January 18, 2018  
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Maine Environmental News
Announcement - Wednesday, January 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 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
Feeding Maine Photography Exhibit, thru Feb 23
Event - Posted - Tuesday, January 16, 2018 

Feeding Maine: Growing Access to Good Food is a photo exhibit by Brendan Bullock, which seeks to document the many people working to address hunger in the state. Created by Maine Farmland Trust and Good Shepherd Food Bank. At University of Southern Maine Lewiston Auburn College, Atrium Art Gallery, January 16 to February 23, opening event January 19.
February Vacation Camps, Feb 20-23
Event - Posted - Tuesday, January 16, 2018 

Maine Audubon Vacation Camps at Fields Pond in Holden and Gilsland Farm in Falmouth, February 20-23.
Nominations for Source Awards due Feb 12
Announcement - Tuesday, January 16, 2018 

Maine Sunday Telegram Source Awards recognize the individuals, nonprofits, businesses and institutions in Maine working to safeguard the state’s spectacular natural environment. Deadline for nominations is February 12.
Apprenticeships at MCHT Preserves
Announcement - Tuesday, January 16, 2018 

Maine Coast Heritage Trust has paid apprenticeships at Aldermere Farm and Ericsson Fields in Rockport. Each apprenticeship will be up to 9-months starting in March and will include a monthly stipend, benefits, shared housing, training and supervision. Applications are due Feb. 5
Public Meeting on Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument Management Plan, Jan 24
Event - Posted - Sunday, January 14, 2018 

The National Park Service will host a public meeting to discuss winter use within the monument. At Katahdin Region Higher Education Center, East Millinocket, January 24, 6-8 pm.
Land-use history of Midcoast, Jan 23
Event - Posted - Sunday, January 14, 2018 

Forestry experts Lloyd Irland and Ken Lausten will explore the land-use history of Midcoast Maine. At Camden Public Library, January 23, 7 pm.
Friends of Casco Bay Annual Members Meeting, Jan 23
Event - Posted - Sunday, January 14, 2018 

Recognition for those who help protect the health of Casco Bay, an updated Casco Bay Health Index based on data collected by volunteer Citizen Stewards over the past 25 years, and new program directions. At DiMillo's, Portland, January 23, 5:30-8 pm.
Join the REAL public hearing to stop oil drilling in Maine waters, Jan 22
Event - Posted - Saturday, January 13, 2018 

The Trump Administration is hosting a sham ‘public meeting’ on January 22 in the Augusta Civic Center to hide Mainers’ vocal opposition to their plan to open up the Atlantic Ocean, including the Maine coast, to oil and gas drilling. Conservation groups will host a "real public hearing" at the Civic Center in the Aroostook Room where there will be a microphone and videographer to capture all public comments.
Offshore drilling public meeting, Jan 22
Action Alert - Saturday, January 13, 2018 

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management will hold a public meeting on a proposal to open Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) areas to oil and gas drilling off the Atlantic (and other) coasts. At Augusta Civic Center, Jan 22, 3-7 pm.
Scouting for Mammal Tracks and Signs, Jan 20
Event - Posted - Saturday, January 13, 2018 

Sandra Mitchell will follow up on the November tracks and signs class in the field. At Northeast Penjajawoc Preserve, January 20, 10-11:30 am.
Nature Journaling, Jan 20
Event - Posted - Saturday, January 13, 2018 

Andrea Lani will lead a nature journaling workshop at Viles Arboretum, Augusta, January 20, 10 am to 2 pm, $35 for Arboretum members, $45 for nonmembers.
Prowl for Owls, Jan 19
Event - Posted - Friday, January 12, 2018 

Maine Master Naturalist Kit Pfeiffer will lead a walk scouting for owls. At Carl and Barbara Segerstrom Preserve at Squam Creek, Westport Island, January 19, 6 pm. Sponsored by Kennebec Estuary Land Trust.
Futures of the Maine Waterfront, Jan 19
Event - Posted - Friday, January 12, 2018 

This forum will feature panel discussions on the future of our coastal and island economy, presented with trends and analysis by key coastal leaders. At The Westin, Portland, January 19, 2-8:30 pm, $35-150. Sponsored by the Island Institute.
Meet the Feet: Mammal Tracks and Sign, Jan 18
Event - Posted - Thursday, January 11, 2018 

Dorcas Miller presents an evening of hands-on learning about Maine mammals. At Belfast Library, January 18, 6:30 pm. Sponsored by Belfast Bay Watershed Coalition.
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News Items
How Bad Will Mosquitoes and Ticks Be This Year?
Maine Public Broadcasting Network - Thursday, March 31, 2016 

The big news of the winter was — well, where was it? An unusual lack of ice and snow affected fishing, snowmobiling and a number of winter sporting events — but could the lack of a good, deep freeze have further consequences down the line with woodland pests? Maine’s winters are usually marked by weeks of subzero temperatures and several feet of snow pack. This year, in places, the ground barely had enough of the white stuff to support a pair of skis. Unfortunately, that’s good news for a number of insect pests such as ticks. But it’s not all bad news on the pest front. “The early season mosquitoes probably won’t be as bad,” Dill says.
Lobster season likely to start by June 19
Associated Press - Thursday, March 31, 2016 

An early June start to this year’s lobster season appears less likely in the latest forecast by researchers, but water temperatures in the Gulf of Maine still favor a “very early” start by June 19 or so. Scientists at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute in Portland put the odds of a very early start to the season – meaning two to three weeks before the traditional early July start.
How a blind moose helped this man become Maine Game Warden of the Year
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, March 31, 2016 

Tom McKenney didn’t take a traditional path into a career as a Maine game warden. In fact, if it hadn’t been for a blind moose, he might never have donned the green uniform of the state’s fish and wildlife law enforcement agency. But on Thursday, the 46-year-old McKenney, a 10-year warden service veteran who patrols the Norridgewock area, was named the state’s warden of the year at the 136th annual awards ceremony, held in Winslow.
Eight Democrats help House pass LePage anti-monument bill
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, March 31, 2016 

Eight Democrats in the Maine House of Representatives broke ranks on Thursday to narrowly endorse Gov. Paul LePage’s bid to block the president’s authority to designate a national monument in the North Woods region. The bill is likely to face constitutional challenges and is a largely symbolic gesture toward the family of Roxanne Quimby, the millionaire entrepreneur who has been lobbying President Barack Obama to give monument status to her 87,500 acres east of Baxter State Park. An assistant Maine attorney general told a legislative committee in March that no state law could accomplish LePage’s goal and environmentalists said it violated the U.S. Constitution’s supremacy clause, which holds that federal laws take precedent over state laws.
Maine House to Obama: No national monument in North Woods
Portland Press Herald - Thursday, March 31, 2016 

House lawmakers gave initial approval Thursday to a bill aimed at thwarting attempts to create a national monument on land in the Katahdin region. The bill states that the Legislature does not give consent to the federal government to acquire Maine land in order to create a national monument. While the state cannot prohibit federal officials from acquiring land, supporters said the bill would send a message to the Obama administration as it considers a potential monument in the Katahdin region. However, the debate is not yet over. The bill faces an additional vote in the House before it heads to the Maine Senate for consideration — all opportunities for monument supporters to attempt to flip votes.
Opinion: My North Woods National Park confession: It’s all my fault
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, March 31, 2016 

As debate rages endlessly in northern Maine about proposals for a North Woods National Park, I have a confession to make: It’s all my fault. One of my law school classmates, Wade Ballou, had never been to Maine, so in the fall of 1985 I arranged a trip to Piscataquis County for some hiking, whitewater rafting and so on. During the trip, I was asked to be the speaker at a morning breakfast Kiwanis meeting. I delegated the job to Wade. He gave a talk on the process of writing and enacting legislation in Congress. To add interest to the presentation, he used a hypothetical bill titled An Act to Turn Piscataquis County into a National Park. I later helped to organize the Maine Woods Coalition, incorporated in 2001 specifically to oppose creation of a national park in northern Maine. I am chagrinned to think that the entire decades-long controversy may well be the result of a seed inadvertently planted by two guys here on vacation, from away. ~ Erik Stumpfel, attorney with Rudman Winchell law firm in Bangor and a 28-year resident of Guilford and Sangerville
Maine snowy owl wows researchers with surprising flight
Aislinn Sarnacki Act Out Blog - Thursday, March 31, 2016 

Casco, a snowy owl captured in Portland, Maine, and outfitted with a satellite transmitter in late February, pulled a bit of a disappearing act earlier this month when the owl covered some major miles and flew out of range in Canada. Now she’s back, and she has a story to tell. I was fortunate enough to be invited to the release of Casco in Cherryfield on Feb. 23. The rather large female owl was released in private blueberry barrens — with the permission of the landowners, of course — after being outfitted with a light-weight, solar-powered satellite transmitter by a biologist working for Project SNOWstorm, a collaborative research project to learn more about snowy owls and their migrations in the United States.
Plover watchers have high hopes in Scarborough
Keep Me Current - Thursday, March 31, 2016 

The endangered piping plover has started appearing on southern Maine beaches, signaling the start of the annual plover season, when dogs and people must take extra care not to disturb the birds or their nests. The plover season officially starts on April 1, but according to Laura Minich Zitske, the piping plover and least tern project manager at Maine Audubon, several birds had already been spotted by mid March in extreme southern areas of the state. Following the killing of a plover chick by a loose dog in the summer of 2013, Scarborough spent months debating controversial rules that were meant to both provide better protections for the plover while also allowing people to let their dogs run off-leash on the beach, even during the plover season, against the recommendation of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.
Cold Stream may be Maine’s last wildlife habitat conservation
George Smith BDN Outdoor News Blog - Thursday, March 31, 2016 

For more than a decade ago, Trout Unlimited, and the state identified Cold Stream as a priority. It protects the trout fishery in the Kennebec and Dead Rivers, seven undeveloped ponds which make up the headwaters of Cold Stream, and 5 miles of Cold Stream itself. The Trust for Public Land and Trout Unlimited made the purchase, using a variety of funding, and transferred the land to become part of the state’s Public Reserve Lands. But it could be the last wildlife habitat conservation project, at least for the next several years. The funding for this purchase, $7.34 million, came from the US Forest Service’s Forest Legacy Program and the Land for Maine’s Future Program. But last year Governor Paul LePage refused to submit a request for Forest Legacy Funding for a state conservation project. Until we’re rid of the Governor, I don’t expect we’ll get any more Legacy funding, which is essential for some of these conservation projects.
Letter: National park an opportunity for Katahdin region
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, March 31, 2016 

As a Millinocket native, I’ve followed the discussion about the national park proposal. Millinocket and the Katahdin region are a very special and important part of my life. As a doctor, just finishing my training and looking to possibly return to my hometown and help make it a better place, I’m dismayed by the downfall in the region after the closing of the mills. Every day legislators fail to support the park or a national monument and accept this incredibly generous gift is a day another home is foreclosed on. Every day the voices of the majority of constituents are ignored is another day fewer of those constituents are employed in what remains of the timber industry. I hope Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King understand how this opportunity could turn Millinocket and the Katahdin region back into the thriving area it once was. ~ Janessa Leger, Portland
State improves online licensing program for hunting, fishing
Daily Bulldog (Franklin County) - Wednesday, March 30, 2016 

The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife announced this week that the Maine Online Sportsman’s Electronic System, more commonly known as MOSES, has been improved to be quicker, easier to use and include additional features. MOSES is now fully mobile and accessible on smartphones, ideal for times when users travel to their favorite hunting or fishing spot but forget to buy licenses. Smartphones can also be used to display licenses, eliminating the need to print out and carry a paper copy. License buyers can now purchase licenses for up to three people in one transaction, and may provide a special message if they purchase one as a gift.
‘Madison’s going to have to reinvent itself,’ LePage tells mill town
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, March 30, 2016 

A dying paper mill drew Gov. Paul LePage to Madison on Wednesday, where he said the town “can reinvent itself” but not if the state impedes it with what he sees as job-killing energy and tax policies. It was an extension of a long-standing battle between the Republican governor and his Democratic opponents, but on Main Street, many treated the impending closure of Madison Paper Industries as a sad but perhaps inevitable sign of the economic times. The mill announced earlier this month that it would shut down by May, laying off 214 workers. It was the fifth major Maine mill closure announced in the last three years, after others in East Millinocket, Lincoln, Old Town and Bucksport.
Madison residents explain the impact of mill closure will have on town
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, March 30, 2016 

Residents of Madison explain how the Madison Paper Industries mill closure will affect their town. [video]
Angus King waiting to hear more from feds on monument
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, March 30, 2016 

The National Park Service needs to further respond to a list of requirements before U.S. Sen. Angus King will decide whether to support a national monument proposed for the north woods, he said Wednesday. Speaking at a town foundry on a fact-finding tour intended to aid the state’s struggling forest products industry, King acknowledged the inevitability of addressing local concerns about entrepreneur Roxanne Quimby’s proposed gift to the nation.
Energy panel’s dissent darkens prospects for Maine solar power bill
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, March 30, 2016 

A proposal supported by utilities, Maine solar installers and environmental groups that would change how small-scale solar generators get paid has a narrow road to passage after a three-way divide in a committee vote Tuesday. Democrats gave an amended version of the proposal majority support, and two Republican members voted for some changes to that bill. A third report, with support of three Republican members and unenrolled Rep. Larry Dunphy of Embden, would replace the bill. The vote puts the bill in limbo as it heads to consideration by the House.
Maine Potato Board watching developments as China boosts potato production
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, March 30, 2016 

The Maine Potato Board is watching developments overseas and what it could mean for future exports for the potato industry, now that China’s Ministry of Agriculture has stated that the country will boost production to make the potato one of the nation’s staple foods. Don Flannery, executive director of the Maine Potato Board, said the announcement will not have a major direct impact on the Maine potato industry, since there is “no way that Maine would export potatoes to China.” But he said that it may open up markets for western potato growers to market their potatoes to China, which could increase the demand for Maine potatoes in other markets across the United States.
Solar Power Bill Fails to Win Republican Support
Associated Press - Wednesday, March 30, 2016 

A bill that aims to boost solar power in Maine faces long odds after failing to win the support of any Republicans on a key legislative panel. The bill would address the contentious issue of "net metering," a long-standing financial incentive used in Maine and other states to subsidize solar power. Environmental groups, power companies and local rooftop solar installers support the bill, which would let utilities sign 20-year contracts with residential solar customers. Instead of paying retail price, as under current billing practices, utilities would pay rates set by regulators. The bill would also lift barriers on community-owned and large solar farms. But Republicans on the Legislature’s energy committee opposed the legislation because of fears it would increase the electric bills of people who don’t have solar panels.
Column: LePage takes another jab at conservation
Kennebec Journal - Wednesday, March 30, 2016 

Apparently Gov. Paul LePage is unaware that taxes are paid on most conservation lands in Maine. His less-than-thoughtful legislation to “remove the property tax exemption for land held for conservation and public access purposes” should be quickly rejected by the Legislature. This is right up there with his contention that our public lands only serve the rich. He couldn’t be more wrong on that one too. ~ George Smith
Letter: Extreme weather should spur Maine to cut power plant pollution
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, March 30, 2016 

A new interactive online map created by Environment Maine shows how those living in the state are already experiencing extreme weather. In fact, approximately 1 million Mainers live in a county that was affected by at least one weather-related disaster in the last five years. From massive floods to severe snowstorms, dangerous weather is already hitting close to home. We know what we must do to avert climate catastrophe: Clean up power plants – the largest sources of carbon pollution – and power our country with 100 percent renewable energy. Maine’s next step should include strengthening the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative to reduce regional power plant pollution by more than half in the next 15 years. ~ Paola Capo, Environment Maine
Atlantic Eyed for Monument
Heartland Institute - Tuesday, March 29, 2016 

A group of influential environmentalists is urging the Obama administration to use the 1906 Antiquities Act to designate a 6,000-square-mile area in the Gulf of Maine and off the coast of Massachusetts as a national monument. There are currently four marine monuments in the Pacific Ocean, but there are none in the Atlantic Ocean. The region’s fishermen fear a monument designation will harm their ability to earn a living, a fear shared by Maine Gov. Paul LePage. “These National Marine Monuments serve only one purpose—excluding commercial fishing activity from certain segments of the ocean,” LePage wrote in a letter to Obama in August 2015.
Solar power development bill clears legislative committee on party-line vote
Portland Press Herald - Tuesday, March 29, 2016 

A bill that would greatly expand solar energy development in Maine was passed Tuesday by a legislative committee, but the party-line vote signaled that it stands little chance of becoming law. Democrats on the Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee backed the proposed measure, while Republicans voted against it. The vote was 7-5. Two Republican-sponsored amendments failed to win support. The issue will next be taken up by the House. But the measure is opposed by both Republican leadership and Gov. Paul LePage, so unless Democrats can muster a two-thirds vote to override an expected veto, the bill will fail. If the Legislature doesn’t act on solar energy, the issue will next wind up at the Public Utilities Commission, which by law is set to examine net metering, a key financial incentive that helps lower the cost of solar-electric panels by paying the owners of solar panels for excess power they produce.
Maine environmental groups working to win support for Clean Power Plan
Maine Public Broadcasting Network - Tuesday, March 29, 2016 

This is an important week for defenders of the Clean Power Plan, the centerpiece of President Barack Obama’s strategy to combat climate change. Tuesday is the deadline for states, utilities and environmental groups who support it to file briefs. The plan, which is being challenged in the U.S. Court of Appeals, would allow the Environmental Protection Agency to set the first-ever limits on carbon emissions from power plants. In Maine, environmental groups are part of a coordinated national campaign to build support for the plan.
Share Price Plunges for Operator of Maine Wind Farms Amid Bankruptcy Concerns
Maine Public Broadcasting Network - Tuesday, March 29, 2016 

The operator of several wind energy facilities in Maine could be headed for bankruptcy. But Sun Edison officials say the turbines will keep spinning, and providing taxes and other benefits to host communities. Since hitting a high of $32 per share last June, Sun Edison’s stock has been on a downward spiral, and has now dipped well below $1 a share following reports that it faces a substantial risk of bankruptcy while securities regulators investigate its business practices. But even if Sun Edison does file for bankruptcy or is restructured, company spokesman John LaMontagne says that does not pose a risk for host communities in Maine. That’s because the plants themselves are actually owned by separate entities.
Energy Bill Would Prop Up Maine’s Ailing Forest Products Industry
Maine Public Broadcasting Network - Tuesday, March 29, 2016 

The state’s biomass industry has been hit with a double whammy: First, the low-cost of energy produced with natural gas has in turn depressed the margins for higher-cost biomass plants, which make electricity by burning low-quality wood. And second, in January, Massachusetts tightened its standards for what kind of energy qualifies as “renewable,” shutting off price supports for several Maine biomass facilities that sell power to the Massachusetts electricity market. The result: more pain in Maine’s forest-products industry, which is already reeling from a disheartening string of paper plant shutdowns.
Share Price Plunges for Operator of Maine Wind Farms Amid Bankruptcy Concerns
Maine Public Broadcasting Network - Tuesday, March 29, 2016 

The operator of several wind energy facilities in Maine could be headed for bankruptcy. But Sun Edison officials say the turbines will keep spinning, and providing taxes and other benefits to host communities. Since hitting a high of $32 per share last June, Sun Edison’s stock has been on a downward spiral, and has now dipped well below $1 a share following reports that it faces a substantial risk of bankruptcy while securities regulators investigate its business practices. Sun Edison operates six wind plants in Maine, including one under construction in Bingham. It has also proposed two new big projects as part of a major effort to ship new renewable energy to southern New England.
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