August 15, 2018  
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Maine Environmental News
Action Alert - Tuesday, August 14, 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
Lessons from the Great Conservationists of the Past, Aug 21
Event - Posted - Tuesday, August 14, 2018 

Larry Nielsen, author of “Nature’s Allies: Eight Conservationists Who Changed Our World,” will speak at Schoodic Institute, Winter Harbor, August 21, 7 pm.
Farm to Table Dinner, Aug 18
Event - Posted - Saturday, August 11, 2018 

Dinner features the creations of four Maine-based professional female chefs, followed by a mission auction and the music of folk musician, Bill Staines. Benefits Growing to Give, which grows and donates certified organic vegetables to local food banks and pantries. At Scatter Good Farm, Brunswick, August 18, 5-9 pm.
Beaver presentation and paddle, Aug 18
Event - Posted - Saturday, August 11, 2018 

Learn about beavers with Master Naturalist, Christy Stout. Enjoy a slideshow presentation followed by a paddle to look for beaver signs. At Hirundo Wildlife Refuge, near Bangor, August 18, 5 pm.
Merrymeeting Bay Rare Mud Plant Walk, Aug 18
Event - Posted - Saturday, August 11, 2018 

Justin Schlawin, ecologist with the Maine Natural Areas Program, will lead a walk among the rare mud plants of Merrymeeting Bay. At Choice View Farm, Dresden, August 18, 1:30-3:30 pm. Sponsored by Friends of Merrymeeting Bay.
Identifying Woodland Shrubs, Aug 16
Event - Posted - Thursday, August 9, 2018 

Join Knox-Lincoln Soil & Water Conservation District and the Maine Forest Service for a walk & talk “Identifying Woodland Shrubs.” At Georges River Land Trust’s Appleton Preserve, August 16, 3-5 pm, pre-register.
Climate change communication workshop, Aug 16
Event - Posted - Thursday, August 9, 2018 

The Maine Climate Table, in partnership with GrowSmart Maine, will present a climate change communication workshop. At the Center for an Ecology-Based Economy, Norway, August 16, from 8:30 am to noon.
Rangeley Frog Jumping Contest, Aug 16
Event - Posted - Thursday, August 9, 2018 

The annual Frog Jumping Contest will leap onto the scene again at the Rangeley Blueberry Festival. Those entering should catch and release their frog or toad in the same location, to keep him or her happy and alive. At Episcopal Church, Rangeley, August 16, sign up starts at 12:30 pm, contest begins at 1 pm.
New wildlife teaching tools for a new school year
Publication - Wednesday, August 8, 2018 

Explore World Wildlife Fund's Wild Classroom, a growing library of animal- and nature-related toolkits to help foster children's curiosity and inspire the next generation of scientists and conservationists.
What Have Loons Told Us? Aug 15
Event - Posted - Wednesday, August 8, 2018 

After 35 Years of Maine Audubon’s Loon Count, and with the help of thousands of “citizen science” volunteers, we know that in many ways loons are doing better than ever. At Somes-Meynell Wildlife Sanctuary, Mt. Desert, August 15, 7 pm.
Blazing Ahead: Rivalry That Built the Appalachian Trail, Aug 15
Event - Posted - Wednesday, August 8, 2018 

Jeffrey Ryan, a Maine-based author and photographer, will tell the story of how the Appalachian Trail was envisioned and built. At Maine State Library, Augusta, August 15, 6:30 pm. Sponsored by Kennebec Historical Society.
Farming the Sea - Aquaculture in Maine's Future, Aug 15
Event - Posted - Wednesday, August 8, 2018 

Author and food authority Nancy Harmon Jenkins will talk about the future of aquaculture in Maine. At Island Institute, Rockland, August 15, 10:30 am.
Blazing Ahead, Aug 15
Event - Posted - Wednesday, August 8, 2018 

Jeffrey Ryan speaks about the rivalry that built the Appalachian Trail. At Maine State Library, Augusta, August 15, 6:30 pm. Sponsored by Kennebec Historical Society.
Landscape Design Lessons from Manhattan to Maine, Aug 15
Event - Posted - Wednesday, August 8, 2018 

Patrick Cullina will talk about site design and plant and material selection on projects in New York City, above Long Island Sound, on the North Fork of Long Island, and on a privately-owned island just south of Rockland, Maine. At Bar Harbor, August 15, 4 pm, Beatrix Farrand Society members $10, non-members $20, students free, pre-register.
Comments on wind development in Maine due Aug 15
Action Alert - Tuesday, August 7, 2018 

Gov. Paul LePage created the Maine Wind Energy Advisory Commission to study the economic impact of potential wind turbines; to assess the economic impact of expedited permitting rules and procedures; and to assess and develop recommendations in a written report. Comments to Wind.Commission@maine.gov due August 15.
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News Items
NOAA chief suggests removing ‘climate’ from mission statement, adding focus on trade deficit
Washington Post - Wednesday, July 25, 2018 

A recent presentation by the acting head of the United States’ top weather and oceans agency suggested removing the study of “climate” from its official mission statement, focusing the agency’s work instead on economic goals and “homeland and national security.” Critics say this would upend the mission of the $5.9 billion National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Trump Admin Tries to Gut Endangered Species Act
Other - Wednesday, July 25, 2018 

The Trump administration has announced plans to gut the Endangered Species Act, ordering federal agencies to consider economic impacts before listing animals to be protected under the law. The newly proposed guidelines by the Interior Department would allow corporations involved in extraction to proceed with projects that would otherwise be prohibited. The Trump administration’s proposed rules are among several recent attacks endangering the Endangered Species Act.
Judge scraps lawsuit against Maine wind moratorium
Other - Wednesday, July 25, 2018 

Utility Dive - A Maine Superior Court judge dismissed a case challenging the constitutionality of the wind power moratorium imposed by Republican Gov. Paul LePage’s January executive order on Friday. Renewable energy advocates have tried to challenge the legality of the order, which halts wind turbine permitting in the state. Maine is currently leading in Northeast wind generation. While the judge’s opinion agrees that LePage’s executive order conflicts with the wind permitting state law, he said the environmental and renewable energy groups haven’t proven harm for any incoming wind turbine projects.
Carbon Tax and the Art of the Deal: Time for Some Horse-Trading
Inside Climate News - Wednesday, July 25, 2018 

When a Republican introduced legislation in Congress on Monday to put a tax on carbon dioxide emissions even those who spoke approvingly of the bill tended to refer to it as a way to start a "conversation." For the bill to have any chance, it'll also have to start some horse-trading. Without some give and take, this carbon tax bill is likely to go where all others have landed: nowhere.
The Secretary Zinke Federal Investigation Tracker
Other - Wednesday, July 25, 2018 

Outside - Controversy has tailed Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke practically since he assumed the job. As head of the Department of the Interior, he oversees 500 million acres of public land—about one-fifth of the United States—and is charged with both preserving our nation’s natural resources and managing them for commercial use. “I’m a Teddy Roosevelt guy,” Zinke has said. “You can’t love public lands more than I do.” But what would Roosevelt, a celebrated conservationist who created five national parks and 18 national monuments, really think of Zinke’s efforts? To answer that question, we created this helpful tracker, which judges noteworthy moments in Interior Secretary Zinke’s tenure as they happen, rating each on a scale from Perturbed Teddy to Angry Teddy to Raging Teddy.
The Endangered Species Act Is Criticized for Its Costs. But It Generates More than $1 Trillion a Year
TIME - Wednesday, July 25, 2018 

as the Trump Administration prepares a set of regulatory changes that could dramatically undermine the law, some supporters are highlighting the economic benefits of protecting endangered species. They note that the law doesn’t just protect individual species, it also protects the ecosystems that support that species. That work sustaining natural lands and the species that call them home helps ensure everything from a hospitable climate to clean drinking water. A 2011 study prepared for the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, a government-affiliated conservation group, tabulated the total value of ecosystem services at about $1.6 trillion annually in the U.S.
Maine senators want U.S. to set aside day to celebrate lobster
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, July 25, 2018 

Maine’s two senators are asking the nation to take a day in September to celebrate one of the ocean’s most valuable and sought after catches, as well as the men and women whose livelihoods depend on landing the tasty crustaceans. Republican Sen. Susan Collins and independent Sen. Angus King introduced a resolution Wednesday that would designate Sept. 25 as “National Lobster Day.”
Trump to Offer Trade Assistance to Farmers After Tariffs Hurt Business
Maine Public - Wednesday, July 25, 2018 

The U.S. Agriculture department says $12 billion is needed to help farmers who were hurt by the Trump Administration's tariff wars with China, Mexico and Canada. Maine's Agriculture Commissioner Walt Whitcomb says some of that relief will likely make it to Maine dairy, potato and blueberry farmers. He says some of the administration's maneuvering has been aimed at lowering the 27 percent Chinese tariff already leveled at Maine blueberry exports – a favorite for people in China. Whitcomb says it is not clear how much money from the proposal may actually come to Maine.
'Side-By-Side' ATVs Are Accelerating In Popularity — And Raising Some Concerns
Maine Public - Wednesday, July 25, 2018 

The new generation of ATVs can carry up to four passengers, and some even have air conditioning. And while dealers say these so-called “side-by-sides” continue to grow in popularity, there are also growing concerns about the impact these wide vehicles are having on Maine’s trail system and the people who use it.
Blog: Evidence for public lands right in front of our eyes
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, July 25, 2018 

My family and I spent last week in Utah, where we visited three of the Mighty Five national parks and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. We also drove through Dixie National Forest and the San Rafael Desert. You should go. It’s a high desert and canyon landscape like no place I have ever seen. Earlier this month, the Department of Interior inadvertently released public documents that show that in its efforts to justify shrinking national monuments last year, senior administration officials blocked evidence that public lands increased tourism and helped to lead to new archaeological discoveries. The United States is blessed with breath-taking wilderness diversity and many still-wild places. We need to protect them. And we have to stop ignoring the evidence right in front of our eyes. ~ David Farmer
Column: Climate roulette: We’re playing with dangerous odds
Morning Sentinel - Wednesday, July 25, 2018 

Maybe the weather this month has been a reminder that we’re all engaged in what might be the biggest gamble in human history. We’re betting that the gigatons of carbon dioxide we pour into the air from planes, trains, automobiles and heating and cooling systems is not actually warming up the atmosphere and oceans. Anyone who pays attention to reality can see we’re on a roulette wheel here, with all our money on black 20, where climate change and global warming are a colossal, worldwide hoax. On the 35 other numbers, we lose. Couldn’t we all agree to forget about who’s spinning the wheel, and just deal with where the ball probably is going to land, before it’s permanently too hot to go outside?. ~ Dana Wilde
Editorial: Trump administration intentionally ignored benefits of national monuments
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, July 25, 2018 

Shortly after he assumed office, President Donald Trump ordered a review of 27 recently designated national monuments, including Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument in Maine. Five months later, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke offered a vague report that called for management plan changes at 10 monuments to emphasize “traditional uses.” Zinke left the Maine monument intact but called for “active timber management.” Newly revealed documents show that Trump’s Department of Interior had only one metric in mind when it reviewed the monuments — how much could they be worth if they were stripped of trees, opened to more grazing and minerals, oil and gas extracted from beneath them. Monuments were not special places meant to be preserved. Instead, they were seen as a source of money from what could be extracted from them.
Skowhegan woman, two juveniles charged with stealing camping equipment
Morning Sentinel - Wednesday, July 25, 2018 

Franklin County Sheriff Scott Nichols said in a news release Wednesday that Marie Valcourt, 23, of Skowhegan, was charged with theft of camping equipment at the Wyman Beach Campsite off the Flagstaff Road in Eustis. Two male passengers, a 16-year-old boy from Skowhegan, and a 17-year-old boy from Norridgewock, were both issued juvenile summons for theft.
CMP will give $50 million to help low-income customers in Massachusetts
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, July 25, 2018 

Central Maine Power has agreed to give $50 million to energy-assistance programs that will benefit low-income electric customers – in Massachusetts as a condition of winning the bid to build a high-voltage transmission line from Quebec through Maine that will carry hydroelectricity to the Commonwealth. The disclosure comes as CMP is under multiple investigations and lawsuits over allegations it overcharged Maine ratepayers.
Portland climber survives 60-foot fall on Acadia’s Precipice Trail
Associated Press - Wednesday, July 25, 2018 

Acadia National Park officials say a climber survived a 60-foot fall on a trail known for its sheer cliffs. Park officials say a 26-year-old Portland man was hiking on Precipice Trail on Monday when he reached up to grab a rock to hoist himself up and the rock gave way. The man tumbled down, breaking bones and suffering lacerations. The injuries were not considered life-threatening.
Opinion: Changing the Endangered Species Act could actually help conservation
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, July 25, 2018 

When the Endangered Species Act passed in the Senate 45 years ago this month, not one member voted against it. Today, the act is a perpetual source of conflict among landowners, environmentalists, states and the federal government. That could begin to change with a proposal to “improve and modernize” the law unveiled last week by the Department of the Interior. The changes, which would alter the way the Fish and Wildlife Service lists certain species and designates critical habitat, could help accord win out over acrimony in disputes over imperiled species. ~ Tate Watkins, Property and Environment Research Center, Montana [a Koch funded think tank]
Opinion: Maine’s sawmills finally can compete against Canada’s subsidized lumber
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, July 25, 2018 

The Canadian government subsidizes its lumber industry, often in the form of low fees to harvest trees from publicly owned land, and allows producers to dump their product into the U.S. market. This immediately puts my business at a competitive disadvantage not because of product quality, work ethic or technology, but because of a government providing handouts to its lumber producers. The U.S. government’s countervailing and antidumping duties on imported Canadian lumber offset this advantage, giving domestic producers like us a chance to compete on a level playing field. ~ Jason Brochu, Pleasant River Lumber, which has sawmills in Dover-Foxcroft, Jackman, Hancock and Sanford
Will they kill more deer in Eastport this year?
George Smith BDN Outdoor News Blog - Wednesday, July 25, 2018 

A third and final special deer hunt has been scheduled in Eastport from November 26 to December 8, as they continue to struggle to reduce their high population of deer. In the two previous years the special hunt has resulted in the killing of 11 and 30 deer, far short of the goal of 90 deer each year. I doubt the hunt this year will be much more successful.
Late season hunting isn’t hurting Maine’s grouse population, new study finds
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, July 25, 2018 

According to a research paper recently published in The Journal of Wildlife Management the annual harvest of ruffed grouse in Maine in October is double the number taken by hunters in November in December combined. “So 70 percent of birds are killed over the course of a year,” said Erik Blomberg, an assistant professor in UMaine’s Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Conservation biology. “Some amount of that is because [hunters] shoot them, for harvest. But the remainder is almost exclusively predation.” If 70 percent of the state’s grouse die every year, why does Maine allow hunting? Because those birds that don’t survive are replaced by new grouse.

Letter: Everyone needs to do their part to reduce plastic waste
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, July 25, 2018 

We have a problem. Nearly all the plastic ever made still exists, and we’re adding more than 8 million tons of it to the ocean each year. We produce 300 million tons of single-use plastics annually, and with a growing population dependent upon convenience, things are getting worse. It’s estimated that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish. Seabirds, turtles and whales are dying with stomachs full of plastic. We mustn’t underestimate the power of our choices. As Jane Goodall says, “Never forget that every single day that you live you make a difference, you impact the world, and you have a choice as to what kind of impact you’re going to make.” ~ Rebecca Tripp, Searsport
Trump Takes a Stand Against…Endangered Species
Other - Tuesday, July 24, 2018 

Daily Show - The Trump administration stars in “Parks and Desecration,” featuring their new plan to roll back the Endangered Species Act and shrink national monuments for more oil drilling.
Greenhouse gas emissions fight could end up at Supreme Court
Other - Tuesday, July 24, 2018 

Tribune News - California and like-minded states are girding for a legal battle with the Trump administration on whether those states have gone too far in controlling greenhouse gases from automobiles, a prospective case that legal scholars say – barring a last-minute settlement – is sure to reach the U.S. Supreme Court. The Environmental Protection Agency and other federal agencies are expected to announce, as soon as this week, a rollback of national fuel economy standards for vehicles.
Injured hiker saved from Precipice Trail at Acadia National Park
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, July 24, 2018 

Rescuers spent eight hours Monday night pulling an injured hiker to safety in Acadia National Park. Fourteen volunteers from MDI Search & Rescue plus park staff and Bar Harbor Fire Department personnel rigged rope systems that they used after finding the hiker on Precipice Trail, “one of Acadia’s most technically challenging trails.” The group assisted in 12 rescues at Acadia or with the Maine Warden Service in 2017.
Thousands of scientists object to Trump’s border wall
Washington Post - Tuesday, July 24, 2018 

Thousands of scientists expressed alarm this week at the expansion of the wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. A report in BioScience outlined the dangers of building a continuous and impermeable border wall, saying it would harm animals and plants in this sensitive region. The scientists cite bypassed environmental laws, habitat destruction, and losses to conservation and scientific research as the primary areas of concern.
Central Maine farms irrigate, wait for rain amid summer dry spell
Kennebec Journal - Tuesday, July 24, 2018 

Despite the humidity that has blanketed the region on and off for weeks, rainfall totals have been well below what’s considered normal. Tom Hawley, a hydrologist with the National Weather Service office in Gray, said the weather patterns to this point have brought drier conditions. “Over the last 60 days,” Hawley said, “we’re running 1 to 2 inches below normal. But if you go back 180 days, we’re 4 to 6 inches below normal.” The state’s multi-agency Drought Task Force has not yet met this year. A year ago, it already had convened by this time.
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Environmental headlines:

LePage wants  to withdraw Maine
from regional air pollution program.

The Trump administration plans to ease
rules for auto emissions and efficiency.

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