January 16, 2018  
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Maine Environmental News
Announcement - Tuesday, January 16, 2018 

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 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
Feeding Maine Photography Exhibit, thru Feb 23
Event - Posted - Tuesday, January 16, 2018 

Feeding Maine: Growing Access to Good Food is a photo exhibit by Brendan Bullock, which seeks to document the many people working to address hunger in the state. Created by Maine Farmland Trust and Good Shepherd Food Bank. At University of Southern Maine Lewiston Auburn College, Atrium Art Gallery, January 16 to February 23, opening event January 19.
February Vacation Camps, Feb 20-23
Event - Posted - Tuesday, January 16, 2018 

Maine Audubon Vacation Camps at Fields Pond in Holden and Gilsland Farm in Falmouth, February 20-23.
Nominations for Source Awards due Feb 12
Announcement - Tuesday, January 16, 2018 

Maine Sunday Telegram Source Awards recognize the individuals, nonprofits, businesses and institutions in Maine working to safeguard the state’s spectacular natural environment. Deadline for nominations is February 12.
Apprenticeships at MCHT Preserves
Announcement - Tuesday, January 16, 2018 

Maine Coast Heritage Trust has paid apprenticeships at Aldermere Farm and Ericsson Fields in Rockport. Each apprenticeship will be up to 9-months starting in March and will include a monthly stipend, benefits, shared housing, training and supervision. Applications are due Feb. 5
Land-use history of Midcoast, Jan 23
Event - Posted - Sunday, January 14, 2018 

Forestry experts Lloyd Irland and Ken Lausten will explore the land-use history of Midcoast Maine. At Camden Public Library, January 23, 7 pm.
Friends of Casco Bay Annual Members Meeting, Jan 23
Event - Posted - Sunday, January 14, 2018 

Recognition for those who help protect the health of Casco Bay, an updated Casco Bay Health Index based on data collected by volunteer Citizen Stewards over the past 25 years, and new program directions. At DiMillo's, Portland, January 23, 5:30-8 pm.
Offshore drilling public meeting, Jan 22
Action Alert - Saturday, January 13, 2018 

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management will hold a public meeting on a proposal to open Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) areas to oil and gas drilling off the Atlantic (and other) coasts. At Augusta Civic Center, Jan 22, 3-7 pm.
Scouting for Mammal Tracks and Signs, Jan 20
Event - Posted - Saturday, January 13, 2018 

Sandra Mitchell will follow up on the November tracks and signs class in the field. At Northeast Penjajawoc Preserve, January 20, 10-11:30 am.
Nature Journaling, Jan 20
Event - Posted - Saturday, January 13, 2018 

Andrea Lani will lead a nature journaling workshop at Viles Arboretum, Augusta, January 20, 10 am to 2 pm, $35 for Arboretum members, $45 for nonmembers.
Prowl for Owls, Jan 19
Event - Posted - Friday, January 12, 2018 

Maine Master Naturalist Kit Pfeiffer will lead a walk scouting for owls. At Carl and Barbara Segerstrom Preserve at Squam Creek, Westport Island, January 19, 6 pm. Sponsored by Kennebec Estuary Land Trust.
Futures of the Maine Waterfront, Jan 19
Event - Posted - Friday, January 12, 2018 

This forum will feature panel discussions on the future of our coastal and island economy, presented with trends and analysis by key coastal leaders. At The Westin, Portland, January 19, 2-8:30 pm, $35-150. Sponsored by the Island Institute.
Meet the Feet: Mammal Tracks and Sign, Jan 18
Event - Posted - Thursday, January 11, 2018 

Dorcas Miller presents an evening of hands-on learning about Maine mammals. At Belfast Library, January 18, 6:30 pm. Sponsored by Belfast Bay Watershed Coalition.
Connecting rivers, people and fish - by bike, Jan 18
Event - Posted - Thursday, January 11, 2018 

Alicia Heyburn spent five weeks on a solo bicycle tour from the source of the Rhine River in the Swiss Alps to the outlet at the North Sea near Amsterdam. Learn about Europe's extensive international network of bike trails, free cultural exchange and accommodation services, the stages and benefits of re-naturalizing a river, and how to travel alone without being lonely. At Curtis Memorial Library, Brunswick, January 18, 7 pm.
Growing Farm-Friendly Communities, Jan 18
Event - Posted - Thursday, January 11, 2018 

Community leaders share policy approaches and practical ideas for ways communities and farmers can benefit from working together. At Windham Town Hall, January 18, 9 – 11 am, Maine Farmland Trust or GrowSmart Maine members $15, non-members $25.
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News Items
Letter: Polar vortex and climate change
Morning Sentinel - Tuesday, January 9, 2018 

Both this month and three years ago, Maine suffered from frigid polar winds caused by changes in the polar vortex. Climate scientists suspect that climate change is causing these extreme cold events. The more our climate warms, the more surprises we run into, and some of them are not pleasant (more polar vortexes, more heat waves, droughts, wildfires, and flooding, stronger hurricanes and tornadoes). Maybe it is time that we insist that our politicians stop ignoring these risks, and do something about it. ~ Richard Thomas, Waterville
Climate Denial Pervades the Trump White House, But It's Hitting Some Limits
Inside Climate News - Monday, January 8, 2018 

Trump's musings have gone from fringe fantasy to official obfuscation, enshrining a denialism that runs through the core of his administration, from the top down. Yet signs are beginning to surface that suggest this refusal to accept even the basics of climate science may come up against some limits. Last year, the administration signed off on a comprehensive update of the mainstream science that clearly says humans have contributed to atmospheric warming. Then there were rumblings that Scott Pruitt's "red team, blue team" review of climate science could be put on ice. Finally, climate hawks in the Senate are rallying to defeat Trump's proposed appointment of Kathleen Hartnett White, who considers carbon dioxide the "gas of life," as head of the Council on Environmental Quality.
Column: Technology Proves So Valuable on the Trails
Portland Press Herald - Monday, January 8, 2018 

Peak Finder is just the latest in a whole menu of apps and functions useful for hiking and backpacking that I’ve got loaded on my smartphone, an iPhone 7 Plus. Used to be that I wouldn’t even consider going into the woods and mountains with technology of any kind, convinced that doing so would detract from my wilderness experience, but no more. This hiker has happily embraced technology, and I find my phone to be an enjoyable and indispensable tool on the trail. ~ Carey Kish
11 great cross-country skiing spots in Maine
Aislinn Sarnacki Act Out Blog - Monday, January 8, 2018 

The state is filled with trails and woods roads that are groomed for cross-country skiing, as well as ski centers that feature amenities such as rental skis, trailside warming huts and lights for nighttime skiing. But sometimes it’s difficult to find the information about the many winter destinations that are scattered all over the state. I’ve compiled a list of 11 great cross-country ski spots in Maine:
1. Hidden Valley Nature Center in Jefferson
2. Camden Hills State Park in Camden
3. Acadia National Park carriage roads
4. Bangor Municipal Golf Course in Bangor
5. Pineland Farm in New Gloucester
6. Big Squaw Mountain in Greenville
7. Appalachian Mountain Club trails near Greenville
8. Quarry Road Trails in Waterville
9. Harris Farm in Dayton
10. UMaine DeMerritt Forest in Orono
11. The Nordic Heritage Center in Presque Isle
Trump touts efforts to help nation’s farmers
Associated Press - Monday, January 8, 2018 

President Trump pitched his efforts to help rural America, promoting his tax overhaul law and economic development plans Monday at the annual convention of the American Farm Bureau Federation. The president also took credit for working to roll back the Obama administration’s interpretation of the Clean Water Act.
Idexx says Westbrook expansion will increase traffic, eliminate some wetlands
Portland Press Herald - Monday, January 8, 2018 

Idexx Laboratories’ proposed expansion in Westbrook would increase the already heavy traffic in the area by about 250 trips per hour during peak periods and result in the elimination of some nearby wetlands, company representatives told residents during a neighborhood meeting Monday night. The public meeting was the first in a series as one of Westbrook’s largest employers seeks to build a $62 million add-on to its existing headquarters. Idexx would need to obtain environmental and traffic impact permits.
Peter Vigue steps down as CEO of Cianbro
Portland Press Herald - Monday, January 8, 2018 

Longtime Cianbro chief Peter Vigue has stepped down as CEO of the large Pittsfield construction company and handed the reins to his son, Andi Vigue. The senior Vigue will continue as chairman of The Cianbro Cos. and will work with Cianbro Development Corp. Vigue has led a team that has transformed the company into one of the world’s largest, most diverse and successful employee-owned companies in the United States.
Energy agency rejects Trump plan to prop up nuclear, coal industries
Associated Press - Monday, January 8, 2018 

An independent energy agency Monday rejected a Trump administration plan to bolster coal-fired and nuclear power plants, dealing a blow to President Trump’s efforts to boost the struggling coal industry. The decision by the Republican-controlled Federal Energy Regulatory Commission was unexpected and comes amid repeated promises by Trump to revive coal as the nation’s top power source. The industry has been besieged by multiple bankruptcies and a steady loss of market share as natural gas and renewable energy flourish.
Belfast Shipyard Poised For Expansion Amid Demand For State-Of-The-Art Ferries
Maine Public - Monday, January 8, 2018 

When JB Turner opened the Front Street Shipyard in Belfast six years ago, he had a handful of workers and a vision. The company has grown to nearly a hundred workers and is poised to start building state-of-the-art passenger ferries. They’re made of a lighter material, carbon fiber laminate, that the company believes offer a number of benefits over the traditional steel- and aluminum-hulled vessels. Turner says the yard will need another 50-100 workers based on demand for the new carbon fiber ferries.
Collins and King to feds: Keep oil and gas drilling away from Maine’s coastline
Portland Press Herald - Monday, January 8, 2018 

U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King told Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke on Monday that the risk of harm from oil and gas drilling off Maine’s coast “far outweighs any potential benefit.” “We oppose any effort to open waters off the coast of Maine or any proximate area to offshore drilling, which could negatively affect the health of Maine’s fisheries and other coastal resources, threatening to harm not only the environment but the state’s economy as well,” King and Collins wrote to Zinke in response to a controversial proposal to reopen the North Atlantic to energy exploration.
Myers donates land to the Kennebec Land Trust
Kennebec Journal - Monday, January 8, 2018 

Kennebec Land Trust member Stewart Myers donated a 238-acre conservation easement in Vienna and Chesterville in Kennebec and Franklin counties to the Kennebec Land Trust on Dec. 19. This conservation donation, which encompasses most of the shoreline of Egypt Pond, will protect natural scenery, water quality, working woodlands and farmland, and wildlife habitat, according to a news release from Howard Lake, KLT Lands Committee board chairman. The trust’s newest conservation easement includes more than 1.5 miles of undeveloped shoreline, mixed woodlands, hayfields and wetlands with vernal pools.
Brunswick marine biologist believes whale saved her from shark
Portland Press Herald - Monday, January 8, 2018 

When marine biologist Nan Hauser approached a 25-ton humpback whale in the South Pacific, it nudged her through the water for about 10 minutes and at one point lifted her to the surface with its flipper. She thinks it was trying to protect her from a large tiger shark nearby. Nan Hauser shares footage of an encounter in which a humpback whale nudged her with its head and shielded her with a fin. [video]
Collins, King send letter opposing drilling off the Maine coast
Maine Environmental News - Monday, January 8, 2018 

Today, U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King, a member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, sent a letter to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke expressing their opposition to a recent proposal from the Department of Interior that would allow offshore drilling in the vast majority of federal waters, including potentially off the coast of Maine.
Exclusive: Holly Lusk becomes Paul LePage's main handler
Maine Environmental News - Monday, January 8, 2018 

John McGough, Maine Gov. Paul LePage's longtime chief of staff, has stepped down. LePage has appointed Holly Lusk as his chief of staff and legislative director, effective today. Lusk worked at the Maine law firm Preti Flaherty, then she worked for the LePage Administration, which is virtually a subsidiary of Preti Flaherty, then she went back to Preti Flaherty to be a lobbyist. By November 2017, she was back with LePage as deputy chief of staff and legislative policy director. Now she has her hands into pretty much everything in Maine state government. Lusk was one of two LePage aides who founded his ICE PAC in 2016. However, the political action committee was dissolved last fall. Does that mean Paul LePage and his band of mischief-makers has given up on pushing their extreme anti-government agenda? Not likely. Especially with Holly Lusk at the helm.
Climate Denial Pervades the Trump White House, But It's Hitting Some Limits
Inside Climate News - Monday, January 8, 2018 

Five years after Donald Trump's infamous "hoax" tweet, in which he called climate change a fiction developed by the Chinese, the president, again on Twitter, reacted to a recent cold snap by saying "we could use a little bit of that good old Global Warming"—this, at the tail end of a year that was the United States' third warmest on record. Trump's musings have gone from fringe fantasy to official obfuscation, enshrining a denialism that runs through the core of his administration, from the top down. The administration's culture of denialism and support for fossil fuels has pushed rollbacks of policies meant to protect public health, safety and the environment.
Judge rules to dismiss standoff case against Bundy bunch
Associated Press - Monday, January 8, 2018 

A judge in Las Vegas has decided to dismiss criminal charges against a Nevada rancher and his sons accused of leading an armed uprising against federal authorities in 2014. Several gunmen among the protesters who had assault-style rifles were acquitted of criminal charges in two trials last year. Ryan and Ammon Bundy also were acquitted of federal criminal charges in Oregon after an armed occupation in early 2016 of a national wildlife refuge to demand the government turn over public land to local control.
U.S. Spent a Record $306 Billion on "Natural" Disasters in 2017
TIME - Monday, January 8, 2018 

The U.S. had 16 disasters last year with damage exceeding a billion dollars, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Monday. “While we have to be careful about cause-effect discussions, the National Academy of Science and recent peer-reviewed literature continue to show that some of today’s extremes have climate change fingerprints on them,” said meteorology professor Marshall Shepherd, a past president of the American Meteorological Society.
[Humor] LePage blocks plowing to Katahdin National Monument
Forecaster - Monday, January 8, 2018 

If I wrote about everything I got right last year it would be a ridiculously short column. Instead, let’s pretend this is what really happened…. Nov. 2: LePage issues an executive order declaring the state will no longer plow roads leading to the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. This provides a sizable boost to the snowmobile industry. Dec. 25: The Maine People’s Alliance launches a referendum campaign to have this date re-designated as Indigenous Religions Day. According to aides, LePage intended to fight this attack on Christmas by activating the National Guard, but because nobody can understand what he says, he instead activates the Maine Guides. They help direct visitors to the Katahdin monument.
Opinion: Listen to the military on climate change
Bangor Daily News - Monday, January 8, 2018 

Whom should we believe when it comes to national security: military experts preparing for future dangers, or politicians preparing for their next election? When it comes to global warming, national security has taken a back seat to ideology and campaign contributions. There is little doubt, outside of Washington, D.C., about the causes of climate change. That the planet is getting warmer due to human activity is confirmed by 97 percent of climate scientists and nearly 200 scientific academies around the world. The last five secretaries of defense, starting with Bush’s Robert Gates, have urged government action on global warming. President Trump, however, remains incalcitrant and in a recent poll, less than a quarter of Americans reported being “very worried” about global warming. ~ David Barnhill, emeritus director of environmental studies, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh
How a Maine town is working to revive its troubled ski mountain
Bangor Daily News - Monday, January 8, 2018 

Camden Snow Bowl benefited from a solid snowpack and sub-freezing conditions during the recent school break, but town officials know that the town-owned ski mountain’s financial missteps and negative publicity from previous seasons remain fresh in people’s minds. Meanwhile, town leaders will explore less expensive ways to develop the mountain and establish it as a multi-season attraction. Expanding the Snow Bowl’s use as a mountain biking season is one option being explored.
Renewed enthusiasm and investment in Katahdin region
Mainebiz - Monday, January 8, 2018 

"It's an exciting time to be in the Katahdin region," says Tina Jamo, president and CEO of Katahdin Federal Credit Union in Millinocket. It has more than 7,500 members and assets of $74 million. In particular, she is encouraged by "a renewed enthusiasm and investment" in the region that she sees keeping its strong momentum in 2018. "We're hoping to have some smaller businesses open up and bring more employment," she says.
Seafood: 'On the cusp' of expansion
Mainebiz - Monday, January 8, 2018 

Peter Handy, president and CEO of Bristol Seafood, says his company will look to build on the success of its Fair Trade Certified scallops, introduced in March 2017 as the first U.S. seafood product with that distinction. "It's in the top 10 fastest-growing seafood items in North America in retail, so we're really happy," Handy says. He adds that Bristol Seafood, which is based at the Portland Fish Pier and employs around 60 people, is "on the cusp" of an expansion, the extent of which is still being determined.
Fewer loggers are dying in the Maine woods, but health risks mount as profession grows sedentary
Bangor Daily News - Monday, January 8, 2018 

Logging remains the nation’s deadliest profession, with the risks it poses to life and limb well established. Now, a new study aims to document not only the acute injuries suffered by loggers but also the less obvious, chronic health risks it poses. Mechanized logging sets loggers up for obesity and associated illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes, as well as for back injuries, muscle sprains and other problems linked to lack of strength, flexibility and muscle tone. By following approximately 300 Maine loggers over five years, researchers hope to develop strategies to protect the safety and health of individual loggers and of the logging workforce, a critical element of Maine’s rural economy.
Lobstermen alarmed at prospect of sharing their secrets with regulators
Portland Press Herald - Monday, January 8, 2018 

For generations, Maine lobstermen have fiercely guarded their fishing secrets, telling almost no one how and where they fish or how much they haul up in their traps. But under a new proposal, these independent operators would have to share all the nitty-gritty details with regulators, like where they fish, how long they let their traps soak, the kind of gear they use and how deep they set it, and how much lobster they land. Fisheries managers want to use this data to assess the health of the Gulf of Maine lobster stock and understand the economic impact of other projects, such as deep-sea coral protections or wind farms, on the valuable lobster fishery. The proposal is triggering alarm among lobstermen.
Letter: Maine needs a healthy ocean
Bangor Daily News - Monday, January 8, 2018 

As the cold sets in, the abundance of fishing and recreation boats winterized is a reminder of how much Mainers depend on the Atlantic Ocean for our livelihood. Protections for our ocean are now in danger. President Donald Trump’s proposed budget significantly decreases research funding for NOAA, which supports essential research on valuable marine species in Maine and elsewhere. Without this funding, Maine fisheries may find themselves unprepared to adapt to a changing climate. We call on our elected officials to continue to protect our oceans and maintain Maine’s conservation efforts to give Mainers a healthy and clean ocean. ~ Will Parker, Environment Maine, Brunswick
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