January 18, 2018  
Announcements               
Press releases, events, publications released, etc. from Maine environmental organizations and agencies. Submit content.

Butterfly Walk, Jul 7
Event - Posted - Saturday, June 30, 2012 

Help count butterflies for the North American Butterfly Count. At Fields Pond Audubon Center, Holden, July 7, 1 pm.
Palmer Meadow Pond Paddle, Jul 7
Event - Posted - Saturday, June 30, 2012 

Join Ed Friedman, chair of Friends of Merrymeeting Bay, on July 7 at 9-11 am to paddle Palmer Meadow Pond in Dresden. Pre-registration required.
Maine Political Watch: LePage, Elton John Tribute Band Headline Events at Fort Knox, Jul 7
Event - Posted - Saturday, June 30, 2012 

The first-ever “Economic Freedom Festival” will feature a stellar lineup of political conservatives, according to Carol Weston, director of Americans for Prosperity – Maine, including Governor Paul LePage. At Fort Knox, Prospect, July 7, 3:30 pm. For those not interested in hearing from LePage, the Elton John tribute band Yellow Brick Road will present a show at 6:30-8:30 pm.
Climate Change & Forests
Publication - Friday, June 29, 2012 

According to this fact sheet by the Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences, "climate change will alter many aspects of forests and forest management, and although managers and landowners cannot control the changes in climate (e.g., warmer temperatures, altered precipitation), we are not helpless in shaping the future condition of our forestland. The best way to plan and prepare for climate change is to practice good forestry."
Farm Training Project
Event - Posted - Wednesday, June 27, 2012 

These workshops, ranging from ecological pest control to farming off the grid, are designed for and targeted to participants in MOFGA's Apprenticeship Program, but are free and open to anyone. They are intended to give apprentices and other young, beginning, and aspiring farmers the chance to visit other farms, learn from farmers about their areas of expertise, and socialize with peers. Sponsored by Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association.
Stop East-West Corridor through Maine
Action Alert - Saturday, June 23, 2012 

Though purported to be a benificial endeavor for Maine citizens with the lure of increased jobs and commerce, it is now known the purpose of the proposed East-West Corridor across Maine with its massive privately owned land requirements is an attempt to aquire property for the shipment of extremely toxic oil through the state. Sponsored by Eric A. Tuttle.
Natural Resource Conservation Funds Available
Announcement - Saturday, June 23, 2012 

More than $2 million will soon be available for protecting wetland and significant wildlife habitat in Maine. The Maine Natural Resource Conservation Program helps offset impacts to natural resources by funding the restoration, enhancement or preservation of similar habitats. Public agencies, non-profit conservation organizations and private individuals are encouraged to submit a letter of intent for eligible restoration and preservation projects in Maine by July 20.
Landscape Conservation Stewardship Program
Announcement - Saturday, June 23, 2012 

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation in cooperation with its partner, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, announces a new initiative to develop community-based partnerships that further the conservation of fish, wildlife, plants and other natural resources in distinct landscapes. In 2012, approximately $180,000 will be available for matching grants nationwide. Deadline is July 31.
Robin Hood Tax campaign
Action Alert - Friday, June 22, 2012 

Today, the U.S. is the most unequal advanced industrial country in the world. While poverty rates go up, Congress continues to slash programs that protect the environment and help people in need while doling out welfare to corporate polluters and big banks. The Robin Hood Tax is a proposal for a tiny tax, 1/2 of 1 percent or less, on financial transactions in the U.S. that would free up hundreds of billions of dollars to protect public goods. Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and more than 1,000 economists already endorse it.
Old Fort Western Summer Apprentice Program & Field School for Young Naturalists at Viles Arboretum
Announcement - Thursday, June 21, 2012 

Old Fort Western, a 1754 National Historic Landmark fort, store, and house museum on the Kennebec River in Augusta, will be collaborating with the Viles Arboretum to offer a unique learning experience of living history and nature conservancy all in one day. This program is for kids ages 8-12 during the weeks of July 9-13 and August 6-10.
Androscoggin Source to the Sea Trek, Jul 6-Aug 4
Event - Posted - Thursday, June 21, 2012 

Paddle some or all of the Androscoggin's 170+ miles, July 6-August 4. Sponsored by Androscoggin River Watershed Council.
New England Human Powered Vehicle Rally, Jun 30
Event - Posted - Thursday, June 21, 2012 

Expect to see recumbent bikes, velomobiles (enclosed recumbent bikes), electric assisted bikes and home-built or store-bought versions of any of the above. At Rogers Pond, Kennebunk, June 30, 8 am 5 pm.
Portland LobsterFest, Jun 30
Event - Posted - Thursday, June 21, 2012 

The Great Maine Lobster Eating Contest will test the skill and the stomach of the competitors. In a ten minute period, each contestant must shuck and eat the lobster tail and both claws. Senator Olympia Snowe will be a special guest judge for the Lobster Eating contest. Governor Paul LePage will also attend the Portland LobsterFest. At Maine State Pier, Portland, June 30, 11 am.
Bird Sounds Walk, Jun 30
Event - Posted - Thursday, June 21, 2012 

Ornithologist Will Broussard will lead a morning bird sounds walk in Bowdoinham. June 30, 7-9:00 am. Sponsored by Friends of Merrymeeting Bay. Pre-registration required.
Maine Regulatory Fairness Board, Jun 29
Event - Posted - Thursday, June 21, 2012 

To effectively report to the Legislature and the Governor on regulatory conflicts, the Maine Regulatory Fairness Board is eliciting public comment concerning "specific state rules and regulations that may unreasonably impede business sustainability and growth; and recommendations for regulatory and statutory change that may enhance Maine's business climate." Or you can remind the board that regulations protect the public from excesses of the private marketplace. Next meeting is at the Ellsworth Middle School, June 29, 1-4 pm.
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News Items
Is Maine still hurricane-proof?
Working Waterfront - Wednesday, January 17, 2018 

Maine is luckier than most Atlantic states when it comes to hurricanes, as they generally run out of power by the time they reach us. The reason hurricanes rarely hit the coast, explained John Jensenius, warming coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Gray, is the low temperature of Maine’s ocean water. But in the Atlantic region, hurricanes are one of the most destructive weather forces and preparations can prove inadequate.
3,000 Mainers hope to nab one of 11 licenses to fish baby eels
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, January 17, 2018 

More than 3,000 Mainers are vying for one of just 11 new baby eel fishing licenses that Maine will issue this year as it reopens the lucrative fishery. The Maine Department of Marine Resources will issue the licenses through a lottery, with the drawing scheduled for sometime in the coming week. It will be the first time the state has allowed any new entrants into the fishery for baby eels, or elvers, since 2013. Winners with a license who catch four pounds, which will be the annual limit for the new licenses, stand to make between $3,000 and $8,000 this spring, depending on the price.
Bill to Lower Liquor Bottle Deposits Considered
Maine Public - Wednesday, January 17, 2018 

Grocers and others in the food and beverage industry are supporting a proposal to reduce the deposit rate on liquor bottles in Maine from 15 cents to five. This change would match the nickel deposit implemented last year on small containers of liquor commonly called “nips." But environmental groups that support Maine’s 40-year-old bottle deposit law are concerned about the proposal. They worry that the change could reduce redemption rates and hurt non-profit groups that run bottle and can drives to raise money.
Editorial: Increased offshore drilling is not the answer to America’s energy future
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, January 17, 2018 

The announcement, from Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, is no surprise as the Trump administration is focused on undoing every action taken by former President Barack Obama. And the administration is a big friend of the oil, gas and coal industries. It is rolling back environmental regulations and protections of federal lands in the name of “energy dominance.” The move to allow more offshore drilling is a step backward. Demand for petroleum in the U.S. has stagnated. Car makers are increasingly moving toward electric vehicles. The costs of solar energy are plummeting. This would be a perfect time for the president to champion a cleaner energy future for the country, one that reduces both greenhouse gas emissions and costs. Instead, the Trump administration is playing games with offshore drilling.
CMP's New CEO: If They Want, 'Everyone Should Put Solar Panels On Their Roof'
Maine Public - Wednesday, January 17, 2018 

Maine's largest electric utility has a new CEO. Doug Herling took over operations of Central Maine Power Company Jan. 1, a day after the utility's long-time leader Sara Burns stepped down. Herling rose through the ranks at CMP, most recently overseeing electric operations for parent-company Avangrid for 2.2 million customers in Maine, New York and Connecticut. Herling says although solar power advocates often criticize the company, he supports build-out of the renewable energy technology in Maine. "I think everyone should put solar panels on their roof if that's what they want to do," he says.
What it means in Maine if the federal government shuts down on Friday
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, January 17, 2018 

The federal government has been careening toward a shutdown this week, after President Donald Trump scuttled a bipartisan deal to prevent the deportation of U.S. residents brought into the country illegally when they were children, allegedly calling Haiti and certain African countries “shitholes” in the process. Republicans control both houses of Congress, but they still need Democratic votes to pass a temporary spending measure in the Senate. If they can’t reach a settlement, the government will shutdown on Friday for lack of funds. If that happens, the most visible effect in Maine would be the closure of Acadia National Park.
MCHT Helps Restore Fish Passage in the Bagaduce River Watershed
Maine Coast Heritage Trust - Wednesday, January 17, 2018 

The Bagaduce watershed has long been a conservation focus for Maine Coast Heritage Trust. After years of planning, engineers, conservationists, and local representatives gathered last summer to break ground on the first of two nature-like fishways in the watershed. “Without MCHT’s support, none of this would have happened,” says Bailey Bowden, head of the Penobscot Alewife Committee. “People are looking at this and saying, ‘Wow.’ It’s had a big community impact."
Opinion: I toured the monument with Zinke; his recommendation to open it to logging is disappointing
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, January 17, 2018 

It was with disappointment that I read what Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke may have in store for Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument in his memorandum to the president, especially in light of the secretary’s visit to Maine back in June. Standing on the banks of Wassataquoik Stream, the secretary told us he had a plan that would make everyone happy. Today, I fear the harm “active” logging within earshot of scenic corridors and points of interest will do to this precious gift to the American people. Logging would not only interfere with their experience, but negatively influence the recent promising uptick in tourism in the Katahdin region. ~ Paul Corrigan, retired Baxter State Park range, Millinocket
UPDATED: Maine Governor Wannabes
Maine Environmental News - Wednesday, January 17, 2018 

Maine’s next gubernatorial election is set for November 6, 2018. It will be the first in the state’s history to be conducted by ranked choice voting, unless that is declared unconstitutional by the state’s Supreme Judicial Court. According to various, mostly reliable, sources as of January 17, 2018, there are 13 declared Democratic candidates, 5 declared Republican candidates, and 9 other gubernatorial wannabes. Plus a gaggle of possibles in the wings. Here is the updated list. Repairing the damage done by the LePage Administration to Maine’s land, water, air and wildlife safety net will be a major job for the next governor. Ask each of these candidates about their conservation policies, if any.
Mainers use chainsaws to harvest oysters in the bitter cold
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, January 17, 2018 

When temperatures plummeted below zero in late December, the oyster farmers of Mere Point Oyster Company vowed not to let 8 to 10 inches of ice in Mere Point Bay prevent them from harvesting to keep their winter market satisfied. “The bay froze relatively quickly during that cold snap, and by just after Christmas it was frozen pretty solid,” said Dan Devereaux, who with Doug Niven owns the 2-year-old Mere Point Oyster Company. But with customers clamoring for oysters — and a coveted spot at the Taste of Freeport next month — Niven and Devereaux employed a bit of Maine ingenuity to pull up the oyster cages. They headed out on the ice the second week of January, and returned — thanks to a chainsaw and a lot of lifting — with enough oysters to fulfill all those orders.
Citing ‘Inexcusable’ Treatment, Advisers Quit National Parks Panel
New York Times - Tuesday, January 16, 2018 

The majority of members of the National Parks System Advisory Board, which advises the federal government on management of the country’s national parks, have jointly resigned to protest Trump administration policies that the board members say have ignored science, squelched efforts to address climate change and undermined environmental protections. “From all of the events of this past year I have a profound concern that the mission of stewardship, protection, and advancement of our National Parks has been set aside,” wrote Tony Knowles, the head of the advisory board, in a resignation letter that was co-signed by eight other members of the 12-member panel.
Nearly all members of National Park Service panel resign in frustration
Washington Post - Tuesday, January 16, 2018 

Three-quarters of the members of a federally chartered board advising the National Park Service abruptly quit Monday night out of frustration that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke had refused to meet with them or convene a single meeting last year. The resignation of nine out of 12 National Park System Advisory Board members leaves the federal government without a functioning body to designate national historic or natural landmarks. It also underscores the extent to which federal advisory bodies have become marginalized under the Trump administration.
Lawmakers back bill to ease prohibition on money being part of moose permit swaps
Portland Press Herald - Tuesday, January 16, 2018 

Since 2015, hunters who were successful during Maine's moose lottery have been allowed to exchange permits but could not offer each other money or any other form of compensation. A bill that won preliminary endorsement from a legislative committee on Monday would once again allow payments between hunters and also allow hunting guides to facilitate such swaps. But the bill would prohibit guides from receiving any compensation for helping arrange a swap.
St. Joseph’s College Ends Deal With Company To Build Greenhouse
Maine Public - Tuesday, January 16, 2018 

St. Joseph’s College and a company backed by Cate Street Capital have ended a $750,000 agreement to build a greenhouse as part of the college’s new Institute for Local Food Systems Innovation. Cate Street Capital was behind the failed bid to revive the Great Northern Paper Mill in East Millinocket in 2014, despite receiving millions in taxpayer dollars. Peter Nielsen, St. Joseph’s entrepreneur-in-residence, said, “What we had begun to explore in March of 2017 looked good at that point, but when we got to the end of the year, it just wasn’t making sense to anybody." Nielsen says St. Joseph’s is working with many other partners and will still move forward with the plan.
Major investor in Verso sells off significant lot of shares; company could be sold
Morning Sentinel - Tuesday, January 16, 2018 

A major investor in Verso, owner of the paper mill in Jay, has sold more than $21 million worth of shares in the first two weeks of January, just months after expressing frustration with returns on the investment. Then on the heels of those transactions by Mudrick Capital Management L.P., Verso Corp. revealed Tuesday that its Strategic Alternatives Committee is looking at the possibility of selling the entire company outright, or merging with another. About 400 people now work at the Androscoggin mill. When Verso emerged from bankruptcy in summer 2016, it employed about 560.
Dental student extracts 10-pound landlocked salmon from Maine lake
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, January 16, 2018 

Some of us dream of catching a five-pound brook trout before we die. Others avid anglers want to hook onto a lake trout that’ll barely fit through the hole we drill in the ice. On Jan. 11, Chris Parent ended up with a fish story like that, and he doubts he’ll ever catch a landlocked salmon to top the one he landed, which measured 30 inches long and weighed 10.2 pounds.
Maine college cancels deal with failed paper mill redeveloper
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, January 16, 2018 

St. Joseph’s College and a company backed by private equity firm Cate Street Capital have called off a partnership to develop a greenhouse on the college’s Standish campus, which was tied to a $750,000 donation to the college. The greenhouse is a major feature of St. Joseph’s plans for its new Institute for Local Food Systems Innovation, a college effort to help New England food producers grow crops locally that the region typically has to import. The private equity firm’s failed 2011 restart of the Great Northern Paper mill in East Millinocket left behind a trail of debt that the attorney overseeing the mill’s bankruptcy attributed in part to mismanagement.
Group Acquires Parcel Key To Maine Dam Removal Project
Associated Press - Tuesday, January 16, 2018 

A conservation group has acquired about seven acres in Down East Maine as part of a dam removal project. The Downeast Salmon Federation says it has taken ownership of the parcel in Sullivan that surrounds the head of tide of Smelt Brook, which has been blocked by a stone dam for more than 50 years. The group says the acquisition is part of a "multi-faceted land conservation and habitat restoration project'' designed to reconnect Smelt Brook to Smelt Cove. The restoration is expected to help create habitat for fish such as brook trout and rainbow smelt. The group says by removing the dam it can support recent work to improve fish passage in the area. The project also seeks to provide an outdoor classroom for a high school.
Canada’s oil-sands region now facing 340 billion gallons of toxic sludge
Bloomberg News - Tuesday, January 16, 2018 

Amid the bogs and forests of northern Alberta, the heart of the Canadian oil patch, lie some of the largest waste dumps of the global energy business. In the shadow of the pipes and smokestacks that turn oil sands into flowing crude, earthen dams as long as 11 miles encircle lakes of toxic sludge, the byproduct of decades of extraction. These waste pools, known as tailings ponds, represent perhaps the most serious environmental challenge facing the oil-sands industry. Now, the battle over how quickly to clean them up – and fears about who will pay – are escalating anew. Critics say the industry could end up sticking taxpayers with the estimated $22 billion bill.
Author Sandra Neily discusses new book about Maine's north woods
Wiscasset Newspaper - Tuesday, January 16, 2018 

Sandra Neily set her novel, “Deadly Trespass,” in the north woods of Maine, where the main character, Cassandra Patton Conover, stumbles across the body of her best friend Shannon while trespassing on someone else’s land. Cassandra soon learns from an old newspaper friend, there are rumors of an illegally placed wolf-breeding population in Maine, a desperate environmental action that could potentially stop a number of money-making activities run by logging companies, and knowingly abetted by conservation groups. If the plot all sounds vaguely familiar, it should. Parts of the background plot could be ripped from the headlines.
Katahdin Woods And Waters National Monument Officials To Discuss Winter Use
National Parks Traveler - Tuesday, January 16, 2018 

With winter swirling all about the Northeast, the folks at Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument in Maine are planning to host a public meeting on winter use in the monument. The meeting, set for January 24, is designed to help the National Park Service better understand the diversity of opportunities and concerns related to winter activities and to help inform the development of a management plan for the national monument.
MCHT’s Largest Preserve: Rocky Lake
Maine Coast Heritage Trust - Tuesday, January 16, 2018 

Thanks to generous donors, 2,352 acres of dense forest and over six miles of shoreline have been permanently protected in Maine Coast Heritage Trust’s largest preserve. Situated between Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge and the Cutler Coast Public Reserved Land, protection of this land creates a wildlife corridor for animals like fisher, bobcat, moose, and black bear. It is also a critical piece of a larger MCHT Initiative to restore the Orange River watershed and rejuvenate once-abundant river herring populations—an important first step toward bringing ground fishing and jobs back to the area.
The Damage Done by Trump’s Department of the Interior
Other - Tuesday, January 16, 2018 

The New Yorker - Under Ryan Zinke, the Secretary of the Interior, it’s a sell-off from sea to shining sea. Zinke is, in many ways, a typical Trump appointee. A lack of interest in the public interest is, these days, pretty much a precondition for running a federal agency. In the decades to come, one can hope that many of the Trump Administration’s mistakes—on tax policy, say, or trade—will be rectified. But the destruction of the country’s last unspoiled places is a loss that can never be reversed.
Maine opposing push to require all lobstermen to report catch data
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, January 16, 2018 

The state’s top fisheries official says Maine lobstermen should not be subjected to stricter requirements for reporting their catch to federal regulators. Patrick Keliher, commissioner of Maine Department of Marine Resources, also said he is confident he can convince the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission to drop the idea. The commission is accepting public comment on the proposal until 5 p.m. Monday, Jan. 22.
China disrupts ecomaine and other recyclers with ‘foreign garbage’ ban
Portland Press Herald - Tuesday, January 16, 2018 

China has prompted “a crisis in the recycling world” with its decision to no longer accept what its regulators call “foreign garbage” such as paper contaminated with pizza grease. The action by China, long known for its willingness to import and repurpose recyclables from the United States and elsewhere, is being felt in Maine and around the nation. “They put the hammer down,” said Kevin Roche, chief executive officer of ecomaine, the nonprofit that handles recyclables for about a third of Maine’s population.
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