August 19, 2017  
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Maine Environmental News
Announcement - Saturday, August 19, 2017 

Thanks for visiting Maine Environmental News, a service of RESTORE: The North Woods. MEN is the most comprehensive online source available for links to Maine conservation and natural resource news and events. We have posted summaries and links to 50,000 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
Bird Monitoring, Aug 26
Event - Posted - Saturday, August 19, 2017 

Join a marsh-wide survey of birds and help document all present species timed to catch the beginning of shorebird migration. At Scarborough Marsh, August 26, 7-10 am, free.
Head Harbor Passage Boat Trip, Aug 26
Event - Posted - Saturday, August 19, 2017 

A birding trip to Head Harbor Passage and the surrounding Canadian Islands. At Eastport, August 26, 10 am – 2 pm; Maine Audubon Members $60, Non-members $75.
Don’t let Trump censor climate science
Action Alert - Friday, August 18, 2017 

President Donald Trump may censor a comprehensive and alarming new report written by scientists from 13 federal agencies — research that confirms climate change is real, it’s caused by human activity and it’s already hurting people across the U.S. We deserve to know the truth about climate change — no matter how inconvenient it may be for Trump’s pro-fossil fuel agenda.
Life Happens Outside Festival, Aug 25-26
Event - Posted - Friday, August 18, 2017 

The Life Happens Outside Festival celebrates Maine's outdoors and its passionate outdoor community. Featuring 6 outdoor villages, 40+ vendors, interactive workshops, exhibits, gear demos, food, and live music. Free giveaways, competitions, outdoor presentations, and the ability to purchase outdoor gear directly from the brands. At Thompson's Point, Portland, August 25-26.
Life Happens Outside Festival, Aug 25-26
Event - Posted - Friday, August 18, 2017 

Celebrate active, outdoor lifestyles. At Thompson's Point, Portland, August 25 & 26. Sponsored by Teens to Trails.
Nature Detectives, Aug 24
Event - Posted - Thursday, August 17, 2017 

Join a scavenger hunt, make your own nature notebook, and learn how to use the tools of the trade. At Scarborough Marsh, Augoust 24, 1–2:30 pm; Maine Audubon Child Members $5, Child Non-members $7, pre-register.
Exploring Nature Through Art, Aug 22
Event - Posted - Tuesday, August 15, 2017 

Through various art forms children (age 6-10) will discover some of the secrets of Scarborough Marsh; August 22, 10:30 am – 12 pm; Maine Audubon Child Members $5, Child Non-members $7, pre-register.
Sierra Club Maine Climate Action Conference, Sep 16
Event - Posted - Tuesday, August 15, 2017 

The theme of this year's event is "Maine Community-Based Approaches to a Clean Energy Future and Climate Change Solutions." At University of Southern Maine Lewiston Campus, September 16.
Project WILD Educator Workshop, Aug 21
Event - Posted - Monday, August 14, 2017 

This 6-hour workshop introduces educators to Project WILD materials, activities, and strategies. At Bonny Eagle Middle School, Buxton, August 21, 9 am – 3 pm; Maine Audubon Members $23, Non-members $25.
Kayak Scarborough Marsh, Aug 20
Event - Posted - Sunday, August 13, 2017 

Discover the wildlife and plants of Scarborough Marsh as you paddle the Dunstan River. At Scarborough Marsh, August 20, 1–2:30 pm; Maine Audubon Members $13, Non-members $15, deduct $1.50 if you bring your own kayak, must be 16+.
Exploring Wabanaki/Maine History, Aug 20
Event - Posted - Sunday, August 13, 2017 

Maine-Wabanaki REACH offers an interactive learning experience, "Exploring Wabanaki/Maine History," a participatory presentation for adults and teens. At Reversing Falls Sanctuary, Brooksville, August 20, 4-6 pm.
Native Plants & Wildflower Symposium, Aug 29
Event - Posted - Saturday, August 12, 2017 

Includes talks, tours of two native-plant gardens, and a chance to view an herbarium. At McLaughlin Gardens and Homestead, South Paris, August 29, 8:30 am - 3:30 pm, $20 for members, $30 for non-members, registration deadline Aug 21.
Katahdin Woods & Waters 5k Relay, Aug 19
Event - Posted - Saturday, August 12, 2017 

This race in Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument is part of the 'Wild Maine Weekend' hosted by local area businesses. August 19.
Animals, Animals, Animals, Aug 19
Event - Posted - Saturday, August 12, 2017 

International wildlife and travel photographer Gary Harmatz will share his photographs and stories of the wonderful world of exotic and highly endangered wildlife. At Blue Hill Public Library, August 19, 10 am.
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News Items
Belfast salmon smoker planning $5 million expansion to meet boosted demand
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, August 2, 2017 

A local company that makes smoked salmon and other seafood products is taking over a shuttered building next door to meet increased national demand for its products. Ducktrap River of Maine, based in the city’s business park, has purchased a former apparel manufacturing facility across the street, and plans to spend $5 million converting it to produce cold-smoked salmon.
Two topless women want you to picture them when you cook lobsters
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, August 2, 2017 

Two 20-something female volunteers stood topless, wilted and all red, their eyes closed, their arms and rubber lobster claw gloves hanging over the sides of a fake lobster pot — like cooked lobsters who had just been boiled to death. The front of the cloth pot, which had fake flames around the bottom, read, “Put yourself in their place.” Twenty-year-old Bangor native Bianca Giron and Mary Ann Persad, 25, of Brooklyn, New York, were volunteers through the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) organization to oppose the boiling alive of millions of crustaceans every year. They had positioned themselves near the entrance of the 70th annual Rockland Lobster Festival.
Solar bill veto override falls short in Maine House
Maine Environmental News - Wednesday, August 2, 2017 

The Maine House of Representatives voted 88 to 48 to override Gov. Paul LePage's veto of LD 1504, the solar bill. The Maine Senate voted earlier in the afternoon, 28 to 6, to override LePage's veto. However, the House vote fell short by three votes for the required two-thirds minimum. At least two Republicans who had been supportive switched their votes after heavy lobbying by Central Maine Power Co and other corporate interests. The bill would have fixed one of the most problematic elements of the broken PUC solar rules by removing a tax on solar energy generation by homeowners and businesses.
Energy giant Con Ed proposes to deliver Maine wind energy to Boston
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, August 2, 2017 

New York energy giant Con Edison is proposing a partnership with a group of energy developers called Maine Power Express LLC to deliver northern Maine wind power to Boston markets. Under the plan, MPX would build a 630-megawatt wind facility in Penobscot and Aroostook counties called County Line Wind. Then the partnership would deliver that power via an underground power line on an existing energy corridor that eventually connects to an underwater transmission line to Boston.
Maine Senate votes to override veto of solar bill
Maine Environmental News - Wednesday, August 2, 2017 

The Maine Senate has voted overwhelmingly, 28 to 6, to override Gov. Paul LePage's veto of LD 1504, the solar bill. In amended form, LD 1504, would fix one of the worst elements of the broken PUC solar rules by removing a tax on solar energy generation by homeowners and businesses. The issue now moves to the Maine House of Representatives.
Moosehead adventures, lesson 1: Rain doesn’t need to ruin things
Aislinn Sarnacki Act Out Blog - Wednesday, August 2, 2017 

6-month-old Wesson didn’t understand the damper the rain was putting on his first camping adventure. And 4-year-old Micah didn’t care. To him, the giant puddles that covered the campground were entertaining. The mud between his toes felt good. And if he didn’t have any dry pants left, he’d play pant-less, no problem. His carefree attitude helped us all relax a bit and realize that frequent rainstorms didn’t have to ruin the experience.
Opinion: The North Woods monument land played a pivotal role in the history of conservation
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, August 2, 2017 

Teddy Roosevelt was 17 when he first visited the Katahdin region and met Bill Sewall. Roosevelt showed no reservation in his admiration for the people of northern Maine and the beauty of the region to which he was drawn multiple times. In 1879, Roosevelt wrote to his mother, “I have never seen a grander or more beautiful sight than the northern woods in winter.” Roosevelt is rightly seen as a father of conservation in American history. He used the Antiquities Act and his other presidential authority to protect approximately 230 million acres of public land. I spoke to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, a self-proclaimed Teddy Roosevelt conservative, during his visit to the monument in June about this perfect melding of history, beauty and economic momentum. I sincerely hope he listened. Sens. Angus King and Susan Collins, and Rep. Chellie Pingree have all come out against any attempt to harm the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. ~ Donna Sewall Davidge, owner of Sewall House, Island Falls
Future of Solar Electric Power at Stake as Maine Lawmakers Return to the Capitol
Maine Public - Wednesday, August 2, 2017 

A showdown is looming today between Gov. Paul LePage and the Maine Legislature over the future of solar electric power. The governor vetoed a bill lawmakers passed this session that aims to reverse a Public Utilities Commission plan that, among other things, would have begun charging solar panel owners for the electricity they use from their solar installations. Maine lawmakers will vote today on whether or not to override the governor's veto.
State agrees to controversial take-over of Forest City dam
George Smith BDN Outdoor News Blog - Wednesday, August 2, 2017 

A very-late-in-the-session legislative bill calling for a state takeover of the Forest City Dam on the St. Croix River was hotly debated. Several key changes were made, and the bill was enacted and signed by the Governor. One of the major concerns expressed by IFW Committee members was the expense of maintaining this large dam, half of which is in Canada. The state will only be responsible for our side of the dam, not the Canadian side.
I made one very big mistake during my day as a bloodwormer
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, August 2, 2017 

My days as a bloodwormer were numbered even before my feet sank into the muck. Rushing to buy waders, I discovered that all the pairs at my local sporting goods store were at least a size too big. I figured I’d be fine so long as I wore an extra pair of thick socks. I was wrong. Digging for marine worms, is exhausting, filthy, repetitive and unreliable work. In 2016, Maine issued 887 marine worm harvesting licenses. The buckets those 887 diggers brought off the mudflats last year contained 292,649 pounds of worms worth about $4.6 million. In the late 1960s, bloodworm harvesters brought in around 800,000 pounds per year.
Symposium at Colby explores artists’ role in land conservation
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, August 2, 2017 

A symposium this week organized by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy at Colby College explores the link between art and conservation and the advocacy role of early American painters like Church and Thomas Cole, who made luscious paintings of Niagara Falls because he was horrified by their commercialization, and the photographers Carleton Watkins and Ansel Adams, famous for their photographs of Yosemite Valley. Watkins’ photographs led to the creation of Yosemite National Park in 1890. Co-sponsored by the National Park Service and the Maine Arts Commission, “Art and Land Conservation Symposium: Exploring the Role of Artists in American Land Conservation” is scheduled for Thursday and Friday in Waterville.
Opinion: Let solar energy empower ratepayers, not utility
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, August 2, 2017 

Central Maine Power President Sara Burns claimed my solar bill would cost ratepayers $150 million over the next 18 years. This figure is a gross distortion. ISO-New England estimates that solar already reduces our annual peak demand by hundreds of megawatts, saving all ratepayers millions of dollars. ISO-NE also suggests that if enough solar panels are installed, additional power plants and perhaps additional transmission lines will not be needed. This could save ratepayers millions. CMP does not make any money if there is no need for additional power lines. When L.D. 1504 passes, the real winners will be the citizens of Maine, not a corporate monopoly looking to protect their bottom line. ~ Sen. Tom Saviello, Wilton, chair, Environment and Natural Resources Committee
Letter: Maine needs to capitalize on benefits of clean energy
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, August 2, 2017 

In 2015, more than $4.4 billion left Maine’s economy to pay for these fossil fuel resources. This is more than 8 percent of the state’s GDP disappearing to pay for dirty energy. Solar arrays can significantly reduce the electricity expenses for homes and businesses across the state. Additionally, solar can supply energy for heat pumps or for electric vehicle charging, saving money for smart consumers. In all three instances, this reduces fossil fuel expenditures and keeps money in the Maine economy. Maine must continue to be a clean-energy leader. Every effort should be made to support solar, wind, biofuels and other local clean-energy options. Ask your legislators to support net metering and a transition to 100 percent clean energy statewide. ~ David Gibson, Fryeburg
Letter: Writer’s attack on Maine fire-retardant bill was misleading
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, August 2, 2017 

As a career firefighter of 27 years, and a leader of the Professional Firefighters of Maine, I was disappointed to see Matthew Blais attack Maine legislation to protect firefighters from cancer-causing flame-retardant chemicals. In his July 29 op-ed, Blais, who is associated with a Texas-based chemical industry trade group affiliate, offered misleading and debunked information on L.D. 182, which passed with overwhelming bipartisan support and is now on the governor’s desk. Cancer is the leading cause of line-of-duty deaths for firefighters. This bill is an important step in the right direction. ~ Ronnie Green, Bangor
Letter: Staying safe in Maine wilderness
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, August 2, 2017 

Regarding the two recent articles on staying safe while hiking in Maine and 911 assistance within the national monument, I find it very useful and reassuring to use SPOT, a global emergency system that relies on satellites. It can send GPS locations as needed or every 10 minutes, send messages, and request emergency assistance including insurance for helicopter rescues. The Maine wilderness is not to be taken lightly. Unanticipated weather or health conditions occur. As a Maine Guide, I highly recommend investing in some type of satellite system for communication purposes when traveling within the Maine wilderness. The nominal annual fees are worth the peace of mind. ~ Rae Fournier-Wren, Old Town
Grant to Thomaston startup may help keep Maine elvers home
Portland Press Herald - Tuesday, August 1, 2017 

American Unagi, the Thomaston-based company that aims to grow Maine glass eels to market size and sell them domestically, received a $10,000 grant from Gorham Savings Bank this week as part of the bank’s Emerging Idea Award. American Unagi was born out of Sara Rademaker’s desire to offer an alternative for this globe-trotting local resource. Glass eels, or elvers as they are better known, are caught in Maine waters and flown to Asia where they are sold to fish farms, grown out to adult length and then, quite often, processed for sushi that returns to the United States via shipping containers. Rademaker is selling the mature eels to local restaurants, including Miyake, Fore Street and Hugo’s, among others.
Climate Change Is The Leading Cause Of Moose And Loon Population Decline In New Hampshire
Other - Tuesday, August 1, 2017 

NHPR - Climate change, which causes rising temperatures, increasingly severe weather events, and shrinking habitats, negatively impacts the moose and loon populations of New Hampshire more than any other factors -- including human interference from road construction or hunting and fishing practices. That's according to longtime wildlife observers.
AG Mills joins lawsuit to challenge EPA over smog rules
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, August 1, 2017 

Maine on Tuesday joined 14 other states in a lawsuit seeking to force the federal government to adhere to a deadline laid out in the Clean Air Act. In October 2015, when President Obama was still in office, the EPA raised national air quality standards for smog. The Clean Air Act requires the agency to publicly identify within two years by Oct. 1, 2017, which areas of the country are in compliance with new standards. But EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt recently postponed the deadline for making such determinations by a year. The states are hoping to force Pruitt to stick to the schedule as laid out by the Clean Air Act.
Alewife project moves ahead in Vassalboro, but controversy remains
Morning Sentinel - Tuesday, August 1, 2017 

A permit allowing the China Region Lakes Alliance to remove the Masse Dam in Vassalboro has been approved by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, but opponents of the project are considering whether to appeal the state’s decision after their request for a public hearing was denied. The lakes group applied for the natural resources permit in May 2017 on behalf of the Alewife Restoration Initiative, a partnership among a number of environmental groups hoping to restore the tiny herring to the lakes of Maine. The group plans to either remove dams or replace them with fish passageways at six locations along the Outlet Stream to allow alewives to migrate freely to and from China Lake.
Phippsburg files appeal to stop removal of Popham Beach pilings
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, August 1, 2017 

The Phippsburg Board of Selectmen on Monday filed an appeal with the Maine Board of Environmental Protection asking that it reconsider a permit granted to a Popham Beach homeowner to remove about 150 pilings that previously supported a pier used by the Eastern Steamship Company. Jack Parker said he wanted to remove the pilings “to protect the beach from erosion with rising sea levels. But in a letter Monday to BEP Chairman James W. Parker, selectmen wrote they are concerned the project could cause “significant environmental damage to nearby marine life and maritime activities, and potential damage to those living near, working in, and recreating in surrounding waters.”
Climate change you can see: As seas rise, so do ‘ghost forests’
Associated Press - Tuesday, August 1, 2017 

They’re called “ghost forests” – dead trees along vast swaths of coastline invaded by rising seas, something scientists call one of the most visible markers of climate change. The process has happened naturally for thousands of years, but it has accelerated in recent decades as polar ice melts and raises sea levels, scientists say, pushing salt water farther inland and killing trees in what used to be thriving freshwater plains. Researchers say new ghost forests are particularly apparent in North America, with hundreds of thousands of acres of salt-killed trees stretching from Canada down the East Coast.
Opinion: Banning flame retardants isn’t without safety risks
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, August 1, 2017 

Maine lawmakers have been working over the last several months on a bill — LD 182 — that would ban the sale of new furniture containing flame retardants. Their actions are no doubt driven by a desire to reduce people’s exposure to chemicals, and while the intentions are laudable, the science shows the outcome may leave Mainers more vulnerable to fires with no discernible benefits to human health. The bill is touted as necessary to protect firefighters from exposure to harmful chemicals. An important question is whether the presence of flame retardants alters the composition of the smoke to make firefighting more hazardous. The data available to date show that this is not the case. ~ Dr. Tom Osimitz, Science Advisory Council for the North American Flame Retardant Alliance
2 New Laws Target Aquaculture, Housing Assistance
Associated Press - Tuesday, August 1, 2017 

Two recently enacted laws help the state's burgeoning aquaculture industry and those displaced by transportation projects in Maine. One of the laws creates a framework for all individuals growing and selling marine organisms as part of the growing field of agriculture. The other new law increases moving and housing assistance for those impacted by transportation projects by making Maine law match a recent federal law.
Why small solar threatens the companies that deliver electricity in Maine
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, August 1, 2017 

Residential solar power threatens profits at investor-owned utilities. Plain and simple. It’s also the most promising and readily deployable form of small-scale renewable energy. That’s why lawmakers in Maine are facing a significant pressure over a decision they face Wednesday, between two temporary schemes to value that solar power. Neither of the outcomes will settle the bigger battle that looms over how utilities and policymakers deal with the coming growth in solar and other technologies that allow for small power generators to pop up all over the state and all over the electric grid.
The two choices Maine lawmakers face on solar power
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, August 1, 2017 

The corner Maine lawmakers backed themselves into on solar policy has two exits. One does nothing, leaving in place a temporary system regulators created. The plan upset solar friends and foes alike. Utility Central Maine Power Co. prefers it, though, to the other option. The other option is to override a veto from Gov. Paul LePage and enact LD 1504, tweaking the policy regulators created and directing them back to the drawing board. Both of those options would gradually draw down incentives for solar power and neither of them is intended as a long-term solution to fairly compensating small-scale solar generators for the power they put onto the grid.
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