January 20, 2018  
Announcements               
Press releases, events, publications released, etc. from Maine environmental organizations and agencies. Submit content.

Solstice by the Sea, Dec 21
Event - Posted - Thursday, December 14, 2017 

Friends of Sears Island will host “Solstice by the Sea: A Celebration of Light” include a walk along a path lit with hundreds of luminarias and will culminate with music, readings, and cocoa and cookies on the beach. At Sears Island, Searsport, December 21, 6 pm.
Maine Energy Planning Roadmap hearings, Dec 19, Dec 29, Jan 10
Event - Posted - Tuesday, December 12, 2017 

The Governor’s Energy Office is asking Mainers for input in developing an Energy Planning Roadmap. Public hearings:
• Dec. 19: University of Southern Maine, Portland
• Dec. 29: Energy, Utilities, & Technology Committee, Augusta
• Jan. 10: University of Maine, Presque Isle
Help wanted: Visitor Center Assistant
Announcement - Monday, December 11, 2017 

Seasonal position, May 1 - October 31, 2018, representing Audubon’s Seabird Restoration Program at the Project Puffin Visitor Center in Rockland.
Free Skiing & Learn-to-Ski Clinics, Dec 16
Event - Posted - Saturday, December 9, 2017 

Waterville Parks & Rec, with support from Friends of Quarry Road, will provide free trail passes, free rentals, and free learn-to-ski clinics at Quarry Road Trails, December 16.
Meadow Brook/Hurds Pond Preserve Hike, Dec 16
Event - Posted - Saturday, December 9, 2017 

Cloe Chunn will lead a hike of Meadow Brook/Hurds Pond, a preserve of Coastal Mountains Land Trust. Meet at Swanville Transfer Station, December 16, 10 am. Sponsored by Belfast Bay Watershed Coalition.
Tax bill would slam the brakes on solar and wind energy
Action Alert - Friday, December 8, 2017 

The tax bill passed by the Senate last Friday includes an obscure provision that could pull the rug out from under solar and wind power. The House version also takes aim at renewable energy by rolling back key tax credits. These provisions "would have a devastating ... impact on wind and solar energy," according to renewable energy industry leaders. ~ Environment Maine
Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, Dec 14
Event - Posted - Thursday, December 7, 2017 

Tim Hudson, Superintendent, will take you through the landscape of Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument with pictures. At Belfast Free Library, December 14, 6:30 pm. Sponsored by Belfast Bay Watershed Coalition.
Whales of the Gulf of Maine: A Naturalist’s Report, Dec 14
Event - Posted - Thursday, December 7, 2017 

Zack Klyver, chief naturalist for the Bar Harbor Whale Watch Company and founder of Flukes whale watch ecotours, will present an engaging review of the 2017 whale watch season. At Schoodic Institute, Winter Harbor, December 14, 12 pm.
Olive oil tasting, Dec 13
Event - Posted - Wednesday, December 6, 2017 

FIORE Artisan Olive Oils & Vinegars will host an evening to support the Brunswick Topsham Land Trust at its tasting room in Brunswick, December 13, 5-7 pm.
The Arctic Needs Your Help
Action Alert - Tuesday, December 5, 2017 

Buried deep within the Senate tax bill is a provision to open the pristine Arctic Refuge, a national treasure, to oil and gas drilling, which will cause widespread pollution and harm to the wildlife and people who call this place home. Express your disappointment to Senator Susan Collins and urge her to protect our natural legacy by working to remove this damaging language before the tax bill becomes law. ~ Maine Conservation Voters
Birds from the Footbridge in Belfast, Dec 9
Event - Posted - Saturday, December 2, 2017 

Join Ron Harrell and Gary Gulezian to watch ducks, loons and other birds in the harbor. At the Belfast Footbridge, December 9, 8-10 am. Organized by Belfast Bay Watershed Coalition.
Win $1,000 L.L.Bean shopping spree and an outing with David Sibley
Announcement - Friday, December 1, 2017 

Wildlife Acoustics, makers of the Song Sleuth bird identifying app, launched the Sibley Sweepstakes on December 1. Ends March 1. No purchase necessary to enter.
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News Items
Acadia National Park starts shutdown in wake of no federal budget
Bangor Daily News - Saturday, January 20, 2018 

The U.S. Office of Management and Budget ordered Acadia National Park to start shutdown procedures Saturday morning as Congress prepared to restart discussions the same afternoon to try to come to a budget compromise. The park could furlough 79 employees over the next three days, going from 94 to 15. The shutdown procedures could stop if the Congress does agree on a budget over the weekend, so the situation is very fluid. People can still use the park, but they will not get emergency help from park staff.
Monumental: A Journey through Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument
Other - Saturday, January 20, 2018 

In September of 2017, a team of four Maine-born photographers and filmmakers set off into Katahdin Woods & Waters to document the land in hopes of encouraging more public use. Their film, "Monumental," documents a five day, 64-mile-long human powered circumnavigation of the national monument by canoe, bike, and foot. [11 minute video]
A new year brings new environmental priorities
Maine Conservation Voters - Saturday, January 20, 2018 

This year marks the final Maine Environmental Priorities Coalition legislative agenda under Governor Paul LePage and the 34 environmental and public health organizations in the Maine EPC are going to make it count. Read about the EPC's 2018 priority bills.
Acadia National Park logged record 3.5 million visitors in 2017
Bangor Daily News - Saturday, January 20, 2018 

Acadia National Park had a record-setting 3,509,271 visitors in 2017, a 6.2 percent increase over the all-time high set the year before, 3.3 million visitations. The 3.3 million figure was significant because 2016 was the year of the National Park Service’s centennial and also Acadia’s 100th birthday, both special dates to fans of America’s national parks.
The government just shut down. What happens next?
CNN - Saturday, January 20, 2018 

In the final moments leading up to Friday's midnight deadline, Senate Republicans and Democrats were unable to agree on a stopgap funding measure to continue government services. So what happens next? If you had plans for a vacation to visit any national parks, zoos or museums, some of those may be closed.
Opinion: Loans, not subsidies, will take wood energy uses into future, not past
Portland Press Herald - Saturday, January 20, 2018 

The false narrative in response to the bill, An Act To Authorize a General Fund Bond Issue To Support Wood Energy Use in Maine, is that a taxpayer-funded bailout of the biomass industry in 2016 has failed and now the industry is back looking for more money to support itself because it cannot compete. In fact, the biomass contract incentives provided by Maine lawmakers in 2016 were always intended to act as a short-term bridge to keep the industry viable while alternatives could be developed. The enhanced usage of Maine’s incredible forest resource is exactly what the bill now under consideration would largely fund, not through subsidies, as headlines would have you believe, but loans to be repaid in perpetuity. ~ Dana Doran, Professional Logging Contractors of Maine, and William Bell, Maine Pellet Fuels Association
Letter: Trump’s tax bill gives break to ‘lobster packers’ of the world
Portland Press Herald - Saturday, January 20, 2018 

In his most recent column, Greg Kesich wrote about a 21-year-old from Lincoln County who was working 60 to 80 hours per week packing lobster for $10 an hour around the time of the 2012 election. This industrious young man said that he was working too hard to think about politics, but if he made it to the polls, he would most likely vote for the candidate who would lower his taxes (who could blame him?). Mr. Kesich asked his readers, “Who’s got a (tax) plan for my lobster packer?” Look no further than the recently enacted Republican tax law. Under the new law, hardworking Mainers, like that young man from Lincoln County, will receive an annual tax break of between $650 and $1,250. ~ Julie McDonald, North Yarmouth
Letter: Action on climate change prevents expensive disasters caused by extreme weather
Portland Press Herald - Saturday, January 20, 2018 

On Jan. 8, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported that 2017 was the most expensive year on record for disasters in the United States, totaling $316 billion. Extreme weather is becoming more and more common around the country. Temperatures are reaching unprecedented highs and lows, and hurricanes and flooding are doing more damage. This weather is fueled by climate change. Warmer water temperatures trigger rising sea levels, driving storm surges, and warmer air holds more moisture and dumps more rain during storms. We need to take action on climate now. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King must fight to protect Maine’s environment. ~ Jacqueline Guyol, Portland
Letter: Install road signs for monument
Bangor Daily News - Saturday, January 20, 2018 

Where are the signs to Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument? It’s been over a year and a half since it was designated, and those of us in the Katahdin region are still waiting. The Maine Department of Transportation first said that it would wait to put up signs until results of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s monument report were released. The review is over, and Katahdin Woods and Waters is here to stay. Shouldn’t this be enough for the Department of Transportation? I have been a Katahdin-area business owner for more than 30 years, and I’ve seen that the monument is a good neighbor for my small business. Signs will bring even more people to the region who can contribute to our local economy. ~ Terry Hill, Owner, Shin Pond Village
After 9 snowmobilers land in the water, Mainers are warned about dangerously thin ice
Portland Press Herald - Friday, January 19, 2018 

Game wardens are warning anyone headed out onto Maine lakes and ponds to use extreme caution after at least nine people broke through thin ice on snowmobiles in a 24-hour period this week. All nine survived, but some of the incidents could easily have been fatal, officials said.
Not guilty verdict reached in Quebec oil train disaster trial
Associated Press - Friday, January 19, 2018 

Three men charged in a criminal negligence trial stemming from a 2013 derailment that killed 47 people in the Canadian province of Quebec have all been found not guilty. The jury of eight men and four women reached the verdict Friday after nine days of deliberations. A runaway train carrying crude oil from North Dakota derailed in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, and exploded on July 6, 2013, leveling much of the downtown. [The train was headed to cross Maine.]
Maine offshore wind project rules out Port Clyde as cable site
Bangor Daily News - Friday, January 19, 2018 

The proposed route for a cable that would bring electricity from an offshore wind project to Maine’s power grid is facing another routing change. Plans for the Maine Aqua Ventus pilot wind energy project called for the transmission cable to run from the test site off Monhegan Island into the village of Port Clyde. But now that route is no longer being explored, Jake Ward, vice president for innovation and economic development at the University of Maine, said Friday. Maine Aqua Ventus has identified 11 other possible routes. Plans to bring the cable ashore in Port Clyde, a village in the town of St. George, met backlash from residents and fishermen who worried the project would harm their way of life.
As Federal Shutdown Looms, A Look At How The Impacts In Maine Could Add Up
Maine Public - Friday, January 19, 2018 

Members of Maine’s congressional delegation are divided over funding the federal government for another month, as talks continue in Washington. National parks, including Acadia in Maine, will be closed and staff laid off. The longer a shutdown lasts, the greater the impact on Maine. State agencies such as the Department of Environmental Protection and Health and Human services employ a good number of federally-paid workers, and hundreds would face a furlough as federal funding is exhausted.
Biddeford maker of ultralight outdoors gear raises $1.1 million
Portland Press Herald - Friday, January 19, 2018 

Biddeford-based Hyperlite Mountain Gear said it has completed a $1.1 million round of financing to expand production as well as research and development capacity. The company, which has about 50 employees, said in a news release that it also will use the funds to begin introducing automation to its manufacturing facility in Biddeford. Hyperlite is a leader in the emerging ultralight outdoors movement, an adventuring technique of carrying only the lightest and most efficient gear possible so a hiker, backpacker or mountaineer can do more in the outdoors in less time and with less stress on the body.
How to explore Maine by snowmobile, starting in Newport
Bangor Daily News - Friday, January 19, 2018 

Starting at Newport and heading north, the 29-mile Four Seasons Adventure Trail connects the communities of Newport, Corinna, Dexter, Sangerville and Dover-Foxcroft. A gravel, multiuse trail, the Four Seasons Adventure Trail is also open to cross-country skiers, dog sleds and snowshoers, and in the summer, the trail is used by ATV riders, runners, bicyclists, hikers and horseback riders. Maine is home to approximately 14,500 miles of snowmobile trails, 95 percent of it on private land, and 289 snowmobile clubs.
Researchers study moose calf survival rates
Bangor Daily News - Friday, January 19, 2018 

Early last week, helicopter crews finished capturing and radio-collaring moose in two of the state’s Wildlife Management Districts, adding 83 more moose to a pair of study groups in western and northern Maine. Over time, those moose — along with the others that were previously captured and are already providing valuable data — will help biologists better understand the survival rate among both adult female moose and their newborn calves. One thing that has become exceedingly clear over the four previous years of gathering data on the state’s western Maine herd around Moosehead Lake: The winter tick is a particular culprit in the lives of young moose, killing more than 50 percent of the study group calves on an annual basis.
Lyme cases in Maine spiked again in 2017 to another record
Portland Press Herald - Friday, January 19, 2018 

Lyme disease and anaplasmosis soared to record highs in Maine last year, with experts saying the relatively warm fall probably contributed to the increase in tick-borne illnesses. There were 1,787 positive tests for Lyme in 2017, a 22 percent increase over 2016. Meanwhile, anaplasmosis cases jumped 78 percent in 2017, to 662 from 372 in 2016. Five years ago, there were fewer than 100 cases of infection annually from the anaplasmosis bacteria.
Opinion: Maine Voices: ‘Protect the Earth and treat everyone with love and kindness’
Portland Press Herald - Friday, January 19, 2018 

We are living in interesting times. Some might even say “desperate.” I’m speaking mainly about the presidency of Donald Trump. In Maine, we must also contend with a governor named Paul LePage. Then there’s this. On Jan. 21, 2017, the day after Mr. Trump was inaugurated as our 45th president, my 33-year-old son, Mark Baumer, was hit and killed while walking across America to raise awareness about climate change. For the past year, I have been passing through grief and loss, while also witnessing the unraveling of the nation I’ve lived in for 55 years. During a video he posted from Day 92, Mark offered up this as a way to live: “Protect the Earth and treat everyone with love and kindness.” ~ Jim Baumer, Brunswick
Letter: Legislature has to take lead in upgrading Maine’s electricity grid
Portland Press Herald - Friday, January 19, 2018 

Gov. LePage falsely claims that pro-solar policies are supported by out-of-state groups and highly paid lobbyists, while in fact the exact opposite is the case. I was one of many ordinary Mainers who took time out last year to testify in support of net metering. We weren’t paid one red cent to do so. We testified because we care about fairness and intelligent energy policy. In contrast, Ashley Brown, who has made a career out of testifying against net-metering in numerous states, was paid $600 per hour to do so. The answer to massive power outages is not to double down on old-fashioned, costly grid upgrades at the expense of solar customers. Instead, we should invest in local solar generation and micro-grid systems. The Legislature must take the lead to bring Maine’s grid into the 21st century. ~ Janet Lynch, Pownal
Maine's Environmental Priorities Coalition has announced its legislative agenda for the year.
Associated Press - Thursday, January 18, 2018 

Speakers representing the group's more than 100,000 members explained bills before lawmakers that the group supports and bills it opposes. Bills they back include one to support Mainers generating their own solar power without being charged and clean water bonds. They're against placing a tax on fuel efficient cars and trucks to boost Maine's Highway Fund. The coalition also supports a bill to help schools develop food waste reduction programs and incentivize businesses to donate or discount food to schools that would otherwise be wasted.
Conservation groups sue to force greater protection for North Atlantic right whale
Portland Press Herald - Thursday, January 18, 2018 

Three national organizations, Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife and the Humane Society of the United States, went to court Thursday in an effort to force the federal government to provide greater protections for the endangered North Atlantic right whale. The plaintiffs allege that the federal government has failed to manage the fishing industry by not enforcing the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Scientists say right whales are facing extinction largely because the animals die after becoming entangled in lobster trap lines and commercial fishing gear.
Column: Great horned owl likely the culprit in southern Maine attack
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, January 18, 2018 

Surely you read in the BDN that “an aggressive dive-bombing owl” struck a cross-country skier in the head last week, causing minor injury. Skiers were warned to avoid owl-nesting territory, as if it were possible to know exactly where that is. The article was supplemented with a photo of a barred owl. Wait, what? I was going to let that pass, but then I saw the story in a Portland newspaper, and it was also accompanied by a photo of a barred owl. There were no photos of the actual assailant. I’ll make a case for great horned. ~ Bob Duchesne
Bill Adams, one of Maine's environmental pioneers, dies at 89
Sun Journal - Thursday, January 18, 2018 

William R. “Bill” Adams Jr., a Lewiston native, died Tuesday. Adams helped lay the groundwork for the Clean Air and Clean Water acts sponsored by U.S. Sen. Edmund Muskie of Maine, and then played a key role in overseeing the implementation of the tough new federal standards that have, over time, transformed the Pine Tree State to a degree that most young Mainers cannot even imagine.
2017 Among Warmest Years On Record
National Public Radio - Thursday, January 18, 2018 

This past year, 2017, was among the warmest years on record, according to new data released by NASA and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration. The planet's global surface temperature last year was the second highest since 1880, NASA says. NOAA calls it the third warmest year on record, because of slight variations in the ways that they analyze temperatures. Both put 2017 behind 2016's record temperatures. And "both analyses show that the five warmest years on record have all taken place since 2010," NASA said in a press release.
Analysis: Would A Government Shutdown Usher In A New Vision For The National Park Service?
National Parks Traveler - Thursday, January 18, 2018 

What would the National Park System be without a National Park Service? It may not be such a far-fetched idea under the Trump administration, and you might just see a trial run this weekend. Traveler has learned that in the event of a government shutdown Friday, the National Park System will remain open. Non-essential Park Service personnel will not report to work, but concessions will continue to operate, and visitors will be free to enter. This type of "soft closure" would give Republicans in Congress cover in the event of a shutdown.
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