March 19, 2019  
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Maine Environmental News
Action Alert - Tuesday, March 19, 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). 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
Urge Maine's Agencies to Investigate and Halt PFAS Contamination
Action Alert - Tuesday, March 19, 2019 

Highly persistent and toxic chemicals known as PFAS may be lurking undiscovered in farmlands across Maine. State records show that at an Arundel dairy farm, PFOS was in milk at the highest level ever reported anywhere. Urge Maine Ag and DEP commissioners to test the fields, stop sludge spreading, and phase out PFAS products. ~ Environmental Health Strategy Center
Retired Game Warden Randall Probert, Mar 26
Event - Posted - Tuesday, March 19, 2019 

Author, raconteur, and retired game warden Randall Probert will speak to the Hebron Historical Society on “Maine Tales and More.” At Hebron Town Office, March 26, 7 pm.
The Forests of Lilliput: The Miniature World of Lichens & Mosses, Mar 26
Event - Posted - Tuesday, March 19, 2019 

Maine Master Naturalist Jeff Pengel talks about the natural history of lichens, mosses and similar plants. At Topsham Library, March 26, 6 pm. Sponsored by Cathance River Education Alliance.
Celebrating Maine’s Wild Creatures, Mar 26
Event - Posted - Tuesday, March 19, 2019 

Speaker: Ed Robinson, author of “Nature Notes from Maine: River Otters, Moose, Skunks and More.” At Curtis Library, March 16, 7 pm. Sponsored by Merrymeeting Audubon.
Ocean Acidification, Climate Change, and You, Mar 25
Event - Posted - Monday, March 18, 2019 

Friends of Casco Bay staff scientist Mike Doan talks about warning signs and Casco Baykeeper Ivy Frignoca shares the impacts to marine species and how Mainers are responding. At Southern Maine Community College, South Portland, March 25, 5:30 pm.
Mount Pisgah winter trek, Mar 24
Event - Posted - Sunday, March 17, 2019 

Kennebec Land Trust Stewardship Director Jean-Luc Theriault will lead an off-trail excursion on Mount Pisgah to visit special places that are typically less accessible. Meet at the Mount Pisgah Community Conservation Area parking lot in Winthrop, March 24, 1 pm.
Winter Family Fun Day at Lily Bay State Park, Mar 23
Event - Posted - Saturday, March 16, 2019 

Ice fishing, snowmobile tote rides, winter camping demo, bonfire, scavenger hunt and free loan of cross-country skis, snowshoes, ice skates, snow tubes and sleds. At Lily Bay State Park, Moosehead Lake, March 23, 10 am - 3 pm.
Winter wildlife tracking workshop, Mar 23
Event - Posted - Saturday, March 16, 2019 

Naturalists and certified wildlife trackers Brendan White and Matt Dickinson lead a winter wildlife tracking workshop. At at Long Ledges Preserve, Sullivan, March 23, 9-11:30 am. Sponsored by Frenchman Bay Conservancy.
Maine Grass Farmers Network Conference, Mar 23
Event - Posted - Saturday, March 16, 2019 

Livestock producers are invited to learn about grass-based production and how grazing systems can become more profitable and environmentally sound. At Kennebec County Community College's Alfond Campus, Hinckley, March 23, 8:30 am - 3 pm.
Maine becomes a state, Mar 15
Announcement - Friday, March 15, 2019 

On this day in 1820, March 15, Massachusetts lost over 30,000 square miles of land as its former province of Maine gained statehood. Mainers had begun campaigning for statehood for years following the Revolution. The Massachusetts legislature finally consented in 1819. What no one foresaw, however, was that Maine's quest for statehood would become entangled in the most divisive issue in American history — slavery.
Maine Land Conservation Conference, Apr 5-6
Event - Posted - Friday, March 15, 2019 

Maine’s robust land conservation community comes together to train on best practices in all aspects of land trust work, connect with peers, and grapple with the most pressing issues facing land conservation today. At Topsham area, April 5-6.
Thoreau Society & Thoreau Farm Trust online auction, thru Mar 29
Announcement - Friday, March 15, 2019 

This auction contains many rare books written about Henry David Thoreau and other items for every Thoreauvian.
MITA Open House and Getch Celebration, Mar 22
Event - Posted - Friday, March 15, 2019 

Toast the extraordinary life of MITA founder Dave Getchell, Sr. At Maine Island Trail Association, Portland, March 22, 5:30-7:30 pm.
Call for Artists: Paint for Preservation 2019
Announcement - Friday, March 15, 2019 

The Cape Elizabeth Land Trust is accepting artist submissions for Paint for Preservation 2019, the organization’s twelfth annual juried Wet Paint Auction and one of Maine’s premiere art auction events. This 3-day (June 28-30) plein air event raises money for land conservation in Cape Elizabeth. Deadline is March 22.
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News Items
Pallet mill catches fire in Mount Vernon
Kennebec Journal - Thursday, March 14, 2019 

Firefighters from 10 towns responded to a structure fire at a pallet mill Thursday morning. Rebecca Tardif and her husband, Paul, have lived beside the mill for 13 years and rent it from the owners of the mill, who had alerted them that there was a fire. They rushed to collect loved ones at their home after being told there was a “75 percent chance there wouldn’t be a house.” It did not appear that the fire had spread to the Tardif home. The mill, Edgar Clark & Son Pallet Inc., is owned by Donny Clark.
Maine Ice Fishermen Spot Big Cat Biologists Say Could Be A Mountain Lion
Maine Public - Thursday, March 14, 2019 

Last Friday, four friends were ice fishing on a backcountry pond in the Jackman area when a big cat popped out of the woods and sauntered across a pond, about 300 yards away. Members of the party managed to take short — although grainy — videos of the animal. "This situation is very much on our radar," says Scott McLellan, a biologist with Maine's Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Service. He and other biologists says the evidence they've seen is, so far, inconclusive, but credible enough that they aren't dismissing it. Last year, the so-called "Eastern Cougar" was removed from the federal endangered species list after it was determined there was no viable breeding population in the Northeast.
A Letter from L.L.Bean CEO Steve Smith
Other - Thursday, March 14, 2019 

In 2018, we launched the L.L.Bean Outdoor Access Fund and partnered with many fantastic nonprofit organizations, including the Trust for Public Land, Hike it Baby, and the National Park Foundation. We invested $4 million to make the outdoors more accessible for current and future generations. Last summer, 86 L.L.Bean employees completed an incredible five-month relay along the Appalachian Trail. By this fall, 69% of our outerwear and 32% of our apparel will be made from sustainable materials. Keeping 8,000,000 plastic bottles out of landfills each year. ~ Steve Smith, President and CEO, L.L.Bean
Column: Legislature honors chickadees by refusing to choose one state bird
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, March 14, 2019 

The Great Chickadee Debate of 2019 is over. Actually, doing nothing is one of the best things the legislature can do. Many Mainers wondered why the legislature would waste time on such matters. Such matters have consequence. For instance, there can be financial benefits. Official state designations sometimes serve as teaching tools. The chickadee debate proved to be a teachable moment for adults. We’re seeing changes in the distribution of chickadees within the state. Climate change is having a noticeable impact. Ultimately, the legislature decided to leave the chickadee question unresolved. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” ~ Bob Duchesne
Solar array proposed in Oxford
Advertiser Democrat - Thursday, March 14, 2019 

Nearly 40 acres of land off Route 26 near the Oxford County Regional Airport may be developed as a solar array – one of the largest solar energy facilities in Maine. The $8-$9 million project proposed by Dirgo Solar hinges on approval of local, state and federal permits, an agreement with Central Maine Power to connect the solar array to the grid and the approval of a 15-year Credit Enhancement Agreement with the town of Oxford.
Opinion: Temperatures are rising, and so are our youth
Portland Press Herald - Thursday, March 14, 2019 

Those who will suffer the greatest from inaction addressing climate change are our youth. People under 25 make up more than half of the global population, yet they’re left out of the local and global decision-making process. That is about to change. On Friday, students from 44 communities in the U.S. – including Bar Harbor, Brunswick, Lewiston and Portland – and over 50 countries on every continent will be going on strike because the “decades of inaction have left us with only 11 years to avoid the worst effects of climate change.” Global carbon emissions must be slashed in half by 2030 to avert planetary disaster, according to the 2018 U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report. ~ Susan Atkinson, Citizens Climate Lobby volunteer, and Ryan Reed, Kingfield
Letter: To stop climate change, we must push for both state, federal action
Portland Press Herald - Thursday, March 14, 2019 

We are currently at 1 degree Celsius in terms of global warming. An additional rise of 0.5C will exacerbate ice sheet instability in Antarctica and Greenland. Current rates of greenhouse-gas emissions will bring us to 1.5 C by 2030, just 11 years away. We will see ever-more-severe flooding of low-lying coastal areas. Over time, hundreds of millions of people will be displaced. To stop the global warming juggernaut we have to implement rapid and far-reaching changes throughout the economy. We need a bold and ambitious plan of action. What we cannot afford is a continuing refusal on the part of our politicians. There is no Plan B. We have to act now. ~ Nigel Calder, Newcastle
Letter: CMP corridor not worth it
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, March 14, 2019 

The proposed Central Maine Power transmission line is bad for Maine and for the environment. The token subsidies are insignificant when analyzed over the course of their intended spans. In exchange, CMP would decimate a 53-mile swath of pristine Maine wilderness, leaving a scar that would exist far beyond 40 years. The environmental consequences of this corridor will cost us in tourism and recreational losses, risks to clean water, disruption to and/or loss of wildlife, suppression of local renewable energy sources, and continued unacceptable levels of carbon emissions. Hardly worth 6 cents a month. ~ Anne Winchester, Pemaquid
Letter: Protect children and crops
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, March 14, 2019 

The Environmental Protection Agency has issued an “emergency approval,” to allow the use of a powerful insecticide, sulfoxaflor, that is harmful to bees. Bees are important to crop raising but bee populations worldwide have suffered precipitous declines. Another pesticide, chlorpyrifos, has been tied to children’s health problems. In 2012, the EPA moved to ban its use, but the pesticide lived on through the efforts of industry lobbyists, until halted by a court order in 2015. The Scott Pruitt-led EPA ignored the court and reinstated use of the pesticide. The manufacturer, Dow Chemical, donated $1 million to the Trump inauguration. Citizens moved to complain to the EPA for decisions that harm children and irreparably damage food crops should send a letter to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. For better results include a crisp $1 million check. ~ Sam Woodward, Surry
Judge Declines ExxonMobil's Motion To Dismiss Case Set To Put Climate Change And Corporate Responsibility On Trial
Other - Wednesday, March 13, 2019 

WBUR - A judge in Boston federal court will allow a first-of-its-kind climate change lawsuit against a major corporation to move forward. Judge Mark Wolf declined a motion by ExxonMobil to dismiss an amended lawsuit filed by the Conservation Law Foundation, which claims the oil giant has failed to safeguard an oil storage facility against the impacts of climate change. In January, in a separate case, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to block a lawsuit against ExxonMobil brought by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey. That ruling clears the way for Massachusetts to obtain records probing whether the oil company had deceived the public and shareholders for decades about its knowledge of the role fossil fuels play in climate change.
Piscataquis County: The under-the-radar hot spot in Maine real estate
Mainebiz - Wednesday, March 13, 2019 

A combination of factors, including a quietly improving economy across the county, which has a population of 16,900, and the state's focus on destination tourism, combined with the state's second-lowest median home price, have made Piscataquis County an under-the-radar real estate hot spot. The state's increased focus on destination tourism has benefited the county, which is home to Baxter State Park, the Gulf Hagas gorge and natural area, the southern end of the Allagash Wilderness Waterway, and countless lakes and rivers and borders borders Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument.
Where Will Your Plastic Trash Go Now That China Doesn't Want It?
National Public Radio - Wednesday, March 13, 2019 

What should wealthy countries do with their plastic waste? For years, some 70 percent of the world's plastic waste went to China, about 7 million tons a year. Numerous Chinese millionaires were minted as recycling businesses blossomed. They paid for the world's plastic and paper trash but they made far more money from processing it and selling the resulting raw materials. But last year the Chinese government cut back almost all imports of trash. Now a lot of that plastic gets shipped to other countries that don't have the capacity to recycle it or dispose of it safely. Recycling experts say that wealthy countries need to stop exporting to countries that can't handle it.
Maine AG’s office: Submerged lands bill is unconstitutional
Seacoast Online - Wednesday, March 13, 2019 

State Rep. Deane Rykerson has tabled his bill that would designate submerged lands beneath impounded waters as state-owned, after a work session this week merited a letter from the attorney general’s office stating the bill “raises constitutional questions.” Rykerson’s submission of the bill has drawn criticism from certain Kittery town officials and residents. A 3.67-acre experimental aquaculture lease application from Spinney Creek Shellfish currently lies with the Department of Marine Resources after months of hearings and testimony. In a letter, Assistant Attorney General Lauren Parker wrote that Rykerson’s bill “would declare certain privately owned lands without compensating the affected private landowners.”
Three hurt in Rangeley when snowmobiles collide
Sun Journal - Wednesday, March 13, 2019 

Two men and a child were injured Saturday night when two snowmobiles collided on Rangeley Lake. Mark Latti, director of communications for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife, said speed was a contributing factor in the accident, which occurred just before 8 p.m. Mark Lindsay, 41, of Bennington, Vermont, was driving one snowmobile and Tyler Graham, 27, of Brunswick the other. Evan Almeida, 7, of Middleborough, Massachusetts, was Graham’s passenger.
Trump's Proposed Budget Would Devastate National Parks
Outside - Wednesday, March 13, 2019 

When you look at the Trump administration’s 2020 budget proposal for the Department of the Interior, the numbers paint a pretty clear picture. Despite rhetoric about allocating more money to address the National Park Service’s maintenance backlog, the reality is that, if this proposal were to move forward, there would be less cash to go around for virtually every line item that isn’t directly related to oil and gas extraction. The NPS budget would be cut by $494,946,000. The Fish and Wildlife Service budget is slashed by $267 million. The USGS’s budget is cut by $165 million.
Clary Lake property owners lose in court
Kennebec Journal - Wednesday, March 13, 2019 

While disputes over the water level in the lake have been aired for years, property owners around Clary Lake have complained about the low water levels since 2011 that have left their docks far from the water’s edge and reduced their beaches to mud and grass. Justice Daniel Billings found that the value of Robert Rubin's and Cheryl Ayer's property on the Whitefield lake had been lowered because of the operation of the dam, but Richard Smith and his company were not responsible.
Climate bills call for Maine to reduce emissions to 80% below 1990 levels
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, March 13, 2019 

Maine scientists, fishermen and environmentalists urged lawmakers Wednesday to embrace a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent and begin work on a new “action plan” to address climate change. But while manufacturers and energy producers welcomed the proposed discussions, they warned against setting unrealistic requirements on industries that have already dramatically reduced emissions. “Please don’t ask us to do more until other sources have done similar levels” of reductions, said Scott Beal, environmental security manager for Woodland Pulp in Baileyville.
New Bill Aims To Drastically Reduce Maine's Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Maine Public - Wednesday, March 13, 2019 

Scientists, activists and people working in Maine's natural resources-based economy are backing a bill designed to dramatically reduce Maine's greenhouse gas emissions over the next 30 years. The proposal is an update to the state's 2004 climate action plan and one of the first major pieces of climate change legislation that could become law in more than eight years. While the bill has widespread support, some industries warned that it could have a negative effect on their businesses. The bill targets aims for an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, hoping to get them below 1990 levels by 2030 and a 100 percent reduction by 2050.
Caco Bay advocates at the ‘cutting edge’ of research, call for new statewide advisory group
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, March 13, 2019 

For more than two decades, researchers from the group Friends of Casco Bay have been testing water at 22 locations from South Portland to Brunswick regularly. They have tested temperature, salinity, acidity, oxygen, nitrogen and other levels to gauge the health of the bay environment. The Friends of Casco Bay are setting out for a series of talks to tell the public what they’re learning and to call for a state law that will bring together some of the region’s top experts to focus on the future of Maine’s marine life. Casco Baykeeper Ivy Frignoca said her organization hopes new Gov. Janet Mills, who has called climate change a “top priority” for her administration, will embrace the advisory council in some form.
N.H. Town Meeting Voters Approve A Range of Responses to Climate Change
Maine Public - Wednesday, March 13, 2019 

Municipalities across New Hampshire took a range of steps to confront climate change at the local level during their annual town meetings Tuesday. Voters in Hampton overwhelmingly passed a set of zoning changes that will require new construction in certain flood-prone coastal neighborhoods to be built up on pilings that let water flow underneath. Other town meeting articles focused more on renewable energy as a means of tackling the carbon emissions that scientists agree are driving global warming.
Editorial: Why Trump’s budget plan doesn’t really matter
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, March 13, 2019 

The White House released its budget proposal for 2020 this week, more than a month late. As in the past two years, it proposes big cuts in some government spending. In reality, the president’s budget doesn’t matter all that much. Sure, it outlines his proposals to slash funding for education, environmental programs and public health. Already Sen. Susan Collins and Rep. Chellie Pingree, who sit on the appropriations committees, say the president’s 2020 budget won’t pass without significant changes. When short-term spending plans are set to expire, both parties use the urgency of agreeing on a spending plan to advance their agendas — and to paint their opponents into a difficult corner. This brinksmanship is no way to handle decisions as complex as allocating trillions of taxpayer dollars to government operations.
LD 797 would set roadmap for cutting carbon pollution and strengthening Maine’s economy
Natural Resources Council of Maine - Wednesday, March 13, 2019 

From shellfish growers and farmers to doctors and home-grown clean energy businesses, a wide range of Mainers testified today in support of a bipartisan bill to spark action on climate change. An Act to Limit Greenhouse Gas Pollution and Effectively Use Maine’s Natural Resources (LD 797) would set Maine on a clear path forward for tackling climate change by reducing carbon pollution and growing local economies, while protecting families and businesses from the worst effects of the changing climate..
Windham Middle School Students Create Buzz about Bees
Natural Resources Council of Maine - Wednesday, March 13, 2019 

Seventh grade students at Windham Middle School will soon embark on an interdisciplinary project based learning endeavor involving the importance and protection of Maine’s bees. With the recent addition of the rusty patched bumble bee to the endangered species list it’s understandable to be concerned, if not alarmed, about the possibility of a world without bees. It’s also understandable to feel overwhelmed by the scale of the epidemic and thus quite powerless. This spring our academic team will attempt to protect our local bee populations through the creation and implementation of a recovery plan. ~ Erin Beal, seventh grade teacher, Windham Middle School
Column: Barred Owl Booms and Busts
Boothbay Register - Wednesday, March 13, 2019 

It is possible that the number of barred owls that all of us are seeing now here in Maine is elevated because the total population has been at an unusually high level. We could surmise that the boom in acorn production of two years ago that led to the high squirrel population (and perhaps a high mouse population as well) allowed barred owls to produce more surviving young than usual. If so, this high owl population could have carried right into late-winter when squirrel populations began to decline. Add to this the various late-winter coatings of ice and snow that made catching mice harder and harder and it could mean a bust in barred owl food supplies. Fortunately for these barred owls, spring is already bringing warmer temps and likely some better conditions for hunting. ~ Jeffrey V. Wells and Allison Childs Wells
Editorial: Trump's latest slight of hand
Maine Environmental News - Wednesday, March 13, 2019 

On Tuesday, President Trump signed a bill to permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund. However, on Monday the president proposed a fiscal 2020 budget that would slash funding for LWCF by 95 percent. Trump wants to be able to brag that he supports conservation. Perhaps he thinks no one will notice that he doesn't.
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