December 17, 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
Go/No-Go Risk of Catastrophic Consequence of Mining Bald Mountain (Preliminary Assessment)
Other - Friday, February 28, 2014 

The paper proposes utilizing a new set of criteria based on an assessment of likely potential
catastrophic flaws to provide an initial Go/No-Go environmental evaluation of mining projects. The case study used is Bald Mountain, a massive sulfide copper deposit in north-central
Maine.
Less snowpack will harm ecosystem, study shows
Other - Friday, February 28, 2014 

A new study shows that the consequences of milder winters — a smaller snowpack leaving the ground to freeze harder and longer — can have a negative impact on trees and water quality of nearby aquatic ecosystems far into the warmer growing season. The research shows that soil freezing due to diminishing snowpack damages the roots of sugar maple trees and limits their ability to absorb essential nitrogen and other nutrients in the spring. This leads to greater run off of nitrogen into ground water and nearby streams, which could deteriorate water quality and trigger widespread harmful consequences to humans and the environment.
Falmouth to spend $200,000 to help buy part of Clapboard Island
Portland Press Herald - Friday, February 28, 2014 

Falmouth town councilors voted this week to spend $200,000 to help purchase and preserve part of Clapboard Island for public use, $100,000 less than was originally proposed. The town’s financial support aids a fundraising campaign led by the Maine Coast Heritage Trust, which must raise a total of roughly $1.6 million to purchase about 17 acres of the private island and pay for its future stewardship. So far the land preservation group has raised about $500,000, said Keith Fletcher, the trust’s project manager for the island acquisition.
Legislators shoot down grouse labeling requirement
George Smith BDN Outdoor News Blog - Friday, February 28, 2014 

Maine grouse hunters will be rejoicing to learn that the confusing and onerous new law requiring the labeling of grouse in the unorganized territories will be a one-year wonder. Here today. Gone tomorrow.
Poor Science? Gray Wolf to Lose Federal Protection
Living on Earth - Friday, February 28, 2014 

A Fish & Wildlife Service report would justify dropping federal protection of the gray wolf on the basis of reclassification of the Eastern population. Geneticist Bob Wayne and Steve Curwood discuss the scientific shortcomings of this report and its repercussions on one of America’s top predators. Curwood: Action had been taken to try to begin reintroducing the wolf in Maine. What would it have done?
Moose attack or needless slaughter? Video raises ethical questions
John Holyoke Out There Blog - Friday, February 28, 2014 

Although we doubt this took place in Maine, it very well could have. We’ve got thousands of snowmobilers, after all. And according to biologists, we’ve got about 70,000 moose roaming around…often in the middle of snowmobile trails (or, as the moose call it, “home.”) After watching the video, I was shocked. Stunned, even. And I began asking the questions that I expect many of you have asked. “Why?”
Forest fumes play big role in global climate
Summit Voice - Friday, February 28, 2014 

Forests may play a much bigger role in global climate than previously believed. In addition to cycling carbon, it appears that gases wafting from conifers quickly form small particles that can reflect sunlight and promote cloud formation, according to a new study that looked at forest aerosols at the molecular level.
Maine’s elver season faces delay as limits are worked out
Associated Press - Friday, February 28, 2014 

The start of Maine’s lucrative elver season next month could be delayed by two weeks or more as the state resolves an ongoing dispute with the Passamaquoddy tribe, the commissioner of the Department of Marine Resources said Friday.
Mud flats bill wins panel OK
Times Record - Friday, February 28, 2014 

A bill sponsored by a Brunswick state senator to conserve mud flats and protect resources from the invasive green crab was unanimously approved by the Marine Resources Committee this week. Final language for the measure, LD 1452 — An Act to Protect Areas in Which Shellfish Conservation Gear Has Been Placed for Predator Control and Habitat Enhancement Purposes — will come before the full Legislature later in the session. The bill allows municipalities to apply to the Department of Marine Resources to request a prohibition on all marine harvesting on flats already closed to clammers for conservation purposes.
The Survivors
Down East - Friday, February 28, 2014 

In Aroostook County, a ragtag troop of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans converges on a wilderness school for nine weeks of camping, canoeing, and self-discovery. Can they find what they’re looking for in the Maine North Woods?
WIC program continues to snub spuds, Maine delegation pushes back against exclusion
Bangor Daily News - Friday, February 28, 2014 

Although a major overhaul of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Women, Infants and Children program unveiled Friday expands low-income families’ access to produce and whole grains, the white potato continues to be only fresh fruit or vegetable excluded from the list of approved foods. The exclusion of potatoes from the USDA rule went into effect in December 2009 and is based on recommendations of the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans report, according to published reports. The decision is drawing the ire of elected officials and others from Maine and other potato-producing states.
Maine lobster haul valued at record $364.5 million for 2013
Associated Press - Friday, February 28, 2014 

Maine’s lobster catch grew in value to a record $364.5 million last year, and the catch topped 100 million pounds for a third consecutive year, indicating the fishery remains healthy. Preliminary figures from the Maine Department of Marine Resources show a catch of 126 million pounds, which is 1 percent off last year’s record. But the 2013 catch could set a record when final tallies are completed.
National firm proposes new wood fuel pellet mill in tiny Washington County community
Bangor Daily News - Friday, February 28, 2014 

Residents of Baring Plantation have endorsed proposed plans by a company with operations in nearby Baileyville to develop a wood fuel pellet plant in their community. The endorsement for Fulghum Fibres, which operates a wood chip mill in Baileyville, came in the form of a warrant item approved during Baring’s annual town meeting on Feb. 20. “None of this is set in stone,” according to Dale Olsson, a member of the Board of Selectmen. The company was seeking an indication of “good faith” from the community that it would welcome the business, he said.
LePage announces formation of green crab task force
Bangor Daily News - Friday, February 28, 2014 

In response to growing concern about the effect invasive green crabs are having on Maine’s shoreline, Gov. Paul LePage announced Friday that he is establishing a task force to examine the issue, effective immediately. LePage made the announcement while attending the annual Maine Fishermen’s Forum in Rockport. “Green crabs are threatening our state’s $25 million bivalve shellfish industry, which is Maine’s third most lucrative fishery,” LePage said. The population of green crabs, an invasive species from Europe that first migrated to North America in the 1800s, has surged in Maine in the past few years.
Column: Camden’s crisis
Times Record - Friday, February 28, 2014 

Last weekend was the Camden Conference, which focused this year on the global politics of food and water. Conferences should be civil, and they should be places where ideas are exchanged even when the ideas being exchanged are not altogether fantastic things for the planet, or the living things thereon. But it’s a false equivalence to say that Bechtel, for example, should have an equal voice in whether peasants in South America get access to their own water without paying a huge multinational corporation through the nose for the privilege, as the peasants themselves do. In the United States, including in Maine, Nestle is polarizing communities and in some cases illegally extracting water from aquifers for its bottled water business. ~ Gina Hamilton
Machias woman donates more than 10 acres to benefit salmon federation’s capital campaign
Bangor Daily News - Friday, February 28, 2014 

A Machias businesswoman donated more than 10 acres to the Downeast Salmon Federation to be sold to support its capital campaign, the conservation organization announced. The gift of 10.5 acres of waterfront property in Machiasport by Sandra Bryand was scheduled to be formally announced at the federation’s open house of its East Machias Aquatic Research Center on Friday night. The federation operates the East Machias Aquatic Research Center next to the East Machias River. The center also includes a fish hatchery. The capital campaign seeks to raise $225,000 that will be used to renovate the second floor of the center building into a water quality laboratory, library, and archive and community meeting space. About $95,000 has been raised so far.
LePage orders study of invasive green crabs
Portland Press Herald - Friday, February 28, 2014 

Gov. Paul LePage on Friday ordered the creation of a 12-member task force to examine the effects of the invasive European green crab, which fishermen along the coast have said is decimating local shellfish populations. Although the species has been reported in Maine since 1904, recent weather patterns and warming ocean temperatures have allowed the tiny critters to move north, devouring blue mussels, soft- and hard-shell clams and coastal grasses. The crabs have contributed to wetland erosion as well as depleted stock of spat, the tiny juvenile clams that are easy targets for the voracious species.
Opinion: Congress treads too carefully on oil train threat
Times Record - Friday, February 28, 2014 

Numerous incidents make clear that there is no “safe” way to transport oil — whether by rail, pipeline, ship or other means — and, even if there were, burning more and more oil will only worsen the climate crisis. The volume of crude oil shipped by rail in the United States increased from 9,500 carloads in 2008 to 400,000 carloads in 2013, a more than 40-fold rise. In the wake of several fiery accidents, including an oil train derailment in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, that killed 47 people, we have called for a moratorium on crudeby rail shipments in the Northeast and asked Congress to investigate the mounting threats to people and the environment. ~ Mollie Matteson, Center for Biological Diversity
‘This is not your grandfather’s paper mill’: Innovation offers hope to Maine’s paper and pulp industry
Bangor Daily News - Friday, February 28, 2014 

If people arrived as pessimists at a forum Thursday morning about the future of Maine’s paper and pulp industries, most left with at least a bit more optimism. With recent headlines focused on the closure of the East Millinocket paper mill, layoffs at Lincoln Paper and Tissue and potential pain that could result from the proposed merger of Verso Paper and NewPage, it’s no wonder people have a dim view of the pulp and paper industries in Maine. But two speakers at Thursday’s forum, which was sponsored by the Environmental and Energy Technology Council of Maine, commonly referred to as E2Tech, countered those negative headlines with positive stories of innovation and economic vitality at their mills — one pulp, the other paper.
Letter: Pitting people against environment
Times Record - Friday, February 28, 2014 

Maine needs healthy people and a healthy environment. To pit one against the other is disingenuous and misleading. Governor LePage has had the weakest environmental record of any governor in recent history, so this sudden concern about the effect of MaineCare spending on natural resource agency budgets seems wholly fabricated. ~ Lisa Pohlmann, Natural Resources Council of Maine
Letter: Sen. Alfond’s wind energy stance begs tough questions
Portland Press Herald - Friday, February 28, 2014 

Last week, the Energy, Utilities and Telecommunications Committee held a public hearing on Sen. Justin Alfond’s bill “An Act to Amend the Maine Administrative Procedure Act and Clarify Wind Energy Laws” (L.D. 1750). Alfond’s appearance at the hearing cemented his allegiance to his wind cronies. During his impassioned presentation, Alfond voiced displeasure with critics who’ve questioned the ethical standing of his sponsorship of L.D. 1750. If enacted, L.D. 1750 will be a blow to the heart of Maine’s legislative integrity, and Alfond’s fingerprints and those of his cronies will be on the knife. ~ Richard McDonald, Kennebunk
Letter: Protect Maine's environment
Sun Journal - Friday, February 28, 2014 

The Maine DEP's new mining rules should be of concern to all Maine residents. Let's take our state motto seriously and "lead" the country with a clean environment for all. ~ Richard Lee Jr., Turner
MRRA, Brunswick eye grass lands
Times Record - Thursday, February 27, 2014 

About 16 acres will be preserved for “critical imperiled” wildlife habitat at the former Brunswick Naval Air Station. The Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority, the agency that oversees the former base, amended its master reuse plan Wednesday to ensure an area west of the former Seabee naval construction compound will be preserved, according to MRRA Executive Director Steve Levesque. The land in question is sand plain grassland which is considered “critical imperiled” by the state. The habitat supports rare wildlife and has a unique mix of grasses, wildflowers and other plant life that only occurs under specific conditions, according to the Nature Conservancy. The grasshopper sparrow, observed at the base, is a species believed to nest at four or fewer sites in southern Maine.
NOAA Fisheries Head: Industry and Conservation can Co-exist
Maine Public Broadcasting Network - Thursday, February 27, 2014 

The Maine fishing industry's biggest event is underway: The 39th annual Fishermen's Forum is taking place at the Samoset Resort in Rockport through Saturday. Among the featured guests is the nation's top federal fisheries official, Eileen Sobeck, who was recently appointed head of fisheries for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association.
Forum: Reinventing Maine's Paper Industry
Maine Public Broadcasting Network - Thursday, February 27, 2014 

The future of Maine's paper industry was the topic of a forum today in Portland. Faced with volatile energy costs and the challenge of global markets, the industry is looking for new ways to remain competitive. John Williams, president of the Maine Pulp and Paper Association, talks about what he sees ahead for Maine's pulp and paper industry and the implications of proposed merger between Verso Paper Corp. and NewPage Corp.
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