December 17, 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
Eastern Renewable Generation Integration Study
Other - Wednesday, August 31, 2016 

Using high-performance computing capabilities and innovative visualization tools, the National Renewable Energy Labratory shows the power grid of the Eastern United States—one of the largest power systems in the world—can accommodate upwards of 30% wind and solar/photovoltaic (PV) power.
Introducing Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument
Other - Wednesday, August 31, 2016 

A short film by Scot Miller introducing Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, a new jewel in our national park system.
Dry conditions drain farmers in southern, central Maine
Kennebec Journal - Wednesday, August 31, 2016 

Farmers in southern and central Maine are struggling with dry conditions that have affected livestock and hay production this summer. Conditions range from “abnormally dry” in much of Kennebec County to “severe drought” in parts of York and Cumberland counties, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor’s website. The northern part of the state has had more rain this summer. Farmers say the dry conditions have also affected their hay crops.
Water tests at two Yarmouth schools exceed federal standards for lead
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, August 31, 2016 

Drinking water samples taken at two public schools in Yarmouth had lead levels that exceed Environmental Protection Agency standards, the school superintendent said Wednesday in an email to staff and parents. Water tests from three drinking fountains and nine faucets at Yarmouth Elementary School showed lead levels of more than 15 parts per billion, the EPA standard, said Superintendent Andrew R. Dolloff. At Harrison Middle School, test results from four faucets used for handwashing, but not food preparation or drinking, had levels above 15 parts per billion. But none of the drinking fountains or bottle-fill stations at Harrison exceeded the standards, Dolloff said.
Baileyville pulp mill completes $150M expansion into tissue market
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, August 31, 2016 

The atmosphere was festive Wednesday as the crowd celebrated the formal opening of the St. Croix Tissue mill adjacent to Woodland Pulp. The expansion of the facility into the tissue market was hailed by officials as a breath of fresh air in Washington County, long one of the more economically-challenged areas of Maine, and in the state’s troubled pulp and paper industry, which has seen the closure of several mills in the past few years. Sen. Susan Collins said, “There is still a bright future for the forest products industry right here in the great state of Maine.” Sen. Angus King praised LePage for making two trips to China to help convince International Grand Investment Corp. to make the $150 million investment in bringing tissue manufacturing to Baileyville.
This is what conservation looks like
Maine. The Magazine - Wednesday, August 31, 2016 

Wayne is a 3rd generation lobsterman who has to choose between preserving his family's heritage or becoming a millionaire overnight. Wayne's father and grandfather sacrificed for their land. The lobstering wharf he inherited is one of the last family owned wharfs in Maine and is at risk of being sold. "There are still a few of us family fisherman who remember what our fathers did for us." The landscape of Maine is changing rapidly as dozens of family owned wharfs are being bought up to make room for oceanfront vacation homes. The allure of making millions is too tempting for most families who make their living off the uncertain and ever changing price of lobster. [video]
Maine proposes changes to regulations for hydropower projects
Maine Environmental News - Wednesday, August 31, 2016 

The Land Use Planning Commission and the Department of Environmental Protection have posted proposed revisions to “Administrative Regulations for Hydropower Projects” to a 30-day public comment period. The agencies say the purpose is to revise the rules so they are consistent with the authorizing statutes and the DEP's rules for the processing of applications. The amendment is also intended to make the rules more understandable. The deadline for written comments is set for Friday, September 30.
Rare Whale's Recovery Hurt by Entanglements, Scientists Say
Associated Press - Wednesday, August 31, 2016 

Scientists say the ability of an endangered whale species to recover is jeopardized by increasing rates of entanglement in fishing gear and a resultant drop in birth rates. The population of North Atlantic right whales has slowly crept up from about 300 in 1992 to about 500 in 2010. But a study in the journal Frontiers in Marine Science says the number of baby right whales born every year has steeply declined since 2010. Study author Scott Kraus says the whales' population suffers even when they survive entanglements in fishing gear. He says data suggest those entanglements have long-term negative physical and reproductive effects on them. Kraus says there is reason to believe the entanglements could harm conservation efforts despite recent positive signs on the whales' recovery.
Floating wind power pitched by UMO prof
Ellsworth American - Wednesday, August 31, 2016 

University of Maine professor Habib Dagher has a long resumé. From portable ballistic barricades for the Army to safer boats for the Navy SEALs, the engineer has churned out dozens of projects from the UMaine’s 87,000-square-foot Advanced Structures and Composites Center. Dagher’s latest project might someday affect every single Maine resident every day if his dream of floating wind turbines stays afloat. “Within 50 miles of the coast of Maine there are 156 gigawatts of offshore wind,” said Dagher. For scale, a nuclear power plant generates roughly 1 gigawatt of electricity, and the state of Maine uses about 2.4 gigawatts a year.
Maine Conservation Voters endorse Vitell
Times Record - Wednesday, August 31, 2016 

Democratic Senate candidate Eloise Vitelli of Arrowsic has received the endorsement of the Maine Conservation Voters (MCV) for her support of Maine’s natural resources. “Eloise Vitelli is a proven advocate for clean water, clean air and the protection of our natural resources,” said Beth Ahearn, political director for Maine Conservation Voters. “She will be a strong ally in building Maine’s clean energy economy and confronting climate change.” Vitelli is running to represent District 23 in the Maine Senate.
Opinion: A North Woods national park isn’t inevitable; Maine should push for a national forest instead
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, August 31, 2016 

With the transfer to the federal government, more than 87,500 acres of the North Woods just became my land. Everyone is assuming national monument status will lead to a new national park. Not so. The donor is pushing in that direction, but now we get a say as well. I’ve heard a call to undo the monument. I don’t agree. Give it back? No way, the people of Maine want access to this land but for its traditional use. We now have a chance to preserve this land with the traditional, multiple uses that would help the community. A national forest is a perfect fit. ~ Heather Haskel
Sen. Johnson earns perfect record for conservation votes in 2016
Boothbay Register - Wednesday, August 31, 2016 

Sen. Chris Johnson, D-Lincoln, received a perfect score for his votes to protect Maine’s environment, support clean energy and defend state conservation programs, according to a legislative scorecard compiled by Maine Conservation Voters. “It means a great deal to me to be recognized by Maine Conservation Voters, not only as a legislator but as a parent and grandparent,” said Sen. Johnson. “Future generations are going to look back to see if we met these environmental challenges head on, or if we passed the buck.”
Penobscot River Restoration Trust goal accomplished
Other - Wednesday, August 31, 2016 

This past June, the Penobscot River Restoration Trust and the many partners in the project celebrated completion of the Howland bypass — the last big step to allow fish to reach habitat that they need to thrive and survive. Combined with the removal of the Great Works (2012) and Veazie (2013) dams, and the fish lift at the Milford dam, Atlantic salmon and other sea-run fish now have greatly improved access to about 1,000 miles of historic habitat for the first time in many generations. Having reached this milestone, the staff members of the Penobscot River Restoration Trust are moving on.
Alewife Harvesters Gather
Lincoln County News - Wednesday, August 31, 2016 

Members of the Alewife Harvesters of Maine from across Maine and New Hampshire traveled to Dresden for the organization’s annual pig roast on Saturday, Aug. 27. Founded in 2007, the Alewife Harvesters of Maine is comprised of fishermen, conservationists, biologists, environmental advocates, and other concerned residents focused on conserving alewives and preserving the river-fishing heritage of Maine. In 2013, the group worked with Maine legislators in support of a bill that opened the St. Croix River to alewives after 18 years.
Bass were introduced to drive out “voracious pickerel”
George Smith BDN Outdoor News Blog - Wednesday, August 31, 2016 

The new book "Summer Resorts and Kids’ Camps" gives a look back to the “good old very busy summer time” days when the Winthrop Lakes Region was filled with summer resorts and kids’ camps. As an avid angler who grew up in this area, I was fascinated by the accounts of fishing here, including “the unfortunate introduction of pickerel into the Winthrop and Belgrade Lakes.” That led Fisheries Commissioner Henry Stanley to report that the native fisheries in those lakes were doomed unless local residents reduced their amount of ice fishing. Bass were stocked in those lakes to drive out the “voracious pickerel.” Stanley noted that, at one time, those waters were “fully equal to the Rangeley Lakes.” Sadly, that is not the case today.
Opinion: Woodland mill investment offers lessons to modernize Maine’s forest industry
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, August 31, 2016 

Today in Baileyville, a place far from the concerns of the media or southern Maine politicians, St. Croix Tissue is holding a ribbon-cutting event to celebrate the completion of two new tissue machines and the start of their official operation. We must understand what encouraged a company to make this initial $120 million investment in Maine, we must address the high-cost issues facing the industry and we must build on these factors to create an economic environment for additional job creation in our state. I traveled twice to China to meet personally with the investors. Our productive meetings and the relationship we developed were an integral part of their decision to invest in Maine. ~ Paul R. LePage, governor of Maine
How electricity providers siphoned more than $20M from Maine customers
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, August 31, 2016 

A Bangor Daily News investigation found hundreds of thousands of Maine competitive supplier (CEP) customers would have paid $20 million less if they had stuck with the default price in 2013 and 2014. While losses on variable rate plans were steep, the bulk actually came from fixed-rate contracts. That’s despite a claim by the largest provider, Electricity Maine, that it ”has saved residents millions of dollars.”
Amid signs of backlash over LePage, will tourists stay away from Maine?
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, August 31, 2016 

Travel industry officials and advisers said it is too early to know if tourists canceling travel plans to Maine because of LePage are outliers or the tip of an approaching iceberg. The governor’s behavior, the national attention it has generated and its possible threat to the state’s wholesome image was the topic of discussion among attendees at a national tourism conference in Florida this week as an example of real-time crisis management. According to Lauren Duffy, an assistant professor at Clemson University’s College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences, “Tourism and politics are very entangled. Certain political events can have significant impact on tourism. LePage is doing no favors to his state’s tourism industry.”
Editorial: For Maine, a gift of the great outdoors
Boston Globe - Wednesday, August 31, 2016 

When you think of large, alluring national parks, New England is not the region that usually leaps to mind. But President Obama has taken a step toward changing that. On Aug. 24, he designated an 87,500 acre tract of land, in the Mount Katahdin region of northern Maine, the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. Creating such a monument is virtually the same as establishing a new national park. This will be the largest such park in New England, topping the 47,000-acre Acadia National Park and the 44,600-acre Cape Cod National Seashore. Unlike those two well-known coastal parks, this new federally protected and managed area is an inland treasure. It will serve as a worthy complement to Baxter State Park.
Opinion: All should be aboard for Maine-to-Montreal train with stop in Lewiston
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, August 31, 2016 

It’s time to expand passenger train service in Maine. The Amtrak Downeaster connecting Brunswick to Boston demonstrates the demand for and benefits of this clean, efficient transportation choice in the Pine Tree State. However, we need a modern train system that connects to more Maine communities, and eventually to Montreal. The first step toward new Maine-to-Montreal train service and rebuilding our state’s passenger rail network is running commuter rail from Portland to Lewiston-Auburn on existing state-owned rail lines. ~ Tony Donovan, Maine Rail Transit Coalition, and Olin Jenner, Sierra Club Maine
Letter: Thanks for the monument
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, August 31, 2016 

A heartfelt thank you to Roxanne Quimby, the Bangor Daily News and, of course, President Barack Obama. We live in one of the most beautiful places in the world. We are blessed to have so many trees and an abundance of freshwater. I believe that our new national monument will allow the generations to come to enjoy and appreciate the wilderness right here in our state. Let’s get out to the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument right away. Fall is coming. It should be spectacular. ~ Mary E. Taylor, Orono
Emery applauds reopening of Atlantic menhaden fishery
Courier-Gazette - Tuesday, August 30, 2016 

Facing a shortage of herring that threatens the Maine’s fishing industry, lobstermen and bait fishermen have been relying on menhaden during the peak of the lobster season. As the catch rapidly approached the temporary “episodic event” quota extension, the Maine Department of Marine Resources closed the fishery. Dave Emery was a member of the Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries, Conservation, and the Environment when he served in Congress. “Better data and more frequent analysis would provide the industry with a more complete understanding of fish population. This is important both to guarantee necessary conservation measures, but also to provide the lobster industry with sufficient bait for the robust lobster market, which is valued at $500 million in Maine,” Emery said. Emery is a Republican candidate for the Maine Senate in District 12, Knox County.
Sen. Chuck Grassley: Trump can get rid of wind energy ‘over my dead body’
Other - Tuesday, August 30, 2016 

Yahoo News - Donald Trump has railed against wind energy for years, but he’d face a backlash from members of his own party if he wins the White House and his administration pushes too hard on the issue. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, the author of the original wind energy tax credit in 1992, said a hypothetical President Trump wouldn’t be able to get rid of wind power in the U.S. as long as he’s alive. The GOP nominee has railed for years that wind farms are “ugly,” “obsolete” and “terrible for the environment,” among many other criticisms. “If he wants to do away with it, he’ll have to get a bill through Congress, and he’ll do it over my dead body,” Grassley said.
Bountiful black bear harvest seen for northern New England
Associated Press - Tuesday, August 30, 2016 

The bear hunt is underway in Maine, where more than 600 people have complained of bear encounters this year. The state is hoping for more participation in this year’s hunting season to help slow the growth of the bear population, said Jennifer Vashon, a bear biologist with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife. Maine has about 36,000 bears, up from 30,000 five years ago, Vashon said. Hunters typically harvest about 3,000 bears per year, but the state would prefer 4,000, she said.
Advocates to hold forum on Portland-Lewiston-Montreal rail service
Portland Press Herald - Tuesday, August 30, 2016 

A coalition that supports passenger rail service will hold a public forum Thursday in Portland on a proposed train service linking Portland, Lewiston and Montreal. The event will feature a presentation on the state of passenger rail and next steps for the proposal. A passenger rail link between the three cities has been considered for years. Last year, the Legislature and cities of Lewiston and Auburn provided funding to draw up a service development plan.
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