May 22, 2017  
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Maine Environmental News
Announcement - Saturday, May 20, 2017 

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 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
BDN Poll: Should the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument get its own signage?
Action Alert - Saturday, May 20, 2017 

Gov. Paul LePage is refusing to put signs along state roads showing the way to Maine’s national monument. Should the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument get its own signage?
Damariscotta Mills Fish Ladder Restoration Festival, May 27-28
Event - Posted - Saturday, May 20, 2017 

The towns of Nobleboro and Newcastle and the Nobleboro Historical Society present the 10th annual Damariscotta Mills Fish Ladder Restoration Festival on Memorial Day weekend, May 27-28. Witness the annual return of the alewives as they ascend the fish ladder to spawn in Damariscotta Lake.
Third Annual Freeport Birding Festival, May 26-28
Event - Posted - Friday, May 19, 2017 

Owl Prowl at Mast landing Sanctuary; birding at Florida Lake, Pettengill Farm, Wolfe’s Neck Farm, and Sayles Field; Casco Bay kayak tour; outing at Winslow Park, etc. May 26-28. Sponsored by L.L. Bean and Maine Audubon.
Saving Seabirds: New Lessons from Puffins, May 25
Event - Posted - Thursday, May 18, 2017 

60% of all seabirds have vanished in the last 60 years. Dr. Stephen Kress, Director of National Audubon’s Seabird Restoration Program, will talk about the restoration of Maine seabirds. At L.L. Bean, Freeport, May 25, 7-9 pm, Maine Audubon members $10, non-members $15.
Little Big Day, May 23
Event - Posted - Tuesday, May 16, 2017 

Join naturalist Doug Hitchcox leads a van trip full birds. From Gilsland Farm, Falmouth, May 23, 7 am 3 pm, Maine Audubon members $50, non-members $60, space is limited.
Bradley Pond Farm , May 23
Event - Posted - Tuesday, May 16, 2017 

An easy walk through a conservation easement surrounding a privately-owned working farm. See migrating warblers, flycatchers, blackbirds, vireos, sparrows, and an occasional raptor. At Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust's Bradley Pond Farm Preserve, Topsham, May 23, 8-10 am.
Help wanted: Contract planner for Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument
Announcement - Tuesday, May 16, 2017 

The National Park Foundation, in partnership with the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, is seeking a 3-year community planner to assist with the development of a management plan for this new unit of the National Park Service. Deadline: May 26, 2017, 5 pm.
Spring Bird Walk at Fort Williams Park, May 22
Event - Posted - Monday, May 15, 2017 

Doug Hitchcox leads a spring bird walk, in collaboration with the Fort Williams Park Foundation, to look for migrants and local nesters like warblers and vireos around one of Maine’s most scenic vistas. At Portland Head Light, Cape Elizabeth, May 22, 7-9 am, Maine Audubon members $5, non-members $8.

Sewall Woods Birding & Bird Monitoring Workshop, May 20
Event - Posted - Saturday, May 13, 2017 

Join Kennebec Estuary land Trust and Maine Audubon for a morning practicing bird identification and bird monitoring methods at KELT’s demonstration forest at Sewall Woods Preserve in Bath, May 20, 7-10 am.
Pollinator Parade & Festival, May 20
Event - Posted - Saturday, May 13, 2017 

Family Festival, Pollinator Parade, and the release of "A Monarch Butterfly Story" book by Melissa Kim and Jada Fitch. At Gilsland Farm, Falmouth, May 20, 1 am – 1 pm, free but $5/car to park.
3D Experience: Sportsmen and the Maine Sporting Camp Tradition, May 20
Event - Posted - Saturday, May 13, 2017 

Bernard Fishman, Maine State Museum director, will present never-before-seen 3D images featuring the history of sportsmen and the sporting camp tradition in Maine. Supporting commentary from David Trahan, Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine. At Maine Elk’s Lodge, Augusta, May 20, 5-8:30 pm, $60.
Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument is Under Attack
Action Alert - Friday, May 12, 2017 

The Trump Administration is threatening to overturn Maine’s new National Monument. At the request of Governor Paul LePage, the Department of Interior (DOI) included Katahdin Woods & Waters on a list of 27 monuments to be “reviewed.” DOI Secretary Ryan Zinke could recommend that Maine’s National Monument be changed, or possibly even abolished. Tell the Trump Administration to keep its hands off Katahdin Woods & Waters. ~ Natural Resources Council of Maine
Save Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument
Action Alert - Friday, May 12, 2017 

President Trump is considering eliminating or changing the Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument in Maine. Urge the Trump Administration and your U.S. congressional representatives to oppose any effort to eliminate or weaken Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument. Comment deadline is July 10, 2017. ~ RESTORE: The North Woods
Help wanted: Outdoors types
Announcement - Friday, May 12, 2017 

Boston-based Slate Casting will hold auditions in Augusta to cast a television commercial on May 21. The company is looking for Mainers between the ages of 30 and 70 who are active and love outdoor activities, such as hiking, skiing, kayaking, fishing, hunting, and other recreational sports from leisurely to extreme.
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News Items
Nuclear Plant, Just Over Border in New Brunswick, Up for Relicensing
Maine Public - Thursday, May 11, 2017 

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission is considering whether a 34-year-old nuclear power plant just across the border from Maine should be relicensed for another five years. Point Lepreau may not be as well known to Mainers as Seabrook Station in New Hampshire, with a significant urban population nearby. But with Maine ports, fisheries and farming all within a 50-mile radius of Lepreau, there’s a lot riding on the operation of the plant, which won’t be decommissioned for another 25 years.
Community Growth & Development
Maine Public - Thursday, May 11, 2017 

Is it possible to balance quality of life with community growth and development? How do you foster growth while not overwhelming a neighborhood or town? Elizabeth Boepple, environmental attorney with BCM Environmental & Land Law; Nancy Smith, Executive Director of GrowSmart Maine; and Jesse Kanson-Benanav, founder of A Better Cambridge, discuss these questions. [audio]
Column: Why you should ‘be wrong, fast’ when IDing birds
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, May 11, 2017 

With continued practice, it’s amazing how fast you can make the correct bird identification based on first impression. You even start to really notice the singular behaviors of certain birds. At first it seems daunting, but remember your brain is quick to sort out sizes. Your brain is also quick to sort out grand behaviors, such as swimming, diving and wading. The smaller behaviors will take more effort to recognize, but it comes with practice. Just be wrong, fast. ~ Bob Duchesne
Editorial: Out-of-state lobbying group wants to weaken Maine laws; legislators shouldn’t fall for it.
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, May 11, 2017 

A couple dozen Maine communities have enacted ordinances to protect their waterways and residents from pesticides. Now, Gov. Paul LePage, through a bill that appears to have been written by a pro-industry group, is seeking to outlaw such rules. The Maine Municipal Association, which represents the state’s towns and cities, explained perhaps most succinctly why this idea makes no sense: “It is difficult to understand what interest the state would be serving by repealing targeted local ordinances that have been established to protect the public’s health and natural resources.”
Maine’s economy slowest-growing in New England at end of 2016
Portland Press Herald - Thursday, May 11, 2017 

Maine’s economy grew sluggishly in the final three months of 2016, expanding just 0.7 percent, making Maine the slowest-growing state in New England and 43rd nationally. Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting continued to contribute strong growth to the state’s economy, accounting for 0.46 percentage points of the state’s overall growth. Retailing also performed well, contributing 0.3 percentage points to growth from the third quarter to the fourth quarter last year.
Portland to Host Int’l. Lobster Biology & Management Conference
Free Press - Thursday, May 11, 2017 

About 200 biologists, oceanographers, industry members and fishery managers from more than a dozen countries are expected to attend the 11th International Conference & Workshop on Lobster Biology and Management at Holiday Inn by the Bay in Portland from Monday, June 5, through Friday, June 9.
Committee Set to Vote on Bill to Preserve Solar Incentives
Free Press - Thursday, May 11, 2017 

Renewable energy advocates and utilities are once again squaring off over the future of solar policy in Maine. Last week, the Legislature’s Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee held a public hearing for a bill (LD 1373) that would reverse a controversial decision by the Maine Public Utilities Commission to reduce incentives for installing rooftop solar panels beginning in 2018. Dylan Voorhees, Climate and Clean Energy Director for the Natural Resources Council of Maine, said, “Solar power presents opportunity to expand our economy, protect our environment, create jobs, and lower energy costs. But the PUC net metering rollback is so extreme that it includes a new tax on solar akin to utilities charging people who use less electricity an extra fee because they dry their clothes on a clothesline. Inaction by the Legislature, combined with the anti-solar action by the Public Utilities Commission, threatens to move Maine further backward.”
Committee Kills Anti-Offshore Wind Turbine Bill
Free Press - Thursday, May 11, 2017 

On Wednesday, a bipartisan legislative committee wasted no time in unanimously voting down a measure sponsored by Sen. Dana Dow (R-Lincoln Cty.) that would have cancelled the University of Maine’s proposed floating offshore wind project sited 3 miles from Monhegan. LD 1262 would have prohibited the placement of wind turbines within 10 nautical miles of the Monhegan Lobster Conservation Area.
Opinion: LePage refused to acknowledge national monument’s positive impact
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, May 11, 2017 

Last week, I was sitting behind Gov. Paul LePage when he testified at the House Subcommittee on Federal Lands hearing featuring the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. LePage asserted the monument was created without sufficient public input and despite opposition by “most Mainers.” Presumably he did this because it’s the only way he could convince Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to include the Maine monument in the review ordered by President Donald Trump’s recent executive order. The governor hasn’t visited the monument nor has he met with local business owners, though we’ve invited him multiple times. Refusing to recognize the monument’s positive impact on our region is one thing. But trying to undermine those benefits is unacceptable. ~ Richard Schmidt, selectman, Patten
Ticket Sales Strong for Maine-to-Nova Scotia Ferry
Associated Press - Thursday, May 11, 2017 

Operators of a passenger ferry between Portland, Maine, and Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, say advance bookings are up compared to last year. Bay Ferries Ltd. President Mark MacDonald said that advance ticket sales are up at least five-fold from 2016. About 35,500 passengers rode the ferry last year, far below the ridership of 90,000 to 100,000 in 2007-2008. MacDonald said that if the bookings hold, then passenger volumes could attain levels reached before the ferry service was canceled in 2009. MacDonald said he views the early ticket purchases as an "extremely encouraging sign."
Letter: Follow Texas’ lead on energy
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, May 11, 2017 

How did Georgetown, Texas, a conservative town in the middle of a red state, come to embrace renewable energy? According to mayor Dale Ross, “environmental zealots have not taken over…Our move to wind and solar is chiefly a business decision based on cost and price stability.” The decision to move the city to renewable energy has brought millions of dollars in new investments and offers a cost-effective and sustainable alternative source of power. Following Georgetown’s lead will create Maine-based jobs, reduce the drain of energy dollars out of state, be a net financial benefit to all electric ratepayers and reduce our dependence on dirty fossil fuels. Urge your legislators to support LD 1373. ~ Karen Marysdaughter, Bangor
Letter: Biomass has problems
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, May 11, 2017 

I am writing on behalf of a group of high school students studying forestry and land management. Our forestry group read the April 3 BDN article, “As paper mills die, here’s how Maine’s loggers hope to survive,” by Darren Fishell. It was biased and did not discuss any of the problems with logging for biomass. For example, biomass doesn’t leave any branches or stumps to disintegrate into the forest floor or to be used by forest animals, and this will likely have a long-term effect on wildlife and hunting. The two experts featured in the article have financial interests in promoting the biomass industry, and they mostly talked about how it might lead to “a second golden age for Maine’s forest economy.” The reporter should do another article about the problems with the biomass industry and its effects on Maine’s forests. Please try to be more balanced. ~ Dave Bennett, Maplestone School, Acton
In push to drill, U.S. will begin seismic surveys in Atlantic
Associated Press - Wednesday, May 10, 2017 

The Trump administration said Wednesday it is moving forward on seismic surveys in the Atlantic Ocean, the first step toward offshore drilling in a region where it has been blocked for decades. The Interior Department said it is reviewing six applications by energy companies that were rejected by the Obama administration. Environmental groups and many East Coast lawmakers oppose the surveys, saying loud sounds from seismic air guns could hurt marine life. Some are also fearful that drilling would threaten fisheries and the tourist industry.
Maine Might Allow Slightly Expanded Urchin Harvest This Year
Associated Press - Wednesday, May 10, 2017 

Fishing regulators in Maine are planning to slightly expand the sea urchin harvesting season for the coming year. The state Department of Marine Resources is proposing 15 urchin fishing days along the southern Maine coast and 38 days on the northern coast. That is the same number of days as last year. The Whiting and Dennys Bay areas would have a 15-day season, which is six more days than last year. Maine sea urchins are harvested for roe, which is popular as food in Japan. The urchin industry in the state had a slightly resurgent year in 2016. The fishery was worth $6.6 million, the most since 2003.
Senators Reject Effort To Roll Back Greenhouse Gas Emissions Rule
National Public Radio - Wednesday, May 10, 2017 

In a rare victory for environmentalists under President Trump, the Senate rejected efforts to roll back an Obama-era rule limiting methane emissions from energy production sites on federal land. The vote over the greenhouse gas was close — 49-51 — with Republican Sens. John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Susan Collins coming down against the resolution, which would have repealed the Bureau of Land Management's Methane Waste and Prevention Rule.
Former critics sign letter asking to preserve Maine’s monument
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, May 10, 2017 

With President Donald Trump targeting northern Maine’s national monument, Katahdin-area leaders who fiercely opposed its creation now say they want to keep it. Nineteen officials representing towns near the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument wrote Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke asking him to do “everything in your power to ensure that this monument is a success,” as Zinke’s agency reviews whether President Barack Obama followed the law in creating it. At least two officials who signed — Millinocket Town Council member Jesse Dumais and Rep. Steve Stanley, D-Medway — previously opposed the monument. Stanley in 2016 sponsored a bill that would have barred landowners from donating land for monuments.
Collins votes with Democrats to help defeat bill revoking Obama-era methane rules
Reuters - Wednesday, May 10, 2017 

In a blow to administration efforts to free the oil and gas industry from Obama-era environmental rules, a Senate resolution to revoke a rule to limit leaks and flaring of methane from oil and gas production on federal lands fell short of votes 49-51. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, was one of three Republicans who joined Democrats and independents to vote against the measure. The surprise vote outcome came after Republican leaders scrambled for weeks to secure the 51 votes necessary to pass the Congressional Review Act resolution, which would revoke the rule and prevent any similar regulations from being introduced.
Lawmakers vote against moving UMaine wind project farther from Monhegan
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, May 10, 2017 

A bid to move a nationally significant wind energy test site farther from Monhegan Island suffered a major setback on Wednesday when a key legislative committee unanimously voted against a bill to do that. With little discussion, the Energy, Utilities and Technology committee agreed that while some islanders and their supporters had valid concerns about the project, overturning the ongoing review process would set a bad precedent. At issue is the Maine Aqua Ventus offshore wind project, a plan to test floating turbines roughly 3 miles from the island.
Opinion: Trump is right about Canadian softwood lumber imports
Washington Post - Wednesday, May 10, 2017 

I agree with the recent decision of the White House and the Commerce Department to impose anti-subsidy duties against Canada’s unfairly traded softwood lumber imports. This belated enforcement of U.S. trade laws will help millions of private timberland owners, American forestry workers and members of their local communities by leveling the playing field in the timber industry. ~ Jimmy Carter, 39th president of the United States
Letter: Climate change to blame for jump in ticks, temperatures
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, May 10, 2017 

Maine saw a skyrocketing of the tick population in 2016 and subsequently saw a record rate of Lyme disease. It is predicted that 2017 will also have record-breaking tick populations and Lyme disease transmission rates. It is not surprising that we are seeing these increased rates of ticks, as increases in tick populations are directly correlated with higher temperatures. The Trump administration, in addition to trying to cut the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget by 31 percent, is proposing cuts to fundamental environmental programs such as the Clean Power Plan. We need Sen. Susan Collins and Sen. Angus King to oppose any cuts to environmental programs in order to mitigate climate change and protect our public health. ~ Emma Rotner, Portland
Letter: Philanthropist David Rockefeller practiced dark politics
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, May 10, 2017 

Re: The magnanimous David Rockefeller: Well, now, a “philanthropist” donates millions to Maine institutions, but not much is really known by the average citizen about his dark politics. I’ll bet most people don’t realize that John D. Rockefeller Jr., in addition to donating 11,000 acres to create Acadia National Park, also donated the land on which the U.N. is built. The Rockefeller family constantly assaults traditional Christian social values and is actively engaged in the push for open borders, refugee resettlement, secret trade deals that dilute U.S. sovereignty, abortion and homosexual marriages. ~ Frank Thiboutot, Cumberland
In Trump era, conservation advocate preaches collaboration
E&E/Greenwire - Tuesday, May 9, 2017 

When Democrats on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee rallied in January against the nomination of then-Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to be U.S. EPA administrator, National Wildlife Federation President Collin O'Mara was on hand to explain why his group was opposing an executive branch nominee for the first time in its 80-year history. In contrast, O'Mara joined the leaders of other sportsmen's groups at the Interior Department for a March ceremony in which Secretary Ryan Zinke reversed a number of Obama-era policies. NWF backed Zinke's nomination and stood by him even though the group had supported some of those rescinded policies. The two events reflect the dual roles O'Mara, 38, plays in steering the organization through the Trump presidency.
Will National Monuments Get a “Fair Hearing” on Zinke’s Listening Tour?
Sierra Club - Tuesday, May 9, 2017 

On Sunday, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke kicked off a listening tour in response to President Trump’s recently signed executive order, which calls on the secretary to make sure any national monument in the United States larger than 100,000 acres created since 1996 [plus Katahdin Woods 7 Waters in Maine] gets a "fair hearing,” as Zinke put it. It all sounded great, but then the real listening tour got underway—one in which Zinke seemingly had ears for one point of view. He only met with a carefully curated batch of anti-monument interest groups. It sure feels like he already has an outcome in mind.
Trump will wait to decide on Paris climate accord after G-7 meeting
Washington Post - Tuesday, May 9, 2017 

President Trump will now wait until after the G-7 meeting in late May before making a decision about whether to keep the U.S. in the Paris climate agreement, his press secretary Sean Spicer said Tuesday. The announcement pushed back a decision that has sweeping implications for the fate of global efforts to fight climate change – and has drawn intense interest from the international community, corporate lobbyists, and environmental groups. Trump famously promised on the campaign trail to “cancel” the Paris agreement. But four months into his presidency, the Trump administration’s position on the historic agreement endorsed by over 190 nations remains in limbo.
Legislature kills contractor training, certification bill designed to reduce lead poisoning
Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting - Tuesday, May 9, 2017 

A Maine bill reinforcing federal requirements for training and certification to do renovation work on buildings containing lead is dead, leaving unresolved questions about the safety of renovating homes in Maine that contain lead paint or plumbing. The Maine House and Senate failed to come to agreement on the measure, with the Democrat-led House voting in favor of the bill in late April but the majority-Republican Senate voting against it. The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Nathan Libby, a Democrat from Lewiston — which has the most severe lead paint problem in the state — called the partisan result “depressing” and said Maine still has much work to do reducing the risks of lead contamination.
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