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
Queen Elizabeth credited with push to cut plastic waste
Washington Post - Sunday, February 11, 2018 

Queen Elizabeth has long expressed admiration for David Attenborough, an environmentalist with a track record of creating beautiful, compelling movies about our planet. Most recently, his series “Blue Planet II” showcased the weird and wonderful species of the oceans. But it also explored the disastrous effects of waste on the world’s waters. The show spurred top officials in Britain to take a serious look at reducing plastic waste. Now, Queen Elizabeth II also is pushing for environment-friendly changes in her own back yard. She’s behind Buckingham Palace’s new waste-reduction plans, which will ban straws and bottles at all royal estates.
Great project working to remove barriers to fish spawning grounds
George Smith BDN Outdoor News Blog - Sunday, February 11, 2018 

The Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund has awarded a grant to Maine Audubon’s important project to remove barriers that prevent fish from moving up and down streams and getting to their spawning grounds. Maine Audubon and its partners recently completed their Stream Barrier Survey Project. The primary goal of this project was to improve the ability of Atlantic salmon, brook trout, and other aquatic fish and wildlife to move up and down streams and between streams and ponds by surveying road-stream crossings, identifying barriers, and highlighting priorities for culvert and bridge replacements.
Is it wrong to boil lobsters alive?
The Guardian - Sunday, February 11, 2018 

The question of whether lobsters feel pain – and the way people should (or should not) treat them – has been raised again recently. “We’re now in the area where you can say there is as much evidence for pain in crustaceans as there is in many vertebrates,” says Robert Elwood, emeritus professor at the school of biological sciences at Queen’s University Belfast, referring to the work he has done for more than a decade on crustaceans and pain. Other scientists are less sure. “I’m not convinced they feel pain,” says Robert Steneck, professor of marine sciences at the University of Maine. “There is no compelling case I’ve seen that suggests they feel pain. You don’t really see this level of concern for people who eat oysters or clams – they’re certainly every bit as alive. The problem has more to do with how we anthropomorphise various critters. The fact that lobsters move and clams don’t, that they have eyes – I think that it does tend to increase our sensitivity to their end of life more than having a raw oyster.”
Robert De Niro takes aim at Trump’s climate change policy
Other - Sunday, February 11, 2018 

Hollywood star Robert De Niro took aim at the Trump administration’s stance on climate change, telling a packed audience in the Middle East that he was visiting from a “backward” country suffering from “temporary insanity.” He said that in the country he’s describing, the head of the EPA suggested last week that global warming may be a good thing for humanity.
After four decades in the business, the cheesemakers at York Hill Farm retire
Maine Sunday Telegram - Sunday, February 11, 2018 

John and Penny Duncan were in the vanguard of local food producers in Maine, making award-winning goat cheese. Will anyone pick up their torch?
Andrew Bossie is the first executive director of Friends of Katahdin Woods & Waters
Maine Sunday Telegram - Sunday, February 11, 2018 

In January, Andrew Bossie officially took on the role of running Friends of Katahdin Woods & Waters, a membership nonprofit founded just over a year ago to help Maine’s new national monument succeed. It’s got a 15-member board of directors, Bossie as executive director and so far, about 400 friends as members. We called Bossie up to talk and learned about his childhood in Caribou, how many peaks he’s climbed and what kind of help Katahdin Woods & Waters needs from its friends.
Unique state park cabin in Camden a ‘posh’ experience, campers say
Maine Sunday Telegram - Sunday, February 11, 2018 

What is called the Ski Shelter at Camden Hills State Park is unique in Maine because it is the only cabin in the state park system – which also makes Maine unusual in New England.
Column: Caterpillars – the good, the bad and the ugly
Maine Sunday Telegram - Sunday, February 11, 2018 

There are good caterpillars and bad caterpillars. The good caterpillars are essential parts of the natural web that keeps wild creatures alive in our increasingly urban country. The bad caterpillars are damaging some of the native trees that, among other things, provide food for the good caterpillars. Two talks at Grow Maine Green Expo give the lowdown on the hungry bugs, at once an essential part of the ecosystem and a threat to native trees. ~ Tom Attwell
Letter: The price we pay for fossil fuels
Morning Sentinel - Sunday, February 11, 2018 

The fossil fuel industry has received huge tax breaks for a century, even though U.S. tax subsidies usually expire once a developing industry is established. Wikipedia estimates annual U.S. tax subsidies for fossil fuels at $600 billion. Compare this to our 2017 federal deficit of $666 billion. We subsidize the fossil fuel industry by letting them to dump their waste product (carbon dioxide) into the atmosphere, where it drives up costs for health care, energy (air conditioning), and damage caused by extreme climate events. Charging fossil fuel companies a fee for these social costs of their fuels — a carbon fee — would make renewable energy cheaper than fossil fuels and speed our transition to renewable energy. ~ Richard Thomas, Waterville
The most peculiar job I did as a Maine wildlife biologist? Count deer dung.
Bangor Daily News - Saturday, February 10, 2018 

In 1978, as a recently hired biologist for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, I began recording the number of deer droppings on data sheets to help researchers improve estimates of Maine’s deer population. One day, we began the fieldwork by driving to Jefferson. Per instructions, I walked 1 mile following the pre-assigned compass bearing penciled on maps. Near the end of my walk in the woods, a clearing appeared in a green shaded area of the map. More unsettling, though, was the sound of music blaring from a radio, which meant that in all likelihood a house had been built where woods stood in 1958. Minutes later, the sight of a woman shocked me. She was sunbathing nude on a beach towel behind a home, radio by her side, and directly in line with my compass bearing. Head swimming and barely able to breathe, I retraced my steps several hundred feet. ~ Ron Joseph
Maine’s solar investors face ‘punitive’ local taxes
Kennebec Journal - Saturday, February 10, 2018 

Dozens of Mainers who have helped grow the state’s solar industry in recent years now face an unexpected challenge to the viability of their project: higher local taxes. Advocates for the solar industry warn that the traditional ways communities tax property could scare Mainers from making further investments in clean technology. Steve Kahl, an associate professor of science at Thomas College who has developed renewable energy projects, said that Maine’s lack of a tax exemption for residential solar projects is part of a larger neglect by the state’s leaders of a promising industry.
Opinion: Climate too hot? Pruitt thinks it’s too soon to say
Portland Press Herald - Saturday, February 10, 2018 

In an interview at the friendly venue of a Sinclair Broadcast-owned Las Vegas TV station, KSNV, Scott Pruitt, head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, conceded that climate change is a reality and that human activities have contributed to it “to a certain degree.” But then he tossed in a monkey wrench. He suggested that a warming climate is not “necessarily” a “bad thing.” Pruitt isn’t the first climate skeptic to try that particular dodge, but he’s surely the most high-ranking in the government of any industrialized nation and perhaps the one most surrounded by scientists who know better but who apparently can’t penetrate his administrative bubble.
Head of UMaine System has financial stake in firm seeking multimillion-dollar contract for Orono campus
Portland Press Herald - Friday, February 9, 2018 

University of Maine System Chancellor James Page signed a personal loan guarantee for an unknown amount to help finance his former employer, James W. Sewall Co. Page backed the loan when he was chief executive officer of the engineering firm based in Old Town. The loan has not been paid off. The connection is relevant because Sewall is partnering with ConEdison Solutions, a New York-based energy services company that beat out three other finalists last fall to negotiate with the University of Maine on a project to supply steam and electricity to the Orono campus using a defunct Old Town mill. ConEdison is negotiating with the university for a long-term energy contract worth up to $150 million.
L.L. Bean ends unlimited return policy, blaming increasing abuse
Portland Press Herald - Friday, February 9, 2018 

The days of turning in your old, worn-out Bean boots for a brand new pair are officially over. In a reversal of its longstanding policy, L.L. Bean will no longer accept returns on any product it has ever sold regardless of the item’s age or condition. L.L. Bean executives said the decision was prompted by a growing number of customers abusing its generous satisfaction guarantee policy.
Wiggins Pond dredge opposition surfaces
Other - Friday, February 9, 2018 

A plan to dredge Wiggins Pond in Kennebunk is getting a thumbs down from local and state officials alike. Tom Wellman, president of Kennebunk Land Trust, pitched a partnership with the town to help save Hope Cemetery, a 25-acre burial ground located at the intersection of Route 1 and Summer Street. The Hope Cemetery Corporation is in need of cash for continued operations and one way to raise money, Wellman said, would be for the land trust to purchase a conservation easement on an adjoining 75-acre forest owned by the cemetery. In order to boost its chance of success for a Federal Land and Water Conservation Fund grant, Wellmen said the plan was to pursue improvement of Wiggins Pond and its associated trail network.
Proposal Seeks to Hold Biomass Energy Plants Accountable for Unpaid Invoices
Maine Public - Friday, February 9, 2018 

Stored Solar LLC, the owner of two biomass energy plants set to receive a slice of a $13.4 million taxpayer-subsidized bailout, is the target of legislation designed to make sure the company’s loggers and contractors are compensated for unpaid bills. The measure also recommends that the Maine Attorney General investigate the company. The proposal seeks to penalize a specific company and it effectively terminates its subsidy contract before it’s reviewed by the Maine Public Utilities Commission. Stored Solar was accused of withholding between $200,000 and $1.5 million to contractors at various points last year. The bill shows how some lawmakers are trying to curb fallout from the Legislature’s controversial decision two years ago to use taxpayer money to prop up the ailing biomass industry.
Maine’s native brook trout lose legislative battle
George Smith BDN Outdoor News Blog - Friday, February 9, 2018 

An attempt to protect the tributaries to Heritage waters, where Maine’s precious native brook trout are protected, has failed. Last year the legislature’s Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee held a hearing on a bill that offered protection to those tributaries. The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife opposed the bill, but after the IFW Committee expressed lots of support for it, the department stepped up and promised to get the job done. The IFW Committee’s work session on that bill was held last Tuesday. DIFW’s fisheries division director Francis Brautigam presented a written report on the department’s work on these issues. It included a number of inaccuracies. It became clear that the committee was divided on using the bill to protect the tributaries in law. So these tributaries will not be protected in the next couple of years.
Maine man and his puppy fend off bear attack
Associated Press - Friday, February 9, 2018 

Bear attacks are unusual and even rarer in the winter when bears are supposed to be hibernating. But a Maine man said that’s just what happened. Twenty-nine-year-old Dustin Gray said a black bear lunged at him and his 11-month-old puppy on Monday in Dedham. The 6-foot-5 man said he punched and kicked the 150-pound bear until it fled and knocked him over in the process.
Editorial: Maine law falls short in keeping public informed
Portland Press Herald - Friday, February 9, 2018 

Maine’s Freedom of Access Act isn’t really a law – it’s more of a suggestion. While the statute says governments must fulfill requests for public records in a timely manner, so that citizens can be informed in real time of what is being done in their name and on their dime, it just isn’t built to deal with officials who have no interest in keeping the public informed. If others have exploited this law before, the LePage administration has elevated it to an art form. Officials who respect open government would make public information as public as possible. Those who don’t need hard deadlines and strict penalties.
Opinion: Maine Land Trust Network helps support ‘the way life should be’
Portland Press Herald - Friday, February 9, 2018 

Hikers can explore more than 1,250 miles of trails that wind through land trust properties in every corner of Maine. Motorized recreational enthusiasts benefit from over 345 miles of ATV trails and 570 miles of snowmobile trails. Land trust lands also support the state’s thriving tourism industry. Over 85 percent of the acres that land trusts have conserved (2.14 million acres) are working forestlands. Those wishing to launch a canoe or kayak can choose from over 60 saltwater and 140 freshwater boat launch sites provided and maintained by land trusts. Maine sportsmen enjoy hunting access to over 90 percent of all lands conserved by land trusts. Maine’s land trusts also provide educational programming. Nearly 95 percent of all lands conserved by land trusts in Maine remain on the tax rolls. ~ Nick Ullo and Angela Twitchell, Maine Land Trust Network
Letter: Pass legislation to protect community solar projects in Maine
Portland Press Herald - Friday, February 9, 2018 

I was concerned when I learned about a bill before Maine legislators that threatens new residential solar installation, but I am very encouraged to hear that Scarborough’s Sen. Amy Volk and Rep. Karen Vachon support solar projects in Maine. New rules that will be implemented in just a few months impose an additional fee for using energy that homeowners generate themselves. This undermines the economic incentives for residential-scale solar installations, and, in turn, threatens an existing labor force in an important growth industry for Maine. I encourage Sen. Volk and Rep. Vachon to demonstrate their continued support for Maine’s solar industry by voting in favor of L.D. 1444, An Act Regarding Large-Scale Community Solar Procurement. ~ Mark Follansbee, Scarborough
Letter: Did fossil fuel fans float idea for new state fee on ‘green’ vehicles?
Portland Press Herald - Friday, February 9, 2018 

As a recent buyer of an electric vehicle, I was taken aback to see that the LePage administration proposes to inflict a $250 penalty on such cars, on the grounds that their drivers are not paying their share for the upkeep of Maine roads through the gas tax. While Maine pursues a path that would discourage sales of all-electric cars, the federal government provides a $7,500 tax break to do the opposite. ~ Laurence Pope, Portland
‘Stink bugs’ increasing
Biddeford-Saco-OOB Courier - Thursday, February 8, 2018 

An invasive species that first came to the United States about 20 years ago now has a well documented presence in southern Maine, is still most likely a few years away from being a serious threat. The brown marmorated stink bug, or Halyomorpha halys, is an invasive insect native to East Asia that was first found in Pennsylvania in the mid- to late-1990s. While the stink bug is not harmful to pets or humans, it caused significant crop damage in Mid-Atlantic states in 2005 and has spread throughout the U.S. ever since. The stink bug earned its name for the scent glands it uses as a defense mechanism. Karen Coluzzi, state pest survey coordinator with the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, said Maine has been aware of the bug’s presence for about 10 years.
Maine’s Governor Backs Bill to Boost EV, Hybrid Fees
Other - Thursday, February 8, 2018 

The LePage administration is proposing to make it more expensive to own a hybrid or electric vehicle in Maine. The Maine Department of Transportation wants to impose an annual registration fee on the vehicles, $150 for gas-electric hybrid cars and $250 for all-electric models. An extra fee is needed to make hybrid and all-electric owners pay their fair share of state road repairs that are funded through a tax on gasoline sales.
Dispute over online burn permits heats up at legislative hearing
Kennebec Journal - Thursday, February 8, 2018 

The sharp disagreement over how online burn permits are issued in Maine played out Thursday in a legislative hearing that brought members of the Maine Forest Service and developers of private, online permit-issuing systems into the same room for the first time in months. In the wake of emergency legislation enacted at the end of last year’s legislative session that legalized the use of private systems, the creators of two online services said they have tried to set up meetings with state forestry officials, but their requests have gone unanswered.
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