August 24, 2019  
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Maine Environmental News
Action Alert - Friday, August 23, 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
Rangeley Outdoor Film Festival, Aug 30
Event - Posted - Friday, August 23, 2019 

The Rangeley Trail Town Festival features a variety of short films about the outdoors. At RFA Lakeside Theater, Rangeley, August 30, 7 pm, $6 for adults, $3 for Appalachian Trail hikers and children under 12.
LightHawk Paper Plane Contest
Announcement - Thursday, August 22, 2019 

Enter your best paper airplane design for a chance to have it mailed to thousands in LightHawk's 2019 Holiday Letter. Deadline: October 18, 2019.
BTLT Seeks Community Input on Future Conservation
Announcement - Tuesday, August 20, 2019 

The Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust is seeking community input on its current and future conservation work in Brunswick, Topsham, and Bowdoin. A community survey is available online until September 2.
Butler to speak on conservation, Aug 27
Event - Posted - Tuesday, August 20, 2019 

Conservationist Gil Butler will discuss his efforts to establish outdoor education programs and conservation projects in Maine and throughout North and South America. At College of the Atlantic, Bar Harbor, August 27, 9 am, free, parking on campus is by permit only.
Solo Paddle of Northern Forest Canoe Trail, Aug 27
Event - Posted - Tuesday, August 20, 2019 

Laurie Apgar Chandler will read from and discuss her book “Upwards,” which tells her story as the first woman to solo paddle New England’s 740-mile Northern Forest Canoe Trail. At Bailey Library, Winthrop, August 27, 6:30 pm.
Keeping Acadia Healthy With New Science, Aug 26
Event - Posted - Monday, August 19, 2019 

Abraham Miller-Rushing and Rebecca Cole-Will will discuss how Acadia National Park is facing a triple environmental challenge: global warming, acid rain, and increased visitation. At Bar Harbor, August 26, 5 pm.
Maine’s Seaweed Scene, Sep 26
Event - Posted - Monday, August 19, 2019 

Susan Hand Shetterly and Robin Hadlock Seeley will discuss the importance of protected wild habitats and the critical role of seaweed in the Gulf of Maine. At Moore Community Center, Ellsworth, September 26, 7 pm. Hosted by Downeast Audubon.
Bee apocalypse
Action Alert - Sunday, August 18, 2019 

U.S. agriculture today is 48 times more toxic to honeybees than it was 25 years ago—almost entirely because of neonicotinoid pesticides. It's part of an "insect apocalypse." But instead of taking action, the Trump administration is shredding protections for bees. Will you stand with me in the fight to save the bees? ~ Mayor Ethan Strimling, Portland, Maine
Maine Farmland Trust Gallery 20th Anniversary Retrospective Exhibit, thru Oct 11
Announcement - Sunday, August 18, 2019 

To celebrate Maine Farmland Trust’s 20th anniversary, a curated retrospective featuring a selection of works that have been exhibited at the MFT Gallery over the past 10 years is on view through October 11.
National Parks Free Entrance, Aug 25
Event - Posted - Sunday, August 18, 2019 

All National Park Service sites that charge an entrance fee will offer free admission to everyone to celebrate the National Park Service's 103rd birthday on August 25.
Brechlin reading, Aug 25
Event - Posted - Sunday, August 18, 2019 

Earl Brechlin, a Registered Maine Guide, will read from his book, "Return to Moose River: In Search of the Spirit of the Great North Woods," essays describing white-water canoeing, snowmobiling, and backpacking adventures in many parts of Maine. At Albert Church Brown Memorial Library, China, August 25, 2 pm.
Kennebec Land Trust annual meeting, Aug 25
Event - Posted - Sunday, August 18, 2019 

At Camp Androscoggin, Wayne, August 25. The trust has conserved more than 6,300 acres and constructed 44 miles of trails on KLT protected lands.
Maine Herpetological Society Reptile Expo, Aug 25
Event - Posted - Saturday, August 17, 2019 

50+ vendors, 1,000+ reptiles, plus Mr. Drew and His Animals Too. At Ramada Inn, Lewiston, August 25, 10 am - 4 pm, $7, kids under 12 free.
Families in the Outdoors, Aug 24
Event - Posted - Saturday, August 17, 2019 

Learn about all kinds of Maine bugs – the good, the bad and the very strange looking. At Law Farm, Dover-Foxcroft, August 24, 9 am - noon.
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News Items
Ag Commissioner recognizing entrepreneurial excellence
Maine Government News - Wednesday, August 29, 2018 

Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Commissioner Walt Whitcomb will recognize businesses in Kennebec and Somerset counties—Johnny’s Selected Seeds in Albion and Kennebec Lumber Company in Solon—for their entrepreneurial excellence on August 30. The visits are part of an ongoing effort to recognize examples of developing and thriving businesses that are contributing to Maine’s growing natural resource economy.
Right Whales in Crisis
Other - Wednesday, August 29, 2018 

The second North Atlantic right whale mortality of 2018 has been confirmed. The young whale, about 30 feet in length, was reported floating off Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, on August 26. In 2017, NOAA confirmed 17 North Atlantic right whales deaths, an alarming number for an endangered species with a population currently estimated at only about 450 animals. There are currently about 100 females of breeding age in the population and more females seem to be dying than males.
Judge Kavanaugh is a threat to Maine’s clean waters
George Smith's Outdoor News Blog - Wednesday, August 29, 2018 

While the news media and many interest groups have focused on Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s position on abortions, there are lots of troubling signs that he would be a disaster for our environment including thousands of miles of small Maine streams.
Hearing Held In Bangor On Trump Administration's Plan To Ease Fuel Efficiency Standards
Maine Public - Wednesday, August 29, 2018 

About 50 people turned out Tuesday night in Bangor for a discussion on the Trump administration's proposed rollback of car fuel efficiency standards. Co-sponsored by the Natural Resources Council of Maine at the Bangor Public Library, the citizen's hearing gave residents a chance to offer their opinions as part of the official EPA record on the plan to ease the standards, which reduce air and carbon pollution. Bill Wehrum, assistant administrator of the EPA, told The AP that the president's plan would put safer vehicles on the roads.
Mainers urged to avoid mosquito bites after West Nile is found in mosquitoes in Kittery
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, August 29, 2018 

Maine’s Health and Environmental Testing Laboratory this week confirmed the presence of West Nile virus in a group of mosquitoes collected Aug. 21 in Kittery, the CDC said. The state collects a sampling of as many as 50 mosquitoes and tests for the disease. One mosquito pool tested positive. “West Nile is widespread throughout the United States right now,” said state epidemiologist Dr. Siiri Bennett. “Mainers should take extra precautions against being bitten.”
Can you figure out which of these photos is of Casco Bay?
Maine Environmental News - Wednesday, August 29, 2018 

Friends of Casco Bay has joined a worldwide effort to better understand how our waters may be changing—by observing water color. Hundreds of photos taken by volunteers using their smartphones and tablets have become part of a worldwide catalog of water color.
Tariffs on imported newsprint nixed in win for US newspapers
Associated Press - Wednesday, August 29, 2018 

The U.S. International Trade Commission on Wednesday nullified tariffs put into place for imported newsprint by finding that American producers weren’t harmed by imports from Canadian paper mills. The ruling is a victory for the U.S newspaper industry, which complained that the rising cost of newsprint, typically their second-biggest expense, made it harder to operate. In July, lawmakers testified before the trade commission that the tariffs were harming the very paper industry they were supposed to protect. “This case is speeding the decline in an industry that plays an important role in our society,” said Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine.
Lawmakers Urge LePage To Apologize For Calling State Senator 'Repugnant' During Hearing
Maine Public - Wednesday, August 29, 2018 

The Legislature's Government Oversight Committee has written a letter urging Republican Gov. Paul LePage to apologize for ridiculing a GOP state senator during a hearing held last week. During last week's Oversight Committee meeting, LePage told Republican state Sen. Tom Saviello that he's the "most repugnant human being" the governor has ever seen. LePage was gaveled out of order before he stormed out of the hearing. Saviello was targeted for his role in initiating an investigation into the LePage administration's decision last winter to divert shipments of timber harvested on public lands.
Pollution May Dim Thinking Skills, Study in China Suggests
New York Times - Wednesday, August 29, 2018 

A large study suggests a link between air pollution and negative effects on people’s language and math skills. The link between pollution and respiratory diseases is well known, and most experts believe that small particulates [the kind of pollution produced by burning wood for energy] may also raise the risk for strokes and heart attacks. Whether this form of air pollution impairs cognition is not yet certain, but several studies have hinted at a connection.
Newspapers praise decision nullifying Trump’s get-tough tariffs on Canadian newsprint
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, August 29, 2018 

In a unanimous ruling Wednesday, the U.S. International Trade Commission nullified the tariffs placed on imported newsprint by the Trump administration, finding that American producers weren’t harmed by imports from Canadian paper mills. Reade Brower, owner of six Maine dailies, said the ruling would provide some relief for the industry by eliminating unneeded tariffs that were driving consumption down and hurting both American and Canadian newsprint mills.
Midcoast Conservancy welcomes new land steward
Wiscasset Newspaper - Wednesday, August 29, 2018 

Midcoast Conservancy is delighted to welcome Irene Syphers as its new land steward. Syphers comes to Midcoast Conservancy with experience in nonprofits and a passion for natural resource management that includes an extensive list of skills. She said, "I am excited to get to know the trails, water, and people of the Midcoast. I have enjoyed stewarding trails in Maine with Appalachian Trail Conservancy, the Brunswick Topsham Land Trust, the Maine Conservation Corps, and I eagerly await meeting the trails of the Midcoast.”
Maine sea fog can carry airborne pathogens, scientists find
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, August 29, 2018 

While not the menacing mist Stephen King wrote about in the novella of the same name, researchers sampling fog off Southport have found that the heavy, damp fog that rolls through this midcoast island and elsewhere can carry microbes and pathogens picked up from the Gulf of Maine long distances and could be harmful to those with weak immune systems.
A banner year for Maine's Piping Plovers
Maine Audubon - Wednesday, August 29, 2018 

The Maine Audubon “plover crew” has wrapped up its 2018 season monitoring the nesting of Piping Plovers on Maine’s beaches — and they have good news to report for this struggling species. “In 2018, we had a record number of nesting pairs and a record number of fledglings for Maine,” explained Laura Minich Zitske, who leads the Maine Coastal Birds project. “We tallied 68 total nesting pairs, with 128 fledged birds.”
Environmentalists: Hike In Bluefin Tuna Quota Could Undermine Conservation Efforts
Associated Press - Wednesday, August 29, 2018 

An iconic species of tuna appears to be slowly recovering in the Atlantic Ocean, prompting fishermen to seek bigger commercial catch quotas and environmentalists to call for a more conservative approach. The Atlantic bluefin tuna can weigh 1,000 pounds and is listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. A spokesman for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says international regulators have decided to increase the catch quota for U.S. fishermen by nearly 400,000 pounds this year.
Opinion: Quebec hydro project could spoil a pristine Maine wilderness
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, August 29, 2018 

Avangrid, the parent corporation of Central Maine Power, is seeking permission from the Maine Public Utilities Commission to cut a 145-mile-long, 400-foot-wide clearing through western Maine to bring power from Canada to Massachusetts. Most alarming, CMP wants to run its transmission lines across the Kennebec Gorge. If approved, the most awe-inspiring part of the Kennebec now traveled yearly by thousands of rafters and others would be despoiled by power lines, a graphic and unavoidable reminder that you have not escaped. ~ Rep. Janice Cooper, Yarmouth
Rare ghost lobster caught off Stonington
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, August 29, 2018 

Even in Maine, a see-through lobster is a sight to see. Fishmerman Mike Billings hauled in this rare translucent lobster on Tuesday morning off Stonington. According to Canada’s Global News, the odds of landing an albino or “ghost” lobster are 100 million to 1. The “ghost” lobsters are likely caused by a genetic condition called Leucism. Billings said the lobster was too small to keep, so he threw it back overboard.
Letter: Paper straws are ‘in’ and we have idle mills in Maine. Opportunity?
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, August 29, 2018 

Plastic straws are out – paper straws are in. Who knew they were such a huge business? Don’t we have some paper mills lying idle, and don’t we have some skilled workers who would love to make paper straws? I hope the state of Maine is not missing a boat! ~ Joan Barile, South Casco
Letter: Hydro line won’t benefit Maine
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, August 29, 2018 

Central Maine Power Co.’s New England Clean Energy Connect, a 145-mile transmission line from the Quebec border to Lewiston, is proposed to bring electricity to Massachusetts with no benefits to Maine’s ratepayers. An independent review of CMP’s Visual Impact Assessment states, “I am concerned with what appears to have been a rushed preparation of this VIA.” The 145-mile corridor will be visible from a minimum of 3 miles away at 2 national natural landmarks and other natural and cultural features; 23 state or national wildlife refuges, sanctuaries or preserves; 44 properties listed with national register of historic preservation; 227 public natural resources of public lands visited; 36 publicly accessible conservation areas; and 22 cemeteries. No environmental organizations have reported support of the project. ~ Sandra Howard, Caratunk
Letter: No sport in bear baiting
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, August 29, 2018 

Maine’s annual bear slaughter has begun. Each summer, in a state-endorsed feeding program, thousands of Maine bears are trained to come to feeding stations by giving them millions of pounds of waste food. Maine’s bear population is far higher than before the feeding program began. By the state’s own estimate Maine’s bear population has grown in the last 18 years from an estimated 24,000 to nearly 40,000 animals. Rather than stop this, there is much talk of allowing hunters to kill more bears and of reopening the spring bear hunt. It’s time to stop training bears by feeding them and time to force them to return to their natural foods and behaviors. Killing a trained bear while its head is in a five-gallon bucket is not hunting. It’s not even sport. ~ John M. Glowa, Sr., South China
Letter: Emissions rollback bad
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, August 29, 2018 

The clean cars rollback is a bad idea. It’ll make driving more expensive, and it’s bad for our health. Have you seen those pictures of smog in Beijing? Do you remember that New York looked like that until we spent decades working to reduce air pollution? I’m not likely to forget it. I developed asthma as an adult, not because of genetics but because I lived in cities with poor air quality. When I moved to Maine four years ago, one thing I was excited about was breathing fresh air. But the clean cars rollback puts us on a path back to where we were 40 years ago, with heavy smog and acid rain. ~ Kati Corlew, Hampden
Voices from Bowdoin’s Past
Bowdoin (College) Orient - Tuesday, August 28, 2018 

At 5,267 feet, Katahdin is small by some standards, but it is Maine’s highest mountain. One-hundred sixty miles to the southwest, a road was built to the top of New Hampshire’s Mount Washington—an even taller peak—and some in Maine envisioned the same for Katahdin; a place where easy access would bring hordes of people in carriages, then cars, with the natural environment giving way to roads and cabins and development. It came down to the determination of one man to make sure that would never happen: Percival Proctor Baxter of the Bowdoin Class of 1898.
Top interior staffer who backed shrinking national monuments to join BP
Washington Post - Tuesday, August 28, 2018 

For much of last year, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s deputy chief of staff pursued his agenda with vigor. Downey Magallanes led an effort to cut the size of two vast protected areas, opening public lands to development and energy exploration. She participated in deliberations over how to scale back safety monitoring rules for offshore oil and gas operations. And she helped develop a leasing plan that would permit drilling in most U.S. continental shelf waters. As of next week, Magallanes will have a new job: working for the energy giant BP.
Caribou Mountain with Ladies Adventure Club of Maine
Other - Tuesday, August 28, 2018 

August 25th proved to be the perfect day for hiking Caribou Mountain. Nine adventurers with a knowledgeable guide hiked the Caribou Trail to the summit to enjoy the tranquility of the Caribou-Speckled Mountain Wilderness. To find out more about the Ladies Adventure Club of Maine, visit https://ladiesadventureclubmaine.com/
Hometown Hero: Forest for healing
Other - Tuesday, August 28, 2018 

Long Island Business News - John Sferazo spent weeks at Ground Zero clearing steel beams, concrete, office furniture and dozens of crushed fire trucks and police cars in the wake of the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center in 2001. The work from took a serious toll on his health. Sferazo retired, formed a nonprofit called American Greenlands Restoration, and worked to reclaim a property in Somerset County, Maine, formerly used as a gravel mine and asphalt plant, turning it into a vibrant memorial forest and natural habitat. The result is the 700-acre Memorial Forest, designed as a healing retreat for military veterans and first responders suffering from stress disorders.
South Portland’s Tar Sands Ban Upheld in a 'David vs. Goliath' Pipeline Battle
Inside Climate News - Tuesday, August 28, 2018 

A federal judge has ruled that the coastal city of South Portland, Maine, did not violate the U.S. Constitution when it passed an ordinance that blocked a local pipeline company from bringing tar sands oil through its port. For the city of 25,000, the ruling was a surprise victory after years of fighting what felt like an impossible battle against some of the world's biggest oil companies, which lined up to support the Portland Pipe Line Corporation. Provided the ruling survives an appeal, it slams the door on a significant plan to ship Canadian tar sands oil, one of the most carbon-intensive fuels on the planet, to the East Coast for export to international markets, and it could offer a guide for other communities hoping to block energy projects.
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