March 17, 2018  
Press releases, events, publications released, etc. from Maine environmental organizations and agencies. Submit content.

Maine Adaptive Sports & Recreation Ski-A-Thon, Mar 24
Event - Posted - Saturday, March 17, 2018 

Maine Adaptive Sports & Recreation promotes year-round education and training for individuals with disabilities to develop skills, enhance independence, and provide enjoyment through active recreation. In addition to being an excellent fundraiser, the Ski-A-Thon is a ton of fun. Fundraising goal: $380,000.
Maine Environmental News
Announcement - Friday, March 16, 2018 

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 over 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
Solar Energy for ME, Mar 23
Event - Posted - Friday, March 16, 2018 

Dylan Voorhees, Climate & Clean Energy Director for the Natural Resource Council of Maine, and Rep. Seth Berry, House Chair of the Maine Legislature's Committee on Energy, Utilities and Technology, discuss expanding solar energy in Maine. At Curtis Library, Brunswick, March 23, 7 pm. Sponsored by Friends of Merrymeeting Bay.
Resist Mike Pompeo’s confirmation as Secretary of State
Action Alert - Thursday, March 15, 2018 

Trump just fired Rex Tillerson, one of the few people left in his cabinet who was willing to speak out against Vladimir Putin. But even more egregious is that Trump nominated Mike Pompeo, a xenophobic, pro-torture, climate-denying war hawk, to replace Tillerson.
Protect Maine from EPA budget cuts
Action Alert - Monday, March 12, 2018 

There have been more than 90 of harmful amendments proposed that undermine federal safeguards to everything we rely on the EPA to protect: our air, water, climate, and wildlife.
Ask Congress to Oppose Anti-wolf Riders
Action Alert - Monday, March 12, 2018 

Congress will likely vote in the next two weeks on a 2018 spending bill for the Department of Interior. Because that legislation is likely to be broadly supported, anti-wolf legislators are using it as a vehicle to try to pass their otherwise unpopular attacks on wildlife. Email your senator or representative and ask that they persuade Leadership to strip these "riders" prior to the bill being voted on. ~ Endangered Species Coalition
What’s a woodlot and what do I do if I have one? Mar 19
Event - Posted - Monday, March 12, 2018 

Morten Moesswilde, District Forester with the Maine Forest Service, will talk about the most common considerations for landowners with 2 to 200 acres. At Belfast Library, March 19, 6 pm.
Powering Change: Saving Our Environment—and Saving Money, Mar 19
Event - Posted - Monday, March 12, 2018 

Panelists: Sophie Janeway, Climate and Clean Energy Outreach Coordinator, Natural Resources Council of Maine; Gary Friedmann, President, A Climate to Thrive; and Martha Dickinson, Ellsworth Green Plan Steering Committee. At Moore Community Centre, Ellsworth, March 19, 7 pm. Hosted by Ellsworth Garden Club.
Baxter State Park Visiting Artist
Announcement - Sunday, March 11, 2018 

Visiting Artists are asked to hold one evening program and one open studio with the public during their stay, and within one year to provide the Park with professional quality images, prints, or documents representative of their style and resulting from their experience. Dates: August 11-24, 2018. Applications due by April 20.
Help wanted: Baxter State Park Director
Announcement - Sunday, March 11, 2018 

The Baxter State Park Authority seeks an active, experienced individual to serve as the Director.
Winter Family Fun Day, March 17 CANCELLED
Event - Posted - Saturday, March 10, 2018 

Ice fishing demo, wildlife exhibit, snowmobile tote rides, winter camping demo, build a bird house, enjoy a bonfire-scavenger hunt, door prizes, & more. At Lily Bay State Park, March 17, 10 am - 3 pm.
Western Maine Fly Fishing Expo, Mar 17
Event - Posted - Saturday, March 10, 2018 

Theme: Women In Fly Fishing featuring panel discussions with prominent women in the fly fishing industry. At Gould Academy, Bethel, March 17, adults $5; kids under 16 free.
Winter Ecology Walk on Sears Island, Mar 17
Event - Posted - Saturday, March 10, 2018 

Enjoy a late winter walk on Sears Island with Maine Master Naturalist Cyrene Slegona while searching for animal tracks and signs of spring and observing the ever-changing beauty of the island. March 17, 10 am - noon.
Eastern Maine Sportsmen’s Show, Mar 16-18
Event - Posted - Friday, March 9, 2018 

More than 120 exhibitors, demonstrations, talks and entertainment. At UMaine, Orono, March 16-18; adults and children 12 and older $8, weekend pass $12. Sponsored by Penobscot County Conservation Association.
Grazing Conference, Mar 16
Event - Posted - Friday, March 9, 2018 

At Kennebec Valley Community College, Hinckley, March 16, 9 am – 3:30 pm. Sponsored by Maine Grass Farmers Network.
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News Items
Parks commission head on beach poop problem: ‘Dog owners are the NRA of Kittery’
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, February 28, 2018 

Portsmouth Herald - The Kittery Town Council and the Parks Commission discussed requiring passes for dog owners to bring their canines to both Fort Foster and Seapoint Beach as a means of curbing dog waste. Monday night’s workshop on the town-owned park management plan quickly shifted to how to reduce the amount of dog waste in the parks. Parks Commission co-chair Paige Mead compared town dog owners’ steadfast commitment to keeping Fort Foster open for their pets to the lobbying efforts of the National Rifle Association.
Maine’s marine businesses are getting a $14 million infusion
Associated Press - Wednesday, February 28, 2018 

The Alliance for Maine’s Marine Economy is investing $7 million in voter-approved bonds along with more than $7 million more from its own members, according to the University of Maine, which oversees the group. The university said the investments are designed to “support and diversify traditional fisheries, aquaculture and other marine-dependent industries.”
Legislature Kills Bill to Lease Colonial Pemaquid to Nonprofit
Lincoln County News - Wednesday, February 28, 2018 

Although the Maine State Legislature will not pass a bill to authorize the lease of the Colonial Pemaquid State Historic Site to The Friends of Colonial Pemaquid, the leadership of the group will continue to pursue the lease. The nonprofit sees three major benefits a lease would provide the site and the local area: the creation of an “economic engine” for the peninsula, the development of a vibrant educational destination, and the revitalization of plans to build a replica 17th-century village. However, the bill received strong opposition from Tom Desjardin, director of the Bureau of Parks and Lands. Desjardin said the bill was “unnecessary,” as the bureau already allows private groups to manage state facilities, and the cost of operating the site is about $40,000, which “is not a sum that a nonprofit can reasonably raise annually for operating costs alone.”
Maine Fox Hunt Ending For The Winter On Wednesday
Associated Press - Wednesday, February 28, 2018 

Maine has a small but active group of hunters who pursue foxes. The season ends on Wednesday. There is no limit on the number of foxes a hunter can harvest during the season, which begins in October. There are a handful of clubs remaining in New England for traditional fox hunters who pursue the animals on horseback with hounds. Wednesday is also the last day of the season to pursue gray squirrels via falconry and to hunt snowshoe hares on Vinalhaven Island. Bobcat season ended on Feb. 21. The next major hunting season in Maine is the turkey hunt, which begins near the end of April..
Maine lobster fishing group to replace longtime leader
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, February 28, 2018 

The largest commercial fishing industry group on the East Coast will elect a new leader this Friday for the first time in 27 years. Kristan Porter, a Cutler fisherman, is expected to take the reins of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association at the end of its annual meeting in Rockport. Porter, however, said it is “not a done deal” that he’ll become the group’s next president. Porter would take over for South Thomaston lobsterman David Cousens, who is stepping down as MLA president after having held the post since 1991.
Letter: Extra annual fee on electric cars is wrong way to fund highway repairs
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, February 28, 2018 

The governor’s effort to tax electric cars avoids real solutions, attacks a growing industry and causes greater divisions within an already fractured government. This tax revenue would be a fraction of our transportation budget. Let’s raise the gas tax 20 to 60 cents per gallon and increase tolls for trucks. The bigger the gas guzzler (e.g., a sport utility vehicle), the more you pay. This “damage” tax could pay for our roads. Let’s put a portion of that revenue into clean and efficient rail transportation, including passenger and freight services, instead of turning our last veins of clean transportation into bike trails. How about converting a lane of the interstate and make that into the bike trail? These are ideas we should be considering. ~ Paul Weiss, Cumberland
Letter: Fifteen-cent bottle deposit works as litter deterrent, so let’s raise the 5-cent deposit
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, February 28, 2018 

I own a property with a large amount of road frontage. Each month, I spend a good deal of time picking up dozens of discarded beer, hard cider and various other alcoholic beverage bottles and cans – as well as non-alcoholic ones (soda and water). I rarely, however, find discarded wine and liquor bottles. Could it be because the deposit on those beverages (15 cents) is three times the amount of the deposit for other beverages? If the current 15-cent deposit on liquor and wine bottles is reduced to 5 cents, Maine’s roadside litter will increase significantly. In a state that relies upon its natural beauty to attract tourism revenue, this does not make good policy. I agree that the deposit for all types of beverages should be made uniform: by increasing it to 15 cents on everything. ~ Lou Demers, North Yarmouth
Letter: 'No' to wind power projects
Sun Journal - Wednesday, February 28, 2018 

The rejection of Northern Pass by New Hampshire regulators puts CMP’s “clean energy connect” back on the front burner. Even though CMP has stated that their 145-mile line from Coburn Gore to Lewiston has nothing to do with wind power, it stretches credulity to not see a direct connection between Nextera’s 133-turbine project and that high voltage transmission line. Mainers cannot allow the scenic character of Route 27 be ruined. Maine does not need the power from 133 windmills, nor the power from Hydro Quebec facilitated by CMP’s transmission line. All the power from those assets will be shipped to southern New England and beyond, without a dime of rate relief for Maine customers. ~ Dudley Gray, Rangeley Plantation
Chandler Brothers gift 2,500 acres to Maine Woodland Owners
Sun Journal - Tuesday, February 27, 2018 

Chandler Brothers, a family-owned land management company whose New Gloucester roots herald back to the mid-1700s, made a difficult but necessary gift of 2,500 acres to Maine Woodland Owners Land Trust. “We knew we had to do something so the land wouldn’t be developed. That’s why we’re giving it away,” said spokesman Steve Chandler, representing four family owners. It’s an outright gift with no money exchanged, just the belief that land stewardship for the future will be upheld. The organization is the steward of 5,000 acres owned outright and 3,000 acres of easements.
Feds Clear Natural Gas Distributors Of Allegations They Artificially Constrained Supply
Maine Public - Tuesday, February 27, 2018 

Federal regulators are rejecting an environmental group’s allegations that regional natural gas distributors unnecessarily withheld pipeline capacity during times of high demand, costing energy consumers billions of dollars. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission says based on its own review, the Environmental Defense Fund’s report was “flawed and led to incorrect conclusions about the alleged withholding.”
Legislative committee endorses bill clarifying online burn permit rules
Kennebec Journal - Tuesday, February 27, 2018 

The Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry voted Tuesday to amendments to L.D. 1809, which impose a limit on the number of privately owned online systems allowed in Maine; lift the $7 fee that the state imposes on online permits issued by the Maine Forest Service; and allow burn permits to be viewed on a smart phone, rather than requiring the permit holder to have a paper copy. The goal of the legislation, which is now headed for floor debate, is to clarify how third-party issuers of burn permits in Maine may operate.
Regulators Investigating Complaints About CMP Billing Errors
Maine Public - Tuesday, February 27, 2018 

State utility regulators are launching an inquiry into complaints about billing errors Central Maine Power customers say started to surface late last year. Public Utilities Commission Chairman Mark Vannoy says many complaints have already been resolved, but a full investigation is still warranted and CMP held accountable for any systemic problems.
Augusta trash to electricity generation system up for approval
Kennebec Journal - Tuesday, February 27, 2018 

City councilors are scheduled to decide Thursday whether to spend $3 million to build a system to use methane gas generated by rotting garbage at Hatch Hill landfill to produce electricity and reduce the city’s electric bills.
Editorial: LePage mini-mes line up
Maine Environmental News - Tuesday, February 27, 2018 

Paul LePage has done more damage to Maine’s environmental safety net than any governor in the state’s history. The Republican candidates who want to follow him all promise more of the same. At a debate at Colby College on Monday, all five of those scrambling for the Republican gubernatorial nomination supported LePage’s legacy. That means they want to continue destroying public services, slashing environmental protections, and tearing up our social safety net. It will take years to repair the damage done by the LePage Misadministration. Clearly, that restoration will not begin next year if any of the Republican candidates are elected.
Endangered whales spotted, but no calves yet
Associated Press - Tuesday, February 27, 2018 

Scientists say dozens of endangered right whales have been spotted in Cape Cod Bay, but no babies have been reported yet this year. The whales are among the most endangered marine mammals and they are coming off of a year of high mortality and low reproduction. They venture north in the spring every year to gorge on the tiny organisms that sustain them. The right whale population is only about 450. Scientists say the species could be edging closer to extinction if there are more years of high accidental deaths and low births.
Maine Wood Manufacturers are still an Important Part of the Economy
Forests for Maine's Future - Tuesday, February 27, 2018 

Maine’s secondary wood manufacturing sector has had a rough few decades. At one time the state had hundreds of mills producing things of wood, from toothpick and match mills that employed hundreds to small operations that specialized in one, or a handful, of items with employment in the single digits. But beginning in the 1970s China rose to become the world’s low-cost manufacturer and the sector shrank steadily. It may have seemed to be on life support, but that part of Maine’s forest products industry never entirely disappeared. Now it seems to be thriving again.
Regulators to scrutinize high CMP bills, customer service complaints
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, February 27, 2018 

The Maine Public Utilities Commission said Tuesday it would look into customer complaints about skyrocketing bills and poor service by Central Maine Power. The regulatory agency will start by gathering information about CMP’s metering, billing and customer communications. If the PUC finds systemic or continuing problems, it may open a formal investigation.
This poll should scare lawmakers who reject climate action
Climate Progress - Tuesday, February 27, 2018 

Millennials overwhelmingly support action to fight human-caused climate change, according to a new poll sponsored by the conservative non-profit Alliance for Market Solutions (AMS). More than 3 out of 4 young voters think we should try to stop or slow climate change, including 89% of Democrats, 77% of independents, and 57% of Republicans.
Belfast’s Skip, Jo Pendleton commemorated with new trail stewardship program
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, February 27, 2018 

There was a time not long ago when the most likely person you’d run into on Belfast area trails was Skip Pendleton. A lifelong Belfast resident, he and his wife of 65 years, Jo Pendleton, were beacons of the community with a love for the outdoors that they expressed through countless hours of volunteer work to establish and maintain area trails. The couple passed away last fall just a few weeks apart. In honor of their memory, the Coastal Mountains Land Trust is creating the Pendleton Stewardship Fund. The campaign’s goal is to raise $75,000 to support and sustain an annual intern in Waldo County, continuing stewardship for the land and trails that were so important to the beloved Belfast couple.
Maine utility regulators vote to look into high electric bills
Portland Press Herald - Tuesday, February 27, 2018 

Maine utility regulators decided Tuesday to start an inquiry into what’s behind an apparent spike in electric bills for some Central Maine Power customers. Staff from the Public Utilities Commission will pull together data that includes electric meter performance, billing system accuracy and CMP’s response to customers, the commissioners decided during deliberations. If the results warrant, the agency will open a formal investigation.
Opinion: There’s no reason to restart Maine’s inhumane coyote snaring practice
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, February 27, 2018 

Since the 1960s, coyote control (control being a euphemism for “killing”) bills have annually flooded the Maine Legislature with the purported virtuous goal of saving deer. Legislators who have made impassioned pleas to kill coyotes to “protect our deer herd” could have saved far more deer for hunters by passing laws to protect deer yards. But lobbyists for the powerful timber industry have donated thousands of campaign dollars to sway legislators to vote against laws protecting softwood habitat critical to deer winter survival. So instead, legislators took the easy path: lets appease hunters by killing more coyotes. The notion that coyotes can be controlled is ludicrous. ~ Ron Joseph, retired Maine wildlife biologist
Opinion: Here are a few things Donald Trump needs to know about trade
Portland Press Herald - Tuesday, February 27, 2018 

History is filled with efforts to protect domestic industries, which exact a cost to consumers that is much higher than the economic effect of any lost jobs. President Trump is making a mistake by imposing steep tariffs on Chinese solar panels. This may create or save a few U.S. jobs, but will be very expensive for consumers who will have to pay more. President Trump’s blind spot on trade won’t derail the U.S. economy, but a trade war with one or more of our important partners would reduce our exports, harm consumers and slow the growth the administration wants to take credit for. ~ Martin Jones, Freeport, economic and financial analyst
Letter: Regional planners must address Portland area’s boom-and-bust pattern
Portland Press Herald - Tuesday, February 27, 2018 

We welcome the news that two regional planning organizations will consolidate: the Greater Portland Council of Governments and Portland Area Comprehensive Transportation System. If Greater Portland’s prosperity is to be sustained and broadened, this and other regional entities must help change the region’s historical pattern of economic boom and bust. For 50 years, economic planning in Greater Portland has largely reinforced the status quo, leaving the economy itself unchanged. The time has come to attach regional planning directly to elected authority. ~ Richard Barringer, Portland, and Frank O’Hara, Hallowell
letter: Oppose EPA budget cuts
Sun Journal - Tuesday, February 27, 2018 

The Environmental Protection Agency depends on scientific research, which allows monitoring of systems including water, air and standards for toxic substances. The EPA cannot carry out its mandate without adequate funding. The current administration has done its best to keep the agency from doing its job. It has banned language commonly used for preparing for next year’s budget; terms like “vulnerable,” “evidence-based,” and “science-based.” It has done its best to silence scientists. At the same time, Scott Pruitt has laid off personnel and cut the budget. It is obvious the Trump administration wants to eliminate any agency that would get in the way of industrial growth and monetary advancement. Maine Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King should oppose any budget cuts to the EPA. ~ Nancy Gilbert, Durham
Owner of hydroelectric facilities in Jay requests tax abatement
Sun Journal - Monday, February 26, 2018 

Androscoggin Hydro, a subsidiary of Eagle Creek Renewable Energy based in New Jersey, has filed a tax abatement request for 2017 for its two hydroelectric facilities on the Androscoggin River. Eagle Creek bought four hydroelectric facilities from Verso Corp. in January 2016 for nearly $62 million. The other facilities are in Livermore and Livermore Falls. The company believes the total assessed value of all four facilities is $33 million, not $61.99 million. It has requested that the 2017 assessments in Jay be lowered from $22.6 million to $10.54 million.
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