April 28, 2017  
Press releases, events, publications released, etc. from Maine environmental organizations and agencies. Submit content.

Rally for Solar, May 4
Event - Posted - Friday, April 28, 2017 

A public hearing on LD 1373, An Act to Protect and Expand Access to Solar Power In Maine, is scheduled for May 4 at 1 pm. Join a rally of solar supporters at the State House at 12 noon before the public hearing. RSVP. Sponsored by Natural Resources Council of Maine.

Maine Environmental News
Announcement - Thursday, April 27, 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
Androscoggin River Watershed Conference, May 4
Event - Posted - Thursday, April 27, 2017 

The 2017 ARWC Conference will be at the Bethel Inn, May 4, 8:15 am - 2:30 pm.
Ocean Frontiers III, May 4
Event - Posted - Thursday, April 27, 2017 

A unique and hopeful ocean film that explores the intersection of national security, marine commerce, and conservation. At Strand Theatre, Rockland, May 4, 6 pm. Sponsored by Island Institute and Green Fire Productions.
Imagine the Maine Woods National Park exhibit, May 1-Jun 30
Announcement - Monday, April 24, 2017 

Hudson Museum at UMaine, Orono, will display a fine art photography exhibit by Thomas Mark Szelog & Lee Ann Szelog created through the Maine Woods National Park Photo-Documentation Project, May 1 – June 30.
Maine Mushrooms, May 1
Event - Posted - Monday, April 24, 2017 

Presenter: Alan Seamans. At USM, Lewiston, May 1, 6:30 pm. Sponsored by Stanton Bird Club.
Damaging Maine: The Impacts of Proposed Cuts to the EPA Budget
Publication - Sunday, April 23, 2017 

A detailed analysis by the Natural Resources Council of Maine of the widespread harm that would be caused to Maine’s environment, economy, and people if these cuts are approved by Congress.
A Plastic Ocean, Apr 29
Event - Posted - Saturday, April 22, 2017 

“A Plastic Ocean” was filmed in 20 locations around the world, documenting the global effects of plastic pollution and workable technology and policy solutions that could be implemented. Screening to be followed by a panel discussion with Upstream Executive Director Matt Prindiville and Abby Barrows, a marine research scientist who focuses on microplastics research. At Strand Theatre, Rockland, April 29, 7 pm,$10 donation suggested.

Lyme disease conference, Apr 29
Event - Posted - Saturday, April 22, 2017 

At Wiscasset Community Center, April 29, 8 am - 5 pm.
Beginning Farmers Workshops
Event - Posted - Friday, April 21, 2017 

Maine Coast Heritage Trust and Knox-Lincoln Soil & Water Conservation District are co-sponsoring a series of Beginning Farmers Workshops.
• April 23: Free Shearing and Wool Grading, 8 am-5 pm (two sessions), presented by the Midcoast Farmers Alliance. Hosted by Meadowcroft Farm in Washington.
• May 13: Free Natural Farming Practices, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, presented by Aaron Englander at Erickson Fields Preserve in Rockport.
• June 14: Cover Crops and Crop Rotation on June 14;
• July 8: Day-long Pasture Workshop in conjunction with Beef Basics at Aldermere Farm.
• July 26: Pollination Services and Community Partnership.
People’s Climate Movement, Apr 29
Action Alert - Thursday, April 20, 2017 

Join the People’s Climate Movement this April 29th in Washington, D.C. ~ 350.org
Resist: Skills to Fight Back for Maine's Environment, Apr 27
Event - Posted - Thursday, April 20, 2017 

Learn about the current threats and our efforts to protect our public lands, defend the Clean Air Act, and preserve the EPA's budget, and the skills to make a difference. At Bangor High School, April 27, 6 pm.
Boating the Bold Coast, Apr 26
Event - Posted - Wednesday, April 19, 2017 

A community dialogue around resources, opportunities, challenges and concerns co-hosted by Maine Island Trail Association and Downeast Conservation Network. At Cobscook Community Learning Center, Trescott, April 26, 3-5 pm.
Resist: Skills to Fight Back for Maine's Environment, Apr 25
Event - Posted - Tuesday, April 18, 2017 

Learn about the current threats and our efforts to protect our public lands, defend the Clean Air Act, and preserve the EPA's budget and the skills to make a difference. At Maple Hill Farm Inn and Conference Center, Hallowell, April 25, 6:30 pm.
Inspired by Nature: Kris Sader, Apr 25
Event - Posted - Tuesday, April 18, 2017 

Kris Sader, a visual artist, will show how nature inspires her creative work. At Topsham Library, April 25, 6 pm. Sponsored by Cathance River Education Alliance.
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News Items
Rise In National Park Visitation Last Year Produced $35 Billion Economic Boost
National Parks Traveler - Thursday, April 20, 2017 

A bullish report on 2017 visitation to the National Park System was met with both welcome and concern, as parks across the country are gearing up for a busy summer with ailing infrastructure and staff struggling to handle the crowds. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke acknowledged the infrastructure needs on Wednesday when he released a report detailing the $34.9 billion generated by the National Park System last year, when a record 331 million people headed into the parks. Zinke said, "In the coming years, we will look at ways to make innovative investments in our parks to enhance visitor experiences and improve our aging infrastructure. To ensure visitors continue to have great experiences, we will remain focused on increasing access and addressing the maintenance backlog to ensure we are on the right track for generations to come.”
LePage says he wants to put a cap on energy costs for industrial users
Portland Press Herald - Thursday, April 20, 2017 

Gov. Paul LePage reiterated his position Thursday that Maine’s energy costs need to be more competitive and said he’s considering drafting legislation that would cap rates for industrial users. But the governor has not yet submitted a bill and acknowledged that he wasn’t even sure lawmakers would be supportive. He also criticized the wind and solar industries, which he says are too heavily subsidized. Maine has the lowest industrial energy costs in New England, at 9.05 cents per kilowatt hour, but LePage said the state is not competing with other New England states.
Dow Chemical lobbies Trump administration to kill pesticide risk study
Associated Press - Thursday, April 20, 2017 

Dow Chemical is pushing a Trump administration open to scrapping regulations to ignore the findings of federal scientists who point to a family of widely used pesticides as harmful to about 1,800 critically threatened or endangered species. Lawyers representing Dow, whose CEO is a close adviser to Trump, and two other manufacturers of organophosphates sent letters last week to the heads of three of Trump’s Cabinet agencies. The companies asked them “to set aside” the results of government studies the companies contend are fundamentally flawed. Dow Chemical wrote a $1 million check to help underwrite Trump’s inaugural festivities.
Could the Gulf of Maine’s Ground Fishery Rebound?
Free Press - Thursday, April 20, 2017 

With climate change, ocean acidification and overfishing in the Gulf, groundfish fisheries have collapsed, shrimp are disappearing, scallop fishing is severely restricted, clamming has been in steep decline and more than half of the mussel beds have vanished. Lobster is booming, but how long will it last? "Will restoring river herring, alewives and so on help restore groundfish?” said Ted Ames of the Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries. “Probably the answer is it could if we adapted an ecosystem-based management strategy that integrated our human systems with natural systems."
Opinion: The woods and waters are what make Maine great; it’s our duty to conserve them
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, April 20, 2017 

Our environment is a key factor in maintaining and improving the Maine economy. It is a major reason why so many Mainers want to remain in the state and why others move here and establish businesses. To protect the Maine environment, all four of our representatives in Congress should be strong advocates for legislation that combats air pollution and climate change. They should develop and propose needed legislation and work to convince their colleagues to pass it. We need to protect the progress that we have made. The elimination of fossil fuels should be at the top of the agenda. ~ John Tjepkema, School of Biology and Ecology, UMaine
Searsport Dredging and Port Upgrade on MDOT Plan for 2018
Free Press - Thursday, April 20, 2017 

A $3 million dredging project and a $6.4 million upgrade to the port of Searsport are on the Maine Department of Transportation work plan for 2018 and 2019. The planned dredging project would not expand the shipping channel or shipping berths at Mack Point in Searsport. The plan is to dig out the existing shipping channel and ship turning area that has silted in over the years so that some ships are only able to offload at high tide.
Opinion: Latest NRA-driven right-to-hunt bill mocks Maine’s Constitution
Portland Press Herald - Thursday, April 20, 2017 

The Legislature’s Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee is scheduled to hold a public hearing Thursday on a proposal that aims to make hunting, trapping and fishing a constitutional right in Maine. This is the third attempt by the National Rifle Association and its Maine supporters to accomplish this objective. If supported by the Legislature, the proposal would be put before voters on the 2017 statewide referendum ballot. Testimony in favor of a prior right-to-hunt bill underscores the intent to silence Maine citizens concerned about inhumane, unethical hunting and trapping practices and prevent citizens from initiating ballot initiatives on wildlife-related issues. ~ Karen Coker, WildWatch Maine
Letter: Productive farmland deserves to live on
Portland Press Herald - Thursday, April 20, 2017 

I read with dismay about a proposal to develop Camelot Farm, Portland’s last remaining farmland. I am a proud Portland native and a conservative, not a left-wing ideologue who is opposed to all growth. However, the impact of this massive development project is all too predictable: increased traffic and suburban sprawl. Instead, this fertile farmland could be used to provide nutritious food for schools and other community needs. Or Camelot Farm could become a community garden and jobs training program for Portland’s homeless and poor to acquire both a source of food and a sense of economic accomplishment. Save Camelot Farm for future generations! ~ Benjamin Holmes
Are food plots the same as baiting deer?
George Smith BDN Outdoor News Blog - Wednesday, April 19, 2017 

Three deer bills last week focused on deer feeding and deer baiting, opening up a lengthy discussion on both hot topics.
In the wake of Trump’s proposed cuts, Mainers rally to support science
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, April 19, 2017 

In an effort to bolster support around scientists and their work, people across the nation are rallying on Earth Day to celebrate and promote science and research. UMaine will host a March for Science, one of hundreds scheduled internationally this weekend, from noon to 2 p.m. on Saturday. Other Maine marches are planned in Portland, Machias and Sanford.
Humans have filled the pristine Arctic Ocean with 300 billion pieces of floating plastic
Washington Post - Wednesday, April 19, 2017 

Drifts of floating plastic that humans have dumped into the world’s oceans are flowing into the pristine waters of the Arctic as a result of a powerful system of currents that deposits waste in the icy seas east of Greenland and north of Scandinavia.
$34.9 Billion Added to U.S. Economy in 2016 due to National Park Visitation
Other - Wednesday, April 19, 2017 

2016's record visitation of 331 million visitors at America’s 417 National Park Service sites contributed $34.9 billion to the U.S. economy in 2016, a $2.9 billion increase from 2015. The strong economic output is attributed to record visitation and visitor spending in “gateway” communities near national park entrances. The report also found visitor spending supported 318,000 jobs in 2016.
Regulators to allow lobster fishing in Gulf of Maine coral canyons
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, April 19, 2017 

New England regulators have voted to allow lobster fishing in proposed deep-sea coral protection zones, including two heavily fished areas in Down East Maine. The New England Fisheries Management Council voted 14-1 to ban most fishing in the canyons and plateaus where slow-growing, cold-water coral gardens flourish in the dark waters of the Gulf of Maine. But pleas from Maine lobster fishermen who say a trap ban in fertile fishing grounds off Mount Desert Rock and Outer Schoodic Ridge would cost them millions helped sway an initially resistant council to grant a lobstering exemption. If approved in June, the exemption would allow lobstering in coral protection zones on Mount Desert Rock and Outer Schoodic Ridge, where Maine officials believe 85 state-based boats landed about $4.2 million worth of lobster a year.
Moose on a mission ties up traffic on busy Maine bridge
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, April 19, 2017 

An unusual jaywalker briefly tied up traffic on a busy Belfast bridge Wednesday morning. Belfast police Sgt. John Gibbs said a moose crossed the Veteran’s Memorial Bridge, which carries Route 1 over the Passagassawakeag River, shortly before 8 a.m. The lanky-legged animal jaunted over the bridge from Belfast’s East Side before continuing his trek south down Route 1. People heading into work captured the moose on camera as it swerved from one lane to another, slowly making its way across the span.
U.S. wind industry now employs more than 100,000 people
Washington Post - Wednesday, April 19, 2017 

The fastest-growing occupation in the United States – by a long shot, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics – is wind turbine technician. Its rapid projected growth will probably amount to about 5,000 additional jobs in the coming years. In 2016, for the first time, more than 100,000 people in the United States were employed in some manner by the wind industry, according to the American Wind Energy Association.
South Portland, Scarborough set to begin curbside food waste recycling
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, April 19, 2017 

South Portland and Scarborough officials will celebrate Earth Day on Thursday with the formal launch of Maine’s first curbside food waste recycling pilot projects. The two communities are partnering with ecomaine, University of Southern Maine and a dairy farm in Exeter that operates an anaerobic digestion system that converts methane from manure and food waste into electricity.
Bill Would Send State Funds to Treat Contaminated Wells
Associated Press - Wednesday, April 19, 2017 

A Republican lawmaker's bill would direct half a million dollars in state funds to treat contaminated private drinking water wells. Sen. Joyce Maker's bill is set for a public hearing Wednesday. Under her legislation, the Maine State Housing Authority would distribute $300,000 to organizations and agencies to help identify individuals in homes with contaminated wells. Another $200,000 would go to the authority's home repair program to help low-income homeowners purchase well water treatment systems.
Maine’s tourist hot spots report no sign of a ‘Trump Slump’
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, April 19, 2017 

Several of President Trump’s proposals, such as a ban on travel from some Muslim-majority countries, a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico, and intensified border security have led some tourism experts to warn of a “Trump Slump” in international visitation. But in Maine, where the summer economy thrives on millions of Canadian tourists every year, Trump’s policies don’t appear to have had an effect yet, and some innkeepers say the exchange rate is a more important factor. In Old Orchard Beach, a popular destination for generations of visiting Quebecois, 2017 is shaping up to be better than last year.
Hills-to-Sea, a 47-mile walking trail from Unity to Belfast, to open in June
Morning Sentinel - Tuesday, April 18, 2017 

On National Trails Day, the first Saturday of June, the Waldo County Trails Coalition will hold the grand opening of a 47-mile trail connecting central Maine to the midcoast. The Hills-to-Sea Trail, created by volunteers, goes over 60 private properties as it stretches from Unity to Belfast through the towns of Knox, Freedom, Montville and others.
Hike: Till’s Point Preserve in Penobscot
Aislinn Sarnacki Act Out Blog - Tuesday, April 18, 2017 

Located on a forested point on the wide, tidal section of the Bagaduce River, the 49-acre Till’s Point Preserve features a 0.5-mile walking trail that travels through a mossy forest to the shore, where you’ll find a wooden bench perched on a grassy overlook, a rocky beach to explore.
First Spotting of Vermilion Flycatcher in Maine
Associated Press - Tuesday, April 18, 2017 

The Audubon Society says a web camera has captured the first confirmed sighting in Maine of a colorful species of bird typically seen in the southwestern part of the country. Audubon and Explore.org use a web camera on Hog Island to monitor nesting ospreys. Audubon posted on its website Monday that the camera picked up a vermilion flycatcher, which it called "an incredible rarity.'' Vermilion flycatchers are small birds that display striking red feathers in the male of the species. They feed on insects that they usually catch in midair.
Madison Paper sells its hydropower facility to New Jersey firm
Morning Sentinel - Tuesday, April 18, 2017 

Hydro power assets at the shuttered Madison Paper Industries have been sold to a New Jersey hydroelectric power producer, marking the final step in the sale of the paper mill and opening the door for future plans at the site. Madison Paper Industries, a former partnership of UPM and Northern SC Paper Corp., a subsidiary of The New York Times Company, signed an agreement to sell its hydropower facilities to Eagle Creek Renewable Energy LLC, a hydroelectric power producer based in Morristown, NJ, the company said Tuesday. The paper mill, which closed in May and put about 215 people out of work, was sold in December to a buyer with plans to put the property back into use as an industrial site.
Blog: WalletHub study names Maine one of top 10 eco-friendliest states in the U.S.
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, April 18, 2017 

According to WalletHub, analysts judged “the 50 states in terms of 20 key metrics that speak to the current health of the environment and the environmental impact of residents’ daily habits. The data set ranges from total municipal solid waste per capita to energy-efficiency score to carbon-dioxide emissions per capita.” Maine comes in sixth, with Vermont and Massachusetts occupying the top spots. ~ Samuel Shepherd
Jonesboro biomass plant shut down
Mainebiz - Tuesday, April 18, 2017 

Citing lack of feedstock, Stored Solar LLC has shut down its Jonesboro biomass energy plant, one of two the company bought from Covanta Energy in October 2016. In a letter to the Maine Public Utilities Commission, Stored Solar Vice President William Harrington said the Jonesboro plant was operating at only six megawatts and biomass suppliers were charging prices 30% to 35% above contracted price. Covanta Energy's biomass power plants in West Enfield and Jonesboro closed a year ago, resulting in the loss of 44 jobs. Covanta was subsequently purchased by Stored Solar, a subsidiary of the French energy firm Capergy.
Black bear killed by car in Wells
Portland Press Herald - Tuesday, April 18, 2017 

Drivers in Maine know to watch out for moose and deer on the roads, but…bears? Yes. Add bears to the list. On Saturday night, a car hit a male black bear as it crossed Sanford Road near High Pine Loop Road in Wells. The bear died, but no one in the car was injured, according to the Wells Police Department. Police estimated the bear weighed at least 250 pounds.
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