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News Items
Maine Poised for Big Boost in Clean Energy
Natural Resources Council of Maine - Wednesday, June 19, 2019 

Bipartisan majorities in the Maine Senate and House have given final approval to a historic solar energy bill that would give residents, businesses, and towns more opportunities to invest in affordable solar power. LD 1711 is awaiting the signature of Governor Janet Mills, who has signaled she intends to sign it into law after campaigning on the need for more solar power in Maine. The solar bill, combined with a bill that will expand the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) to 80% by 2030 and sets a goal of 100% renewable by 2050, represents the most significant renewable energy action in more than eight years. Previous versions of the solar bill had been passed by the Legislature but vetoed by former Governor Paul LePage, who was also a vocal opponent of the RPS.
During U.S. National Pollinator Week, attention focuses on protecting bees
Other - Wednesday, June 19, 2019 

National Pollinator Week in North America recognizes the irreplaceable role that pollinators – bees, birds, butterflies, bats, beetles and other small mammals – play in the world. Pollinating over 180,000 different plant species and nearly 75% of the nation’s crops, pollinators are vital to the maintenance of a thriving ecosystem. These plants produce fruits, vegetables, nuts, oils and fibers. One of the most crucial pollinators is the honeybee, responsible for pollinating 30% of the world’s crops and 90% of the world’s plants. However, bee populations are on a steady decline, threatening healthy ecosystems and the local and international food economy. One of the things you can do to support the bees along with protecting habitat is to become a beekeeper.
River Herring Will Not Be Added To Endangered Species List
Associated Press - Wednesday, June 19, 2019 

The federal government says two species of herring are not at risk of going extinct, and will not be listed under the Endangered Species Act. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says the government has finished a review of the status of alewife and blueback herring and decided against designating the fish as endangered or threatened. The fish live on the East Coast and are an important piece of the food chain.
Loomer Earthwatch Expedition Scholarship
Other - Wednesday, June 19, 2019 

Mount Olive Tribune (NC) - The Loomer Earthwatch Expedition Scholarship was first offered last year. Maureen Loomer, a retired biology instructor, established the scholarship in memory of her husband, Dr. Lance Loomer. She used the prize from her 2014 Wayne Community College Distinguished Chair Award to participate in an Earthwatch expedition in Acadia National Park in Maine. She said she wanted students to have the same “exhilarating, transformative experience.”
Coal comeback? Trump plan would breathe new life into aging power plants
USA Today - Wednesday, June 19, 2019 

President Donald Trump is keeping a signature campaign promise to boost the coal industry but environmentalists say the energy plan his administration is expected to unveil Wednesday would lead to premature deaths and hasten climate change. Environmental groups and some states already have vowed to sue to stop the plan's implementation, just as opponents of Obama's Clean Power Plan did successfully four years ago.
What’s in your recycling bin? Interns will grade the contents this summer in 4 communities
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, June 19, 2019 

For Falmouth, Scarborough, South Portland and Windham residents, interns will become a common sight this summer. Ten student are participants in a pilot program started by ecomaine, a regional waste management agency, and four of its member communities in an effort to reduce contamination of recyclable waste left at the curbside. Like the residents who recycle, the interns are also excited to be a part of Maine’s sustainability efforts.
What can and can’t be recycled through Ecomaine
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, June 19, 2019 

Ecomaine’s recycling program includes various forms of paper, plastic, metal and glass. Use ecomaine’s free Recyclopedia mobile app, available at ecomaine.org/recyclopedia, to check if individual items are recyclable. Most forms of paper are OK, including books, newspapers, magazines, mail, milk cartons and paper plates, and cardboard. However, paper towels, napkins and tissues should not be placed in recycling bins.
Column: Enjoy tax-free water – for now
Kennebec Journal - Wednesday, June 19, 2019 

Nearly everything we value is taxed today. So it was good news when the Legislature rejected a bill that would have taxed Poland Spring for the water it bottles and sells. To do that, the Legislature would have had to take away the right that all of us have to the water underneath our property. And you are naïve if you think it wouldn’t take them long after taxing Poland Spring to start taxing all of us for that water. Consider what they are taxing now: the money you make, your property, most of the things you buy, gambling on sports, your inheritance, enjoying a state park, travel on the turnpike, and on and on it goes. ~ George Smith
What We Eat Now and Why It Has to Change
Outside - Tuesday, June 18, 2019 

Our collective diet has shifted in the past century. Two new books take us around the globe to examine how—and why—our eating habits have changed. How will we get our meals in the future? "For The Fate of Food: What We’ll Eat In a Bigger, Hotter, Smarter World," Amanda Little roved the planet for three years asking that very question. "The Way We Eat Now: How the Food Revolution Has Transformed Our Lives, Our Bodies, and Our World" by Bee Wilson focuses on the transition from unique regional menus with unprocessed, locally grown ingredients to a globally homogenous diet heavy in packaged snacks and calorie-laden beverages. The books are perfectly complementary. While the former contextualizes the world in which we live, the latter looks to what lies ahead, providing hope if not a definite conclusion.
Hiker rescued from Mount Washington may have to foot the bill
Associated Press - Tuesday, June 18, 2019 

An 80-year-old hiker who was rescued trying to reach the summit of Mount Washington could end up footing the bill for the emergency services, New Hampshire officials said Tuesday, amid efforts to raise awareness about the dangers of the popular tourist destination. Authorities may even file criminal charges in the case, after two relatives left James Clark behind. The NH Fish and Game Department has recommended that nine people be billed so far this year. Twenty-five people were billed in 2018. Clark said that he blamed himself for telling his two grandsons to go ahead without him.
Purchase of Bethel forestland completes 3,500-acre conservation area
Portland Press Herald - Tuesday, June 18, 2019 

The national Trust for Public Land, Bethel-based trail organization Mahoosuc Pathways and the Northern Forest Center in New Hampshire achieved a five-year goal of creating the 3,500-acre conservation area by purchasing the 978 acres that will become the Bethel Community Forest. A decade ago, the town of Bethel acquired the 2,411-acre Bingham Community Forest, located in Newry next to Sunday River, a parcel that originally had been managed to protect the town’s water supply. It became a first step in Mahoosuc Pathways’ vision to create the larger area of protected land for recreational uses.
Kingfield cidery awarded development grant
Sun Journal - Tuesday, June 18, 2019 

A small-but-growing local business has received a substantial economic development grant. At their Monday night meeting, Kingfield selectmen learned a Community Development Block Grant of up to $45,000 has been awarded to the Orchard Girls Cidery.
Movers, shakers of Maine arts gather in Portland for summit
Portland Press Herald - Tuesday, June 18, 2019 

About 200 artists, creative entrepreneurs, community leaders and big thinkers gathered at Ocean Gateway in Portland on Tuesday to try to figure out how to turn Portland into a world-class art community – or make people aware that it already is. David Brenerman, Creative Portland’s board president, said, “The City Council endorsed the plan early this year, and now we have to make it happen." U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree spoke about the importance of the arts as an economic catalyst statewide and tout the work that she and her colleagues are doing to ensure that funding for the arts continues at the federal level, despite attempts by the Trump administration to eliminate it. The arts contribute $1.5 billion to Maine’s economy every year and have created more than 16,000 jobs in the state, Pingree said.
U.S. air quality slipping after years of improvement
Associated Press - Tuesday, June 18, 2019 

After decades of improvement, America’s air may not be getting any cleaner. Over the last two years the nation had more polluted air days than just a few years earlier, federal data show. There were 15 percent more days with unhealthy air in America both last year and the year before than there were on average from 2013 through 2016. Health experts say it’s troubling to see air quality progress stagnate. President Trump has repeatedly claimed, “We have the cleanest air in the world, in the United States, and it’s gotten better since I’m president.” That’s not the case. Trump is moving to loosen regulations on coal-fired power plants and cars that scientists credit for cleaner air.
A Democratic and Republican Governor Both Sign Bills Outlawing Plastic Bags on Same Day
Other - Tuesday, June 18, 2019 

Law & Crime - If you’re headed to New England this summer, make sure you remember your reusable bags. On Monday, the governors of Maine and Vermont–one a Democrat and the other a Republican—signed laws to prohibit single-use plastic bags. Maine’s statute, signed into law by Gov. Janet Mills (D), will go into effect on April 22, 2020, in time for Earth Day. Vermont Governor Phil Scott (R) signed a similar measure into law in his state that’ll go into effect in July 2020. New Jersey recently proposed a measure that would outlaw all single-use paper and plastic bags–even those that are recyclable or could be sold at the point of sale.
Belfast Conflict Waves A 'Red Flag' For Dutch Firm Looking To Add A Third Fish Farm In Maine
Maine Public - Tuesday, June 18, 2019 

The Dutch entrepreneur who would like to build a land-based yellowtail fish farm somewhere in Maine said that the relentless opposition that some have shown to Nordic Aquafarms’ proposed Belfast salmon farm has made him proceed here with caution. Company officials believe they have found two viable sites on the Maine coast after reviewing 22. But they do not want to identify those communities yet in hopes of avoiding the same kind of response that Nordic, a Norwegian-based company that is working to build a $500 million facility, has grappled with since announcing its plans in January 2018. The Maine project, if built, would cost around $111 million, could create as many as 100 jobs and would produce 6,000 tons of fish annually to start. If all went well, it could eventually expand production to 15,000 tons.
Gov. Mills signs bill requiring state to notify communities of federal air quality violations
Portland Press Herald - Tuesday, June 18, 2019 

Gov. Jane Mills signed a bill into law Tuesday that requires the state to notify cities and towns of federal air quality violations. The new law was prompted by concerns originating in South Portland, where residents did not know that a petroleum storage facility had violated emissions limits in its permits until the federal Environmental Protection Agency filed a lawsuit in federal court. For years, Global Partners LP, a company with a 10-tank facility in South Portland, exceeded its emissions cap for hazardous volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, according to the EPA. South Portland residents and officials said they were surprised when the EPA filed a lawsuit and consent decree against Global in March.
Midcoast farms donate greens to feed asylum seekers
Times Record - Tuesday, June 18, 2019 

Local farmers and a network of volunteers plucked excess produce Monday to help feed more than 200 asylum seekers taking refuge in the Portland Expo. Several volunteers squatted in the fields of Six River Farm in Bowdoinham for two hours Monday morning cutting mustard, greens, kale and Chinese cabbage. They filled a truck with approximately 1,200 pounds of greens that will be picked up and delivered to Portland today. Cooking greens are a staple of central African cuisine. Some of the vegetables the asylum seekers would normally eat aren’t in season yet in Maine — eggplant and yams, for example. Alex Redfield, the director of farmer training with Cultivating Community, said the organization has about 30 farmers originating from various African countries growing African green varieties. The first of the African greens will be ready next week.
Lots of Interesting LandCAN projects
George Smith BDN Outdoor News Blog - Tuesday, June 18, 2019 

The Land Conservation Assistance Network is an amazing organization, headquartered in Maine, but doing projects all over the country. Here’s the first paragraph in their recent annual report: Over the past 18 years, thousands of individuals and businesses have visited our websites to find around 42,000 resources that help them make the best decisions about how to manage their land. In 2018, we continued to see a significant growth in the number of people we’ve been able to help. It’s heartwarming to know that our small organization with a staff of five in Falmouth, Maine makes this possible. We are a hidden gem in the beautiful State of Maine.
Column: The climate trap for Democrats
Sun Journal - Tuesday, June 18, 2019 

Polls show that the public is worried about climate change, but that doesn’t mean that it is any more ready to bear any burden or pay any price to combat it. Climate is a top-tier issue for Democrats. But the political experience of other countries is a flashing red light. In Australia last month, the liberal opposition lost what was supposed to be “the climate change” election, against all expectations. In France, gas and diesel hikes as part of a government plan to reduce carbon emissions by 75 percent sparked the yellow vest movement and had to be ignominiously reversed. Bearing real costs for the sake of the climate will always be a sucker’s game for any one country so long as there isn’t a global regime mandating emission reductions. ~ Rich Lowry
Climate change threatens commercial fishers from Maine to North Carolina
ScienceDaily - Monday, June 17, 2019 

Most fishing communities from North Carolina to Maine are projected to face declining fishing options unless they adapt to climate change by catching different species or fishing in different areas, according to a study in the journal Nature Climate Change. Some Maine fishing communities were at greatest risk of losing their current fishing options, according to the study. Fishing has been the economic and cultural lifeblood for many coastal towns and cities along the Northeast coast, in some cases for hundreds of years. But climate change is expected to have a major impact on the distribution, abundance and diversity of marine species worldwide.
Scientists take a peek behind those sad puppy dog eyes
Associated Press - Monday, June 17, 2019 

Dogs differ from wolves in many ways, from having shorter snouts, smaller sizes and more expressive faces. Researchers believe that dogs, over their relatively short 33,000 years of domestication, developed an eye muscle to communicate, possibly goading people to feed or care for them.
Portland Council votes to reduce non-marine zone on waterfront
Portland Press Herald - Monday, June 17, 2019 

Portland’s City Council voted unanimously Monday night to support waterfront zoning changes that were recommended by the City’s Waterfront Working Group, and not a weakened version that had been recommended by the Planning Board. City Councilor Belinda Ray proposed an amendment to the zoning ordinance that she said restores the non-marine use overlay zone on Commercial Street from 150 to 125 feet. Ray said the only exception would be Long Wharf, which will go from 500 to 300 feet. Ray’s amendment passed 9-0.
Maine could borrow to invest in green energy, infrastructure
Associated Press - Monday, June 17, 2019 

Gov. Janet Mills has proposed a $239 million bond package that includes $50 million for economic development. That includes expanding access to broadband and boosting fishing and farming infrastructure. Other bonds would touch on issues Mills campaigned on: $20 million in hazardous materials cleanup and drinking water treatment, $10 million in efficient heating projects for municipalities and $5 million in low-interest loans for clean energy projects for homeowners. Nearly all the bonds will take advantage of federal and private matching funds with at least a 1:1 match. Lawmakers also have made separate bond proposals.
Maine Business to Business Trade Show on Thursday
Sun Journal - Monday, June 17, 2019 

Admission to the Maine Business to Business Trade Show will still be free with a business card when the event comes to the Norway Saving Bank Arena for the first time Thursday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Organizer Travis Dow said he expects more than 80 exhibitors at 100 booths, including land conservation.
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Midcoast Maine farms
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feed asylum seekers

Photo: Darcie Moore / The Time Record




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