December 15, 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
LePage again criticizes LMF project in Cumberland-North Yarmouth, defends legislator
Forecaster - Monday, October 31, 2016 

Gov. Paul LePage, in an Oct. 28 letter to The Forecaster, claimed there is a lack of progress at the Knight’s Pond/Blueberry Hill preservation project, and defended a local legislator against criticism he’s received in connection with that effort. It was the second time in two weeks LePage issued a statement about the matter. And, for the second time in two weeks, local elected officials and land trusts say they are baffled by his message.
Project focused on new food economy aims to create Maine's 59th credit union
Mainebiz - Monday, October 31, 2016 

The Maine Harvest Credit Project, which aims to create a specialized, socially responsible credit union focused on the new food economy in Maine, has raised $1.4 million, or about 60% of the money it needs from donors, to start what would be the state's 59th credit union, the first new credit union in more than 25 years. If approved, the credit union will offer three loan products. One is $10,000 to $30,000 for used equipment. The second is a business loan for $65,000 to $135,000 for buildings, expansions and upgrades. And the third is land loans of $200,000 to $400,000. Maine Harvest is now under the auspices of Maine Farmland Trust and Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association. If granted credit union status by regulators, Maine Harvest will be a nonprofit with members including MOFGA farmer members and those from other food-related businesses.
It was a record-breaking cruise season in Portland
Mainebiz - Monday, October 31, 2016 

Portland's cruise ship season broke four cruise-related records this season by exceeding 100,000 passengers; hosting the most maiden voyages at nine; increasing its crew number by 10%; and welcoming the largest cruise ship ever.
Study: Less Than Half of Maine Households With Well Water Test for Arsenic
Maine Public - Monday, October 31, 2016 

Not enough Maine households are testing for arsenic, according to the Environmental Health Strategy Center. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control finds that less than half of the state’s households that rely on well water test for arsenic. Health advocates say the state needs to do more to educate private well owners and achieve a statewide goal of 65 percent testing by 2020. Gov. Paul LePage also vetoed a bill last year that sought to increase testing and awareness for arsenic. But some lawmakers say they’ll make another attempt next year.
Maine Commissioner Warns of Costs Involved in Regulating Marijuana
Maine Public - Monday, October 31, 2016 

Walter Whitcomb, the commissioner of the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, is urging Mainers to carefully consider their support of the citizen initiative to regulate marijuana like alcohol because his department is simply not prepared to take on that responsibility. David Boyer representing the campaign which is promoting approval of Question 1 says Maine’s state agricultural experts possess the expertise to meet their responsibilities under the measure.
Maine Commissioner Warns of Costs Involved in Regulating Marijuana
Maine Public - Monday, October 31, 2016 

The head of the state agency that would be charged with overseeing marijuana regulation under ballot Question 1 says his department is simply not prepared to take on that responsibility. Walter Whitcomb, the commissioner of the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, is urging Mainers to carefully consider their support of the citizen initiative. But proponents say Whitcomb’s concerns can be easily addressed.
Brunswick police rescue injured owl found sitting by the road
Portland Press Herald - Monday, October 31, 2016 

Brunswick police rescued an injured barred owl that a citizen spotted sitting on the side of Route 24 in Brunswick on Monday morning. Officer Justin Dolci and Heidi Nelson, the town’s animal control officer, placed the owl in a pet carrier and arranged to have it taken by the Maine Warden Service to Avian Haven, a wild bird rehabilitation center in Freedom.
Touring Maine’s Newest — and Largest — Parcel of Federal Land
New York Times - Monday, October 31, 2016 

On an early fall day, with just a hint of red tinting the maples, the view from the summit of Deasey Mountain is spectacular. It’s a fascinating view, partly because until recently, this mountain and most of the foreground were owned by one person. In August, the entrepreneur Roxanne Quimby donated it to the federal government, and President Obama designated the area the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. Now the 87,500-acre monument — adjacent to Baxter State Park — is Maine’s largest parcel of federal land, nearly twice the size of Acadia National Park, and I’ve come to explore.
Lobster trap war brings unprecedented offer of $15,000 reward
Portland Press Herald - Monday, October 31, 2016 

More than $350,000 worth of lobster gear has been destroyed since early summer in a bitter Down East trap war ranging from Cape Rosier to Schoodic Point, prompting state marine patrol officials to offer an unprecedented $15,000 reward for information that will help in its investigation. Anyone with information can call the Operation Game Thief Hotline or use the online tip reporting form.
Maine lumber industry stands to gain as Norway spruce earns construction grade
Portland Press Herald - Monday, October 31, 2016 

Following five months of testing at the University of Maine, the Norway spruce has been accepted as construction-grade lumber, the first new species to be accepted for commercial building use in roughly 80 years. Landowners, loggers, lumber mills, retailers and builders all are expected to benefit from being able to use lumber from Norway spruce trees. The spruce-pine-fir south classification for sawlogs harvested in Maine has historically been dominated by spruce and fir species.
Editorial: Land for Maine’s Future went back on its word; it’s now a poor partner for land conservation
Bangor Daily News - Monday, October 31, 2016 

The Howard Hill project in Augusta is slated to become a municipal park with the help of $337,500 from Land for Maine’s Future. The LMF board reaffirmed the project and funding again in October 2015. Now, two years after Land for Maine’s Future committed its support, the program’s board — with new members appointed by LePage — has voted to slash funding for the project by more than half. This about-face and reneging on a previous commitment is an outrageous abuse of power that puts all conservation groups and other potential state business partners on notice that Maine state government is not a reliable nor honest party with which to do business.
Westbrook parcel to house solar array for Portland apartment complex
Mainebiz - Monday, October 31, 2016 

The Wishcamper Cos., a Portland-based firm specializing in development of affordable housing projects in Maine and across the country, is building its first solar energy array in the state and hopes to expand in the future. The array will go on the 3.43-acre Lot 3 in Westbrook Heights Business Park. The 200-kilowatt array comprises 598 ground-mounted photovoltaic panels and is expected to supply most of the electricity used in Wishcamper's North School Apartments, a 60-unit complex at 248 Congress St. in Portland.
Reward offered for information in Hancock County lobster ‘trap war’
Bangor Daily News - Monday, October 31, 2016 

Reward offered for information in Hancock County lobster ‘trap war’An escalating “trap war” taking place in the coastal waters of Hancock County has cost lobstermen hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost gear and is prompting state officials to authorize a reward for information. “This trap war is without a doubt the most costly loss of gear I have witnessed in my 32-year career with the Maine Marine Patrol,” Col. Jon Cornish, head of DMR’s law enforcement division, said. “In this instance, [total] gear loss is estimated to far exceed $350,000 dollars.” Lobster traps cost approximately $130 each, which means that more than 2,500 traps are believed to have been targeted in the feud, which DMR says involves “a few harvesters.”
Abandoned boat tops list of garbage picked up this week
George Smith BDN Outdoor News Blog - Monday, October 31, 2016 

The Keep Maine Clean will build an army of good folks who pick up trash along our roads and highways, something I’ve been doing for years. Throughout the winter we’re working to build the list of participants in the program, which will be officially launched next spring by the Maine Resource Recovery Association. In addition to a regular newsletter, participants will enjoy a monthly contest with prizes for the most unusual items picked up that month.
Letter: Bravo for the Bangor buses
Bangor Daily News - Monday, October 31, 2016 

There is a concerted effort to improve our public transit system. The city is adding more buses. Pickering Square and the bus depot will be getting a facelift. Soon there will be extended hours and perhaps an increased frequency of route runs — maybe even on Sundays — so people can get to and from jobs and to the expanding array of restaurants and evening venues. Suzanne Kelly, Bangor
Car reservation system among proposals to ease Acadia traffic
Acadia On My Mind Blog - Sunday, October 30, 2016 

The National Park Service is floating several proposals to ease Acadia traffic congestion and improve safety during peak visitation, including a reservation system for cars to drive up Cadillac or to park at Jordan Pond House. Other key preliminary ideas include eliminating parking in the right hand lane on the one-way section of the Park Loop Road to improve Acadia traffic flow and allowing cars to enter Ocean Drive past the entrance station until certain thresholds for parking and road volumes are reached. People can comment on the preliminary concepts through Nov. 30.
Rockweed fishery thriving in Maine
Maine Sunday Telegram - Sunday, October 30, 2016 

Rockweed landings in Maine have doubled in the last 10 years, to 15 million pounds in 2015. It’s not a high cash crop – the price per pound averages to 4 cents – but as a value-added product it has become an industry with real potential, including uses that could reduce the amount of chemical fertilizers on agricultural crops. But as the fishery has grown, so have tensions over it, including whether or not it should even be a fishery. Marine biologist Robin Hadlock Seeley said, “Number one, it makes no sense, with everything that is going on in the marine environment, to start hacking away at the habitat." Number two, her research subjects, periwinkles, were already in trouble. “I am studying the last few of these species and now they are disappearing into the bottom of the boats.”
Maine native Kevin Concannon’s a top USDA official promoting healthier eating for low-income people
Maine Sunday Telegram - Sunday, October 30, 2016 

Having served as director of state health and human services departments in Oregon, Iowa and Maine, Portland native Kevin Concannon knows a lot about health and poverty. He is the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s undersecretary for food, nutrition and consumer services. He sees progress in SNAP recipients buying from local farmers but worries about the state's reputation under the LePage Administration.
Down East Maine offers a camping jewel
Maine Sunday Telegram - Sunday, October 30, 2016 

If you like a view of Maine’s rocky coast and camping out of sight of people in a part of the state with more green space than development, Cobscook Bay State Park will surpass your expectations. “It’s 888 acres and has four miles of road throughout the park. Everything is spaced out. We can have 300 campers and you can be at your campsite and not hear anybody,” said Cobscook Park Manager Tom Harmon.
Column: Birders get competitive about their lists
Maine Sunday Telegram - Sunday, October 30, 2016 

The most common birder list is the life list, a compendium of all the species of birds seen in one’s lifetime. Completing a successful Big Year requires finding all of the 671 species that occur regularly and widely in North America. One must target another 82 species that occur in North America each year but are rare. 2016 has been a phenomenal year for bird rarities. Four birders have broken the 700 species mark – the first time that has ever happened in a calendar year. ~ Herb Wilson
Column: The real work of a successful hunt starts after a deer has been bagged
Maine Sunday Telegram - Sunday, October 30, 2016 

A successful hunt will bring satisfaction, delight and quite possibly relief to the proud hunter. But the real prizes – steaks, chops, roast and burger – will be enjoyed for weeks and months to come, and how much you enjoy them can depend on the steps you take immediately after the shot. ~ Bob Humphrey
Opinion: Solar benefits all ratepayers
Maine Sunday Telegram - Sunday, October 30, 2016 

Independent studies, in state after state including Maine, have repeatedly found that solar net metering saves money for all electric ratepayers. Plus, residential solar development is proven to help grow local economies, create new jobs, raise incomes and reduce pollution. But the electric utilities want you to think otherwise, and appear to be willing to say anything to make their case. ~ Steve Hinchman, ReVision Energy, Portland
Letter: Nothing wrong with father teaching agriculture to son
Maine Sunday Telegram - Sunday, October 30, 2016 

Whether it was the editor’s or Mark Tappan’s decision to accompany his “A call to resist ‘toxic masculinity’“ (MST, Oct. 23) with the photo of a father teaching his young son how to plow a field, it was a horribly erroneous decision. Animal husbandry, which is what the photo handsomely portrays, is the responsible cultivation of plants and animals and the judicious use and conservation of these natural resources. If “toxic masculinity” is a father teaching his son the rudiments of farming, I’m living on the wrong planet. I choose to live in a real world, not one of politically correct editorial polemics. ~ Albert H. Black, Kennebunkport
Column: Question 3 would be nearly impossible to enforce
Sun Journal - Saturday, October 29, 2016 

One of the best reasons to show up at the polls on election day, November 8, in Maine is the opportunity to vote against Question 3, which would require the so-called Universal Background Check for most transfers of firearms between private individuals. ~ V. Paul Reynolds
Maine hunters happy with start of deer hunting season
Morning Sentinel - Saturday, October 29, 2016 

Across the state, many Maine residents got a start on the deer hunting season Saturday. Many said they were excited to get a good day of hunting in despite the cold, rainy weather. The regular firearms season for both residents and nonresidents starts Monday and runs through Nov. 26.
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