June 19, 2019  
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Maine Environmental News
Action Alert - Wednesday, June 19, 2019 

Thanks for visiting Maine Environmental News, a service of RESTORE: The North Woods. MEN is the most comprehensive online source available for links to conservation and natural resource news and events in Maine (and a bit beyond; hey, we're all connected). We have posted summaries and links to 60,000 news articles and announcements. We also post breaking stories and exclusives. Be sure to check not only today's news, but take a look at the headlines from the past several days as well. Articles often come to our attention a few days after they are published. Follow us on Twitter @MaineEnviroNews. ~ Jym St. Pierre, Editor
Save Right Whales
Action Alert - Wednesday, June 19, 2019 

New England’s iconic whale is on the brink of extinction. A bill in Congress called Scientific Assistance for Very Endangered (“SAVE”) Right Whales could help this key species recover. ~ Conservation Law Foundation
Water: What is has to teach us, Jun 25
Event - Posted - Tuesday, June 18, 2019 

Learn about fresh water ecosystems and new aquaculture operations in the MidCoast region. At Topsham Public Library, June 25, 6 pm. Sponsored by Cathance River Education Alliance.
Proposed Coyote Center, Jun 24
Event - Posted - Monday, June 17, 2019 

Biologist Geri Vistein will share an informative film about the future Coyote Center in Maine, followed by a discussion of Maine’s coyotes. At Lithgow Public Library, Augusta, June 24, 6:30 pm.
Teen Wilderness Expedition, July 23-25
Announcement - Sunday, June 16, 2019 

The Teen Wilderness Expedition is a 3-day, 2-night, all-inclusive adventure for 12-16 year olds at Little Lyford Lodge, July 23-25. Offered by Piscataquis County Soil and Water Conservation District and Appalachian Mountain Club.
Maine State Museum hosts Bike Day, Jun 22
Event - Posted - Saturday, June 15, 2019 

Join the Maine State Museum, Bicycle Coalition of Maine and the Maine State Library in a free family event to commemorate the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote and learn about the benefits of safe, relaxed bike riding. At Maine State Museum, June 22, 10 am - 1 pm.
Woodland Management with Birds in Mind, Jun 22
Event - Posted - Saturday, June 15, 2019 

A Forestry for Maine Birds workshop for landowners, foresters and loggers interested in learning how they can support Maine’s forest songbirds. At Somerset County Cooperative Extension office, Skowhegan, and on the adjacent Yankee Woodlot Demonstration Forest, June 22, 9 am - noon.
Hike Puzzle Mt., Jun 22
Event - Posted - Saturday, June 15, 2019 

A moderate to strenuous hike of 8.5 miles. Cross several exposed granite boulders and ledges offering views of the Sunday River ski area, Grafton Notch, and the Presidentials, June 22, pre-register. Sponsored by Appalachian Mountain Club.
Androscoggin River Canoe & Kayak River Race, Jun 22
Event - Posted - Saturday, June 15, 2019 

This event is open to all to launch canoes, kayaks, paddle boards, (and more) into the Androscoggin River and complete one of three courses of varying length and challenge. At Festival Plaza, Auburn, June 22, 9 am, $15 for single paddler, $25 for a double, benefits Androscoggin Land Trust.
Plants of Corea Heath, Jun 22
Event - Posted - Saturday, June 15, 2019 

Join Jill Weber, botanist and co-author of The Plants of Acadia National Park, to learn about carnivorous plants, orchids, stunted trees and shrubs and cotton-grass. At Corea Heath, Goldsboro, June 22, 8:30 am. Sponsored by Downeast Audubon.
Maine Wildlife Park open house, Jun 21
Event - Posted - Friday, June 14, 2019 

The Maine Wildlife Park in Gray will hold an open house with free admission, June 21, 5-8 pm. Feeding times for moose, lynx, foxes, cougars, vultures and bears will be posted.
Call for a presidential primary debate on climate change
Action Alert - Thursday, June 13, 2019 

Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez has rejected a presidential primary debate on climate change. 15 Democratic presidential candidates have joined the call. So can you. ~ CREDO Action
Trekking through Time
Announcement - Thursday, June 13, 2019 

From June through October, Lakes Environmental Association, Loon Echo Land Trust, Greater Lovell Land Trust, Upper Saco Valley Land Trust, and Western Foothills Land Trust will host the Trekking through Time Series. Once a month throughout the summer and early fall, each organization will host a historical tour of one of its conservation properties.
Help document impact on shell middens, Jun 18
Announcement - Tuesday, June 11, 2019 

Many cultural artifacts of Maine's first coastal residents are preserved in shell middens, but these sites are disappearing as sea levels rise, collectors dig into the middens, and visitors walk on them. Maine Midden Minders is developing a database of erosion conditions at middens. Volunteer training at Coastal Rivers’ Education Center, Damariscotta, June 18, 3-7 pm.
“Dog-Friendly Hikes in Maine” book launch, Jun 18
Event - Posted - Tuesday, June 11, 2019 

Book signing and presentation for “Dog-Friendly Hikes in Maine” by Aislinn Sarnacki, which contains detailed descriptions and maps of 35 hikes across Maine that are ideal for dogs and their owners. At Epic Sports, Bangor, June 18, 5-7:30 pm.
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News Items
Snow country for old men?
Sun Journal - Thursday, February 28, 2019 

Maine has a vast number of snowmobile trails, all interconnected. Bob Meyers, executive director of the Maine Snowmobile Association, said the 14,500-mile network can be accessed from almost anywhere in the state. In Maine, 289 clubs are each responsible for maintaining their own trails. Ninety-five percent of the land crossed by the trails is owned by private landowners who agree to allow the trails on their property. Last winter, there were 79,000 snowmobiles registered in Maine. Many Maine snowmobile clubs are struggling to attract young people to help maintain trails and carry on the sport.
Bath-area land trust seeks tales of trash-tossing traditions
Forecaster - Thursday, February 28, 2019 

It was a joyful practice that brought residents together. Today it might traumatize environmentalists. “Taking Out the Garbage in 1957” is part of the Kennebec Estuary Land Trust’s ongoing History Spotlight series, held this year as the Bath-based organization celebrates its 30th anniversary. Where was that trash dumped? The Kennebec River, among other places that have since come under the protection of groups like KELT. The land trust is sharing historical stories and photos as part of this and other history spotlights, which show the strides people have made in recent decades to appreciate, protect and restore the Kennebec Estuary region’s waters and lands.
New bill would increase penalties for those who violate Endangered Species Act
WGME-TV13 - Thursday, February 28, 2019 

A bill in Augusta would beef up the penalties for people who violate Maine’s Endangered Species Act. The act has been on the books in Maine since 1975. The state has 26 species considered endangered. Right now, wardens can only give a warning for a first-time violation. This proposal changes that. "This bill would give law enforcement more flexibility to take other action, to issue fines or take other actions to protect the species," Nick Lund of Maine Audubon said. Some endangered species in Maine include birds like the golden eagle and piping plovers.
Trump touts opening of Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling
Associated Press - Thursday, February 28, 2019 

President Trump touted the opening of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling when Air Force One made a refueling stop Thursday in Alaska as the president returned from his collapsed summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Vietnam. The Trump administration and congressional Republicans said the drilling plan would help pay for tax cuts approved in December 2017. Trump said he’s always had a special place in his heart for Alaska, which likely stems from a grandfather who ventured north to look for gold. The president said his grandfather didn’t find gold but opened hotels for others who traveled north to seek their fortunes. [Trump did not mention that Friedrich Trump's hotels were brothels or that the tax cut is mainly benefiting the super wealthy.]
How the CMP Transmission Project Could Fit with Gov. Mills' Climate Change Agenda
Maine Public - Thursday, February 28, 2019 

As Gov. Janet Mills builds out her climate agenda, it could get a boost from the deal-making around Central Maine Power's proposal to build a new transmission line through western Maine. In a memorandum of agreement with two environmental groups — the Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) and the Acadia Center — CMP explicitly agrees to support an array of carbon-reduction efforts. They include Mills' goal of doubling Maine's use of renewable energy sources. Sean Mahoney, the director of CLF's chapter in Maine, says his group's side agreement and an overall CMP deal, which Mills signed on to last week, could transform the way CMP approaches energy issues. Some key players are far from convinced that's it's going to happen.
Gov. Mills Outlines Ambitious State Plan To Address Climate Change
Maine Public - Thursday, February 28, 2019 

In her address to the annual meeting of the Environmental & Energy Technology Council of Maine on Thursday, Gov. Janet Mills vowed that addressing climate change will be a major goal of her administration. While she acknowledged that climate change is a world-wide problem that requires international attention, Mills said Maine should do what it can. She announced that she has joined with governors from 21 other states in a group called the United States Climate Alliance, which is working to meet the pollution reduction goals set forth in the Paris Climate accord. Mills said that Maine is adopting a goal of generating 80 percent of its electricity needs using renewable sources by the year 2030. By 2050, she said all of the state’s electricity will come from renewables.
Interesting report on Maine deer
George Smith BDN Outdoor News Blog - Thursday, February 28, 2019 

Wildlife biologist Nathan Bieber presented interesting info about DIFW’s deer research in The Maine Bowhunter’s Winter 2019 newsletter. Bieber reported that DIFW has been capturing deer since 2015 and putting GPS collars on them. Since then they have handled 266 deer and placed GPS collars on 149 of them. They track the deers’ movements and their mortality rates. Bieber says that mortality rates have generally been higher in the northern study areas than in their central Maine site.
Wheeling and dealing industry lobbyist confirmed as head of EPA
Other - Thursday, February 28, 2019 

The Senate has confirmed former coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler as our nation’s top environmental defender as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. Not only is Wheeler charged with safeguarding the environment, he’s also responsible for protecting the health of all Americans from dangerous toxins. Rev. Susan Hendershot, President of Interfaith Power & Light, said, "Sadly, Wheeler has already shown where he stands when industry interests threaten public health and our faith values. Months before he was confirmed, Wheeler issued a statement that limiting mercury pollution isn’t 'necessary and appropriate." He is beginning the legal process of rolling back limits on this potent neurotoxin that threatens the health of the most vulnerable."
New Appropriation for Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument
Maine Environmental News - Thursday, February 28, 2019 

The federal budget, passed earlier this month, included a new appropriation of $400,000 to be added to Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument’s budget. This funding is critical to ensuring natural resources are protected, infrastructure is advanced and maintained, and the visitor experience is safe and enjoyable.
Senate confirms ex-coal lobbyist to run Environmental Protection Agency
Washington Post - Thursday, February 28, 2019 

The U.S. Senate on Thursday approved former coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler to head the Environmental Protection Agency by a vote of 52 to 47, elevating a veteran of political and industry circles who has advanced President Trump’s push to roll back Obama-era environmental regulations. One Republican, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, voted against Wheeler’s confirmation Thursday on the grounds that he had worked to water down federal rules curbing greenhouse gas pollution from power plants, as well as weaken fuel standards for the nation’s cars and pickup trucks. Maine Sen. Angus King, an independent, also voted no.
Anson voters to consider increase in legal fees for Madison mill case
Morning Sentinel - Thursday, February 28, 2019 

Anton residents on Saturday will consider doubling the amount budgeted annually for legal fees. The increased legal fees will, in part, go toward handling tax abatement requests from Madison Paper Industries, which closed in 2016 in neighboring Madison, and afterward requested abatements of its 2016 and 2017 taxes on property in Anson.
Harpswell Heritage Land Trust plans pop-up station
Times Record - Thursday, February 28, 2019 

The Harpswell Heritage Land Trust plans a number of events throughout the year to help Harpswell residents get out of their homes to explore the labyrinth of preserves, trails and public spaces that the land trust oversees throughout the town. From solstice celebrations to nature walks, the land trust is always looking for new ways to get people outside, but that can be hard when unexpected weather comes along and forces them to cancel. With that in mind, the land trust will be opening a weatherproof, pop-up educational station open for weeks at a time.
Coyote fur is in big demand thanks to popular parkas
Associated Press - Thursday, February 28, 2019 

Those fur-trimmed parkas so common on city sidewalks have become a boon to backwoods trappers. Coyote fur pelts are in big demand to provide the lush, silvery or tawny-tinged arcs of fur on the hoods on Canada Goose coats and their many global imitators. To trappers, coyotes are one of the few money-making animals, along with bobcats and a few others.
Mills sets renewable energy goals in climate change speech
Portland Press Herald - Thursday, February 28, 2019 

Gov. Janet Mills said Thursday that her administration will work toward obtaining 100 percent of Maine’s electricity from renewable energy sources by 2050 and that Maine has joined a multi-state coalition committed to the Paris Climate Agreement. In a speech to the Environmental and Energy Technology Council of Maine, Mills said she will introduce legislation to create a Maine Climate Council that will develop an action plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help communities adapt to a changing climate. Mills has set an interim goal of 80 percent electricity generation from renewable sources by 2030 and a longer-term goal of 100 percent by 2050.
Janet Mills adds Maine to group of states aiming to abide by Paris climate change accord
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, February 28, 2019 

Gov. Janet Mills announced Thursday that she is the 22nd governor to join a national coalition that has committed to abide by an international agreement to reduce carbon emissions that the U.S. withdrew from in 2017. The new Democratic governor made fighting climate change a key part of her 2018 campaign to succeed former Gov. Paul LePage, a Republican who put the state’s climate response on hold as research emerged during his tenure showing the Gulf of Maine has warmed more in recent years than 99 percent of the world’s oceans.
Canadian ferry firm signs lease on its way to starting service in Bar Harbor this summer
Associated Press - Thursday, February 28, 2019 

The Bar Harbor planning board on Wednesday gave approval to the resumption of ferry service to Canada from an idle terminal on Route 3, as a Canadian ferry company looks to start service this summer. The board’s conditional approval, which depends on the firm Bay Ferries securing needed permits from agencies such as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the state Department of Environmental Protection, is the latest in a series of steps that are expected to restore ferry service between Nova Scotia and Bar Harbor for the first time since 2009.
Column: A catastrophic decline of insects
Kennebec Journal - Thursday, February 28, 2019 

A study published last month of insect population research states unequivocally that “the demise of major insect taxa … (has) attained alarming proportions globally over the last two decades.” At the current rates of decline, the study says, 40 percent of the Earth’s insect species could go extinct in the next few decades. What is killing the insects? Habitat loss, pollution, biological factors, climate change. Is there any hope? Yes, if humans make changes. “Habitat restoration, coupled with a drastic reduction in agro-chemical inputs and agricultural ‘redesign’, is probably the most effective way to stop further declines,” the study says. ~ Dana Wilde
Environmentalists React To New Regional EPA Head
Other - Thursday, February 28, 2019 

Paul Mercer, the former head of Maine's Department of Environmental Protection, is being appointed to lead the Environmental Protection Agency's office in Boston. Sean Mahoney, head of the Conservation Law Foundation's Maine office, said, "From all that we could tell, he was a leader at the DEP that respected the staff, respected their expertise, and respected the importance of science and facts." Pete Didisheim of the Natural Resources Council of Maine said, "The mantra of the LePage era was to not enforce environmental laws, and the number of enforcement cases collapsed throughout those eight years. And that didn't change while Paul Mercer was the commissioner." Former Maine state Sen. Tom Saviello worked with Mercer: "He's going into a situation where the environment is not a priority to this present administration, and to put somebody like Paul in there is putting somebody who really does care about the environment."
Editorial: Maine lawmakers should pass plastic-bag ban
Portland Press Herald - Thursday, February 28, 2019 

Unlike paper, metal and glass, which can be recycled into high-quality new products, plastics are not easily broken down and are of limited utility. Plastic bags are one of the most common contaminants in the recycling stream. These problems are getting worse: The industry plans to increase plastic production by 40 percent in the next decade. Twenty towns and cities across Maine have enacted either bans or fees on plastic shopping bags, and at least a half-dozen more are considering local ordinances. Many of those policies were approved in the two years since state lawmakers rejected a bill to ban plastic bags. Retailers that operate in more than one community may now be open to a single statewide standard instead of a hodgepodge of local ordinances.
Letter: Maine doesn’t need CMP project – energy innovators are already active here
Portland Press Herald - Thursday, February 28, 2019 

Maine would be very foolish to sacrifice its wilderness to a company that is furnishing electricity to another state. We are responsible neither for providing Massachusetts with electricity nor for lining Quebec’s pockets. So far Central Maine Power has demonstrated more concern for sending profits back to Spain than for taking care of its customers. Gov. Mills should support energy entrepreneurs developing floating windmills and more solar companies. They are the future. ~ Richard McWilliams, Yarmouth
Letter: To save aquatic creatures, kick the plastic-wrap habit
Portland Press Herald - Thursday, February 28, 2019 

To cooks everywhere: Please stop using all that plastic wrap! It benefits only the petroleum industry and it is destroying the creatures of our oceans and waterways; when they see it in the water, they consume what they think is jellyfish or seaweed or tiny water life, and then they starve to death with stomachs full of plastic. Please stop destroying our planet. Not only is plastic wrap toxic to aquatic life, it is made from petroleum byproducts, adding to global climate change. ~ Jane Lauder King, Kennebunk
Letter: Consider more than lobster
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, February 28, 2019 

Put the lobster bait problem in an ecosystem perspective: Herring have been in decline since seiners and pair trawlers began harvesting before they reached their near-shore spawning grounds. Herring’s natural function is not merely to provide lobster bait; herring and their cousins — alewives, shad and menhaden — are crucial to the trophic pyramid that starts with one-celled plants and ends with top predators — swordfish, tuna, sharks and mankind. If we want to see a recovery of Maine’s historical “shore” fisheries, we must first recover their base: the forage fish population. We should buy up and scrap pair trawlers and seiners, and forbid the use of mobile net gear within 50 miles of Maine’s shore. Thinking of the lobster fishery as a sole industry that justifies overfishing baitfish will destroy the near-coastal marine ecosystem for generations. ~ William Leavenworth, Searsmont
Letter: Say no to big business
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, February 28, 2019 

Green energy? Aren’t the trees that will be chopped down for the transmission line and for future wind farms free carbon emission scrubbers? How many thousands of gallons of diesel fuel get burned up on projects the size of these? If these types of projects continue to happen here, Maine will become a very green state indeed because no one will want to vacation in this industrialized mess. Let’s say no to big business and let Maine’s natural resources be our best asset. ~ Jim Jones, East Boothbay
Passenger rail service between Lewiston-Auburn and Portland could cost $300 million
Sun Journal - Wednesday, February 27, 2019 

A proposed commuter rail service to connect the Twin Cities to Portland would likely cost between $200 and $300 million, depending on which service scenario is selected, according to an engineering consultant. At a meeting hosted by the Lewiston/Auburn Passenger Rail Service Plan Committee on Wednesday evening, Natasha Velickovic of the engineering firm VHB said the annual costs for the project would be offset by rider revenue, “but I haven’t seen a service yet that has entirely paid for itself, so this would require some level of subsidy.” The cost of a ticket would likely be between $6 and $10.
FDA working on way to allow CBD in food products, official tells Rep. Pingree
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, February 27, 2019 

Federal regulators have scheduled the first public hearing on whether to allow adding CBD, the non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis, to food. U.S. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb told lawmakers Wednesday that Congress had sent a clear message in December when they legalized hemp in the U.S. Farm Bill. In testimony before the House Appropriations Committee, Gottlieb reassured Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) that finding a pathway to allow small, nonpharmaceutical-level doses of cannabidiol, or CBD, into food products is an agency priority.
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