September 20, 2018  
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Maine Environmental News
Action Alert - Thursday, September 20, 2018 

Thanks for visiting Maine Environmental News, a service of RESTORE: The North Woods. MEN is the most comprehensive online source available for links conservation and natural resource news and events in Maine (and a bit beyond). 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
Stand with Hunter in opposing Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court
Action Alert - Thursday, September 20, 2018 

Hunter Lachance, a 15-year-old Mainer with asthma, testified against the nomination of Judge Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court. He explained why Kavanaugh’s opposition to curbing air pollution that crosses state lines would harm Maine and people like him. Urge Senator Collins to vote “no” on Brett Kavanaugh. ~ Kristin Jackson, Natural Resources Council of Maine
Evening for the Environment, Oct 3
Event - Posted - Thursday, September 20, 2018 

A night of camaraderie, celebration, and inspiration for those who care about protecting Maine's environment. Keynote speaker Gina McCarthy, former EPA Administrator. At Brick South on Thompson's Point, Portland, October 3, 5:30-8:00 pm. Organized by Maine Conservation Voters.
Solar 101, Sep 26
Event - Posted - Wednesday, September 19, 2018 

Join ReVision Energy to learn about the benefits of solar technology. At Scarborough Public Library, September 26, 2018 6:30 pm.
Activist Training for Maine's Environment, Sep 27-Oct 11
Event - Posted - Wednesday, September 19, 2018 

Maine's environmental community is hosting a series of trainings. Learn skills to be a powerful activist and meet fellow environmentalists who want to make a difference in Maine. September 27, Biddeford; October 4: Auburn; October 11, Jefferson; October 18, Falmouth.
Naturalist's Notebook, Sep 26
Event - Posted - Wednesday, September 19, 2018 

Bowdoin biology professor Nat Wheelwright will speak about the book he wrote with Bernd Heinrich, "The Naturalist's Notebook: An Observation Guide and 5-Year Calendar-Journal for Tracking Changes in the Natural World Around You." At Portland Public Library, September 26, 5:30-7:30 pm.
Weasels of Maine, Sep 26
Event - Posted - Wednesday, September 19, 2018 

Shevenell Webb, Wildlife Biologist with IF&W, talks about weasel ecology and natural history. At Augusta Nature Club luncheon, at Capital Area Technical Center, Augusta, September 26, 11:30 am, $7 for lunch.
NRCM online auction, thru Sep
Announcement - Tuesday, September 18, 2018 

Online auction benefits Natural Resources Council of Maine, through September.
Help wanted: Director of Media Relations and Advocacy Communications
Announcement - Monday, September 17, 2018 

The Natural Resources Council of Maine is seeking applications for the position of Director of Media Relations and Advocacy Communications. The position provides leadership in advancing NRCM and the organization’s advocacy work through the news media. Deadline: October 11, 2018.
MCV Action Fund 2018 Endorsements
Announcement - Monday, September 17, 2018 

A list of candidates endorsed by the Maine Conservation Voters Action Fund.
Maine's Beaches are Public Property, Sep 24
Event - Posted - Monday, September 17, 2018 

Author and law professor Orlando E. Delogu speaks about public access to Maine’s beaches. At Curtis Memorial Library, Brunswick, September 24, 6:30 pm.
Bringing an ocean perspective to an urban estuary, Sep 24
Event - Posted - Monday, September 17, 2018 

Karina Nielsen, director of San Francisco State University’s Estuary and Ocean Science Center, will speak at the UMaine Darling Marine Center, Walpole, September 24, 12:15 pm.
Why Natural History Matters, Sep 24
Event - Posted - Monday, September 17, 2018 

Tom Fleischner, Executive Director of the Natural History Institute, will describe how the practice of natural history provides the foundation for the natural sciences, conservation, healthy society, and our own well-being. At Gilsland Farm, Falmouth, September 24, 7 pm, Maine Audubon members $12, nonmembers $15.
Save our Shores Walk, Sep 23
Event - Posted - Sunday, September 16, 2018 

Learn how climate change may affect our shores and how CLF is working to ensure a resiliant Maine coast. At Ferry Beach, Saco, September 23, 2:30-5 pm. Sponsored by Conservation Law Foundation.
Help restore cottontail habitat, Sep 22, 28, 29
Event - Posted - Saturday, September 15, 2018 

The Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge will host a volunteer work day to help restore native scrubland habitat, home to many species including the New England cottontail rabbit. Volunteers needed. At Libby Field, Scarborough, Sep 22, 28, 29, 9 am - 2 pm.
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News Items
Judge upholds U.S. Forest Service sustainability regs
Summit Voice - Thursday, April 30, 2015 

A federal judge has upheld U.S. Forest Service planning rules that require the agency to use science and conservation biology when it plans for activities on public national forest lands. The new forest planning rules at issue are aimed at giving forest managers tools to assess and maintain ecological sustainability on public lands. The ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson of the D.C. District Court rejected a challenge by mining and logging companies, who were claiming the forest planning rules were blocking access to resources. Defendant-Intervenors wildlands and wildlife groups, argued that existing federal law provided ample authority for the Forest Service to promulgate the Planning Rule provisions, which place emphasis on ecologically sustainable forest management.
Portland will let Peaks Island skate park stay up through this summer
Portland Press Herald - Thursday, April 30, 2015 

The city of Portland, after hearing from numerous residents, has decided to hold off demolishing a skate park on Peaks Island that was built three years ago without permits and in violation of a conservation easement. The decision comes a day after the Portland Press Herald published a story saying that the skate park was to be removed next week. The call to demolish the skate park came from the Peaks Island Land Preserve, a nonprofit conservation group. The preserve holds a conservation easement on the land where the skate park was built. Several other island residents said this week that even though the park was not properly permitted and is not allowed under the easement, it’s not harming anyone.
Maine groundfishermen hurt by quota cuts to receive $640,000 in disaster relief
Portland Press Herald - Thursday, April 30, 2015 

About 40 crews will be paid the money over the next 18 months to help make up for financial losses from slashed limits in 2013. Although a legacy industry, collectively, groundfish contributed just 1.4 percent of the state’s commercial fish landings in 2014, which totaled $585 million. Lobster accounted for $457 million of that amount.
Midcoast communities push back against plastic bag use
Portland Press Herald - Thursday, April 30, 2015 

Bring Your Own Bag, a citizens’ group, is preparing petitions to impose a 5-cent tax on every plastic bag issued to customers by businesses in Topsham and Brunswick. The effort follows Portland’s move to a similar tax that went into effect April 15 and a proposed outright ban in Freeport.
Wings, Waves & Woods taking flight
Weekly Packet - Thursday, April 30, 2015 

The eighth annual “Wings, Waves & Woods—Birding by land, by sea and by art” comes to the island towns of Stonington and Deer Isle May 15-17 with more than 20 events to choose from. Participants don’t have to be a bird watcher to find something to like in this three-day festival. Events range from eagle spotting and shore, night-noise and warbler walks to a live owl demonstration and birding for kids. Gardeners will appreciate a landscaping for wildlife workshop. Those with an eye for art can see a found object sculpture demo and a show dedicated to birds and their habitat. Ocean excursions feature a trip to Seal Island National Wildlife Refuge to view pelagic birds, especially puffins, a trip to Swan’s Island and a guided cruise in the Deer Isle Thorofare. There also will be a birder’s supper in Stonington, followed by Mark McCollough’s talk about “Maine Birds at Risk.”
New Ice Out Dates
Maine Government News - Thursday, April 30, 2015 

Get out your swim suit. The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry has updated the Maine lake "Ice-Out" stats.
Blog: Cate Street deal shows danger of crony capitalism
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, April 30, 2015 

The ongoing revelations regarding the Cate Street deal were reported as though the failure of the complex tax credit scheme cooked up in Augusta to save a mill should be a galloping shock. However, the question should have been not if the Cate Street deal would fail, but when and how — and how much it would end up costing taxpayers. This sort of deal has happened before, after all. In 2010 Maine spent over $20 million to buy a railroad line that a private operator was threatening to close. The state turned around and leased it to Maine Northern Railway, a subsidiary of JD Irving. Irving, a multi-billion dollar privately-held Canadian corporation that could have easily afforded to buy the line itself, was thus spared that expense thanks to the taxpayers of Maine. ~ Jim Fossel (R)
Mainer’s woodpecker image makes National Audubon’s top 100 photos
Aislinn Sarnacki Act Out Blog - Thursday, April 30, 2015 

Wildlife photographer Linda Cullivan of Scarborough was recently honored by the National Audubon when judges selected her photo of pileated woodpeckers — out of nearly 9,000 submissions — for the society’s top 100 photos list for 2015.
LePage Pits Conservationists Against Each Other
Free Press - Thursday, April 30, 2015 

Two weeks ago the committee that oversees forestry slashed language from the proposed budget that would have handed the independent Public Lands bureau to the Maine Forest Service. The committee then moved to strengthen oversight of the bureau of Maine Public Lands and proposed increases in timber harvesting. A week later, the Governor threw down an ultimatum: support the increased logging to fund Efficiency Maine programs or the governor would carry through with his threat to withhold $11 million in voter-approved bond funds for the popular Land for Maine's Future program. That is likely to trigger lawsuits against the state for violating a public trust.
Whitcomb to highlight growth of Maine Farmers Markets
Maine Government News - Thursday, April 30, 2015 

Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Commissioner Walt Whitcomb will signal the arrival of the spring famers market season with a visit to the Viles Arboretum Farmers Market in Augusta on Friday. 8,144 farmers markets are now listed in USDA’s National Farmers Market Directory, up from 5,000 in 2008. There are currently over 125 farmers markets in Maine, up from 63 recorded markets in 2007.
Sen. Collins Testifies on Energy Efficiency Bills
Maine Public Broadcasting Network - Thursday, April 30, 2015 

Maine U.S. Sen. Susan Collins testified before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee in support of several bills aimed at improving energy efficiency for homeowners, businesses and public schools. The bottom line, Collins said, is that using energy more efficiently lowers costs, "ultimately saving families, businesses, and governments at all levels money." The Maine Republican is the sponsor, or co-sponsor, of several energy efficiency measures pending before the committee. Maine Sen. Angus King serves on the committee. He joked that he always listens to what Collins says and said the committee should as well.
Toxics Legislation Opposed by LePage Administration
Maine Public Broadcasting Network - Thursday, April 30, 2015 

Maine's law requiring the Department of Environmental Protection to adopt rules to protect citizens from toxic chemicals in products is falling short. Dr. Lani Graham of Freeport, who once headed Maine's Bureau of Health, told members of the Legislature's Environment and Natural Resources Committee that the DEP is not doing enough to protect those most vulnerable to toxic chemicals found in a wide variety of products. Graham was joined by parents and other health professionals in urging lawmakers to pass legislation requiring the DEP to expand its efforts to identify and ban toxic materials in various products. But DEP officials say the department is following the current law and the legislation under consideration would cost too much to implement.
Study: Climate change could push a 6th of species to extinction
Reuters - Thursday, April 30, 2015 

Climate change could drive up to a sixth of animals and plants on Earth to extinction unless governments cut rising greenhouse gas emissions, according to a study published Thursday. The study averaged out 131 previous studies of climate change, whose projections of the number of species that could be lost to climate change ranged from zero to 54 percent of species worldwide — too wide to be useful in designing conservation policies. While habitat loss and hunting are currently the top threats, climate change will be “the number one driver of extinctions in the medium to long term,” Marco Lambertini, director general of the World Wildlife Fund.
Genetically modified foods need labels now, Maine lawmakers told
Portland Press Herald - Thursday, April 30, 2015 

More than 150 students, farmers and advocates gathered Thursday at the Maine State House to demand that legislators pass a bill that would immediately require the labeling of genetically modified foods in Maine. But critics of the proposal also came to the public hearing to warn that the bill might lead food manufacturers to stop selling products in the state.
Maine lawmakers pass lakes protection bill similar to one LePage vetoed
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, April 30, 2015 

A bill designed to protect Maine lakes by banning the use of fertilizers containing phosphorus or nitrogen near shorelines is headed to Gov. Paul LePage after near-unanimous support in the House and Senate. LePage vetoed a similar bill last year. The Legislature did not override the veto. The Natural Resources Council of Maine said that in the face of the deteriorating condition of waterways, both New Hampshire and Vermont have enacted similar laws in recent years.
Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee votes unanimously in support of endangered species bill
Maine Audubon - Thursday, April 30, 2015 

The Maine Legislature’s Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee has voted unanimously in support of adding five species to the state’s Endangered and Threatened Species List. LD 807, sponsored by Sen. Tom Saviello (R-Franklin), adds five species to the endangered list: Cobblestone tiger beetle, Frigga fritillary, Six-whorl vertigo, Little brown bat, and Northern long-eared bat; and one species to the threatened list: Eastern small-footed bat. LD 807 also changes the status of two species from endangered to threatened: Clayton’s copper, Roaring Brook mayfly; and one species from threatened to endangered: Black-Crowned Night Heron.
Feds giving New England Fishermen $2.3M in Disaster Money
Associated Press - Thursday, April 30, 2015 

The federal government is giving $2.3 million in fishery disaster funds to New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Maine to assist fishermen who are struggling with cuts to catch limits. Deep cuts to the Gulf of Maine cod quota go into effect on Friday. The money released on Thursday is part of a larger allocation of $32.8 million in New England fishery disaster funds that was announced last year.
Rockland to reconsider land option for natural gas plant
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, April 30, 2015 

The Rockland City Council will reconsider at a special meeting Friday morning whether to grant a nonbinding option to a Boston company that wants to build a $200 million natural gas plant on property now occupied by City Hall and public services. The decision to hold another meeting was made Thursday morning, hours after the council failed to grant the option to Rockland Energy Center, which is part of Energy Management Inc. of Boston.
New England Cod Quota Cut Goes Into Effect on Friday
Associated Press - Thursday, April 30, 2015 

Time is almost up for New England fishermen before deep quota cuts limit their ability to fish for cod. The New England Fishery Management Council voted last year to reduce the total allowable Gulf of Maine cod catch limit from 1,550 to 386 metric tons starting on Friday. The quota cut will also reduce fishermen's ability to land haddock, pollock and hake. Dealers say they expect prices for local fish to creep up this summer because supply will be lower than previous years. Federal regulators say the cod quota cut is necessary because the level of cod spawning in the gulf is just a tiny fraction of its target.
South Portland seeks outside advice on legality of LPG storage proposal
Forecaster - Thursday, April 30, 2015 

The city will seek a third-party interpretation of the zoning ordinance governing a proposal for a liquid petroleum gas storage facility at Rigby Rail Yard. NGL Supply Terminal Co. submitted the proposal to the Planning Board two months ago. It has since stirred criticism from some residents and city councilors. City Manager Jim Gailey said "the Code Officer's interpretation about a month ago has led to questions being raised and whether the proposed NGL terminal is allowed by Ordinance." NGL Supply Terminal, a Tulsa-based subsidiary of NGL Energy Partners LP, wants to install six 60,000-gallon above-ground tanks to store liquid petroleum, or a total of 360,000 gallons.
Herring catch limit plan regulators to close public comments
Associated Press - Thursday, April 30, 2015 

Federal fishery regulators are about to close the comment-taking window on planned changes to the rules they use to set catch limits for Atlantic herring. Officials plan to change the rules to make sure herring aren’t overfished. The New England Fishery Management Council is working on an amendment designed to make sure future catch limits are based on “scientific uncertainty” and the status of the herring stock. The council will stop taking public comment on the proposal on Thursday at 5 p.m.
Second-year outlook brightens for Portland-to-Nova Scotia ferry service
Portland Press Herald - Thursday, April 30, 2015 

The Nova Star ferry will start its second season in better shape than its first, with increased charter bus bookings and another infusion of cash from the Nova Scotia government. The ferry operator also has tweaked its schedule and sailing season in hopes of producing more revenue and lowering costs. For instance, the vessel is scheduled to depart Portland at 8 p.m. rather than 9 p.m., a change the company believes will encourage people to eat dinner aboard the ship rather than in Portland restaurants. The ferry will operate daily between Portland and Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, from June 1 to Oct. 13.
Some on Peaks Island question need for Portland to remove skate park built without permission
Portland Press Herald - Thursday, April 30, 2015 

A skate park on Peaks Island that was constructed three years ago without proper permits and in violation of a conservation easement is coming down, leading some island residents to wonder what’s the harm in letting it stay. Portland spokeswoman Jessica Grondin said the city will remove the skate park next week as part of an agreement with the Peaks Island Land Preserve, a nonprofit that holds the 2001 easement prohibiting permanent structures on the city-owned land near Battery Steele, a World War II-era fort. John Whitman, president of the land preserve’s board of directors, takes no pleasure in seeing the skate park removed, but said the group has a responsibility to act as steward of the land.
Opinion: Series overlooks gains from tax credit program, Maine’s economic development chief says
Portland Press Herald - Thursday, April 30, 2015 

Whit Richardson’s Maine Sunday Telegram series “Payday at the mill” has certainly generated a lot of discussion over the last week. It has also generated a fair number of inflammatory statements that are not well founded in fact. Mr. Richardson did a good job of getting the facts largely correct, but his conclusion that nothing was invested in the mill as a result of the state New Markets Tax Credit financing transaction is wrong. FAME obtained evidence that over $40 million had indeed been invested. That money went toward many expenses falling in the category of operating capital, including millions in payroll and the purchase of raw materials (wood), all of which went into the Millinocket-area economy. ~ George Gervais, commissioner, Maine Department of Economic and Community Development
Column: Instead of wasting money on tax scams, we should invest in ourselves
Portland Press Herald - Thursday, April 30, 2015 

By now, most Mainers have heard about the scandal in Augusta involving $16 million dollars of our hard-earned taxes that went up in smoke in the bungled Great Northern paper tax giveaway. Where are all the indignant conservatives now when a real and rampant abuse of taxpayer dollars is right before our eyes? Are we all supposed to jump on welfare cheats but look the other way when big business has both hands in the cash register? Imagine if the $16 million wasted at Great Northern had been given to 1,000 small firms and startups. That’s solid, bottom-up growth. It’s not headline-grabbing, but it’s real. It’s time we started investing in ourselves, for a change. ~ Alan Caron
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