November 18, 2018  
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Maine Environmental News
Action Alert - Saturday, November 17, 2018 

Thanks for visiting Maine Environmental News, a service of RESTORE: The North Woods. MEN is the most comprehensive online source available for links to 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
Friends of Baxter State Park auction, thru Dec 5
Announcement - Friday, November 16, 2018 

Own a piece of Baxter State Park history: retired Park signs and other special items. Proceeds are split between Baxter State Park and Friends of Baxter State Park. Runs November 8 - December 5.
Northern Forest Canoe Trail auction, thru Dec 2
Announcement - Thursday, November 15, 2018 

Win paddles, tents, maps and more in the Northern Forest Canoe Trail online auction, thru December 2.
Petition: Restore the head of children's health protection
Action Alert - Thursday, November 15, 2018 

Dr. Ruth Etzel is the EPA's top expert on children's health. A pediatrician and epidemiologist, her job is to protect children from toxic chemicals, pesticides and lead in our environment. But a month ago with no explanation, Trump's acting EPA chief Andrew Wheeler abruptly put her on leave. Tell Wheeler: Restore Dr. Ruth Etzel to the Office of Children's Health Protection. ~ CREDO Action
Petition: Convert BIW to deal with climate change
Action Alert - Thursday, November 15, 2018 

Climate crisis would be addressed by conversion of Bath Iron Work's considerable industrial capacity to building public transportation and/or renewable energy infrastructure.
Petition: No coal exports from military bases
Action Alert - Thursday, November 15, 2018 

Interior Secretary Zinke is the subject of more than one dozen federal investigations. Despite this, he is continuing to make reckless decisions that threaten the country. Speak out against Zinke's plans to use military bases as export terminals for coal and natural gas.
Saving Thoreau’s Birthplace, Nov 18
Event - Posted - Sunday, November 11, 2018 

Lucille Stott, Brunswick, Maine, resident, former president of Thoreau Farm Trust, and former editor of The Concord Journal, presents her new book, “Saving Thoreau’s Birthplace: How Citizens Rallied to Bring Henry Out of the Woods.” At Thoreau Farm, Concord, MA, November 18, 2 pm.
Hike: Hatchet Mountain Preserve, Nov 17
Event - Posted - Saturday, November 10, 2018 

Scott Dickerson and Janet Readfield will lead a hike while sharing the history of the mountain with majestic views. At Hatchet Mountain Preserve, Hope, November 17, 9-11 am. Sponsored by Coastal Mountains Land Trust.
National Take a Hike Day, Nov 17
Event - Posted - Saturday, November 10, 2018 

National Take a Hike Day is observed annually on November 17. With over 60,000 miles of trails in the National Trail System across the 50 states, there is no lack of opportunity to take a hike.
Dawnland, Nov 16
Event - Posted - Friday, November 9, 2018 

Screening and panel discussion of the documentary Dawnland about how Maine government systematically forced Native American children from their homes and placed them with white families. At USM, Portland, November 16, 5:30 pm, free but get tickets in advance.
Raptors Program, Nov 15
Event - Posted - Thursday, November 8, 2018 

Birder and photographer Don Reimer will give a visual presentation on Maine raptors. At Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center, Rockland, November 15, 6:30 pm.
Rethinking Strip Redevelopment to Strengthen Your Community, Nov 15
Event - Posted - Thursday, November 8, 2018 

Learn how towns can improve the appearance and functionality of commercial corridors to bring in new residents, employees and activity. At Topsham Library, November 15, 4-7 pm. GrowSmart Maine members $10, public $20, students $5.
Atlantic Salmon Restoration, Nov 15
Event - Posted - Thursday, November 8, 2018 

Denise Buckley, US Fish and Wildlife Service senior staff biologist, will chronicle the response to the listing of Atlantic salmon in eight of Maine’s rivers as endangered under the Endangered Species Act in December 2000. At at Belfast Library, November 15, 6:30 pm.
The Land that Sustains Us: Stories from the Field, Nov 15
Event - Posted - Thursday, November 8, 2018 

A live storytelling night with 3 Maine farmers. At Maine Historical Society, November 15, 6-8:30 pm, $10 for Maine Historical Society and Maine Farmland Trust members, $15 general.
Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument management plan meeting, Nov 14
Event - Posted - Wednesday, November 7, 2018 

The National Park Service is developing a management plan for Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. Public meeting at Portland Marriott at Sable Oaks, South Portland, November 14, 6-8 pm.
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News Items
Portland sets new mark for warmest December on record
Portland Press Herald - Thursday, December 31, 2015 

Maine’s weather came in like a lion in 2015 – with the coldest February on record – and went out like a lamb, with a balmy December that set a record in Portland and was on track to be the warmest ever statewide.
Maine top court upholds Owls Head access to waterfront road
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, December 31, 2015 

The state’s highest court has upheld the town’s easement on a strip of waterfront land owned by a New York couple, assuring access to the beach by neighbors. The case has been in the court system for more than four years and cost taxpayers more than $100,000 to defend the public easement. The Maine Supreme Judicial Court issued the ruling Thursday.
Bond Authorizations to Be Considered By the Legislature
Maine Public Broadcasting Network - Thursday, December 31, 2015 

Legislative leaders have allowed two bills into the second session addressing how bonds are authorized. At issue is Governor Paul LePage not signing off on some bonds for the Land For Maine's Future program. One measure takes the sign off requirement by the governor off the books, but Sen. Roger Katz, a republican from Augusta is sponsoring a second bill that is more comprehensive. He says he worked with State Treasurer Terry Hayes to draft the legislation which he believes will change the bond issuance process to make sure when voters approve borrowing for a project the bonds are sold to invest in that program.
New Year’s Eve dip in Portland Harbor
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, December 31, 2015 

When I got the message from my editors this morning that they wanted me to cover the Natural Resources Council of Maine’s annual Polar Bear Dip and Dash at noon, I knew I had to try something different. So, I decided to go in with them. Was it cold? Yes it was. But it was also a blast and a great way to close out the year. Between the 5k race and the plunge, they had about 200 people on hand. The NRCM said they’d raised $25,000, all told. Not too shabby, I’d say. [video]
Opinion: All eyes were on industry to stop ozone depletion; same goes for climate change
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, December 31, 2015 

Looking back at the rapid global response to ozone depletion is a lesson in political, ecological and industrial perseverance, with historical implications for today’s sluggish international efforts to confront climate change. Until industry can further bring down the cost and widen the availability of solar, wind and other alternatives through continued innovation, its powerful voice will remain conspicuously absent from the discussion — for its own survival. There’s great optimism over the political momentum from the recent Paris summit, but innovative commercial solutions are not yet fully scalable. So, 30 years after international agreement over the Montreal Protocol, all eyes return to industry once again for solutions to a global environmental crisis. ~ Reuben Hudson, Colby College, Waterville
Maine’s logging industry confronts pulpwood ‘crisis’
Lincoln County News - Thursday, December 31, 2015 

The forest products industry has played an essential role in the region’s economy for more than two centuries, but a shrinking domestic market for by-products of the industry, including wood chips, has taken a heavy toll on the logging industry, pulp mills, sawmills, and local harvesters. The past decade has seen fundamental shifts hit the timber sector, pushing portions of the industry, including pulp and paper mills, close to a breaking point. “What I see is a real crisis on our step and it’s going to get worse if we don’t do anything,” said Norman Hunt, proprietor of N.C. Hunt Inc., which operates a sawmill in Jefferson and retail stores in Jefferson and Damariscotta.
Environmental guru Brownie Carson running for Maine Senate
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, December 31, 2015 

Candidates for the 2016 legislative elections are starting to file their paperwork and there are some interesting tidbits emerging. One is that Everett “Brownie” Carson, the 26-year director of the influential Natural Resources Council of Maine, has filed paperwork to run for the Maine Senate district representing Brunswick, Harpswell, Freeport and Pownal. As one of the state’s leading environmental issues voices, Carson, a Harpswell Democrat, certainly has name recognition and a high profile, so his chances at taking the seat currently held by Sen. Stan Gerzofsky, who is term limited out of office, look good although no Republican or other candidate has yet thrown names into the race.
Maine scientist investigating Deepwater Horizon spill effect
Associated Press - Thursday, December 31, 2015 

A scientist from Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences in Maine is investigating the long-term effects of oil released during the Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. The laboratory says Christoph Aeppli and others will try to find out how spilled oil weathered in the environment. They will also investigate how the chemical composition of the oil has been changed in the environment over the past six years. The work will shed light on how marine animals may be affected by the changes. Aeppli says the work will also help improve cleanup efforts in the future.
Maine deals in 2015 involve forestland and more
Portland Press Herald - Thursday, December 31, 2015 

In 2015, there were many notable mergers and acquisitions in Maine. In January, a judge approved the merger of paper companies Verso and NewPage, a transaction that reverberated throughout Maine’s paper industry. The $1.4 billion deal required NewPage to sell its mill in Rumford to Catalyst Paper in order to assuage anti-trust concerns. Verso had already shed its Bucksport mill the previous summer. The deals resulted in the loss of about 500 paper-making jobs in midcoast Maine. Since acquiring the Rumford mill, Catalyst has shut down one paper machine and laid off 50 people indefinitely. Verso laid off 300 from its Jay mill this fall. Still in the works is the acquisition of the Plum Creek land management company by timberland giant Weyerhauser. The $87.4 billion deal would give Weyerhauser control over 860,000 acres in Maine near Moosehead Lake and some of the state’s most pristine forests.
Beyond GPS: The Next High-Tech Frontier in Wild Animal Tracking
Other - Wednesday, December 30, 2015 

Scientific American - Conventional collars show scientists where in the forest a wolf is, but new technology also tells you what the animal is doing hour by hour.
Blog: The Trans-Pacific Partnership and its Local Impact
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, December 30, 2015 

The next stage of the United States’ effort to expand the outreach of its globalization agenda, the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement or what the president of the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen Robert Weissman called “NAFTA on steroids,” must dominate the electoral debates of 2016 if we still consider ourselves a participatory democracy. Although not in the radar of the average constituent at the moment, mostly because of its secrecy and lack of transparency, it will surge as a key agenda for debate as citizens and politicians become aware of its impact on local economics and politics.
The Business of Trapping
Don Loprieno's The View from Here Blog - Wednesday, December 30, 2015 

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife ignores complaints by people whose pets have been caught in traps.
Column: About those swans-a-swimming
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, December 30, 2015 

I’ve often wondered why anyone would give his true love 12 lords a-leaping. And, really, of what practical use are any of the gifts that follow the maids a-milking? Even the seven swans are problematic. Have you seen swans? They are elegant a-swimming, enough to be folkloric heroes of operas and ballets. But they put the foul in fowl. Swans are large and aggressive, attacking everything around them, even people who encroach upon their territories. They are vicious and voracious. Here’s a tip for the holidays: if you give a gift of swans, the romance is over. ~ Bob Duchesne
Loggers feel impact of paper industry downturn
Lincoln County News - Wednesday, December 30, 2015 

The recently closed paper mills in central and northern Maine might not be geographically close to the midcoast, but the impact of the shutdowns is taking a toll on loggers and harvesters in Lincoln County and surrounding communities. As paper mills shut down, it not only leads to job losses for workers and contractors at the industrial plants themselves, but also a loss of market for the low-grade wood harvested for paper and pulp throughout the state, creating a negative effect on a number of trades connected to the mills.
SunEdison kills USD 336m of debt via sale of assets, yieldco shares
Other - Wednesday, December 30, 2015 

In exchange for the extinguishment of $336 million of debt, SunEdison Inc has agreed to transfer certain green energy projects under development and shares in its first yieldco to DE Shaw group, Madison Dearborn Capital Partners IV LP and Northwestern University. The first portion of notes to be cancelled amounts to $121 million. In return, DE Shaw and the other two buyers will get 12.16 million shares in TerraForm Power. In addition, SunEdison said it would make certain earnout payments to DE Shaw Composite Holdings LLC and Madison Dearborn between March 30, 2016 and March 30, 2017. The earnouts are related to the acquisition of First Wind Holdings LLC.
Have you had your bok choy today? Husson professors want to know
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, December 30, 2015 

Do you eat arugula? What about broccoli or broccoflower? How about Brussels sprouts, purple cabbage, mustard greens or kohlrabi? Husson University professors Yanyan Li and Sarah L. Martin want to know. They’re asking Mainers to take a survey about their consumption of what are called cruciferous vegetables. Those are veggies that are rich in nutrients and fiber, and may even reduce the risk of various types of cancer. They say they want to understand whether Mainers are eating these vegetables and, if so, how much. There’s a $5 gift card if you complete the survey, which is anonymous.
Artistic scientist illustrates effects of climate change
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, December 30, 2015 

Jill Pelto, an artist and scientist, recently completed a project as part of her honors thesis that explores the issues of human-induced climate change she has studied with her father over many years of study. “I call it environmental art,” she said. “The way I use it is specifically to communicate particular issues.” Jill Pelto’s work is currently featured at the University of Maine art department’s senior studio art exhibit, “The Ghosts of Carnegie Hall,” where it will be on display until Jan. 22, 2016, in Lord Hall on the University of Maine campus.
SunEdison's Debt Exchange Was An Expensive Margin Call
Other - Wednesday, December 30, 2015 

SunEdison has made an extremely confusing debt exchange for $336 million principal amount of 3.75% Guaranteed Exchangeable Senior Secured Notes due 2020. The confusing part isn't just the fact that SunEdison would pay down such low interest rate debt, but the onerous terms in which it subjected itself to through this exchange. The 3.75% Secured Notes due 2020 were initially exchangeable at a rate of 28.9140 shares of TerraForm Power Class A Common stock per $1,000 principal amount of the notes. That would value the Class A Common stock at $34.59 per share. The notes were used to acquire First Wind Holdings. Apparently, another poorly thought out acquisition has come back to haunt them. Rather than the notes being exchanged for anywhere near the $34.59 per share area, $121.47 million principal amount of the note is being exchanged for 12.16 million TERP Class A shares which values each share at $9.99. If TERP share prices do not materially rise over the next 3 months, SunEdison may have given them away for peanuts if the buyers decided to dispose of them in an untimely manner.
Maine state parks work to boost winter use
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, December 30, 2015 

In an effort to get more people visiting Maine state parks year-round, the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands is ramping up its programming and public outreach this winter. This winter, the state is launching its second Maine State Parks Ski and Snowshoe Trailer, a mobile rental shop containing cross-country skis and snowshoes of all sizes. This trailer will travel to state parks throughout Maine, offering free equipment rental to visitors who have paid park admission.
Hearing scheduled on DEP commissioner
Maine Environmental News - Wednesday, December 30, 2015 

The Maine Legislature's Environment and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on the nomination by Gov. Paul LePage of Paul E. Mercer of Penobscot to be Commissioner of Environmental Protection. The hearing will be held on Monday, January 11, at 1:00 pm in Augusta in the Cross Building, Room 216. The deadline for comments on the nomination is 9 am the day of the hearing.
Opinion: We need to let Land for Maine’s Future make good on its commitments
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, December 30, 2015 

During these crisp mornings I often think how fortunate we are to live in Maine and how fortunate we are Maine voters have made a commitment to protect public access. We’ve made it six times since 1987 by voting for funding for the Land for Maine’s Future program. I can’t think of a more popular state-run program than LMF. It is truly nonpartisan and succeeds in large part because it is designed to be inclusive, drawing on the creativity and problem-solving skills of Maine residents all over the state who are working for a better future in their communities. The projects represent partnerships with local sporting groups, towns, land trusts, state agencies and many others. Despite its popularity and the good work the program has helped fund, for the past 18 months, LMF has been tied up in Augusta politics. The reality is that LMF is about people and helping Mainers by providing investments in our natural resource-based economy. ~ Rep. Russell Black, R-Wilton
What can you shoot and when can you shoot it?
George Smith BDN Outdoor News Blog - Wednesday, December 30, 2015 

Are those greedy gray squirrels crowding the birds out of your bird feeders? Well, you’ve got just one day left in the squirrel hunting season to shoot them, unless you hunt them with a falcon – and I’m not talking about the Ford Falcon. For those hunting with a falcon, the squirrel season extends until February 28. What? You say you don’t hunt but you’ve been shooting those darned squirrels off the bird feeders, and you certainly didn’t know there was a hunting season on them? Yes, indeed, and you can’t shoot them without a hunting license. But don’t worry, I won’t tell.
Column: Climate change cannot be stopped
Sun Journal - Wednesday, December 30, 2015 

On climate change, curb your enthusiasm. It's not that the recent international conference in Paris didn't take significant steps to check global warming. It did. Nearly 200 countries committed to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. The goal of limiting warming to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) from preindustrial times was reaffirmed. The trouble is that what's being attempted is so fundamentally difficult that even these measures may be wildly unequal to the task. What's being attempted, of course, is the wholesale replacement of the world economy's reliance on fossil fuels (coal, oil, natural gas) for four-fifths of its energy. To be sure, the shift is envisioned to take decades, four or five at a minimum. Still, the vast undertaking may exceed human capability. ~ Robert Samuelson
Column: Sharing our love of Maine with a sixth-grader from Indiana
Kennebec Journal - Wednesday, December 30, 2015 

Thank you, Justin Kuiper, of South Bend, Indiana, for your interest in Maine. Your letter about your sixth-grade project was published in my local newspaper. I am so pleased you chose to learn and write a report about Maine. As you noted, you will learn a lot from your research, so what you are looking from us is “personal experience of the things people love about Maine.” Mainers are strong conservationists, who have protected more than 3 million acres of our most beautiful places, and I haven’t even mentioned yet Mount Katahdin and Baxter State Park, our tallest mountain and a large forest managed to be forever wild. ~ George Smith
Letter: Clean the Penobscot River
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, December 30, 2015 

The Dec. 17 Bangor Daily News article on the ruling on Penobscot Nation’s lawsuit over its rights to the Penobscot River posed more questions than answers. I found federal Judge George Singal’s interpretation of the Maine Indian Land Claims Settlement Act confusing and even conflicting, so I read the whole decision and found instead of the ruling being contradictory, it was instead the law that made no sense. The law restricts tribal territory to the land on the islands but provides sustenance fishing rights in the Penobscot River. Why would it be a bad thing to rid the waters of the Penobscot River of toxins and keep them at levels below what is considered safe for sustenance fishing? Is it possible that it is because of the money it would cost the industries and municipalities further up the river to clean the water? Perhaps we should consider spending our tax dollars on cleaning up the river instead of fighting not to. ~ Fran Bodell, Milbridge
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