November 18, 2018  
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Maine Environmental News
Action Alert - Saturday, November 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 conservation and natural resource news and events in Maine (and a bit beyond). 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
Friends of Baxter State Park auction, thru Dec 5
Announcement - Friday, November 16, 2018 

Own a piece of Baxter State Park history: retired Park signs and other special items. Proceeds are split between Baxter State Park and Friends of Baxter State Park. Runs November 8 - December 5.
Northern Forest Canoe Trail auction, thru Dec 2
Announcement - Thursday, November 15, 2018 

Win paddles, tents, maps and more in the Northern Forest Canoe Trail online auction, thru December 2.
Petition: Restore the head of children's health protection
Action Alert - Thursday, November 15, 2018 

Dr. Ruth Etzel is the EPA's top expert on children's health. A pediatrician and epidemiologist, her job is to protect children from toxic chemicals, pesticides and lead in our environment. But a month ago with no explanation, Trump's acting EPA chief Andrew Wheeler abruptly put her on leave. Tell Wheeler: Restore Dr. Ruth Etzel to the Office of Children's Health Protection. ~ CREDO Action
Petition: Convert BIW to deal with climate change
Action Alert - Thursday, November 15, 2018 

Climate crisis would be addressed by conversion of Bath Iron Work's considerable industrial capacity to building public transportation and/or renewable energy infrastructure.
Petition: No coal exports from military bases
Action Alert - Thursday, November 15, 2018 

Interior Secretary Zinke is the subject of more than one dozen federal investigations. Despite this, he is continuing to make reckless decisions that threaten the country. Speak out against Zinke's plans to use military bases as export terminals for coal and natural gas.
Saving Thoreau’s Birthplace, Nov 18
Event - Posted - Sunday, November 11, 2018 

Lucille Stott, Brunswick, Maine, resident, former president of Thoreau Farm Trust, and former editor of The Concord Journal, presents her new book, “Saving Thoreau’s Birthplace: How Citizens Rallied to Bring Henry Out of the Woods.” At Thoreau Farm, Concord, MA, November 18, 2 pm.
Hike: Hatchet Mountain Preserve, Nov 17
Event - Posted - Saturday, November 10, 2018 

Scott Dickerson and Janet Readfield will lead a hike while sharing the history of the mountain with majestic views. At Hatchet Mountain Preserve, Hope, November 17, 9-11 am. Sponsored by Coastal Mountains Land Trust.
National Take a Hike Day, Nov 17
Event - Posted - Saturday, November 10, 2018 

National Take a Hike Day is observed annually on November 17. With over 60,000 miles of trails in the National Trail System across the 50 states, there is no lack of opportunity to take a hike.
Dawnland, Nov 16
Event - Posted - Friday, November 9, 2018 

Screening and panel discussion of the documentary Dawnland about how Maine government systematically forced Native American children from their homes and placed them with white families. At USM, Portland, November 16, 5:30 pm, free but get tickets in advance.
Raptors Program, Nov 15
Event - Posted - Thursday, November 8, 2018 

Birder and photographer Don Reimer will give a visual presentation on Maine raptors. At Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center, Rockland, November 15, 6:30 pm.
Rethinking Strip Redevelopment to Strengthen Your Community, Nov 15
Event - Posted - Thursday, November 8, 2018 

Learn how towns can improve the appearance and functionality of commercial corridors to bring in new residents, employees and activity. At Topsham Library, November 15, 4-7 pm. GrowSmart Maine members $10, public $20, students $5.
Atlantic Salmon Restoration, Nov 15
Event - Posted - Thursday, November 8, 2018 

Denise Buckley, US Fish and Wildlife Service senior staff biologist, will chronicle the response to the listing of Atlantic salmon in eight of Maine’s rivers as endangered under the Endangered Species Act in December 2000. At at Belfast Library, November 15, 6:30 pm.
The Land that Sustains Us: Stories from the Field, Nov 15
Event - Posted - Thursday, November 8, 2018 

A live storytelling night with 3 Maine farmers. At Maine Historical Society, November 15, 6-8:30 pm, $10 for Maine Historical Society and Maine Farmland Trust members, $15 general.
Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument management plan meeting, Nov 14
Event - Posted - Wednesday, November 7, 2018 

The National Park Service is developing a management plan for Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. Public meeting at Portland Marriott at Sable Oaks, South Portland, November 14, 6-8 pm.
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News Items
67 Environmental Rules on the Way Out Under Trump
New York Times - Wednesday, January 31, 2018 

Since taking office last year, President Trump has made eliminating federal regulations a priority. His administration — with help from Republicans in Congress — has often targeted environmental rules it sees as overly burdensome to the fossil fuel industry, including major Obama-era policies aimed at fighting climate change. To date, the Trump administration has sought to reverse more than 60 environmental rules.
How This Bay Area Couple Revolutionized Conservation With Their Unique Model
Other - Wednesday, January 31, 2018 

This week, Kristine McDivitt Tompkins announced that she and her late husband Doug Tompkins would be handing over the land purchased by the couple’s non-profit for conservation back to the Chilean government. The one million acres are the largest conservation donation from a private entity to a country. Despite this week’s historic announcement, the mission is far from complete. The dream is to set aside 50 percent of the planet as protected natural areas.
Environmental Group Files Suit Over Maine Governor’s ‘Illegal’ Wind Order
Other - Wednesday, January 31, 2018 

Conservation Law Foundation has filed a lawsuit in Maine’s Superior Court in response to Gov. Paul LePage’s recent executive order imposing a moratorium on new wind project permits, as well as creating what CLF calls a “secretive commission” to make recommendations on wind power development. CLF’s lawsuit, filed on Tuesday, argues that the executive order violates the separation of powers clause of the Maine Constitution.
Former Old Town mill property sold again
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, January 31, 2018 

OTM Holdings LLC, a “group of companies committed to the revitalization of Maine’s forest based industry,” purchased the former Old Town pulp mill complex from MFGR, LLC, the same liquidation firm that bought the shuttered Lincoln paper mill. “The acquisition saves this important asset from the demolition recently experienced at other shuttered mills and the innovative redevelopment program for the mill will have broad economic impacts for the region, provide jobs and support to Maine’s forest industry,” said MFGR. The property has changed hands often in recent years. In 2016, MFGR, a consortium of liquidators, bought the property for an undisclosed price.
Shuttered Old Town pulp mill complex sold
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, January 31, 2018 

OTM Holdings announced late Wednesday that it has purchased the former Old Town pulp mill complex from MFGR. OTM, a joint venture by a Maine-based group of companies, said it plans to redevelop the site into a wood fiber-based complex housing multiple tenants. The University of Maine’s Forest Bioproducts Research Institute Technology Research Center already occupies 40,000 square feet in the mill’s warehouse. The center is expected to continue its work on-next generation value-added products made from wood, such as fuel and chemicals.
Editorial: Our view: Lobster industry's discipline staves off collapse
Gloucester (MA) Daily Times - Wednesday, January 31, 2018 

Conservation pays off. For years, lobstermen in the Gulf of Maine have been returning large and egg-bearing females to the water, instead of selling them for a short-term profit. The long-held practice, called "v-notching" because the females' tails are marked to alert other lobstermen of their fertility, has kept the lobster stock healthy. A 5-pound lobster can produce another thousand lobsters in its lifetime, fisheries scientists say. A 1.5-pound lobster produces about 100. The last several years have been some of the most profitable in the industry's history. Now, it looks like those years of self-restraint are going to help the industry weather a new challenge — climate change.
Group that organized solar protest at CMP contemplating next steps
Kennebec Journal - Wednesday, January 31, 2018 

The group that staged a protest at Central Maine Power Co.’s headquarters in Augusta this week continues to hope its efforts will sway the utility company’s position on an upcoming solar bill. The Monday protest, which was organized by Quaker meetings, was held to demonstrate opposition to what protesters claimed were CMP’s lobbying efforts against solar power and net metering. The group called the event “the first-of-its-kind Solar Counterlobby” that was meant to “literally and figuratively shine a light on CMP’s lobbying efforts to undermine solar power in Maine.”
Feds launch investigation into minke whale deaths
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, January 31, 2018 

An unusually high number of dead minke whales reported along the East Coast in the past year has prompted federal officials to launch an investigation into what’s killing the protected animals. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Wednesday that it declared the strandings of 29 minke whales between Maine and South Carolina since January 2017 an “unusual mortality event.” The designation enables the agency to open the investigation.
Bear den opens up on Presque Isle ski trail, interrupting championship races
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, January 31, 2018 

A bear den opened up on a ski trail at the Nordic Heritage Center in Presque Isle on Saturday, Jan. 27, delaying a championship event and forcing organizers to think fast and re-route the races. “The roof of a bear’s den had opened up and there were bears in the den still,” said Mark Shea, venue manager for the Nordic Heritage Center. The ski event was the Chummy Broomhall Cup, which serves as the state championship in nordic skiing for Maine college teams. “The women’s race was delayed about 30 minutes, but nobody seemed to mind." [Except maybe the bears.]
Blue Hill Bay mussel farm opponents lose in court
Ellsworth American - Wednesday, January 31, 2018 

A Hancock County Superior Court judge has dealt what might be the final blow in the fight by a local conservation group to put a Blue Hill Bay mussel farm out of business. Justice Robert Murray dismissed an appeal by Friends of Blue Hill Bay of a decision by Department of Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher last June to renew an aquaculture lease to Maine Cultured Mussels Inc. The renewed lease allows the company to continue growing blue mussels on ropes suspended beneath the surface of the water in a group of circular net pens on a 15-acre site east of Hardwood Island in Blue Hill Bay. The renewal extended the lease term for a period of seven years, until March of 2020.
Conservation Law Foundation sues LePage over wind power moratorium
Mainebiz - Wednesday, January 31, 2018 

The Conservation Law Foundation filed a lawsuit in Maine's Superior Court Tuesday seeking to block Gov. Paul LePage's recent executive order imposing a moratorium on new wind project permits and creating a special commission to make recommendations on wind power development. CLF's lawsuit argues that LePage's executive order violates the separation of powers clause of the Maine constitution. "This executive order is a naked political attempt to impose the governor's own anti-renewable energy philosophy on the people and businesses of Maine," CLF Executive Vice President and Maine Director Sean Mahoney said.
Rare super blue blood moon offers early-morning beauty
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, January 31, 2018 

The moon offered a rare sight Wednesday morning for the first time in about 150 years – a super blue moon that looked blood red.
Blog: LePage worse for tourism than renewable energy
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, January 31, 2018 

Last week, Gov. Paul LePage issued an executive order creating a secret wind energy panel and placing a moratorium on new wind projects in the state (except for part of Aroostook County, maybe). While the moratorium certainly isn’t legal, it nonetheless has power. It’s a clear statement of intent to potential investors in Maine’s renewable energy sector that the governor will use whatever legal – or extra-legal – maneuvers he can dream up to block projects. The governor is clear. He doesn’t want solar and he doesn’t want wind. Unlike an illegal wind moratorium, the governor has the power to make an immediate change. He could just stop talking. ~ David Farmer
Fishing Managers: Oil Drilling in Atlantic is a Bad Idea
Associated Press - Wednesday, January 31, 2018 

Northeast fishing managers say offshore drilling for oil and gas off of New England and the mid-Atlantic states could jeopardize marine life and industries. The New England Fishery Management Council agreed to send a letter to the federal Bureau of Ocean and Energy Management on Tuesday calling for the exclusion of East Coast waters from oil and gas exploration.
LePage says drilling off Maine coast would lower prices
Associated Press - Wednesday, January 31, 2018 

Maine Republican Gov. Paul LePage says drilling for oil in waters off the state’s coast could increase energy independence and provide more heating oil for Mainers. President Donald Trump’s administration recently announced it’ll seek to dramatically expand offshore oil and gas exploration. With the exception of Maine, every governor on the Atlantic seaboard or the West Coast has voiced opposition to drilling. LePage last week moved to halt new wind turbine permits.
Maine’s amazing wild flowers like you’ve never seen them before
George Smith BDN Outdoor News Blog - Wednesday, January 31, 2018 

I wish I’d read Wildflowers of Maine by Kate Furbish many years ago. Of course, that would have been impossible, because the book was published in 2016 by Downeast Books. I love to walk in the woods and enjoy the flowers and trees, but I can only identify a few of those gorgeous wild flowers. My plan now is to carry Kate’s book with me, to identify other wildflowers. I had no idea there are so many in Maine.
Column: Gov. LePage’s divisiveness likely to linger even after he’s gone
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, January 31, 2018 

Maine’s biggest problem, according to Paul LePage – and he’s the governor so he should know – is land trusts. Seven years into the LePage era, we have come to understand facts just don’t matter. There is no math to support this notion. It’s very simple. If LePage doesn’t like someone who likes land trusts, LePage hates land trusts. End of story. We have seen partisanship before. But we have never seen one person insert himself in so many places, substituting his judgment for the legislative process or the will of the voters. LePage may go away, but the distrust of politics and politicians is probably going to remain a feature of our public life and an impediment to getting things done. ~ Greg Kesich
Letter: Support law that protects solar power generators from unfair taxes
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, January 31, 2018 

I am writing to urge support for L.D. 1686. For decades, we have been altering our environment by burning fossil fuels. Our Maine fisheries are moving north, our winter recreation opportunities are lessening and destructive storms are becoming all too common. We must do everything we can to support clean energy. CMP would like us to pay for the energy we produce, as well as theirs. Fellow citizens, please tell your legislators you cannot stand for a law that says a corporation can take citizens’ money for something it had no role in producing or distributing. ~ Ben Walsh, Brunswick
Letter: Use renewable energy
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, January 31, 2018 

The debate of global warming is a rather unintelligent one. Our president, Donald Trump, says, “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.” Our leader thinks what 98 percent of climate scientists believe true is wrong. We the people need to fight this overwhelming threat. We have to use renewable sources of energy. The world can defeat the overwhelming odds by using wind power, biomass and solar. ~ Rayyaan Hakizimana, Portland
Letter: CMP’s solar bill opposition
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, January 31, 2018 

Central Maine Power is a shady operator when it comes to renewable energy. Its consistent lobbying efforts to kill rooftop solar power run counter to its published environmental policies and public statements. It’s time to shine a light on the truth. For three years, CMP has joined a handful of naysayers to oppose any modest solar legislation, most recently LD 1686. CMP opposed the bill in part on grounds the bill would stiff ratepayers without solar. Now some bad news for those ratepayers. CMP just told legislators that all ratepayers likely will pay for recent storm damage. The irony: Scientists tell us Maine can expect more intensive, expensive storms, as a result of climate change. Solution: more solar and renewables. ~ Anne Burt, Edgecomb
Legislators table LePage wind power bill
Maine Environmental News - Tuesday, January 30, 2018 

On Tuesday, on a largely party line vote, the Maine House of Representatives voted 72 to 69 with 10 absent to table LD 1810, Gov. Paul LePage’s wind power bill. The proposal would change from 8 miles to 40 miles the farthest distance from a proposed expedited wind energy development for which a visual impact assessment may be required. The bill also drops most "expedited permitting areas” for wind power developments except for part of Aroostook County.
First New Species of Temperate Conifer Tree Discovered in More Than a Decade
National Geographic - Tuesday, January 30, 2018 

Around a decade ago, Nathan Havill, then a Yale graduate student and now a U.S. Forest Service biologist, was studying Asian hemlocks’ genetics to understand why they can resist the adelgid when the Eastern hemlock can’t. He realized DNA from a small group of hemlock trees at the Arnold Arboretum didn’t seem to match that of any known species. The trees had been labeled as southern Japanese hemlocks, but Havill was skeptical. To nail down whether the Ulleungdo hemlock really deserved to be its own species, Del Tredici gave his samples to Garth Holman, a botanist at UMaine. Holman found that DNA in the nuclei of the tree’s cells puts it closest to southern Japanese hemlock. But DNA from the tree’s chloroplasts more closely resembles that of a different hemlock species from Japan. Putting all the data together, the team announced the new species—Tsuga ulleungensis—in late 2017.
Governor of Maine Bans All New Wind Farms
Other - Tuesday, January 30, 2018 

Popular Mechanics - Last week, Maine Gov. Paul LePage, issued a moratorium on all wind energy projects in the state. Citing tourism concerns while saying the state "must act judiciously to protect our natural beauty," LePage established a committee (with no public accountably) that will examine wind power’s economic impact and suggest potential regulatory change. The move threatens to bring Maine's burgeoning wind power industry to a screeching halt.
Conservation works: study says smart stewardship is helping Maine lobster fishery withstand rising ocean temperatures
Other - Tuesday, January 30, 2018 

Conservation Council of New Brunswick - A study published last week shows that climate change is and will continue to have a major impact on lobster populations in the Gulf of Maine. The good news: conservation measures adopted by the state decades ago will ensure that the fishery so important to coastal communities will survive the changes. Matt Abbott, Fundy Baykeeper, says, “Just like we saw here in the Bay of Fundy with the Musquash Marine Protected Area, when we work together with fishermen and governments, we can protect the ocean that we love, the marine animals that inspire us, and ensure that the fisheries so important to our coastal communities continue to support families for generations to come.”
Will LePage's Legacy Reflect Economic Accomplishment or Myriad Controversy?
Maine Public - Tuesday, January 30, 2018 

In penning the legacy of hard-charging of Gov. Paul LePage, history writers will likely assess his penchant for controversy and false or unverifiable statements. The latter was on full display during the Maine Calling interview, a dizzying, 50-minute segment in which LePage jousted with callers over his various statements and policy positions. Throughout his seven years in office, LePage has demonstrated a willingness to take positions that divide his constituents. His move to block wind power projects comes shortly after he announced support for a Trump administration plan that could allow for the exploration and drilling off the Gulf of Maine.
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