November 17, 2019  
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Maine Environmental News
Action Alert - Sunday, November 17, 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
Hike with the Ranger, Nov 24
Event - Posted - Sunday, November 17, 2019 

At Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park, Freeport, November 24, 2 pm.
Friends of Baxter State Park online auction, ends Dec 4
Announcement - Thursday, November 14, 2019 

Own a piece of Baxter State Park history. 20 retired park signs will be available in the 2019 auction. 50% of the proceeds go to Baxter State Park, and 50% supports Friends of Baxter State Park. Auction ends December 4 midnight.
Northern Forest Canoe Trail online auction, ends Dec 1
Announcement - Thursday, November 14, 2019 

Paddlers and outdoor enthusiasts can bid on amazing experiences and gear, for a good cause: supporting Northern Forest Canoe Trail stewardship and programming. Ends Dec 1, 12:59 PM.
The Original Meaning and Intent of the Maine Indian Land Claims, Nov 21
Event - Posted - Thursday, November 14, 2019 

Maria Girouard, Penobscot Nation tribal historian, community organizer, educator, and activist, will examine intentions and contentions associated with the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act of 1980, the historical context in which the act was framed, and ripple effects that have rocked the tribal-state relations ever since. At University of Southern Maine, Abromson Center, Portland, November 21, 6 pm.
Restoring Your Historic House, Nov 21
Event - Posted - Thursday, November 14, 2019 

Architectural historian, Scott Hanson, talks about his latest book, "Restoring Your Historic House: The Comprehensive Guide for Homeowners." At Topsham Library, November 21, 6 pm.
Truth in Action, Nov 20-21
Event - Posted - Wednesday, November 13, 2019 

Truth in Action is a daylong global conversation on the climate crisis and how we solve it led by Climate Reality Leaders, November 20-21.
Environmental Trivia Night, Nov 19
Event - Posted - Tuesday, November 12, 2019 

Maine Conservation Voters and UMaine School of Law Energy & Environment Fellows are hosting an environmental-themed trivia night. At Maine Beer Company, Freeport, November 19, 6 pm.
Deep sea research and biostratigraphy, Nov 19
Event - Posted - Tuesday, November 12, 2019 

Talk by Dr. Kevin McCartney, UMPI Professor of Geology. At University of Maine at Presque Isle, November 19, 12:30 pm.
Farmland Access & Transfer Conference, Nov 18
Event - Posted - Monday, November 11, 2019 

A day-long conference where farmers can learn strategies for succession planning, equity and affordability, securing farmland of their own, negotiating a lease agreement, etc. At Augusta Civic Center, November 18, 8 am - 3:30 pm. Sponsored by Maine Farmland Trust and Land For Good.
Comment on Maine SCORP
Action Alert - Monday, November 11, 2019 

The 2020-2024 State Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan qualifies Maine to receive federal Land and Water Conservation funds and satisfies state legislative requirements associated with monitoring trends in outdoor recreation. Deadline for comments on the draft plan: November 22.
Open House: Passenger Rail's Future, Nov 18
Event - Posted - Monday, November 11, 2019 

Open house about the future of passenger rail service. Provide input on alternative schedules, inbound morning service from Wells to Brunswick, a new location for a Portland station, additional station locations, and potential expansions to Lewiston/ Auburn and Westbrook. At the Brunswick Hotel, Brunswick, November 18, 5:30 pm.
Help Wanted: Maine Conservation Corps
Announcement - Saturday, November 9, 2019 

The Maine Conservation Corps is hiring a Field Coordinator, Team Leader, and 900 Hour Environmental Stewards.
Maine Deer: Winter Weather Warriors, Nov 16
Event - Posted - Saturday, November 9, 2019 

Nathan Bieber, Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife deer specialist, talks about wintering deer in Maine. At Fields Pond Audubon Center, Holden, November 16, 1 p.m.
Wabanaki Place: Language and Landscape, Nov 16
Event - Posted - Saturday, November 9, 2019 

Penobscot historian James E. Francis Sr. will share stories about the origin and meaning of geographic place names in what is now known as Maine, from a Wabanaki perspective. At Maine Historical Society, Portland, Nov 16, 2 pm.
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Email link to What awaits in 2019
Letter: Roadside cleanup
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, May 15, 2019 

I, along with many others, recently participated in roadside clean up. As expected, we griped about and wondered why anyone would throw out their trash inappropriately. In the May 2 edition of the BDN there was an article on Boston Brands large investment in Maine and how Fireball “nips” have taken off. I can attest that sales are indeed doing well by the amount of empties on the roadside. While wanting and needing business investment in Maine, perhaps businesses could help discourage the “swig and toss/eat and toss” mentality. ~ Katherine Olson, Northeast Harbor
Letter: Salmon farm opponents not an enemy
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, May 15, 2019 

Contrary to some of the statements by proponents of the Nordic Aquafarms proposed project in Belfast, both Local Citizens for Smart Growth and UpStream Watch are two groups of concerned residents working hard to promote conservation, protection and restoration for this part of midcoast Maine and Penobscot Bay. They are not the enemy of Belfast city government or of residents with differing opinions about the proposed project. They have spent much time and concerted scientific effort in considering the real possibility of many decimating impacts on the bay, the land, the fresh water supply and the Little River’s ecosystems that such a project could bring about. They have been transparent with their findings and stand by the results of their legal and scientific research. ~ Conny Hatch, Belfast
Letter: Carbon fee can help secure stable climate
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, May 15, 2019 

It’s encouraging to read that electric vehicle charging stations are being installed at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor. In addition, Bangor Savings Bank has built an energy efficient-building utilizing solar energy and geo-thermal heating along with charging stations in its parking garage. Both initiatives demonstrate leadership and a vision to a clean energy future. There is a bipartisan, revenue-neutral, market-driven bill right now in the U.S. House of Representatives: H.R. 763, the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act. It places a gradually increasing fee on carbon, and returns the money to households, thereby actually growing the economy and creating jobs while incentivizing the transition away from fossil fuels. This is a great opportunity. ~ Connie and Paul Potvin, Hampden
Opinion: Safer food packaging will benefit all Mainers
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, May 14, 2019 

Two groups of ubiquitous chemicals that threaten human health: phthalates and PFAS. Consumers can urge national retailers to make changes to ensure that phthalates and PFAS is not in packaging. But states must also take action to create protective policy, especially in the face of inaction at the federal level. LD 1433 would update current Maine law by requiring manufacturers to phase-out PFAS and phthalates by 2022. It would also authorize the DEP to name other priority chemicals in food packaging and require disclosure, assessment of alternatives or phase-out. State governments have a responsibility to protect the people of the state. We in the faith community affirm that task. ~ Rev. Richard Killmer, Yarmouth
Arctic Ocean region tops out at 87 degrees as carbon dioxide hits record high
Washington Post - Tuesday, May 14, 2019 

Over the weekend, the climate system sounded simultaneous alarms. Near the entrance to the Arctic Ocean in northwest Russia, the temperature surged to 84 degrees Fahrenheit. Meanwhile, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere eclipsed 415 parts per million for the first time in human history. Taken together with so many indicators of an altered atmosphere and rising temperatures, they blend into the unmistakable portrait of human-induced climate change. Eighteen of the 19 warmest years on record for the planet have occurred since 2000.
Power companies and their critics clash over proposal for consumer-owned utility
Portland Press Herald - Tuesday, May 14, 2019 

Creating a public power authority in Maine could lower rates and improve the reliability of electric service, or it could plunge the state into an unknown and risky undertaking and costly litigation, a legislative committee was told Tuesday. The idea of Maine buying the state’s two investor-owned utilities – Central Maine Power and Emera Maine – and creating a consumer-owned power authority surfaces periodically, but it has failed to gain traction in the past. CMP’s fumbling of a recent billing system changeover, however, as well as lingering frustration from widespread power outages following a 2017 storm, have breathed new life into the concept.
Lawmakers Hear From Public On Proposal To Buy Maine’s Private Electric Companies
Maine Public - Tuesday, May 14, 2019 

An ambitious proposal to convert Maine’s private electric utilities into a consumer-owned entity got its first public hearing in Augusta on Tuesday. Rep. Seth Berry, a Bowdoinham Democrat who co-chairs the Legislature’s utility committee, says the state should create a new, public grid authority, along the lines of others in Maine and the nation. It would be called Maine Power. But critics warned that the buyout’s price tag could hobble the plan right from the start. Emera and CMP in 2017 pegged their combined book value at more than $4 billion, which observers believe is far lower than what they might ultimately have to be paid in a state-mandated sale.
Portland to treat Deering Oaks Park trees to stop spread of destructive moths
Portland Press Herald - Tuesday, May 14, 2019 

Officials in Maine’s largest city say they’re getting ready to deal with an infestation of a destructive forest pest in one of the Portland’s most prominent public spaces. Portland officials say the parks department has been monitoring oak trees in Deering Oaks Park and has identified a “limited infestation” of browntail moths. The moths are capable of killing trees, and their caterpillars have poisonous hairs that can cause a rash in humans.
Is sea rise wrecking coastal home values? The answer: Maybe
Associated Press - Tuesday, May 14, 2019 

Some research suggests rising sea levels and flooding brought by global warming are harming coastal property values. But other climate scientists note shortcomings in the studies, and real estate experts say they simply haven’t seen any ebb in demand for coastal homes.
Maine's High Court To Hear Appeal In 10-Year-Long Fight Over Access To Southern Maine Beach
Maine Public - Tuesday, May 14, 2019 

A ten-year-long fight over access to Goose Rocks Beach in Kennebunkport returns to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court Wednesday. Kennebunkport won a lower court ruling that found the town does hold title to the beach, the result of deed language that pre-dates the development of homes along the beachfront. But an attorney who represents the beachfront homeowners says the lower court erred in not recognizing the language in newer deeds as being valid. In an earlier stage of the case, the town tried to argue that longtime public use of the beach earned it ownership rights. The Supreme Court rejected that argument.
MDI man will let bugs eat dead whale’s flesh. Then he’ll salvage the skeleton.
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, May 14, 2019 

The skeleton of a well-known humpback whale whose corpse washed ashore on Cape Cod earlier this month will be preserved by a Mount Desert Island man who plans to clean and reassemble her bones. And if it is granted permission from federal officials, the Maine State Museum hopes to add Vector’s skeleton to its collection and display it inside the Augusta museum.
Opinion: Maine towns should have a say in for-profit transmission projects
Portland Press Herald - Tuesday, May 14, 2019 

Unlike the power lines that provide reliable electricity for Maine consumers, the Central Maine Power corridor is a commercial, for-profit project, and just like any other business or developer, CMP should have to abide by the rules of the municipalities in the region that are affected. These local ordinances were enacted democratically. No utility should have the right to supplant local control simply because it seeks greater profits for its shareholders. That’s why the Legislature must pass L.D. 1383 to protect towns and property owners. The bill gives local government a say in whether eminent domain can be used. ~ Elizabeth Caruso, first selectman, Caratunk
Letter: Merrymeeting Trail deserves support
Kennebec Journal - Tuesday, May 14, 2019 

I would like to express my enthusiasm for the Merrymeeting Trail. L.D. 1141 would direct the Department of Transportation to put Merrymeeting Trail into its work plan, a critical first step toward its construction. The idea of having a beautiful path from Topsham to Gardiner is exciting on many levels. The benefits include increased physical and social well-being, increased economic activity, as well as providing everyone — Mainers and tourists — the opportunity to enjoy nature and have more access to the beautiful Kennebec River. We are all encouraged to get more exercise, and this path would provide such a fantastic avenue to do that. If you’d like to see the Merrymeeting Trail become a reality, let your legislators know. ~ Carol Minnehan, Richmond
Letter: Rockweed harvest still valuable
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, May 14, 2019 

In March, the Maine Supreme Court issued a decision that shocked those who make their living from marine resources. The court ruled that rockweed in the intertidal, unlike clams and worms, was not held in trust by the state but owned by the landowner. Seaweed harvesters and aquaculture folk have supported a bill, LD 1323, that would essentially overturn the court’s decision. But the court did not say that rockweed could not be harvested, only that harvesters needed the landowners’ permission to cut the seaweed growing on the rocks of their privately-owned intertidal land. Maine rockweed harvest in 2018 was valued at approximately $1 million. Why can’t the harvesters gain the landowner’s permission by paying for the privilege of harvesting this valuable resource? ~ James Knowles, Kittery
Scientists link warming of Gulf of Maine to decline in right whales’ food supply
Portland Press Herald - Monday, May 13, 2019 

Scientists have established firm links between the warming of deep waters in the Gulf of Maine and the reduction of food for the North Atlantic right whale, the world’s second-most endangered marine mammal. The researchers, led by Nick Record of the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences in Boothbay, showed the warmer water in the eastern gulf has sharply reduced the numbers of the whales’ favorite prey, the copepod Calanus finmarchicus, a tiny flealike creature they scoop up by the millions with their sieve-like baleen. The rapid warming since 2010 has triggered winter population declines of the copepod of as much as 90 percent.
Auburn council may suspend curbside recycling for a year
Sun Journal - Monday, May 13, 2019 

The Auburn City Council is expected to vote next week on whether to suspend its curbside recycling program for a year after officials questioned rising costs and declining participation. During a workshop Monday, officials debated the merits of zero-sort recycling, with some suggesting the city’s bimonthly pickup be suspended temporarily in order to completely restructure the system. A growing number of municipalities across the state, facing tough markets for recycled materials, have halted or reduced recycling programs, even as officials from environmental organizations are urging patience.
Jay rejects special town meeting on CMP project
Sun Journal - Monday, May 13, 2019 

In a tie vote Monday, the Select Board rejected a citizens’ petition requesting a special town meeting to vote on Central Maine Power’s 145-mile hydroelectric transmission line through Western Maine. The 2-2 vote meant the motion to advance the petition failed. Selectpersons have voted twice to support the nearly $1 billion project, once unanimously and once with a majority. Most of the more than 40 people at the meeting spoke against the project, saying it was a bad deal, while one resident spoke in support of it.
Activists hold ‘Goodbye CMP’ party in Lewiston
Sun Journal - Monday, May 13, 2019 

A group of environmental activists, including one dressed as a spotted salamander, rallied Monday to press for a plan to create a public utility by buying out Central Maine Power. The privately-owned electricity delivery company has had its chance, said Rob Levin of Portland, “and they’ve blown it.” About 20 people gathered beside a Central Maine Power facility on Monday to show their support for a bill introduced by Rep. Seth Berry, D-Bowdoinham, that would create a consumer-owned utility to replace the longtime power provider.
Cape Elizabeth to charge nonresidents for prime parking at Fort Williams
Portland Press Herald - Monday, May 13, 2019 

About 1 million people visit Fort Williams Park every year, and now most of them will have to pay to park in prime spots closest to Portland Head Light and scenic paths overlooking Casco Bay during the park’s busy season. Driven by increased tourism and rising maintenance costs, the Town Council decided Monday to install a pay-and-display parking system at the 90-acre park. Starting in July, nonresidents who park in “premium” parking areas will be charged $2 per hour for a two-hour minimum or $10 for a full day. Three parking areas to the rear of the park will remain free to all visitors during the tourist season, and parking will be free throughout the park November through April.
Bangor to ban single-use foam containers 1 year before statewide ban
Bangor Daily News - Monday, May 13, 2019 

The Bangor City Council has agreed to ban the sale of food and drinks in polystyrene foam containers starting next January — a full year before a similar, statewide ban is due to take effect. On Monday night, the council voted 5-3 to pass the ban, which will apply to Bangor vendors that sell food and drinks in plates and cups, along with stores that sell repackaged food. It will also prohibit stores from re-selling polystyrene foam containers, and the city government won’t be able to either purchase such containers or contract with companies that do. In April, Gov. Janet Mills signed into law a similar, statewide ban that will take effect in January 2021 — and that made Maine the first state in the nation to pass such a ban. But the Bangor councilors who voted in favor of implementing the local ban in January 2020.
Company planning to make insulation at former Madison mill receives $250,000 grant
Morning Sentinel - Monday, May 13, 2019 

A company planning to produce wood fiber insulation out of the former Madison Paper Industries mill has received a $250,000 grant for product testing and marketing. GO Lab Inc., a Belfast-based building products manufacturer, received the grant from the U.S. Forest Service’s Wood Innovations Grant program, according to a news release from the company Monday. Although the sale of the former mill is not yet final, GO Lab is planning to take over ownership by the end of the year and start renovations in 2020 to outfit the site for wood fiber insulation manufacturing.
Opinion: Logging bill can help correct a long history of injustice in Maine woods
Bangor Daily News - Monday, May 13, 2019 

Logger and Maine Senate President Troy Jackson recently introduced LD 1459, a bill that would, for the first time in history, give Maine contract loggers the legal right to collectively bargain for fair compensation. The independence of contract work has been valued by Maine loggers since the 19th century but as a legal designation contracting has kept workers apart and competing. This benefits mills and landowners, but harms loggers. LD 1459 will make it legal for loggers to collaborate while giving them independence in day-to-day work. This legislation is vitally important as the industry enters what might be a period of growth. ~ Jason L. Newton, Cornell University
Chairman’s departure leaves Maine PUC with vacancy at critical time
Portland Press Herald - Monday, May 13, 2019 

The chairman of Maine’s Public Utilities Commission has left his job, creating a void in an agency that is at the center of divisive issues including energy policy and power company rates. Mark Vannoy resigned May 3. His six-year term had officially expired on March 31, but he stayed on an additional month before stepping down. Gov. Janet Mills has yet to nominate a replacement. There has been much speculation in energy circles about whether Mills will shift the direction of PUC decisions by appointing a chair who’s likely to look more favorably on renewable energy and be tougher on utilities.
What to expect for this year’s tick season in Maine
Bangor Daily News - Monday, May 13, 2019 

Tick season is in full swing in Maine, and so far, weather conditions have been favorable for these dangerous pests. This may not bode well for the months ahead. In addition, Maine just experienced a relatively snowy winter. Snow protects and insulates overwintering ticks, helping them survive the cold months. To date, 16 species of ticks have been identified in Maine, but for years, people have only worried about one species: the backlogged tick, the sole vector for Lyme disease. But the lone star tick recently became established as far north as Massachusetts. This species can transmit a number of dangerous pathogens to people. Their bite can also cause people to become allergic to red meat.
Massachusetts man held in connection with attack on Appalachian Trail hikers in Virginia
Washington Post - Monday, May 13, 2019 

A Massachusetts man faces federal charges in the brutal attack Saturday on two Appalachian Trail hikers that left a man dead and a woman hospitalized with severe stab wounds. James Louis Jordan, 30, was arrested early Saturday after sheriff’s deputies located him along the trail in Virginia. It is high season for “thru-hikers” traveling the length of the famed scenic trail, which stretches along 2,100 miles from Georgia to Maine. In late April, Jordan pleaded guilty to charges of drug possession and criminal impersonation stemming from a confrontation with hikers in Tennessee. He was sentenced to probation, fined and released from custody. Sheriff Mike Hensley said, "I took him off the trail. But the courts deemed something else." Odie Norman, publisher of the Hiker Yearbook, said he met Jordan shortly after his Tennessee arrest. He said it was clear to him that Jordan was mentally ill.
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