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
New owner of Bucksport paper mill in talks with possible operator
Portland Press Herald - Saturday, January 31, 2015 

The sale of the closed paper mill in Bucksport to a Canadian scrap metal recycler is complete. What’s next is uncertain. Bill Cohen, a spokesman for Verso Paper Corp., confirmed that the sale of the former paper mill to AIM Development LLC closed Thursday. But a spokesman for AIM Development told the Portland Press Herald that the recycler “is in discussions with an operator” that would continue to make paper at the mill.
Maine’s moose hunt success rate down from 2013
Associated Press - Saturday, January 31, 2015 

Maine officials say that nearly two-thirds of moose hunters were successful last year. The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife said that out of 3,095 permits that were issued in 2014, 2,022 hunters succeeded in harvesting a moose. That’s down from a success rate of 73 percent in 2013. Hunters in parts of Aroostook County saw an 80 percent success rate, while only 10 percent of hunters harvested a moose in parts of Waldo and Knox Counties.
Column: Elusive brown trout still fascinate devout fishermen
Sun Journal - Saturday, January 31, 2015 

If splake are viewed by Maine sportsmen as the Rodney Dangerfield of Maine’s sport fishery, then brown trout might be deemed the Willie Loman of the Maine sport fish family. ~ V. Paul Reynolds
Volunteers from Millinocket turn golf course into ‘a great place to ski’
Bangor Daily News - Saturday, January 31, 2015 

Greg Friel had never seen the rolling hills of Hillcrest Golf Club until he took his son to a golf clinic there in June 2013, but the course’s winding cart paths and open greenery gave the Schenck High School physical education teacher an idea. “I thought, ‘This would make a great place to ski,’” Friel recalled Saturday. Friel and fellow volunteer Paul Corrigan are the creators of about five miles of cross-country skiing trails that stretch from a nature trail at Stearns High School to the golf course. The trails are free to the public.
Wood banks start to catch on in Maine, but not without some growing pains
Bangor Daily News - Saturday, January 31, 2015 

The Waldo County Woodshed, a nonprofit started by a group of local people who want to provide firewood to low-income and fixed-income folks, is starting to catch on like wildfire. It all began when Bob MacGregor, the owner of the Out of the Woods gift store in Belfast, read an op-ed in the Bangor Daily News last November about local wood banks. “Imagine a local food pantry or food bank. Replace the focus of food with firewood, and you have a center known as a wood bank,” said Sabrina Vivian, a University of Maine senior studying ecology and environmental sciences, and Jessica Leahy, an associate professor in the University of Maine School of Forest Resources, in the op-ed.
Bill seeks to improve pedestrian, bicyclist safety by toughening Maine’s crosswalk, roadway law
Bangor Daily News - Saturday, January 31, 2015 

A well-known Brewer barber who was struck and killed by a car in December while walking in a crosswalk in front of his business is the last recorded pedestrian death in Maine for 2014. Because one of every four people hit by cars every year in Maine is hit in a crosswalk, Sen. Amy Volk, R-Scarborough, submitted a bill sponsored by the Bicycle Coalition of Maine to strengthen the law by making drivers stop, group spokesman Brian Allenby said recently. The bill, An Act to Improve Safety and Clarify Responsibilities of Pedestrians and Bicyclists, “makes crossing the street safer by requiring drivers to stop, not just yield, for people in the crosswalk or intending to cross,” Allenby said. “It also requires bicyclists, roller skiers and other non-motorized traffic to yield to this group.”
Lawmakers reconsider plan to ease Maine’s mining rules
Portland Press Herald - Saturday, January 31, 2015 

An Aroostook County mountain laced with gold, silver and other metals potentially worth billions of dollars will again be the center of attention when the contentious debate over Maine’s stringent mining regulations begins anew in Augusta next week. Aroostook’s Bald Mountain, however, isn’t the only location in Maine with valuable, potentially extractable minerals. After a nine-month hiatus, lawmakers will receive a briefing Monday on metallic mining as they resume consideration of a proposed overhaul of quarter-century-old environmental regulations that guide mine locations and operations in Maine. And once again, environmental and conservation groups are gearing up to oppose rules they claim lack adequate safeguards for protecting fragile waterways, as well as taxpayers’ wallets in the event a mine operator goes bankrupt.
Letter: Name change won’t draw tourists
Bangor Daily News - Saturday, January 31, 2015 

We see again, in a Jan. 19 column by Robert Lilieholm, the idea that changing the name of a wood lot on the Penobscot River is going to draw thousands of tourists to Northern Maine (“In the Katahdin area, a national park can transform a region we take for granted.”) Will this scheme really increase the draw of Baxter State Park and these views of Mt. Katahdin because of a new name for the region? ~ Jeffery Gifford, Lincoln [Ed: Former Maine Rep. Gifford had a Maine Conservation Voters lifetime score of 14% pro-environment. He was one of only four representatives on MCV's 2013-14 Dishonor Roll.]
Dire warning on dogs
Other - Friday, January 30, 2015 

Kennebunk Post - An attempt to update an animal control ordinance that’s 40 years old could bring something new to Kennebunkport — fines from the federal government. That was the word of caution issued by Laura Minich Zitske, the piping plover and least tern project manager for Maine Audubon, at the Jan. 22 meeting of the Kennebunkport Board of Selectmen. Minich Zitske suggested the best way for Kennebunkport to insulate itself from federal fines would be to adopt rules similar to its neighbors. In Wells, she said, dogs must be leashed at all times when on beaches during those months when a migrating shorebird from the threatened and endangered lists might be present, while in Ogunquit dogs are banned entirely during that time.
Regulators reject expanded protections for herring
Associated Press - Friday, January 30, 2015 

The New England Fishery Management Council on Thursday rejected a plan to bring river herring and shad under a federal management plan that controls the fishing of Atlantic herring. Approval would have allowed the council to develop rules about how, when and where river herring and shad can be fished, and how much can be taken. Some environmentalists criticized the regulators’ decision, including Pew Charitable Trusts director of northeast oceans Peter Baker, who said it was a move to “sit by and allow river herring to continue to decline” rather than take preventative action.
Fish and Wildlife Department Has $3 million surplus
George Smith BDN Outdoor News Blog - Friday, January 30, 2015 

Legislators were surprised yesterday to learn that the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Department has a surplus of $3 million. I could see their eyes light up as thoughts of how to spend that money danced in their heads. Judy Camuso presented a brief but informative report on the Wildlife Division, telling the committee that two huge projects are underway this year. The first, 2/3 completed, will create a new management plans for nongame animals. Getting underway soon will be a project to create new management plans for game animals including bear, moose, and deer.
Fish and Wildlife Department Has $3 million surplus
George Smith BDN Outdoor News Blog - Friday, January 30, 2015 

Legislators were surprised yesterday to learn that the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Department has a surplus of $3 million. I could see their eyes light up as thoughts of how to spend that money danced in their heads. Judy Camuso presented a brief but informative report on the Wildlife Division, telling the committee that two huge projects are underway this year. The first, 2/3 completed, will create a new management plans for nongame animals. Getting underway soon will be a project to create new management plans for game animals including bear, moose, and deer.
Collins, King Split on Bill Approving Keystone Pipeline
Associated Press - Friday, January 30, 2015 

Republican Sen. Susan Collins and independent Sen. Angus King are split on their views of the Keystone XL oil pipeline. Collins voted Thursday in support of the bill, which President Barack Obama has threatened to veto. She says in a statement that it's "past time" for Obama to approve the project. She says she'd rather the country receive oil from Canada than "from unstable nations in the Middle East." King, who voted against the bill, says the country's focus should be on growing renewable energy sources. He says adding jobs in green energy industries, like solar, will be more beneficial to the American people. The bill would authorize construction of the nearly 1,200-mile pipeline to carry oil primarily from Canada's tar sands to refineries on the Gulf of Mexico
Bucksport mill sale to scrap metal company complete, Verso official says
Bangor Daily News - Friday, January 30, 2015 

Despite a flurry of legal action and the hopes of millworkers who wanted to continue making paper, the sale of the Verso Paper mill to a subsidiary of scrap dealer American Iron and Metal has been completed, a company spokesman confirmed Friday. News of the sale was a relief to Derik Goodine, Bucksport town manager, who said in an email on Friday that officials from the Montreal-based scrap metal firm “will entertain buyers for the mill if the prospective buyers are serious, and they have the financial resources to purchase the mill and the power plant.” Verso officials apparently did not consider other offers, the town manager said. Goodine said he thinks Gov. Paul LePage and his staff will join town officials to help bring potential buyers together with AIM.
Editorial: Wind power and CO2
Mount Desert Islander - Friday, January 30, 2015 

Wind power advocates supporting the proliferation of giant turbines on the hills and mountains of Maine often describe them as an essential response to global warming, claiming that they will contribute in a major way to the reduction of CO2 emissions. They downplay or simply ignore the fact that electricity generation in Maine – the only CO2 source that could be affected by wind power – accounted for just 10.81 percent of Maine’s CO2 emissions in 2012, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. We can only hope that as Mainers become more and more familiar with the shortcomings of intermittent wind power generation and the environmental degradation that results, they will look at future development proposals with an ever more critical eye.
Old Town landfill to sell methane to Michigan-based renewable energy producer
Bangor Daily News - Friday, January 30, 2015 

Juniper Ridge Landfill operators say they have found a partner to use the landfill-produced methane gas, equivalent to about 8,000 gallons of heating oil on a daily basis. Aria Energy, headquartered in Novi, Michigan, is partnering with Casella Waste Systems, which operates the state-owned landfill, to develop, construct, own and operate a 4.8 megawatt gas-to-energy plant located at Juniper Ridge.
Column: Snow geese, at an inopportune time
Bangor Daily News - Friday, January 30, 2015 

You just can’t make this stuff up. As many readers know, I lead a double life. I guide birding tours, and I serve in the Maine House of Representatives. I also do a radio show and write other stuff. OK, I lead a quadruple life. When these lives collide, results can be humorous – like the time pigeons flew into the State House chamber and began copulating in the rafters. Well, somebody had to explain what was going on! ~ Bob Duchesne
Column: No sound basis for concluding 2014 was ‘warmest year on record’
Maine Sunday Telegram - Friday, January 30, 2015 

It didn’t take long for the latest global warming announcement – that 2014 was the “warmest year on record” – to dissolve into a heap of statistical mush. Just a few days after The New York Times and The Washington Post both had major, widely distributed stories making that claim, one of their principal sources, NASA, was saying it was, well, not quite accurate. As in, not accurate at all. ~ M.D. Harmon
Keystone about much more than Kerpen tells us
Times Record - Friday, January 30, 2015 

Phil Kerpen in his op-ed published in the Times Record recommends that the United States approve the Keystone XL pipeline. There are many statements in this article which are highly questionable. Kerpen’s claim that the pipeline would create 40,000 jobs appears to be a gross exaggeration. The Times Record editorial puts the number of jobs at 5,000 temporary jobs and only 40 permanent ones. In June of 2011, twelve hundred people came to Washington, D.C. to protest the pipeline followed by 40,000 people who stood outside the White House in 2013 protesting Keystone. Perhaps the biggest reason not to build Keystone is that the planned route is through the Ogallala Aquifer, a vast source of fresh water that provides drinking water to approximately two million people. But Kerpen doesn’t tell us this. ~ Sarah J. Slagle-Arnold, Topsham
Opinion: 'Big Wind' agendas trump facts in Maine politics
Coastal Journal - Thursday, January 29, 2015 

Approximately $1.56 billion dollars has been spent on electric grid upgrades and improvements. If this were all spent to benefit Maine electric customers (even in a long-term view) that would be a credible plus for the power companies. However, when one begins to unravel the tangled web of Maine’s energy policies, and looks at who actually writes them and promotes the passage of legislation, and for whose benefit they exist, a very different reality begins to intrude. Wind developers have enormous financial resources, and will utilize them to legislatively force their agenda on Maine. It is not about generating “green power” for Maine, it is about money and political clout, involving a maze of federal money, grants, tax breaks, and sweetheart deals. ~ Paul Ackerman, Tenant’s Harbor
Maine Senate Confirms McLean for PUC Post
Associated Press - Thursday, January 29, 2015 

The Maine Senate has confirmed Republican Gov. Paul LePage's pick for the Public Utilities Commission. The Republican-controlled Senate voted unanimously in favor of Carlie McLean's nomination to the board on Thursday. She was unanimously endorsed by the Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee last week. The three-member PUC is in charge of regulating electric and natural gas utilities, as well as Casco Bay water taxis. McClean has served as LePage's general counsel since 2013. Prior to that, she served as the governor's senior natural resources policy adviser.
Forty-acre Scarborough tract set aside for conservation
Portland Press Herald - Thursday, January 29, 2015 

The town of Scarborough and the Scarborough Land Trust have permanently conserved nearly 40 acres of the Willey Recreation Area on Tenney Lane. The area includes ball fields, footpaths, woods and meadows, as well as substantial wetlands and a habitat restoration project for the endangered New England cottontail rabbit, according to a news release from Kathy Mills, executive director of the trust.
SunEdison finalizes $2.4 billion purchase of First Wind
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, January 29, 2015 

SunEdison closed its $2.4 billion purchase Thursday of First Wind, placing the latter’s five Maine wind-to-energy facilities under the umbrella of the world’s largest renewable energy company, officials said. The SunEdison deal was finalized at about 5 p.m., several hours after First Wind bought back its ownership interest in Northeast Wind Partners II LLC from Nova Scotia-based Emera for $223.2 million, SunEdison spokesman John Lamontagne said. SunEdison’s investment will likely help speed the development of First Wind’s unrealized projects, Lamontagne said, but what projects will be fast-tracked remains unclear.
Environmental advocates push bills to promote solar power, boost energy efficient homes
Associated Press - Thursday, January 29, 2015 

Environmental advocates called on the divided Maine Legislature on Thursday to back a series of bill this session they say will expand the use of solar power, help residents cut their heating bills and bolster wildlife protections. The six-bill package outlined by the Environmental Priorities Coalition includes measures that would provide incentives for solar power investments, a $30 million bond to help families pay for home upgrades like insulation and heat pumps and add several species to the endangered list. While Republican Gov. Paul LePage has clashed with environmental groups in the past over efforts like increasing solar power, the group emphasized their desire to find common ground this year. Advocates stressed that they will also stand firm against any attempts to walk back laws they believe provide vital environmental protections.
Eastbrook man charged with more than 50 hunting violations
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, January 29, 2015 

An Eastbrook man was arrested last week and is facing more than 50 hunting-related charges following an investigation by the Maine Warden Service. Ralph E. Fowler Jr., 43, was arrested Jan. 23 by officers with Maine Marine Patrol, who located Fowler while he was working as a sternman for a lobster fisherman. Fowler was arrested on six charges stemming from an incident in Lamoine last fall and was summoned on approximately 50 more hunting violations, which include exceeding the bag limit on deer, hunting moose without a permit, having a loaded gun in a motor vehicle. The warrants followed a two-year investigation into illegal hunting activities of Fowler and his associates.
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