April 23, 2017  
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News Items
Maine bats fighting for survival
Sun Journal - Saturday, April 22, 2017 

White-nose syndrome has killed 80 to 90 percent of the state's hibernating bats. For most of 2011, Acadia National Park thought it had dodged a bullet. White-nose syndrome was spreading across the country and millions of bats were dying. That December, Acadia's bats should have been safely tucked away in their caves, asleep for the winter. They weren't. The loss of bats in the environment can affect Maine's ecosystem, which relies on them to eat billions of moths, beetles, mosquitoes, flies and other insects that come out at night. Without bats to keep them in check, those bugs can plague crops and forests, and spread disease to animals and humans, though no one yet knows to what extent.
Hundreds rally across Maine in international March for Science
Bangor Daily News - Saturday, April 22, 2017 

A local version of the worldwide March for Science drew hundreds of scientists and those who support their work to the University of Maine campus on Saturday. Similar protests took place in Portland, Machias and Sanford, which were among the 600 communities in the United States and abroad that held pro-science rallies in conjunction with the national March for Science in Washington, D.C. The protests, which fell on Earth Day, were sparked by deep cuts President Donald Trump has proposed for science and research budgets and by what many see as a growing disregard for evidence-based knowledge.
More Than 1,000 March Statewide in Support of Science
Maine Public - Saturday, April 22, 2017 

A global effort to promote science and scientific research produced ripples Saturday in Maine, where marches and demonstrations were held in six communities. About 1,000 people walked in Portland to support investment in evidence-based scientific projects and the teaching of science and math in local school departments. In Orono, more than 300 gathered in front of Fogler Library on the University of Maine campus to oppose what some say are increasing tendencies by government officials to dismiss proven scientific theory that clashes with partisan political goals. Other rallies or marches were held in Gouldsboro, Machias, Sanford and Unity. Science supporters are preparing to stage another rally next Saturday when the People’s Climate March will be held in Augusta.
About 1,000 join March for Science in downtown Portland
Portland Press Herald - Saturday, April 22, 2017 

About a thousand people marched up Congress Street from City Hall to Congress Square Park on Saturday morning to express their support for science and scientific research. One of more than 600 simultaneous events held around the globe to support the March for Science in Washington, the Portland gathering featured speeches, an array of signs – many of them humorous – and a lot of scientists. It was one of six such rallies in Maine, the others slated for Gouldsboro, Orono, Sanford, Machias and Unity.
If not for Earth Day, imagine a silent spring in Acadia National Park
Acadia On My Mind Blog - Saturday, April 22, 2017 

As millions around the world mark Earth Day, imagine what Acadia National Park would be like without the banning of DDT, the Clean Air and Endangered Species Acts, or any of the other changes since that first massive showing of environmental activism in 1970. On this Earth Day and beyond, whether you’re marching for science in Washington on April 22 or for climate change action in Bar Harbor on April 29, or you’re volunteering for the Friends of Acadia’s annual roadside clean-up later this month, just imagine what a silent spring in Acadia would be like.
Maine Birders Treated to 2 Extremely Rare Sightings
Maine Public - Friday, April 21, 2017 

Maine’s birdwatching community is aflutter over the sighting this week of two species never before seen in Maine — one that usually hangs out in Mexico and the other in Europe. The first rare bird was caught on camera Monday thanks to an international user of a well-placed webcam at an osprey nest on Hog Island, in Bremen. Two days later another birder driving through Newcastle spotted a fieldfare thrush that’s native to Europe. Hitchcox says it’s similar to the American robin, and this is the first time it’s been seen in Maine.
Proposal Would Ban State From Investing in Companies With Dakota Pipeline Ties
Maine Public - Friday, April 21, 2017 

The state, along with the Maine Public Employees Retirement System, would be banned from doing business with any bank or company that is involved in the Dakota Access pipeline under a bill being considered by the Legislature. Dawn Neptune Adams, a member of the Penobscot Nation, argued the state should do what is right. “I’m asking you to divest Maine’s money from any bank which would support the Dakota Access pipeline,” she says. But representatives of the state retirement system questioned the constitutionality of the bill in testimony before the Appropriations Committee, and the state treasurer also raised concerns about the proposal.
Report: Maine propping up unsustainable biomass power industry
Portland Press Herald - Friday, April 21, 2017 

Taxpayers and ratepayers have doled out more than a quarter of a billion dollars over the past decade to prop up Maine’s biomass power industry, which cannot compete economically without subsidies and is among the state’s top polluters, according to a new report. The Partnership for Policy Integrity argues that while Maine’s biomass industry has received over $250 million in subsidies and grants since 2008, the payments have done little to stop the bleeding of jobs and tax revenue from an industry that generates electricity too dirty to be eligible for clean energy subsidies in some neighboring states, and too expensive to compete with alternatives in the free market.
No more money needed to save Maine’s moose
George Smith BDN Outdoor News Blog - Friday, April 21, 2017 

The legislature’s Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee unanimously killed my proposed legislation, sponsored by Rep. Peter Lyford, to direct more money to initiatives to save Maine’s moose herd. And I can’t really blame them, because the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Department told the committee it didn’t need more money for moose research and management. Several things about this discussion at the legislature surprised me.
UMaine System to consider environmental, social factors in making investments
Portland Press Herald - Friday, April 21, 2017 

After three years of students pressing the University of Maine System to divest from fossil fuels, system officials have taken a step in that direction by telling investment managers to consider environmental, social and governance factors when deciding where to invest the system’s $287 million portfolio. Board of trustees member Karl Turner said Friday that the policy change will not necessarily eliminate fossil fuel holdings, but it “will weed out the worst offenders.”
Marine Patrol Officer Matthew Wyman honored for professional excellence
Penobscot Bay Pilot - Friday, April 21, 2017 

Maine Marine Patrol Officer Matthew Wyman has received the 2017 Northeast Conservation Law Enforcement Chief’s Award. The award, presented April 10 at the Northeast Fish and Wildlife Conference, honors a law enforcement official for professional excellence. The Conference assembles regional natural resources professionals in many fields including law enforcement. Officer Wyman was recognized for his depth of skill and knowledge and for his painstaking investigation of violations that threaten Maine’s valuable marine resources.
Some USDA scientists say their work has been tampered with — maybe for political reasons
Washington Post - Friday, April 21, 2017 

A recent survey of the U.S. Agriculture Department’s scientists by the agency’s inspector general, nearly 10 percent said their research has been tampered with or altered by superiors “for reasons other than technical merit,” possibly because of political considerations.
Opinion: Tomorrow, I’ll be marching for science; above all, I’ll be marching for truth
Bangor Daily News - Friday, April 21, 2017 

The March for Science takes place in Washington, D.C., on Saturday with satellite marches across the country, including four in Maine. We will be marching for science, and most of us will be marching for the environment, too, because that day is also the 47th anniversary of Earth Day. Along with my fellow scientists, I have worried deeply about the election and its aftermath when “alternative facts” have become the “phrase du jour.” Objective truth is such a holy grail for scientists that it has long been difficult for us to accept the language and process of politics. However, with the sowing of seeds of doubt around scientific consensus, we can no longer be silent and marching can make a difference. ~ Malcolm Hunter, Professor of Conservation Biology, UMaine
Maine Eel Harvesters on Track to Hit Quota
Associated Press - Friday, April 21, 2017 

The pace of Maine's season for baby eel fishing has intensified to the point where fishermen are on target to reach their quota. Maine's baby eels, called elvers, are an important piece of the worldwide sushi market. They are raised to maturity by Asian aquaculture companies that use them as food. Fishermen are only allowed to harvest elvers from rivers and streams for about 11 weeks a year. This year's season started slow, possibly due to the cold spring. But state fishing regulators say fishermen have now harvested about 40 percent of their nearly 10,000 pound quota. The season ends June 7. The state says Maine elvers are selling for $1,366 per pound, which is slightly less than last year's price. Elvers sometimes sell for more than $2,000 per pound.
Gigantic wind turbines signal era of subsidy-free green power
Bloomberg News - Friday, April 21, 2017 

Offshore wind turbines are about to become higher than the Eiffel Tower, allowing the industry to supply subsidy-free clean power to the grid on a massive scale for the first time. Manufacturers led by Siemens are working to almost double the capacity of the current range of turbines, which already have wing spans that surpass those of the largest jumbo jets. The expectation those machines will be on the market by 2025 was at the heart of contracts won by German and Danish developers last week to supply electricity from offshore wind farms at market prices by 2025.
Why scientists are marching on Washington and more than 400 other cities
Washington Post - Friday, April 21, 2017 

The March for Science is not a partisan event. But it’s political. That’s the recurring message of the organizers, who insist that this is a line the scientific community and its supporters will be able to walk. It may prove too delicate a distinction, though, when people show up in droves on Saturday with their signs and their passions. The Science March, held on Earth Day, is expected to draw tens of thousands of people to the Mall, and satellite marches have been planned in more than 400 cities on six continents.
Keeping backyard hives benefits bees, humans
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, April 20, 2017 

Most of North America’s thousands of species of pollinators are in decline. The rusty patched bumblebee is the first of these to go onto the endangered species list. The honey bee is not native to North America, but our method of cultivating the bulk of our food depends upon them. With colony losses running nationally at between 29 percent and 50 percent each year, we are continuously having to run just to stand still by splitting our colonies to replace winter losses. It would be far better for the bees if there were hundreds of thousands of new backyard beekeepers with one or two hives than having dozens more beekeepers with 10,000 hives. Backyard beekeepers can give their colonies individual attention. ~ Peter Cowin, The Bee Whisperer
Column: Birders boat through a snowstorm to spot a ‘crazy’ duck
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, April 20, 2017 

The last snowstorm of the winter engulfed southern Maine on April Fool’s Day. All week I had been watching bad weather march across the map, threatening to cancel the annual boat trip around Isle au Haut. We were to search for the harlequin ducks that congregate there every winter. Clearly we weren’t going. But I was the official spotter and couldn’t risk being derelict in my duties, so I called the trip sponsor, Island Heritage Trust, just to make sure. I was surprised to reach a live human, and I was even more surprised by the answer: “We’re going for it!” ~ Bob Duchesne
Teens To Trails celebrates 10th year with new outdoor-themed festival
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, April 20, 2017 

Founded by the Leone family in 2007, Teens To Trails, also known as T3, supports high school outing clubs throughout Maine, with the vision that one day, every high school in the state will have an outing club or outdoor adventure programs. Over the years, T3 has provided high school outing clubs throughout the state with more than $60,000 in grants for outdoor equipment and transportation funds. The nonprofit also provides these outing clubs with free online resources, outdoor skills trainings and trip lotteries. Perhaps most importantly, T3 has created a cohesive outing club network in Maine that facilitates the sharing of information and resources across county lines.
Blog: Maine’s most ‘disproportionately popular job’ is easy to guess
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, April 20, 2017 

Business Insider published a report on Tuesday that showed each states “most disproportionally popular” job based on Bureau of Labor statistics. These jobs exist at much higher rates in each state than in the country. Maine’s most disproportionally popular job is “loggers.” ~ Samuel Shepherd
LePage says he wants to put a cap on energy costs for industrial users
Portland Press Herald - Thursday, April 20, 2017 

Gov. Paul LePage reiterated his position Thursday that Maine’s energy costs need to be more competitive and said he’s considering drafting legislation that would cap rates for industrial users. But the governor has not yet submitted a bill and acknowledged that he wasn’t even sure lawmakers would be supportive. He also criticized the wind and solar industries, which he says are too heavily subsidized. Maine has the lowest industrial energy costs in New England, at 9.05 cents per kilowatt hour, but LePage said the state is not competing with other New England states.
Dow Chemical lobbies Trump administration to kill pesticide risk study
Associated Press - Thursday, April 20, 2017 

Dow Chemical is pushing a Trump administration open to scrapping regulations to ignore the findings of federal scientists who point to a family of widely used pesticides as harmful to about 1,800 critically threatened or endangered species. Lawyers representing Dow, whose CEO is a close adviser to Trump, and two other manufacturers of organophosphates sent letters last week to the heads of three of Trump’s Cabinet agencies. The companies asked them “to set aside” the results of government studies the companies contend are fundamentally flawed. Dow Chemical wrote a $1 million check to help underwrite Trump’s inaugural festivities.
Could the Gulf of Maine’s Ground Fishery Rebound?
Free Press - Thursday, April 20, 2017 

With climate change, ocean acidification and overfishing in the Gulf, groundfish fisheries have collapsed, shrimp are disappearing, scallop fishing is severely restricted, clamming has been in steep decline and more than half of the mussel beds have vanished. Lobster is booming, but how long will it last? "Will restoring river herring, alewives and so on help restore groundfish?” said Ted Ames of the Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries. “Probably the answer is it could if we adapted an ecosystem-based management strategy that integrated our human systems with natural systems."
Opinion: The woods and waters are what make Maine great; it’s our duty to conserve them
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, April 20, 2017 

Our environment is a key factor in maintaining and improving the Maine economy. It is a major reason why so many Mainers want to remain in the state and why others move here and establish businesses. To protect the Maine environment, all four of our representatives in Congress should be strong advocates for legislation that combats air pollution and climate change. They should develop and propose needed legislation and work to convince their colleagues to pass it. We need to protect the progress that we have made. The elimination of fossil fuels should be at the top of the agenda. ~ John Tjepkema, School of Biology and Ecology, UMaine
Searsport Dredging and Port Upgrade on MDOT Plan for 2018
Free Press - Thursday, April 20, 2017 

A $3 million dredging project and a $6.4 million upgrade to the port of Searsport are on the Maine Department of Transportation work plan for 2018 and 2019. The planned dredging project would not expand the shipping channel or shipping berths at Mack Point in Searsport. The plan is to dig out the existing shipping channel and ship turning area that has silted in over the years so that some ships are only able to offload at high tide.
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