September 21, 2018  
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Maine Environmental News
Action Alert - Thursday, September 20, 2018 

Thanks for visiting Maine Environmental News, a service of RESTORE: The North Woods. MEN is the most comprehensive online source available for links conservation and natural resource news and events in Maine (and a bit beyond). 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
Stand with Hunter in opposing Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court
Action Alert - Thursday, September 20, 2018 

Hunter Lachance, a 15-year-old Mainer with asthma, testified against the nomination of Judge Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court. He explained why Kavanaugh’s opposition to curbing air pollution that crosses state lines would harm Maine and people like him. Urge Senator Collins to vote “no” on Brett Kavanaugh. ~ Kristin Jackson, Natural Resources Council of Maine
Evening for the Environment, Oct 3
Event - Posted - Thursday, September 20, 2018 

A night of camaraderie, celebration, and inspiration for those who care about protecting Maine's environment. Keynote speaker Gina McCarthy, former EPA Administrator. At Brick South on Thompson's Point, Portland, October 3, 5:30-8:00 pm. Organized by Maine Conservation Voters.
Solar 101, Sep 26
Event - Posted - Wednesday, September 19, 2018 

Join ReVision Energy to learn about the benefits of solar technology. At Scarborough Public Library, September 26, 2018 6:30 pm.
Activist Training for Maine's Environment, Sep 27-Oct 11
Event - Posted - Wednesday, September 19, 2018 

Maine's environmental community is hosting a series of trainings. Learn skills to be a powerful activist and meet fellow environmentalists who want to make a difference in Maine. September 27, Biddeford; October 4: Auburn; October 11, Jefferson; October 18, Falmouth.
Naturalist's Notebook, Sep 26
Event - Posted - Wednesday, September 19, 2018 

Bowdoin biology professor Nat Wheelwright will speak about the book he wrote with Bernd Heinrich, "The Naturalist's Notebook: An Observation Guide and 5-Year Calendar-Journal for Tracking Changes in the Natural World Around You." At Portland Public Library, September 26, 5:30-7:30 pm.
Weasels of Maine, Sep 26
Event - Posted - Wednesday, September 19, 2018 

Shevenell Webb, Wildlife Biologist with IF&W, talks about weasel ecology and natural history. At Augusta Nature Club luncheon, at Capital Area Technical Center, Augusta, September 26, 11:30 am, $7 for lunch.
NRCM online auction, thru Sep
Announcement - Tuesday, September 18, 2018 

Online auction benefits Natural Resources Council of Maine, through September.
Help wanted: Director of Media Relations and Advocacy Communications
Announcement - Monday, September 17, 2018 

The Natural Resources Council of Maine is seeking applications for the position of Director of Media Relations and Advocacy Communications. The position provides leadership in advancing NRCM and the organization’s advocacy work through the news media. Deadline: October 11, 2018.
MCV Action Fund 2018 Endorsements
Announcement - Monday, September 17, 2018 

A list of candidates endorsed by the Maine Conservation Voters Action Fund.
Bringing an ocean perspective to an urban estuary, Sep 24
Event - Posted - Monday, September 17, 2018 

Karina Nielsen, director of San Francisco State University’s Estuary and Ocean Science Center, will speak at the UMaine Darling Marine Center, Walpole, September 24, 12:15 pm.
Maine's Beaches are Public Property, Sep 24
Event - Posted - Monday, September 17, 2018 

Author and law professor Orlando E. Delogu speaks about public access to Maine’s beaches. At Curtis Memorial Library, Brunswick, September 24, 6:30 pm.
Why Natural History Matters, Sep 24
Event - Posted - Monday, September 17, 2018 

Tom Fleischner, Executive Director of the Natural History Institute, will describe how the practice of natural history provides the foundation for the natural sciences, conservation, healthy society, and our own well-being. At Gilsland Farm, Falmouth, September 24, 7 pm, Maine Audubon members $12, nonmembers $15.
Save our Shores Walk, Sep 23
Event - Posted - Sunday, September 16, 2018 

Learn how climate change may affect our shores and how CLF is working to ensure a resiliant Maine coast. At Ferry Beach, Saco, September 23, 2:30-5 pm. Sponsored by Conservation Law Foundation.
Help restore cottontail habitat, Sep 22, 28, 29
Event - Posted - Saturday, September 15, 2018 

The Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge will host a volunteer work day to help restore native scrubland habitat, home to many species including the New England cottontail rabbit. Volunteers needed. At Libby Field, Scarborough, Sep 22, 28, 29, 9 am - 2 pm.
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News Items
Maine has first confirmed equine case of West Nile virus
Associated Press - Saturday, September 15, 2018 

Maine officials say a horse in York County has tested positive for the mosquito-borne West Nile virus. The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry says it’s the state’s first confirmed case of the disease in a horse on record. The virus is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. The horse was not vaccinated against the disease. The animal was showing neurological signs last week. The department said it’s undergoing supportive veterinary care and is not a threat to infect other animals or people.
Scientists: Expect more intense hurricanes
Associated Press - Saturday, September 15, 2018 

A warmer world makes for nastier hurricanes. Scientists say they are wetter, possess more energy and intensify faster. Their storm surges are more destructive because climate change has already made the seas rise. And lately, the storms seem to be stalling more often and thus dumping more rain. Study after study shows that climate change in general makes hurricanes worse.
The private intelligence firm keeping tabs on environmentalists
Grist - Saturday, September 15, 2018 

Welund North America is a private intelligence firm that promises to help oil and gas operators mitigate the threat posed by an increasingly sophisticated activist movement. The company depicts the environmental movement as one of the energy industry’s most dangerous adversaries — comparable to the challenges posed by international industrial espionage.
Massive gourds are the new stars of Bangor Community Garden
Bangor Daily News - Saturday, September 15, 2018 

This year, for the first time, the Bangor Community Garden is growing giant gourds, a number of which have already surpassed the height of the gardener tending them. On Sept. 13, the longest of the gourds, Buster, had reached well over 8 feet.
Maine's rebuilt scallop fishery looks to year of more growth
Associated Press - Saturday, September 15, 2018 

Maine is known for producing scallops that are somewhat bigger than other East Coast states, and some are plucked from the icy waters by hand during winter. Others are harvested by boats with fishing gear. The Maine Department of Marine Resources has said strict management of the harvest has allowed the scallops to rebuild from collapse in the mid-2000s. The state is looking to continue that trend this year with a season that keeps fishermen restricted to tight limits on the number of pounds they can harvest. Fishermen are also limited in the number of days they can fish, and the state is looking to trim a few days.
Giant pumpkin grower from Veazie finds her luck
Bangor Daily News - Saturday, September 15, 2018 

Weighing an estimated 1,500 pounds, the giant pumpkin had taken over the backyard, its vines snaking out in all directions. Sitting amid a sea of leaves on Sept. 12, the orange monster was packing on a few final pounds before its debut at the Damariscotta Pumpkinfest in a few weeks. “Watson’s his name,” said the pumpkin’s grower, Sarah Whitty. At her home in Veazie, Whitty had been growing the pumpkin since April. Her goal was to exceed 1,000 pounds, and based on measurements, she’s surpassed that goal by far. Her pumpkin may be one of the largest at this year’s celebration.
This scientist says Maine spiders make good roommates
Bangor Daily News - Saturday, September 15, 2018 

None of Maine’s resident spiders produce venom that is fatal to humans, said state entomologist Kathy Murray, but any spider is capable of biting if they are picked up and pinched or otherwise mishandled. Few people like to see spiders or cobwebs inside their homes, but in limited numbers spiders can be helpful roommates since they capture and eat other bugs.

Warming seas, bait fish drawing whales closer to Maine shores, experts say
York County Coast Star - Saturday, September 15, 2018 

Several whales, including both minke and humpback, have been seen feeding close to shore along the southern Maine seacoast in recent weeks, giving both boaters and spectators watching from land a rare glimpse of some of the Atlantic Ocean’s largest mammals. Experts say rising water temperatures have drawn the whales closer to shore this year. Tony LaCasse, of the New England Aquarium in Boston, said the higher water temperatures, believed to be brought on by climate change, have led to bait fish called menhaden, locally known as “pogies,” appearing closer to shore.
Letter: Trump administration takes aim at the Endangered Species Act
Portland Press Herald - Saturday, September 15, 2018 

We can now add to the list of our nation’s environmental plights the Trump administration’s efforts to gut the Endangered Species Act. When my husband and I first moved to Kennebunkport in the late 1970s, we didn’t know that we had endangered species habitat on our property. It was – and is today – habitat for the piping plover. We modified our actions to support these birds. To our delight, more piping plover chicks successfully fledge their sandy nests. This year, Maine has more productive, nesting pairs than ever. The Endangered Species Act works. Take time to submit comments to the Department of the Interior opposing these rules. The deadline is Sept. 24. ~ Virginia S. Almeder, Kennebunkport
Letter: Salmon farm a gamble
Bangor Daily News - Saturday, September 15, 2018 

I believe that the Belfast city councilors have the best intentions regarding Nordic Aquafarms. However, I would rather see this tax revenue come from a company that isn’t going to use enormous amounts of water, and one that is using proven technology. If a solar farm were proposed for that area, I’d be thrilled. The Belfast city councilors are gambling with our tax dollars, the Little River watershed, and the health of Penobscot Bay, in hopes that the fish factory will succeed and bring in higher tax revenue. If you add unknown factors resulting from climate change, this becomes an even bigger gamble. ~ Sally Trophy, Belfast
Letter: Uses for cloth bags are neverending
Morning Sentinel - Saturday, September 15, 2018 

Recently, some people have used the argument that single-use plastic bags are better for the environment than cloth bags. However, the cloth bags I have been using for the past 10 years are still employed in multiple ways, lugging groceries, hardware supplies, clothing, and just about any items I purchase that will fit in the bag. For 10 years these same bags have traveled about town, with no damage to the environment. Plastic bags are trapped in tree branches, littering our sidewalks, and causing irreparable damage to the ocean and marine organisms. How many cloth bags do you see draped in the bushes? Please vote responsibly and ask big-box stores to stop providing single-use bags. ~ Judi Silver, Waterville
Is the United States About to Lose Its Best Conservation Program?
Center for Biological Diversity - Friday, September 14, 2018 

Time is running out for one of the United States’ most successful — and least-known — conservation programs. Virtually every county in the United States has benefited from the Land and Water Conservation Fund, signed into law in 1964 with the goal of protecting natural areas and cultural resources and increasing recreational opportunities. In its more than 50-year history, the fund has helped 42,000 projects across the country, ranging from wilderness areas and historic battlefields to local tennis courts and trails. When expiration loomed in September 2015, Congress gave it a short three-year extension, which is now about to expire. If legislators fail to reauthorize the program before September 30, the fund will immediately run dry.
Maine governor candidates square off on energy, economy in E2Tech forum
Mainebiz - Friday, September 14, 2018 

Three candidates in Maine's governor's race offered their visions for the state's energy future at a Portland debate. Thursday's 90-minute forum was organized by the Environmental & Energy Council of Maine (E2Tech). Democrat Janet Mills and independent Alan Caron both said that they would support solar power. Mills had similarly strong words about Maine lagging in attracting offshore wind power investment. Caron said he would like to see Maine become energy-independent in 30 years. Independent Terry Hayes said she wouldn't have an energy policy in her first 100 days. Instead, there would be a comprehensive economic development plan. Republican Shawn Moody didn't attend.
Secretary Zinke and the Great Public Lands Wholesale
Outside - Friday, September 14, 2018 

The U.S. is now likely the world’s largest oil producer. Even so, the Trump administration continues its sprint to lease the nation’s public lands to energy companies. From September through the end of the year, the Bureau of Land Management will offer leases for oil and gas drilling on nearly 3 million acres of public lands. That would mean that for the entire year the administration will have offered for lease almost 4 million acres in the Lower 48 alone. That’s a nearly four-fold increase over 2016 as part of the administration’s policy of energy dominance.
More than 30 people testify against CMP power line proposal at PUC hearing
Portland Press Herald - Friday, September 14, 2018 

Franklin Journal - More than 30 people who testified at a public hearing Friday night urged the Public Utilities Commission to reject Central Maine Power Co.’s application to build a 145-mile transmission line through western Maine to deliver power generated by Hydro-Quebec to users in Massachusetts. Nearly 150 people filled Lincoln Auditorium at the University of Maine at Farmington for the hearing on the proposal. Most of the opposition voiced at the meeting at UMaine Farmington stems from concerns about the impact the 145-mile transmission line through western Maine will have on the environment and tourism.
Mainers Worry About Effect Of Proposed Changes To Endangered Species Act
Maine Public - Friday, September 14, 2018 

Sweeping changes proposed to the federal Endangered Species Act have conservation groups and others alarmed about protecting plants and animals on the verge of extinction in Maine and around the country. Critics of the 45-year-old act say it has been a failure, with less than 3 percent of threatened or endangered species ever coming off the list. But supporters point to a range of other benefits that come from recovery efforts, and in a state like Maine, they say they aren’t hard to find. Written comments on the Trump administration’s proposed changes to the ESA are being accepted until Sept. 24.
Waldo County farm recognized for entrepreneurial excellence
WABI-TV5 - Friday, September 14, 2018 

Over the years, the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Energy has made it their mission to recognize thriving businesses. On Friday, they honored one in Waldo County that's helping grow Maine's natural resource economy while getting inmates back on their feet. Growing crops while enriching the lives of inmates. That's the goal of the Garden Project at the Maine Coastal Regional Reentry Center Farm in Swanville. Re-entry offenders serving their last few months of their sentence work on the farm, developing skills and engaging in community service. "Many of them tell me this is the first time they've done something for someone else, and they feel really good about it," said Waldo County Commissioner, William Shorey.
Maine lobsterman sentenced for trying to ram skiff with 2 men aboard
Bangor Daily News - Friday, September 14, 2018 

A Vinalhaven man will serve 45 days in jail for attempting to ram his lobster boat into another boat that was carrying two men. Carl B. Gross, 32, received his sentence this week following a deferred sentencing agreement. As part of the agreement, Gross pleaded guilty to charges of reckless conduct and operating watercraft to endanger, according to court documents. He was sentenced to serve one year in jail with all but 45 days suspended. Charges of criminal threatening and terrorizing were dismissed.
Second small Maine town votes against CMP’s hydropower project
Bangor Daily News - Friday, September 14, 2018 

West Forks plantation, a town of 56 residents, voted Thursday night by a majority not to support Central Maine Power’s project to transmit electricity from Canada to Massachusetts via Maine. In a 45-7 vote, townspeople objected to the New England Clean Energy Connect project being pushed by CMP and its partner, Hydro-Quebec. Last week, the town of Caratunk retracted its earlier letter to CMP supporting the project. In a filing with the Public Utilities Commission, the town of 68 residents cited environmental concerns and worries about not getting enough financial benefit from the project.
The Orono Bog Boardwalk is closing early for renovations
Bangor Daily News - Friday, September 14, 2018 

The Orono Bog Boardwalk, one of the most popular nature walks in the Bangor area, will close early this fall — at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13 — for renovations. The next day, a crew of volunteers will get to work replacing 65 of the boardwalk’s 509 sections as a part of an ongoing $1 million project to replace the entire wooden boardwalk with longer-lasting material, according to Jim Bird, director of the Orono Bog Boardwalk Committee.
Kennebunkport asks voters for $10M to buy property away from developer before subdivision is built
York County Coast Star - Friday, September 14, 2018 

The Kennebunkport Board of Selectmen is asking residents to approve $10 million dollars in a last ditch attempt to buy an 85-acre parcel of land across from the Village Fire Station and secure it for the town, before the current owner moves forward with a planned multi-phased subdivision. Selectman Pat Briggs said that it was a key opportunity for the townspeople to control what goes into such a central hub of a location.
Maine is sending far more lobsters to Canada as that country’s exports to China boom
Bangor Daily News - Friday, September 14, 2018 

Canadians are snapping up live Maine lobsters, buying $43.72 million worth in July, more than double in that same month last year. The increase comes at the same time that Maine’s live lobster sales to China plummeted. China imposed retaliatory 25 percent import trade tariffs against the United States on July 5. But the tariffs instigated by the U.S.-China trade war tell only part of the story of the high export numbers. While the tariffs had an immediate effect on many in Maine’s lobster industry, high prices, an early and robust soft-shell lobster season, and high demand for processed frozen lobster also are driving up exports of live lobsters.
Company revives wind farm plan that state wildlife officials had opposed
Bangor Daily News - Friday, September 14, 2018 

Boston-based Longroad Energy is renewing a wind power proposal for Eastbrook and Osborn in Hancock County. The Weaver Wind proposal, which Longroad bought out of SunEdison’s 2016 bankruptcy, would result in 22 turbines being erected in the two towns. Longroad’s top management team is composed of former executives at First Wind, which was bought by SunEdison in 2015. Longroad is willing to consider some conditions on the project in order to minimize the impact on birds and bats. According to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, the only other wind farm proposal that currently is pending for state approval is a 4-turbine, 15 megawatt project in Roxbury in Oxford County.
Column: All you need to know about beaks and bills
Bangor Daily News - Friday, September 14, 2018 

A bird is evolution taken to extremes. In order to fly, birds replaced arms with wings. The vestigial finger bones are still there, but they have elongated to support the flight feathers. Certainly the ability to fly has served birds well, but you would think that the loss of arms is a big disadvantage. Perhaps it would be, except that birds developed specialized bills to compensate for the loss. Bird beaks are the Swiss army knives of the natural world. ~ Bob Duchesne
Former top State Department diplomat settles on historic Maine farm
Portland Press Herald - Friday, September 14, 2018 

Susan Thornton, who resigned as the top U.S. diplomat in East Asia after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson got fired, has purchased the 480-acre Packard-Littlefield farm in Lisbon. The family is also sorting out their relationship with the former owners’ tenant, Cultivating Community, a nonprofit that has turned 30 acres on the farm into a powerful incubator for immigrant and refugee farmers, many of them Somali-Bantu. According to Cultivating Community’s website, the farm is hosting 18 farmers growing for markets and over 30 community gardeners at the site.
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