March 22, 2019  
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Maine Environmental News
Action Alert - Friday, March 22, 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
Managing Forests for Bird Habitat, Mar 29
Event - Posted - Friday, March 22, 2019 

Dr. Sally Stockwell, Maine Audubon conservation director, will speak about “Managing Forests for Bird Habitat.” At Keith Anderson Community House, Orono, March 29, 6:30 p.m. Sponsored by Orono Land Trust.
Interactions Among Plants & Insects, March 28
Event - Posted - Thursday, March 21, 2019 

Maine Master Naturalist Roger Rittmaster presents. At Ladd Center, Wayne, March 28, 7 pm. Sponsored by Kennebec Land Trust.
Solo thru-paddling the Northern Forest Canoe Trail, Mar 28
Event - Posted - Thursday, March 21, 2019 

Laurie Chandler describes her 2015 solo thru-paddle of the 740-mile Northern Forest Canoe Trail. At Curtis Library, Brunswick, March 28, 7 pm. Sponsored by Appalachian Mountain Club.
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
Just Eat It: A Food Waste Story, Mar 26
Event - Posted - Tuesday, March 19, 2019 

Film followed by a discussion led by Brie Berry, a Ph.D. candidate in anthropology and environmental policy. Part of a Human Dimensions of Climate Change film series. At Fogler Library, UMaine, Orono, March 26, 6 pm.
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.
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.
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.
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.
OceansWide summer camps focus on ocean exploration
Announcement - Monday, March 18, 2019 

OceansWide will hold two two-week summer camps at George Stevens Academy in Blue Hill. Gain an understanding of the ocean and science through hands-on learning and research. Scuba Science Summer Camp, for high school-aged students, July 7-20. Marine Technology and Science Summer Camp, for grades 5-8, July 21-Aug. 3.
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.
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.
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.
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News Items
Snow country for old men?
Sun Journal - Thursday, February 28, 2019 

Maine has a vast number of snowmobile trails, all interconnected. Bob Meyers, executive director of the Maine Snowmobile Association, said the 14,500-mile network can be accessed from almost anywhere in the state. In Maine, 289 clubs are each responsible for maintaining their own trails. Ninety-five percent of the land crossed by the trails is owned by private landowners who agree to allow the trails on their property. Last winter, there were 79,000 snowmobiles registered in Maine. Many Maine snowmobile clubs are struggling to attract young people to help maintain trails and carry on the sport.
Bath-area land trust seeks tales of trash-tossing traditions
Forecaster - Thursday, February 28, 2019 

It was a joyful practice that brought residents together. Today it might traumatize environmentalists. “Taking Out the Garbage in 1957” is part of the Kennebec Estuary Land Trust’s ongoing History Spotlight series, held this year as the Bath-based organization celebrates its 30th anniversary. Where was that trash dumped? The Kennebec River, among other places that have since come under the protection of groups like KELT. The land trust is sharing historical stories and photos as part of this and other history spotlights, which show the strides people have made in recent decades to appreciate, protect and restore the Kennebec Estuary region’s waters and lands.
New bill would increase penalties for those who violate Endangered Species Act
WGME-TV13 - Thursday, February 28, 2019 

A bill in Augusta would beef up the penalties for people who violate Maine’s Endangered Species Act. The act has been on the books in Maine since 1975. The state has 26 species considered endangered. Right now, wardens can only give a warning for a first-time violation. This proposal changes that. "This bill would give law enforcement more flexibility to take other action, to issue fines or take other actions to protect the species," Nick Lund of Maine Audubon said. Some endangered species in Maine include birds like the golden eagle and piping plovers.
Trump touts opening of Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling
Associated Press - Thursday, February 28, 2019 

President Trump touted the opening of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling when Air Force One made a refueling stop Thursday in Alaska as the president returned from his collapsed summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Vietnam. The Trump administration and congressional Republicans said the drilling plan would help pay for tax cuts approved in December 2017. Trump said he’s always had a special place in his heart for Alaska, which likely stems from a grandfather who ventured north to look for gold. The president said his grandfather didn’t find gold but opened hotels for others who traveled north to seek their fortunes. [Trump did not mention that Friedrich Trump's hotels were brothels or that the tax cut is mainly benefiting the super wealthy.]
How the CMP Transmission Project Could Fit with Gov. Mills' Climate Change Agenda
Maine Public - Thursday, February 28, 2019 

As Gov. Janet Mills builds out her climate agenda, it could get a boost from the deal-making around Central Maine Power's proposal to build a new transmission line through western Maine. In a memorandum of agreement with two environmental groups — the Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) and the Acadia Center — CMP explicitly agrees to support an array of carbon-reduction efforts. They include Mills' goal of doubling Maine's use of renewable energy sources. Sean Mahoney, the director of CLF's chapter in Maine, says his group's side agreement and an overall CMP deal, which Mills signed on to last week, could transform the way CMP approaches energy issues. Some key players are far from convinced that's it's going to happen.
Gov. Mills Outlines Ambitious State Plan To Address Climate Change
Maine Public - Thursday, February 28, 2019 

In her address to the annual meeting of the Environmental & Energy Technology Council of Maine on Thursday, Gov. Janet Mills vowed that addressing climate change will be a major goal of her administration. While she acknowledged that climate change is a world-wide problem that requires international attention, Mills said Maine should do what it can. She announced that she has joined with governors from 21 other states in a group called the United States Climate Alliance, which is working to meet the pollution reduction goals set forth in the Paris Climate accord. Mills said that Maine is adopting a goal of generating 80 percent of its electricity needs using renewable sources by the year 2030. By 2050, she said all of the state’s electricity will come from renewables.
Interesting report on Maine deer
George Smith BDN Outdoor News Blog - Thursday, February 28, 2019 

Wildlife biologist Nathan Bieber presented interesting info about DIFW’s deer research in The Maine Bowhunter’s Winter 2019 newsletter. Bieber reported that DIFW has been capturing deer since 2015 and putting GPS collars on them. Since then they have handled 266 deer and placed GPS collars on 149 of them. They track the deers’ movements and their mortality rates. Bieber says that mortality rates have generally been higher in the northern study areas than in their central Maine site.
Wheeling and dealing industry lobbyist confirmed as head of EPA
Other - Thursday, February 28, 2019 

The Senate has confirmed former coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler as our nation’s top environmental defender as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. Not only is Wheeler charged with safeguarding the environment, he’s also responsible for protecting the health of all Americans from dangerous toxins. Rev. Susan Hendershot, President of Interfaith Power & Light, said, "Sadly, Wheeler has already shown where he stands when industry interests threaten public health and our faith values. Months before he was confirmed, Wheeler issued a statement that limiting mercury pollution isn’t 'necessary and appropriate." He is beginning the legal process of rolling back limits on this potent neurotoxin that threatens the health of the most vulnerable."
New Appropriation for Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument
Maine Environmental News - Thursday, February 28, 2019 

The federal budget, passed earlier this month, included a new appropriation of $400,000 to be added to Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument’s budget. This funding is critical to ensuring natural resources are protected, infrastructure is advanced and maintained, and the visitor experience is safe and enjoyable.
Senate confirms ex-coal lobbyist to run Environmental Protection Agency
Washington Post - Thursday, February 28, 2019 

The U.S. Senate on Thursday approved former coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler to head the Environmental Protection Agency by a vote of 52 to 47, elevating a veteran of political and industry circles who has advanced President Trump’s push to roll back Obama-era environmental regulations. One Republican, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, voted against Wheeler’s confirmation Thursday on the grounds that he had worked to water down federal rules curbing greenhouse gas pollution from power plants, as well as weaken fuel standards for the nation’s cars and pickup trucks. Maine Sen. Angus King, an independent, also voted no.
Anson voters to consider increase in legal fees for Madison mill case
Morning Sentinel - Thursday, February 28, 2019 

Anton residents on Saturday will consider doubling the amount budgeted annually for legal fees. The increased legal fees will, in part, go toward handling tax abatement requests from Madison Paper Industries, which closed in 2016 in neighboring Madison, and afterward requested abatements of its 2016 and 2017 taxes on property in Anson.
Harpswell Heritage Land Trust plans pop-up station
Times Record - Thursday, February 28, 2019 

The Harpswell Heritage Land Trust plans a number of events throughout the year to help Harpswell residents get out of their homes to explore the labyrinth of preserves, trails and public spaces that the land trust oversees throughout the town. From solstice celebrations to nature walks, the land trust is always looking for new ways to get people outside, but that can be hard when unexpected weather comes along and forces them to cancel. With that in mind, the land trust will be opening a weatherproof, pop-up educational station open for weeks at a time.
Coyote fur is in big demand thanks to popular parkas
Associated Press - Thursday, February 28, 2019 

Those fur-trimmed parkas so common on city sidewalks have become a boon to backwoods trappers. Coyote fur pelts are in big demand to provide the lush, silvery or tawny-tinged arcs of fur on the hoods on Canada Goose coats and their many global imitators. To trappers, coyotes are one of the few money-making animals, along with bobcats and a few others.
Mills sets renewable energy goals in climate change speech
Portland Press Herald - Thursday, February 28, 2019 

Gov. Janet Mills said Thursday that her administration will work toward obtaining 100 percent of Maine’s electricity from renewable energy sources by 2050 and that Maine has joined a multi-state coalition committed to the Paris Climate Agreement. In a speech to the Environmental and Energy Technology Council of Maine, Mills said she will introduce legislation to create a Maine Climate Council that will develop an action plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help communities adapt to a changing climate. Mills has set an interim goal of 80 percent electricity generation from renewable sources by 2030 and a longer-term goal of 100 percent by 2050.
Janet Mills adds Maine to group of states aiming to abide by Paris climate change accord
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, February 28, 2019 

Gov. Janet Mills announced Thursday that she is the 22nd governor to join a national coalition that has committed to abide by an international agreement to reduce carbon emissions that the U.S. withdrew from in 2017. The new Democratic governor made fighting climate change a key part of her 2018 campaign to succeed former Gov. Paul LePage, a Republican who put the state’s climate response on hold as research emerged during his tenure showing the Gulf of Maine has warmed more in recent years than 99 percent of the world’s oceans.
Canadian ferry firm signs lease on its way to starting service in Bar Harbor this summer
Associated Press - Thursday, February 28, 2019 

The Bar Harbor planning board on Wednesday gave approval to the resumption of ferry service to Canada from an idle terminal on Route 3, as a Canadian ferry company looks to start service this summer. The board’s conditional approval, which depends on the firm Bay Ferries securing needed permits from agencies such as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the state Department of Environmental Protection, is the latest in a series of steps that are expected to restore ferry service between Nova Scotia and Bar Harbor for the first time since 2009.
Column: A catastrophic decline of insects
Kennebec Journal - Thursday, February 28, 2019 

A study published last month of insect population research states unequivocally that “the demise of major insect taxa … (has) attained alarming proportions globally over the last two decades.” At the current rates of decline, the study says, 40 percent of the Earth’s insect species could go extinct in the next few decades. What is killing the insects? Habitat loss, pollution, biological factors, climate change. Is there any hope? Yes, if humans make changes. “Habitat restoration, coupled with a drastic reduction in agro-chemical inputs and agricultural ‘redesign’, is probably the most effective way to stop further declines,” the study says. ~ Dana Wilde
Environmentalists React To New Regional EPA Head
Other - Thursday, February 28, 2019 

Paul Mercer, the former head of Maine's Department of Environmental Protection, is being appointed to lead the Environmental Protection Agency's office in Boston. Sean Mahoney, head of the Conservation Law Foundation's Maine office, said, "From all that we could tell, he was a leader at the DEP that respected the staff, respected their expertise, and respected the importance of science and facts." Pete Didisheim of the Natural Resources Council of Maine said, "The mantra of the LePage era was to not enforce environmental laws, and the number of enforcement cases collapsed throughout those eight years. And that didn't change while Paul Mercer was the commissioner." Former Maine state Sen. Tom Saviello worked with Mercer: "He's going into a situation where the environment is not a priority to this present administration, and to put somebody like Paul in there is putting somebody who really does care about the environment."
Editorial: Maine lawmakers should pass plastic-bag ban
Portland Press Herald - Thursday, February 28, 2019 

Unlike paper, metal and glass, which can be recycled into high-quality new products, plastics are not easily broken down and are of limited utility. Plastic bags are one of the most common contaminants in the recycling stream. These problems are getting worse: The industry plans to increase plastic production by 40 percent in the next decade. Twenty towns and cities across Maine have enacted either bans or fees on plastic shopping bags, and at least a half-dozen more are considering local ordinances. Many of those policies were approved in the two years since state lawmakers rejected a bill to ban plastic bags. Retailers that operate in more than one community may now be open to a single statewide standard instead of a hodgepodge of local ordinances.
Letter: Maine doesn’t need CMP project – energy innovators are already active here
Portland Press Herald - Thursday, February 28, 2019 

Maine would be very foolish to sacrifice its wilderness to a company that is furnishing electricity to another state. We are responsible neither for providing Massachusetts with electricity nor for lining Quebec’s pockets. So far Central Maine Power has demonstrated more concern for sending profits back to Spain than for taking care of its customers. Gov. Mills should support energy entrepreneurs developing floating windmills and more solar companies. They are the future. ~ Richard McWilliams, Yarmouth
Letter: To save aquatic creatures, kick the plastic-wrap habit
Portland Press Herald - Thursday, February 28, 2019 

To cooks everywhere: Please stop using all that plastic wrap! It benefits only the petroleum industry and it is destroying the creatures of our oceans and waterways; when they see it in the water, they consume what they think is jellyfish or seaweed or tiny water life, and then they starve to death with stomachs full of plastic. Please stop destroying our planet. Not only is plastic wrap toxic to aquatic life, it is made from petroleum byproducts, adding to global climate change. ~ Jane Lauder King, Kennebunk
Letter: Consider more than lobster
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, February 28, 2019 

Put the lobster bait problem in an ecosystem perspective: Herring have been in decline since seiners and pair trawlers began harvesting before they reached their near-shore spawning grounds. Herring’s natural function is not merely to provide lobster bait; herring and their cousins — alewives, shad and menhaden — are crucial to the trophic pyramid that starts with one-celled plants and ends with top predators — swordfish, tuna, sharks and mankind. If we want to see a recovery of Maine’s historical “shore” fisheries, we must first recover their base: the forage fish population. We should buy up and scrap pair trawlers and seiners, and forbid the use of mobile net gear within 50 miles of Maine’s shore. Thinking of the lobster fishery as a sole industry that justifies overfishing baitfish will destroy the near-coastal marine ecosystem for generations. ~ William Leavenworth, Searsmont
Letter: Say no to big business
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, February 28, 2019 

Green energy? Aren’t the trees that will be chopped down for the transmission line and for future wind farms free carbon emission scrubbers? How many thousands of gallons of diesel fuel get burned up on projects the size of these? If these types of projects continue to happen here, Maine will become a very green state indeed because no one will want to vacation in this industrialized mess. Let’s say no to big business and let Maine’s natural resources be our best asset. ~ Jim Jones, East Boothbay
FDA working on way to allow CBD in food products, official tells Rep. Pingree
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, February 27, 2019 

Federal regulators have scheduled the first public hearing on whether to allow adding CBD, the non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis, to food. U.S. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb told lawmakers Wednesday that Congress had sent a clear message in December when they legalized hemp in the U.S. Farm Bill. In testimony before the House Appropriations Committee, Gottlieb reassured Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) that finding a pathway to allow small, nonpharmaceutical-level doses of cannabidiol, or CBD, into food products is an agency priority.
Massachusetts energy official likely to be named Maine director
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, February 27, 2019 

The deputy commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources is expected to be appointed Maine’s next energy office director by Gov. Janet Mills, according the energy industry sources. Dan Burgess, a Newport native and a 2005 University of Maine graduate, has a strong background in renewable and clean energy policy in the commonwealth.
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