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

'Lost Trail' authors, Dec 3
Event - Posted - Wednesday, November 30, 2011 

The Guy E. Rowe School in Norway in conjunction with Books N Things will host an event with Donn Fendler as he gives a presentation on his newest book, "Lost Trail: Nine Days Alone in the Wilderness," along with co-author Lynn Plourde and the graphic novel’s illustrator Ben Bishop. Dec 3, 10 am.
Lighten Up! Tips for Buying New Gear, Dec 6
Event - Posted - Tuesday, November 29, 2011 

Talk by Max Neale, Review Editor at OutdoorGearLab.com. At Curtis Library, Brunswick, Dec 6, 7-9 pm. Sponsored by Appalachian Mountain Club, Maine Chapter.
Maine environmental symposium, Dec 7
Event - Posted - Tuesday, November 29, 2011 

DEP Commissioner Pattie Aho will discuss initiatives the agency is launching. Also, panel discussion about possible actions in the upcoming legislative session. At Texas Instruments (formerly National Semiconductor), South Portland, Dec 7, 8 am - Noon. Sponsored by Maine State Chamber of Commerce.
Polar Bear Dip and Dash, Dec 31
Event - Posted - Tuesday, November 29, 2011 

The Natural Resources Council of Maine's Polar Bear Dip & Dash - a 5k walk/run and the 4th annual polar plunge into the Atlantic Ocean at East End Beach in Portland - will be held on Dec 31.
Donn Fendler, Dec 1-2
Announcement - Tuesday, November 29, 2011 

One of the topics to be discussed on Maine Watch is a feature film based on the book "Lost on a Mountain in Maine," which is about the young Donn Fendler as he miraculously survived getting lost on Mount Katahdin. Maine Public TV, Dec 1 at 8 pm, Dec 2 at 9 pm.
LURC Reform Commission, Dec 1
Event - Posted - Tuesday, November 29, 2011 

A meeting of the LURC Reform Commission will be held in Wellman Commons, Bangor Masonic Center (former Bangor Theological Seminary), Bangor, Dec 1, 10 am - 4 pm. The meeting will NOT include a public listening session.
Industrial Forestry Forum, Dec 1
Event - Posted - Tuesday, November 29, 2011 

Talk by Dave Struble, State Entomologist, Maine Forest Service, on "spruce budworm and other horror stories." At Sea Dog Conf Center, Bangor, Dec 1, 5:30 pm, pre-registration required.
MPBN Call-in: Colin Woodard, Nov 29
Announcement - Tuesday, November 29, 2011 

Call-in with Colin Woodard, author of the critically acclaimed book "American Nations: A History of the Eleven Regional Cultures of North America." Maine Public Radio, Nov 29, 12:15 pm.
Lobster novelists book signing, Dec 3
Event - Posted - Tuesday, November 29, 2011 

Bayview Lobster Restaurant in Camden will host a book signing for three local novelists with a lobster theme, Dec 3, 3-5 pm.
Northern Forest Canoe Trail Auction
Announcement - Sunday, November 27, 2011 

The Northern Forest Canoe Trail Auction 2011 runs through Dec 1. All auction proceeds go directly to support the mission programs and operations of the NFCT.
FBSP membership special offer
Announcement - Sunday, November 27, 2011 

Friends of Baxter State Park is offering a family level membership with a 2012 Baxter State Park calendar for $35 from now until December 21. Includes postage, gift wrapping, and a note.
Donn Fendler book signing, Nov 27
Event - Posted - Saturday, November 26, 2011 

Book signing with Donn Fendler, Lynn Plourde and Ben Bishop for their new illustrated graphic novel, Lost Trail: Nine Days Alone in the Wilderness, at Barnes & Noble, Augusta, Nov 27, 3-4:30 pm.
Friends of Maine Seabird Islands, Nov 28
Event - Posted - Saturday, November 26, 2011 

Overview of Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge, focus on history and research. At Curtis Library, Brunswick, Nov 28, 7-9 pm.
Protect wetlands for Maine's wildlife, Dec 1
Action Alert - Thursday, November 24, 2011 

Maine’s Department of Environmental Protection is proposing to weaken the rules that protect our critical wetlands. Board of Environmental Protection Public hearing at the Augusta Civic Center, Dec 1, 9 am.
Effective Land Conservation Funding, Dec 1
Event - Posted - Thursday, November 24, 2011 

It has been estimated that new funding and tax incentives in excess of $5 billion per year will be needed over the next 30 years to conserve an adequate network of important landscapes across the United States. In an era of declining public funding and volatile financial markets, effective and creative use of private philanthropic dollars for conservation is imperative. Jay Espy will discuss research on effective practices in land conservation and funding. At Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, Cambridge, MA, Dec 1, 12-2 pm, pre-registration required.
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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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