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
Is Maine's Largest Maple Sugar Bush In Danger, Or Is The Owner Getting A Sweet Deal?
Maine Public - Tuesday, May 9, 2017 

A Maine businessman and a national conservation group are seeking $6 million from the state and federal governments to protect a prized plantation of sugar maples in Somerset County. However, the project’s remote location and its Canadian-produced maple syrup raise questions about whether Mainers should subsidize a conservation easement. And the land owner, Paul Fortin, has contributed a lot of money to the gubernatorial campaigns of Paul LePage as well as to a political action committee run by the governor. LePage previously said Maine would not seek future federal conservation funding and he has been a vociferous critic of the Land for Maine’s Future program, but LePage is backing the deal that would net Fortin millions of dollars.
Maine House Strongly Supports Putting Deposit on Miniature Liquor Bottles
Maine Public - Tuesday, May 9, 2017 

For decades Maine has had a bottle redemption system for soda, beer and liquor bottles to encourage recycling and prevent littering of those containers. Now the Maine House has voted to expand the deposit law to include small liquor bottles called nips. If given final approval, the bottles would join the long list of glass, metal and plastic beverage containers that have been added to the bottle deposit law since it was first passed in 1978.
Driven By Lobster, Value of Maine Fisheries Landings Rises
Maine Public - Tuesday, May 9, 2017 

Landings of finfish and shellfish in Maine accounted for over $588 million in revenue in 2015, the most recent year for which statistics are available, and more than 39,000 jobs, according to numbers released Tuesday by NOAA Fisheries. Rita Curtis, a NOAA Fisheries division chief for economics and social analysis, says American lobsters drive Maine fisheries. “Maine lobster was up again, about $40 million. Prices were up we’ll say about 10 percent, more or less. Soft shell clams were up,” she says. At the same time, NOAA Fisheries says that the number of U.S. stocks on the overfishing and overfished lists remains near all-time lows.
Opinion: Endangered species should face same Trump test as national monuments
Other - Tuesday, May 9, 2017 

The Hill - Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke is touring two national monuments as part of President Trump’s April 26 executive order to review the last 20 years of national monument designations. Obama’s designation of Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument in Maine caused concerns. At a recent hearing of the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Federal Lands, Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) identified economic losses to the forestry industry and public access barriers such as the loss of connectivity for ATV trails. Just as Secretary Zinke is seeking local input on national monument designations, he should require FWS to do so with endangered species regulations. ~ Terry L. Anderson, former president of the Property and Environment Research Center
LePage’s Democratic nominee clears hurdle to utility watchdog post
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, May 9, 2017 

Barry Hobbins, a Democrat with more than two decades of past legislative service, won a unanimous committee endorsement Tuesday to serve as the state’s next utility ratepayer watchdog. The vote advances his nomination, by Gov. Paul LePage, to the Senate. The unanimous committee support signals what should be an easy road to Senate confirmation, which would give Hobbins a four-year term as Maine’s public advocate. In the role, Hobbins would lead an office of attorneys and staff to represent low-income, residential and small business utility customers in cases that come before the Maine Public Utilities Commission.
Lawmakers endorse Barry Hobbins as Maine’s utility public advocate
Portland Press Herald - Tuesday, May 9, 2017 

Former longtime Democratic legislator Barry Hobbins of Saco was unanimously endorsed by a legislative committee on Tuesday to represent the interests of Maine’s utility customers as the head of the Office of Public Advocate. If approved by the state Senate, Hobbins would represent Maine ratepayers, notably low-income and residential customers, in proceedings of the Maine Public Utilities Commission on issues that include electricity and natural gas prices, telecommunications and access to broadband internet.
Opinion: An ill wind blows in Augusta
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, May 9, 2017 

The governor chased Statoil out of the state after the Public Utilities Commission had approved its project for floating wind turbines to give UMaine's Aqua Ventus a chance to finalize its proposal. Hanging in the air is whether the governor, having achieved what he set out to accomplish three years ago by escorting Statoil out the door, would give UMaine’s seven-year quest the opportunity to demonstrate its technology. He would not. The Governor’s Energy Office testified last week that he no longer supports the university’s project. The governor and his Energy Office have not only damaged Maine’s reputation among investors, but they have also elevated NIMBY-ism into a state policy for vast new areas of the Gulf of Maine. The only question now is whether the Legislature will extinguish Maine’s rapidly diminishing offshore wind opportunity. ~ Philip Conkling, Camden
New reports reveal status of managing marine resources
Maine Environmental News - Tuesday, May 9, 2017 

U.S. commercial and recreational fishing generated $208 billion in sales, contributed $97 billion to the gross domestic product, and supported 1.6 million full- and part-time jobs in 2015—above the five-year average, according to NOAA's Fisheries Economics of the United States report released today. Also out today, the Annual Report to Congress on the Status of U.S. Fisheries shows that the number of domestic fish stocks listed as overfished or subject to overfishing remain near all-time lows, with two new stocks rebuilt in 2016.
Nips bill passes Maine House
Maine Environmental News - Tuesday, May 9, 2017 

A bill to bring miniature liquor bottles under Maine’s returnable bottle bill passed the Maine House of Representatives on Tuesday with 111 legislators voting yes, 34 voting no, and 6 absent or excused. The bill would extend a 15-cent deposit to wine or spirit bottles 50 milliliters and smaller. Lobbyists for the liquor industry opposed the bill.
Mining reform bill unanimously passes Maine Senate
Maine Environmental News - Tuesday, May 9, 2017 

A bill to revamp Maine's mineral mining law unanimously passed the state senate today. LD 820, "An Act to Protect Maine's Clean Water and Taxpayers from Mining Pollution," was sponsored by Senator Brownie Carson, former executive director of the Natural Resources Council of Maine (NRCM). According to NRCM, if passed as amended, the bill would provide some of the strongest protections against metallic mineral mining pollution in the world. However, some grassroots activists believe the bill would reduce, not enhance, environmental protections. They have called for LD 820 to be stopped. The bill must still go through several more votes in the Maine House and Senate.
Hike: Annie Sturgis Sanctuary in Vassalboro
Aislinn Sarnacki Act Out Blog - Tuesday, May 9, 2017 

An excellent place to find woodland flowers and wildlife, the 40-acre Annie Sturgis Sanctuary in Vassalboro features a simple, two-mile trail network that open to foot traffic only. Owned and maintained by the New England Wild Flower Society, this property is home to what’s known as the largest stand of wild ginger in Maine, as well as a variety of wildflowers, including bloodroot, trout lily and purple trillium.
LePage claims he was not invited to view national monument
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, May 9, 2017 

During an interview on WVOM Tuesday, Gov. Paul LePage reiterated his complaint that the process leading up to former President Barack Obama’s declaration of a national monument in the Katahdin region lacked transparency. He claimed his communications with Lucas St. Clair, who testified with LePage last week at a congressional committee hearing about designation of national monuments, had been poor and that he could not recall receiving an invitation from St. Clair to view the property before the designation. St. Clair represents his family, who donated the land and set up an endowment to care for it. “We’ve been looking ever since I’ve been back [from Washington],” LePage said of his staff. “I can count them on one hand and they’re mostly complaint letters rather than inviting me to be involved in the process.”
Pesticide bill from Gov. LePage mirrors model by secretive national group
Portland Press Herald - Tuesday, May 9, 2017 

Gov. Paul LePage’s bill to take away municipal government’s ability to enact local pesticide ordinances closely mirrors a model bill written and promoted by a secretive national group that helps large national corporations ghost-write laws for sympathetic state legislators. Not disclosed during a lengthy May 1 public hearing is that L.D. 1505 is almost identical to a model bill advanced in state houses across the country by a business-backed organization called the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, and drafted by one of its task forces with corporate members such as pesticide makers CropLife America, Dow AgroSciences and the American Chemistry Council.
Editorial: Don’t drive away investment in Katahdin region
Portland Press Herald - Tuesday, May 9, 2017 

In just the short time since then-President Barack Obama designated roughly 87,500 acres near Millinocket as the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, millions of dollars have been earmarked for the region, and along with anecdotal evidence of increased interest in the area, there is reason for the newfound optimism in a region that needed it. But now all that is in danger for no good reason. The Katahdin national monument is among 22 such designations now up for review by the Trump administration. With a comment period on Trump’s review about to begin, it’s up to Maine residents to counter the governor’s misguided narrative.
Letter: Get involved in protecting environment from pesticides
Portland Press Herald - Tuesday, May 9, 2017 

President Trump’s choice of Scott Pruitt to lead the Environmental Protection Agency is an indicator that our population and environment are now in deep jeopardy. Our citizens will have to take the lead. A primary issue for Portland will be protection from exposure to the enormous array of chemicals overburdening our endocrine and immune systems, and implicated in the development of many chronic diseases. I urge Portland citizens to join me in becoming informed about the dangers of the continued use of pesticides, and in speaking out strongly in defense of our air, our water and the future health of all beings in our community. ~ Priscilla Skerry, naturopathic doctor, Portland
Letter: Trump’s EPA cuts would hurt Maine lakes
Kennebec Journal - Tuesday, May 9, 2017 

Maine lakes are in danger. President Donald Trump has proposed cutting the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget by 31 percent. These cuts will terminate federal grant money that supports community environmental programs. There are 130 Lakes Associations in the state that utilize this EPA grant money and expertise to help control non-point source pollution and other factors that leads to lake pollution, eutrophication, and algae blooms. To protect and preserve Maine’s beautiful lakes and watersheds please contact your representatives and ask them oppose cuts to the EPA. ~ Susan Kistenmacher, Farmingdale
Letter: We need climate information
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, May 9, 2017 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency website home page has nothing on it to allow citizens to connect to information about climate change. The Trump Administration has deleted this information. The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration still has climate information on its website. March 2017 was the second warmest March on record for the globe. Please contact our congressional representatives and ask that climate change information be restored to the EPA website and that funding be increased for EPA and NOAA climate information. ~ Pam Person, Orland
Letter: Monument is making positive difference
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, May 9, 2017 

I’ve watched the Katahdin region struggle for years. Since the establishment of Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, only months ago, I’ve already seen an increase in visitors to our region, and the economic impact they bring to Patten, my town, and our local businesses. I hope Rep. Bruce Poliquin takes a public stand for the monument and many businesses investing, hiring, and welcoming monument visitors to our communities. ~ Christine Parker, Patten
A Monumental Fight Is Brewing Over America’s Public Lands
Sierra Club - Monday, May 8, 2017 

It was April 26, and the president was signing an executive order directing Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to spend the next 120 days evaluating more than two dozen national monuments and deciding which of them should be shrunk, or repealed entirely. It’s a smoke screen. Many of the national monuments that are in the administration’s cross hairs—places like Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument in Maine—were established only after considerable public input. In each case, there were local detractors but also broad local public support. Beginning May 12, citizens will be able to go to regulations.gov and, after entering the code DOI-2017-0002, will be able to comment on the national monuments.
New rules aim to boost herring supply prized as lobster bait
Portland Press Herald - Monday, May 8, 2017 

Interstate fishing authorities took steps Monday to try to keep New England lobster pots full of fresh bait during the peak season. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission adopted many of the same measures that Maine implemented last year to try to “stretch out” the limited quota of inshore Atlantic herring into late summer, when lobster boat captains in Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts are clamoring for what many fishermen say is the best, and formerly cheapest, kind of lobster bait.
Bill to restrict mineral mining headed for Maine Senate
Associated Press - Monday, May 8, 2017 

Leading environmental groups and state environmental regulators are working together on a bill they say would create strict regulations for mining Maine’s deposits of gold and other minerals. Metallic mineral mining is technically legal in Maine, but the state Department of Environmental protection and lawmakers say the existing mish-mash of rules poses legal and environmental risks. A legislative committee voted last month to recommend Democratic state Sen. Brownie Carson’s bill, which is on the Senate’s calendar for Tuesday and could receive an initial vote this week. Carson said his would bill fix issues with that law and become “the most protective piece of mining legislation I believe that can be found anywhere.”
Blog: On national monument, LePage is his own worst enemy
Bangor Daily News - Monday, May 8, 2017 

Last week, Gov. Paul LePage testified in front of the House Committee on Natural Resources on alleged overreach by the Obama administration in its use of the Antiquities Act. LePage’s argument that the Katahdin Monument was a “federal land grab” is total nonsense. This was private land purchased on the open market and graciously donated to the federal government to be preserved in perpetuity for the express goal of giving everyone access to it. The real “land grab” would happen if LePage successfully got the monument status overturned — resulting in the federal government stripping away landowner rights. LePage seems to think the government should be able to socialize these 87,500 acres so he (the government) can decide what happens on it. ~ Lance Dutson
Professional Logging Contractors raises $44,000 to benefit Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals
Bangor Daily News - Monday, May 8, 2017 

The Professional Logging Contractors (PLC) of Maine held its 22nd Annual Meeting Friday, May 5 with guests including U.S. Representative Bruce Poliquin, and raised a record $44,000 for the Log A Load for Kids Foundation to benefit Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. The event also included the presentation of awards to Congressman Poliquin, Maine State Senator Paul Davis, former Maine State Representative Jeff McCabe and many PLC members for their outstanding contributions to the logging industry over the last year.
Retiring to the Farm
Maine Public - Monday, May 8, 2017 

Prof. John Twomey, a retired UMass professor living in Montville, lives off the grid at a self-sufficient farm and helps preserve wildlife habitat. He addresses everything from white-tailed deer habitat to canning and preserving to solar energy.
Massachusetts man nabbed with $21,700 worth of illegal elvers
Bangor Daily News - Monday, May 8, 2017 

A Massachusetts man faces up to a year in jail and a $2,000 fine after he was caught with an estimated $21,700 worth of allegedly poached elvers, according to the Maine Department of Marine Resources. Joseph Starratt, 51, of Middleborough, Massachusetts, was arrested Friday and charged with possession of elvers, also known as baby or “glass” eels, without a license. The charge is a Class D misdemeanor crime, which is punishable by up to 364 days in jail and a fine of $2,000.
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