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
Janet Mills adds Maine to group of states aiming to abide by Paris climate change accord
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, February 28, 2019 

Gov. Janet Mills announced Thursday that she is the 22nd governor to join a national coalition that has committed to abide by an international agreement to reduce carbon emissions that the U.S. withdrew from in 2017. The new Democratic governor made fighting climate change a key part of her 2018 campaign to succeed former Gov. Paul LePage, a Republican who put the state’s climate response on hold as research emerged during his tenure showing the Gulf of Maine has warmed more in recent years than 99 percent of the world’s oceans.
Canadian ferry firm signs lease on its way to starting service in Bar Harbor this summer
Associated Press - Thursday, February 28, 2019 

The Bar Harbor planning board on Wednesday gave approval to the resumption of ferry service to Canada from an idle terminal on Route 3, as a Canadian ferry company looks to start service this summer. The board’s conditional approval, which depends on the firm Bay Ferries securing needed permits from agencies such as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the state Department of Environmental Protection, is the latest in a series of steps that are expected to restore ferry service between Nova Scotia and Bar Harbor for the first time since 2009.
Column: A catastrophic decline of insects
Kennebec Journal - Thursday, February 28, 2019 

A study published last month of insect population research states unequivocally that “the demise of major insect taxa … (has) attained alarming proportions globally over the last two decades.” At the current rates of decline, the study says, 40 percent of the Earth’s insect species could go extinct in the next few decades. What is killing the insects? Habitat loss, pollution, biological factors, climate change. Is there any hope? Yes, if humans make changes. “Habitat restoration, coupled with a drastic reduction in agro-chemical inputs and agricultural ‘redesign’, is probably the most effective way to stop further declines,” the study says. ~ Dana Wilde
Environmentalists React To New Regional EPA Head
Other - Thursday, February 28, 2019 

Paul Mercer, the former head of Maine's Department of Environmental Protection, is being appointed to lead the Environmental Protection Agency's office in Boston. Sean Mahoney, head of the Conservation Law Foundation's Maine office, said, "From all that we could tell, he was a leader at the DEP that respected the staff, respected their expertise, and respected the importance of science and facts." Pete Didisheim of the Natural Resources Council of Maine said, "The mantra of the LePage era was to not enforce environmental laws, and the number of enforcement cases collapsed throughout those eight years. And that didn't change while Paul Mercer was the commissioner." Former Maine state Sen. Tom Saviello worked with Mercer: "He's going into a situation where the environment is not a priority to this present administration, and to put somebody like Paul in there is putting somebody who really does care about the environment."
Editorial: Maine lawmakers should pass plastic-bag ban
Portland Press Herald - Thursday, February 28, 2019 

Unlike paper, metal and glass, which can be recycled into high-quality new products, plastics are not easily broken down and are of limited utility. Plastic bags are one of the most common contaminants in the recycling stream. These problems are getting worse: The industry plans to increase plastic production by 40 percent in the next decade. Twenty towns and cities across Maine have enacted either bans or fees on plastic shopping bags, and at least a half-dozen more are considering local ordinances. Many of those policies were approved in the two years since state lawmakers rejected a bill to ban plastic bags. Retailers that operate in more than one community may now be open to a single statewide standard instead of a hodgepodge of local ordinances.
Letter: Maine doesn’t need CMP project – energy innovators are already active here
Portland Press Herald - Thursday, February 28, 2019 

Maine would be very foolish to sacrifice its wilderness to a company that is furnishing electricity to another state. We are responsible neither for providing Massachusetts with electricity nor for lining Quebec’s pockets. So far Central Maine Power has demonstrated more concern for sending profits back to Spain than for taking care of its customers. Gov. Mills should support energy entrepreneurs developing floating windmills and more solar companies. They are the future. ~ Richard McWilliams, Yarmouth
Letter: To save aquatic creatures, kick the plastic-wrap habit
Portland Press Herald - Thursday, February 28, 2019 

To cooks everywhere: Please stop using all that plastic wrap! It benefits only the petroleum industry and it is destroying the creatures of our oceans and waterways; when they see it in the water, they consume what they think is jellyfish or seaweed or tiny water life, and then they starve to death with stomachs full of plastic. Please stop destroying our planet. Not only is plastic wrap toxic to aquatic life, it is made from petroleum byproducts, adding to global climate change. ~ Jane Lauder King, Kennebunk
Letter: Consider more than lobster
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, February 28, 2019 

Put the lobster bait problem in an ecosystem perspective: Herring have been in decline since seiners and pair trawlers began harvesting before they reached their near-shore spawning grounds. Herring’s natural function is not merely to provide lobster bait; herring and their cousins — alewives, shad and menhaden — are crucial to the trophic pyramid that starts with one-celled plants and ends with top predators — swordfish, tuna, sharks and mankind. If we want to see a recovery of Maine’s historical “shore” fisheries, we must first recover their base: the forage fish population. We should buy up and scrap pair trawlers and seiners, and forbid the use of mobile net gear within 50 miles of Maine’s shore. Thinking of the lobster fishery as a sole industry that justifies overfishing baitfish will destroy the near-coastal marine ecosystem for generations. ~ William Leavenworth, Searsmont
Letter: Say no to big business
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, February 28, 2019 

Green energy? Aren’t the trees that will be chopped down for the transmission line and for future wind farms free carbon emission scrubbers? How many thousands of gallons of diesel fuel get burned up on projects the size of these? If these types of projects continue to happen here, Maine will become a very green state indeed because no one will want to vacation in this industrialized mess. Let’s say no to big business and let Maine’s natural resources be our best asset. ~ Jim Jones, East Boothbay
FDA working on way to allow CBD in food products, official tells Rep. Pingree
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, February 27, 2019 

Federal regulators have scheduled the first public hearing on whether to allow adding CBD, the non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis, to food. U.S. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb told lawmakers Wednesday that Congress had sent a clear message in December when they legalized hemp in the U.S. Farm Bill. In testimony before the House Appropriations Committee, Gottlieb reassured Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) that finding a pathway to allow small, nonpharmaceutical-level doses of cannabidiol, or CBD, into food products is an agency priority.
Massachusetts energy official likely to be named Maine director
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, February 27, 2019 

The deputy commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources is expected to be appointed Maine’s next energy office director by Gov. Janet Mills, according the energy industry sources. Dan Burgess, a Newport native and a 2005 University of Maine graduate, has a strong background in renewable and clean energy policy in the commonwealth.
Who will rule the roost? The black-capped or the boreal chickadee?
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, February 27, 2019 

Two ornithologists as well as a state representative speaking on behalf of some 80 fourth-graders urged lawmakers Wednesday to choose a bird – any bird – to be the state’s official representative and clarify a statute that dates back to 1927. Maine’s state bird is the chickadee – but which chickadee? The statute that established the designation 92 years ago doesn’t say. Choosing a specific chickadee – regardless of which – would better highlight Maine values and attributes, Maine Audubon’s outreach manager Nick Lund testified.
A Nest Divided: Maine's Great Chickadee Debate
Maine Public - Wednesday, February 27, 2019 

There's a big debate simmering in the Legislature, and it's certain to split Maine residents into two groups. No, not Democrats and Republicans. The debate is about birds — chickadees specifically. And there's now a bill that would require lawmakers to choose which particular kind of chickadee is the official state bird.
Financing a mystery for ad critical of Mills’ support of CMP line
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, February 27, 2019 

A television and social media ad critical of Gov. Janet Mills for backing Central Maine Power’s proposed transmission line is drawing fire from CMP and project supporters, which charge that a New York-based biomass energy firm that received nearly $4 million this week in Maine taxpayer subsidies is among the interests underwriting the campaign. But that company, ReEnergy Holdings, said Wednesday that while it opposes the New England Clean Energy Connect project, it didn’t pay for the ad. The Natural Resources Council of Maine said it’s not funding the ad. The mystery over who’s bankrolling the ad is the latest flashpoint in the power line debate.
Loggers race against time before beetles kill ash trees
Associated Press - Wednesday, February 27, 2019 

Loggers in snowy forests are cutting down ash like there’s no tomorrow, seeking to stay one step ahead of a fast-spreading beetle killing the tree in dozens of states. The emerald ash borer has been chewing its way through trees from Maine to Colorado for about two decades, devastating a species prized for yielding a light-grained hardwood attractive enough for furniture and resilient enough for baseball bats. Some see ash following the fate of the American chestnut, a once-prolific tree that was decimated by blight more than a century ago.
Collins Says She Will Oppose Confirmation Of Wheeler To EPA
Maine Public - Wednesday, February 27, 2019 

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine says she's opposing the confirmation of Andrew Wheeler to be the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Collins, a Republican, said in a statement Wednesday that she has "too many concerns with the actions" Wheeler has taken during his tenure as acting administrator.
US still sends lots of lobster to China, but tariffs keep industry on edge
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, February 27, 2019 

America is still sending millions of pounds of lobster to China, but members of the seafood industry remain on edge about the future of the United States’ relationship with one of its most important customers. Members of the industry caution that exports were off by 30 to 50 percent from previous years after tariffs took effect. Annie Tselikis, executive director of the Maine Lobster Dealers’ Association, said the industry will “never know how strong those exports” could have been if the tariffs hadn’t been enacted. Maine’s congressional delegation said Wednesday it has asked U.S. Trade Representative Robert E. Lighthizer to prioritize the lobster industry in upcoming negotiations. The delegation said it “cannot allow the future viability of this critical industry to be threatened by prolonged and unpredictable trade negotiations with China.”
Sen. Collins says she won’t support Trump’s EPA nominee
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, February 27, 2019 

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins said Wednesday that she will oppose the confirmation of Andrew Wheeler, President Trump’s nominee to lead the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. “While Mr. Wheeler is certainly qualified for this position, I have too many concerns with the actions he has taken during his tenure as Acting Administrator to be able to support his promotion,” Collins said in a statement. “I believe that Mr. Wheeler...understands the mission of the EPA and acts in accordance with ethical standards; however, the policies he has supported as Acting Administrator are not in the best interest of our environment and public health, particularly given the threat of climate change to our nation.”
Rubber lure ban postponed for a year
George Smith BDN Outdoor News Blog - Wednesday, February 27, 2019 

Senator Paul Davis’s bill to require rubber lures to be biodegradable was postponed this morning by the legislature’s Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee, at the request of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. Francis Brautigam, DIFW’s Fisheries Division Director, informed the committee that the department would like some time to work on this important issue, and said they’d be organizing a group of both supporters and opponents of the bill, to explore what can be done.
Updates proposed to Maine’s bottle bill include bigger deposits, higher handling fees
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, February 27, 2019 

State lawmakers are considering nearly a dozen measures to update Maine’s bottle bill law, including legislation that would increase the deposits paid by consumers and the handling fees paid to redemption centers. In testimony Wednesday, redemption center owners said the handling fee they receive doesn’t cover rising costs, especially the recent increase in Maine’s minimum wage. But bottling companies and retailers say Maine may have too many redemption centers, and raising the deposit on bottles and cans would put Maine companies at a competitive disadvantage. Steve Roop, the owner of six agency liquor stores and redemption centers, offered the committee an alternative. He said the state should establish deposits for the many other products that are sold in plastic containers.
Maine man succumbs to injuries from Valentine’s Day snowmobile crash
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, February 27, 2019 

A Berwick man who was injured after a snowmobile crash on Valentine’s Day has died. James Reagan, 59, died Saturday at Portsmouth Regional Hospital where he was being treated after he broke through thin ice on Feb. 14. Reagan’s death is the eighth fatality from a snowmobile crash this season.
More than 15 miles of new trails open in Katahdin region
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, February 27, 2019 

Penobscot River Trails has opened to the public after three years of construction. Located on a privately owned preserve covering about 5,000 acres near Grindstone, the property features more than 15 miles of groomed cross-country ski trails that explore forestland along the East Branch of the Penobscot River. The trails are open to the public on weekends and holidays while snow conditions last. The project — estimated to cost $5 million — was funded by a charitable foundation established by millionaire philanthropist Gilbert Butler. In addition to being a place for public recreation, the facility is home to the Maine Outdoor Education Program, founded by Butler in 2012 to provide free outdoor programs to children and teens.
Foundation hopes to forge a connection between communities and aquaculture
Times Record - Wednesday, February 27, 2019 

At a time when much of the discussion over aquaculture is absorbed in contentious debate over a proposed 40-acre oyster farm in Maquoit Bay, the Holbrook Community Foundation in Harpswell is looking to help local officials and residents learn more about the aquaculture farms that already exist in their communities. The Holbrook Community Foundation was recently awarded a grant that will allow it to offer three boat tours of aquaculture in the New Meadows River, where several oyster farms are already operating. The first tour will target town officials and “community influencers” from Harpswell, Brunswick, West Bath and Phippsburg. It will visit aquaculture sites where the tourists can talk to growers and each other.
Red’s Eats looks to go green, cut out plastics in 2019
Times Record - Wednesday, February 27, 2019 

Renowned Wiscasset establishment Red’s Eats is ditching plastic straws for its 2019 season, and hopes to dump its other plasticware in the near future. “I have already purchased red (and) white paper straws for the opening of Red’s Eats and a couple of my purveyors are also checking out products to show me as well.” said Debbie Gagnon, one of the eatery’s owners. Gagnon said she will be attending some food shows to get ideas for how to replace other plastic items that the business still uses.
DEP and LUPC hearing set on New England Clean Energy Connect Project
Maine Government News - Wednesday, February 27, 2019 

The Land Use Planning Commission and Maine Department of Environmental Protection will hold a joint hearing on Central Maine Power’s proposed New England Clean Energy Connect (NECEC) Project on April 2. The daytime session begins at 10:30 a.m. in the North Dining Hall at the University of Maine at Farmington. The evening session begins at 6:00 p.m. in Lincoln Auditorium at the University of Maine at Farmington.
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