January 16, 2018  
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Maine Environmental News
Announcement - Tuesday, January 16, 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
Feeding Maine Photography Exhibit, thru Feb 23
Event - Posted - Tuesday, January 16, 2018 

Feeding Maine: Growing Access to Good Food is a photo exhibit by Brendan Bullock, which seeks to document the many people working to address hunger in the state. Created by Maine Farmland Trust and Good Shepherd Food Bank. At University of Southern Maine Lewiston Auburn College, Atrium Art Gallery, January 16 to February 23, opening event January 19.
February Vacation Camps, Feb 20-23
Event - Posted - Tuesday, January 16, 2018 

Maine Audubon Vacation Camps at Fields Pond in Holden and Gilsland Farm in Falmouth, February 20-23.
Nominations for Source Awards due Feb 12
Announcement - Tuesday, January 16, 2018 

Maine Sunday Telegram Source Awards recognize the individuals, nonprofits, businesses and institutions in Maine working to safeguard the state’s spectacular natural environment. Deadline for nominations is February 12.
Apprenticeships at MCHT Preserves
Announcement - Tuesday, January 16, 2018 

Maine Coast Heritage Trust has paid apprenticeships at Aldermere Farm and Ericsson Fields in Rockport. Each apprenticeship will be up to 9-months starting in March and will include a monthly stipend, benefits, shared housing, training and supervision. Applications are due Feb. 5
Land-use history of Midcoast, Jan 23
Event - Posted - Sunday, January 14, 2018 

Forestry experts Lloyd Irland and Ken Lausten will explore the land-use history of Midcoast Maine. At Camden Public Library, January 23, 7 pm.
Friends of Casco Bay Annual Members Meeting, Jan 23
Event - Posted - Sunday, January 14, 2018 

Recognition for those who help protect the health of Casco Bay, an updated Casco Bay Health Index based on data collected by volunteer Citizen Stewards over the past 25 years, and new program directions. At DiMillo's, Portland, January 23, 5:30-8 pm.
Offshore drilling public meeting, Jan 22
Action Alert - Saturday, January 13, 2018 

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management will hold a public meeting on a proposal to open Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) areas to oil and gas drilling off the Atlantic (and other) coasts. At Augusta Civic Center, Jan 22, 3-7 pm.
Scouting for Mammal Tracks and Signs, Jan 20
Event - Posted - Saturday, January 13, 2018 

Sandra Mitchell will follow up on the November tracks and signs class in the field. At Northeast Penjajawoc Preserve, January 20, 10-11:30 am.
Nature Journaling, Jan 20
Event - Posted - Saturday, January 13, 2018 

Andrea Lani will lead a nature journaling workshop at Viles Arboretum, Augusta, January 20, 10 am to 2 pm, $35 for Arboretum members, $45 for nonmembers.
Prowl for Owls, Jan 19
Event - Posted - Friday, January 12, 2018 

Maine Master Naturalist Kit Pfeiffer will lead a walk scouting for owls. At Carl and Barbara Segerstrom Preserve at Squam Creek, Westport Island, January 19, 6 pm. Sponsored by Kennebec Estuary Land Trust.
Futures of the Maine Waterfront, Jan 19
Event - Posted - Friday, January 12, 2018 

This forum will feature panel discussions on the future of our coastal and island economy, presented with trends and analysis by key coastal leaders. At The Westin, Portland, January 19, 2-8:30 pm, $35-150. Sponsored by the Island Institute.
Meet the Feet: Mammal Tracks and Sign, Jan 18
Event - Posted - Thursday, January 11, 2018 

Dorcas Miller presents an evening of hands-on learning about Maine mammals. At Belfast Library, January 18, 6:30 pm. Sponsored by Belfast Bay Watershed Coalition.
Connecting rivers, people and fish - by bike, Jan 18
Event - Posted - Thursday, January 11, 2018 

Alicia Heyburn spent five weeks on a solo bicycle tour from the source of the Rhine River in the Swiss Alps to the outlet at the North Sea near Amsterdam. Learn about Europe's extensive international network of bike trails, free cultural exchange and accommodation services, the stages and benefits of re-naturalizing a river, and how to travel alone without being lonely. At Curtis Memorial Library, Brunswick, January 18, 7 pm.
Growing Farm-Friendly Communities, Jan 18
Event - Posted - Thursday, January 11, 2018 

Community leaders share policy approaches and practical ideas for ways communities and farmers can benefit from working together. At Windham Town Hall, January 18, 9 – 11 am, Maine Farmland Trust or GrowSmart Maine members $15, non-members $25.
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News Items
Editorial: Maine should stay the course on ocean wind power
Portland Press Herald - Thursday, January 11, 2018 

The Maine Public Utilities Commission voted to delay implementation of a power purchase agreement with Maine Aqua Ventus, a public-private partnership led by the University of Maine that has developing offshore wind technology. It’s worth reminding the PUC about the things that haven’t changed since the power purchase agreement was negotiated in 2013, and why reneging on this deal would be a terrible mistake for Maine.
Editorial: Mass. turned to oil and coal during the cold snap. Here’s what went wrong
Boston Globe - Thursday, January 11, 2018 

Efforts by some environmental activists to block natural gas infrastructure, mainly pipelines, have had the opposite of their intended effect. The goal was to prevent more greenhouse gas emissions, but the constraints on natural gas have forced electricity generators to turn to high-emission coal and oil instead. Gas is a fossil fuel, but it releases less carbon than coal and oil. The region would have produced less pollution this month, not more, if it had better gas infrastructure. There are 46 bids to provide long-term clean energy contracts to Massachusetts. They range from proposals for solar panels at old gravel pits in Connecticut to wind farms in Maine to hydropower in Canada.
Opinion: Taking conservation land off tax rolls increases the burden on homeowners
Piscataquis Observer - Thursday, January 11, 2018 

A tremendous amount of land and property value has been taken off the tax rolls, leaving homeowners to pick up the tab. In Maine, 2.2 million acres of land have been set aside for conservation by the federal and state governments and non-profit organizations, including land trusts. When combined with easements, nearly 20 percent of our state is conserved from development at a time when we should be promoting growth and economic development. The total estimated value of land that has been either removed from the tax rolls or prohibited from development is $1.8 billion. It’s time for them to pay their fair share. ~ Gov. Paul R. LePage
Letter: Should Kennebunkport push ‘pause’ on development?
Portland Press Herald - Thursday, January 11, 2018 

If Phase 2 were to eventually be approved, it would create one large subdivision consisting of 27 lots less than a quarter of a mile away from Goose Rocks Beach. My intention is to make people aware and to think about all of the subdivisions currently in construction around town. Now may be the time for the town Planning Board and residents of Kennebunkport to push “pause” and think about the cumulative impact these projects will have. Goose Rocks is a special place in our town, and making sure the health of the beach and its community is preserved should take special consideration. ~ Jennifer Kennedy, Kennebunkport
Letter: Cap on H-2B visas a threat to Maine and its businesses
Portland Press Herald - Thursday, January 11, 2018 

The H-2B visa program, which provides a temporary seasonal workforce, has helped our family hotel grow from only a couple of year-round jobs to the workforce we have today. Given the importance of the program, the questions and uncertainty around it for 2018 are alarming. Without the seasonal workforce, the economic impact stretches beyond just hotels with closed sections. It would be felt in many ways: first, across shops, restaurants and attractions; second, across the state of Maine, with lost tax revenue; and third, in York County, with lost jobs as businesses struggle in the winter because of losses in the summer season. Not a single Mainer benefits if this happens. We are counting on a solution from our congressional representation. The need for a fix is now. ~ Allyson Cavaretta, Meadowmere Resort, Ogunquit
"There are folks coming' after us that will need trees"
Maine History - Thursday, January 11, 2018 

Essay on progressive era conservation, the woods tradition, and Maine writer Holman Francis Day by Dale E. Potts.
Land-use issues swirl in secluded Portland neighborhood
Forecaster - Wednesday, January 10, 2018 

Redlon Park, a neighborhood tucked away near the intersection of Stevens Avenue and Capisic Street, is at the center of two city land-use questions. On Jan. 3, city councilors approved turning 1.8 acres spread across 16 parcels over to the city land bank for use as public open space. Fifteen of the 16 parcels were acquired by the city for delinquent property taxes; the other is city owned.
Brunswick Landing celebrates launch of solar energy array
Forecaster - Wednesday, January 10, 2018 

Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority celebrated an eco-friendly milestone Tuesday when it unveiled a long-awaited array of solar-energy panels at Brunswick Landing. The 1.5-megawatt array contains more than 4,500 photovoltaic panels. The project is ReVision Energy’s largest solar installation to date. The array is designed to provide 13.3 percent of Brunswick Landing’s annual electrical load and will eliminate more than 2 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions a year at the former naval air station. Executive Director Steve Levesque said the array brings Brunswick Landing closer to its goal of using 100 percent renewable energy. He added once an anaerobic digestion system on campus is “working up to speed,” the campus will be run by 75 percent renewable energy.
Pineland Farms warns cross-country skiers about dive-bombing owl
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, January 10, 2018 

Pineland Farms is warning cross country skiers about an aggressive, dive-bombing owl that appears to be protecting a nest near a groomed trail. The staff at the outdoor center in New Gloucester posted warning signs in the Campus Loop Ski Trail area, where the owl recently struck a skier. Instructor Mary Lou Lowrie said she does not believe the encounter resulted in serious injuries.
Midcoast Conservancy protects 1,000 acres in Jefferson
Coastal Journal - Wednesday, January 10, 2018 

Midcoast Conservancy said Wednesday it has permanently protected one of the largest parcels of land in the midcoast. The land, a piece of which is home to Hidden Valley Nature Center, totals almost 1,000 acres with over a mile of frontage on Egypt Road in Jefferson. “This acquisition boldly confirms the driving force behind the merger in 2016 of four conservation organizations to form Midcoast Conservancy. A key aim of the merger was to enable large scale protection of land,” said Jody Jones, Midcoast Conservancy’s executive director.
NYC suing oil industry over climate impact
Associated Press - Wednesday, January 10, 2018 

New York City is taking on the oil industry on two fronts, announcing a lawsuit Wednesday that blames the top five oil companies for contributing to global warming and saying the city will sell off billions in fossil fuel investments from the city’s pension funds. Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio received immediate blowback from some of the companies, while winning praise from environmentalists and others.
United Farmer Veterans of Maine gets new executive director
Sun Journal - Wednesday, January 10, 2018 

Donovan Todd has been named the new executive director for the United Farmer Veterans of Maine. Todd has held key positions in the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Farmers Home Administration and private agribusinesses. In 2009, he became the state executive director for the Farm Service Agency, a post he retired from in January 2017. Jerry Ireland, who served as a founder and president of the United Farmers Veterans of Maine for the past 18 months, will continue as CEO to implement new initiatives that promote growth and entrepreneurship for the Maine veterans who belong to the organization.
LePage Advocates For Commercialization Bond Before Appropriations Committee
Maine Public - Wednesday, January 10, 2018 

Gov. Paul LePage says he would like to ask voters to approve a bond measure designed to attract new industries to Maine. The governor appeared at a public hearing before the Legislature’s Appropriations Committee. He spoke against two bond proposals to subsidize the biomass industry, which he calls a losing proposition. And though two years ago he signed a bill creating a one-time program to provide over $13 million in state funds to subsidize biomass plants, LePage says they are simply not economically feasible. “If you are going to invest into energy, which I believe we should, it needs to be at market or below and not above markets,” he says. And the governor urged the committee not to pass a bond that promotes just one sector of the economy.
L.L.Bean Gives $2 Million to Nonprofit Organizations in 2017
Other - Wednesday, January 10, 2018 

Today L.L.Bean announced year end approval of its charitable giving program that will allocate $2 million in grants to more than 70 organizations for annual gifts, plus additional funding in smaller grants to dozens more. At its December meeting, the L.L.Bean Board of Directors approved gifts ranging from $5,000 to $412,000, that will be dispersed to organizations involved in the areas of conservation, outdoor recreation, health and human services, education, and culture and the arts.
LePage tells lawmakers he will oppose borrowing aimed at helping biomass industry
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, January 10, 2018 

Gov. Paul LePage told lawmakers he would oppose a pair of bills that would have taxpayers fund a $45 million subsidy to help Maine’s foundering biomass industry. LePage, in a rare appearance before the Legislature’s budget-writing Appropriations Committee, said the Legislature should focus instead on ways of creating industries that bring greater value from the state’s more than 18 million acres of forest lands. The bills to support investments and a low-interest revolving loan fund come less than two years after the Legislature passed a $13.4 million taxpayer funded bailout of the industry that LePage reluctantly supported at the time.
States, including Maine, push to pass along utilities’ tax savings to customers
Associated Press - Wednesday, January 10, 2018 

Attorneys general, consumer advocates and regulators in more than a dozen states are asking the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to ensure that utility customers also benefit from windfalls utilities will reap from corporate tax cuts included in the federal tax overhaul. In a letter sent to the commission Tuesday, the coalition calls for an investigation into the “justness and reasonableness” of utility rates now that the tax cuts approved by Congress last month reduce the corporate income tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent. Public consumer advocacy offices and state regulatory agencies from Maine are involved.
Crews To Start Moose Collaring As Part Of Regional Study
Associated Press - Wednesday, January 10, 2018 

Crews in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont, will be collaring moose soon as part of a yearly study to learn more about their health.
Crews To Start Moose Collaring As Part Of Regional Study
Associated Press - Wednesday, January 10, 2018 

Crews in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont, will be collaring moose soon as part of a yearly study to learn more about their health. The states are working to learn how moose density and weather interact to boost tick-caused moose mortality and reduce moose birth rates.
The Mar-a-Lago Loophole?
Progress Report - Wednesday, January 10, 2018 

The Mar-a-Lago Loophole? Just five days after proposing the largest, most radical expansion of offshore drilling in US history, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke suddenly backtracked and announced that the waters of Florida would be excluded from the Trump administration’s extreme offshore oil plan. If protecting coastal communities from toxic oil spills and considering local voices is truly Secretary Zinke’s new criteria (rather than rewarding political allies), the Interior Department has a lot more revising of its drilling plan in its future. You have until March 9, 2018 to submit public comments.
What Will Interior Department Reorganization Look Like?
National Parks Traveler - Wednesday, January 10, 2018 

A two-day meeting is scheduled to open Wednesday with Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke outlining how he would like to reorganize the Interior Department, which oversees the National Park Service. Conservation organizations fear the worst from the proposed reorganization. "Secretary Zinke has proposed dramatic cuts to the Interior Department budgets, demoralized career employees, and purged senior career officials from their areas of expertise," reads an email from the Center for American Progress. Too, the secretary's own words cause eyebrows to rise. Last year he commented to representatives from the recreational vehicle industry that the Park Service staff was no good at running campgrounds, but could handle cleaning restrooms. In an Outdoor Life profile, he was dismissive of Park Service staff at Glacier National Park because they were not focused on timber management.
Another Maine town raises concerns about Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens growth
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, January 10, 2018 

Officials in a coastal Maine town are raising concerns that traffic to Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens’ annual Gardens Aglow holiday light show is negatively affecting residents’ quality of life. The concerns from Edgecomb arise as Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens’ $30 million expansion sits in limbo after a Boothbay appeals board rescinded a permit, which spurred the gardens to file a lawsuit against the town.
Trump picks climate change denier to run CEQ
Maine Environmental News - Wednesday, January 10, 2018 

President Donald Trump has picked climate change denier Kathleen Hartnett White to run the Council on Environmental Quality. Hartnett White is a senior fellow at the Koch Brothers-funded Texas Public Policy Foundation. The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee started considering Hartnett White’s nomination last year. Despite her extreme views, she was narrowly voted out of the committee last year. But the full Senate never voted on her nomination starting the whole confirmation process again. Now, Republican leadership is trying to rush through the confirmation process. They do not plan to hold another hearing, despite clear problems with her qualifications for the job.
Opinion: Maine business tax break program has failed; lawmakers need better ideas to create jobs
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, January 10, 2018 

Pine Tree Development Zones, one of Maine’s many tax breaks for corporations, is set to expire at the end of 2018, and lawmakers are starting to discuss whether to extend it. They should let it expire. The program was created in 2003 to encourage job creation in economically distressed areas using a slate of tax breaks and lower utility rates. Over time, the program expanded to cover the entire state. But, like other tax breaks that deliver windfalls to corporations, it’s failed to deliver any meaningful benefit to Maine families or Maine’s economy. ~ Sarah Austin, Maine Center for Economic Policy
Professors question Maine university system’s push to limit political activity
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, January 10, 2018 

The University of Maine System is weighing a new policy on “Institutional Authority on Political Matters,” which states that all legislative advocacy must be coordinated through the chancellor’s office, and only by certain high-level employees. Faculty groups worry it might be a step toward limiting how and where professors and researchers are allowed to express their views or share their research and expertise. Jim McClymer, president of the faculty union Associated Faculties of the Universities of Maine, said, “A physicist or engineer could not comment on fears of [radiofrequency] radiation, or a wildlife expert on bear trapping or hunting, or a political scientist commenting on anything. Pretty much anything of import ends up being political in a democracy or republic.”
A "Moosy and Mossey Place"
Maine History - Wednesday, January 10, 2018 

A research note on Thoreau's Maine Wilderness by Megan Vhay.
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