June 19, 2019  
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Maine Environmental News
Action Alert - Wednesday, June 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; 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
Save Right Whales
Action Alert - Wednesday, June 19, 2019 

New England’s iconic whale is on the brink of extinction. A bill in Congress called Scientific Assistance for Very Endangered (“SAVE”) Right Whales could help this key species recover. ~ Conservation Law Foundation
Water: What is has to teach us, Jun 25
Event - Posted - Tuesday, June 18, 2019 

Learn about fresh water ecosystems and new aquaculture operations in the MidCoast region. At Topsham Public Library, June 25, 6 pm. Sponsored by Cathance River Education Alliance.
Proposed Coyote Center, Jun 24
Event - Posted - Monday, June 17, 2019 

Biologist Geri Vistein will share an informative film about the future Coyote Center in Maine, followed by a discussion of Maine’s coyotes. At Lithgow Public Library, Augusta, June 24, 6:30 pm.
Teen Wilderness Expedition, July 23-25
Announcement - Sunday, June 16, 2019 

The Teen Wilderness Expedition is a 3-day, 2-night, all-inclusive adventure for 12-16 year olds at Little Lyford Lodge, July 23-25. Offered by Piscataquis County Soil and Water Conservation District and Appalachian Mountain Club.
Maine State Museum hosts Bike Day, Jun 22
Event - Posted - Saturday, June 15, 2019 

Join the Maine State Museum, Bicycle Coalition of Maine and the Maine State Library in a free family event to commemorate the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote and learn about the benefits of safe, relaxed bike riding. At Maine State Museum, June 22, 10 am - 1 pm.
Woodland Management with Birds in Mind, Jun 22
Event - Posted - Saturday, June 15, 2019 

A Forestry for Maine Birds workshop for landowners, foresters and loggers interested in learning how they can support Maine’s forest songbirds. At Somerset County Cooperative Extension office, Skowhegan, and on the adjacent Yankee Woodlot Demonstration Forest, June 22, 9 am - noon.
Hike Puzzle Mt., Jun 22
Event - Posted - Saturday, June 15, 2019 

A moderate to strenuous hike of 8.5 miles. Cross several exposed granite boulders and ledges offering views of the Sunday River ski area, Grafton Notch, and the Presidentials, June 22, pre-register. Sponsored by Appalachian Mountain Club.
Androscoggin River Canoe & Kayak River Race, Jun 22
Event - Posted - Saturday, June 15, 2019 

This event is open to all to launch canoes, kayaks, paddle boards, (and more) into the Androscoggin River and complete one of three courses of varying length and challenge. At Festival Plaza, Auburn, June 22, 9 am, $15 for single paddler, $25 for a double, benefits Androscoggin Land Trust.
Plants of Corea Heath, Jun 22
Event - Posted - Saturday, June 15, 2019 

Join Jill Weber, botanist and co-author of The Plants of Acadia National Park, to learn about carnivorous plants, orchids, stunted trees and shrubs and cotton-grass. At Corea Heath, Goldsboro, June 22, 8:30 am. Sponsored by Downeast Audubon.
Maine Wildlife Park open house, Jun 21
Event - Posted - Friday, June 14, 2019 

The Maine Wildlife Park in Gray will hold an open house with free admission, June 21, 5-8 pm. Feeding times for moose, lynx, foxes, cougars, vultures and bears will be posted.
Call for a presidential primary debate on climate change
Action Alert - Thursday, June 13, 2019 

Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez has rejected a presidential primary debate on climate change. 15 Democratic presidential candidates have joined the call. So can you. ~ CREDO Action
Trekking through Time
Announcement - Thursday, June 13, 2019 

From June through October, Lakes Environmental Association, Loon Echo Land Trust, Greater Lovell Land Trust, Upper Saco Valley Land Trust, and Western Foothills Land Trust will host the Trekking through Time Series. Once a month throughout the summer and early fall, each organization will host a historical tour of one of its conservation properties.
Help document impact on shell middens, Jun 18
Announcement - Tuesday, June 11, 2019 

Many cultural artifacts of Maine's first coastal residents are preserved in shell middens, but these sites are disappearing as sea levels rise, collectors dig into the middens, and visitors walk on them. Maine Midden Minders is developing a database of erosion conditions at middens. Volunteer training at Coastal Rivers’ Education Center, Damariscotta, June 18, 3-7 pm.
“Dog-Friendly Hikes in Maine” book launch, Jun 18
Event - Posted - Tuesday, June 11, 2019 

Book signing and presentation for “Dog-Friendly Hikes in Maine” by Aislinn Sarnacki, which contains detailed descriptions and maps of 35 hikes across Maine that are ideal for dogs and their owners. At Epic Sports, Bangor, June 18, 5-7:30 pm.
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News Items
The Farm Bureau: Big Oil’s Unnoticed Ally Fighting Climate Science and Policy
Inside Climate News - Friday, December 21, 2018 

Farmers are on the front lines of climate change, yet for decades, the Farm Bureau has worked closely with the fossil fuel industry to sow uncertainty about the science and prevent any federal climate action. The latest chapter in the series Harvesting Peril by Inside Climate News investigates the ties that bind Big Oil and the politically powerful farm lobby.
How The Real Versus Fake Christmas Tree Debate Affects Maine Farmers
Maine Public - Friday, December 21, 2018 

This year, about 95 million households across the country will put up a Christmas tree, and about 80 percent of those trees will be artificial. Christmas tree growers in Maine and across the United States have seen their markets for live trees melting away for at least two generations. They’ve tried to turn the trend around, but the industry is divided over how to grow demand.
Maine among states suing Trump administration over ocean sound blasts
Associated Press - Friday, December 21, 2018 

A group of East Coast states, including Maine, is attempting to prevent oil and natural gas drilling off their coasts by suing to knock out the first step in the exploration process. Nine states filed a lawsuit Thursday aimed at reversing federal approval for underwater seismic testing that involves blasting the sea bed with sound waves.
The policies and controversies that defined LePage’s eight years in office
Bangor Daily News - Friday, December 21, 2018 

A timeline of many of Gov. Paul LePage’s greatest hits and misses, including opposition to creating Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument.
Town, home solar advocates settle lawsuit over tax assessments
York Weekly - Friday, December 21, 2018 

The town of York and Solar Owners of York Association have settled a lawsuit the association filed last July seeking redress from a $1,000-per-panel assessment of residential solar system. Under terms of the settlement, the town agrees to assess each panel at $400 retroactive to 2017 and no more than $400 from 2019-2029, which is the period of the agreement. State Rep. Lydia Blume, D-York, said she will file a bill this month to add solar panels to the list of exempted items, which, if enacted into law, would likely make the settlement moot.
Nipper was meant to be a farm animal. Now she’s a diaper-wearing house duck
Bangor Daily News - Friday, December 21, 2018 

In just a few weeks, Nipper the duck has become accustomed to life as a “house duck,” an unexpected, part-time role that was offered to her in a time of great need. Originally in a flock of eight, Nipper was raised by the Fishers this past spring to produce eggs — outside. But in November, this idyllic life came to an abrupt end for seven of the eight birds when they were attacked by a wild predator during the night. Only Nipper survived. Unwilling to leave her alone that night to fend off the predator and the intense cold, Beth Fisher and her three sons decided to bring Nipper inside.
Maine Warden Service Names New Sergeant
George Smith BDN Outdoor News Blog - Friday, December 21, 2018 

The Maine Warden Service has announced that Corporal Mike Joy has been selected to replace a sergeant vacancy created by the recent promotion of Lt. Dan Menard in Aroostook County.
Portland sewage spill broke state law, environment officials say
Bangor Daily News - Friday, December 21, 2018 

The July spill of 1.7 million gallons of sewage from Portland’s water utility into Casco Bay broke state law and warrants a fine, Maine’s environmental agency has found. In November, the state Department of Environmental Protection informed the Portland Water District that the overflow of mostly treated wastewater from a plant on the city’s East End was among scores of incidents to violate conditions of its license and a state law governing the disposal of sewage in recent years.
Column: Flocking behavior can be downright mesmerizing
Bangor Daily News - Friday, December 21, 2018 

Let’s say you’re being chased by zombies. Are your survival odds better if you’re in a crowd of 100 people being chased by one zombie, or better if you’re running alone, chased by 100 zombies? OK, so now you understand why birds flock together. Imagine you’re in a flock of 100 sandpipers, being chased by a peregrine falcon. There’s a 99 percent chance the pending victim won’t be you. ~ Bob Duchesne
Letter: PUC has failed in its mission
Sun Journal - Friday, December 21, 2018 

Everyone likes a good laugh, especially during the holidays, but the PUC’s decision to grant electricity producers a 14 percent increase was anything but funny. With inflation still below three percent, it was absurd to grant such a huge increase, even if natural gas prices are fluctuating and supplies are tight. Natural gas is still available; it is just being manipulated. It is the PUC’s job to prevent consumer gouging and producers’ gorging. The commission failed in its appointed task. ~ Mark Wood, Poland
Loon Echo gets two more grants for Peabody-Fitch project
Turner Publishing - Thursday, December 20, 2018 

Peabody-Fitch Woods in South Bridgton has moved another step closer to reality as Loon Echo Land Trust announced that it has received been awarded grants to help fund the project. The trust was granted $20,000 from the Davis Conservation Foundation and $10,000 from the Morton-Kelly Charitable Trust to help fund the Peabody-Fitch Woods, which will protect the historic Narramissic Farm from development encroachment. Grant money already received from several other foundations includes $40,000 from the Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation, and $75,000 from a foundation that wishes to remain anonymous.
Scarborough Planning Board advances 2nd phase of Downs project
Forecaster - Thursday, December 20, 2018 

The Planning Board on Tuesday unanimously approved a concept for potential phase 2 development of The Downs. The 150-acre parcel is on the northern portion of the property and has been dubbed the “Innovation District” – slated for a mix of light industrial, manufacturing, research and technology uses, as well as general commercial and retail development. Infrastructure work for the residential portion of the development, which is phase 1 of the project, is already underway and is expected to be completed next year.
Augusta to eliminate two of four recycling collection sites
Kennebec Journal - Thursday, December 20, 2018 

City councilors voted to eliminate two of the city’s four recycling drop-off locations, which are the only two that are available to residents around the clock seven days a week, in a unanimous vote Thursday. Getting rid of the single-sort recycling bins in parking lots outside City Center and the police station was recommended by city administrators because too many people are putting nonrecyclables into the bins, people have left items outside the bins when they are full, and nonresidents have been using them to get rid of their unwanted items — some recyclable, some not.
Here’s how this government shutdown could affect Mainers
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, December 20, 2018 

Acadia National Park and Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument would drop to skeleton staffing or none at all. The Environmental Protection Agency and Food and Drug Administration would also go into some kind of hibernation, so companies and communities working with those agencies would likely see delays.
Maine attorney general joins lawsuit opposing airguns to search for oil in Atlantic
Washington Post - Thursday, December 20, 2018 

State attorneys general from Maine to South Carolina have joined a lawsuit filed by conservationists seeking to block the Trump administration from allowing seismic testing in the Atlantic Ocean that could harm marine mammals and lead to drilling off the Eastern Seaboard for the first time in decades. States joined the lawsuit to seek an injunction and stop seismic mapping from moving forward on the grounds that it violates the Endangered Species Act, the Marine Mammal Protection Act and other federal laws to conserve wildlife.
Audit: CMP Meters Are Accurate, Billing Problems 'Minimal'
Maine Public - Thursday, December 20, 2018 

An independent audit of Central Maine Power released Thursday finds that CMP's smart meters produce accurate readings of customers' power usage. The Maine Public Utilities Commission commissioned the audit as part of its inquiry into consumer complaints about unusually high bills last winter. The audit did identify problems with staffing and training around smart meters.
Justice goes after promoters of abusive conservation easement tax scheme
Maine Environmental News - Thursday, December 20, 2018 

The vast majority of conservation easement donations completed each year are truly philanthropic. However, some bad actors will always try to game the system, in this case by using abusive tax shelters. The U.S. Department of Justice has filed a civil complaint against promoters of an allegedly abusive conservation easement syndication tax scheme. The 96 transactions at issue resulted in over $2 billion in claimed federal tax deductions. Andrew Bowman, president of the Land Trust Alliance, said, "This is not the end of our fight against abusive tax shelters involving conservation easement donations. The Land Trust Alliance will continue to seek a permanent, legislative solution to halt abuse through the Charitable Conservation Easement Program Integrity Act."
Column: Staying safe on ice requires great care
SV Weekly - Thursday, December 20, 2018 

Each year about this time, the Maine Warden Service urges us to use extreme caution before venturing out onto any ice that may be covering Maine’s waterways. This is timely advice. Two winters ago, three night-time snowsledders all perished one night on Rangeley Lake when they and their machines broke through thin ice. Many of Maine’s lakes and ponds may appear to be frozen, however, safe ice conditions cannot be assumed. ~ V. Paul Reynolds
Technically, Aquaman is a Mainer
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, December 20, 2018 

“Aquaman,” the latest superhero movie from DC Comics and Warner Brothers, swims into theaters this weekend, a story about the origins of the underwater hero and his rise to power, starring charismatic beefcake Jason Momoa. That origin story includes a plot point that more casual fans of superheroes might not realize: Aquaman was born in Maine. We will have to see which side he falls on when it comes to the PETA vs. Maine’s lobster industry debate. Which side are you on, Aquaman? How many tarps have you got in your backyard?
York locals want a townwide vote to buy property away from developer
York Weekly - Thursday, December 20, 2018 

A number of residents are urging selectmen to put a measure on the ballot next May to buy the 109-acre Davis property in York Village, which is currently slated for a 121-unit condominium development. Selectmen agreed to discuss the matter at the board’s Jan. 14 meeting. Some residents said the situation has changed since 2014, when voters in a nonbinding measure rejected an offer to buy the property for $5.5 million. In a related matter, the Mary McIntire Davis Trust, which owns the land, offered the town an easement on the property to a proposed playground and trails associated with the development project.
Gov. Paul LePage’s Legacy
Boothbay Register - Thursday, December 20, 2018 

No matter what your opinion is of Paul LePage, it’s safe to say that his eight years as governor have added up to a contentious and controversial tenure. "It's a legacy of missed opportunities," contends outgoing Sen. Roger Katz, R-Augusta. LePage has made politics “personal and nasty in Maine as it never before has been,” contends Sandy Maisel, chair of the political science department at Colby College. LePage receives criticism from both sides of the aisle for his stubbornness on issues related to the environment. Katz points to his "unwillingness to always follow the law," such as with Land for Maine's Future. Beth Ahearn, political director for Maine Conservation Voters, said, "Fortunately, Maine legislators, concerned citizens and a coalition of environmental advocates defeated most of his dangerous proposals." Over the past eight years, LePage's "opposition to basic environmental stewardship has jeopardized our clean air, water and wildlife and caused lasting damage to agencies tasked with protecting our environment," Ahearn says.
U.S. Senate Fails to Renew Land and Water Conservation Fund
Maine Environmental News - Thursday, December 20, 2018 

On Wednesday, the U.S. Senate passed a Continuing Resolution that funds the government into February. However, despite the efforts of Maine's Senators Susan Collins and Angus King, the Senate failed to permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund. LWCF, America's most successful conservation and recreation program, has funded projects in all 50 states since it began in 1965. The program, which expired in September, has supported everything from the expansion and maintenance of local parks and recreation centers, to national parks and historical sites.
Opinion: Mills made right choice for fisheries and wildlife commissioner
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, December 20, 2018 

Because of the broad directives that the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is asked to achieve, it must manage a wide range of stakeholders. It’s rare that a governor can find a commissioner to lead any agency who is not only respected across the board, but also has a track record of bringing them together to get things done. I’m glad to say, Gov.-elect Janet Mills has achieved just that with her nomination of Judy Camuso as Commissioner of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. ~ James Cote, Republican lobbyist, Bernstein, Shur law firm
Tight Recycling Market Forces Adjustments
Free Press - Thursday, December 20, 2018 

Maine prides itself on being a leader in recycling as part of its long commitment to preserving the state’s natural beauty and resources. Recyclable materials largely remain out of the flames even as corporations and transfer stations absorb lower prices and more stringent sorting procedures. Recycling is a global business that has been affected by a significant policy change abroad. In 2017, China banned imports of recyclables containing more than 0.5 percent of non-recyclable trash. Sarah Lakeman, Sustainable Maine project director for the Natural Resources Council of Maine, said that without the state’s bottle bill, which she called “the gold standard of recycling,” there would be fewer items recycled, while the impacts of China’s “green sword” would be even more acute in Maine. “This issue has really brought to light that towns and taxpayers are on the hook for paying for everything, and it’s not ‘free,’” she said.
Tempers Flare at Another Salmon Farm Information Session
Free Press - Thursday, December 20, 2018 

Opponents of a proposed land-based salmon farm once again showed up to heckle and argue with representatives from Nordic Aquafarms (NAF) at the Hutchinson Center in Belfast on Monday night. Tempers flared as protesters bickered with the NAF team over the placement of its discharge and outfall pipes, whether there is mercury contamination in the area where the pipes will be buried, and the company’s finding that the discharge will not harm lobsters. Belfast City Councilor Mike Hurley said he is no longer attending NAF meetings for one reason. “It’s chumming for crazy people,” he said.
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