March 19, 2019  
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Maine Environmental News
Action Alert - Tuesday, March 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). 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
Urge Maine's Agencies to Investigate and Halt PFAS Contamination
Action Alert - Tuesday, March 19, 2019 

Highly persistent and toxic chemicals known as PFAS may be lurking undiscovered in farmlands across Maine. State records show that at an Arundel dairy farm, PFOS was in milk at the highest level ever reported anywhere. Urge Maine Ag and DEP commissioners to test the fields, stop sludge spreading, and phase out PFAS products. ~ Environmental Health Strategy Center
Retired Game Warden Randall Probert, Mar 26
Event - Posted - Tuesday, March 19, 2019 

Author, raconteur, and retired game warden Randall Probert will speak to the Hebron Historical Society on “Maine Tales and More.” At Hebron Town Office, March 26, 7 pm.
The Forests of Lilliput: The Miniature World of Lichens & Mosses, Mar 26
Event - Posted - Tuesday, March 19, 2019 

Maine Master Naturalist Jeff Pengel talks about the natural history of lichens, mosses and similar plants. At Topsham Library, March 26, 6 pm. Sponsored by Cathance River Education Alliance.
Celebrating Maine’s Wild Creatures, Mar 26
Event - Posted - Tuesday, March 19, 2019 

Speaker: Ed Robinson, author of “Nature Notes from Maine: River Otters, Moose, Skunks and More.” At Curtis Library, March 16, 7 pm. Sponsored by Merrymeeting Audubon.
Ocean Acidification, Climate Change, and You, Mar 25
Event - Posted - Monday, March 18, 2019 

Friends of Casco Bay staff scientist Mike Doan talks about warning signs and Casco Baykeeper Ivy Frignoca shares the impacts to marine species and how Mainers are responding. At Southern Maine Community College, South Portland, March 25, 5:30 pm.
Mount Pisgah winter trek, Mar 24
Event - Posted - Sunday, March 17, 2019 

Kennebec Land Trust Stewardship Director Jean-Luc Theriault will lead an off-trail excursion on Mount Pisgah to visit special places that are typically less accessible. Meet at the Mount Pisgah Community Conservation Area parking lot in Winthrop, March 24, 1 pm.
Winter Family Fun Day at Lily Bay State Park, Mar 23
Event - Posted - Saturday, March 16, 2019 

Ice fishing, snowmobile tote rides, winter camping demo, bonfire, scavenger hunt and free loan of cross-country skis, snowshoes, ice skates, snow tubes and sleds. At Lily Bay State Park, Moosehead Lake, March 23, 10 am - 3 pm.
Winter wildlife tracking workshop, Mar 23
Event - Posted - Saturday, March 16, 2019 

Naturalists and certified wildlife trackers Brendan White and Matt Dickinson lead a winter wildlife tracking workshop. At at Long Ledges Preserve, Sullivan, March 23, 9-11:30 am. Sponsored by Frenchman Bay Conservancy.
Maine Grass Farmers Network Conference, Mar 23
Event - Posted - Saturday, March 16, 2019 

Livestock producers are invited to learn about grass-based production and how grazing systems can become more profitable and environmentally sound. At Kennebec County Community College's Alfond Campus, Hinckley, March 23, 8:30 am - 3 pm.
Maine becomes a state, Mar 15
Announcement - Friday, March 15, 2019 

On this day in 1820, March 15, Massachusetts lost over 30,000 square miles of land as its former province of Maine gained statehood. Mainers had begun campaigning for statehood for years following the Revolution. The Massachusetts legislature finally consented in 1819. What no one foresaw, however, was that Maine's quest for statehood would become entangled in the most divisive issue in American history — slavery.
Maine Land Conservation Conference, Apr 5-6
Event - Posted - Friday, March 15, 2019 

Maine’s robust land conservation community comes together to train on best practices in all aspects of land trust work, connect with peers, and grapple with the most pressing issues facing land conservation today. At Topsham area, April 5-6.
Thoreau Society & Thoreau Farm Trust online auction, thru Mar 29
Announcement - Friday, March 15, 2019 

This auction contains many rare books written about Henry David Thoreau and other items for every Thoreauvian.
MITA Open House and Getch Celebration, Mar 22
Event - Posted - Friday, March 15, 2019 

Toast the extraordinary life of MITA founder Dave Getchell, Sr. At Maine Island Trail Association, Portland, March 22, 5:30-7:30 pm.
Call for Artists: Paint for Preservation 2019
Announcement - Friday, March 15, 2019 

The Cape Elizabeth Land Trust is accepting artist submissions for Paint for Preservation 2019, the organization’s twelfth annual juried Wet Paint Auction and one of Maine’s premiere art auction events. This 3-day (June 28-30) plein air event raises money for land conservation in Cape Elizabeth. Deadline is March 22.
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News Items
Letter: Newspaper should endorse carbon fees
Kennebec Journal - Friday, March 8, 2019 

In congressional testimony in 1988, James Hansen urged action on climate change. But not enough has been done, reports the United Nations, and millions will suffer if emissions are not drastically reduced in the next 12 years. With that report in mind, some congressmen introduced H.R. 763, enactment of which would lead to a 40 percent reduction of gas emissions in 10 years. Many U.S. newspapers have published editorials directly in support of this bill, but Maine newspapers have not done so. I ask this newspaper to publish an editorial that specifically endorses H.R. 763. ~ Fern Crossland Stearns, Hallowell
Letter: Fossel wrong on Democrat proposals
Kennebec Journal - Friday, March 8, 2019 

It is increasingly baffling how on earth Jim Fossel keeps a regular column in this or any newspaper. His latest column pretends that things like climate crisis action are “unpopular” ideas. Where is his evidence for this absurd claim? In a quick Google search the Pew Research Center indicates action combating the climate crisis is wildly popular. This column is just baseless opinion with zero facts or evidence to back his claims. ~ Sam Shain, Hallowell
Letter: Speak out against accelerated development in Falmouth
Portland Press Herald - Friday, March 8, 2019 

A plea from Falmouth’s silent majority: We oppose the unwanted, reckless changes made to the town’s land use policies between 2013 and 2016. Our town’s cherished, peaceful rural character will be a memory and our taxes will skyrocket because of the potent new incentives for accelerated growth and high-density development. New, high-density so-called “growth districts” surrounding new, mixed-use so-called “town centers” were created without a hint of resident consent. Inevitably, these new urbanized areas will create a City Mouse-Country Mouse dichotomy and chronic political discord. ~ Robert D. King, Falmouth
Letter: Monitoring of Casco Bay indicates urgent need for carbon tax
Portland Press Herald - Friday, March 8, 2019 

On Feb. 21, the Press Herald reported on people recording sea-level rise in Casco Bay, due in part to climate change. What to do? Consider supporting HR 763, introduced with the goal of charging fossil fuel companies for the garbage – gases – they send into our atmosphere. Fees collected would be sent as dividends directly to households to help citizens afford to transition to clean energy. The Green New Deal also seeks to curb carbon emissions, but it is merely a resolution, not a bill. Although some countries have been pricing carbon for years, too many U.S. citizens consider such action as a strange new idea. Let’s act now! Ask Maine’s congressional delegation to support HR 763. ~ Fern Stearns, Hallowell
Letter: CMP project an ugly mistake
Kennebec Journal - Friday, March 8, 2019 

I believe this ugly 150-foot-wide swath across Maine wilds to be a huge mistake. Vermont and New Hampshire rejected this, and we should too. Gov. Janet Mills is using this “carbon square” to tell us how much it’s supposed to be taking out of the ATM, but fails to mention that when you flood huge areas with these huge dams, it takes enormous numbers of trees out of circulation, which in turn takes carbon out of the air. Massachusetts is overpopulated and it should be putting offshore wind farms in place, instead of ruining so much of Maine. Isn’t it enough that Massachusetts motorboats bring so many invasive plants up here? ~ Ted Elliott, Augusta
Letter: Panel question
Bangor Daily News - Friday, March 8, 2019 

I am wondering if Gov. Janet Mills has solar panels on her private home paid for by her dollars since she couldn’t wait to put them on “our” house on our dollar. ~ Glenn Mclellan, Lincoln
Trump’s new science adviser says it’s not his job to correct the president on climate change
Other - Thursday, March 7, 2019 

Kelvin Droegemeier became director of the White House Office of Science and Technology in January. When the news came in late February that the White House was putting together a panel to see if climate change is really a threat, even though the Defense Department has already said it is, and that this panel would be run by physicist William Happer —who thinks carbon dioxide is “a benefit to the world” — it felt like an opportunity to delve a little deeper. But in an interview, Droegemeier evaded questions about his own views. He said he has no opinion on the president’s winter-storm tweets and has no plans to talk to him about them. Asked if he, like Happer, thinks carbon emissions are good for the planet, he said, “I don’t really have any view on Will’s opinions."
Churches ask members to give up plastic for Lent
Washington Post - Thursday, March 7, 2019 

Chocolate, alcohol and Twitter are some of the popular indulgences many Christians give up during the period of Lent leading up to Easter. But this year, some churches are encouraging congregants to give up plastics. The Rev. James Martin, a popular author and priest who is an editor at large for America magazine, said encouraging giving up of plastics for Lent would be in the spirit of Pope Francis’s major document on the environment that came out in 2015. “Giving up plastic would benefit the common good more than giving up chocolate,” Martin said.
In Augusta Hearing, PUC Considers CMP's Proposed 145-Mile Power Line
Maine Public - Thursday, March 7, 2019 

At a hearing in Augusta Thursday, the Maine Public Utilities Commission considered whether to approve a negotiated settlement that Central Maine Power is offering in order to build a 145-mile transmission line from Canada through western Maine to deliver power to Massachusetts. The deal has the backing of Governor Janet Mills and the state’s Public Advocate, but environmental groups are split, and several municipalities along the transmission line are also opposed. Supporters give a resounding yes. But opponents, such as Sue Ely of the Natural Resources Council of Maine, disagree that the project would have over-arching environmental benefits.
14-foot fish spotted in river, giving hope to vanished giant’s return
National Geographic - Thursday, March 7, 2019 

One day last June, sonar revealed a sturgeon confidently estimated at just over 14 feet from nose to tail tip in the Hudson River. Biologists estimate a sturgeon that length could easily weigh 800 pounds. That’s a size that, even a century ago, was considered a rarity. But now, it was unimaginable given what this species had endured. The fishery for Atlantic sturgeon has seen spasmodic waves of depredation, particularly during a caviar craze in the late nineteenth century and then several more times in the 20th century. Sturgeon were being imported to New York from as far away as Maine and Florida.
Accusations of backroom deals make sparks fly at hearing on CMP project
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, March 7, 2019 

Proponents and opponents of Central Maine Power’s $1 billion hydropower corridor project offered up more details as each side tried to convince regulators Thursday to either grant or reject a certificate of necessity that the utility needs to move forward with the project. The hearing became contentious when commission staff and parties testifying discussed the details of what some alleged were backroom meetings since last fall to arrive at the stipulation agreement.
Blame wood-burning stoves for winter air pollution and health threats
Other - Thursday, March 7, 2019 

The Conversation - With the dozens of toxic and carcinogenic chemicals in wood smoke, it’s inconsistent for governments to ban smoking and vaping in public places while ignoring the smoke from wood stoves and fireplaces. Burning wood for energy releases more carbon than burning coal and it is speeding up climate warming. It also releases black carbon, a powerful short-lived pollutant, that can accelerate the melting and retreat of glaciers. There are alternatives.
Falmouth residents urged to destroy moth webs
Forecaster - Thursday, March 7, 2019 

Falmouth and the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry are encouraging residents to remove browntail caterpillar winter webs from trees on their property. This is the best time of year to remove the webs, which can be most easily destroyed by soaking them in a bucket of soapy water overnight. Residents are also being encouraged to line up professional pest control companies to conduct spraying in the spring. The town will conduct its own streetside spraying program in May.
Maine Launching Urgent Effort To Survey Insect Population Following 'Stunning' Declines Globally
Maine Public - Thursday, March 7, 2019 

Maine is launching an urgent effort to assess the state's insect populations. The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is undertaking the initiative after new studies showed a steep decline in populations of insects across the globe. It's expected to take several months to get a snapshot of how Maine's insect populations are faring, and much longer to determine whether they are also in rapid decline.
Auburn agriculture conference: Growing, making connections
Sun Journal - Thursday, March 7, 2019 

The LA Region Farmland Access and Food Economy Conference on Thursday at the Auburn Senior Community Center highlighted challenges faced by new Mainers and by all farmers; listed opportunities; and set out to match would-be local growers with landowners. The 100 conference spaces filled up quickly, according to Julia Harper, coordinator of the Good Food Council of Lewiston-Auburn, one of 10 groups that came together to host the event. She hoped it would result in expanded economic opportunities and more food- and farm-friendly policies in the Twin Cities.
Editorial: Moving regulatory goal posts is fishy
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, March 7, 2019 

A bill under consideration in the the Legislature would change the rules for land-based aquaculture facilities, while the regulatory review is underway. This is just the type of regulatory uncertainty that drove a $120 million offshore wind project away from Maine. Raising standards for an aquaculture license in the midst of a project because another similar facility may be built nearby, or because some local residents object to it, obscures needed regulatory predictability and transparency.
A Tough Call - Lawmakers Won't Pursue Bill To Designate Maine's State Bird
Maine Public - Thursday, March 7, 2019 

A legislative panel has likely delivered a lethal blow to a measure that would designate a specific species of chickadee as Maine's state bird. The legislature's State and Local government committee voted ten-to-nothing that the bill ought not to pass. The legislation was introduced on behalf of fourth graders at the Margaret Chase Smith School in Showhegan, and it would have required that a choice be made between the black-capped chickadee and the boreal chickadee. The measure will now go onto the full legislature, but its chances of passage are slim.
A new job for Maine law enforcement: Supervising the packing of baby eels
Associated Press - Thursday, March 7, 2019 

New controls are coming to Maine’s valuable baby eel fishery this season. A state panel approved new requirements for the exportation of baby eels, called elvers, on Wednesday. The Maine Department of Marine Resources wants to add a requirement that baby eel exporters notify the Maine Marine Patrol 48 hours before preparing to pack and ship the eels. The officer will then witness the packing. The new rule’s designed to deter illegal sales of the valuable fish.
Augusta plastic bag fee could be decided by a vote of the people
Kennebec Journal - Thursday, March 7, 2019 

A proposal to require stores to charge customers 5 cents each for plastic shopping bags may ultimately be decided by residents, not Augusta city councilors. Unless proposals to either ban or restrict the use of such bags statewide are approved first.
Column: When it comes to festivals, it pays to be an early bird
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, March 7, 2019 

Four birding festivals are now open for registration. The Acadia Birding Festival, the largest, runs May 30 to June 2. The Down East Spring Birding Festival takes place over Memorial Day weekend. The Wings, Waves, and Woods Festival in Stonington takes place over the third weekend of May. Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust is starting up a new festival this year, partnering with Maine Audubon. The pieces are still being finalized. Links to all festivals can be found at ~ Bob Duchesne
Governor Mills: “I want you to hear the truth about the NECEC project directly from me.”
Free Press - Thursday, March 7, 2019 

In a recent radio address, Maine Gov. Janet Mills said: The state of Maine sends five billion dollars out of state every year to pay for our use of nonrenewable fossil fuels. We’re the most dependent on heating oil of any state. Our high costs of energy and electricity are a barrier to our health and a deterrent to our economy. This week I announced that Maine would become part of the bipartisan United States Climate Alliance, with the goal of reducing our state’s greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by the year 2050 and achieving 100 percent renewable generation of electricity by that same year. Consistent with these goals, I authorized the Governor’s Office of Energy to sign onto a Stipulation before the Public Utilities Commission regarding the transmission line proposal in western Maine. This project will put our state on the road to a zero-carbon economy by 2050.
Congressional Panel To Look At Threats To Right Whales
Associated Press - Thursday, March 7, 2019 

A subcommittee of the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources will hold the hearing on Thursday about the threats facing endangered North Atlantic right whales, which number only about 411. The whales have declined in population in recent years due to high mortality and low reproduction. The hearing will allow witnesses to talk about the risks that face the remaining right whales. The Democrats say they want to consider entanglement in fishing gear, vessel strikes and seismic testing as threats that impact the whales' population.
Critics, Supporters To Weigh In On CMP's Proposed 145-Mile Power Line
Associated Press - Thursday, March 7, 2019 

Supporters and critics are going to weigh in on Central Maine Power incentives aimed at winning support for a 145-mile transmission line across western Maine. Parties and intervenors are going to be able to discuss the proposed settlement on Thursday in a hearing before the Maine Public Utilities Commission. The $1 billion New England Clean Energy Connect aims to provide a conduit for Canadian hydropower for electricity consumers in Massachusetts. CMP has addressed criticism that Mainers don't benefit by proposing $258 million in incentives. Critics say the project would spoil vast tracts of wilderness and harm Maine's homegrown green power initiatives, like solar and wind power.
Trump Administration Seeks To Take Gray Wolf Off Endangered Species List
National Public Radio - Thursday, March 7, 2019 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will seek to end federal protections for the gray wolf throughout the lower 48 states, Acting Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt announced Wednesday. The Fish and Wildlife Service will propose to remove the gray wolf from the endangered species list and "return management of the species to the states and tribes." That means states would be able to make their own rules about hunting gray wolf populations. Conservation groups say the gray wolf is found in just a small portion of its former territory. Jamie Rappaport Clark, a former director of the Fish and Wildlife Service now with the Defenders of Wildlife, said protections were needed to prevent "an all-out war on wolves."
More youth deer hunting days voted down
George Smith BDN Outdoor News Blog - Thursday, March 7, 2019 

On Wednesday, the legislature’s Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee unanimously opposed a bill that would have increased youth deer hunting days to 3. Action was postponed on a bill to allow a person to place supplemental minerals for deer. More deer feeding and baiting bills are coming later so the committee decided to deal with all feeding and baiting bills at the same time.
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