July 21, 2017  
Announcements               
Press releases, events, publications released, etc. from Maine environmental organizations and agencies. Submit content.

“Bringing Nature Home” in Maine, Jul 26
Event - Posted - Wednesday, July 19, 2017 

Join Maine Audubon’s Director of Education, Eric Topper, to explore the plants, practices and perks involved in restoring native food webs in our gardens, yards and communities. At Portland Public Library, Rines Auditorium, July 26, 5:30 pm.
Little Swan Island Evening Paddle, Jul 26
Event - Posted - Wednesday, July 19, 2017 

Leader: Warren Whitney. At Richmond, July 26, 5:30-7:30 pm. Sponsored by Friends of Merrymeeting Bay.
MEN goes Wild
Announcement - Tuesday, July 18, 2017 

I will be in the wilderness for a few days. Please check back soon for more exciting Maine Environmental News. Thanks. ~ Jym St. Pierre
Maine Environmental News
Announcement - Tuesday, July 18, 2017 

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 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
Exploring the Night Sky, Jul 25
Event - Posted - Tuesday, July 18, 2017 

Discover the wonders of the night sky with astronomer Bernie Reim. At Scarborough Marsh, July 25, 8:30-9:30 pm, Maine Audubon members $6, non-members $8.
Summer Nature Journaling, Jul 22
Event - Posted - Saturday, July 15, 2017 

Join Master Naturalist Andrea Lani to explore the worlds of wildflowers and insects beginning with an introduction to nature journaling, then heading into the woods and fields to observe, sketch, and write about the bugs and blooms you discover. At Viles Arboretum, Augusta, July 22, 10 am - 2 pm, Arboretum members $35, others $45.

Native Plant Walk, Jul 20
Event - Posted - Thursday, July 13, 2017 

Explore the habitats at Fields Pond with Heather McCargo and learn to recognize some of the wildflowers, ferns, shrubs and trees native to Maine. At Fields Pond, Holden, July 20, 10-11:30 am, Maine Audubon and Wild Seed Project members $7; non-members $10.
Happy Birthday, Henry
Announcement - Wednesday, July 12, 2017 

Henry David Thoreau, American poet, author, naturalist, philosopher, abolitionist, and leading Transcendentalist, was born on July 12, 1817 in Concord, Mass.
Time to override the governor’s solar veto
Action Alert - Monday, July 10, 2017 

We are so close to having a new solar power law. The full Maine House and Senate enacted LD 1504 (with amendments) by overwhelming majorities. However, it was vetoed by the Governor. Tell your legislators—particularly House members—how much solar matters to you and your community. ~ Maine Audubon
The Goslings, July 17
Event - Posted - Monday, July 10, 2017 

Visit The Goslings, one of the best-loved island destinations on Casco Bay. ShoreKeepers, a group of young conservation-minded donors, are hosting a free Open House with hot dogs on the beach to complete the perfect island getaway, July 17, 10 am - 2 pm. Meet at Mere Point Boat Launch, Brunswick, shuttles approximately every 15 minutes. Sponsored by Maine Coast Heritage Trust.
Thwings Point Archaeology Field School, Jul 17-28
Event - Posted - Monday, July 10, 2017 

Lee Cranmer leads an Archaeology Field School, Woolwich, July 17-28. Sponsored by Friends of Merrymeeting Bay.
Hook, Line, and Dinner, Jul 15
Event - Posted - Sunday, July 9, 2017 

Celebrate Maine fishermen and seafood under the tent, on the water, at Cook's Lobster House on Bailey Island, July 15, 6 pm, $55. Sponsored by Maine Coast Fishermen's Association.
Sunset Puffin Cruise, Jul 15
Event - Posted - Saturday, July 8, 2017 

This boat ride sails out of New Harbor to Eastern Egg Rock, where you will circle the island several times for great views of puffins, terns, and other seabirds. Jul 15, 7–9 pm, Maine Audubon members: $35; non-members $50.
Thoreau: Stepfather of the National Parks, Jul 15
Event - Posted - Saturday, July 8, 2017 

Presentation by Jym St. Pierre & Michael Kellett. At Thoreau Bicentennial Gathering, Concord, MA, July 15, 1 pm.
Let’s Go Birding – Van Trip, Jul 14
Event - Posted - Friday, July 7, 2017 

Naturalist Doug Hitchcox leads a morning van trip to a local hot spot in search of birds. Leaving from Gilsland Farm, Falmouth, Jul 14, 8-11 am, Maine members $20; non-members $30.
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News Items
Poland Spring wants faster rail service for possible Lincoln bottling plant
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, July 13, 2017 

A Poland Spring official says the region’s slow-moving freight train service may hurt its chances to host a $50 million bottling plant. Due to wear and tear, track speeds are limited to about 10 mph on the Lincoln to Waterville track line owned by Pan-Am Railways. That means that trains running from Lincoln to the Pan Am Railways facility the company uses in Waterville — 110 miles by road — would take nine hours to arrive.
Tim Caverly’s new talking book will be donated to veterans homes
George Smith BDN Outdoor News Blog - Thursday, July 13, 2017 

Tim Caverly is a wonderful writer who has self-published seven books about Maine’s north woods. I especially like his books for children. Knowing that veterans enjoy his stories, but many suffer vision problems, he’s transcribing his latest book, The Ranger and the Reporter, to a “talking book.” That project is funded partly by the Royal Arch Masons of Maine, and once the audio books are available, they will be donated to veterans homes throughout the state.
Jerry Brown, Bloomberg announce plan to track climate progress
Bloomberg News - Wednesday, July 12, 2017 

California Gov. Jerry Brown announced yet another plan Wednesday to keep the United States on track to reduce greenhouse gas emissions under the international Paris climate agreement. This time, he’s teaming up with former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to launch “America’s Pledge,” an initiative to compile all of the climate change-fighting commitments of states, cities, businesses and universities in one place where they can be easily tracked and shared.
Earth is on its way to the biggest mass extinction since the dinosaurs, scientists warn
Washington Post - Wednesday, July 12, 2017 

A new study published Monday paints a grim picture: The populations of nearly 9,000 vertebrate species, including mammals, such as cheetahs, lions and giraffes, have significantly declined between 1900 and 2015. Almost 200 species have gone extinct in the last 100 years alone. The study says the losses are indicative of the planet’s “ongoing six major extinction events” and has cascading consequences for human life on Earth. Others are skeptical of the doomsday-like findings.
2.7 Million People Want National Monuments to Remain Protected
Center for Biological Diversity - Wednesday, July 12, 2017 

As the Trump administration's "review" of 27 national monuments draws to a close, more than 2.7 million people have flooded the government comment website saying that they want national monuments to remain protected.
A Maine nonprofit paid its disabled workers less than minimum wage, while its executives got six figures
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, July 12, 2017 

While Skills Inc., based St. Albans, has paid an employee as little as $2.14 per hour, it quadrupled a former manager’s salary between 2006 and 2013, ultimating paying him $569,844 in 2013. Skills offers residential and day programming in Somerset and Kennebec counties to people with intellectual disabilities, and its largest source of revenue is Medicaid, which is funded with state and federal tax dollars. Skills employs clients at a lumber mill. The former mill manager, Vernon Martin, received an annual bonus of 25 percent of the sawmill’s earnings between 2009 and 2013 instead of returning that revenue to the organization. In 2013, Skills ran almost $500,000 in the red, while Martin collected his largest paycheck yet. In tax year 2011 former CEO Tom Davis started earning an additional bonus of 10 percent of the sawmill’s earnings. Skills sold the sawmill in 2016.
Letter: Protect Maine’s electric ratepayers by fighting to save L.D. 54
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, July 12, 2017 

Phil Coupe is right (“Another View: Cheap hydropower from Canada not so cheap,” July 9). Unless the Legislature overrides Gov. LePage’s veto of L.D. 1504, all ratepayers will be on the hook to implement the new, flawed Public Utilities Commission rule. Make no mistake: This is about protecting the profits of the utility companies and the monied interests of the fossil fuel industry, not about doing what’s best for ratepayers, our environment or energy independence. Let your legislators know that you want them to override the veto of L.D. 1504. ~ Jill Linzee, New Harbor
Letter: Lawmakers should override solar bill veto
Morning Sentinel - Wednesday, July 12, 2017 

The Legislature adopted L.D. 1504, a solar energy bill with a bipartisan supermajority, enough to override a veto by Gov. Paul LePage. If the Legislature fails to override the governor’s veto, the PUC’s “net metering rule” will take effect. Under that rule people in Maine will be saddled with millions of dollars in unnecessary costs to buy unneeded metering equipment. We cannot afford to let that happen. ~ Holly Weidner, Vassalboro
Letter: Trump’s latest environmental nominee unfit for important position
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, July 12, 2017 

President Trump is adding to his list of dirty-energy deputies. Polluter puppet and outspoken climate change denier Kathleen Hartnett White is Trump’s presumptive nominee to lead the Council on Environmental Quality. She has called renewable energy “parasitic.” She doesn’t believe that methane pollution is a problem, and went as far as to write a National Review piece headlined “The GOP platform is right: Coal is clean.” She even denied basic science, saying that carbon pollution is good for the planet. Kathleen Hartnett White has spent her entire career undermining science and trying to prevent action on climate change. ~ Alex Benjamine, Portland
Letter: Writer’s message on caring for environment said it all
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, July 12, 2017 

In the July 8 Portland Press Herald, I read with keen interest the Maine Voices column written by Jake Plante. I sincerely hope you will reprint his last paragraph here for the readers who happened to miss that day’s edition. Mr. Plante states: “The values of caring for the environment are the same as caring for our families, neighbors, communities and the less fortunate. Eventually, stronger environmental protection will prevail out of necessity – we’re all in this together. But at this perilous time, in a culture enthralled with selfies, celebrity worship and individual gain, a healthy environment is about to be sacrificed.” ~ Gunnel Larsdotter, Portland
On patrol with stewards of Acadia National Park’s stone cairns and summits
Acadia On My Mind Blog - Tuesday, July 11, 2017 

An army of volunteer keepers of Acadia’s stone cairns known as Waldron’s Warriors, patrol the park’s ridges, summmits and trails, along with Friends of Acadia-supported Summit Stewards. Tim Henderson is in his third season as a Waldron’s Warrior, named after Waldron Bates, the pathmaker who first came up with the distinctive trail markers known as Bates cairns in the early 1900s. The cairns are like mini-architectural wonders, positioned just so, with 2 columns of 2 to 4 base stones, a lintel stone across the top, and a pointer stone indicating the direction of the trail.
Hike: Devil’s Back in Harpswell
Aislinn Sarnacki Act Out Blog - Tuesday, July 11, 2017 

Named after the ridge that runs down the center of the island’s narrow northern tip, Devil’s Back Trail Area is comprised of two loop trails, one on each side of Route 24, which runs down the “spine” of Devil’s Back. Owned and managed by the Town of Harpswell, the west side of the trail network opened in 2012, and the east side opened in 2016. Already, it has become a popular place for local residents and summer visitors to enjoy the island’s mossy old forest and rugged coastline.
Paul LePage continues his ‘crusade against solar power’ with latest veto
Climate Progress - Tuesday, July 11, 2017 

After Gov. Paul LePage (R) vetoed comprehensive solar legislation in 2016, Maine lawmakers crafted a far more modest solar energy bill. And yet this year’s less ambitious bill still proved to be too pro-solar for LePage, who has consistently opposed policies that promote renewable energy in the state throughout his six years in office. On Monday, LePage vetoed L.D. 1504, a bill that directs state regulators to study how to transition away from the state’s current system for reimbursing customers who own or lease solar panels whose excess power gets sent to the grid. Solar energy proponents were not surprised.
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s Statement on the End of the Monuments Review Public Comment Period
Other - Tuesday, July 11, 2017 

Dept of Interior - On Monday, July 10, the formal public comment period closed for the review of national monuments. More than 1.2 million comments were received on Regulations.gov and thousands more were received via traditional mail. Twenty-seven national monuments designated since January 1, 1996 that are more than 100,000 acres, or that were considered to have inadequate public input are under review in accordance with President Donald J. Trump’s April 26, 2017, executive order.
Orono Bog Boardwalk nears final steps of restoration
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, July 11, 2017 

After seven years of fundraising and careful construction, the $1 million restoration of the Orono Bog Boardwalk is nearly complete, and volunteers are working hard to amp up public events and programming in support of the campaign. “We want to get it done within a year,” said Orono Bog Boardwalk Director Jim Bird on a recent visit to the popular boardwalk.
Dirt roads to Maine’s monument intended for loggers, not visitors
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, July 11, 2017 

The unpaved logging roads that lead to Maine’s national monument were never meant for tourists. Strewn with holes, rocks and ruts, the seven private roads on the National Park Service map of Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument are bumpy and sometimes narrow. Foliage blocks the view around many curves. Driving faster than 15 mph is dangerous. Loggers have the right of way, but few signs say so. Speed-limit signs also are rare. That’s why a dozen representatives of the loggers, landowners, truckers and National Park Service officials are working to prevent crashes on the roads that lead to the 87,562-acre Katahdin Woods. As of Monday, 1,747 vehicles had visited the monument: 1,042 vehicles on the Loop Road since it opened May 25, 425 on the north entrance since its May 13 opening, and 272 on Grondin Road since a traffic counter was installed there in June.
PUC commissioner’s resignation gives LePage another shot at energy priorities
Portland Press Herald - Tuesday, July 11, 2017 

The recent resignation of Carlisle McLean from the Maine Public Utilities Commission gives Gov. Paul LePage another shot at nominating a regulator more in line with his priorities of lowering power costs and opposing most renewable energy incentives. The PUC announced June 30 that McLean had resigned. The commission gave no reason and she declined interview requests. McLean and her colleagues incurred the governor’s wrath in late January when they voted on a compromise rule that would phase out financial incentives for rooftop solar panels. The terms were too generous for LePage, who opposes any incentives for solar. Emily Green, staff attorney for the Conservation Law Foundation in Maine, said her group is concerned the governor will nominate someone who will take a hard line against renewable energy.
The Weird World of Lobster Sex
National Geographic - Tuesday, July 11, 2017 

To a lobster couple, this is normal sex: For days the female squirts urine into the den of her desired mate. Beguiled, he lets her move in. Foreplay—stroking each other with antennae and with feet covered in taste receptors—lasts several days. Once she’s convinced he’ll protect her, the female disrobes, slowly shedding both her hard shell and the pouch where she had banked sperm from a prior mate. He stands guard for the half hour it takes to harden. Then he suspends himself above her and lifts her to face him, cradling her in his legs. Her new shell has a new sperm pouch; he thrusts a packet of sperm into it using appendages called gonopods. The deed is done. But climate change is threatening this babymaking process, says Diane Cowan, founder of the Lobster Conservancy based in Friendship, Maine.
34th annual Maine Audubon Loon Count happening statewide Saturday
Maine Audubon - Tuesday, July 11, 2017 

On Saturday, July 15, Maine Audubon will conduct its 34th annual Loon Count. That morning, over 850 volunteers will survey lakes and ponds across the state, counting loons and collecting valuable scientific data that informs and supports conservation efforts. “Loons are one of the best indicators of lake health, because they depend on lakes with clean, clear water and lots of fish,” said Susan Gallo, director of the Maine Loon Project. “This annual count has helped build public awareness about the important role these iconic birds play in Maine,” Gallo said. “The data it yields has also built critical support for laws that keep our lakes and loons healthy."
Al Franken, David Letterman collaborate on climate change video series
Washington Post - Tuesday, July 11, 2017 

Longtime late-night host David Letterman hit pause on his retirement. He joined Sen. Al Franken for several videos on climate change that debuted Monday. The bearded funnyman and the Minnesota Democrat, who was a “Saturday Night Live” writer before getting into politics, co-star in “Boiling the Frog,” six five-minute videos in which they jaw about the politics and science of the global phenomenon — and crack a few jokes, obviously.
Public Comment Period Over for Review of Katahdin Monument
Associated Press - Tuesday, July 11, 2017 

The public comment period is over for a federal review of more than two dozen national monuments, including Maine's new monument in the Katahdin region. President Donald Trump ordered Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to conduct the review of monuments. Among the monuments Trump wants to review is Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, which President Barack Obama designed as a monument last summer. Zinke visited the Katahdin monument in June and signaled that he felt federal ownership of the 87,500 acre site was settled. Conservationists say the land should remain a monument and possibly be elevated to a national park someday. Zinke is expected to submit a report about the monuments to Trump by late August.
Fireball Bottler Fights Against Proposed Ban on 'Nips' sales
Associated Press - Tuesday, July 11, 2017 

The Louisiana-based producer of the zippy Fireball cinnamon whiskey is fighting against the Republican governor's proposed ban on in-state sales of tiny alcohol bottles. The future of the popular, shot-sized "nips'' in Maine is in the hands of a state liquor bureau set to vote Tuesday. The alcohol company Sazerac calls the proposed ban politically motivated, anti-business and unsupported by direct evidence. The fight began when Gov. Paul LePage opposed a Democrat's bill to reduce littering by adding a bottle deposit to the tiny liquor bottles.
Opinion: Maine lawmakers siding with passing responsible energy policy
Portland Press Herald - Tuesday, July 11, 2017 

In the past six years, we’ve heard some absurd energy policy positions and hypocrisy from Gov. LePage. The absurdity continued this year as LePage introduced a last-minute bill that would make specific biomass projects eligible for contracts above wholesale electricity rates. Based on history, Maine legislators should be wary of putting much trust in LePage’s motivations as they relate to solar energy policy. While this year’s solar bill fails to set forward-thinking solar policy, it represents an opportunity for Augusta to get out of the way of progress and important economic development for Maine. ~ Vaughan Woodruff, Insource Renewables, Pittsfield
Gov. LePage vetoes solar ‘net metering’ bill, again
Portland Press Herald - Monday, July 10, 2017 

As expected, Gov. Paul LePage has vetoed a solar energy bill strongly supported by environmental groups and solar installation companies. The bill, L.D. 1504, would direct the Maine Public Utilities Commission to adopt new rules that would keep so-called “net metering” solar energy incentives in place but would reduce them over time. But in his veto letter, LePage repeated his contention that net metering “subsidizes the cost of solar panels at the expense of the elderly and poor who can least afford it.” Supporters, who will need to maintain the two-thirds majorities they had in both chambers to override the veto, countered by accusing LePage of blatantly misrepresenting the bill’s intentions in order to turn Republican votes.
As expected, LePage vetoes latest Maine solar energy bill
Bangor Daily News - Monday, July 10, 2017 

Gov. Paul LePage surprised virtually no one Monday afternoon when he vetoed a bill watering down solar policy rules that advocates say would slow solar power development in Maine. The bill, LD 1504, would have directed regulators to return to the drawing board and take the lead on a long-term solar energy policy for the state.
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Art and Land Conservation Symposium
at Colby College, August 3-4

Frederic E. Church, 
Mount Katahdin from Millinocket Camp, 1895, 
Portland Museum of Art

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