February 24, 2017  
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Maine Environmental News
Announcement - Friday, February 24, 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
Help wanted: Environment Maine State Director
Announcement - Friday, February 24, 2017 

Coordinate advocacy, field organizing, and media communications driving campaigns to restore Maine's lakes and rivers, to bring more clean energy to Maine, to curb global warming pollution, and to protect Maine's open spaces.
Save Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument
Action Alert - Thursday, February 23, 2017 

Maine Governor Paul LePage is urging President Trump to kill the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. This makes no sense for a host of reasons. Tell President Trump and Maine's congressional representatives to oppose any effort to undo our national monument. ~ RESTORE: The North Woods
Protect Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument
Action Alert - Thursday, February 23, 2017 

Governor LePage has asked President Trump to undo the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. Ask your Senators and Representatives to do everything in their power to protect the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. ~ Natural Resources Council of Maine
Help wanted: Maine Audubon Executive Director
Announcement - Thursday, February 23, 2017 

Seeking an inspiring leader who can articulate the vision of Maine Audubon and lead, support, and galvanize the organization’s stakeholders.
RESIST: Skills to Fight Back for Maine’s Environment, Mar 8
Event - Posted - Thursday, February 23, 2017 

Learn the skills you need to be an powerful activist. At Urban Farm Fermentory, Portland, March 8, 5:30-8:30 pm. Sponsored by Natural Resources Council of Maine, Maine Conservation Voters, The Wilderness Society, Appalachian Mountain Club, and Maine Public Health Association.
The National Parks in the 21st Century, Mar 2
Event - Posted - Thursday, February 23, 2017 

Gretchen Long, a member of the National Park System Advisory Board, will present an overview of the park system. At Yarmouth History Center, March 2, 2 pm.
Lets Go Hiking, Mar 2
Event - Posted - Thursday, February 23, 2017 

Don Miskill talks about his experiences hiking and shows photos from his travels. At Orr's Island Library, Harpswell, March 2, 7 pm.
Tides: The Science and Spirit of the Ocean, Feb 28
Event - Posted - Tuesday, February 21, 2017 

Jonathan White takes you on a journey spanning the globe as he examines the many dimensions of the tides, the science behind them, and how they influence culture. At Unity College Center for the Performing Arts, Unity, Feb 28, 6 pm.
Inspired by Nature, Feb 28
Event - Posted - Tuesday, February 21, 2017 

An examination of how nature inspires people in many different ways and in many different fields. At Topsham Public Library, February 28, 6 pm. Sponsored by Cathance River Education Alliance.
Mindful Meditation at Morse Pond Preserve, Feb 25
Event - Posted - Saturday, February 18, 2017 

Bobby Carnicella will lead a mindful nature walk at Morse Pond Preserve in Georgetown, February 25, 9:30 am. Sponsored by Kennebec Estuary Land Trust.
Clean Up Pence’s Dirty Coal
Action Alert - Friday, February 17, 2017 

Mike Pence may be Trump's "clean up" man, but he failed the environment. Under Pence's leadership, super polluters spewed unregulated pollution into the air, placing children at risk of disease and the world in danger of the consequences of climate change.
Owl Prowl, Feb 24
Event - Posted - Friday, February 17, 2017 

Learn about native owl species, their ecology and adaptations, and meet local representatives up close. At Center For Wildlife, York, Feb 24, 5 pm, $7.
Appalachian Odyssey, Feb 23
Event - Posted - Thursday, February 16, 2017 

Maine native and insatiable (10,000 mile) hiker Jeff Ryan has just published "Appalachian Odyssey: A 28-year hike on the Appalachian Trail." For nearly 3 decades, Jeff hiked a section of the trail with the same friend (they started hiking in 1985 and completed the AT in 2013). This is a fundraiser for Teens To Trails. At Frontier, Brunswick, Feb 23, 7 pm, $5.
Malaga Island management meeting, Feb 23
Event - Posted - Thursday, February 16, 2017 

Maine Coast Heritage Trust will hold a public meeting in Phippsburg to gather input on the management of Malaga Island. At Phippsburg Town Hall, Feb 23, 6 pm.
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News Items
Eastern Trail Alliance closing gap in funding
Forecaster - Thursday, February 9, 2017 

The Eastern Trail Alliance is just under $600,000 away from starting a 1.6-mile Close the Gap project. The alliance has already raised more than $3.2 million towards the $3.8 million project, closing in on the funding needed to make the proposal a reality. The funding must be in place before construction can begin. Alliance representatives said construction won’t begin until 2018. Close the Gap would connect the trail in South Portland to Scarborough, and bridging the area would create a 16-mile continuous off-road trail from Bug Light in South Portland to downtown Saco.
Climate trackers say Jan. 2017 was the 2d-warmest on record
Summit Voice - Thursday, February 9, 2017 

January 2017 will go down in the books as Earth’s second-warmest January on record, just 0.17 degrees cooler than last year, according to the monthly update from the European Climate Change Service. According to the bulletin, January was 0.55 degrees warmer than the 1981-2010 average.
Pesticide-Free School Grounds Bill
Free Press - Thursday, February 9, 2017 

Rep. Matthea Daughtry (D-Brunswick) has brought back a bill to restrict the use of pesticides on school grounds. LD 174, to be heard by the the ACF Committee on Feb. 14, would allow the use of pesticides on school grounds only when the presence of animals or insects pose a health threat to students or staff. It would also permit the use of pesticides on athletic fields only when it’s determined necessary by the school for the health and safety of the students. A similar bill was presented in 2011 and 2013 and garnered support from environmental and public health advocacy groups, but school boards and administrators opposed it, arguing that the measure was too cumbersome and that current pesticide management practices are sufficient in mitigating exposure to toxins.
A States Rights Bill
Free Press - Thursday, February 9, 2017 

Next week, Montville farmer GW Martin is going back up to Augusta to argue his case that new federal rules should be vetted by the Maine Legislature first. Martin says recent rules have also made it impossible for him to get outdated milk to feed his pigs, which has hurt his business. Martin and other local-food activists are backing LD 23, sponsored by Rep. Stan Paige Zeigler (D-Montville), which would compel state agencies to give the Legislature a chance to review new federal rules before they are implemented.
Flame Retardant Ban
Free Press - Thursday, February 9, 2017 

Rep. Walter Kumiega (D-Deer Isle) has resurrected a bill to ban the sale of upholstered furniture containing flame-retardant chemicals. LD 182, comes as evidence grows about the potential harmful effects of flame retardants, which have been linked to cancer, infertility and other health problems. A 2012 Chicago Tribune investigative series titled “Playing With Fire” alleged that three chemical companies that produce flame retardants have spent millions of dollars to mislead the public and federal regulators to cover up the harmful health effects of flame retardants and promote their use despite studies showing that the materials are ineffective at preventing fires. The Environment and Natural Resources Committee will hear the bill on February 13.
Anti-Referendum Bills
Free Press - Thursday, February 9, 2017 

On February 13, the Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee will hear a number of bills, all sponsored by Republicans, aimed at weakening the ability of citizens to launch referendums. LD 31 would amend the state Constitution by requiring that signatures for a referendum be of voters from each of the two congressional districts. LD 53 would prohibit groups from paying petition gatherers based on how many signatures they collect for a citizen initiative. LD 212 would double the number of voter signatures needed for a referendum from 5 percent of the total votes in the previous gubernatorial election to 10 percent. It would also require that the signatures be from each of the State Senate districts. Rep. Steve Wood will present a constitutional amendment to require that state laws governing wildlife management, such as the ban on hounding and baiting bears, not be amended by the citizen initiative process.
Former U.S. EPA Administrator McCarthy huddles on climate change
E&E/Greenwire - Thursday, February 9, 2017 

Former U.S. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy yesterday called on states to push forward on climate policy. She also advised Trump administration officials to embrace federal climate policies despite what she called their "politically induced religion" of denial. "Right now, if we're not going to get leadership at the federal level, it's important that states like California continue to stand up and that they speak for people and their right to have clean air and a stable climate," she said. McCarthy painted climate change as a public health issue rather than a political one.
Maine Legislator Proposes Bill Against Floating Offshore Wind Farm
Other - Thursday, February 9, 2017 

North American Windpower - State Sen. Dana Dow, R-Maine, has proposed a bill to prevent an offshore wind test area from being built near Maine’s Monhegan Island, which the lawmaker calls a “place of rugged beauty” that is “free from commercial development and the distractions of modern life.”
Maine Environmental News - Thursday, February 9, 2017 

Jennifer Burns Gray, Staff Attorney and Advocate at Maine Audubon, is moving on to become Advocacy and Public Relations Director for the Maine Association of Nonprofits. The Natural Resources Council of Maine is creating a new Federal Project. Eight-year NRCM staffer Emmie Theberge has been named Project Director. Paul LePage, former manager of a salvage store operation and current governor of Maine, appears to be positioning himself to apply for his next salvage sales job. He has repeatedly threatened to run for U.S. Senate next year against former Gov. Angus King.
Legislature considers bill to simplify fishing rules
George Smith BDN Outdoor News Blog - Thursday, February 9, 2017 

My proposal to establish a commission to simplify Maine’s complicated fishing rules is scheduled for a public hearing by the legislature’s Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee on February 14, at 1 pm. Over the years I probably got more complaints about the complexity of fishing rules than any other issue. Along with my testimony, I’m giving the IFW Committee a column I wrote last year, as I fished through the law book for the rules governing some of my favorite waters. Frustrating doesn’t begin to describe my search.
Do Not Touch That Fluffy White Seal on the Beach, NOAA Says
Associated Press - Thursday, February 9, 2017 

Federal authorities are reminding people to keep away from baby seals they might see on the shore, however great the temptation may be to pet the fluffy critters. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says gray seals give birth on islands and shoreline areas of Maine from December to February. It's often possible to see a mother a pup or a solo pup on a beach during this time of year. The pups are born with white, fluffy coats. NOAA says the best approach is to stay away from the animals and keep dogs and other pets away from them. The service says to keep a distance of at least 150 feet away from seals. The public should also never feed seals.
New force in Portland politics packs a one-two punch
Portland Press Herald - Thursday, February 9, 2017 

Fed up with Washington, D.C., Emily Figdor and Steven Biel moved to Portland in 2010, drawn by its small-town feel, seaside location and progressive values. At the time, Figdor was known as a top lobbyist in Congress on environmental issues and women’s rights, while Biel had been overseeing national online organizing platforms for MoveOn.org. From 2010 to 2014, Figdor led the environmental advocacy group Environment Maine. In 2013, she helped lead a successful effort to ban tar sands oil from being transported through the Portland Pipe Line in South Portland. Now, Figdor and Biel are using their skills to push a progressive agenda at Portland City Hall.
Letter: In support of wind power
Sun Journal - Thursday, February 9, 2017 

This is in response to Betsey Foster of Greenwood. Foster claimed that she is usually pro-environment. She is most certainly not, nor is anyone who prefers blasting away an entire mountain for coal over grading a hill for a wind installation. Wind towers are not 600 feet tall, as Foster claimed. The Mars Hill towers are 262 feet tall and the blades add another 115 feet. A good deal of Maine is ideally suited to wind technology. This is anathema to the coal and oil companies who gain financially from supplying fuel for electricity. With the beginnings of widespread electricity, everybody hated the awful power poles and wires. Now we mostly don’t even notice. ~ Diana Tozier, Poland
Letter: Pruitt at EPA would stop Clean Power Plan
Morning Sentinel - Thursday, February 9, 2017 

I am writing to express the concern I and many other residents of Maine are feeling about the election of Donald Trump, and the detrimental implications that has on our environment. Not only are we continually contributing to climate change, we are also stripping the planet of its resources too quickly to be replenished. However, we move even further from our goals as Trump assembles a board of polluters to run crucial agencies to our environmental policy. Trump has nominated Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to head the EPA, despite his career-long record of attacking the agency and suing to block clean air and clean water safeguards. We need Sens. Collins and King to oppose big oil and polluters in office, and protect Maine. ~ Maggie Hamre, Waterville
Student group asks USM to cancel talk by conservative legislator
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, February 8, 2017 

Students for USM Future at the University of Southern Maine posted a statement on its Facebook page Wednesday urging the school administration to “immediately” cancel the speaking engagement by Rep. Lawrence Lockman, R-Amherst. Lockman, who has drawn criticism in the past for his statements about gays, rape and abortion, will lead a discussion titled “Alien Invasion: Fixing the Immigrant Crisis,” on Feb. 16 at USM in Portland. [Lockman has also pushed an extreme anti-environmental agenda.]
New strain of bacteria is making seafood lovers sick
Associated Press - Wednesday, February 8, 2017 

Scientists studying oysters along the Atlantic Coast have discovered a critical clue to understanding why more seafood lovers are getting sick from eating shellfish. Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have found a new strain of the bacteria Vibrio parahaemolyticus, the world’s leading culprit of contamination in shellfish that, when eaten, causes diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal pain. Previously only one strain of the bacteria was blamed for this type of food poisoning, which is on the rise in New England and already is responsible for an estimated 45,000 cases in the U.S. each year.
Maine lawmaker proposes ban on wind turbines near Monhegan
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, February 8, 2017 

Sen. Dana Dow, R-Damariscotta, wants to prohibit a wind energy test area within 10 miles of Monhegan Island’s lobster conservation area. The current site is roughly 2.5 miles off the island. Dow issued a statement saying the project would threaten migrating birds as well as the remote, rugged beauty that draws artists and tourists. He said Mainers wouldn’t allow such a project near Mount Katahdin or Acadia National Park, which, like Monhegan, are special places. Other residents say they support the project, but want to negotiate the best deal for the community. The project is being developed by a consortium that includes UMaine, Cianbro Corp. and Emera Inc. They hope to erect two floating towers that would hold turbines with blade tips that could reach 600 feet above the water.
South Portland’s pipeline lawsuit costs top $1 million
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, February 8, 2017 

The cost of defending the controversial Clear Skies ordinance against a federal lawsuit by the Portland Pipe Line Corp. topped $1 million in December, and city officials are ready to spend an additional $600,058 in the months ahead as they prepare for a possible trial. Approved by the council in July 2014, the Clear Skies ordinance banned the loading of crude oil into tankers on the city’s waterfront, effectively blocking the company from reversing the pipeline’s flow to bring oil from Canada to South Portland. Environmentalists have argued that exporting oil, especially so-called tar sands oil produced in Canada, would accelerate global climate change, while petroleum industry representatives have said the oil is no more damaging than other crude oil.
Proposal would benefit older deer hunters in Maine
Associated Press - Wednesday, February 8, 2017 

A group of lawmakers is proposing an act that would allow people 70 and older to shoot antlerless deer. Maine uses antlerless deer hunting permits to try to keep the deer population stable. The proposal came up for a hearing on Tuesday. Bill supporter Rep. Russel Black, a Wilton Republican, says the measure is a way of “honoring our longtime hunters.”
Portland-based Ocean Renewable Power Co. realigns leadership team
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, February 8, 2017 

Ocean Renewable Power Co., a Portland business that develops hydrokinetic power systems, has reorganized to allow founder Chris Sauer to focus on financing and forming strategic partnerships for the 13-year-old company. On Tuesday, Sauer transitioned from president and CEO to co-founder and CEO, while John Ferland was promoted to president and chief operational officer. ORPC’s Cobscook Bay project was the first in the U.S. to build, operate and deliver power to a utility grid from a hydrokinetic tidal project, and it also developed and installed a remote community grid from a hydrokinetic river project in Alaska. Currently ORPC has ongoing, funded projects totaling $16 million, but is also looking for new opportunities in high-cost power markets.
Northeast Pellets employee accused of stealing, selling wood pellets
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, February 8, 2017 

Police have charged an employee of Northeast Pellets in Ashland of stealing wood pellets and selling them on the black market. On the evening of Monday, Jan. 30, Sgt. Jarad Carney of the Ashland Police Department caught Northeast Pellets employee Kyle Bell allegedly in the process of loading heating pellets into his vehicle at the mill’s storage facility.
Trump Administration Considering Shutting EPA’s Enforcement Office: Report
Inside Climate News - Wednesday, February 8, 2017 

The Trump administration is considering closing down the enforcement division of the Environmental Protection Agency, according to a report Wednesday evening from Inside EPA. The new administration is reportedly looking to close the Office of Enforcement & Compliance Assurance, or OECA, and instead let individual program offices (such as the air program, the water program and others) handle enforcement.
Maine fishermen: Baby Eel Lottery Would Keep Industry Viable
Associated Press - Wednesday, February 8, 2017 

Some Maine fishermen say a proposal to create a new lottery system to allow people into the state's big-money baby eel fishery is the best way to keep the industry sustainable. Baby eels are a prized resource in Maine, where they are fished from rivers and streams and sold to Asian aquaculture companies. The baby eels, or elvers, can sell for more than $2,000 per pound.
Boothbay Botanical Gardens Expansion Meets Resistance From Neighbors
Maine Public - Wednesday, February 8, 2017 

Blasting began last week for the first phase of a $30 million expansion at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens. When the expansion is complete, the garden complex will include a new visitor center and gift shop, a restaurant in the existing visitor center, a 16,000-square-foot horticulture research and production facility, and a nearly six-story conservatory, along with expanded parking, formal gardens and trails. But to make that happen, large swaths of wetlands — including 6.2 acres of “critical terrestrial habitat of eight significant vernal pools” — will be “permanently altered,” according to a permit from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection approving the project.
Northeast Pellets employee accused of stealing, selling wood pellets
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, February 8, 2017 

Police have charged an employee of Northeast Pellets in Ashland of stealing wood pellets and selling them on the black market. On the evening of Monday, Jan. 30, Sgt. Jarad Carney of the Ashland Police Department caught Northeast Pellets employee Kyle Bell allegedly in the process of loading heating pellets into his vehicle at the mill’s storage facility.
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News Feeds

Natural Resources Council
of Maine

Gov. LePage Should Drop Effort to Rescind Katahdin National Monument

As the region begins to benefit from the designation, the governor should direct his energy toward helping ...

2/24/2017 7:19:50 AM

Dryer Location

Put your dryer in a warm place. Doing this will require less energy to heat the air the dryer uses to do it...

2/24/2017 4:00:46 AM

‘Rather Than Reignite Controversy,’ LePage Should Drop Monument Repeal Effort, Senators Say

By Nick Sambides Jr., BDN Staff Bangor Daily News news story U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King say no...

2/23/2017 1:49:23 PM

LePage Urges Trump to Scrap Katahdin-area National Monument

The governor says the designation will harm the economy and recreation in the region, but presidents may la...

2/23/2017 11:52:03 AM

LePage to Trump: Ax North Woods National Monument

By Nick Sambides Jr., BDN Staff Bangor Daily News news story Gov. Paul LePage has asked President Donald Tr...

2/23/2017 9:30:53 AM

Dish Soap Can Save

If every U.S. household replaced one 28-ounce petroleum-based bottle of dishwashing liquid with one that’s ...

2/23/2017 4:00:13 AM

My Maine This Week: Beth Comeau

“After two weeks of LOTS of snow and winter weather, this past weekend had temps in the high 40s, so ...

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Poison Control

Most poisonings that occur in the home are caused by cleaning products, and most victims are under age six....

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