December 17, 2017  
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Maine Environmental News
Announcement - Wednesday, December 13, 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 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
Maine Energy Planning Roadmap hearings, Dec 19, Dec 29, Jan 10
Event - Posted - Tuesday, December 12, 2017 

The Governor’s Energy Office is asking Mainers for input in developing an Energy Planning Roadmap. Public hearings:
• Dec. 19: University of Southern Maine, Portland
• Dec. 29: Energy, Utilities, & Technology Committee, Augusta
• Jan. 10: University of Maine, Presque Isle
Help wanted: Visitor Center Assistant
Announcement - Monday, December 11, 2017 

Seasonal position, May 1 - October 31, 2018, representing Audubon’s Seabird Restoration Program at the Project Puffin Visitor Center in Rockland.
Free Skiing & Learn-to-Ski Clinics, Dec 16
Event - Posted - Saturday, December 9, 2017 

Waterville Parks & Rec, with support from Friends of Quarry Road, will provide free trail passes, free rentals, and free learn-to-ski clinics at Quarry Road Trails, December 16.
Meadow Brook/Hurds Pond Preserve Hike, Dec 16
Event - Posted - Saturday, December 9, 2017 

Cloe Chunn will lead a hike of Meadow Brook/Hurds Pond, a preserve of Coastal Mountains Land Trust. Meet at Swanville Transfer Station, December 16, 10 am. Sponsored by Belfast Bay Watershed Coalition.
Tax bill would slam the brakes on solar and wind energy
Action Alert - Friday, December 8, 2017 

The tax bill passed by the Senate last Friday includes an obscure provision that could pull the rug out from under solar and wind power. The House version also takes aim at renewable energy by rolling back key tax credits. These provisions "would have a devastating ... impact on wind and solar energy," according to renewable energy industry leaders. ~ Environment Maine
Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, Dec 14
Event - Posted - Thursday, December 7, 2017 

Tim Hudson, Superintendent, will take you through the landscape of Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument with pictures. At Belfast Free Library, December 14, 6:30 pm. Sponsored by Belfast Bay Watershed Coalition.
Whales of the Gulf of Maine: A Naturalist’s Report, Dec 14
Event - Posted - Thursday, December 7, 2017 

Zack Klyver, chief naturalist for the Bar Harbor Whale Watch Company and founder of Flukes whale watch ecotours, will present an engaging review of the 2017 whale watch season. At Schoodic Institute, Winter Harbor, December 14, 12 pm.
Olive oil tasting, Dec 13
Event - Posted - Wednesday, December 6, 2017 

FIORE Artisan Olive Oils & Vinegars will host an evening to support the Brunswick Topsham Land Trust at its tasting room in Brunswick, December 13, 5-7 pm.
The Arctic Needs Your Help
Action Alert - Tuesday, December 5, 2017 

Buried deep within the Senate tax bill is a provision to open the pristine Arctic Refuge, a national treasure, to oil and gas drilling, which will cause widespread pollution and harm to the wildlife and people who call this place home. Express your disappointment to Senator Susan Collins and urge her to protect our natural legacy by working to remove this damaging language before the tax bill becomes law. ~ Maine Conservation Voters
Birds from the Footbridge in Belfast, Dec 9
Event - Posted - Saturday, December 2, 2017 

Join Ron Harrell and Gary Gulezian to watch ducks, loons and other birds in the harbor. At the Belfast Footbridge, December 9, 8-10 am. Organized by Belfast Bay Watershed Coalition.
Win $1,000 L.L.Bean shopping spree and an outing with David Sibley
Announcement - Friday, December 1, 2017 

Wildlife Acoustics, makers of the Song Sleuth bird identifying app, launched the Sibley Sweepstakes on December 1. Ends March 1. No purchase necessary to enter.
Baxter State Park sign auction, ends Dec 6
Announcement - Thursday, November 30, 2017 

Auction of retired Baxter State Park signs, plus the historic dinner bell from Kidney Pond Camps. Friends Baxter State Park will donate half the proceeds to Baxter State Park, and half will support FBSP programs. Ends December 6.
Blazing Ahead: the Rivalry that Built the Appalachian Trail, Dec 7
Event - Posted - Thursday, November 30, 2017 

Jeffrey Ryan tells the story of the unlikely creation of the Appalachian Trail. At Bangor Public Library, December 7, 6 pm. Sponsored by Appalachian Mountain Club Maine Chapter.
Celebrate CREA and the Season, Dec 7
Event - Posted - Thursday, November 30, 2017 

Meet new Executive Director Wendy Van Damme, hear about new programs and plans, and contemplate the joy of winter activity at the Cathance River Education Alliance’s 235 acre nature preserve in Topsham. At Frontier Cafe, Brunswick, December 7, 4:30 to 6:30 pm, RSVP.
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News Items
Column: How to reinvigorate rural Maine
Kennebec Journal - Wednesday, December 6, 2017 

"Reinventing Maine Government" was a collaborative report commissioned by GrowSmart Maine and issued by Envision Maine in 2010 that analyzed Maine’s problems and recommended solutions. Sadly, most of those solutions have been ignored as our state continues to struggle. Here are the eight recommendations in the action plan:
1. Ending unfunded liabilities
2. A smaller, smarter Legislature
3. A flatter, leaner, more responsive state government
4. Fewer counties that do more
5. Increasing collaboration between towns
6. Innovating in public education
7. A fully coordinated system of higher education
8. Slowing the climb of health care costs
The plan offers many details about how to achieve these goals. ~ George Smith
Letter: Lower taxes, less regulation under Trump will help businesses, nation
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, December 6, 2017 

It is sad that the Democrats promote over-regulation and overtaxation of domestic corporations, asserting that they are greedy, grasping and unresponsive entities that must be regulated. Of course, most of these elected officials have never met a payroll. President Trump has been on a crusade to level the playing field, repealing Obama-era edicts that Congress would never have passed. “Let’s make America great again.” ~ Nick Pappas, Cape Elizabeth
Letter: Provisions in federal tax measure will hurt tourism in Maine
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, December 6, 2017 

My wife and I loved our six-day trip to Maine in 2016. We’d love to come back, but that won’t be happening now that the Republican tax bill appears likely to pass. The many anti-Northeast provisions in the bill will reduce the standard of living in the Northeast, which will clearly impact tourism in Maine. I wonder where Sen. Susan Collins thinks most tourists to Maine come from – Texas and Kentucky? If the Northeast is negatively impacted by this bill, does she think the resulting losses to Maine’s tourism industry will be made up for by the dubious claims of stimulating economic growth that the bill’s proponents profess? ~ Samuel Billings, West Hartford, Conn.
Geo Physics from University of Maine to Yellowstone
WCSH-TV6 - Tuesday, December 5, 2017 

When Bryce Neal went off to attend college at the University of Maine at Farmington, his plan was to major in English. But the mountains of western Maine beckoned. He worked as an Americorps volunteer with the Maine Conservation Corps, building and maintaining trails on public lands and in state parks, and competed on the UMF Nordic ski team. Neal decided to become a geology major. This past summer, thanks to a program sponsored by the National Science Foundation, Neal worked at Yellowstone National Park, helping researchers measure magma chambers and super-heated water in the upper crust of the earth. This month he’ll head to New Orleans, where he’ll present some of his data to the American Geophysical Union Conference, which is sort of the Super Bowl of geology.
State Regulators Postpone Reduction In Solar Incentives
Maine Public - Tuesday, December 5, 2017 

For decades, Maine has offered solar projects credits for electricity they generate beyond what is used on-site. Early this year, the state Public Utilities Commission created a new rule that would reduce the value of those credits over time. Existing arrays would be grandfathered, but the ramp-down for new systems was set to begin New Year’s Day. But that’s now delayed until April 30, as the commission has decided to give installers and utilities more time to iron out technical protocols, new fee structures and new billing systems.
Secretary Zinke Calls for Reducing More National Monuments
Sierra Club - Tuesday, December 5, 2017 

More than three months after he delivered his national monument recommendations to the White House, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke today finally made public his list of proposed reductions and management changes to 10 monuments. The announcement came one day after President Donald Trump, in the largest rollback of protected areas in U.S. history, signed a pair of proclamations slashing the size of two National Monuments in Utah. Zinke’s final report to the president is largely identical to a version of the recommendations that was leaked in August. Zinke’s report calls for making changes to the management plans of another half dozen national monuments, including Katahdin Woods and Waters in Maine.
King Questions Trump's Energy Department Nominee On Climate Change
Maine Public - Tuesday, December 5, 2017 

Maine U.S. Sen. Angus King peppered President Trump's nominee to head up the Energy Information Administration, which provides the data for developing policies, including climate change policy. King questioned Linda Capuano on whether she has taken a position on climate change. King says the job is a crucial one because the agency provides the data that lawmakers and the Trump administration use to write policy. Capuano told King she has not discussed her personal views with anyone on climate change, including those who interviewed her for the job.
Interior Secretary Doesn’t Call For Shrinking Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument
Maine Public - Tuesday, December 5, 2017 

One day after President Donald Trump signed a proclamation to dramatically reduce the size of two national monuments in Utah, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke released his final recommendations for other monuments around the country, including Katahdin Woods and Waters here in Maine. Zinke is recommending that Katahdin Woods and Waters’ 87,500 acres be kept intact. He highlights the fact that although commercial timbering is not “typically allowed” in the National Park System. He then suggests changing the monument’s proclamation to have it “promote a healthy forest through active timber management.”
Interior secretary says Katahdin monument will create ‘healthy forest,’ recreation space
Portland Press Herald - Tuesday, December 5, 2017 

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said Tuesday he did not recommend President Trump alter the size or boundaries of Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, but said the land could be managed to promote a “healthy forest” and traditional recreation. Zinke said commercial logging is not allowed within 87,500-acre Katahdin Woods and Waters, ending speculation that his recommendation of “active timber management” could mean commercial harvesting in the national monument. But Zinke left the door open for what he called “landscape improvements” and thinning of trees as part of a science-based forestry plan. Organizations involved in the debate over Katahdin Woods and Waters were still trying to decipher the recommendations.
Trump’s interior secretary recommends against changes at Maine monument
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, December 5, 2017 

Maine’s national monument should not be shrunk in size or feature commercial forestry, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said Tuesday. His 20-page report, released Tuesday, does not recommend commercial forestry for Maine’s monument, but Zinke said the monument should not merely leav the forest totally untouched, as environmental preservationists would typically advocate. Federal law provides limited authority for cutting of timber within national parks to preserve historic objects.
Fatal crash near Clayton Lake Township
WAGM-TV - Tuesday, December 5, 2017 

Yesterday, State Police responded to Clayton Lake Township for a report of a single vehicle crash. 51 year old Cedric Pelletier of Sinclair was operating a 1996 Ford dump truck belonging to Robert McBrierity and Sons of Fort Kent (with a plow and sander) on the Realty Road, when he went off the roadway and into the Ross Stream crossing of Clayton Lake. Pelletier was located in the truck and had sustained a head injury and was pronounced deceased at the scene. Police say it appears a medical issue prior to the crash may have contributed to Pelletier traveling off the roadway in the river. Clayton Lake is located approximately 65 miles west of Ashland in the North Maine Woods.
Maine coast could see more great white sharks, scientists say
Associated Press - Tuesday, December 5, 2017 

A great white shark detected in waters off Maine could be a sign that the big fish will become a more common sight in the years to come. White sharks are near the northern edge of their range along the Maine coast. University of New England marine scientist James Sulikowski said warming ocean waters in the Gulf of Maine and the discovery of separate sharks in consecutive summers suggests the white sharks could be making Maine a more frequent home.
Was It 'Illegal' For Trump To Shrink Utah's Monuments? The Battle Begins
National Public Radio - Tuesday, December 5, 2017 

President Trump has dramatically scaled back two national land monuments in Utah. The administration says taking the land out of the hands of the federal government will allow the state to decide what to do with it. As expected, environmental and Native American groups were outraged. Patagonia, which sells outdoor clothing and gear, splashed a statement across its website reading "The President Stole Your Land" and calling Trump's move "illegal." The battle over Trump's authority to shrink monuments may be just beginning.
New book reveals the beauty of Maine’s High Peaks Region
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, December 5, 2017 

Shining a spotlight on a particularly mountainous and remote region of Maine, “Enduring Heights: The High Peaks of Maine” is a new book of stunning landscape photographs by John and Cynthia Orcutt, Kingfield residents whose architecture and artwork can be found throughout Maine and beyond.
Maine Fishermen Group To Receive Grant To Preserve Fisheries
Associated Press - Tuesday, December 5, 2017 

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation is giving a grant of nearly $100,000 to a Maine group that advocates for marine conservation and the livelihoods of small fishermen. The grant is going to the Maine Coast Fishermen's Association, which is based in Brunswick. The group says the money will help with its mission of restoring fisheries in the Gulf of Maine and preserving Maine fishing communities for the future. The money is through the Fisheries Innovation Fund, which is a partnership between the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Walton Family Foundation.
Fisheries biologists criticize stocking of Portage Lake
George Smith BDN Outdoor News Blog - Tuesday, December 5, 2017 

A proposal by the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to stock Portage Lake has drawn criticism from some of the department’s fisheries biologists, a very unusual situation. Normally these biologists avoid criticizing each other’s plans. Merry Gallagher, the department’s lead brook trout biologist, wrote: “I can’t support this stocking proposal unless sterilized fish are used…. You are proposing to stock hatchery brook trout over a remaining wild component in the North zone.... All attempts to increase wild recruitment and alleviate current threats should be a primary strategy.” This is about more than just the stocking of a single water. And the decision will indicate how concerned the department is about our native brook trout, and how committed they are to protecting and enhancing our native brookies.
‘The President Stole Your Land’: Patagonia, REI blast Trump on monument rollbacks
Washington Post - Tuesday, December 5, 2017 

Anyone who visited Patagonia’s website on Monday night in search of a warm winter fleece or a pair of snow pants was in for a surprise. Replacing the usual shopping choices were giant white letters on a black background offering a stark message: “The President Stole Your Land.” The message continued in smaller letters: “In an illegal move, the president just reduced the size of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments. This is the largest elimination of protected land in American history.”
Marathon pumps life into Maine region wracked by mill closures
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, December 5, 2017 

As many as 1,850 runners will run in a marathon on Saturday designed to bolster the Katahdin-region economy. Registration for the third annual Millinocket Marathon and Half has closed due to the response from runners looking to race in Millinocket and along a small portion of Maine’s fabled Golden Road. The founder of both the Millinocket event and the Mount Desert Island Marathon, Gary Allen, waived runner entrance fees but encouraged attendees to splurge at area shops, restaurants and hotels and see how much the region has to offer. His goal: to help the region recover from two mill closures.
Opinion: Environmental protection is really public health protection
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, December 5, 2017 

We desperately need the EPA to continue researching the health effects of lead and other serious pollutants and reduce their damage to our children and future generations. The response from the Trump administration is to propose a reduction of more than 30 percent in the EPA’s budget, including cuts to funding for scientific research and assessment of toxic substances. If we truly cared about public health and our children’s health, we should expand, not gut the agency. ~ Travis Wagner, University of Southern Maine
Bill calls for task force to stem the tide of addiction in Maine’s fishing industry
Portland Press Herald - Tuesday, December 5, 2017 

Rep. Mick Devin, D-Newcastle, a shellfish commissioner, said, "Fishermen in my district are telling me that young guys are using drugs and going out to work on the water every day, and that’s dangerous – for them, for the people they fish with and for our local fishing economy.” Devin wants the Maine Legislature to create a task force to investigate the high rate of addiction among Maine’s commercial fishermen. Last week, a bill that Devin wants to submit to create that task force got a green light from the Legislative Council, which must approve all bills for consideration during even-numbered years when Maine tries to limit legislative debate to emergency matters.
Column: Areas with unbalanced demographics should take on 3 tasks
Portland Press Herald - Tuesday, December 5, 2017 

Maine’s central public-policy challenge is figuring out how to resolve the dilemma of rising employment and a diminishing labor force. Creating jobs is not the job of government. But understanding how housing, infrastructure and land-use regulations affect the business location and employee attraction process is very much the role of local and regional governments. This responsibility will increasingly determine a community’s ability to meet all of its other responsibilities. It should be an integral part of the budgeting process. ~ Charles Lawton
Letter: Tax policy and economic growth don’t always correlate
Portland Press Herald - Tuesday, December 5, 2017 

The relationship between tax policy and economic growth is not an absolute correlation. It is incorrect to assume that favorable corporate tax rates necessarily lead to a more robust economy with increases in gross domestic product, employment, wages, corporate growth, share prices and all the other good things that accrue from a booming economy. History has shown that tax policy is not the key factor in a company’s success or failure. If this tax plan doesn’t have the impact that Republicans are betting on relative to deficits, corporations and “pass-throughs,” the 1 percent will not be hurt. Individual middle-class taxpayers will pay the price because their tax rates will be automatically triggered to increase, thus adding to the disparity between those who have and those who do not. ~ Charles McNutt, South Portland
Letter: Monument succeeding despite obstacles
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, December 5, 2017 

The Nov. 30 BDN article on visitation to Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument unfairly dismissed the economic benefits the monument has brought to our region. In communities like mine, we have witnessed more robust real-estate markets, business expansions and openings, and community-wide excitement that has emerged in the year since the designation. These first-year successes happened despite a misguided federal review process that has only served to stall our momentum. The governor still hasn’t allowed the National Park Service to put up road signs to help visitors get to the monument, either. The past year has given the Katahdin region many reasons to be optimistic, and this is only the beginning for a monument that I believe is here to stay forever. ~ Richard H. Schmidt III, Patten
Trump Orders Largest National Monument Reduction In U.S. History
National Public Radio - Monday, December 4, 2017 

On Monday, President Trump announced his proclamations dramatically shrinking the size of the state's two massive national monuments, Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante. Taken together, Trump's orders mark the largest reversal of national monument protections in U.S. history. By late Monday, ten conservation groups had filed a lawsuit, alleging that Trump's action was "unlawful" and an abuse of his authority. "I think the only thing this administration understands is lawsuits," Yvon Chouinard, founder and CEO of outdoor gear company Patagonia, told CNN. "We're losing this planet, and we have...wacko politicians."
Request by owner of Maine biomass plants draws interest from potential partners
Portland Press Herald - Monday, December 4, 2017 

ReEnergy Holdings is reviewing the responses from businesses that may be willing to pay for the excess steam and hot water it produces. ReEnergy owns and operates four utility-scale, wood-fired power plants in Maine. The aging plants are inefficient and struggling financially, but play an important role in Maine’s wood products industry by creating a market for hundreds of loggers and truckers, and for waste wood from sawmills. ReEnergy’s announcement comes on the heels of the approval last month of a $500,000 state loan to a venture proposed by Stored Solar LLC to co-locate shrimp farms next to its biomass plant in West Enfield.
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