July 21, 2018  
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Maine Environmental News
Action Alert - Saturday, July 21, 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
Protect the Endangered Species Act from Republican attacks
Action Alert - Saturday, July 21, 2018 

The Endangered Species Act itself is now as threatened as the wildlife that it's meant to protect. Republicans in Congress and the fossil fuel industry recently proposed new legislation to severely weaken the decades-old law that has saved dozens of endangered species and helped the recovery of hundreds more. What's more, the Trump administration just announced its own plans to roll back protections in the ESA to make it easier to de-list species. Sign the petition. ~ CREDO Action
Moonlight Paddle on Babassus Lake, Jul 27
Event - Posted - Friday, July 20, 2018 

July full-moon paddle in the heart of the Downeast Lakes Community Forest. Boats launch from Babassus Landing, campfire at Dawn Marie Beach, July 27, 7:30 pm. Sponsored by Downeast Lakes Land Trust.
Fund for Maine Land Conservation
Announcement - Thursday, July 19, 2018 

The Fund for Maine Land Conservation of the Maine Community Foundation seeks grant proposals to support land preservation.
Sears Island Tree Identification Workshop, Jul 26
Event - Posted - Thursday, July 19, 2018 

Natural science educator Kevin Doran will lead a tree identification workshop on Sears Island, July 26, 3-5 pm.
Urge Poliquin to VOTE NO on Biggs’ amendment #129
Action Alert - Wednesday, July 18, 2018 

Urge Rep. Bruce Poliquin to VOTE NO on Rep. Andrew Biggs’ amendment #129. It would take funds for the National Park Service maintenance backlog from the Land and Water Conservation Fund. A vote is expected July 18 about 2 pm. Poliquin's offices: Lewiston (207) 784-0768; Bangor (207) 942-0583; Caribou (207) 492-1600; DC (202) 225-6306.
Protect Our National Monuments
Action Alert - Wednesday, July 18, 2018 

The Trump administration is waging an all-out assault on some of America’s most cherished national lands. Tell President Trump and Interior Secretary Zinke to keep their hands off of our spectacular national monuments.
Great Old Broads for Wilderness meet, Jul 25
Event - Posted - Wednesday, July 18, 2018 

Great Old Broads for Wilderness, a national grassroots organization led by women who believe strongly that we need to act now to protect our wild natural areas, will be planning outdoor activities, service projects and social events for the next few months. At Rockport Public Library, July 25, 4:30 pm.
Nominate someone for lifetime outdoor achievement award
Announcement - Wednesday, July 18, 2018 

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is seeking nominations for its annual Lifetime Outdoor Achievement Award. Deadline: August 8.
Climate Communications Report
Publication - Wednesday, July 18, 2018 

This report from the Land Trust Alliance and the Open Space Institute aims to provide helpful guidance on how to talk about climate change.
Maine Open Farm Day, Jul 22
Event - Posted - Sunday, July 15, 2018 

Open Farm Day is an annual family adventure in which farms throughout all 16 counties open their gates to offer the public an opportunity to learn about the business of agriculture. July 22.
Hike Number 4 Mountain with Moosehead Trails, Jul 22
Event - Posted - Sunday, July 15, 2018 

Join local volunteers from Moosehead Trails at Number 4 Mountain for a day of hiking and trail work. Near Greenville, July 22, 2018 9 am - 4 pm.
Hike-the-Guide: Penobscot Shore Preserve Hike, Jul 21
Event - Posted - Saturday, July 14, 2018 

Join Coastal Mountains Land Trust for a Hike-the-Guide outing. At Penobscot Shore Preserve, Prospect., July 21, 9-11 am.
Redneck Regatta, Jul 21
Event - Posted - Saturday, July 14, 2018 

Join this wacky race of “boats” constructed of cardboard and duct tape. At Prince Thomas Park, Lincoln, part of the Loon Festival, July 21, 1-2:30 pm.
Thoreau-Wabanaki Trail Festival, Jul 18-21
Event - Posted - Wednesday, July 11, 2018 

The festival is a celebration of the Maine Woods and commemorates the history of the Wabanaki people and poet, philosopher, and naturalist Henry David Thoreau’s three trips into the Maine Woods.
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News Items
Grow food in Maine winters? Four projects take aim
Portland Press Herald - Thursday, July 31, 2014 

Even the most idealistic conversation about Maine’s ability to sustain itself with local foods runs into the icy roadblock of winter. But the Maine Sustainable Agriculture Society and a coalition of agriculture, energy, industry and academic institutions around the state have reason to be optimistic. A $497,280 grant from the Maine Technology Institute announced Thursday will help fund four energy-efficient solar projects throughout the state, each intended to demonstrate that Maine agriculture doesn’t have to shut down in the winter.
Feds to ban genetically engineered crops, neonicotinoid pesticides in wildlife refuges
Summit Voice - Thursday, July 31, 2014 

Federal wildlife and land managers say they’ll end the use of genetically engineered crops and ban systemic neonicotonoid pesticides in the next 18 months. In a July 17 memo chief of the National Wildlife Refuge System James Kurth wrote that it’s not essential for his agency to use the potentially harmful products to meet its wildlife management objectives.
Verso Paper reschedules stockholder meeting on merger debt
Portland Press Herald - Thursday, July 31, 2014 

Verso Paper rescheduled its special stockholders meeting from July 30 to Aug. 12 to allow additional time to provide stockholders with information about the company’s debt exchange, a key step in its intended acquisition of rival NewPage Holdings. If successful, the merger will create a company that controls more than half the U.S. market for glossy paper, the kind used by magazines and catalogs and produced in Maine mills. The two companies employ 2,200 workers at three paper mills in Maine.
Orono council questions water district board about potentially harmful chemical levels
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, July 31, 2014 

The level of haloacetic acids exceeded acceptable limits in a recent test by the Orono-Veazie Water District but still is in compliance with Environmental Protection Agency standards because the number is averaged over the last four quarters, according to District Superintendent Dennis Cross.
Power bills to rise for CMP customers after decision in controversial rate case
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, July 31, 2014 

Central Maine Power Co. said power bills for residential and small business customers are set to go up an average of $2.07 per month, starting Sept. 1. The rate increase is the result of a decision this week from the Maine Public Utilities Commission, following months of debate as the utility pushed for ways to disconnect its revenue from the amount of power delivered to customers on its lines. John Carroll, spokesperson for CMP, said the utility’s latest five-year rate plan will allow it to participate in state energy efficiency programs to reduce power usage without operating directly against its own financial interests.
University of Maine to study chemical in antibacterial products
Portland Press Herald - Thursday, July 31, 2014 

Researchers at the University of Maine will study the effectiveness of a chemical in antibacterial soap to determine whether it is damaging to human cells in the skin and many other organs. Assistant Professor Julie Gosse said the chemical triclosan is being added to many over-the-counter products advertised as antibacterial, such as soaps, toothpaste, body washes and facial cleansers. The chemical is also used in fabrics and plastics to help prevent mold growth, and has become so common that it’s now in the water supply. Gosse is not saying that triclosan might not have some benefits in a hospital setting or for other uses, such as treatment of eczema or skin allergies, triclosan is not necessary for everyday use.
Annabessacook Lake searched for invasive milfoil
Kennebec Journal - Thursday, July 31, 2014 

More than two dozen people fanned out across Annabessacook Lake Thursday armed with rakes, maps and even a mask and snorkel, searching for something they hope to never find: milfoil. The searchers, made up of government andnonprofit organization employees and volunteers, took to kayaks, canoes and boats to search for the invasive plant variable water-milfoil. Organizers hope to search much of the lake’s shoreline and develop a cadre of shoreline property owners, and others with interest in the lake, to stay vigilant for invasive plants in the future.
Judge rules against NY couple over access to Owls Head shore
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, July 31, 2014 

The town of Owls Head and neighbors have the right to cross the waterfront property owned by a New York couple, a state judge has ruled. Justice Jeffrey Hjelm ruled Wednesday that Owls Head had a public easement across 300 feet of property that Darlene F. and Lewis M. Edwards III of Saugerties, New York, had claimed was their driveway. Hjelm also ruled that neighbors have the right to cross the property and to have access to the beach.
He killed over 1000 deer using dogs
George Smith BDN Outdoor News Blog - Thursday, July 31, 2014 

Drawing from old magazines, journals, and government reports, in "Early Maine Wildlife" William Krohne and Christopher Hoving (University of Maine Press, 2010) compiled fascinating accounts about Canada lynx, moose, mountain lions, white-tailed deer, wolverines, wolves, and woodland caribou in the period from 1603 to 1930. Most of the references fall between 1830 and 1930, a period rich with sportsmen’s publications and journals.
Public comment sought on rule allowing killing of eagles by energy projects
Citizens Task Force on Wind Power - Thursday, July 31, 2014 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will hold a series of public scoping meetings on the 30-year eagle take rule. The current rule, which allows the agency to issue 30-year permits for wind energy and other energy projects (e.g., oil and gas) to kill eagles for up to 30-years without prosecution, has been challenged in court by American Bird Conservancy. Written comments can be submitted on or before September 22.
Public input enhanced in Maine’s new dam law
Portland Press Herald - Thursday, July 31, 2014 

Assistant House Majority Leader Jeff McCabe, D-Skowhegan, said a new dam relicensing law means that sportsmen, waterfront property owners and the outdoor recreation industry should have a greater say in such matters as water releases and levels in recreational bodies of water. The new law will ensure that the Maine Department of Environmental Protection has a plan in place to address dam relicensing deadlines and that those plans are shared with legislators. “The state has forfeited too much by missing deadlines in the past. These are mistakes that have serious implications for wildlife, traditional sports, property owners and our recreation and tourism economies,” McCabe said. Last year, DEP Commissioner Patricia Aho missed deadlines for three dam relicensing projects, irrevocably waiving the state’s authority to set terms for water levels in reservoirs and rivers that affect waterfront property owners, fish spawning and passage, and recreation opportunities.
Verso clears hurdle toward buying NewPage, which would create Maine’s largest paper company
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, July 31, 2014 

Verso Paper’s chief executive said the company is closer to its planned acquisition of NewPage, a proposed merger that would create the largest single paper company in Maine. The $1.4 billion purchase would bring together the companies that employ about one-third, or 2,300, of Maine’s paper mill workers at Verso’s mills in Bucksport and Jay and NewPage’s mill in Rumford. The company had set a midnight Wednesday deadline for two groups of bondholders to agree to what’s called an exchange offer, which generally allows them to exchange the Verso debt they hold into stock in the company. Enough bondholders from both groups agreed to the offer.
LePage Calls for Action on Energy Policy to Lower Electric Rates
Maine Government News - Thursday, July 31, 2014 

Governor Paul R. LePage issued a statement Thursday after the Public Utilities Commission approved an increase in transmission and distribution rates for electricity. “Instead of the old way of simply adding surcharges to the cost of energy and signing long-term contracts that raise costs for ratepayers, Maine must increase our access to natural gas, hydro power and any other source that lowers the bottom-line rate for electricity. Despite our Administration’s efforts to lower electricity rates, old policies from the past two administrations continue to fail Maine,” said LePage.
The Conservationist Underwriting a Brainier Environmentalism
Other - Thursday, July 31, 2014 

Inside Philanthropy - Aside from huge nature preserves Douglas and Kristine Tompkins have been establishing in Chile, the couple makes grants for work in biodiversity and wilderness protection. The Foundation for Deep Ecology's Intellectual Infrastructure program seeks to strengthen the conceptual foundation of the environmental movement to provide a counterweight to right wing think tanks, which promote an unhindered free market philosophy. It’s an approach that casts aside a current trend in environmental philanthropy of embracing capitalism and inviting in corporate partnerships.
Column: How Maine can grow without destroying what makes us special
Portland Press Herald - Thursday, July 31, 2014 

Here’s one of our most fundamental challenges: Mainers are enormously conflicted about growth. Just about everyone wants the economy to improve and the number of quality jobs to grow, but few of us want change. Sponsored by GrowSmart Maine, and with the help and support of people across the state, the Brookings Institution produced one of the greatest and most useful plans for Maine’s economy that we’ll ever need. “Charting Maine’s Future” urged us to grow in a way that is consistent with Maine’s heritage and values, that reinforces our powerful brand of wholesomeness and quality, and that allows us to both have the place we love and lift ourselves up, at the same time. Since then, thousands of Mainers have been hard at work putting those ideas into practice. I see their impact everywhere. ~ Alan Caron
Letter: If GMO food’s safe, why object to label?
Portland Press Herald - Thursday, July 31, 2014 

Food companies in some 60 other countries are required to state that a product contains GMOs, yet there is no evidence that consumers in those countries are confused. If companies believe their GMO ingredients are safe, why spend millions to keep from having to label them? Maybe it’s because, as a seed executive for a Monsanto subsidiary admitted 20 years ago, “If you put a label on genetically engineered food, you might as well put a skull and crossbones on it.” ~ Katherine Paul, Organic Consumers Association, Freeport
Letter: Sludge odor
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, July 31, 2014 

Neighbors concerned about Soil Preparation Inc.’s horrific odors should be aware that odor from sludge processing and sludge spreading is not just a nuisance problem. It can be a serious health problem. Sludge and sludge composts not only contain human waste, but they contain a vast array of unregulated synthetic industrial chemicals, some of which are highly toxic. Sludge and sludge composts do not belong on the land where we graze our animals or grow food and feed. ~ Caroline Snyder, North Sandwich, NH
Hazmat team cleans fluid spill at Brunswick Bath Iron Works plant
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, July 30, 2014 

Although no one was injured when a crane tipped over Wednesday at Bath Iron Works’ Brunswick plant, members of the region’s hazardous materials response team spent most of the afternoon cleaning up a roughly 30-gallon hydraulic fluid spill, a local fire officials said Wednesday evening.
ConAgra to pay EPA $5.7 million for cleanup of former South Paris tannery
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, July 30, 2014 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has reached a $5.7 million settlement with ConAgra to pay for cleanup of the former A.C. Lawrence Leather Co. in South Paris, where a series of tannery sludge lagoons had been covered with gravel and began leaching into the Androscoggin River in 2000. The EPA announced the settlement late Wednesday, concluding a legal battle that started in late 2011 against Nebraska-based ConAgra Grocery Products Co. The EPA had removed about 33,000 tons of soil contaminated with chromium and lead during 2006 and 2007, which it said prevented the chromium sludge from getting into the river and water supplies.
Verso, New Page Merger Nears Reality
Maine Public Broadcasting Network - Wednesday, July 30, 2014 

A merger affecting thousands of Maine paper workers is expected to move one step closer to reality tonight. Verso Paper — a leading manufacturer of coated paper — wants to acquire rival New Page in a $1.4 billion deal. Before the merger can move ahead however, Verso — which is over $1.2 billion in the red — must complete a debt restructuring deal to the satisfaction of its bondholders. The deadline for the deal is midnight tonight, and at least one prominent paper industry analyst thinks it's likely to succeed.
District attorney reviewing Ellsworth wildlife sanctuary arson case
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, July 30, 2014 

The results of an investigation into a fire suspected of being deliberately set at Stanwood Wildlife Sanctuary, also known as Birdsacre, have been forwarded to the Hancock County district attorney’s office. In March, Sgt. Tim York of the State Fire Marshal’s Office indicated that the blaze that caused significant damage to a former homestead on the property “appears to be an intentional human element fire.” District Attorney Carletta “Dee” Bassano said Wednesday that she has received the file and is reviewing it to see what, if any, criminal charges might be appropriate.
You just bought 50,000 acres for $7
George Smith BDN Outdoor News Blog - Wednesday, July 30, 2014 

Each Maine resident contributed $7 to purchase an amazing list of our very best places – great places to hunt, spectacular places to fish, critical deer wintering areas and trout spawning grounds, farms, lake and pond frontage and access, snowmobile trails, important working waterfronts, and lots more. We Mainers do drive a hard bargain! The $9 million we put up for these projects in 37 communities was matched by $24.8 million from 60 partners. Good deals! These are the first awards from the Land for Maine’s Future Board in three years.
State schedules second meeting about controversial Bagaduce aquaculture
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, July 30, 2014 

The Maine Department of Marine Resources plans to hold another community meeting this week about controversial aquaculture operations in the tidal Bagaduce River. The increasing number of aquaculture projects in the river, which separates the towns of Brooksville, Castine, Penobscot and Sedgwick, has been a divisive issue among area residents. Some have raised questions about the impact the oyster growing operations have on the environment and quality of life, while others have said it is a sustainable activity that provides them with much-needed economic opportunities
Cumberland voters to decide $3M public beach purchase
Forecaster - Wednesday, July 30, 2014 

After lengthy and sometimes heated discussion Monday, the Town Council voted unanimously to send a proposed $3 million purchase of beach property to voters in November. But public opinion was much more divided, and often critical. Some residents criticized the speed of the process and questioned its degree of transparency, as well as the feasibility of recreation access at the property. Others supported securing waterfront property for the public, and defended the actions of town officials. Members of the abutting Wildwood neighborhood, whose private beach would neighbor the public land, argue the proposed use is prohibited by a conservation easement on the property.
Atlantic salmon returns lagging on the Penobscot and in Canada
John Holyoke Out There Blog - Wednesday, July 30, 2014 

For more than a century, conservationists have sought to restore the Atlantic salmon population in the Penobscot River. Each year, river-watchers eagerly await the return of those fish, many of which are trapped and transported to a hatchery where they’ll be used to produce the next generation of Penobscot salmon. Unfortunately, for the third consecutive year the number of fish returning from the sea is nothing to celebrate. Just 257 salmon had returned to the Milford Dam fish trapping facility as of Monday. In recent years, by the end of July more than 90 percent of the total yearly run arrived in the river and were counted.
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