July 16, 2019  
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Maine Environmental News
Action Alert - Tuesday, July 16, 2019 

Thanks for visiting Maine Environmental News, a service of RESTORE: The North Woods. MEN is the most comprehensive online source available for links to conservation and natural resource news and events in Maine (and a bit beyond; hey, we're all connected). We have posted summaries and links to 60,000 news articles and announcements. We also post breaking stories and exclusives. Be sure to check not only today's news, but take a look at the headlines from the past several days as well. Articles often come to our attention a few days after they are published. Follow us on Twitter @MaineEnviroNews. ~ Jym St. Pierre, Editor
‘Acadia Files’ author Coppens, Jul 23
Event - Posted - Tuesday, July 16, 2019 

Author Katie Coppens will conduct fun science experiments with kids of all ages. At Turner Public Library, July 23, 2 pm. Each volume of “The Acadia Files” helps young readers learn about the scientific method in fun and innovative ways by following the adventures of Acadia, a young scientist.
Help Stamp Money Out of Politics
Action Alert - Monday, July 15, 2019 

The flow of cash into the pockets of politicians from lobbyists, oil and gas companies, and billionaires bent on protecting their wealth is the biggest barrier to our government's taking action on climate change, and it is up to us to put a stop to it. That is why we're asking you to join the movement protesting Big Money's death grip on our future by rubber-stamping our cash with the message "Stamp Money Out of Politics." ~ Ben & Jerry
Tell Your Representative: Invest in Clean Energy and Climate Action
Action Alert - Monday, July 15, 2019 

Congress must update and extend vital tax credits in four key green technology areas needed to meet our climate goals — electric vehicles, offshore wind, electric grid scale storage, and building efficiency. Without these updated credits, clean energy innovation could stall and our planet will be driven even closer to the brink of climate catastrophe. ~ Natural Resources Defense Council Action Fund
Hearing on CMP billing errors, service shortcomings, rate hikes, Jul 22
Action Alert - Monday, July 15, 2019 

Maine Public Utilities Commission public witness hearing concerning Central Maine Power’s request to increase residential rates by over 10%, and CMP billing errors and poor customer service. At PUC, Hallowell, July 22, 6 pm.
Greenhorns summer workshops
Event - Posted - Monday, July 15, 2019 

Hear from historians, restoration ecologists, entomologists, fishermen, foresters and master craftsmen, on a wide range of topics at the intersection of the human and non-human world. Greenhorns, in Pembroke, works to create a welcoming culture for new entrants in sustainable agriculture.
Crystal Spring Farm Bee Tour, Jul 21
Event - Posted - Sunday, July 14, 2019 

Beekeeper Ken Faulkner will explain the importance of honeybees, hive dynamics, beekeeping, honeybee history, and more. At Crystal Spring Farmers’ Market parking area, Brunswick, July 21, 10 am, free. Sponsored by Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust.
Kayak to Woodward Point, Jul 21
Event - Posted - Sunday, July 14, 2019 

Check out newly protected Woodward Point on the New Meadows River in Brunswick from the water. July 21, 2 pm, pre-register. Sponsored by Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust and Maine Coast Heritage Trust.
Climate Convergence Conference, Jul 20
Event - Posted - Saturday, July 13, 2019 

Explore the roots of science denial and change the nature of the public discourse regarding Climate Change. At George Stevens Academy, Blue Hill, July 20.
Loon counters needed, Jul 20
Announcement - Saturday, July 13, 2019 

Each year more than a thousand volunteer counters fan out across Maine’s lakes to help track the status of the state’s loon population. Volunteer counters are needed on a number of Hancock County lakes and ponds, July 20, 7-7:30 am.
Traveling the Northern Forest Canoe Trail, Jul 19
Event - Posted - Friday, July 12, 2019 

Nicole Grohoski, GIS Specialist, Cartographer, and State Representative for District 132 will share adventures from completing the Northern Forest Canoe Trail. At Gordon’s Wharf, Sullivan, July 19, 7 pm. Sponsored by Friends of Taunton Bay and Frenchman Bay Conservancy.
Yoga on the Brunswick Mall, thru Sep 6
Event - Posted - Friday, July 12, 2019 

Classes led by Sundara Yoga’s qualified instructors. At Brunswick Town Mall lawn in front of the gazebo, every Friday (weather permitting), July 19 - September 6, 7:30 – 8:30 am, free.
Hearing on CMP billing errors, service shortcomings, rate hikes, Jul 18
Action Alert - Thursday, July 11, 2019 

Maine Public Utilities Commission public witness hearing concerning Central Maine Power’s request to increase residential rates by over 10%, and CMP billing errors and poor customer service. At UMaine at Farmington, July 18, 6 pm.
Forestry for Maine Birds, Jul 17
Event - Posted - Wednesday, July 10, 2019 

Learn how to improve habitat for priority forest birds and a variety of other wildlife species; take care of your woodland; work with other forest management goals; and enhance the value and enjoyment of Maine woodlands. At Mt. Vernon Community Center, July 17, 9:30 am - 2 pm.
Revisioning the Earth, Jul 16
Event - Posted - Tuesday, July 9, 2019 

Dana Sawyer, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy and Religion at the Maine College of Art, will speak about Revisioning the Earth. At Harpswell Heritage Land Trust Annual Meeting, Orr’s Island Schoolhouse, July 16, 6:30 pm.
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News Items
We asked, and Baxter State Park Director Eben Sypitkowski answered
Maine Sunday Telegram - Sunday, June 30, 2019 

When Eben Sypitkowski took over as Baxter State Park director last summer, the challenge of leading the storied wilderness park seemed to him the honor of a lifetime. A year later, the 36-year-old Bangor native says directing the park and its staff of 60 presents many challenges, and many questions that don’t have immediate answers.
Opinion: Land and Water Conservation Fund needs full funding
Sun Journal - Sunday, June 30, 2019 

For more than 50 years, the Land and Water Conservation Fund has been instrumental in protecting irreplaceable lands and waters. LWCF has invested approximately $190 million in Maine through fives decades, protecting some of the state’s most special places and helping to ensure recreational access for hunting, fishing and other outdoor activities. It has been responsible for funding the acquisition and enhancement of federal, state and local public lands in almost every county in the nation. Members in both the House and Senate have proposed bipartisan legislation to provide full and permanent funding, but President Trump has proposed nearly zeroing out money for LWCF. Veterans know deeply that, in taking care of our outdoor places, they will take care of us. Fully funding LWCF is an investment in the health and well-being of the American people. ~ Colonel (Ret.) Steve Ball, Windsor
Letter: Interests of local people ignored
Sun Journal - Sunday, June 30, 2019 

By an overwhelming margin, Jay has become the 17th town to vote against the New England Clean Energy Connect Project. At this point, there has been no popular support for that project, but plenty of public opposition. Oddly, even as we learn of more scientific criticism and opposition mounts, Gov. Janet Mills digs in her heels. She has now vetoed two bills from her own party — one to give local towns along the route a voice in the matter. The governor chooses to stand by Central Maine Power, a company now well known more for its deceptive billing practices and dishonesty. How or why can we, and why does she, believe their science, job forecasts and economic promises? ~ Steve Bien, Jay
Letter: Trail praised by columnist would be devastated by CMP plan
Maine Sunday Telegram - Sunday, June 30, 2019 

Carey Kish’s June 23 Hiking in Maine column is a lovely description of a great hike up Number Five Mountain, one that I’ve taken long before the Leuthold Forest Preserve was involved. Whether by deliberate exclusion or ignorance of the situation, he made no reference to the atrocity that looms over this area in the form of New England Clean Energy Connect, Central Maine Power’s proposed transmission corridor. This issue should have been recognized in the column. All of the groups that have preserved Number Five Mountain and/or lands visible from the mountain – the Nature Conservancy, the Holeb Public Reserved Land, the Forest Society of Maine and the Moose River/Number Five Bog Conservation Lands – are stewards who should be opposing this corridor. ~ Barbara Kane, Jackman
Letter: CMP’s issues should cast doubt on corridor project
Maine Sunday Telegram - Sunday, June 30, 2019 

Kudos to the Press Herald for digging into Central Maine Power’s ongoing billing issues (June 23). You’ve shown how CMP’s longtime project to switch over to smart metering and upgrade their billing system has been a disaster in so many ways. Their lies, attempts to cover up and inept management of the project and ensuing problems have only worsened the situation. It’s no wonder the public doesn’t trust CMP. It’s impossible to understand how Gov. Mills can support New England Clean Energy Connect. CMP has left a long trail of broken promises. Even with a reliable and trustworthy partner, the corridor project makes no sense; it’s destructive and dangerous to our wildlife habitats, tourist industries, the North Woods way of life and all the communities in its path. ~ G. Bud Samiljan, Durham
Letter: State should provide better oversight of CMP
Maine Sunday Telegram - Sunday, June 30, 2019 

Re: “Electric shock: How Central Maine Power misled the public and mismanaged the rollout of its new billing system” (June 23): The extensive article is must reading. It is clear and describes the sort of missteps, process errors and shortcuts that invariably produce flawed results. In this case, the flaws have led to thousands of customer problems and damage to CMP’s reputation, as well as to totally unnecessary costs, stress and worry. I and many others, particularly those customers harmed and others worrying about what may happen to their current and future electric supply, deserve increased state legislative and regulatory action and attention. ~ Oliver Andrews III, Phippsburg
Letter: CMP ill-equipped to carry out power line project
Maine Sunday Telegram - Sunday, June 30, 2019 

Re: “CMP misled the public, mismanaged rollout of new billing system” (June 23): Given Central Maine Power’s incompetence, few, if any, of us would hire them to build a driveway. The state of Maine, however, thinks Central Maine Power capable of managing the construction of a large, complicated project (which should never be built) in environmentally sensitive areas. I would laugh if I were not crying so hard. ~ Edward Riggs, Albion
Column: Black Flies are bad this year, but that’s good in a way
Sun Journal - Saturday, June 29, 2019 

As far as June black flies go, this year may go down in history as one of the worst in recent memory. Interestingly enough, a plentitude of black flies is an indicator of clean water. Back in the 1950s, when many of our rivers were polluted with industrial and municipal waste, there were few black flies. If this is the yardstick, the upper reaches of the West Branch of the Penobscot River is about as pristine as it gets. That’s a good thing – bugs be damned – and may also explain why the fighting, silver warriors that we endure the bugs for are the strongest, scrappiest landlocked salmon in Maine. Hand me that bug spray, please. ~ V. Paul Reynolds
Editorial: Some summer suggestions for enjoying the Maine outdoors
Bangor Daily News - Saturday, June 29, 2019 

Getting outdoors is beneficial to people’s health and summer is a great time to explore each of Maine’s sixteen counties. These are just a few of the spots and experiences around the state that are worth a try this summer:
• Androscoggin: Head upta camp to enjoy some time at Androscoggin Lake.
• Aroostook: Golf at Aroostook Valley Country Club, which straddles the U.S.-Canada border.
• Cumberland: Mackworth Island features a mile-and-a-half loop trail with great views of Casco Bay.
• Franklin: Bigelow Preserve has seven summits and a host of hiking trails.
• Hancock: Find a pick-your-own blueberry farm.
• Kennebec: Catch some fish on the Belgrade lakes.
• Knox: The Maine Lobster Festival is July 31 to Aug. 4.
• Lincoln: Take the ferry to Monhegan and enjoy the island’s picturesque beauty.
• Oxford: The 45th Oxford 250 races into town August 23-25.
• Penobscot: Head to Bangor’s waterfront to enjoy some music.
• Piscataquis: Gulf Hagas is, well, gorgeous.
• Sagadahoc: Some beaches are worth walking for, and Seawall Beach is one of them.
• Somerset: Raft the rapids of the Kennebec River.
• Waldo: The St. George River Canoe trail spans 36 miles.
• Washington: Greet the sun at West Quoddy Head Lighthouse.
• York: Mount Agamenticus offers a view of the Atlantic Ocean and White Mountains.
Cadillac crowds root of problem for Acadia plants
Acadia On My Mind Blog - Saturday, June 29, 2019 

The ferns, flowers, shrubs and grasses of Cadillac Mountain have a tough enough time surviving the elements, but the biggest threat of all may be the pounding of constant foot traffic on Acadia National Park’s busiest and highest summit. On Cadillac, which receives about 700,000 visits by people a year, the Acadia plants are as fragile as those along the well-known Alpine Garden Trail of the much higher Mount Washington in New Hampshire. Botanists, park leaders and others are now close to completing a multi-year project to understand, protect and revive Cadillac’s fragile vegetation.
Law change will make it easier to ship Maine sea urchins
Associated Press - Saturday, June 29, 2019 

Maine’s the site of a fishery for sea urchins, which are harvested so their roe can be used as food. But members of the industry and some lawmakers have charged over the years that burdensome inspection regulations make it difficult to ship the product where it needs to go. Former Republican Rep. Bruce Poliquin and current Democratic Rep. Chellie Pingree are among the lawmakers who have called for an ease on those burdens, which sometimes result in the seafood spoiling while awaiting inspections. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says in the Federal Register that it’s amending regulations about importation and exportation of urchins to address the problem.
Salmon farm development seeks 70 percent break on new taxes in Bucksport
Bangor Daily News - Saturday, June 29, 2019 

A developer seeks to avoid paying 70 percent of the new property taxes it expects to owe the town of Bucksport when it builds what looks to be the state’s first land-based Atlantic salmon farm. Whole Oceans is applying with the town to use the state’s Tax Increment Financing, or TIF, program to help launch the farm in 2021 on the site of the former Verso Paper mill. The benefits could help secure at least 50 jobs expected to be created when the company completes its $190 million first phase.
Why garden snakes are not your enemies
Bangor Daily News - Saturday, June 29, 2019 

Slithering along rock walls and under bushes, snakes often establish homes in or around gardens — if permitted. There they feast on slugs and worms, insects and toads. They bask in the sun to warm up, and they retreat into tiny burrows to rest. Garden snakes such as garter snakes can be a welcome addition to a property. “It’s an indicator of a healthy ecosystem, to have a snake in your yard [or garden],” said Melissa Amarello, co-founder and director of education for Advocates for Snake Preservation. “It means you have a friendly yard going on, enough to support a predator.”
Proposal would raise natural gas rates in Maine cities
Portland Press Herald - Saturday, June 29, 2019 

Natural-gas consumers in Portland and Lewiston-Auburn could see rate increases of up to 9 percent if regulators approve a proposal by Unitil, an international energy company that owns a subsidiary in Maine. Unitil is hoping to raise rates to fund safety improvements in the distribution system, as well as better serve a growing customer base, the company said in a news release Friday. The average customer would pay an extra $9.93 a month.
Lifeguard shortage makes summer staffing a challenge on southern Maine beaches
Portland Press Herald - Saturday, June 29, 2019 

When Old Orchard Beach assistant lifeguard captain Lance Timberlake first applied for a lifeguard job 17 years ago, he was competing with many applicants for the position. That has changed. This summer, Old Orchard Beach is among the towns in southern Maine struggling to hire enough lifeguards to staff some of the busiest beaches in the state. The town has hired 13 lifeguards for the summer, fewer than half of the 30 it aims to have.
Letter: Deliver newspapers in biodegradable bags
Portland Press Herald - Saturday, June 29, 2019 

Plastic bags are a big problem, and the Portland Press Herald and its affiliated publications in Maine could easily become part of the solution rather than part of the problem by using biodegradable delivery bags. As a subscriber, I look to the Press Herald to be a socially responsible organization. ~ Henry Hilliard, Cumberland Foreside
Letter: Absence from BIW ‘christening,’ activist events reflects poorly on Press Herald
Portland Press Herald - Saturday, June 29, 2019 

Last Saturday, demonstrators gathered near Bath Iron Works to peacefully protest the “christening” of a destroyer (read: implement of terror, violence and planetary destruction). Twenty-two veterans, artists, parents, teachers and others were arrested. Nine protesters refused to pay release fees and were held in jail for the weekend. Gov. Mills spoke in support at the “christening,” despite having signed the Green New Deal in Maine into law earlier that week (hypocrisy). Zero Portland Press Herald reporters covered this. Why isn’t the work of robust local activist communities, a former presidential candidate’s visit, the flip-floppy actions of the state’s highest-ranking political officials and Maine’s latest contribution to the global climate crisis newsworthy? ~ Ashley and Sophia Bahlkow, North Yarmouth
Letter: Quick action to resolve maple issue
Bangor Daily News - Saturday, June 29, 2019 

This session, the Maine Farm Bureau worked closely with Rep. MaryAnne Kinney on my behalf to pass LD 86, “An Act To Provide That Persons Who Produce Maple Syrup and Honey Commercially Are Eligible for the Sales Tax Refund and Exemption for Commercial Agricultural Production.” This bill was a direct result of my farm being denied the Agricultural Production Sales Tax Exemption because the Maine Revenue Services stopped interpreting maple syrup or honey as agricultural products. This bill was a shining example of the Maine Legislature at its best. They were presented with a problem and acted swiftly to correct it. ~ Jeremy Steeves, Strawberry Hill Farms, Skowhegan
Browntail moths get foothold in Portland’s Deering Oaks
Portland Press Herald - Friday, June 28, 2019 

After tormenting residents of the midcoast for several summers, browntail moth caterpillars have arrived in the heart of Portland. Deering Oaks is suffering a “light infestation” of browntail moths and a handful of visitors to the park have reported the bumpy and itchy rash caused by airborne hairs from the caterpillars, city officials said. The caterpillars also eat leaves and are seen as a potential threat to the park’s historic oak trees. The moth population has spread in recent years from midcoast Maine. In the next two to three weeks, the caterpillars should change into moths, after which they will no longer pose a threat to people.
Unity College receives another gift from Couri Foundation
Morning Sentinel - Friday, June 28, 2019 

The benefactors who enriched Unity College’s offerings with a historic hunting lodge and 150 acres a year ago have added a welcoming center to Sky Lodge that, according to Elaine and John Couri, of the Couri Foundation, will serve as a starting point for all visitors to the Moose River property. The Elaine and John Couri Welcome Center stands directly across from Sky Lodge.
Maine Strawberry Season Will Likely Be Delayed, But Delicious
Maine Public - Friday, June 28, 2019 

This year's Maine strawberry season is expected to be late and short, but it looks like the flavor and size will be good. David Handley, with UMaine Cooperative Extension, says this year's rainy, cool weather has delayed the season in most of Maine by 10 to fourteen days. If temperatures warm up, the season could only last two and a half to three weeks for most varieties, but longer in northern Maine where temperatures have been a little cooler. Handley says 90 percent of Maine’s strawberry crop is sold to customers who pick their own.
Nearly 10,000 alewives die after Stillwater Dam malfunction
Bangor Daily News - Friday, June 28, 2019 

About 135 bushels of river herring died Wednesday when they were able to swim beyond a device designed to keep debris out of the Stillwater Dam and were chewed up by the turbines. Brookfield Renewable, which owns the dam, said the fish were heading from fresh water back to the sea after spawning. The approximately 66 bushel of river herring (~135 per bushel) were provided to the Ellsworth Alewife Harvester to be used as lobster bait.
DIFW Award Winners
George Smith BDN Outdoor News Blog - Friday, June 28, 2019 

Kendall Marden, a wildlife biologist, was honored with one of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife’s highest honors, the Kenneth Anderson award, given annually to the member of the department who has made exemplary contributions towards the enhancement of the state’s inland fisheries and wildlife. Kelsey Sullivan, a wildlife biologist who oversees the department’s game bird management program, was honored as the wildlife division’s employee of the year. Katie Yates, MDIFW’s Recruitment, Retention and Reactivation Coordinator received MDIFW’s Employee of the Year award in the Professional/Technical category.
Ex-Gov. Baldacci, board member of CMP’s parent, says company should make customers whole
Portland Press Herald - Friday, June 28, 2019 

Former Maine Gov. John Baldacci, who serves on the board of Central Maine Power Co.’s parent company, said Friday that if systemic problems led to the utility over-billing customers, it should act immediately to “make those customers whole.” Baldacci’s statement about making sure customers are made whole went beyond what CMP officials have said about the controversy that was documented in a recent Maine Sunday Telegram investigation of how the utility mismanaged the 2017 roll-out of a new $56 million billing system.
Maine CDC Congratulates Winners of the 2019 Lyme Disease Awareness Poster Contest
Maine Government News - Friday, June 28, 2019 

The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention congratulates the winners of the 2019 Lyme Disease Awareness Month poster contest. Maine students (K-5th grade) designed posters on the theme, "Tick Aware and Tick Alert." The winning posters are available on Maine CDC's website (www.maine.gov/lyme). Each winner received a Maine State Parks family day pass, a certificate, and tick-removal kits for their classroom. The poster contest winners:
• Addie Knieser, 1st grade, Stratton School
• Alaina Kachnovich, 3rd grade, Spruce Mountain Elementary School
• Natasha McDonald, 4th grade, Spruce Mountain Elementary School
• Patrick Libby, 3rd grade, Spruce Mountain Elementary School
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