February 24, 2017  
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Maine Environmental News
Announcement - Friday, February 24, 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
Help wanted: Environment Maine State Director
Announcement - Friday, February 24, 2017 

Coordinate advocacy, field organizing, and media communications driving campaigns to restore Maine's lakes and rivers, to bring more clean energy to Maine, to curb global warming pollution, and to protect Maine's open spaces.
Save Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument
Action Alert - Thursday, February 23, 2017 

Maine Governor Paul LePage is urging President Trump to kill the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. This makes no sense for a host of reasons. Tell President Trump and Maine's congressional representatives to oppose any effort to undo our national monument. ~ RESTORE: The North Woods
Protect Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument
Action Alert - Thursday, February 23, 2017 

Governor LePage has asked President Trump to undo the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. Ask your Senators and Representatives to do everything in their power to protect the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. ~ Natural Resources Council of Maine
Help wanted: Maine Audubon Executive Director
Announcement - Thursday, February 23, 2017 

Seeking an inspiring leader who can articulate the vision of Maine Audubon and lead, support, and galvanize the organization’s stakeholders.
RESIST: Skills to Fight Back for Maine’s Environment, Mar 8
Event - Posted - Thursday, February 23, 2017 

Learn the skills you need to be an powerful activist. At Urban Farm Fermentory, Portland, March 8, 5:30-8:30 pm. Sponsored by Natural Resources Council of Maine, Maine Conservation Voters, The Wilderness Society, Appalachian Mountain Club, and Maine Public Health Association.
The National Parks in the 21st Century, Mar 2
Event - Posted - Thursday, February 23, 2017 

Gretchen Long, a member of the National Park System Advisory Board, will present an overview of the park system. At Yarmouth History Center, March 2, 2 pm.
Lets Go Hiking, Mar 2
Event - Posted - Thursday, February 23, 2017 

Don Miskill talks about his experiences hiking and shows photos from his travels. At Orr's Island Library, Harpswell, March 2, 7 pm.
Tides: The Science and Spirit of the Ocean, Feb 28
Event - Posted - Tuesday, February 21, 2017 

Jonathan White takes you on a journey spanning the globe as he examines the many dimensions of the tides, the science behind them, and how they influence culture. At Unity College Center for the Performing Arts, Unity, Feb 28, 6 pm.
Inspired by Nature, Feb 28
Event - Posted - Tuesday, February 21, 2017 

An examination of how nature inspires people in many different ways and in many different fields. At Topsham Public Library, February 28, 6 pm. Sponsored by Cathance River Education Alliance.
Mindful Meditation at Morse Pond Preserve, Feb 25
Event - Posted - Saturday, February 18, 2017 

Bobby Carnicella will lead a mindful nature walk at Morse Pond Preserve in Georgetown, February 25, 9:30 am. Sponsored by Kennebec Estuary Land Trust.
Clean Up Pence’s Dirty Coal
Action Alert - Friday, February 17, 2017 

Mike Pence may be Trump's "clean up" man, but he failed the environment. Under Pence's leadership, super polluters spewed unregulated pollution into the air, placing children at risk of disease and the world in danger of the consequences of climate change.
Owl Prowl, Feb 24
Event - Posted - Friday, February 17, 2017 

Learn about native owl species, their ecology and adaptations, and meet local representatives up close. At Center For Wildlife, York, Feb 24, 5 pm, $7.
Appalachian Odyssey, Feb 23
Event - Posted - Thursday, February 16, 2017 

Maine native and insatiable (10,000 mile) hiker Jeff Ryan has just published "Appalachian Odyssey: A 28-year hike on the Appalachian Trail." For nearly 3 decades, Jeff hiked a section of the trail with the same friend (they started hiking in 1985 and completed the AT in 2013). This is a fundraiser for Teens To Trails. At Frontier, Brunswick, Feb 23, 7 pm, $5.
Malaga Island management meeting, Feb 23
Event - Posted - Thursday, February 16, 2017 

Maine Coast Heritage Trust will hold a public meeting in Phippsburg to gather input on the management of Malaga Island. At Phippsburg Town Hall, Feb 23, 6 pm.
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News Items
Lots of opposition to simplifying Maine’s fishing rules
George Smith BDN Outdoor News Blog - Thursday, February 16, 2017 

The legislative hearing on my proposal to organize a Commission to simplify Maine’s complicated fishing rules drew very little support, although five members of the IFW legislative committee cosponsored the bill. Most disappointing was the opposition of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, and the “neither for nor against” testimony of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, the Maine Professional Guides Association, and the Maine Council of Trout Unlimited.
Alabama company buys closed biomass power plant in northern Maine
Portland Press Herald - Thursday, February 16, 2017 

An Alabama-based company called 42 Railroad Ave LLC has signed a deal to purchase the shuttered biomass power plant in Stacyville, formerly operated by Sherman Development. The deal makes 42 Railroad Ave the owner of one of the largest privately owned power stations in the United States. Company CEO Steven Johnson said in a news release he plans to rebuild the turbine, activate new transmission lines and build a rotary kiln to produce more than 100 tons per day of activated carbon, which has applications including water and air purification, oil spill cleanup, medical treatments and trapping mercury emissions from coal-fired power stations and natural gas wellheads.
Young economists seize chance to apply talents
Portland Press Herald - Thursday, February 16, 2017 

In the last three years, several notable Maine economists have either relocated or stepped into retirement. Sensing a void in the market, economists Michael LeVert and Kate Reilly deLutio decided to open their own consultancy, 45 North Research. Among their first projects: a helpful primer of the Maine state budget process produced in partnership with the Maine Development Foundation.
Opinion: PUC’s mishandling of solar rules will hurt industry, utilities and ratepayers
Portland Press Herald - Thursday, February 16, 2017 

The Maine Public Utilities Commission recently announced a new rule that will significantly alter the relationship between the state’s electrical monopolies and Mainers who install solar in 2018 and beyond. This rule contains some of the most anti-solar provisions in the country and demonstrates a continued failure to leverage the economic power of an industry that is demonstrating huge job gains and capital investment across the country. ~ Vaughan Woodruff, Insource Renewables and Committee on Renewable Energy
Letter: Carbon tax a bipartisan solution
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, February 16, 2017 

The Climate Leadership Council, a newly formed group of senior Republicans, is advocating for the adoption of a carbon tax. Co-authors of this proposal include James Baker III, Henry Paulson Jr., George Schultz, Thomas Stephenson and Rob Walton, all well-known and experienced leaders in government and business. It is urgent that our nation’s commitment to address climate change find a new expression. The carbon tax would, over time, fulfill our commitment to the Paris climate agreement. I hope that Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King will take up this proposal and bring it to the Congress. ~ Jean Matlack, Rockport
Poland Spring eyes Rumford, Fryeburg for new bottling plant, springs
Sun Journal - Wednesday, February 15, 2017 

Spurred by strong sales, Poland Spring is looking for two additional spring sites and a home for its fourth bottling plant in Maine, a $50 million construction project. The company bottled nearly 821 million gallons of water in the state last year.
Endangered Species Act attacked at Senate hearing
Washington Post - Wednesday, February 15, 2017 

A Senate hearing to “modernize the Endangered Species Act” unfolded Wednesday just as supporters of the law had feared, with round after round of criticism from Republican lawmakers who said the federal effort to keep species from going extinct encroaches on states’ rights, is unfair to landowners and stymies efforts by mining companies to extract resources and create jobs. The ESA is a 43-year-old law enacted under the Nixon administration when people were beginning to understand how dramatically chemical use and human development were devastating species. It has since saved many species from likely extinction.
Collins says she will vote against EPA nominee Scott Pruitt
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, February 15, 2017 

Sen. Susan Collins of Maine said Wednesday that she will vote against the nomination of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt as President Trump’s nominee to serve as director of the federal Environmental Protection Agency. The Republican said that she met at length with Pruitt and reviewed testimony from his confirmation hearing, but came to the conclusion that he shares a different vision of the environment and the role that the EPA should play than she does.
Susan Collins Says She’ll Oppose Scott Pruitt to Lead the EPA
Maine Public - Wednesday, February 15, 2017 

After careful consideration, Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine says she will oppose the confirmation of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to lead the Environmental Protection Agency. Collins joins independent U.S. Sen. Angus King of Maine in her opposition to Pruitt as EPA administrator. A vote to confirm Pruitt is expected later this week.
Fiberight asks FAME for $45M conduit bond for Hampden waste-to-energy plant
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, February 15, 2017 

Maryland-based Fiberight LLC is asking the Finance Authority of Maine to help connect it to $45 million in tax exempt bond money to build and operate a plant in Hampden that will change trash into biogas. Fiberight is asking for up to $45 million in bond funding for the $69 million project in Hampden as an effort to get the best interest rate. Fiberight CEO Craig Stuart-Paul said, "There is no liability to the state or the region."
Bill Would Expand Lead Testing for School Water
Maine Public - Wednesday, February 15, 2017 

Environmental and health advocates in Maine are urging lawmakers to support a bill that would require schools on public water systems to test for lead. Currently, only schools that draw water from nonpublic sources, such as wells, must test. Schools on public water systems are exempt from the testing requirement because the municipalities already tests for lead. But that can be a problem, says Democratic state Sen. Rebecca Millett, because that won’t necessarily reveal when there’s a localized problem.
EXCLUSIVE: Trump Watch: The status of President Trump's cabinet nominations
Maine Environmental News - Wednesday, February 15, 2017 

An up-to-the-moment guide to the status of President Trump's cabinet nominees and close advisors.
Natural Resources Defense Council sues over delay in listing bumblebee as endangered
Associated Press - Wednesday, February 15, 2017 

An environmental group is suing the Trump administration for delaying an endangered-species designation for the rusty patched bumblebee. The bee is native to Maine where the last documented sighting of one was in 2009. The Natural Resources Defense Council says the U.S. Department of Interior broke the law by postponing the listing without public notice and comment. It was scheduled to take effect Feb. 10. But one day before that, the department put off the effective date because of the administration’s temporary freeze on new regulations.
Hotel complex proposed for Portland wharf would challenge city’s zoning rules
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, February 15, 2017 

A local developer wants to build the first hotel on Portland’s central waterfront, a cluster of piers historically occupied by fishing and marine businesses. The project also includes a parking garage and would be located on the harbor side of Commercial Street, in front of a controversial Old Port condominium development that decades ago sparked a citywide referendum to prevent development from pushing out commercial fishing and other waterfront-dependent uses. While rules have changed since then to allow developments such as restaurants and offices on the nearly mile-long stretch, past efforts to build a waterfront hotel have never succeeded.
Opinion: The Penobscot is polluted with mercury; without the EPA, it would be much worse
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, February 15, 2017 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has worked to protect our environment since it was created in 1970. In late 1967, the HoltraChem chlor-alkali plant began operating in Orrington. Roughly 90 percent of an estimated nine tons of mercury was released into the Penobscot River before the EPA began regulating pollutant discharges. Without EPA regulations, the river would be even more contaminated. We ask that Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King — who will soon vote on the nominee to head the agency, Scott Pruitt — consider the value of the EPA and the critical importance of appointing a director who embraces the mission of protecting our environment. ~ Dianne Kopec and Aram Calhoun, University of Maine
Letter: Carbon tax plan would hurt economy
Kennebec Journal - Wednesday, February 15, 2017 

This is regarding a carbon tax and dividend program. The earth has been changing its temperature all the time it has been here. To assume that you can control the temperature by changing one of hundreds of factors is a bit unrealistic. Taxing carbon emissions will increase the cost of everything you do and everything you buy. The idea that a carbon tax and dividend program would be “revenue neutral” and actually create jobs is smoke and mirrors. ~ M. Gerald Small, West Gardiner
Letter: Phase out styrofoam containers
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, February 15, 2017 

There are two bills that legislators will consider this session concerning single-use plastics. LD 57, An Act To Phase Out the Use of Single-use Plastic Shopping Bags, and LD 103, An Act To Prohibit the Use of Certain Disposable Food Service Containers. Please let your legislators know that you prefer to reduce the risk to yourself and your children. Ask them to pass the bill. ~ Ruta Jordans, Lubec
Letter: Reject Pruitt nomination
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, February 15, 2017 

Among senators, Susan Collins has a unique responsibility to ensure that the Environmental Protection Agency does not fall under the supervision of Scott Pruitt whose major interaction with the agency has been a methodical assault on its protections and provisions. Collins will need to follow the lead of yet another remarkable and courageous Maine senator — Margaret Chase Smith, who during the McCarthy era for a time stood against the fear and hate sown by Sen. Joseph McCarthy and his supporters. Collins must work to make sure Pruitt is not confirmed. The health and welfare of the people of Maine and the entire nation could depend upon it. ~ Jerry Stelmok, Atkinson
Susan Collins introduces bill to expand access to national parks for veterans
Associated Press - Tuesday, February 14, 2017 

Maine Sen. Susan Collins and New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen have introduced a bill to expand access to national parks for disabled veterans. The bill would make all veterans with a service-connected disability eligible for a free, lifetime pass allowing entry to the parks and other recreational lands and waters held by the United States.
You could call US tourism a victim of Trump’s travel ban
Boston Globe - Tuesday, February 14, 2017 

President Trump’s travel ban targeting nationals of seven Muslim-majority countries may not have held up in court, but it appears quite successful at keeping plenty of other people out of the United States. Trump’s order brought with it a swift decline in the number of worldwide tourists and travelers looking to visit the United States, say people in the tourism industry. Online booking websites reported that flight searches from international points of origin to the United States were down anywhere from 6 percent to 17 percent since Trump signed the executive order on Jan. 27 [This is especially a concern for Maine where tourism is the largest industry.]
Governors To Trump: Here’s What We Need For Renewables Industry
Other - Tuesday, February 14, 2017 

North American Windpower - The Governors’ Wind & Solar Energy Coalition, a renewable energy advocacy group headed by bipartisan Govs. Gina Raimondo (D-RI), and Sam Brownback (R-KS), is pleading with President Donald Trump and his administration to support and further grow the U.S.’ renewables industry. In a Feb. 13 letter to the administration, the group advocates for modernizing the grid and developing more transmission; establishing a bill for offshore wind development in the long term; boosting research and development for wind and solar power; and improving the permitting process for wind and solar projects.
Hike: Big Moose Mountain
Aislinn Sarnacki Act Out Blog - Tuesday, February 14, 2017 

Located just outside Greenville on the west side of Moosehead Lake, Big Moose Mountain’s long ridge tops off at 3,196 feet above sea level, making it one of the biggest mountains in the area. Formerly called Big Squaw Mountain, the mountain was home to the first full-time manned fire tower in the United States. A 2.1-mile hiking trail follows the path the fire wardens used to take to the summit of the mountain. Maintained by the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands, the trail is located in the state-owned Little Moose Public Reserved Land Unit, which covers more than 15,000 acres and is open to a wide variety of public recreation.
Sierra Club Maine Starts Trump Resistance Campaigin
Maine Environmental News - Tuesday, February 14, 2017 

Glen Brand, Sierra Club Maine Director, says the group is launching a Trump Resistance Team Campaign because "in just the first month in office, the Trump administration and his allies in Congress have taken action to undermine and reverse our nation's progress to protect our climate and environment."
What GOP lawmakers mean when they talk about modernizing the Endangered Species Act
Other - Tuesday, February 14, 2017 

Fusion - Amy W. Ando, a professor at the University of Illinois, said the current slate of environmental bills in Congress presented by the GOP “have taken an ideological stance against all conservation and environmental protection. I don’t think any sensible progress on improving conservation policy is possible under the current administration and Congress. A thoughtful revision of the ESA would require a Congress and executive branch that is genuinely interested in limiting the harm done to nature by unfettered use."
LePage looking for new utilities commissioner
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, February 14, 2017 

Gov. Paul LePage continues his crusade against the Maine Public Utilities Commission after their decision to roll back — and not repeal — a solar energy policy that allows panel owners to be credited for energy sold back to the grid. In his State of the State speech last week, LePage said he’d fire them if he had that power. On Friday, he urged them to resign. On Tuesday, the governor said he’s “looking for a new PUC commissioner” to replace Carlisle McLean, whose term ends in March. LePage appointed every commission member. But McLean is most closely tied to LePage, having served as his chief lawyer and natural resources policy adviser. Whatever loyalty LePage had to the commission has broken down, saying they “caved to the special interests.”
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