May 22, 2018  
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News Items
Governor LePage Seeks Input on a New Era in Maine Energy
Maine Government News - Tuesday, May 22, 2018 

As Governor Paul R. LePage described in his Weekly Radio Address for the week of May 13, he is asking for input from experts regarding how Maine can benefit from the changing energy environment. As states to our south increasingly look to Maine and Canada to meet their renewable energy and low carbon needs, Maine's opportunities and responsibilities increase.
Take Time Out for Trees this Arbor Week
Maine Government News - Tuesday, May 22, 2018 

This week, Maine celebrates Arbor Week. Trees and forests contribute in many ways to communities throughout Maine. During Arbor Week, the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry encourages residents to take time out for trees.
Hike: Noyes Mountain Preserve
Aislinn Sarnacki Act Out Blog - Tuesday, May 22, 2018 

Rising 1,503 feet above sea level, Noyes Mountain features a 2.5-mile hike that visits the mountain’s wooded summit and ends at a wide open view southwest of the summit at a cliff above Harvard Mine, a privately-owned site that produces tourmaline and other iconic Maine gems. The 286-acre Noyes Mountain Preserve was purchased by the Western Foothills Land Trust for $270,000 in February 2017, and it already features hiking trails that are marked and easy to follow, with signs and maps posted at trail intersections.
Maine Tourism Prepares for Busy Summer Season
Maine Government News - Tuesday, May 22, 2018 

With Memorial Day and the summer travel season just around the corner, the Maine Office of Tourism looks forward to another good year for the tourism industry in Maine, amid national reports of optimism for U.S. domestic leisure travel. Over 36 million travelers from the U.S. and Canada visited Maine on tourism-related trips in 2017, an increase in annual visitation of 2.5 percent over 2016. Maine tourism visitation increased for the fifth consecutive year in 2017, averaging more than five percent growth each year since 2012.
Environmental groups ask to be taken out of Cote attack ad on Mills
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, May 22, 2018 

On Monday, gubernatorial candidate Adam Cote released a 32-second TV ad with about 10 seconds dedicated to attacking Attorney General Janet Mills. In the ad, Cote says Mills was “wrong to join Gov. [Paul] LePage in refusing to strengthen water protections” and pointing to six groups who he says “disagree with Janet, too.” But two of the groups that signed the letter — the Natural Resources Council of Maine and Maine Conservation Voters — asked to be removed from the ad quickly after its release on Monday. Pete Didisheim, NRCM’s advocacy director, said the group “was never asked for authorization and would never have provided it.” Maureen Drouin, Maine Conservation Voters’ executive director, said an endorsement could be construed from it. Both said Cote’s campaign quickly agreed.
Exemplary Forestry: A New Paradigm for the Northeast's Woodlands?
Forests for Maine's Future - Tuesday, May 22, 2018 

The New England Forestry Foundation is working with the Maine Mountain Collaborative, a consortium of conservation and forestry organizations, to bring together philanthropists and investors as part of a new economic calculus intended to promote long-term investing with clear timber production and forest health goals. Investors would be partly reimbursed for the costs of forestland by the sale of “exemplary forestry” easements on the property to a land trust funded by donations from philanthropists.
New Collections Manager-Outreach Specialist at Viles Arboretum
Maine Environmental News - Tuesday, May 22, 2018 

Kyra Danielowski will serve as Collections Manager – Outreach Specialist at the Viles Arboretum in Augusta for the summer of 2018.
New Report Analyzes Exposure to Climate Hazards in U.S. Muni Market
Other - Tuesday, May 22, 2018 

Four Twenty Seven, the leading provider of climate risk intelligence for financial markets, today releases its research findings on modeling the exposure of U.S. municipalities and their financial instruments to climate risks. Muni bond investors and credit rating agencies are increasingly considering climate change and past extreme weather events as part of their evaluation of U.S. cities. While this consideration is an important step, their evaluations could be better informed by incorporating forward-looking comparable data on the climate risks that impact these municipalities.
Pruitt censoring science
Sierra Club - Tuesday, May 22, 2018 

Scott Pruitt is attempting to censor science in EPA rule-making. Emails released this past week revealed that polluting industries had pitched this idea to the EPA last year. And now Pruitt's following through on the polluters' bidding. Fifteen medical and public health organizations have voiced concern about this proposal. And over 35,000 Sierra Club activists who have submitted a comment in opposition.
Trump administration moves to lift rules on hunting Alaska bears, wolves
Associated Press - Tuesday, May 22, 2018 

The Trump administration is moving to reverse rules barring hunters on national preserves in Alaska from baiting brown bears with bacon and doughnuts and using spotlights to shoot mother black bears and cubs hibernating in their dens. Under the proposed changes, hunters would also be allowed to hunt black bears with dogs, kill wolves and pups in their dens, and use motor boats to shoot swimming caribou. Expanding hunting rights on federal lands has been a priority for Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, who displays mounted heads in his Washington office. President Donald Trump's sons are also avid trophy hunters who have made past excursions to Alaska.

UNE Launches New Institute Dedicated To Northern Regions
Associated Press - Tuesday, May 22, 2018 

Officials announced Monday that the Institute for North Atlantic Studies of the University of New England will be based in Portland. The first students for UNE North will be accepted this summer and classes will begin in summer 2019. Among the inaugural programs at the institute is a one-year professional science master’s degree in Ocean Food Systems, created in partnership with two Icelandic universities.
Opinion: Landfilling tons of municipal waste is an environmental tragedy
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, May 22, 2018 

Tens of thousands of tons of municipal solid waste from all over eastern Maine are now heading directly to landfills. This is a monumental tragedy for Maine’s environment, and it is sad that state officials charged with protecting Maine’s environment seem to be looking the other way. This mess didn’t have to happen. It was a very bad choice by the Municipal Review Committee, the organization representing the more than 100 communities. Maine’s environment and future generations will pay the price. ~ Harry Sunburn, Alton
New turkey management plan calls for killing more turkeys
George Smith BDN Outdoor News Blog - Tuesday, May 22, 2018 

Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife's new big game management plans say, “The Department feels that the wild turkey population can support additional harvest in both the spring and fall in certain WMDs and would like to increase hunter participation in both seasons… Increasing hunter participation will be required before harvest can be used as a tool to effectively control or reduce the wild turkey population in WMDs where that may be desirable.” Time to get rid of the permit and fee and increase the bag limit!
While Electricity Maine overcharged customers millions, it was still losing money
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, May 22, 2018 

In the same year power seller Electricity Maine charged Maine customers $30 million over the standard rate, the company was leaking millions. Kevin Dean, one of the company’s co-founders, said in court documents that, in 2015, Electricity Maine and its smaller operations in other New England states “had losses of over [$14 million] and were in trouble.” Meanwhile, Electricity Maine, whose co-founder Emile Clavet promised in 2011 to “always beat the standard offer,” kept losing money and charging customers prices 60 percent higher than the going rate. The company and founders face a potential class-action lawsuit that alleges customers were lured by false advertising into electricity contracts for their homes.
Budget typo holding up millions in Maine ‘clean election’ funds
Portland Press Herald - Tuesday, May 22, 2018 

Maine lawmakers failed to pass a routine “errors and inconsistencies” bill to correct unintended budget language that prevents the Maine Ethics Commission from disbursing additional money to so-called “clean election” candidates starting on July 1. The Clean Elections issue comes three years after a one-word clerical error – a missing “and” – in a bill passed in the final hours of a legislative session almost cost the Efficiency Maine energy conservation program nearly $38 million. The Legislature eventually fixed the error, but not until after Republican Gov. Paul LePage tried to use the issue as leverage to get other political concessions.
New UMaine energy proposal calls for biomass, solar
Portland Press Herald - Tuesday, May 22, 2018 

The University of Maine in Orono would get much of its heat and electricity from an on-campus Renewable Energy Center fueled by locally harvested wood and a huge solar array, according to a plan being negotiated by the university system and Honeywell International. The cost of the power contract has been estimated to be worth more than $100 million.
Letter: Golden looks out for environment
Morning Sentinel - Tuesday, May 22, 2018 

As a state representative, Jared Golden worked hard on measures to reduce lead, championing a bill to fund lead abatement programs for families who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford them. Jared saw how badly this problem was affecting Lewiston-Auburn families and took action. His record on the environment is stellar regarding other problems, too, from keeping litter off our streets to protecting firefighters from harmful chemicals, to supporting the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, to protecting Maine from damaging mining practices. ~ William F. Reid Jr., Skowhegan
Letter: Scott Pruitt needs to resign
Morning Sentinel - Tuesday, May 22, 2018 

The American people and Mainers specifically deserve better than Scott Pruitt. Pruitt’s tenure as U.S. Environmental Protection Agency administrator has been an unmitigated disaster. He’s spent more than $150,000 of taxpayer dollars on luxury travel, exploited the Safe Drinking Water Act to give personal friends extraordinary raises, and secured a sweetheart deal to stay in a luxury D.C. condo co-owned by the wife of an energy lobbyist for $50 per night. Pruitt’s been rolling back life-saving regulations to benefit his dirty energy benefactors. His actions are in direct contradiction with what the EPA stands for. Scott Pruitt needs to resign so that we can have a competent EPA leader who takes a stand for Maine’s all important wilderness and eco-tourism. ~ Neshamah Stearns, Unity
Trump Administration Joins Fossil Fuel Companies in Climate Fight Against Cities
Inside Climate News - Monday, May 21, 2018 

Just before a critical hearing to determine the fate of a pair of climate lawsuits, the United States government has weighed in as a heavyweight ally on the side of the fossil fuel companies. Lawyers from the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division filed a friend of the court brief last week in support of five of the world's largest oil and gas companies, which are seeking to have lawsuits dismissed. Pat Parenteau, a professor of environmental law at the Vermont Law School, said, "What the government is trying to do is get the judge to take his eye off the ball. The question [in these cases] is not about policy, but about the industry's conduct."
These State Parks Have All the Beauty of National Parks — and None of the Crowds
Other - Monday, May 21, 2018 

Travel+Leisure - Every year from Maine to Alaska, throngs pour into U.S. national parks and preserves to climb towering cliffs, hike through misty forests and capture the perfect selfie at the grandest of canyons. But travelers who want to revel in natural splendor without entering the scrum have an alternative: these state parks [including Baxter State Park] deserve spots on your travel to-do list.
Help wanted at Maine's parks and historic sites
Mainebiz - Monday, May 21, 2018 

Maine's labor shortage is affecting the state's parks and visitor sites. The state Bureau of Parks and Lands, which manages 48 parks and historic sites, wants to fill the following jobs: park ranger, assistant park ranger, customer representative assistant, lifeguard, lifeguard supervisor and laborer. Most are seasonal positions. Love of the outdoors might mitigate the pay rate, which is some cases is a notch above the state's minimum wage of $10.10 an hour.
L.L.Bean and Maine Audubon to Host David Allen Sibley at Birding Festival
Other - Monday, May 21, 2018 

Outdoor retailer L.L.Bean is partnering with Maine Audubon this weekend to host their fourth annual Birding Festival, May 25-27. The event will feature educational presentations on birds and bats, as well as guided birding walks in diverse ecosystems from Freeport to Mohegan Island. The featured speaker will be David Allen Sibley, author of The Sibley Guide to Birds, the fastest selling bird book in history, used by millions of birders from novices to experts.
New Tick-Borne Illness In Maine Causes Allergic Reaction To Red Meat
Maine Public - Monday, May 21, 2018 

Dog and deer ticks are well-established in Maine and cause an a number of illnesses. Now, another species — the lone star tick, typically found in the southern U.S. — appears to be making inroads here, and it brings with it a surprise: an anaphylactic reaction to eating meat from hoofed animals.
Independent Candidates Gather At State House
Maine Public - Monday, May 21, 2018 

Independent candidates for governor, Congress and the Legislature were at the State House in Augusta Monday to compare notes on running as independents. Several candidates pointed out that while they are all unenrolled, they don’t all agree on issues. Not all have filed petitions to get on the ballot yet, but if they are successful in collecting signatures, there could be more than 20 independent candidates after the filing deadline June 1.
Don’t be fooled by these pretty invasive flowers that are bad for Maine
Bangor Daily News - Monday, May 21, 2018 

Yellow iris, ornamental jewelweed and black swallow-wort may be pretty, but they can smother the state’s native flora and provide less-nutritious food for native fauna, according to Tori Jackson, a University of Maine Cooperative Extension associate professor. According to Nancy Olmstead, invasive plant biologist for the Maine Natural Areas Program, home gardeners need to be both vigilant and tenacious to combat these plants.
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