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
Study for Maine loggers group cites low pay as barrier to industry growth
Bangor Daily News - Friday, March 15, 2019 

Maine faces a shortage of loggers and log truckers that will worsen in the coming years, a study released Thursday found. The Pine Tree State’s labor shortage could stunt the growth of the forest products industry, the study said. It honed in on the need to increase wages to attract workers so the industry can grow. The study, commissioned by the Professional Logging Contractors of Maine, was prepared by the Maine Center for Business and Economic Research at USM. The logging industry in Maine employed about 3,652 workers in 2018. The industry is already unable to fill an estimated 750 to 1,000 jobs today and more than 400 people in the industry are at retirement age of 65 or older.
Lawmakers: Rights Of Acadia Harvesters Maintained By New Law
Associated Press - Friday, March 15, 2019 

Maine's Congressional delegation hopes a dispute over the rights of clam and worm harvesters to work the mudflats of Acadia National Park has been solved by a new law. All four members of Maine's delegation backed a proposal to clarify boundary issues at the park and surrounding communities to protect the harvesters' ability to use intertidal zones. President Donald Trump signed a public lands package into law on Tuesday that includes the language. The dispute stems to 2015, when a donor deeded more than 1,400 acres to Acadia. The National Park Service then informed the public about problems with the legal authority used for the land transfer. The harvesters, in turn, feared they wouldn't be able to continue their work. The changes clarify the law.
Maine eyes change to wascally wules about wabbit slaughter
Associated Press - Friday, March 15, 2019 

Maine's legislature is considering a proposal that some members of the state's meat industry say could expand the production of rabbits for food in the state. The bill would allow producers who slaughter fewer than 1,000 rabbits per year to sell whole rabbit carcasses without inspection at farms, farmers' markets, locally-owned restaurants and other community establishments. The rabbit producers would also have to be registered. Some rabbit producers say the rules would help make it easier to raise the animals for meat in the state.
Maine greenhouses struggle with weather to prep for spring
Bangor Daily News - Friday, March 15, 2019 

All around Maine greenhouses are busy, and they’ve been busy for months, planting seeds and potting plugs throughout winter to get a jump on the region’s short growing season. Subzero temperatures and snowstorms can present some special challenges for Maine greenhouse owners and managers. Sometimes, they have to act fast or risk losing their plants.

It took 9 years to get the sportsman’s license plate
George Smith BDN Outdoor News Blog - Friday, March 15, 2019 

Nine years after the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine began advocating for a sportsman’s license plate, the plates were finally approved by the legislature and ready for purchase in 2008. Fifty percent of the money is dedicated to fish hatcheries, 25% to landowner relations, 15% to development of boat launches, and 10% to endangered species conservation. In 2018, $561,578 was raised from the plates: $224,631 went to the hatchery maintenance fund, $179,705 to the boat launch facilities fund, $112,316 to the landowner relations fund, and $44,926 to the nongame endangered species fund.
How a Bangor golf course helped return wildlife to its natural habitat
Bangor Daily News - Friday, March 15, 2019 

Bangor Municipal Golf Course recently established designated “non-play areas” that serve as wildlife habitat, according to Rob Jarvis, the PGA head professional at Bangor Municipal. By letting grass grow wild in certain areas, animals have been able to make habitats using the protection of tall grass and the surrounding trees. The non-play areas — now about 6 to 7 acres — came out of the golf course’s 2016 recertification as an Audubon International Cooperative Sanctuary for Golf. Ever since, Bangor Municipal has seen a host of different animals either settle down at the 27-hole course or just pass through, including coyotes, deer, fishers, turkeys, ducks and red foxes. Three other courses in Maine have achieved the sanctuary status.
Fearing a trademark lawsuit, Bucksport’s ‘Hobbit Hill’ farm agrees to change name
Bangor Daily News - Friday, March 15, 2019 

When Kevin and Mandy Wheaton opened their farm last April, they couldn’t see anybody having a problem with the name: Hobbit Hill Homestead. It turns out that Middle-earth Enterprises did have a problem with using the name Hobbit. The California company owns worldwide rights to trademarked terms within British author J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy world. Fredrica Drotos, from Middle-earth, said, “We are happy that you love the Hobbit, but once you start making commercial use of it, we have an obligation to protect our trademark.” The Wheatons might have faced the same problem had they named their business after a gnome or a leprechaun. The word “gnome” appears to be the legal property of The Gnome Foundation, while the University of Notre Dame claims to own icons such as the leprechaun and shamrock. Mandy Wheaton said she found no trademark issues with the farm’s new name — Wheaton Mountain Farm.
Maine exporters saw a 4% increase last year, but wonder about lost potential
Portland Press Herald - Friday, March 15, 2019 

The state shipped $2.8 billion worth of commodities and manufactured goods overseas in 2018, a 4 percent bump from the year before, but less than in 2016. Given that few other things changed in the economy over the same period, tariffs and trade disputes seem to have impacted export performance last year. Export values grew by 9 percent during the first six months of last year, then abruptly leveled off, said Wade Merritt, president of the Maine International Trade Center. U.S. trade barriers imposed by the Trump administration provoked retaliation from its trading partners, including a 25 percent import tax on lobster exported from Maine to China.
Opinion: Mills’ support for power line shows commitment to constituents, climate change fight
Portland Press Herald - Friday, March 15, 2019 

In her decision to support the recent New England Clean Energy Connect settlement agreement, Gov. Mills has demonstrated political courage. There will be no decarbonization of Maine’s energy system without further hydropower, like that from Hydro-Quebec; our wind and solar potential is insufficient. If we cannot make this difficult decision without deep division and even demonization, I fear we shall fail in what lies ahead – and, as well, that our grandchildren will not find it in their hearts to excuse this failure. ~ Richard Barringer, former Maine conservation commissioner and planning director, and founding director of the Muskie School of Public Service at USM
Letter: Where will the electricity come from to power our grandchildren’s electric cars?
Daily Bulldog (Franklin County) - Friday, March 15, 2019 

As Director of Energy Management Planning for CMP in the early 90's, my department was responsible for designing, implementing and evaluating the millions of dollars that CMP invested in conservation measures, yet demand continued to grow. Two points: 1) Some of the solar, wind and conservation ideas would not be feasible without the current subsidy AND these subsidies will eventually go away. 2) None of these alternatives are dispatchable electrical sources. For more that 50 years, I have been involved in many aspects of the power industry. In the 1980's CMP proposed another transmission line from Hydro Quebec to bring power to us in Maine and Maine ratepayers were going to pay for the line. Some have opposed this proposed line, but we have a second chance to bring non-polluting electricity to us with the expense born completely by others and getting tremendous bonuses besides. ~ Delbert Reed, Electrical Engineer Retired, Freeman Township
Letter: Gov. Mills’ energy chief, goals prompt questions
Portland Press Herald - Friday, March 15, 2019 

Gov. Mills has decreed that we in Maine will get 80 percent of our energy from renewable sources by 2030 and 100 percent by 2050, with the caveat that she has no idea of how it will be done. Wouldn’t it have been better talk to the experts, find out what is possible and then announce a renewable-energy target? I can state with certitude that neither of the governor’s goals will be met. Our renewable-energy consumption may go up between 2 and 5 percent by 2030, depending on how much taxpayer money this state throws at it. Of course, spending state money is not an issue nowadays. Good luck, Governor. ~ Harry White, Scarborough
Trump Uses 'Art of Distraction' to Push Through Dangerous Policies Like Offshore Drilling, Interior Official Admits
Other - Thursday, March 14, 2019 

At a meeting of the International Association of Geophysical Contractors in February, assistant secretary for land and minerals management Joe Balash told the crowd that Trump's ability to distract the public has made it possible for the administration to forge ahead with a plan to open up the Atlantic Ocean to oil and gas drilling, likely beginning in the coming weeks. "The president has a knack for keeping the attention of the media and the public focused somewhere else while we do all the work that needs to be done," Balash told the trade group, which represents many companies that will likely vie for leases in the Atlantic.
Lawmakers seek to significantly reduce Maine greenhouse gas emissions by 2050
WGME-TV13 - Thursday, March 14, 2019 

State lawmakers are pushing a bill to significantly reduce Maine greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The bill, which has bipartisan support, could have wide impacts across the state. L.D. 797 aims to limit greenhouse gas pollution and to more effectively use Maine's natural resources. The bill is presented by Democratic State Representative Ralph Tucker of Brunswick, along with a bipartisan team of state senators and representatives. They want Maine's greenhouse gas emissions to be 80 per cent below the 1990 levels by the year 2050.
Collins urges support for potato growers in trade talks
Mainebiz - Thursday, March 14, 2019 

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, reiterated her support of the potato industry, including joining a push to make it a priority in trade negotiations with China, when she met recently with members of the Maine Potato Board. Collins is a native of Caribou in the heart of Maine's potato region. The letter, signed by 39 members of Congress from both parties, noted that the inclusion of potatoes in any U.S.-China trade deal would create significant economic growth and result in new jobs.
Panel rejects Maine bill to require labels for foods made with nanotechnology
Associated Press - Thursday, March 14, 2019 

Former Rep. John Eder wanted Maine to require labels for food products made with nanotechnology. Nanotechnology allows scientists to manipulate atoms and molecules and is touted by some as a way to enhance the appearance or nutritional quality of food. Greg Dugal, of HospitalityMaine, said a labeling law would give Maine “outlier status” among the states. The Legislature’s Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee unanimously rejected the labeling idea.
Albion voters to consider food sovereignty at Town Meeting
Morning Sentinel - Thursday, March 14, 2019 

This weekend Albion residents will vote on a food sovereignty ordinance at the annual Town Meeting. The new Local Food and Community Self-Governance Ordinance proposes that Albion promote small-scale farming in the area by exempting local food producers from certain state laws when they sell a product directly to a customer. Over 40 municipalities in the state have adopted a similar food sovereignty ordinance since the Legislature passed the Maine Food Sovereignty Act in June 2017.
Opponents of Waterville bag ban appeal clerk’s determination of Colby voter registrations
Morning Sentinel - Thursday, March 14, 2019 

Opponents of a controversial ban on plastic shopping bags are asking Waterville to take another look at the registrations of 75 voters whose ballots were recently challenged, calling into question the voting eligibility of Colby College students in a last ditch effort to halt the implementation of the bag ban. Debate over the plastic bag ban, which is scheduled to take effect April 22, has dragged on for months. The ban, spearheaded by the Sustain Mid-Maine Coalition, calls for retail stores of 10,000 square feet or more to ban plastic shopping bags as part of an effort to reach environmental sustainability.
Investigation of Jackman, Caratunk, Dover-Foxcroft complaints against CMP will extend through summer
Morning Sentinel - Thursday, March 14, 2019 

Public Utilities Commissioners voted to formally investigate Central Maine Power Co. on Feb. 26 after residents of Jackman, Caratunk and Dover-Foxcroft filed complaints that they had experienced an increase in outages and in the duration of those outages over the last five years. The PUC has combined three complaints into one docket, requiring original requests from the separate cases to be refiled along with new data requests for CMP to be filed through April 4.
Nuclear industry pushes NRC for fewer inspections
Associated Press - Thursday, March 14, 2019 

The nuclear power industry is pushing the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to cut back on inspections at nuclear power plants and throttle back what it tells the public about plant problems. The agency, whose board is dominated by Trump appointees, is listening. The Trump NRC appointees and industry representatives say changes in oversight are warranted to reflect the industry’s overall improved safety records and its financial difficulties, as the operating costs of the country’s aging nuclear plants increase and affordable natural gas and solar and wind power gain in the energy market. But the prospect of the Trump administration’s regulation-cutting mission reaching the NRC alarms some independent industry watchdogs.
Senator King Renews Push To Get Word 'Milk' Off Plant Milk Labels
Associated Press - Thursday, March 14, 2019 

Maine's independent U.S. senator is co-sponsoring a bill to require non-dairy products to stop using terms like "milk" "yogurt" and "cheese" on their labels. Sen. Angus King's proposal takes aim at products such as almond milk, which have gained greater acceptance in the market in recent years. He says he's on board with the proposal because Maine's dairy farmers "should not be faced with unfair competition from imitation products" that have different nutritional profiles. King co-sponsored the same proposal in a previous legislative session.
Squirrels ‘declare war,’ maple syrup producers say
Associated Press - Thursday, March 14, 2019 

Maple syrup producers have more than the weather to worry about. Frenetic squirrels are chomping on equipment, interrupting the flow of sap at some operations. Damage from wildlife – deer, bear woodpeckers and squirrels – is not unusual for maple syrup producers, but this year an abundant squirrel population is disrupting plastic sap tubing and spouts at some sugaring operations in New England.
Finally, Rep. Pingree optimistic about bill to address ocean acidification
Portland Press Herald - Thursday, March 14, 2019 

After years of inaction, Congress appears poised to direct federal authorities to assess the risk posed to coastal communities and fishing and aquaculture interests by ocean acidification, a byproduct of global warming that represents a potentially catastrophic threat to harvesters in Maine. Rep. Chellie Pingree (D) reintroduced the Coastal Communities Ocean Acidification Act Thursday directing NOAA to work with state and local experts to assess the impacts of acidification on coastal communities and identify gaps in knowledge. The bill, first introduced more than three years ago, never received so much as a hearing while Republicans controlled the U.S. House. Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska on Thursday reintroduced her companion bill in the Senate, co-sponsored by Maine Sen. Susan Collins.
Chickadees in Maine
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, March 14, 2019 

All Mainers are familiar with the black-capped chickadee. The boreal chickadee is a brown variation that lives among the spruce trees of the North Woods. Don’t expect to find one south of Bangor. ~ Bob Duchesne [video]
Lawmakers seek to make motorists from away pay more for Maine’s highways
Sun Journal - Thursday, March 14, 2019 

Maine lawmakers are beginning to look for ways to have people from other states contribute to the growing cost of government. Imposing seasonal taxes is one way to shift some of the expenses onto people who visit Maine but do not live here. Rep. Andrew McLean, House chairman of the Legislature’s Transportation Committee, has a proposal to hike the state’s gasoline tax between June and November by 23 percent. Another bill proposes to let municipalities impose a local sale tax that could be applied seasonally, another way to sock tourists. The idea to shift some of the expenses onto people who visit Maine but do not live here is not winning many fans in the tourism industry, which fears it could spur potential visitors to go elsewhere.
New law resolves years-old Acadia acquisition of Schoodic land
Mainebiz - Thursday, March 14, 2019 

Legislation that was signed into law Tuesday will resolve a years-long issue related to Acadia National Park accepting hundreds of acres on the Schoodic Peninsula, as well as affirm traditional clam and worm harvesting in the park. The John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management and Recreation Act, signed into law by President Donald Trump Tuesday, also allows permanent reauthorization of the Acadia Advisory Commission, which includes members from towns abutting the park.
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