May 26, 2019  
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Maine Environmental News
Action Alert - Saturday, May 25, 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
Hike Little Bigelow, Jun 1
Event - Posted - Saturday, May 25, 2019 

Little Bigelow is the most eastern peak of the Bigelow Range, round trip 6.5 miles. Views of Flagstaff Lake, Sugarloak, Bigelow range. At Carrabassett Valley, June 1, pre-register. Sponsored by Appalachian Mountain Club.
Hike Little Deer Hill & Deer Hill, Jun 1
Event - Posted - Saturday, May 25, 2019 

5.4-mile hike to open summit with great views, Evans Notch, June 1, pre-register. Sponsored by Appalachian Mountain Club.
Public Ownership vs. Private Rights in Maine’s Public Reserved Lots, Jun 1
Event - Posted - Saturday, May 25, 2019 

Panel presentations during Maine Bicentennial Conference. At UMaine, Orono, June 1, 1:30-3:30 pm. Registration fee.
Little Ponds Preserve Celebration, Jun 1
Event - Posted - Saturday, May 25, 2019 

Celebrate the opening of Harpswell Heritage Land Trust's newest preserve. At Little Ponds Preserve, Harpswell, June 1, 10 am.
Maine Entomological Society Field Day, Jun 1
Event - Posted - Saturday, May 25, 2019 

Join MES to explore the world of insects. At Hutchinson Pond Conservation Area, Manchester, June 1, 10 am. Sponsored by Kennebec Land Trust.
Maine Bicentennial Conference, May 30-Jun 1
Event - Posted - Friday, May 24, 2019 

In addition to scholarly panels ($60), several elements (museum exhibits and the keynote event by two Pulitzer Prize winning historians on May 31) are free to the public. A Maine History Festival for students and cultural organizations to present their own research and planning for the state bicentennial will be part of the conference just prior to the keynote event.
Great Maine Scavenger Hunt
Event - Posted - Thursday, May 23, 2019 

The Great Maine Scavenger Hunt is back (year 3). Use this list as your Maine summer vacation guide! Do as much or as little of it as you want. Sponsored by Down East magazine.
Maine Trail Finder 3.0
Announcement - Thursday, May 23, 2019 

The Center for Community GIS has launched the third version of Maine Trail Finder with the same great trail maps and descriptions and lots of new features.
Climate action
Action Alert - Tuesday, May 21, 2019 

Urge legislators on the legislature's Environment & Natural Resources Committee to support climate action via the governor’s bill, LD 1679. ~ Natural Resources Council of Maine
Ban Aerial Herbicide Spraying for Deforestation
Action Alert - Tuesday, May 21, 2019 

Before May 23, urge legislators on the Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry Committee to support LD 1691, An Act To Ban Use of Aerial Herbicide Spraying for the Purpose of Deforestation. ~ Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association
Oyster Farms & Seal Watching Tours, May 25-27
Event - Posted - Saturday, May 18, 2019 

Oyster Farms & Seal Watching Tours will run every day, 2-4 pm, during Memorial Day weekend. At Damariscotta. Benefits the Fish Ladder Restoration Project.
Birding for Kids, May 25
Event - Posted - Saturday, May 18, 2019 

A hands-on workshop for families. At Curtis Farm Preserve, Harpswell, May 25, 9 am. Sponsored by Harpswell Heritage Land Trust.
L.L.Bean & Maine Audubon Birding Festival, May 24-26
Event - Posted - Friday, May 17, 2019 

Boat trips, guided walks, live bird presentations, workshops, kid’s crafts, and activities with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. At Freeport vicinity, May 24-26.
Forestry for Maine Birds, May 23
Event - Posted - Thursday, May 16, 2019 

Free workshop on forestry management for bird conservation. At Head of Tide Preserve, Belfast, May 23, 12-3 pm.
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News Items
Column: Want to hear a whip-poor-will? Maine has plenty of options this month
Bangor Daily News - Friday, May 17, 2019 

We don’t have as many whip-poor-wills as we once did. Nobody does. It was one of the birds monitored during a North American Breeding Bird survey between 1966 and 2015. During that period, 75 percent of whip-poor-wills disappeared. Habitat loss is one probable cause. Fire suppression also reduces whip-poor-will habitat. Fortunately, Maine has one factor in its favor: glaciations. During the last Ice Age, glaciers scoured our state and deposited sand and gravel from the mountains to the sea. Wherever this well-drained soil remains, there you might find whip-poor-wills. ~ Bob Duchesne
Opinion: I oversaw the U.S. nuclear power industry. Now I think it should be banned.
Washington Post - Friday, May 17, 2019 

Nuclear power was supposed to save the planet. It could produce enormous amounts of electricity without the pollution caused by burning coal, oil or natural gas, which would help slow the catastrophic changes humans have forced on the Earth’s climate. As a physicist, I admired the science and the technological innovation behind the industry. In the late 2000s, the arguments in support of nuclear power were gaining traction with Congress, academia and even some environmentalists, as the Chernobyl accident faded. But the Fukushima Daiichi crisis reversed that momentum. Nuclear power is no longer a viable strategy for dealing with climate change, nor is it a competitive source of power. It is hazardous, expensive and unreliable, and abandoning it wouldn’t bring on climate doom. The real choice now is between saving the planet and saving the dying nuclear industry. I vote for the planet. ~ Gregory Jaczko, Nuclear Regulatory Commissioner 2005 - 2009, chairman 2009- 2012
Maine’s lobster exports to China plunge 84 percent due to trade war
Other - Thursday, May 16, 2019 

SeafoodSource - The latest data from the Maine International Trade Center indicates that the state’s lobster exports to China plunged dramatically in the wake of retaliatory tariffs placed on a wide range of U.S. goods. The tariffs, implemented in July 2018, had an immediate affect on the state’s lobster industry. Soon after tariffs were implemented Maine’s exports to China nearly disappeared completely, and according to MITC exports have plunged nearly 84 percent since the tariffs were implemented.
Advocates urge lawmakers to help revive UMaine-led offshore wind power project
Portland Press Herald - Thursday, May 16, 2019 

The Mills administration and advocates for developing offshore wind power in Maine urged lawmakers Thursday to revive a floating turbine project that has been stalled with utility regulators for more than a year. The bill would direct the Public Utilities Commission to approve a long-term contract between the University of Maine-led Aqua Ventus program and Central Maine Power. A PUC decision last June to reopen a previously negotiated contract was viewed by project supporters as yet another setback by Gov. Paul LePage for Maine to develop an energy sector with enormous potential.
Watch as a mama fox plays with her babies in a Maine yard Baby foxes play fight
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, May 16, 2019 

About a week ago, nature photographer Roger Stevens Jr. said a man let him know about a family of foxes that were living underneath someone’s porch not far from downtown Lincoln. Armed with a new camera, he headed over to visit, and found that the foxes were far from shy: The mother fox has five active kits, which scamper, play, wrestle and essentially exude extreme cuteness that he was more than happy to capture in photos.
Portland kicks off a cruise season that will bring bigger ships, more passengers
Portland Press Herald - Thursday, May 16, 2019 

Portland welcomed the first major cruise ship of the 2019 season Thursday. The Norwegian Dawn brought 2,224 passengers and 1,000 crew members into port. Two other large ships expected this month – Grandeur of the Seas on Sunday and the Norwegian Dawn again on May 23 – are among the 100 cruise ships expected to call on Portland this season. Last year, 120 ships visited the city.
EPA Watchdog Finds Ex-Chief Scott Pruitt Spent $124,000 On 'Excessive' Airfare
National Public Radio - Thursday, May 16, 2019 

Scott Pruitt, the former head of the Environmental Protection Agency, and his staff spent roughly $124,000 in excessive travel costs during a ten-month period, according to EPA's internal watchdog. Pruitt, who resigned from EPA almost a year ago amidst a litany of ethics allegations, and his personal security detail flew in first or business class "without sufficient justification and, initially without appropriate approval authority." The EPA's Office of the Inspector General recommended the agency recover the excessive costs. Pruitt is not the first member of the Trump administration to be questioned about his travel on the taxpayer dime. Tom Price, former head of the Department of Health and Human Services, broke federal rules and former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke violated that agency's travel policy.
Maine timber industry opposes bill to ban some aerial spraying of herbicides
Associated Press - Thursday, May 16, 2019 

Maine's timber industry is pushing back at a proposal to restrict aerial spraying of herbicides. The bill, proposed by Democratic Senate President Troy Jackson, would ban the use of “aerial herbicide spraying for the purpose of deforestation.” Members of the timber industry say that definition is far too broad and would take a valuable tool away from companies that harvest trees from Maine’s vast forests. Anthony Hourihan, director of land development for Irving Woodlands, says the company uses aerial herbicide spraying to halt the growth of vegetation that competes with valuable trees.
Maine coast already feeling effects of climate change
WCSH-TV6 - Thursday, May 16, 2019 

Data from the Gulf of Maine Research Institute says since 1982, the temperatures in the Gulf have warmed about 2.3 degrees Fahrenheit. The summer of 2018 saw higher surface water temperatures than ever. Maine state government is devoting new attention to climate change, with Gov. Janet Mills setting ambitious goals to have Maine reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050 and eliminate non-renewable electricity by that same time. But much of the attention to climate may be about mitigation — finding ways to deal with the problem, making coastal communities more resilient, and planning for future impacts on various fisheries. And, since climate change is also a political issue, there is still not universal agreement on the problem or the cause.
Squirrel disrupts power to more than 2,000 in Brewer area
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, May 16, 2019 

More than 2,400 Emera Maine customers were without power in Penobscot County on Thursday morning after a squirrel found its way into a local substation.
Bates College achieves carbon neutral status to help stave off climate change
Sun Journal - Thursday, May 16, 2019 

Twelve years after vowing to make its campus carbon neutral, Bates College has reached its goal before a self-imposed 2020 deadline. Officials said Bates is the seventh college in the country — and fourth in Maine — to become carbon neutral from among the 700 that signed a pledge in 2007 to achieve the target. Three other colleges in Maine, including Colby, Bowdoin and the College of the Atlantic, have achieved carbon neutral status.
Recreational cod fishing could restart in the Gulf of Maine
Associated Press - Thursday, May 16, 2019 

Recreational fishing for Atlantic cod has not been allowed in the Gulf of Maine recently due to concerns about the decline in the fish’s population. But the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said the fish could withstand a very limited fishery at the moment. Federal regulators are considering a proposal to allow recreational fishermen to catch one Gulf of Maine cod per year during limited seasons in September and April.
Company behind Northern Pass accuses NH agency of failing to do its job
Associated Press - Thursday, May 16, 2019 

A company that lost a bid to build a hydropower project accused the New Hampshire state committee charged with making the decision of failing to do its job. Last year, the state’s Site Evaluation Committee denied the Northern Pass, which would bring hydropower from Canada to markets in southern New England, over concerns from communities and environmentalists that it would harm the region’s tourism industry and hurt property values. Eversource wants the court to remand the case back to the committee for reconsideration. It said Wednesday it still wants to build the Northern Pass.
One of Maine’s biggest lakes has too many fish. The state wants your help.
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, May 16, 2019 

If you’re an avid angler, you may think that there’s no such thing as a lake with too many fish in it. If you’re a fisheries biologist, you know that’s not true. And that’s why state biologists in the Moosehead Lake region are preparing for the second annual Chesuncook Lake Salmon Derby on Memorial Day weekend: They need to reduce the number of voracious landlocked salmon swimming around in the lake.
No guarantee $1 billion CMP line will deliver new energy, Massachusetts AG warns
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, May 16, 2019 

While Maine continues to debate the potential environmental impacts of Central Maine Power Co.’s proposed 145-mile transmission line, the Massachusetts attorney general and environmental groups have warned the contracts that would govern power sold over a completed line could undermine the state’s attempt to bring new amounts of clean, renewable power into New England. Massachusetts ratepayers could pay $1 billion for a line through western Maine that doesn’t actually bring them any new energy, the attorney general said in legal filings. In response, a Hydro-Quebec spokesperson called the scenario “illogical,” explaining the utility would want to maximize its exports to increase revenue.
Planners schedule subdivision review as townspeople consider whether they want to buy the property away from developers
York Weekly - Thursday, May 16, 2019 

Plans for the 121-unit McIntire Woods subdivision on Mary McIntire Davis Trust land in York will be before the Planning Board May 23 for final approval — the last step needed to develop the property, as the Maine Department of Environmental Protection recently issued its permit for the subdivision. The Planning Board meeting comes days after the May 18 town elections, when voters are being asked in a nonbinding question if they want the town to purchase the property for between $7 million and $8 million as negotiated last winter between the town and the Davis Trust.
A decision limiting access to seaweed has renewed a debate over access to the shore
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, May 16, 2019 

In March, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court ruled that harvesters must have permission from the upland property owner to cut seaweed above the low-tide line. The decision has resulted in a flurry of legislative proposals. If the Legislature does pass a bill that boosts public access rights to the intertidal zone, many people think it won’t be long before another lawsuit is filed and makes it way back to Maine’s top court. If that happens it will give the court the chance to more broadly address the issue of public access below the high tide line and to negate what he says — as do three state supreme court justices — was a bad decision 30 years ago in the Moody Beach case.
South Portland emissions controversy inspires bill to require local notice
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, May 15, 2019 

Lawmakers from South Portland want to strengthen the state’s notification and air quality testing requirements in response to concerns that regulators failed to inform city officials about long-standing emissions violations from a petroleum tank farm. Two bills would require the Maine DEP to notify municipalities when any ‘notice of violation’ has been issued for emissions infractions and to require independent, third-party testing of emissions.
Restoring Parks, Creating Jobs
Other - Wednesday, May 15, 2019 

A Pew-commissioned analysis, “Restoring Parks, Creating Jobs: How Infrastructure Restoration in the National Park System Can Create or Support Jobs,” found that addressing the National Park Service’s maintenance backlog would create or support nearly 110,000 infrastructure-related jobs nationwide. Maine could gain 573 jobs by investing in infrastructure and preservation projects that are on the NPS deferred maintenance list.
Words matter: Call it a Crisis
350.org - Wednesday, May 15, 2019 

Millions of school children around the world are striking from school to underscore that their future is at stake. The world’s top climate scientists are ringing the alarm bells as 1 million species are now at risk of extinction. Yet, in 2018, only 3.5% of national television news segments discussing climate change referred to it as a “crisis” or an “emergency.” The coverage of climate change we see on the screen does not reflect the reality out in the world.
Measure That Would Effectively Kill CMP Project Gets Tepid Nod From Legislative Committee
Maine Public - Wednesday, May 15, 2019 

A legislative committee gave tepid approval Wednesday to a measure that could effectively kill Central Maine Power's controversial proposal for a high-voltage transmission line through western Maine. As amended, the bill would require approval from two-thirds of municipalities that would host "high-impact" transmission projects, such as CMP's billion-dollar, 141-mile power line. It would also require tangible benefits to the state of significantly higher value than what CMP has offered.
Rare hawk that flew from Mexico to Maine will be memorialized
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, May 15, 2019 

Friends of Deering Oaks is trying to raise $29,000 to pay a Maine artist to create a life-sized bronze sculpture of the rare great black hawk that took up residence in the park last year. The raptor captured widespread attention from birders and the public after it settled in the park, thousands of miles from its native range in Central and South America, from late November until it was found unable to fly during a snowstorm on Jan. 20. It was only the second time a great black hawk had been seen in the United States, Maine Audubon said.
Opponents of Central Maine Power’s $1 billion hydro project claim a legislative victory
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, May 15, 2019 

After Maine’s public advocate warned that it could “kill the project,” a legislative panel endorsed a bill on Wednesday that would mandate local approval of Central Maine Power’s proposed corridor despite a deep split on the issue that crossed party lines. The debate over the proposal from Rep. Seth Berry, D-Bowdoinham, the co-chair of the Legislature’s energy committee and a key critic of Maine utilities, showed an intra-party split among Democrats and may force a showdown between the Legislature and Gov. Janet Mills.
Portland board backs some waterfront protections, but doesn’t shrink redevelopment area
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, May 15, 2019 

A package of zoning amendments meant to protect Portland’s working waterfront is headed to the City Council for approval, but without a provision sought by fisherman to reduce the amount of land that can be redeveloped for non-marine uses.
Opinion: Bioproducts are an important part of Maine’s economic future
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, May 15, 2019 

Research at UMaine’s Forest Bioproducts Research Institute has demonstrated many of the industry applications for biobased chemicals and products made from forest residuals. Our state is uniquely poised to grab a share in the growing global “bioeconomy.” Except Maine doesn’t offer financial incentives to biobased companies. This means Maine is losing investment to other states. In order to be competitive, lawmakers must pass LD 1698, a bill that provides a production tax credit similar to policy in other states that will incentivize biobased manufacturing. ~ Jamie Chittum, Biobased Maine
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