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
Snowy owl migration underway from Arctic to northeastern U.S., Great Lakes
Associated Press - Thursday, December 21, 2017 

The large white raptors have descended on the Great Lakes region and northeastern U.S. – including Maine – in huge numbers in recent weeks, hanging out at airports, in farm fields, on light poles and along beaches, to the delight of bird lovers.
South Portland pier presents promise, problems
Forecaster - Thursday, December 21, 2017 

South Portland is considering ways to improve the Portland Street Pier so it will better accommodate commercial fishermen and widen their reach to include the fast-growing aquaculture market.
Ho, Ho, The Mistletoe From the Druids to Islesboro
Free Press - Thursday, December 21, 2017 

Monhegan islanders may think natural forces created the large, old white spruce forests with their criss-crossed windthrown trees and forest shadows. They didn’t. Monhegan probably had a mixed forest before settlers cut them down for farming and sheep. When islanders fled for New England factories and Midwestern farms in the 19th century, the sheep and clearcuts had created an unnatural advantage for white spruce on many islands from Penobscot Bay south. The larger numbers of white spruce trees give the dwarf mistletoe a big advantage. The white spruce forests with their mossy floors and fairy houses on Monhegan may be nearing the end of their chapter in a long story of a changing forest. The dwarf mistletoe’s role in hastening the end may well be nature’s means of recreating a more balanced forest that is more resilient to the changes yet to come.
Weedkiller found in some ‘natural’ Bigelow tea, lawsuit says
Bloomberg News - Thursday, December 21, 2017 

The world’s most widely used herbicide, which is at the center of an intense debate over whether it poses a cancer risk, has been found in samples of green tea produced and marketed as “natural” by R.C. Bigelow Inc., according to a lawsuit filed by the Organic Consumers Association. Bigelow is the No. 2 U.S. tea brand by retail value. Bigelow’s internal test showed when the tea is brewed the level is “absolutely zero,” R.C. Bigelow Inc. CEO Cindi Bigelow, whose grandmother founded the company, said. The claims are “frivolous,” she said in an interview before the lawsuit was filed.
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Battle Ends, But Drilling Not A Given
National Public Radio - Thursday, December 21, 2017 

The Republican tax bill opens a part of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil development, ending an epic, nearly four-decade battle. For years, environmental groups, the oil industry, Alaska Native communities and the state's political leaders have debated the potential consequences of oil development in ANWR — on species like caribou and polar bears, on Alaska's oil-dependent economy, on nearby villages and on the climate. But now, those hypotheticals are about to get real. The tax bill calls for the federal government to hold at least two oil and gas lease sales in the next decade. Alaska might finally get an answer to the question: which oil companies, if any, will actually want to drill in ANWR?
Letter: Landfill takeover a bad deal for Anson
Morning Sentinel - Thursday, December 21, 2017 

I did not support the town of Anson taking over the Madison Paper sludge landfill. The only way I would have accepted this liability for the ratepayers is if the money was high enough to make the landfill as safe as a fluffy bunny. I believe the best option would have been to let Madison Paper keep their liability. If they fell through on the financial responsibility the state would take over the care, maintenance and, God forbid, the clean up of the landfill. Shame on Madison Paper for leaving such an environmental liability in the hands of poor and desperate small town. Shame on the state for downplaying the risk and allowing this transaction to take place. I hope for all of your sake nothing bad ever comes of this. ~ Heather Taylor, Anson
Letter: We don’t need any more plastic bags
Morning Sentinel - Thursday, December 21, 2017 

Plastic shopping bags are everywhere in our society. They are made from oil, never degrade, pollute our environment, and are expensive for businesses to give away for free. 2.4 million plastic bags are used in Waterville alone every year. This needs to change. The Sustain Mid Maine Coalition is working on drafting an ordinance that would: 1. Prohibit the use of plastic shopping bags only at businesses in Waterville where food sales make up 2% or more of their total sales. 2. Make paper bags available free of charge at check out. 3. Encourage folks to bring their own reusable shopping bags. ~ Todd Martin, Waterville
Letter: Climate change threatens business
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, December 21, 2017 

I was delighted by the BDN’s presentation of an article about international climate scientists awarded grants to continue their climate research in France. I especially appreciated that this article about French President Emmanuel Macron’s support for climate research was in the Business section. America’s history of funding scientific research has demonstrated that well-supported researchers, shielded from administrative meddling and surrounded by diverse colleagues, produce results that benefit humanity and spur economic development. Unregulated carbon emissions endanger other businesses and humans, and climate change is the free-market’s greatest failure. ~ Judy Weiss, Brookline, Massachusetts
Harpswell, Cape Elizabeth, South Portland get Coastal Community Grants
Forecaster - Wednesday, December 20, 2017 

Harpswell, Cape Elizabeth and South Portland will be able to move forward with environmental projects after being awarded Coastal Community Planning Grants by the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. Harpswell was awarded $20,000 to create a long-term flood prevention plan for Basin Point Road. Cape Elizabeth received $20,500 for its Culvert and Habitat Impact Assessment. South Portland was granted the largest total, more than $54,800 for its Trout Brook Culvert Improvements Project.
Warden service plane breaks through ice on Eagle Lake and partially sinks
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, December 20, 2017 

Pilot Jeff Spencer is uninjured in the accident, which happened after test holes had been drilled that indicated the ice could support the plane's weight.
Commission Denies Petition For Expedited Wind Turbine Permitting
Maine Public - Wednesday, December 20, 2017 

State planners are throwing a roadblock up against plans for 133 new wind turbines in western Maine. The Land Use Planning Commission on Tuesday denied a petition from Nextera Energy to expand the geographic area of a special zone where wind projects get streamlined permitting treatment. The Commission ruled that the requested 25,000-acre expansion in the Chain of Ponds area was not a “logical geographic extension” of the existing zone. The proposed Moose and Alder Stream wind farms could serve electricity customers in Massachusetts through a new transmission line proposed by Central Maine Power.
Forest Society of Maine names new executive director
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, December 20, 2017 

The Forest Society of Maine has named Karin Tilberg as its new executive director. Tilberg joined the Bangor-based nonprofit in 2011 after working as the deputy commissioner at the Maine Department of Conservation during the Baldacci administration. She has served as the interim head of the Forest Society of Maine since the sudden death in August of Alan Hutchinson, a well-respected figure in national conservation circles who helped build the organization into one of Maine’s most influential and effective land trusts.
Ecomaine warns of fire risk from lithium-ion batteries put in trash
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, December 20, 2017 

Solid-waste company ecomaine is reminding consumers about the danger of mixing lithium-ion batteries with trash and recycling, issuing the warning after identifying the battery in a discarded laptop as the likely cause of a dangerous fire at its Portland plant this month. The Dec. 1 blaze likely started when a rechargeable laptop battery combusted after it was damaged, igniting piles of recycling material. It was the second time in as many weeks that a lithium-ion battery had sparked a fire at the company’s plant.
Accusations fly as Boothbay ruling puts botanical gardens expansion in legal limbo
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, December 20, 2017 

An already drawn-out battle over the proposed $30 million expansion of the popular Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens could be headed for court. Last month, the Boothbay Board of Appeals voted 3-2 to rescind the gardens’ building permit for the expansion project. The board sided with a group of abutting property owners who argued that the project would forever alter the water quality in nearby Knickerbocker Lake, a secondary source of drinking water for the town. On Monday, the gardens asked the appeals board to reconsider its November decision, but the request was not approved.
Comments by FOA Concerning Proposed National Park Fee Increases
Friends of Acadia - Wednesday, December 20, 2017 

Friends of Acadia recognizes the importance of generating more funds to address the deferred maintenance backlog, and we will continue to partner with the National Park Service to help reduce it. However, we recommend a multi-pronged approach to the issue that relies upon innovative legislation, strong federal appropriations, policy changes, partner support, volunteerism, and smaller fee increases. The steep fee increase proposed for Acadia and 16 other national parks beginning in 2018 should be reduced in scale and combined with other solutions to address the backlog.
Nature Moments: DIY Holiday Fireworks
Maine Audubon - Wednesday, December 20, 2017 

You can find lycopods (aka clubmosses) growing on the ground in most northeastern forests. They are the only living descendants of an ancient lineage of towering trees. And they have a special talent: their oily spores are amazingly flammeable, perfect for DIY holiday fireworks. [video]
Snowmobilers, start your engines: This season is off to a good start
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, December 20, 2017 

Maine’s snowmobile season is off to an early start and may signal a repeat of last year’s record-setting season. Sledding started last week in Caribou, and the rest of Aroostook County can start with another 8 to 10 inches of snow. A $350 million industry, snowmobiling is a vital part of the state’s economy.
Bangor to use a less destructive ‘Magic’ rock salt mixture on roads
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, December 20, 2017 

Bangor city officials will treat the roads this winter with a mixture they say is cheaper and less corrosive. Public Works Director Dana Wardwell’s proposition to use a magnesium chloride mixture called Magic instead of calcium chloride this winter was approved. The city typically uses about 15,000 gallons of liquid calcium each winter, and 6,000 tons of rock salt.
Opinion: Republican budget bill will dismantle environmental protections
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, December 20, 2017 

Maine has a long legacy of caring for our environment, because in so many ways it has taken care of us. What was true in Sen. Muskie’s time remains true today: Mainers depend on the environment for our economy, our health and our way of life. We hope many generations to come get the same opportunity. I cannot support a dirty budget proposal that puts these things at risk. As the funding deadline quickly approaches, I hope Republicans will start working with Democrats in good faith to put forth legislation that does not jeopardize the water we drink or the air we breathe. We can’t afford to undo the work that Sen. Muskie set in motion. ~ U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree is a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior and the Environment, which oversees Environmental Protection Agency funding
Opinion: Viable funding solutions needed to shore up Acadia and other national parks
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, December 20, 2017 

More than 3 million visitors each year come to Acadia, generating more than $270 million in local investment for our economy and helping to sustain more than 4,000 jobs. For the past 100 years, Acadia National Park has been an economic engine that’s led to the growth and sustainability of Mount Desert Island and, in fact, the entire state of Maine. The National Park Service budget for construction and maintenance is only half of the amount necessary to maintain the parks and restore aging infrastructures. It is estimated that $71 million is needed right here at Acadia. The backlog is not a singular issue, and should not be addressed simplistically, as the administration has currently proposed, by dramatically increasing a few fees to the parks. There are practical solutions to a complex problem that will not substantially alter or discourage visitors from continuing to make our national parks the top travel destinations in America. ~ Martha Searchfield, Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce
Letter: Don’t rollback clean car standards
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, December 20, 2017 

The clean cars standard started the beginning of a more sufficient future for automobiles. These futuristic features are only bringing a positive change. Why would we want to reverse a working process, which the Trump administration is considering? EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt needs to be removed from his position. He does not deserve the job he is in charge of. Let’s keep the air clean and not give up a process that is working. ~ Sarah Petrin, Lyman
Letter: A model in waste reduction
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, December 20, 2017 

The article in the Dec. 10 BDN on the respected man from Maine who disposes of his trash bags only twice per year has a significant and far-reaching purpose. It also serves as an excellent jumping-off point for limiting the disposal of waste. Francois Moretto is unlike any other American. He continues to strive in finding more creative ways to reuse the products that cycle through his house on a daily basis. People nationwide could benefit in taking action similar to Moretto. ~ Elizabeth Vanadia, Bangor
$1.4 million to fund nine projects
Associated Press - Tuesday, December 19, 2017 

The Maine Natural Resource Conservation program is giving more than $1.4 million to fund nine projects designed to restore and protect wetlands and natural areas around the state. The Maine Natural Resource Conservation Program has funded almost 100 projects in the state since 2009. Officials say it helps offset impacts to protected natural resources at one site by funding preservation elsewhere.
Early cold snap draws ice fishermen out across central Maine
Kennebec Journal - Tuesday, December 19, 2017 

According to the calendar, winter arrives this year at 11:28 a.m. Thursday. Even though the ice is thick enough for fishing, the Maine Warden Service urges caution and preparedness.
Public Advocate To Decide Whether Natural Gas Supplier Can Recoup Years Worth Of Underbillings
Maine Public - Tuesday, December 19, 2017 

Documents show that over an extended period of time, a Maine natural gas company undercharged a group of its biggest commercial customers by almost half a million dollars, and regulators will now have to decide whether those companies should be required to pay it back. Maine Natural Gas is a midcoast supplier owned by Avangrid, which also owns Central Maine Power Co. Early this year it discovered that it had been misreading the meters of a dozen of its largest customers for varying amounts of time, for as little as a year to as many as 13 years.
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