March 20, 2018  
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Maine Environmental News
Announcement - Tuesday, March 20, 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
Four-Season Gardening, Mar 27
Event - Posted - Tuesday, March 20, 2018 

Learn from the UMaine Cooperative Extension how to enjoy our gardens all year round. At Curtis Library, Brunswick, March 27, 12 pm.
Help wanted: Organizing Director
Announcement - Monday, March 19, 2018 

Maine Conservation Voters/Maine Conservation Alliance, two statewide, nonpartisan, nonprofit organizations, are seeking a shared full-time Organizing Director to build and manage grassroots organizing and field programs.
How to Participate in the Maine Bird Atlas, Mar 26
Event - Posted - Monday, March 19, 2018 

Rich MacDonald will talk about the history of the Maine Bird Atlas and how you can participate. At Blue Hill Library, March 26, 7 pm. Sponsored by Downeast Chapter of Maine Audubon.
Growing More Crops in Less Space, Mar 25
Event - Posted - Sunday, March 18, 2018 

Workshop leader Will Bonsai is director of the Scattered Project. He is best known for his work in preserving crop diversity. At St. Paul's Church, Brunswick, March 25, 2-3:30 pm, $5 donation. Sponsored by Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust.
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.
Stand up for Federal Bird Conservation Funding
Action Alert - Saturday, March 17, 2018 

The proposed federal budget would gut major programs and protections for birds and their habitats. One-third of migratory bird species have already lost significant populations as threats to wildlife increase. Tell your U.S. Senators and U.S. Representative to make protecting migratory birds a priority in the federal budget. ~ American Bird Conservancy
Earth Hour, Mar 24
Event - Posted - Saturday, March 17, 2018 

Join millions of people around the world—along with businesses, cities, and landmarks—who will turn off lights in celebration of Earth Hour. March 24, from 8:30 - 9:30 am local time.
Lessons from Avian Haven, Mar 23
Event - Posted - Friday, March 16, 2018 

Laura Suomi-Lecker will discuss Avian Haven in Freedom, which was established in 1999 as a bird rehabilitation center dedicated to the return of injured and orphaned wild birds of all species to their natural environment. In 2017, they admitted over 2,500 birds from all over the state with varying degrees of injuries or illnesses. At Blue Hill Library, March 23, 7 pm. Sponsored by Downeast Chapter of Maine Audubon.
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.
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News Items
Pruitt tapes revealed: Evolution's a 'theory'
POLITICO - Friday, March 2, 2018 

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt dismissed evolution as an unproven theory, according to a newly unearthed series of Oklahoma talk radio shows from 2005. EPA would not say this week whether any of Pruitt’s positions have changed since 2005. Asked whether the administrator’s skepticism about a major foundation of modern science such as evolution could conflict with the agency's mandate to make science-based decisions, spokesman Jahan Wilcox said that “if you're insinuating that a Christian should not serve in capacity as EPA administrator, that is offensive and a question that does not warrant any further attention." Republicans in Congress defended Pruitt, saying his religious beliefs should factor into how he does his job.
Lobstermen chief’s likely successor has strong ethic for conservation
Portland Press Herald - Friday, March 2, 2018 

Kristan Porter, 47, of Cutler is expected to be nominated as the next president of Maine Lobstermen’s Association at Friday's Fishermen's Forum. Porter is well-known in the industry for his work and conservation ethic.
Leader of many Maine lobstermen relinquishing the helm after 27 years
Portland Press Herald - Friday, March 2, 2018 

Dave Cousens is stepping down as head of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association at the Fishermen’s Forum on Friday, but the South Thomaston fisherman is not going away. He is handing over the state’s largest and oldest lobster trade group to a trusted vice president, but the outspoken 60-year-old who trained to be a teacher said he is just getting warmed up. During his 27-year run, Cousens learned there are some things the MLA president just can’t say. You can’t let loose with your personal opinions about climate change (“If you can’t see it, you’re blind”) or public investment in infrastructure (“Canada is kicking our ass”).
Letter: Lobsters suffer on the way to our plates, so let’s stop eating them
Portland Press Herald - Friday, March 2, 2018 

When I shop at the local supermarket, I inevitably pass the tank of lobsters for sale, crammed into the small space, unfed and swimming in unfiltered water that most likely has their waste products in it. I cringe as I pass it, envisioning every one of them being dropped into boiling water, suffering for those few moments until they perish. I cannot bear to think about it. While I realize that lobstering is an important business in Maine and that the flesh of the animal is delicious, I wish that people would end their consumption of these sensitive animals. ~ Len Frenkel, South Portland
Letter: Governor misinformed on land trusts
Ellsworth American - Friday, March 2, 2018 

Perhaps emboldened by the Trump administration’s war on the nation’s public land, Governor LePage has decided to really step up his rhetoric against Maine’s land trusts. His State of the State speech was rife with misinformation, cherry-picked “facts” and important omissions from recent studies, as he called on these nonprofits to “pay their fair share” of taxes and laid the blame for the state’s financial woes at their feet. Among other spurious claims, LePage stated that Maine’s land trusts have taken the equivalent of the state of Connecticut and made it tax-exempt. Land trusts own 600,000 acres in the state of Maine; 94.5 percent of that land is on the tax rolls. Another 1.9 million acres in Maine (mostly working forests) are protected by conservation easements, privately held, and all on the tax rolls. ~ Cheri Domina, Orland
EPA moves to roll back Obama-era pollution rules
Associated Press - Thursday, March 1, 2018 

The Trump administration said Thursday it is rewriting Obama-era rules governing pollution from oil and gas operations and coal ash dumps, moves that opponents say will significantly weaken protections for human health and the environment. The changes proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency are the latest in series of actions taken over the last year to roll back regulations opposed by the fossil-fuel industry.
Rape, harassment and retaliation in the U.S. Forest Service: Women firefighters tell their stories
Other - Thursday, March 1, 2018 

PBS -Women in the U.S. Forest Service aren't just fighting fires; some are fighting sexual misconduct in the most remote parts of the country. In an exclusive PBS NewsHour investigation, 34 women in 13 states told their stories of rape, harassment, gender discrimination and the retaliation that followed after they reported abuse.
Maine House stalls LePage’s effort to block wind energy development
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, March 1, 2018 

Gov. Paul LePage’s push to curtail expedited permitting for wind energy projects suffered a serious blow Thursday by Democrats trying to kill the governor’s bill before it can be formally introduced. LD 1810 would shrink the area where wind developments are eligible for Maine’s abbreviated permitting process and ramp up requirements for projects that would still qualify. Following a series of procedural motions and votes Thursday in the House of Representatives, the bill is in danger of dying because of a disagreement with the Senate over which legislative committee should handle the bill.
Fire destroys lobster processing plant on Passamaquoddy Bay
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, March 1, 2018 

A large fire has destroyed part of a New Brunswick lobster processing plant that is just across the border from Maine and is owned by one of the largest lobster industry firms that operates in the state. A fire at the Paturel International plant on Deer Island, New Brunswick, was reported around 2:30 a.m. Atlantic time on Thursday, according to a CBC report. The fire destroyed a warehouse and packing plant at the facility. The Paturel plant, located less than two miles from the Maine border, is owned by East Coast Seafood, a global seafood distributor. Thursday’s fire is the second conflagration that has occurred at a Paturel operation on Deer Island in the past six months. A lobster storage site on the other side of the island was destroyed by a fire in September.
Maine Legislature unanimously adopts Devin resolution requesting that Maine be excluded from new offshore drilling
Boothbay Register - Thursday, March 1, 2018 

The Maine Legislature on Thursday unanimously passed a resolution sponsored by Rep. Mick Devin, D-Newcastle, asking President Trump to exclude Maine from any future offshore oil and gas drilling and exploration. Devin submitted the resolution after President Trump announced he was lifting a moratorium on such activities earlier this year. Devin said, “Over 45,000 jobs are associated with our coastal economy, which includes over 5,000 commercial fishermen. The risks are too high to place that many jobs in jeopardy."
Celebrate Maine Agriculture
Maine Government News - Thursday, March 1, 2018 

Every day is a good day to think about agriculture, and the month of March is a great time to remember why agriculture is important. Two days in March are dedicated to Maine Ag Day on March 13, and National Ag Day March 20.
New scallop catch limits could ease tensions in northern Gulf of Maine
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, March 1, 2018 

New limits on the amount of scallops that can be harvested in part of the Gulf of Maine should help ease tensions between smaller boats from Maine and larger scallop vessels from Massachusetts during the upcoming federal scallop season, which is expected to get under way on April 1. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is accepting public comments on the new harvesting rules for the Northern Gulf of Maine scallop fishing area until March 7.
Glossy Buckthorn: How can a shrub be so harmful?
Maine Government News - Thursday, March 1, 2018 

It’s National Invasive Species Awareness Week, so here is a profile of one of the top invasive plants in Maine. Do you recognize glossy buckthorn?
New Solar Rules Cause Headaches for Solar Users, Installers & Innovators
Free Press - Thursday, March 1, 2018 

Last week, Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC) voted to move back the date to implement controversial new rules affecting rooftop solar users from May 1 to March 16. Under Maine’s current net-metering rules, homes and businesses can sell excess solar power produced on-site back to the grid at the standard retail price. However, last February, the PUC issued a ruling to gradually reduce that compensation for new solar customers, even if power is generated and consumed on-site and never makes it to the grid. The new rules were scheduled to take effect at the end of April, but PUC Chairman Mark Vannoy said the rules can take effect sooner. Solar installers blasted the decision to require utilities to install the new meter to measure the gross output of solar power.
In Maine, a push in Legislature could lead to a rewrite of the U.S. Constitution
Portland Press Herald - Thursday, March 1, 2018 

A pair of resolutions under consideration by the Legislature that lift much of their wording from model bills written by a secretive, corporation-funded group could help lead to a radical rewriting of the U.S. Constitution. At a mock convention held in Virginia in 2016 and attended by state Sen. Garrett Mason, R-Lisbon, and 149 other state legislators from all 50 states, delegates passed an amendment that allowed any federal law, regulation or executive order to be vetoed if disliked by three-fifths of the states, a metric that could allow the Clean Air Act to be toppled by a group of states constituting just over a third of the nation’s population.
Letter: Bill will save money, encourage solar power
Kennebec Journal - Thursday, March 1, 2018 

Is it fair to tax homeowners on electricity that they generate with their own solar equipment? That is what will happen if L.D. 1444 does not pass. In addition, all Central Maine Power customers will experience a rate increase since CMP will need revenue for systems required to implement the tax. The bill also removes the existing arbitrary 10-person restriction on community solar projects. Allowing greater numbers of people to participate in a community solar project will encourage more solar installation. The bill does not prevent the PUC from changing net-metering rules in the future, however. L.D. 1444 has bipartisan support. It will save Maine electricity users millions of dollars and allow the PUC to come up with a realistic and workable plan. ~ Regis Tremblay, Brunswick
Letter: Deport Trump
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, March 1, 2018 

I think we should deport ICE agents and the entire Trump cabal to Antarctica, where they can wreak their moral havoc on penguins and sea lions. These Trump followers are an embarrassment to everything nine and 10 generations of my ancestors shed their sweat to build and their blood to defend. ~ William Leavenworth, Searsmont [Ed: What have penguins and sea lions done to deserve such treatment?]
Linking Donors: The Private Funding Behind the Appalachian Trail
Other - Wednesday, February 28, 2018 

Inside Philanthropy - The Appalachian Trail Conservancy has been working to bump up its fundraising, and recently landed a $3 million grant from a Virginia family foundation. The AT is not just any trail, running from Georgia to Maine and serving some 3 million hikers a year. The latest grant will fund efforts to protect the trail’s lands, waters and cultural features. The money comes from the Volgenau Foundation, which is the small, Virginia-based family foundation of Ernst and Sara Volgenau. While donors are willing to step up, there is a dark backdrop, as protections are gutted by Ryan Zinke’s Department of the Interior, leaving public lands more vulnerable than they have been in many years.

Portland sets record high temperature for Feb. 28
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, February 28, 2018 

Portland set a new record high temperature Wednesday with a reading of 58 degrees. The average temperature for the month in Portland was 31 degrees, making it the fourth warmest February on record.
Maine Lawmakers Say Embattled Biomass Generator Shouldn’t Have Qualified For Taxpayer Subsidy
Maine Public - Wednesday, February 28, 2018 

Lawmakers scrutinizing a biomass generator’s track record of unpaid bills are now questioning whether the firm even qualified for a slice of a $13.4 million taxpayer bailout that benefited the firm two years ago. Specifically, the lawmakers say the state’s utility regulator was wrong to award a subsidy contract to Stored Solar LLC, a company supported by Gov. Paul LePage. The company is currently under scrutiny for late or missing payments to loggers and contractors – the intended beneficiaries of the 2016 bailout bill.
4 billion cups
Other - Wednesday, February 28, 2018 

There are roughly 25,000 Starbucks stores in more than 75 countries around the world. Those stores sell more than 4 billion hot beverages every day — all in single-use “paper” cups. Paper cups that are not recyclable because they’re lined with plastic. It gets worse. Starbucks’ paper products aren’t even made from recycled paper. Every year, 1.6 million trees are harvested to create these single-use cups. But it gets even worse. Starbucks plans to open 12,000 more stores in the next three years — an increase of 48 percent. That works out to 5.9 billion cups and 2.4 million trees every year. In 2008, Starbucks said it would serve a 100% recyclable paper cup and increase reusables to 25 percent by 2015. To date, it hasn’t done either.
Eversource files for rehearing in Northern Pass case
Associated Press - Wednesday, February 28, 2018 

The company behind the controversial Northern Pass hydropower project is offering to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to overcome concerns that the project would have a negative impact on businesses and the tourism industry in New Hampshire. Eversource President Bill Quinlan says the company on Wednesday submitted a request from the Site Evaluation Committee to rehear the project. Earlier this month, regulators rejected the $1.6 billion Northern Pass project, over concerns about the negative impact along the route of the 192-mile transmission line. Eversource says it’s offering up to $300 million in reductions to low-income and business customers in New Hampshire, $25 million to compensate homeowners whose property values would decline, $25 million for economic development and $25 million to promote tourism in affected areas.
New Allagash cultural assessment and intepretive report prepared
Maine Environmental News - Wednesday, February 28, 2018 

A new report prepared for the Allagash Wilderness Waterway Foundation, "Storied Lands & Waters," provides a vision for interpretation, as well as education, visitor orientation and trip planning in the Allagash Wilderness Waterway. The report also includes a heritage resource assessment. The AWW Advisory Council will consider the plan at it next meeting on March 16.
Committee approves economic task force
The County - Wednesday, February 28, 2018 

The Legislature’s Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry amended and overwhelmingly approved a bill by Senate Democratic Leader Troy Jackson of Allagash to establish a group of experts who will explore ways in which to expand economic opportunity in rural Maine. The amended version of the bill made modest changes to the task force membership to include additional rural industries.
How to Be a Better Environmentalist
Bowdoin (College) Orient - Wednesday, February 28, 2018 

Bowdoin College students Lauren Hickey and Jonah Watt last week brought together four people from different professional backgrounds to answer this question: How can I be the most effective environmentalist? The guests included Associate Professor of Economics Erik Nelson; Maine Conservation Voters’s executive director, Maureen Drouin; Morning Glory Natural Foods owner Toby Tarpinian; and Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies and Government Shana Starobin. Hickey and Watt broke down their bigger query into four smaller questions, and two students from the audience also asked a couple of practical questions. Here are edited snippets of some of the panelists’ responses to these six questions.

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