads. I’ve always wished we could have put that money into wildlife conservation projects to benefit the wild critters we all love.
Eastbrook man convicted of shooting deer on MDI
Bangor Daily News - Monday, January 30, 2012 

At the end of a brief trial Monday, an Eastbrook man was found guilty of shooting a deer on Mount Desert Island in November 2010. Stephen S. Smith, 64, was convicted by a jury of eight men and four women of a single count of hunting or possessing deer in closed season. Deer hunting at any time of year is not permitted on Mount Desert Island.
Opinion: A moment to reconsider solid waste policies
Bangor Daily News - Monday, January 30, 2012 

Controversy surrounding the proposed Juniper Ridge Landfill expansion and the state’s recent acquisition of the Dolby landfill have elevated the debate on proper management of Maine’s solid waste and reawakened the ire that Mainers feel toward policies that create incentives for the importation of out-of-state waste and the disposal of waste that could be reused or recycled. Gov. Paul LePage, members of our Legislature and relevant state agencies should seize this opportunity to analyze where the solid waste policies of the past 30 years have left us and define a proper direction to take from here. ~ Greg Cunningham, Conservation Law Foundation, Portland
Group seeking more renewable energy in Maine misses 2012 deadline
Bangor Daily News - Monday, January 30, 2012 

Supporters of a citizens’ initiative that would require utilities to produce more clean and renewable energy failed to gather enough signatures to put a question on the November ballot. Maine Citizens for Clean Energy was scheduled to meet at the State House on Monday afternoon, presumably to announce that it had gathered more than the 57,000 signatures needed for a citizens’ initiative. Instead, the group canceled its event early Monday and announced later in the day that it will continue to gather signatures with the intent of bringing the issue back in 2013.
Opinion: A critical flaw in Governors plan for 100MW hydropower plants
Dirigo Blue Blog - Monday, January 30, 2012 

There is a critical flaw in Gov. LePage’s call to allow 100MW hydropower plants to qualify as a renewable source of electricity. There are no hydroelectric plants in Maine larger than 100MW and that was the point when that limit was put in place during the restructuring of our electricity market. This protected our indigenous hydroelectric resources from being forced out of the market by subsidized Canadian power from HQ. HQ can sell into the Maine market, but they could use the premimum to reduce the sales price that is charged to Canadian businesses competing with Maine companies such as our paper and sawmills. This would put our economy at a further disadvantage to our northern neighbors. ~ Rep. Stacey Fitts, R-Pittsfield
Wind shelter
Al Diamon Maine Media Mutt Blog - Monday, January 30, 2012 

Maine Public Broadcasting’s “Maine Watch” show has earned its reputation as the softest news show on local television. A typical example of Rooks’ softball approach is the Jan. 26 program on energy policy. She interviews Jackson Parker of Reed & Reed construction company about the initiative that would require an increase in the amount of renewable energy in Maine’s electric grid. Rooks never mentions that Parker’s business, which could benefit if the measure becomes law by winning contracts to build wind farms, is one of the largest donors to the political action committee backing the referendum. Then there’s George Smith, columnist for the Morning Sentinel and Kennebec Journal. In his Jan. 25 newspaper piece, he gushes at length about the advantages of the clean-energy proposal without ever disclosing that First Wind, a major wind-power developer, is a sponsor of his website.
Opinion: Just say no to growth
Forecaster - Monday, January 30, 2012 

A lot of people are beginning to realize, however, that it may be time to stop growing. Despite the conventional wisdom, we don’t need more businesses, more jobs, and more people in Maine. We just need more self-sufficiency and sustainability. We have come to the end of the era of economic growth based on consumption and waste. In "The End of Growth," no-growth guru Richard Heinberg writes that “instead of more, we must strive for better.” ~ Edgar Allen Beem
Vassalboro farmer has new use for hay
Morning Sentinel - Monday, January 30, 2012 

Peter Bragdon proudly showed off his prototype "hay log" at the kitchen table. Bragdon, who has been haying for 30 years on his 170-acre farm, said his hay log -- a solid fuel that can be burned in place of wood in furnaces, stoves, fire pits, chimeras and camp fires -- is good news for farmers. The production of the tightly compressed 4-by-12-inch grassy logs will be an outlet for their excess hay.
Maine Citizens for Clean Energy
Portland Press Herald - Monday, January 30, 2012 

Maine Citizens for Clean Energy is expected to deliver signatures to the Secretary of State's Office today in hopes of putting a ballot measure before voters in November. The citizens initiative would require 20 percent of Maine's electricity to come from renewable sources such as solar, wind, and hydro. It also would require utilities to invest in energy efficiency. Gov. LePage has repeatedly criticized the measure. Assuming the backers have the 57,277 required signatures, expect a vigorous debate through the summer and fall.
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