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 Canada Lynx Is Unlikely to Survive Past 2100
Other - Wednesday, January 24, 2018 

The natural habitat of the Canada lynx includes Alaska and some parts of the northern U.S. Still, despite the lynx’s vulnerable position, the Trump administration wants to remove federal protections for the species. In 2000, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) designated the Canada lynx a Threatened Species in the southern-most 48 states. It is now endangered in its U.S. range including in Maine. What is more, the species is especially at risk when it comes to climate change, since it depends on high elevation habitat with cold and snowy winters.
Study: Warming sea endangers lobster stock
Other - Wednesday, January 24, 2018 

Daily News (MA) - Is the lobster boom on the decline in the Gulf of Maine because of warming waters? A newly released study by a Maine-based marine research group suggests that is the case.
Who Is Willing To Defend American Wilderness?
Other - Wednesday, January 24, 2018 

The tally of bad bills emanating from Capitol Hill seems to be growing every day. Not surprisingly, Congress has launched yet another multi-pronged, broadside attack on our environment and this latest one has dire consequences for what remains of the wild West. The question is, now that we citizens are fully informed of this fact, what are we willing to do about it? The centerpiece of this radical attempt is contained within a bill fallaciously labeled the SHARE Act. Its full title is the: “Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act” (HR 3668).
Amtrak service to Rockland may get first test with summer weekend schedule
Courier-Gazette - Wednesday, January 24, 2018 

Proposed weekend summer passenger rail service to Rockland is an initial effort to “test the waters” for the demand for train ridership, the head of the regional rail authority told about 70 people at a meeting Wednesday night. The proposed pilot project was welcomed by nearly all those who attended the forum by the Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority.
Official Who Allowed Tree Cutting By Redskins Owner Is Named National Parks Director
National Public Radio - Wednesday, January 24, 2018 

The new acting director of the National Park Service is a former parks official who was reprimanded 12 years ago for pressuring employees to allow the owner of the Washington Redskins to cut down trees for a better view of the Potomac River. Interior Department Secretary Ryan Zinke announced the promotion of Paul Daniel Smith on Wednesday.
Out of thousands vying for precious elver licenses, lottery picks 11 lucky Mainers
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, January 24, 2018 

Eleven lucky Mainers have won the elver lottery. Their names were chosen Tuesday from among more than 8,000 entries submitted by more than 3,000 people vying for the opportunity to participate in Maine’s most lucrative fishery on a per-pound basis. Maine has capped the number of active elver licenses at 425. The 11 in the lottery became available after licenses were not renewed.
LePage moves to block most new Maine wind energy permits
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, January 24, 2018 

Gov. Paul LePage on Wednesday placed a moratorium on permits for most new wind turbines in Maine, a move that could reverberate regionally a day before Massachusetts is set to announce winners in a massive clean power procurement plan. LePage called wind a “boutique energy source” in 2012. But wind energy has boomed during his administration, going from 4% of Maine’s power generation in January 2011 to 20% in January 2017. An executive order from LePage on Wednesday created the Maine Wind Energy Advisory Commission to study turbines’ impact on the environment, property values and tourism and said “no permits related to wind turbines” will be issued in certain areas until the commission releases its report. LePage’s order also specified that the commission's meetings and documents won’t be open to the public. Dylan Voorhees of the Natural Resources Council of Maine questioned whether LePage can unilaterally call for that kind of moratorium.
Maine man shoots one-eyed rabid raccoon that holed up in outhouse
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, January 24, 2018 

A Washington County man used a shotgun to kill a rabid raccoon that had wandered onto his property last week. Test results released Tuesday confirmed that the animal had rabies. Ben Howard of Princeton shot the raccoon at dusk on Jan. 18 upon request from game warden Brad Richard. Speaking to Howard by telephone, Richard asked Howard to kill the raccoon to prevent the spread of the disease. Maine has been beset with rabies cases among wild animals and pets during the past two years. In 2015, 33 cases were reported, compared to 76 cases in 2016 and 67 last year.
NRCM Statement on LePage Wind Power Moratorium and Secret Panel
Natural Resources Council of Maine - Wednesday, January 24, 2018 

Today, Governor LePage told clean energy investors that Maine is ‘Not Open for Business.’ LePage placed an open-ended unilateral moratorium on development of wind power in Maine. LePage created a secret panel with enormous power to prevent wind power from being developed in Maine. He said no to any and all wind power permits until a report is submitted to the governor, and set no due date for the report. Furthermore, he has shielded the panel’s proceedings from Maine’s Freedom of Access Act, which is outrageous. Like many of the governor’s other attacks on renewable energy, ultimately this ill-conceived Executive Order will not prevail.
Column: Changes in the Maine woods?
Kennebec Journal - Wednesday, January 24, 2018 

This fall, researchers in Germany reported that a study of protected German nature areas showed a decline in average airborne insect biomass of 76 percent between 1989 and 2016. Could an insect crash be happening in Maine, too? Maine Forest Service entomologist and Maine Entomological Society President Charlene Donahue, citing the “shocking” results of the German study, thinks we should try to find out. She put out a call for a statewide project to inventory our insect populations. Ecologists tell us Earth’s sixth mass extinction of plant and animal life is underway right now. Maybe I’m going out on a limb. But these do not look like normal ecological changes.~ Dana Wilde
Governor Imposes Moratorium On New State Wind Development Permits
Maine Public - Wednesday, January 24, 2018 

Gov. Paul LePage says he will put an open-ended moratorium on state permits for wind energy development in Maine. In an executive order Tuesday afternoon, LePage cites the importance of scenic vistas to Maine's $6 billion tourism economy. The director of the Governor's Energy Office, Steve McGrath, says that while wind turbine projects do produce some jobs, western Maine, where wind developers want to site new projects, depends more on tourism. Wind energy advocates are angry.
Dark Skies
Maine Public - Wednesday, January 24, 2018 

Parts of Maine are treasured for their amazing night sky, unaffected by the light pollution of cities and towns. In other parts of Maine, efforts are underway to reduced light pollution, by rethinking outdoor lighting. Bird lovers, astronomy buffs and tourism officials are among those promoting the dark skies movement here in Maine, and across the nation. Guests: Ed Gleason, astronomer and manager of the planetarium at the University of Southern Maine; Nancy Hathaway, chair of the Surry Conservation Commission and mindfulness instructor who has been involved with dark skies efforts in Maine; Doug Hitchcox, staff naturalist at Maine Audubon.
Legislative Committee Endorses Poland Spring Hydrologist For Maine's Citizen Environmental Board
Maine Public - Wednesday, January 24, 2018 

The Legislature's Environment and Natural Resources Committee voted 10-3 Wednesday to confirm a hydrologist employed by Poland Spring to the citizen board overseeing and adjudicating environmental laws. The majority of the committee recommended Mark Dubois' confirmation to the Board of Environmental Protection, despite concerns he will increase Poland Springs' influence on the board while furthering the company's aggressive expansion plans.
Legislative panel backs LePage pick of Nestle Waters manager for Maine environmental board
Associated Press - Wednesday, January 24, 2018 

A legislative panel on Wednesday backed Republican Gov. Paul LePage’s pick of a Poland Spring hydrogeologist for a spot on Maine’s Board of Environmental Protection. The Legislature’s Environment and Natural Resources Committee voted 10-3 to support Poland Spring Natural Resource Manager Mark Dubois’ nomination. Poland Spring's parent company is Nestle Waters North America. Seven citizens comprise the LePage-appointed state board that interprets environmental protections laws. The nomination of an employee of a multinational bottled water company that’s pushing to expand groundwater withdrawal operations in rural communities across Maine drew criticism about potential conflicts of interest. Nestle has spent more than $200,000 on Maine political contributions and campaigns since 2008.
LePage blocks new wind energy projects, creates secretive commission to study impacts
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, January 24, 2018 

Gov. Paul LePag, a longtime critic of wind energy, issued an executive order Wednesday prohibiting state agencies from issuing permits “related to wind turbines” in western and coastal Maine, on coastal islands and along “significant avian migratory pathways.” The moratorium would remain in place until a new Maine Wind Energy Advisory Commission – which will have meetings that are closed to the public and not subject to Maine’s Freedom of Access Act – reports on wind power’s economic impact and recommends potential regulatory changes. “This is an attempt to thwart billions of dollars of investment,” Jeremy Payne, executive director of the Maine Renewable Energy Association, said. He was among several people who questioned its legality, even predicting a court challenge.
Maine Lobster Marketing Group Proud of State's Conservation Efforts
Other - Wednesday, January 24, 2018 

Seafood News - Following a recent study published by the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, the University of Maine and the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration highlighting Maine lobster industry's sustainability practices, Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative Executive Director Matt Jacobson says that the organization is continuing their conservation efforts as the ocean warms.
Opinion: Maine land trusts do pay taxes on their lands
Other - Wednesday, January 24, 2018 

Irregular - In his Jan. 10 radio address, Governor LePage claimed that Land Trusts in Maine take properties off the tax rolls. This is not accurate. Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust pays taxes on our properties, both those we own, and on the conservation easements we hold. Almost 95 percent of land trust properties in Maine are on the tax rolls and most also pay Maine’s forestry excise tax. ~ David Miller
Maine should act now to save our moose
George Smith BDN Outdoor News Blog - Wednesday, January 24, 2018 

Our moose population today may be as low as 50,000 (down from a possible high of 90,000), and moose hunting permits have been reduced by 50%, a devastating development for guides, sporting camps, and rural Maine towns. Unfortunately, despite our ability to capture and collar moose, including collecting blood, hair, and fecal samples, conducting a tick count and weighing the moose, we are apparently unable to figure out a way to keep those ticks from killing the moose. I’m going to suggest that the legislature’s IFW Committee ask DIFW to research and implement an aggressive project to save our moose.
Maine artist offers new take on farm-to-table
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, January 24, 2018 

Yes Vaillancourt was a part-time farm hand when discarded polypropylene feed bags caught her eye. “They have the most gorgeous images on them,” she said. “It seemed like such a shame to throw them out. I thought there’s got to be something better.” She turned the feed bags into tote bags. Through her new home business, EcoTotes, she sells them for $8 as environmentally friendly alternatives to plastic grocery bags. With single-use plastic bags now banned in Bath, Belfast, Brunswick and Freeport, her timing was good. 15 years ago Maine artisan Julia Ventresco began turning flour bags and feed bags into totes. Ventresco’s bags helped her start her Ellsworth-based company, One Woman Studio. She uses recycled or what she calls “upcycled” materials to make beautiful scarves, wallets, throws and all sorts of creative bags. Her upcycled feed bag totes with details such as an interior pocket and lining start at $34.95.
Opinion: LePage pick for environmental board would have obvious conflict of interest
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, January 24, 2018 

Gov. LePage is looking to seat a full-time employee of the world’s largest food and beverage company – Nestle Waters North America/Poland Spring Water Co. – on the Maine Board of Environmental Protection. The focus of a public hearing Wednesday at 10 a.m. in Augusta, the nomination of Mark Dubois is not ethically sound, and it models a short-sighted precedent for our state. The interplay that already exists between Nestle/Poland Spring and many state agencies, regulatory boards and municipalities is significant, and there is simply too much overlap. ~ Nickie Sekera, co-founder, Community Water Justice, Fryeburg
Letter: Council on Environmental Quality nominee unqualified
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, January 24, 2018 

While the media obsess over allegations of Donald Trump’s affairs with porn stars and the daily pendulum swings of his tweets, so much governmental business is ignored that should instead be foremost. Among what should be reported on is the renomination of Kathleen Hartnett White as chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. The Senate initially found her to be unsuitable for the position – because of her spending her entire career opposing the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act – and sent her nomination back to the president. But earlier this month, her nomination was resubmitted, and the Senate will soon vote on her confirmation to the council. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King should reject her nomination. ~ Kim Arn, Otisfield
Letter: Don’t use insecticides
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, January 24, 2018 

Neonicotinoids are a systemic insecticide. They’re marketed as being effective against insects that feed on plant tissue, and used ubiquitously in conventional farming and greenhouse production. The “neonics” by their very nature are problematic. Populations of bees, butterflies and other pollinators are crashing. A recent study in Germany found a 75 percent decline in the number of flying insects in the last 20 years. We solve our customer’s landscape problems with organic products, not because we thought it would be good for business. It is energizing our customers in every department. We refuse to take part in endless promotion of these chemicals. Buy only organic or grow your own. It’s the only way to be safe and sure. ~ John Bechert, York
Falmouth will spray for browntail moth in spring
Forecaster - Tuesday, January 23, 2018 

The Falmouth Town Council has approved spending $30,000 to fight the spreading infestation of browntail moth. A survey of nests conducted last month revealed the problem is particularly acute in the northeastern part of town. The inventory of browntail moth the town conducted in December shows the pest is spreading in town and is moving steadily inland. The town will hire Whitney Tree Service in New Gloucester to spray on town-owned property and along public streets this spring. The town last sprayed to combat browntail moth in 2002.
Harpswell Heritage Land Trust celebrates 35 years
Times Record - Tuesday, January 23, 2018 

This year, Harpswell Heritage Land Trust is celebrating 35 years since its inauspicious start as an outgrowth of the town’s historical society. In 1992, the land trust broke off from the historical society with a separate and independent board. Shortly thereafter, they changed their name from Harpswell Heritage Trust to the Harpswell Heritage Land Trust. They still oversee historic preservation easements on multiple properties, and they run Harpswell Day, which celebrates the town’s traditional handicrafts and subsistence skills. But since shifting courses, HHLT has focused more heavily on land conservation easements, preserves and increasing public access for the community. The land trust now owns 517 acres in preserves.
Trump staffing agencies with anti-science extremists
Other - Tuesday, January 23, 2018 

Michael Dourson, a former Monsanto employee, has stepped down from his job at the Environmental Protection Agency. Last year, Donald Trump nominated Dourson to run the Office of Chemical Safety Prevention and Pollution. Pressure forced Dourson to withdraw his nomination. But EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt hired him as a senior advisor anyway. Now, months later, he’s leaving that position. Dourson wasn’t the only failed Trump nominee to be given a job in the Trump administration. Sam Clovis, a conservative talk radio host with no scientific background, is currently serving as a senior advisor at the USDA. Clovis was forced to withdraw his nomination to lead the agency’s science program in November.
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