June 22, 2017  
Announcements               
Press releases, events, publications released, etc. from Maine environmental organizations and agencies. Submit content.

Governor's Conference on Tourism, Mar 17-18
Event - Posted - Friday, February 27, 2015 

The theme of the 2015 Maine Governor's Conference on Tourism is "Know Your Audience to Craft Your Story." It focuses on the shift to values-based marketing and customer engagement needed to influence today's travel audience. At Augusta Civic Center in Augusta, March 17-18.
Apply to be an Environmental Steward
Announcement - Thursday, February 26, 2015 

The Maine Conservation Corps (MCC) is accepting applications for AmeriCorps Environmental Steward positions located throughout Maine for May 2015. MCC is dedicated to environmental education, outdoor recreation and conservation projects, volunteer opportunities, and developing career and leadership skills. Deadline March 30.
The Case for the Penobscot, Mar 16
Event - Posted - Wednesday, February 25, 2015 

This talk by historian, environmental activist, and peace advocate Maria Girouard of the Penobscot Nation and founder of Dawnland Environmental Defense, will discuss broken treaties, land claim settlement interpretations, and ways you can be an ally in the struggle to protect a riverine people and the river that shares their name. At Belfast Free Library, March 16, 5:30-7:30 pm.
Maine marks 195 Years as a State, Mar 15
Announcement - Wednesday, February 25, 2015 

On March 15, Maine will mark 195 years as one of the United States of America. The federal notification of Maine's "Act of Admission" into the union is part of the holdings at the Maine State Archives. Congress passed the Act on March 3, 1820, and President James Monroe signed it that same day.
Organic Pest & Disease Control, Mar 15
Event - Posted - Wednesday, February 25, 2015 

Eric Sideman, MOFGA Crop Specialist, will discuss vegetable diseases and pests and some of the organic options for their management and control. At St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Brunswick, March 15, 2 pm. Sponsored by Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust.
Big Night: Rise of the Frogs & Salamanders, Mar 11
Event - Posted - Wednesday, February 25, 2015 

Dan Nein, Stantec Wildlife Biologist, will speak. At Curtis Memorial Library, Brunswick, March 11, 7 pm. Sponsored by Friends of Merrymeeting Bay.
Spring Growth: Farming in the Face of Climate Change, Mar 7
Event - Posted - Wednesday, February 25, 2015 

MOFGA's 2015 Spring Growth Conference will focus on facing the challenges of climate change and land use change. The day-long event will feature a keynote by John Aber, Department of Natural Resources and the Environment at the University of New Hampshire, and a panel of farmers as well as Glen Koehler, UMaine Cooperative Extension associate scientist, discussing climate change adaptation and mitigation. At MOFGA's Common Ground Education Center, Unity, $50 individual; $75 couples; $25 students and apprentices.
Dive, Mar 7
Event - Posted - Wednesday, February 25, 2015 

Dive is a short film rooted in a curiosity about the American’s habit of sending food strait to landfills and how many people could be fed off this waste. At Bath Freight Shed, March 7, 3 pm. Sponsored by Brunswick-Topsham and Kennebec Estuary Land Trusts.
Winter Family Fun Day at Lily Bay State Park, Mar 7
Event - Posted - Wednesday, February 25, 2015 

Cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, an ice fishing demo, tote sled rides, nature walks, and bonfire. The ski and snowshoe trailer will be on site for free equipment loans. At at Lily Bay State Park, Moosehead Lake, Mar 7, 10 am - 3 pm.
Eastern Maine Sportsmen’s Show, Mar 6-8
Event - Posted - Tuesday, February 24, 2015 

At University of Maine, Orono, March 6, 5-9 pm; March 7, 9 am-8 pm; March 8, 10 am-3 pm.
Maine Fishermen’s Forum, Mar 5-7
Event - Posted - Monday, February 23, 2015 

The 40th annual Maine Fishermen’s Forum offers three days of good eating, good talking, interesting seminars packed with information on the latest scientific and regulatory issues affecting the fishing industry and a trade show with more than 100 exhibitors. At Samoset Resort, Rockport, March 5-7.
World Wildlife Day, Mar 3
Event - Posted - Saturday, February 21, 2015 

The United Nations General Assembly has proclaimed 3 March, the anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), as World Wildlife Day.
East-West Highway/Corridor Speak Out Opportunities, Mar 2-5
Action Alert - Friday, February 20, 2015 

The Maine Department of Transportation is looking to "Talk Transportation" and seek public input regarding any and all types of transportation issues during a series of regional public meetings throughout the state. Activists may use the opportunity to speak in opposition to the proposed East-West Highway/Corridor.
The Local Sustainable Food Scene, Mar 1
Event - Posted - Friday, February 20, 2015 

Seth Kroeck, farmer and manager of the Crystal Spring Farm CSA, & Maina Handmaker, director of the proposed Food Shed in Brunswick will present an overview of the local and sustainable food movement. At St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Brunswick, March 1, 2-3:03 pm. Sponsored by Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust.
Community Supported Agriculture Fair, Feb 27
Event - Posted - Friday, February 20, 2015 

Meet the farmers and learn about CSA opportunities. At Viles Arboretum, Augusta, Feb 27, 2-5 pm.
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News Items
Tear down a land posting sign and you’ll lose your hunting and fishing license
George Smith BDN Outdoor News Blog - Thursday, June 22, 2017 

The landowner relations program at the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife got a major boost this year. LD 1391 nearly tripled the program’s funding, recognizing that this program is critically important to all of us who enjoy recreating on private land. In addition, the legislature enacted a bill that revokes the hunting and fishing licenses of anyone convicted of “destroying, tearing down, defacing or otherwise damaging property posting signs.” Do that, and you lose your hunting and fishing license for one year from the date of the conviction.
Trump Administration slashing federal jobs
Washington Post - Thursday, June 22, 2017 

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke told lawmakers Wednesday that he plans to shrink his department’s workforce by 4,000 employees as part of budget cuts to downsize the government’s largest public lands agency. Interior spokeswoman Heather Swift declined to provide details on the workforce cuts or timing. The Environmental Protection Agency plans to shed more than 1,200 employees by early September. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has pledged to cut a total of 3,200 positions. Trump’s proposed budget could eliminate “about 1,000 jobs” at the Energy Department’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.
Opinion: This is the one climate solution that’s best for the environment and for business
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, June 22, 2017 

President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate accord has induced a fateful pessimism about what can be expected of the country on this critical issue. Yet our long experience in Washington has taught us that the transition from the inconceivable to the inevitable can sometimes be very rapid. On Tuesday, the Climate Leadership Council announced its founding members, a group of companies, opinion leaders and nongovernmental organizations who have joined forces to promote a consensus climate solution based on carbon dividends. ~ George Shultz and Lawrence Summers, The Washington Post
Editorial: Solar bill would let Maine 
grow clean energy jobs
Portland Press Herald - Thursday, June 22, 2017 

Advances in solar power technology have brought down prices, putting photovoltaic panels in financial reach of millions of homeowners as well as small and medium-size businesses. There are opportunities for utility-scale solar projects. It’s not happening in the oil fields. And it’s not really happening in Maine, either, because political division has kept the state from modernizing its regulations. Lawmakers on the fence will have to decide: Is Maine going to be able to take part in the new energy boom, or will our politics force us to keep sitting on the sidelines, where all we can do is watch?
Letter: LePage’s action on ‘nips’ shows his small-minded, vengeful nature
Portland Press Herald - Thursday, June 22, 2017 

Reading Gov. LePage’s decision to attempt to delist sales of miniature “nips” bottles of liquor in Maine, I have concluded that the man is a complete phony. After years of the governor telling us all that the Legislature is “playing games”; after endless declarations of how the governor is the only one who is trying to bring jobs to the state; after huge levels of vitriol directed at all our representatives for supposedly not doing what is right, the governor chooses to financially damage a solid Maine company and possibly cause dozens of people to lose their jobs because he could not get his way. Gov. LePage, who claims to be above petty politics, turns out to be the most small-minded, vengeful and vindictive of men. ~ John Schaberg, Portland
Trump pick for 'rather esoteric court' fuels political storm
E&E/Greenwire - Wednesday, June 21, 2017 

A brash judicial nominee is shining a spotlight on a federal court whose critical role in property law and environmental regulation is rarely noticed. At issue is President Trump's choice of Damien Schiff, an attorney at the conservative Pacific Legal Foundation, to serve a 15-year term on the U.S. Court of Federal Claims — the "people's court." Environmentalists say they are worried about the perspective on takings that Schiff will bring to the court. Patrick Gallagher, director of the Sierra Club's Environmental Law Program, said, "If agencies are forced to pay, it's going to deter them from regulating," Gallagher said. "It's not just EPA. It goes all the way out to local land agencies."
Speakers at hearing urge Portland councilors to ban pesticides but differ on best approach
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, June 21, 2017 

More than two dozen people voiced support on Wednesday for banning the use of pesticides in Portland, but they split over whether to back a measure adopted by South Portland or one drafted by a city task force.
Lewiston to get $3.4 million to address lead hazard in housing
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, June 21, 2017 

Lewiston will get $3.4 million in federal funding to help address lead hazards in housing for low-income families. U.S. Sen. Susan Collins announced the two grants Wednesday. She said $3 million will come from a lead hazard reduction demonstration grant and $400,000 is from the Healthy Homes supplemental funding program.
Extra visas could ease Maine tourism industry’s labor shortage
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, June 21, 2017 

The Department of Homeland Security will offer extra visas for temporary seasonal workers, a move that could help the Maine hospitality industry find workers for jobs it is struggling to fill this summer. Steve Hewins, director of the Maine Innkeepers Association said the news is positive, but its impact on Maine is unclear. Maine businesses are waiting on roughly 2,000 visas to be approved.
Bill To Halt New Solar Rules Could Face Veto
Associated Press - Wednesday, June 21, 2017 

A bill to halt new Maine solar regulations so far lacks the support needed to survive the Gov. Paul LePage's veto. The Maine House voted 90-54 Wednesday on Republican Sen. Thomas Saviello's bill. State utility regulators released solar billing rules this year that drew criticism from solar proponents and skeptics such as LePage. The Maine Public Utilities Commission said it would maintain current rules for existing solar customers for 15 years while reducing certain bill credits over time. Saviello's bill would give regulators several years to come up with a new billing system. The bill would also allow more customers to participate in a solar array. LePage supports a market-based credit system for solar energy.
Solar bill gets initial approval in House, but it lacks votes to survive veto
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, June 21, 2017 

House lawmakers gave initial approval Wednesday to a bill that delays new solar energy “net metering” rules and directs utility regulators to conduct a cost-benefit analysis of the controversial policy. But supporters failed to garner the two-thirds majority needed to overcome an all-but-guaranteed veto from Gov. Paul LePage, once again casting doubt over solar policy in Maine. Dylan Voorhees, clean energy director for the Natural Resources Council of Maine, said, “A vote in favor of L.D. 1504, which would overturn the PUC’s terrible anti-solar rule, should be a no-brainer for lawmakers looking out for their constituents."
Construction of solar project on South Portland’s capped landfill to start in July
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, June 21, 2017 

Construction of a solar array on South Portland’s capped landfill is expected to start in July after the City Council approved final adjustments to the power purchase agreement Monday. Portland-based ReVision Energy will install 2,944 photovoltaic panels on the 34-acre former landfill, which is behind the solid-waste transfer station and the public services facility that’s being built at 929 Highland Ave.
Maine Forest Service warns about holiday fire safety
Maine Government News - Wednesday, June 21, 2017 

The Maine Forest Service is cautioning towns and residents against using third-party, non-sanctioned online burn permit systems after at least two fires occurred this spring. According to MFS, the fires likely would not have resulted if the officially sanctioned state online burn permit system had been used instead of that of a third party.
Rep. Pingree recognized for sustainable food advocacy
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, June 21, 2017 

Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-1st District, a longtime organic farmer in Maine, has been chosen as one of six recipients of this year’s James Beard Foundation Leadership Award. The awards recognize people from diverse backgrounds who promote sustainable food systems.
Exxon, Shell, and BP support a Republican plan to do something about climate change
Climate Progress - Wednesday, June 21, 2017 

A group of major businesses, including Johnson & Johnson, General Motors, and fossil fuel giants ExxonMobil, BP, and Shell, announced Tuesday they have joined a Republican-led council that proposes to put a $40 tax on carbon emissions.
38 EPA science advisers get pink slips
E&E/Greenwire - Wednesday, June 21, 2017 

U.S. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt continues to clear out a key advisory committee, signaling plans to drop several dozen current members of the Board of Scientific Counselors, according to an email yesterday from a senior agency official. All board members whose three-year appointments expire in August will not get renewals, Robert Kavlock, acting head of EPA's Office of Research and Development, said in the email. "This says to me that they do not want objective science," Peter Meyer, an economist who resigned in protest last month, said in an interview this morning.
Zinke's answer about temperature is called 'stupid'
E&E/Greenwire - Wednesday, June 21, 2017 

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke evaded questions yesterday about the extent of rising temperatures during a Senate budget hearing for an agency that oversees fossil fuel development on a fifth of the nation's land. During a heated exchange with Sen. Al Franken, Zinke punted on basic questions about climate science. The secretary declined to engage in a line of inquiry that focused on government predictions of rising temperatures over the next 80 years. He claimed instead that climate models are inaccurate, a frequent talking point among climate skeptics. Kevin Trenberth, a senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Colorado, said Zinke's explanation was "a stupid and ignorant answer."
Opinion: I hope Zinke’s visit showed him the importance of the North Woods monument
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, June 21, 2017 

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke’s recent visit to Maine to see firsthand our majestic landscapes is a good exercise of his role of chief steward of our nation’s national parks and monuments. But contemplating reduction or elimination of our public land is not. The Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument is one of 27 protected public land sites under scrutiny by the Trump administration. Earlier this month, I joined nearly 260 park service professionals in signing a letter to Protect America’s National Parks. We came together to advocate for the importance of protecting parks and public lands and to emphasize the role the Antiquities Act has played in building that legacy for present and future generations. ~ Sheridan Steele worked for the National Park Service for 38 years
Fresh from the farm: Maine takes lead in ‘food sovereignty’ movement
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, June 21, 2017 

Gov. Paul LePage has signed a bill into law that affirms the rights of cities and towns to regulate local food production, making Maine the second state in the nation to allow consumers to buy directly from farmers and food producers regardless of the state and federal licensing and inspections that would otherwise apply. With the passage of the law, Maine becomes a leader in the so-called food sovereignty movement that promotes freedom of food choice for consumers who are willing to forgo some food safety regulations.
Column: Climate change is good, right?
Kennebec Journal - Wednesday, June 21, 2017 

The warming climate is a good thing, right? Those of us who shunned swimming in the cold Maine ocean water can now do so in warmer water. A bunch of Maine fish, clams, shrimp, and other critters are going, going, gone, but we can still get some of them from aquaculture facilities. A lot of annoying critters will be disappearing from the northern forest, including moose. But hey, we’ll still be able to see and hunt them in Canada. Snake lovers will be pleased when rattlers and pythons arrive. Some of the plants we grow will disappear, but there will be new plants. OK, I’m kidding about all of the good things brought our way by climate change. As the news about our changing climate gets worse, and our president withdraws from the Paris Accord and vows to restore the ailing coal industry, we all need to step up and do everything we can to fix this problem. I only hope we are not too late. ~ George Smith
Letter: Americans can make up for U.S. flub on climate change
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, June 21, 2017 

President Trump’s decision to renounce our commitment to the Paris climate accord is dangerous, reckless, irresponsible and downright stupid. It goes against the will of the American people and against an overwhelming consensus of world scientists. It also abnegates our role as a world leader in science and technology. The decision is universally condemned by everyone except for a small, loyal band of followers and certain political leaders whom he appears hell-bent on placating, regardless of the consequences. We can show the world that we Americans do care about our fragile planet and its vulnerable populations by initiating actions on the local and state levels and as families and individuals. ~ David Ramsay, South Berwick
Letter: Let’s meet obligations of Paris accord whether U.S. is on board or not
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, June 21, 2017 

Notwithstanding President Trump’s ill-considered decision to pull us out of the Paris accord, the U.S. can still meet the obligations we undertook under that agreement. So much can be done by cities, towns, companies, states, families and individuals. For example, my business partner and I recently installed a solar array on the roof of our apartment building in Portland that will generate 42,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity annually. These panels will pay for themselves in eight years and lower our electricity usage there by 65 percent. The federal government controls relatively little of our society’s energy usage. If we the people decide we want to cut our carbon emissions because it’s important for our planet’s future, we can do it! ~ Nathan Szanton, Portland
Letter: Palm oil and climate change
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, June 21, 2017 

The are numerous well-known ways to combat climate change. What most people are unaware of is that you can also make an impact by reading nutrition labels and choosing products that do not contain palm oil. Some of the world’s most ecologically diverse ecosystems are being threatened by palm oil plantation expansion. Clearing dense rainforests with fire not only wipes out necessary carbon sinks but also releases hundreds of thousands of pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, making palm oil a major contributor to human-induced climate change. Consumers can help further the cause by refusing to buy products made with palm oil. ~ Marta Denny, Rockport
Zinke envisions cutting 4,000 full-time Interior Department staff
E&E/Greenwire - Tuesday, June 20, 2017 

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke indicated today that the department is looking at relocating more resources out West as part of a larger management reorganization. In his submitted testimony, Zinke said the proposed budget envisions a reduction of about 4,000 full-time department staff from 2017 levels.
Waterville council overrides mayor’s veto on recycling issue
Morning Sentinel - Tuesday, June 20, 2017 

The city will start collecting recyclables at the curb starting July 1, since the City Council on Tuesday voted 5-2 to override Mayor Nick Isgro’s veto of a vote the council took June 6 to take over the recycling effort. As part of the vote, councilors authorized the city to hire an additional worker for nine months, buy a new packer truck that can pick up trash and recyclables at the same time and reject bids from two companies that said they would do recycling pickup for more than $200,000 a year.
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