July 16, 2019  
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Maine Environmental News
Action Alert - Tuesday, July 16, 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
‘Acadia Files’ author Coppens, Jul 23
Event - Posted - Tuesday, July 16, 2019 

Author Katie Coppens will conduct fun science experiments with kids of all ages. At Turner Public Library, July 23, 2 pm. Each volume of “The Acadia Files” helps young readers learn about the scientific method in fun and innovative ways by following the adventures of Acadia, a young scientist.
Help Stamp Money Out of Politics
Action Alert - Monday, July 15, 2019 

The flow of cash into the pockets of politicians from lobbyists, oil and gas companies, and billionaires bent on protecting their wealth is the biggest barrier to our government's taking action on climate change, and it is up to us to put a stop to it. That is why we're asking you to join the movement protesting Big Money's death grip on our future by rubber-stamping our cash with the message "Stamp Money Out of Politics." ~ Ben & Jerry
Tell Your Representative: Invest in Clean Energy and Climate Action
Action Alert - Monday, July 15, 2019 

Congress must update and extend vital tax credits in four key green technology areas needed to meet our climate goals — electric vehicles, offshore wind, electric grid scale storage, and building efficiency. Without these updated credits, clean energy innovation could stall and our planet will be driven even closer to the brink of climate catastrophe. ~ Natural Resources Defense Council Action Fund
Hearing on CMP billing errors, service shortcomings, rate hikes, Jul 22
Action Alert - Monday, July 15, 2019 

Maine Public Utilities Commission public witness hearing concerning Central Maine Power’s request to increase residential rates by over 10%, and CMP billing errors and poor customer service. At PUC, Hallowell, July 22, 6 pm.
Greenhorns summer workshops
Event - Posted - Monday, July 15, 2019 

Hear from historians, restoration ecologists, entomologists, fishermen, foresters and master craftsmen, on a wide range of topics at the intersection of the human and non-human world. Greenhorns, in Pembroke, works to create a welcoming culture for new entrants in sustainable agriculture.
Crystal Spring Farm Bee Tour, Jul 21
Event - Posted - Sunday, July 14, 2019 

Beekeeper Ken Faulkner will explain the importance of honeybees, hive dynamics, beekeeping, honeybee history, and more. At Crystal Spring Farmers’ Market parking area, Brunswick, July 21, 10 am, free. Sponsored by Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust.
Kayak to Woodward Point, Jul 21
Event - Posted - Sunday, July 14, 2019 

Check out newly protected Woodward Point on the New Meadows River in Brunswick from the water. July 21, 2 pm, pre-register. Sponsored by Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust and Maine Coast Heritage Trust.
Climate Convergence Conference, Jul 20
Event - Posted - Saturday, July 13, 2019 

Explore the roots of science denial and change the nature of the public discourse regarding Climate Change. At George Stevens Academy, Blue Hill, July 20.
Loon counters needed, Jul 20
Announcement - Saturday, July 13, 2019 

Each year more than a thousand volunteer counters fan out across Maine’s lakes to help track the status of the state’s loon population. Volunteer counters are needed on a number of Hancock County lakes and ponds, July 20, 7-7:30 am.
Traveling the Northern Forest Canoe Trail, Jul 19
Event - Posted - Friday, July 12, 2019 

Nicole Grohoski, GIS Specialist, Cartographer, and State Representative for District 132 will share adventures from completing the Northern Forest Canoe Trail. At Gordon’s Wharf, Sullivan, July 19, 7 pm. Sponsored by Friends of Taunton Bay and Frenchman Bay Conservancy.
Yoga on the Brunswick Mall, thru Sep 6
Event - Posted - Friday, July 12, 2019 

Classes led by Sundara Yoga’s qualified instructors. At Brunswick Town Mall lawn in front of the gazebo, every Friday (weather permitting), July 19 - September 6, 7:30 – 8:30 am, free.
Hearing on CMP billing errors, service shortcomings, rate hikes, Jul 18
Action Alert - Thursday, July 11, 2019 

Maine Public Utilities Commission public witness hearing concerning Central Maine Power’s request to increase residential rates by over 10%, and CMP billing errors and poor customer service. At UMaine at Farmington, July 18, 6 pm.
Forestry for Maine Birds, Jul 17
Event - Posted - Wednesday, July 10, 2019 

Learn how to improve habitat for priority forest birds and a variety of other wildlife species; take care of your woodland; work with other forest management goals; and enhance the value and enjoyment of Maine woodlands. At Mt. Vernon Community Center, July 17, 9:30 am - 2 pm.
Revisioning the Earth, Jul 16
Event - Posted - Tuesday, July 9, 2019 

Dana Sawyer, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy and Religion at the Maine College of Art, will speak about Revisioning the Earth. At Harpswell Heritage Land Trust Annual Meeting, Orr’s Island Schoolhouse, July 16, 6:30 pm.
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News Items
How well do you know Maine’s most popular tourist traps?
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, July 9, 2019 

The tourists have arrived. More specifically, they’ve arrived at some of the most popular locations in the state, from the LL Bean flagship store to Funtown Splashtown USA. But while they may be very popular with out of staters, how much do Mainers actually know about them? Take our quiz below to test your knowledge!
Market shifts prompt bill to shore up Maine recycling programs
Portland Press Herald - Tuesday, July 9, 2019 

State policymakers alarmed by the growing number of Maine communities restricting or abandoning costly recycling programs will draft legislation requiring private companies to shoulder the cost of disposing of common household packaging. The proposed measure is partially a response to the collapse of global markets for recyclables such as paper and plastic. Sarah Lakeman, Sustainable Maine director at the Natural Resources Council of Maine, thinks that an “extended producer responsibility” program for packaging would at least shield consumers, who did not create the problem, from bearing the cost of swings in volatile recycling markets. Terry Webber, of the American Forest and Paper Association, said his group won’t support a packaging stewardship program because "those programs are extraordinarily good at increasing costs to consumers, but not very good at increasing recovery rates."
Opinion: State’s delegation should stop blocking protections for right whales
Portland Press Herald - Tuesday, July 9, 2019 

How many more critically endangered North Atlantic right whales need be killed as a result of ship strikes and fishing gear entanglements for Maine’s congressional delegation to stop throwing obstacles in the way of protections for these magnificent creatures? The looming threat of extinction that right whales are facing is an emergency. We are talking about the human-caused extinction of an animal whose population was doing very well when European settlers first came to these shores. Human greed and indifference alone put these animals in this situation. The SAVE Right Whales Act proposes spending $50 million over 10 years. That's 0.238 percent of the $21 billion boondoggle spent on the Zumwalt destroyers built by BIW. ~ Russell Wray, Hancock
Letter: Cape’s improvements to park much appreciated on holiday
Portland Press Herald - Tuesday, July 9, 2019 

Kudos and congratulations to the town of Cape Elizabeth for their upgrade to the management of Portland Head Light and Fort Williams Park. On Independence Day, the park was mobbed by cars and people, yet all was in good order, with plenty of good parking and free flow of the crowd. It was a joyous, diverse American citizenry enjoying a beautiful day in a beautiful parkland. ~ John Reedier, South Portland
Letter: Ties with Cape fray as Fort Williams parking fees take effect
Portland Press Herald - Tuesday, July 9, 2019 

Dear Cape Elizabeth, I was sorry to see your plans for parking fees at Fort Williams. I’m your neighbor, and you and I have been great friends for many years. The fort has given me dog walking, lacrosse games, lobster rolls, biking and Dooleyball in all seasons. I’ve volunteered to garden at the fort, and donated to the fund, making me an official Friend of Fort Williams. But this parking thing feels like you’re breaking up with me. I’ll pay $15 for a pass. But that’s far less than the $100 I usually sent. You’re still more than welcome to come to Willard Beach, Bug Light Park, Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse and Hinckley Park for free. ~ Christine Koch, South Portland
Letter: Plastic doesn’t make America great
Kennebec Journal - Tuesday, July 9, 2019 

On June 30, columnist Jim Fossel decried the ban on single-use plastic shopping bags. He spoke nothing about huge increasing amount of plastic floating in our oceans, causing problems for us. Not being biodegradable, more and more plastic in the oceans runs counter to President Donald Trump’s call to “Make America Great again.” ~ Roger Condit, Farmington
Letter: ‘Freedom’ not under attack in Maine
Kennebec Journal - Tuesday, July 9, 2019 

Columnist Jim Fossel’s criticism of the new State House leadership lists legislative changes he finds a danger to individual freedom, such as bans on the use of Styrofoam containers, cell phones while driving, vaping in schools, and tanning salons for kids, all of which I would consider public health or safety issues. He even blames Maine Democrats for the trend away from Indian school mascots, which was started nationwide, years ago, by American Indians. Fossel cites all these as infringements of individual rights, outside the public interest to regulate. I get a hoot out of right-wingers who defend individual freedoms unless they involve a bedroom or reproductive choice. ~ Harvey Versteeg, Augusta
Trump promotes his environmental record despite sweeping rollbacks
Associated Press - Monday, July 8, 2019 

President Trump declared himself a champion of the environment Monday, working to boost his standing on climate change and pollution issues in advance of the 2020 election despite having launched some of the most sweeping rollbacks in air, water and other protections in decades. A former senior EPA transportation engineer said the administration’s claims of environment leadership are “truly Orwellian.” Trump has slashed federal Clean Water Act protections for millions of miles of waterways and wetlands, eased regulation of the coal industry and oil and gas companies, pulled the United States out of the Paris climate accord and dismissed federal scientists’ warnings on climate change.
Records: Paul LePage didn’t disclose Montreal, DC trips
Associated Press - Monday, July 8, 2019 

Maine’s former Republican governor spent all or part of at least 80 days outside of the state during his last year in office, according to travel records that revealed trips that had not previously been disclosed. One of the trips was to meet with an official of a Canadian hydropower utility pushing a 145-mile transmission project through Maine. The project received a key approval from the Maine Public Utilities Commission this year, and other state and federal regulators are reviewing the project’s potential environmental and land use impacts.
Camping suspended along White Mountain forest road because of bears
Associated Press - Monday, July 8, 2019 

Rangers say camping has been suspended along a road in the White Mountain National Forest because improper food storage has attracted bears. District Ranger Brooke Brown said camping along Tripoli Road in Woodstock, NH, was suspended as of Sunday afternoon, although the road itself was open for other recreation opportunities. The area off Interstate 93 is popular for those seeking a roadside camping experience. Brown said her staff has been working to deter bears from the location, while educating campers about the importance of proper food storage. She said the bears have continued to receive “food rewards,” creating an unsafe situation.
Gary Stellpflug leads highly skilled Acadia hiking trails crew
Acadia On My Mind Blog - Monday, July 8, 2019 

There are about 155 miles of hiking trails in Acadia National Park and Gary J. Stellpflug is familiar with just about every inch of them. Stellpflug, who is trails foreman at Acadia National Park, began working in the park as a seasonal laborer in the summer of 1974, began work on trails in 1975,and first became foreman of the Acadia hiking trails crew in 1978. He left for a period in the 1990s, but returned as trails foreman and has held the position for more than 30 years.
Newly obtained documents reveal details of trips former Gov. Paul LePage tried to conceal
Portland Press Herald - Monday, July 8, 2019 

Unlike previous Maine governors, Paul LePage kept his taxpayer-financed travels secret. Recently obtained documents shed light on a number of trips the governor took pains to conceal. He spent part or all of at least 80 days outside of Maine in 2018, including at least 39 that appear to have been spent in central Florida, where he and his wife own a home. The governor took five trips to visit Trump administration officials in Washington, D.C. On Sept. 19, LePage made an undisclosed trip, flying from Orlando to Montreal for a meeting at Hydro-Quebec’s headquarters. LePage concealed an Oct. 14-16 trip to Madrid to meet the chairman of CMP’s parent company, Iberdrola. LePage also attended an offshore oil drilling conference in Houston April 29-30, and he spent considerable time and energy championing Canadian forestry interests in an ongoing dispute over softwood lumber imports.
Letter: Mills makes good on environmental promises
Bangor Daily News - Monday, July 8, 2019 

Governor Janet Mills sponsored legislation aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% by 2050, and she created a climate council to determine how to reach the goal. She sponsored legislation to get 100,000 heat pumps into Maine homes. She led on offshore wind and funded electric vehicle rebates. She signed legislation that sets a goal for Maine to transition to 100 percent clean, renewable electricity by 2050. Her DEP wrote legislation to create a “sustenance fishing” water classification in waters important to Maine’s tribes, meaning that water must be clean enough to support eating more fish than is currently recommended. Governor Mills is doing her part and then some to make a positive difference. ~ J. Bradford Coffey, Bangor
What’s the deal with DEET?
Sun Journal - Sunday, July 7, 2019 

The chemical DEET was developed for the U.S. Army in 1946 to provide protection for soldiers engaged in jungle warfare. Now the most common ingredient in commercial insect repellents, DEET has been used by the general public since 1957. That’s pretty amazing considering the fact that scientists don’t know exactly why the stuff sends insects packing. Or whether it is dangerous to health. According to the EPA: “Consumers are advised to read and follow label directions when using any pesticide product, including insect repellents. Based on extensive toxicity testing, we believe that the normal use of DEET does not present a health concern to the general population, including children.” So, go ahead and use DEET products to keep the bugs away. Just do so with care. And don’t make a meal of the stuff.
Warden finds people ‘behaving themselves’ on Operation Dry Water patrol
Bangor Daily News - Sunday, July 7, 2019 

Maine Game Warden Jonathan Parker encountered more than a dozen people Friday on Nicatous Lake in Hancock County as part of Operation Dry Water. "They were in kayaks, canoes, small water boats and one large pontoon boat,” Parker said. “Everybody was behaving themselves and abiding the law.” He gave out no citations but checked to make sure people’s boats were registered, they had life jackets for every person on board, had a fishing license with them and, of course, were not impaired by alcohol or drugs. Last year, 80 game wardens participated and put in more than 1,200 hour enforcing recreational boating activity, inspected nearly 2,500 watercrafts with 5,400 operators and passengers. The most common violations observed related to safety equipment, registration requirements, safe operation and boating while intoxicated. More than 100 summonses and 328 warnings were issued to boaters last summer and eight boat operators were charged with operating under the influence of intoxicants.
How to kick bug during insect season
Sun Journal - Sunday, July 7, 2019 

The plan was simple. We’re all sick of bugs that pierce our flesh, suck our blood, buzz around our heads and creep up our legs to burrow into our skin. Who needs it? So we figured we’d talk to hardcore outdoor folk, find out their secrets for repelling bugs and then share those secrets with the rest of you itchy, scratchy, long-suffering lot. But as they shared their thoughts, the theme that emerged is that when it comes to keeping insects away, the secret is that there ARE no secrets. Insects as a group have been around for 480 million years and they haven’t lasted that long by being wimps. With over a million species of them creeping, crawling and flying around the world, insects will likely outlast humans, which means you might win an occasional battle with them, but you won’t win the war.
Column: Maine re-asserts its leadership in environmental priorities
Sun Journal - Sunday, July 7, 2019 

Maine is one of the birthplaces of the environmental movement, and, under Gov. Janet Mills and a Democratic Legislature, the state is rightly re-asserting its primacy in this all-important field of political, social and scientific endeavor. In its last session, the Legislature passed a series of laws comprising an ambitious program designed to promote recycling, alternative energy use, and energy efficiency, and to dramatically reduce carbon pollution in the atmosphere, “forever” chemicals in the soil and food supply, and plastics in the ocean. This legislative program represents a refreshing change after eight years of Republican Gov. Paul LePage. It’s also a much needed counterweight to an avowedly anti-environmental, pro-mining and pro-drilling Trump administration. ~ Elliott Epstein
For lobster industry, a boatload of stresses
Maine Sunday Telegram - Sunday, July 7, 2019 

This year’s delayed lobster season kicked off with a cold, rainy spring and bait worries, but lobstermen haven’t been idle. Instead, they’ve been hunting for a way to cope with looming North Atlantic right whale protections. “The overall feeling around the docks this year is pretty glum,” said Jason Joyce of Swans Island. “Catch is low, expenses are high and (there are) stormy forecasts ahead thanks to wealthy, politically connected multinational environmental groups that have been targeting us as their latest fundraising villain.”
More pump tracks coming to Maine – more proof that mountain biking is hot
Maine Sunday Telegram - Sunday, July 7, 2019 

A pump track is a little like a skate park – but built for mountain bikes. These oval cycling courses are slowly spreading across Maine, one more indication that mountain biking has moved into the mainstream here. In the past 15 years, mountain bike clubs, trails and races have spread across the state. Today seven chapters of the New England Mountain Bike Association across Maine are winning grants; building hundreds of miles of single-track trails; even buying grooming equipment to maintain those trails in the winter.
Column: From the first step, the Waterboro Barrens feel different
Maine Sunday Telegram - Sunday, July 7, 2019 

I set out to explore the Waterboro Barrens Preserve in June. This 2475-acre woodland preserve – managed by The Nature Conservancy for nearly 30 years – is billed as the state’s “best example of a boreal pine barrens.” The Waterboro Barrens felt different from most other forests I’ve walked through. The sandy roads are part of the loose, nutrient-poor soils – in places 90 feet deep – that filter water into groundwater aquifers, ponds, streams and bogs. These soils and the level topography of the scraggly forest are prime candidates for development, which is why this type of ecotype is so rare. ~ Jake Christie
Column: In birds, too, cheating pays
Maine Sunday Telegram - Sunday, July 7, 2019 

Basically, humans are selfish, looking to gain an advantage. If cheating is a way to get a leg up, then cheating it is. Birds do their share of cheating, as well. We know that over 90 percent of bird species are monogamous. But at least 100 species of songbirds have been tested for extra-pair paternity and over 75 percent of those species show evidence of cheating. Taking multiple partners generates more variability in one’s offspring. Increased variation is a way to hedge one’s bets against future changes in the environment. ~ Herb Wilson
Editorial: Edwards Dam removal signaled new era for rivers
Maine Sunday Telegram - Sunday, July 7, 2019 

Twenty years ago this month, an excavator knocked out the Edwards Dam, opening up part of the Kennebec River for the first time in 162 years – and signaling that a new era had arrived. Unlike before, people now want rivers to be visible. It’s something the people who fought for dam removal saw coming, and from which the state now stands to benefit. Maine won’t soon again turn its back on its rivers.
Opinion: Coyote control doesn’t work
Sun Journal - Sunday, July 7, 2019 

Killing coyotes to protect deer? It’s a practice that has been imbedded in Maine’s wildlife management policies for more than three decades, but it has led to grotesque abuses of this important carnivore and is as foolish as stringing beads on a cord with no knot on the end. The now dominant view of experts — canid biologists and wildlife managers whose control programs have failed — is this: wanton killing of coyotes is counterproductive. The animals have a sophisticated reproductive response that results in more, not fewer, coyotes. Paul Reynolds’ columns promoting and praising this pernicious slaughter perpetuates misinformation and instills hatred toward predators, which delays long-overdue policy changes. ~ Karen Coker, WildWatch Maine
Opinion: Fossel’s conservative buzzwords don’t add insight
Maine Sunday Telegram - Sunday, July 7, 2019 

Jim Fossel's June 30 column in the Maine Sunday Telegram was heavy on conservative buzzwords and cliches, such as “big-government tax and spenders,” and “nanny state” to describe Democrats, and “individual liberty and personal responsibility” to describe conservative values. Predictable. If personal responsibility worked in this case, why are plastic bags, Styrofoam containers, and even balloons polluting our environment with no hope or improvement? This is an infringement of my right to live in a healthy natural world. Not to mention that those convenient one use bags cost money, too, a lot more than reusable bags. It is frustratingly disingenuous. ~ Tim Spaulding, South Portland
Letter: Carbon dividend legislation could help protect baby lobsters
Maine Sunday Telegram - Sunday, July 7, 2019 

An article on the below-average numbers of baby lobsters off the coast mentions that “some scientists have said the shellfish appear to be moving north as waters warm.” At least as important as the changes intended to protect whales and the availability of bait, the effect of climate change seems worth another sentence or two. The larger story is the interconnection of these problems, and the need for our government, media and business leaders to connect the dots for all the ways that our food supply, and those who plant and harvest it, are affected by climate change. Some members of Congress understand the need to find effective solutions that can gain bipartisan support. Perhaps they they will seriously consider H.R. 763, the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act. ~ Valerie Blais, Portland
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