March 20, 2019  
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Maine Environmental News
Action Alert - Wednesday, March 20, 2019 

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 60,000 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
Why Going Native Matters, Mar 27
Event - Posted - Wednesday, March 20, 2019 

Heather McCargo, found and executive director of Wild Seed Project, presents "Why Going Native Matters: Beauty, Biodiversity and Resilience." At Portland Public Library, March 27, 5:30 pm.
Urge Maine's Agencies to Investigate and Halt PFAS Contamination
Action Alert - Tuesday, March 19, 2019 

Highly persistent and toxic chemicals known as PFAS may be lurking undiscovered in farmlands across Maine. State records show that at an Arundel dairy farm, PFOS was in milk at the highest level ever reported anywhere. Urge Maine Ag and DEP commissioners to test the fields, stop sludge spreading, and phase out PFAS products. ~ Environmental Health Strategy Center
Retired Game Warden Randall Probert, Mar 26
Event - Posted - Tuesday, March 19, 2019 

Author, raconteur, and retired game warden Randall Probert will speak to the Hebron Historical Society on “Maine Tales and More.” At Hebron Town Office, March 26, 7 pm.
The Forests of Lilliput: The Miniature World of Lichens & Mosses, Mar 26
Event - Posted - Tuesday, March 19, 2019 

Maine Master Naturalist Jeff Pengel talks about the natural history of lichens, mosses and similar plants. At Topsham Library, March 26, 6 pm. Sponsored by Cathance River Education Alliance.
Celebrating Maine’s Wild Creatures, Mar 26
Event - Posted - Tuesday, March 19, 2019 

Speaker: Ed Robinson, author of “Nature Notes from Maine: River Otters, Moose, Skunks and More.” At Curtis Library, March 16, 7 pm. Sponsored by Merrymeeting Audubon.
Ocean Acidification, Climate Change, and You, Mar 25
Event - Posted - Monday, March 18, 2019 

Friends of Casco Bay staff scientist Mike Doan talks about warning signs and Casco Baykeeper Ivy Frignoca shares the impacts to marine species and how Mainers are responding. At Southern Maine Community College, South Portland, March 25, 5:30 pm.
Mount Pisgah winter trek, Mar 24
Event - Posted - Sunday, March 17, 2019 

Kennebec Land Trust Stewardship Director Jean-Luc Theriault will lead an off-trail excursion on Mount Pisgah to visit special places that are typically less accessible. Meet at the Mount Pisgah Community Conservation Area parking lot in Winthrop, March 24, 1 pm.
Maine Maple Sunday, Mar 24
Event - Posted - Sunday, March 17, 2019 

Maine Maple Sunday is a long tradition where Maine’s maple producers open their doors to their sweet operations for a day of educational demonstrations, sugarbush tours, fun family activities and samplings of syrup and other great maple products. Many sugarhouses are open Saturday and Sunday, March 23 and 24, and throughout the season.
Winter Family Fun Day at Lily Bay State Park, Mar 23
Event - Posted - Saturday, March 16, 2019 

Ice fishing, snowmobile tote rides, winter camping demo, bonfire, scavenger hunt and free loan of cross-country skis, snowshoes, ice skates, snow tubes and sleds. At Lily Bay State Park, Moosehead Lake, March 23, 10 am - 3 pm.
Winter wildlife tracking workshop, Mar 23
Event - Posted - Saturday, March 16, 2019 

Naturalists and certified wildlife trackers Brendan White and Matt Dickinson lead a winter wildlife tracking workshop. At at Long Ledges Preserve, Sullivan, March 23, 9-11:30 am. Sponsored by Frenchman Bay Conservancy.
Maine Grass Farmers Network Conference, Mar 23
Event - Posted - Saturday, March 16, 2019 

Livestock producers are invited to learn about grass-based production and how grazing systems can become more profitable and environmentally sound. At Kennebec County Community College's Alfond Campus, Hinckley, March 23, 8:30 am - 3 pm.
Maine becomes a state, Mar 15
Announcement - Friday, March 15, 2019 

On this day in 1820, March 15, Massachusetts lost over 30,000 square miles of land as its former province of Maine gained statehood. Mainers had begun campaigning for statehood for years following the Revolution. The Massachusetts legislature finally consented in 1819. What no one foresaw, however, was that Maine's quest for statehood would become entangled in the most divisive issue in American history — slavery.
Maine Land Conservation Conference, Apr 5-6
Event - Posted - Friday, March 15, 2019 

Maine’s robust land conservation community comes together to train on best practices in all aspects of land trust work, connect with peers, and grapple with the most pressing issues facing land conservation today. At Topsham area, April 5-6.
Thoreau Society & Thoreau Farm Trust online auction, thru Mar 29
Announcement - Friday, March 15, 2019 

This auction contains many rare books written about Henry David Thoreau and other items for every Thoreauvian.
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News Items
Linking Donors: The Private Funding Behind the Appalachian Trail
Other - Wednesday, February 28, 2018 

Inside Philanthropy - The Appalachian Trail Conservancy has been working to bump up its fundraising, and recently landed a $3 million grant from a Virginia family foundation. The AT is not just any trail, running from Georgia to Maine and serving some 3 million hikers a year. The latest grant will fund efforts to protect the trail’s lands, waters and cultural features. The money comes from the Volgenau Foundation, which is the small, Virginia-based family foundation of Ernst and Sara Volgenau. While donors are willing to step up, there is a dark backdrop, as protections are gutted by Ryan Zinke’s Department of the Interior, leaving public lands more vulnerable than they have been in many years.

Portland sets record high temperature for Feb. 28
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, February 28, 2018 

Portland set a new record high temperature Wednesday with a reading of 58 degrees. The average temperature for the month in Portland was 31 degrees, making it the fourth warmest February on record.
Maine Lawmakers Say Embattled Biomass Generator Shouldn’t Have Qualified For Taxpayer Subsidy
Maine Public - Wednesday, February 28, 2018 

Lawmakers scrutinizing a biomass generator’s track record of unpaid bills are now questioning whether the firm even qualified for a slice of a $13.4 million taxpayer bailout that benefited the firm two years ago. Specifically, the lawmakers say the state’s utility regulator was wrong to award a subsidy contract to Stored Solar LLC, a company supported by Gov. Paul LePage. The company is currently under scrutiny for late or missing payments to loggers and contractors – the intended beneficiaries of the 2016 bailout bill.
4 billion cups
Other - Wednesday, February 28, 2018 

There are roughly 25,000 Starbucks stores in more than 75 countries around the world. Those stores sell more than 4 billion hot beverages every day — all in single-use “paper” cups. Paper cups that are not recyclable because they’re lined with plastic. It gets worse. Starbucks’ paper products aren’t even made from recycled paper. Every year, 1.6 million trees are harvested to create these single-use cups. But it gets even worse. Starbucks plans to open 12,000 more stores in the next three years — an increase of 48 percent. That works out to 5.9 billion cups and 2.4 million trees every year. In 2008, Starbucks said it would serve a 100% recyclable paper cup and increase reusables to 25 percent by 2015. To date, it hasn’t done either.
Eversource files for rehearing in Northern Pass case
Associated Press - Wednesday, February 28, 2018 

The company behind the controversial Northern Pass hydropower project is offering to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to overcome concerns that the project would have a negative impact on businesses and the tourism industry in New Hampshire. Eversource President Bill Quinlan says the company on Wednesday submitted a request from the Site Evaluation Committee to rehear the project. Earlier this month, regulators rejected the $1.6 billion Northern Pass project, over concerns about the negative impact along the route of the 192-mile transmission line. Eversource says it’s offering up to $300 million in reductions to low-income and business customers in New Hampshire, $25 million to compensate homeowners whose property values would decline, $25 million for economic development and $25 million to promote tourism in affected areas.
New Allagash cultural assessment and intepretive report prepared
Maine Environmental News - Wednesday, February 28, 2018 

A new report prepared for the Allagash Wilderness Waterway Foundation, "Storied Lands & Waters," provides a vision for interpretation, as well as education, visitor orientation and trip planning in the Allagash Wilderness Waterway. The report also includes a heritage resource assessment. The AWW Advisory Council will consider the plan at it next meeting on March 16.
Committee approves economic task force
The County - Wednesday, February 28, 2018 

The Legislature’s Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry amended and overwhelmingly approved a bill by Senate Democratic Leader Troy Jackson of Allagash to establish a group of experts who will explore ways in which to expand economic opportunity in rural Maine. The amended version of the bill made modest changes to the task force membership to include additional rural industries.
How to Be a Better Environmentalist
Bowdoin (College) Orient - Wednesday, February 28, 2018 

Bowdoin College students Lauren Hickey and Jonah Watt last week brought together four people from different professional backgrounds to answer this question: How can I be the most effective environmentalist? The guests included Associate Professor of Economics Erik Nelson; Maine Conservation Voters’s executive director, Maureen Drouin; Morning Glory Natural Foods owner Toby Tarpinian; and Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies and Government Shana Starobin. Hickey and Watt broke down their bigger query into four smaller questions, and two students from the audience also asked a couple of practical questions. Here are edited snippets of some of the panelists’ responses to these six questions.

Parks commission head on beach poop problem: ‘Dog owners are the NRA of Kittery’
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, February 28, 2018 

Portsmouth Herald - The Kittery Town Council and the Parks Commission discussed requiring passes for dog owners to bring their canines to both Fort Foster and Seapoint Beach as a means of curbing dog waste. Monday night’s workshop on the town-owned park management plan quickly shifted to how to reduce the amount of dog waste in the parks. Parks Commission co-chair Paige Mead compared town dog owners’ steadfast commitment to keeping Fort Foster open for their pets to the lobbying efforts of the National Rifle Association.
Maine’s marine businesses are getting a $14 million infusion
Associated Press - Wednesday, February 28, 2018 

The Alliance for Maine’s Marine Economy is investing $7 million in voter-approved bonds along with more than $7 million more from its own members, according to the University of Maine, which oversees the group. The university said the investments are designed to “support and diversify traditional fisheries, aquaculture and other marine-dependent industries.”
Legislature Kills Bill to Lease Colonial Pemaquid to Nonprofit
Lincoln County News - Wednesday, February 28, 2018 

Although the Maine State Legislature will not pass a bill to authorize the lease of the Colonial Pemaquid State Historic Site to The Friends of Colonial Pemaquid, the leadership of the group will continue to pursue the lease. The nonprofit sees three major benefits a lease would provide the site and the local area: the creation of an “economic engine” for the peninsula, the development of a vibrant educational destination, and the revitalization of plans to build a replica 17th-century village. However, the bill received strong opposition from Tom Desjardin, director of the Bureau of Parks and Lands. Desjardin said the bill was “unnecessary,” as the bureau already allows private groups to manage state facilities, and the cost of operating the site is about $40,000, which “is not a sum that a nonprofit can reasonably raise annually for operating costs alone.”
Maine Fox Hunt Ending For The Winter On Wednesday
Associated Press - Wednesday, February 28, 2018 

Maine has a small but active group of hunters who pursue foxes. The season ends on Wednesday. There is no limit on the number of foxes a hunter can harvest during the season, which begins in October. There are a handful of clubs remaining in New England for traditional fox hunters who pursue the animals on horseback with hounds. Wednesday is also the last day of the season to pursue gray squirrels via falconry and to hunt snowshoe hares on Vinalhaven Island. Bobcat season ended on Feb. 21. The next major hunting season in Maine is the turkey hunt, which begins near the end of April..
Maine lobster fishing group to replace longtime leader
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, February 28, 2018 

The largest commercial fishing industry group on the East Coast will elect a new leader this Friday for the first time in 27 years. Kristan Porter, a Cutler fisherman, is expected to take the reins of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association at the end of its annual meeting in Rockport. Porter, however, said it is “not a done deal” that he’ll become the group’s next president. Porter would take over for South Thomaston lobsterman David Cousens, who is stepping down as MLA president after having held the post since 1991.
Letter: 'No' to wind power projects
Sun Journal - Wednesday, February 28, 2018 

The rejection of Northern Pass by New Hampshire regulators puts CMP’s “clean energy connect” back on the front burner. Even though CMP has stated that their 145-mile line from Coburn Gore to Lewiston has nothing to do with wind power, it stretches credulity to not see a direct connection between Nextera’s 133-turbine project and that high voltage transmission line. Mainers cannot allow the scenic character of Route 27 be ruined. Maine does not need the power from 133 windmills, nor the power from Hydro Quebec facilitated by CMP’s transmission line. All the power from those assets will be shipped to southern New England and beyond, without a dime of rate relief for Maine customers. ~ Dudley Gray, Rangeley Plantation
Letter: Extra annual fee on electric cars is wrong way to fund highway repairs
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, February 28, 2018 

The governor’s effort to tax electric cars avoids real solutions, attacks a growing industry and causes greater divisions within an already fractured government. This tax revenue would be a fraction of our transportation budget. Let’s raise the gas tax 20 to 60 cents per gallon and increase tolls for trucks. The bigger the gas guzzler (e.g., a sport utility vehicle), the more you pay. This “damage” tax could pay for our roads. Let’s put a portion of that revenue into clean and efficient rail transportation, including passenger and freight services, instead of turning our last veins of clean transportation into bike trails. How about converting a lane of the interstate and make that into the bike trail? These are ideas we should be considering. ~ Paul Weiss, Cumberland
Letter: Fifteen-cent bottle deposit works as litter deterrent, so let’s raise the 5-cent deposit
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, February 28, 2018 

I own a property with a large amount of road frontage. Each month, I spend a good deal of time picking up dozens of discarded beer, hard cider and various other alcoholic beverage bottles and cans – as well as non-alcoholic ones (soda and water). I rarely, however, find discarded wine and liquor bottles. Could it be because the deposit on those beverages (15 cents) is three times the amount of the deposit for other beverages? If the current 15-cent deposit on liquor and wine bottles is reduced to 5 cents, Maine’s roadside litter will increase significantly. In a state that relies upon its natural beauty to attract tourism revenue, this does not make good policy. I agree that the deposit for all types of beverages should be made uniform: by increasing it to 15 cents on everything. ~ Lou Demers, North Yarmouth
Chandler Brothers gift 2,500 acres to Maine Woodland Owners
Sun Journal - Tuesday, February 27, 2018 

Chandler Brothers, a family-owned land management company whose New Gloucester roots herald back to the mid-1700s, made a difficult but necessary gift of 2,500 acres to Maine Woodland Owners Land Trust. “We knew we had to do something so the land wouldn’t be developed. That’s why we’re giving it away,” said spokesman Steve Chandler, representing four family owners. It’s an outright gift with no money exchanged, just the belief that land stewardship for the future will be upheld. The organization is the steward of 5,000 acres owned outright and 3,000 acres of easements.
Feds Clear Natural Gas Distributors Of Allegations They Artificially Constrained Supply
Maine Public - Tuesday, February 27, 2018 

Federal regulators are rejecting an environmental group’s allegations that regional natural gas distributors unnecessarily withheld pipeline capacity during times of high demand, costing energy consumers billions of dollars. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission says based on its own review, the Environmental Defense Fund’s report was “flawed and led to incorrect conclusions about the alleged withholding.”
Legislative committee endorses bill clarifying online burn permit rules
Kennebec Journal - Tuesday, February 27, 2018 

The Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry voted Tuesday to amendments to L.D. 1809, which impose a limit on the number of privately owned online systems allowed in Maine; lift the $7 fee that the state imposes on online permits issued by the Maine Forest Service; and allow burn permits to be viewed on a smart phone, rather than requiring the permit holder to have a paper copy. The goal of the legislation, which is now headed for floor debate, is to clarify how third-party issuers of burn permits in Maine may operate.
Augusta trash to electricity generation system up for approval
Kennebec Journal - Tuesday, February 27, 2018 

City councilors are scheduled to decide Thursday whether to spend $3 million to build a system to use methane gas generated by rotting garbage at Hatch Hill landfill to produce electricity and reduce the city’s electric bills.
Regulators Investigating Complaints About CMP Billing Errors
Maine Public - Tuesday, February 27, 2018 

State utility regulators are launching an inquiry into complaints about billing errors Central Maine Power customers say started to surface late last year. Public Utilities Commission Chairman Mark Vannoy says many complaints have already been resolved, but a full investigation is still warranted and CMP held accountable for any systemic problems.
Editorial: LePage mini-mes line up
Maine Environmental News - Tuesday, February 27, 2018 

Paul LePage has done more damage to Maine’s environmental safety net than any governor in the state’s history. The Republican candidates who want to follow him all promise more of the same. At a debate at Colby College on Monday, all five of those scrambling for the Republican gubernatorial nomination supported LePage’s legacy. That means they want to continue destroying public services, slashing environmental protections, and tearing up our social safety net. It will take years to repair the damage done by the LePage Misadministration. Clearly, that restoration will not begin next year if any of the Republican candidates are elected.
Endangered whales spotted, but no calves yet
Associated Press - Tuesday, February 27, 2018 

Scientists say dozens of endangered right whales have been spotted in Cape Cod Bay, but no babies have been reported yet this year. The whales are among the most endangered marine mammals and they are coming off of a year of high mortality and low reproduction. They venture north in the spring every year to gorge on the tiny organisms that sustain them. The right whale population is only about 450. Scientists say the species could be edging closer to extinction if there are more years of high accidental deaths and low births.
Maine Wood Manufacturers are still an Important Part of the Economy
Forests for Maine's Future - Tuesday, February 27, 2018 

Maine’s secondary wood manufacturing sector has had a rough few decades. At one time the state had hundreds of mills producing things of wood, from toothpick and match mills that employed hundreds to small operations that specialized in one, or a handful, of items with employment in the single digits. But beginning in the 1970s China rose to become the world’s low-cost manufacturer and the sector shrank steadily. It may have seemed to be on life support, but that part of Maine’s forest products industry never entirely disappeared. Now it seems to be thriving again.
Regulators to scrutinize high CMP bills, customer service complaints
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, February 27, 2018 

The Maine Public Utilities Commission said Tuesday it would look into customer complaints about skyrocketing bills and poor service by Central Maine Power. The regulatory agency will start by gathering information about CMP’s metering, billing and customer communications. If the PUC finds systemic or continuing problems, it may open a formal investigation.
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