January 18, 2018  
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Maine Environmental News
Announcement - Wednesday, January 17, 2018 

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
Feeding Maine Photography Exhibit, thru Feb 23
Event - Posted - Tuesday, January 16, 2018 

Feeding Maine: Growing Access to Good Food is a photo exhibit by Brendan Bullock, which seeks to document the many people working to address hunger in the state. Created by Maine Farmland Trust and Good Shepherd Food Bank. At University of Southern Maine Lewiston Auburn College, Atrium Art Gallery, January 16 to February 23, opening event January 19.
February Vacation Camps, Feb 20-23
Event - Posted - Tuesday, January 16, 2018 

Maine Audubon Vacation Camps at Fields Pond in Holden and Gilsland Farm in Falmouth, February 20-23.
Nominations for Source Awards due Feb 12
Announcement - Tuesday, January 16, 2018 

Maine Sunday Telegram Source Awards recognize the individuals, nonprofits, businesses and institutions in Maine working to safeguard the state’s spectacular natural environment. Deadline for nominations is February 12.
Apprenticeships at MCHT Preserves
Announcement - Tuesday, January 16, 2018 

Maine Coast Heritage Trust has paid apprenticeships at Aldermere Farm and Ericsson Fields in Rockport. Each apprenticeship will be up to 9-months starting in March and will include a monthly stipend, benefits, shared housing, training and supervision. Applications are due Feb. 5
Public Meeting on Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument Management Plan, Jan 24
Event - Posted - Sunday, January 14, 2018 

The National Park Service will host a public meeting to discuss winter use within the monument. At Katahdin Region Higher Education Center, East Millinocket, January 24, 6-8 pm.
Land-use history of Midcoast, Jan 23
Event - Posted - Sunday, January 14, 2018 

Forestry experts Lloyd Irland and Ken Lausten will explore the land-use history of Midcoast Maine. At Camden Public Library, January 23, 7 pm.
Friends of Casco Bay Annual Members Meeting, Jan 23
Event - Posted - Sunday, January 14, 2018 

Recognition for those who help protect the health of Casco Bay, an updated Casco Bay Health Index based on data collected by volunteer Citizen Stewards over the past 25 years, and new program directions. At DiMillo's, Portland, January 23, 5:30-8 pm.
Join the REAL public hearing to stop oil drilling in Maine waters, Jan 22
Event - Posted - Saturday, January 13, 2018 

The Trump Administration is hosting a sham ‘public meeting’ on January 22 in the Augusta Civic Center to hide Mainers’ vocal opposition to their plan to open up the Atlantic Ocean, including the Maine coast, to oil and gas drilling. Conservation groups will host a "real public hearing" at the Civic Center in the Aroostook Room where there will be a microphone and videographer to capture all public comments.
Offshore drilling public meeting, Jan 22
Action Alert - Saturday, January 13, 2018 

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management will hold a public meeting on a proposal to open Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) areas to oil and gas drilling off the Atlantic (and other) coasts. At Augusta Civic Center, Jan 22, 3-7 pm.
Scouting for Mammal Tracks and Signs, Jan 20
Event - Posted - Saturday, January 13, 2018 

Sandra Mitchell will follow up on the November tracks and signs class in the field. At Northeast Penjajawoc Preserve, January 20, 10-11:30 am.
Nature Journaling, Jan 20
Event - Posted - Saturday, January 13, 2018 

Andrea Lani will lead a nature journaling workshop at Viles Arboretum, Augusta, January 20, 10 am to 2 pm, $35 for Arboretum members, $45 for nonmembers.
Prowl for Owls, Jan 19
Event - Posted - Friday, January 12, 2018 

Maine Master Naturalist Kit Pfeiffer will lead a walk scouting for owls. At Carl and Barbara Segerstrom Preserve at Squam Creek, Westport Island, January 19, 6 pm. Sponsored by Kennebec Estuary Land Trust.
Futures of the Maine Waterfront, Jan 19
Event - Posted - Friday, January 12, 2018 

This forum will feature panel discussions on the future of our coastal and island economy, presented with trends and analysis by key coastal leaders. At The Westin, Portland, January 19, 2-8:30 pm, $35-150. Sponsored by the Island Institute.
Meet the Feet: Mammal Tracks and Sign, Jan 18
Event - Posted - Thursday, January 11, 2018 

Dorcas Miller presents an evening of hands-on learning about Maine mammals. At Belfast Library, January 18, 6:30 pm. Sponsored by Belfast Bay Watershed Coalition.
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News Items
Nova Scotian candidate promises to rework or scrap Yarmouth-to-Portland ferry deal
Portland Press Herald - Tuesday, January 31, 2017 

Opposition leader Jamie Baillie said Monday he will either renegotiate or scrap altogether Nova Scotia’s “one-sided deal” with Bay Ferries Ltd. if the next election puts him in power. “The McNeil government is locked in, but I will cancel this deal after the next election,” Baillie said of the Portland-to-Yarmouth ferry.
Pingree, others stand against Trump in Portland
Forecaster - Tuesday, January 31, 2017 

After protests Sunday outside Portland City Hall and at the Portland International Jetport, executive orders by President Donald Trump were denounced Monday at a press conference at the University of Maine School of Law. “In his first week on the job, President Trump attacked women’s reproductive rights, resurrected two pipeline projects that will damage our environment, and targeted Muslims from entering the country,” U.S. Rep Chellie Pingree said. Pingree was joined by Maine Conservation Voters Executive Director Maureen Drouin, among others.
Maine Audubon: Apps make birding by smartphone easier, more accessible
Forecaster - Tuesday, January 31, 2017 

Maine Audubon is taking advantage of specialized apps becoming available that make birding by smartphone not only easier, but more accessible to a wider audience. The organization is offering a special workshop on the topic Tuesday, Feb. 7. Doug Hitchcox, the staff naturalist at Maine Audubon, will lead the session. Hitchcox said the impetus for the workshop is that there’s an “increasing shift in resources for birders (toward) being digital and especially smartphone-based … that (allows) birders and naturalists (to) really improve their skills by being able to use.”
West Falmouth 'planned neighborhood' gains traction
Forecaster - Tuesday, January 31, 2017 

A group of West Falmouth residents agreed Monday that having an overall development plan for a large swath of their neighborhood could have some benefits, as long as special attention is paid to traffic and density. Earlier, committee members also showed support for a proposed contract zone that would allow construction of more than 70 new apartments at Foreside Estates – including some affordable housing – in exchange for a new town-built access road off Clearwater Drive. Right now the proposal is “just a concept plan,” but the idea would be for the Town Council to eventually determine whether it wants to encourage a planned neighborhood in West Falmouth, either through amendments to the Village Mixed Use zone, or through contract zoning.
Trump hiring freeze hits Acadia; climate change exhibit OK – for now
Acadia On My Mind Blog - Tuesday, January 31, 2017 

Amid reports of the Trump administration clamping down on federal climate change efforts and the National Park Service Twitter account, Acadia National Park says its climate change exhibit and social media haven’t been affected – yet. The Acadia climate change exhibit officially opened at the Sieur de Monts Nature Center as part of Centennial festivities last year, with the ribbon cutting ceremony on Park Science Day on June 25. But the park can’t fill vacant positions, such as the environmental compliance officer and visual information specialist jobs that recently came open.
Ryan Zinke is one step closer to becoming interior secretary
Washington Post - Tuesday, January 31, 2017 

Rep. Ryan Zinke’s nomination to become interior secretary passed a Senate committee Tuesday, placing him one step closer to lead an agency that manages millions of acres of federal land and the natural resources under it. The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources approved Zinke (R-Mont.), on a 16-6 vote largely along party lines. Zinke’s nomination now goes to the Senate floor, where he will probably be confirmed.
Lawmakers again consider bill to arm Maine forest rangers
Portland Press Herald - Tuesday, January 31, 2017 

A proposal to allow Maine’s forest rangers to carry guns resurfaced Tuesday in the State House, once again drawing support from law enforcement groups and opposition from large landowners and the LePage administration. This is the fourth year in a row that lawmakers have considered proposals to arm or better protect Maine Forest Service rangers who patrol the state’s vast timberlands. Past proposals have fallen victim to cost concerns and political wrangling. The latest bill aims to reduce the costs to taxpayers by allowing forest rangers to carry their own personal guns – rather than state-issued sidearms – as long as they’ve received proper firearms training.
PUC Approves Revised Solar Power Incentives
Maine Public - Tuesday, January 31, 2017 

State regulators today approved new rules for the incentives received by Maine residents who install solar-power systems. The Public Utilities Commission’s plan won’t take effect until next year, and in the meantime, the latest action is getting a thumbs down from lawmakers and solar advocates who support strong incentives and from those who want smaller ones, including Gov. Paul LePage.
Bills Aim to Stem Tide of Miniature Bottles Littering Maine’s Roads
Maine Public - Tuesday, January 31, 2017 

A little bottle is getting some big attention from the Maine Legislature. “Nips” liquor bottles have moved from hotel minibars and airline service carts into convenience stores across Maine, and the discarded empties are piling up along the roadways. Lawmakers have proposed placing a deposit on the little containers. There are about a half-dozen bills seeking to expand Maine’s bottle bill to include not only nips bottles, but any bottle containing an alcoholic beverage that is smaller than 375 milliliters. But among the opponents are redemption centers and liquor distributors.
Maine regulators set middle ground in residential solar incentives
Portland Press Herald - Tuesday, January 31, 2017 

Homeowners with solar-electric panels would be compensated for the power they produce at a full retail rate for 15 years, but those who wait until 2018 and a period after to go solar would see the credit gradually reduced over time. That was the upshot of a rule approved Tuesday by the Maine Public Utilities Commission, an action that is bound to be challenged in the Legislature. The rule seeks a middle ground in a contentious debate over what’s called net-energy billing or net metering, a longstanding financial incentive meant to promote renewable energy technology.
Maine regulators approve rolling back solar credits
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, January 31, 2017 

It didn’t go far enough for Gov. Paul LePage, but Maine utility regulators rankled advocates on Tuesday when they rolled back a policy allowing homeowners with solar panels to be credited for excess power sold to the grid. The move was opposed by pro-solar groups, and it’s likely to be followed by another bid in the Maine Legislature to liberalize solar policy.
Lawmakers Review Bill Allowing Hedgehogs as Pets Without a Special Permit
Maine Public - Tuesday, January 31, 2017 

State lawmakers held a hearing on Tuesday on a bill that would allow Mainers to buy and own hedgehogs as pets without a permit. Republican state Sen. Eric Brakey of Auburn sponsored the proposal. However, James Connolly with the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife says Brakey’s bill isn’t necessary because the state hedgehogs are soon expected to be treated as other pets, such as rabbits or hamsters. Lawmakers are expected to kill Brakey’s bill later this week.
Hike: Eagle Hill Institute trails in Steuben
Aislinn Sarnacki Act Out Blog - Tuesday, January 31, 2017 

Located atop a wooded hill on the eastern coast of Maine, Eagle Hill Institute campus blends into the densely forested landscape. And branching away from this quiet cluster of buildings is a network of about 2.5 miles of hiking trails that are open to the public year round. Marked with different colored signs, these narrow footpaths travel through a mixed forest to rocky outlooks and small beaches.
Maine Regulators Approve New Rooftop Solar Rules
Associated Press - Tuesday, January 31, 2017 

State utility regulators are changing Maine's solar energy rules despite pushback from solar groups. Owners of solar energy grids get credits on their energy bill for the energy they send back to the system. But critics, including GOP Gov. Paul LePage, say the current system means electricity customers are unfairly subsidizing the solar industry. The LePage-appointed Maine Public Utilities Commission on Tuesday approved rules that would slowly shift more costs onto owners of rooftop solar panels as the cost of solar technology drops. Existing customers would be grandfathered under the current rules for 15 years.
King, Poliquin team up on Acadia boundary bill
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, January 31, 2017 

U.S. Sen. Angus King and U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin are combining their efforts to address boundary issues that have cropped up in the past year at Acadia National Park. Last July, King introduced a bill in the Senate aimed at giving congressional approval to the addition of 1,400 acres at Schoodic Point to Acadia. The land in question is where the Schoodic Woods Campground is located. Also last year, Poliquin introduced a similar bill aimed at allowing marine harvesters such as clam and worm diggers to continue working on tidal flats that lie inside the park’s boundary. On Monday, King and Poliquin announced that they would combine their efforts into one bill.
An aging Maine power plant and nearby battery illuminate New England’s energy challenges
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, January 31, 2017 

Side by side on Cousins Island in Yarmouth, the past and future of New England’s electric grid operate simultaneously. Beside NextEra’s 810-megawatt oil-fired power plant, the company has installed a 16.2-megawatt battery array that began operating in December 2016, according to a NextEra spokesman. The plant can store power for delivery to the grid at times of peak demand. The battery array is the largest in northern New England. The oil plant is the largest in Maine. The two resources use some of the same lines to deliver their power to the grid. And both represent the challenges New England’s power grid faces by relying heavily on natural gas for electricity generation, with pipelines that can’t meet both heating and electricity generation demand on the coldest days.
Opinion: Maine towns have these options when they want to cut the costs of their waste
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, January 31, 2017 

A major challenge facing towns and cities across Maine is reducing the costs of managing the municipal solid waste their residents and local businesses produce. Maine’s municipalities have the power to pass ordinances that reduce certain problematic consumer products that are generated constantly and in significant volumes, are not recycled, cause local environmental problems, and have viable and preferable substitutes. Two such consumer products are single-use shopping bags and single-use expanded polystyrene food containers. ~ Travis P. Wagner, University of Southern Maine
Trump's EPA pick Scott Pruitt won't stand up for science
Other - Tuesday, January 31, 2017 

The Hill - Since President Nixon established the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 1970, no prospective administrator has ever fundamentally questioned science or showed broad disdain for the work of the agency. That is until Scott Pruitt’s nomination.
King and Poliquin Propose Revisions to Acadia National Park's Boundary Policies
Maine Public - Tuesday, January 31, 2017 

Maine U.S. Sen. Angus King and 2nd District Rep. Bruce Poliquin Monday announced they will introduce legislation to revise boundary policies at Acadia National Park. Dan Harrington, president of the Independent Marine Worm Harvesters Association, says the legislation should end the debate over access to the state's marine resources near Acadia National Park. The legislation will also address a wide range of issues related to Acadia, including the 2015 Schoodic Woods land transfer to the park service and releasing restrictions on a parcel of land in the town of Tremont.
Hunting remains important to Maine’s economy
George Smith BDN Outdoor News Blog - Tuesday, January 31, 2017 

Hunting Works for Maine is the name of a new coalition working to educate all of us about the economic contributions of hunting in our state. According to their website, hunting is responsible for a total of $363 million to Maine’s economy annually. This includes $120 million in salaries and wages and 4,000 jobs.
Blog: ‘Alt’ NPS campaign spreads to federal Maine properties
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, January 31, 2017 

Scores of “alt” — or alternative — social media accounts pegged to various federal agencies have been multiplying in opposition to President Trump’s environmental policies and restrictions he has placed on the disclosure of governmental scientific information. On Twitter, the campaign has manifested in an alt-Acadia National Park account with the handle @ALT_ACADIANP. On Facebook, there are ‘alt’ accounts set up for Acadia and for the recently created Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. Who is behind the creation of the myriad opposition accounts is not clear.
Letter: Trump nominees
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, January 31, 2017 

Thanks to Sen. Angus King for saying he will vote against the confirmation of Scott Pruitt as administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency because of his “good conscience.” I appreciate his willingness to do the right thing on the matter of the all important environment. We Maine constituents are all watching these votes very closely. ~ Terry Dubois, Milford
Former Cumberland legislator says he decided to decline nod for state conservation panel
Forecaster - Monday, January 30, 2017 

Former state legislator Mike Timmons on Monday said he asked Gov. Paul LePage to withdraw his nomination to the Lands for Maine’s Future board. The governor’s nomination of Timmons had been scheduled for confirmation Tuesday. Timmons drew the ire of local officials for not voting to override LePage’s veto of Land for Maine’s Future funds, $225,000 of which was dedicated to the local purchase and preservation of the Knight’s Pond parcel in Cumberland and North Yarmouth.
Scott Pruitt’s Climate Denial Shines Thru His Senate Answers
Other - Monday, January 30, 2017 

NRDC - Oklahoma attorney general Scott Pruitt, President Trump’s nominee to run the Environmental Protection Agency, gave evasive answers to hundreds of questions from Senators trying to evaluate his fitness to for the office. On most questions Senator Tom Carper said, “Pruitt’s answers give us no substance.” Pruitt’s revealing answers on climate science show his penchant for “alternative facts” over mainstream climate science—specifically, his embrace of thoroughly discredited pseudo-science from the climate denial corners that Pruitt has long inhabited.
Scientist's findings could improve salmon egg survival
Mainebiz - Monday, January 30, 2017 

A University of Maine professor has found that two hormones may play a significant role in increasing the survival rate of salmon eggs. Salmon farmers used to be able to rely on at least 80% embryo survival, even up to 95%, but over these past 15 years survival has dropped to about an average of 50%, Heather Hamlin, a UMaine assistant professor of aquaculture and marine biology, said. UMaine scientists have been instrumental in helping to advance Maine's aquaculture industry. Maine's aquaculture industry has been expanding over the past decade, with salmon remaining the largest aquaculture product by far, much bigger than shellfish and sea vegetables.
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