December 15, 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
Researchers develop claw grip sensor to gauge lobster health
John Holyoke Out There Blog - Tuesday, March 31, 2015 

Dale Cross has been keeping a close eye on the St. George River lately, hoping for some warm spring weather that will help a winter’s worth of ice, allowing him to stage the season’s first canoe race. On Tuesday, Cross — who serves as race director for both the St. George and Passagassawakeag river races — reluctantly admitted that Mother Nature has again forced the postponement of both events.
Obama gives Shell go-ahead to drill for oil in Alaskan Arctic
Other - Tuesday, March 31, 2015 

Royal Dutch Shell has received the go-ahead from the US government to restart a controversial oil exploration campaign in the Alaskan Arctic despite fears over the risk to the environment. The Department of the Interior approved the Anglo-Dutch oil major’s request to return to the Chukchi Sea within the Arctic circle. It comes just three years after Shell’s last attempt to find oil in the region floundered when its Kulluk drilling rig ran aground.
Pellet plant plans progressing in Mattawamkeag
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, March 31, 2015 

A developer’s plan to turn the former Dr. Carl Troutt School into a small-scale wood pellet manufacturing facility might get a significant boost when the planning board meets to discuss it on Wednesday, officials said. Eventually, as many as 18 people would be employed at the facility. They would run two manufacturing machines that could generate a maximum capacity of 20,000 tons of home-heating pellets for regional sale.
Could Maine become the nation’s second ‘Arctic’ state?
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, March 31, 2015 

Alaska Dispatch News - Alaska, which within its boundaries contains the only U.S. territory north of — or even anywhere near — the Arctic Circle, has long been the nation’s Arctic state. But is there room at the table for a second “Arctic” state? If there is, Maine increasingly is vying for that spot, the Portland Press-Herald writes in a piece written by former Anchorage Daily News reporter Tom Bell. Maine is located about 1,500 miles south of the Arctic Circle — it’s closer to Miami, the Press-Herald points out — but also lies on the other end of the Northwest Passage from Alaska and is connected by shipping lanes and commerce to important ports throughout the North Atlantic.
Collins weighs in on [national park]
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, March 31, 2015 

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins went to the University of Maine Tuesday to talk about civility in politics and society, but last week’s headlines dominated her pre-speech press conference with local reporters. On the subject of a proposed national park for the Katahdin region, the Republican senator said she would reconsider her opposition but only under certain circumstances. “If the people of the region believe that their future lies in a national park, obviously I would be open to their views,” Collins said. “Right now, I don’t hear that kind of consensus. I hear a lot of division about what the future of the Katahdin region should be.” She also said that she has concerns about federal ownership of such a large amount of land in Maine.

Hike: Snow’s Cove Preserve
Aislinn Sarnacki Act Out Blog - Tuesday, March 31, 2015 

Snow’s Cove Preserve is a 58-acre tract of land that is home to roughly two miles of walking trails that lead to the shore of the scenic Bagaduce River in Sedgwick. Donated to the Blue Hill Heritage Trust in 2007 by Bill Brown and Paul Trowbridge, the small preserve is open for the public to enjoy year round. The small trail network on the property consists of about 2 miles of trails, which are open to foot traffic only.
Maine eagle population continues to grow
Associated Press - Tuesday, March 31, 2015 

The state's bald eagles are experiencing a population growth of about 7 percent each year, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. There are now well over 600 nesting pairs in the state, up from a low of about 30 pairs in the late 1970s.
Maine Natural Gas seeks rate increase to expand market, raise revenue
Portland Press Herald - Tuesday, March 31, 2015 

Maine Natural Gas, which is growing at a record pace in its service areas around Augusta, Bath-Brunswick and Windham-Gorham, is seeking a sizable rate increase as part of a proposed three-year rate plan. The company says it needs more than $10 million in additional revenue over the next three years to improve the safety and reliability of its distribution system, expand customer services and bring earnings in line with industry standards.
Waldo County police caution motorists to watch out for deer
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, March 31, 2015 

Police are warning motorists to take extra care when driving on stretches of Route 1 in Waldo County that have seen large numbers of car-deer accidents in recent days. “We have covered an average of two car-deer accidents a day on the area of Route 1 that runs through Northport and Lincolnville,” Lt. Jason Trundy of the Waldo County Sheriff’s Office wrote this week on the agency’s Facebook page.
Editorial: Not a dictatorship: Maine should be a place based on laws, not LePage’s whims
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, March 31, 2015 

After refusing to sign off on the issuance of bonds approved by voters years ago expressly to pay for Land for Maine’s Future projects, LePage now says he alone will decide what projects get funded. LMF purchase agreements are business deals with families, corporations or others who want to preserve their land. Subjecting these entities to the whims of an impetuous governor who has shown he has no respect for institutions is unfair to them, but worse, it perpetuates the notion that Maine isn’t an honest broker when it comes to business dealings. Maine can’t afford this reputation.
Ogunquit officer rescues baby great horned owl
Portland Press Herald - Tuesday, March 31, 2015 

Great horned owls are Maine’s earliest nesters, according to Maine.gov. Eggs are produced in January or early February with babies arriving within a month. The owlets leave the nest on foot within six weeks of hatching. Within nine weeks they’ll learn to fly. [video]
Opinion: Warming climate spells disaster for Gulf of Maine fisheries, unless we act
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, March 31, 2015 

For 13 years I was a lobsterman from Cliff Island. Global warming, climate change and carbon pollution are disturbing the ocean and threatening our way of life. It used to be that only scientists could detect rising temperatures or alarming changes in fish stocks. Now almost every fisherman and lobsterman on the coast is aware of these changes in our everyday environment. I fervently hope Sen. Susan Collins will join Sen. Angus King and Rep. Chellie Pingree and give her full support to the EPA’s new power plant rules. Our fishing way of life depends on passing this critical legislation. ~ Edward Reiner, South Portland
New program to facilitate interaction between K-12 students, researchers in the field
The Weekly - Tuesday, March 31, 2015 

Connecting K-12 students in Maine and around the world with researchers in the field is the goal of a new program offered by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension with support from UMaine’s Climate Change Institute and the Maine 4-H Foundation. Follow a Researcher aims to give students a glimpse into a scientist’s world by providing live expedition updates and facilitating communication between the youth and scientist.
UMaine professor, student write community guide on how to start a wood bank
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, March 31, 2015 

With the snow beginning to melt, firewood may be the last thing Maine residents want to think about, but according to University of Maine professor Jessica Leahy, spring and summer are the best times to start a wood bank, and her new guide shows communities how. Leahy, an associate professor of human dimensions of natural resources at the University of Maine School of Forest Resources, wrote the guide with Sabrina Vivian, a senior in the Ecology and Environmental Sciences Program.
How would you spend new revenue to benefit Maine’s fish and wildlife?
George Smith's Outdoor News Blog - Tuesday, March 31, 2015 

If Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife received new revenue, how do you think it should be spent? That was the assignment that the legislature’s Appropriations Committee gave to the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee last week. The request was focused on the possibility of giving DIF&W some tax revenue, something we’ve been trying to achieve for more than 20 years, without much luck. Here are the new initiatives I’ve suggested to the committee.
Maine hunting seasons for crow, snowshoe hare ending for spring
Associated Press - Tuesday, March 31, 2015 

Maine's hunting seasons for crow and snowshoe hare are ending for the spring in most of the state. Tuesday is the final day to hunt snowshoe hare anywhere in Maine. There is a daily limit of four and a possession limit of eight for the hares. An earlier season that is limited to Vinalhaven Island ended on Feb. 28. The hunt began Oct. 1. Crow hunting season also ends on Tuesday in most of Maine. The crow season extends until April 15 in six wildlife management districts in the far northern part of the state. The hunt resumes on Aug. 1 for the summer season. It is not subject to a bag limit.
Ever been in a forest and thought you heard whispering? Maybe it wasn't in your head.
Other - Tuesday, March 31, 2015 

When you walk into a forest, it's likely that all the trees are networked with each other, including other species of tree, as far as you can see. In fact, trees aren't only communicating, but are also sending resources back and forth to help out other trees — even if they are a different kind of tree.
Letter: Columnist overlooks what unbounded growth could do to Portland
Portland Press Herald - Tuesday, March 31, 2015 

Greg Kesich, editorial page editor for the Portland Press Herald, has now made his misguided position absolutely clear: Growth of any kind in Portland is our city’s salvation, and we should all sit down, shut up and let it happen. He couldn’t be more wrong. Unbalanced growth solely for the very rich and the very poor hollows out and ruins a city. When he gets a sense of the role of urban design in the life and death of cities, we suspect he’ll take a more modulated view of “growth.” As the rest of us already have. ~ Peter Monro, Keep Portland Livable
Letter: Don’t ruin public lands
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, March 31, 2015 

We applaud forestry professor Robert Seymour for clearly articulating the long-term value of conservative management of our public forest lands. These lands have provided high value timber, excellent habitat for many species of wildlife, and recreation for Maine residents. Gov. Paul LePage wants much faster cutting of these lands to provide more money for his administration. If he is allowed to get away with heavier cutting, he will be stealing from our future. This is no different than running a big deficit now and passing the costs onto later administrations. ~ LeRoy and Barbara Bandy, Brownville
Letter: Release LMF funding
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, March 31, 2015 

The governor is withholding $11.4 million in voter-approved bonds for the Land for Maine’s Future program. As a result, the funding for at least 30 projects that were approved is now in limbo. The LMF program has protected land of statewide and regional significance for recreation, wildlife habitat and open space. But important conservation efforts are now at risk due to lack of funding. LMF funding is being withheld pending approval of the administration’s plan to increase timber harvest on Maine’s public lands and use the funding for projects in other state departments. LMF funding has been and should continue to be a bipartisan effort and should not be held hostage to unrelated issues. ~ Robert Bryan, Harpswell
Letter: States know best
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, March 31, 2015 

A growing number of states are seeking to hold a convention for proposing constitutional amendments. Federal bureaucrats surely know how spend our tax dollars, but they haven’t near the knowledge about forestry and fishing acquired through generations of hands-on experience. We are fully capable of passing state or local laws we deem them necessary to protect our environment. Exclusive jurisdiction will prevent the Environmental Protection Agency and other federal agencies from telling states how to conduct their own affairs. States are meant to be sovereign. With a convention of states, we can make it a reality. ~ Kathy Johnson, Monson
LePage taps key ally to oversee forestry on public lands
Portland Press Herald - Monday, March 30, 2015 

The LePage administration has appointed the head of the Maine Forest Service to oversee forestry activities within the Bureau of Parks and Lands, giving Gov. Paul LePage a key ally in his plan to increase logging on Maine’s state-owned lands. Doug Denico’s appointment is likely to heighten concerns among some groups opposed to LePage’s plans for more intensive timber harvesting on Maine’s “public reserved lands” and for dismantling the agency responsible for managing state parks and public lands. Denico worked for some of Maine’s largest commercial timberland owners and paper mills before joining the Maine Forest Service in 2011.
Google is a Big Renewable Energy Investor
Other - Monday, March 30, 2015 

When someone thinks of Google they likely think first of their browser. However, Google invests in energy, with a goal of powering its operations with 100 percent renewable energy. The company has over $1.5 billion worth of agreements to fund renewable energy projects, with a capacity of over 2.5 gigawatts. The projects are expected to generate over six billion kilowatt hours a year. The company has signed nine contracts for 1,146 MW of wind energy. Google has also invested in solar energy. Several of the investments are in large scale solar facilities, including $145 million in a project with SunEdison.
Trash called Waterville’s ‘biggest, most difficult’ issue
Morning Sentinel - Monday, March 30, 2015 

The city has some major and expensive decisions to make about trash collection. Its contract with Penobscot Energy Recovery Co. in Orrington, which burns the city’s rubbish, is nearing expiration, and a vote is set in nearly three months on whether to keep the new pay-as-you-throw program. “More than any other municipal service, trash disposal, by far, will be the biggest and most difficult item for us in the next three to five years,” City Manager Michael Roy said Monday.
Group pitches opening Augusta’s Bicentennial Nature Park to non-residents
Kennebec Journal - Monday, March 30, 2015 

Supporters of Bicentennial Nature Park want to let those who don’t live in the capital city use the swimming and picnic spot for a higher fee, but some officials are concerned that the change would upset an agreement with nearby landowners and cost more money than it’s worth. Members of Friends of Bicentennial Nature Park, a group that raises money to help offset the city’s expenses running the city-owned park, want to allow those from outside the city into the lightly used park as a way to boost revenue and be neighborly.
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