June 19, 2019  
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Maine Environmental News
Action Alert - Wednesday, June 19, 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
Save Right Whales
Action Alert - Wednesday, June 19, 2019 

New England’s iconic whale is on the brink of extinction. A bill in Congress called Scientific Assistance for Very Endangered (“SAVE”) Right Whales could help this key species recover. ~ Conservation Law Foundation
Water: What is has to teach us, Jun 25
Event - Posted - Tuesday, June 18, 2019 

Learn about fresh water ecosystems and new aquaculture operations in the MidCoast region. At Topsham Public Library, June 25, 6 pm. Sponsored by Cathance River Education Alliance.
Proposed Coyote Center, Jun 24
Event - Posted - Monday, June 17, 2019 

Biologist Geri Vistein will share an informative film about the future Coyote Center in Maine, followed by a discussion of Maine’s coyotes. At Lithgow Public Library, Augusta, June 24, 6:30 pm.
Teen Wilderness Expedition, July 23-25
Announcement - Sunday, June 16, 2019 

The Teen Wilderness Expedition is a 3-day, 2-night, all-inclusive adventure for 12-16 year olds at Little Lyford Lodge, July 23-25. Offered by Piscataquis County Soil and Water Conservation District and Appalachian Mountain Club.
Maine State Museum hosts Bike Day, Jun 22
Event - Posted - Saturday, June 15, 2019 

Join the Maine State Museum, Bicycle Coalition of Maine and the Maine State Library in a free family event to commemorate the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote and learn about the benefits of safe, relaxed bike riding. At Maine State Museum, June 22, 10 am - 1 pm.
Woodland Management with Birds in Mind, Jun 22
Event - Posted - Saturday, June 15, 2019 

A Forestry for Maine Birds workshop for landowners, foresters and loggers interested in learning how they can support Maine’s forest songbirds. At Somerset County Cooperative Extension office, Skowhegan, and on the adjacent Yankee Woodlot Demonstration Forest, June 22, 9 am - noon.
Hike Puzzle Mt., Jun 22
Event - Posted - Saturday, June 15, 2019 

A moderate to strenuous hike of 8.5 miles. Cross several exposed granite boulders and ledges offering views of the Sunday River ski area, Grafton Notch, and the Presidentials, June 22, pre-register. Sponsored by Appalachian Mountain Club.
Androscoggin River Canoe & Kayak River Race, Jun 22
Event - Posted - Saturday, June 15, 2019 

This event is open to all to launch canoes, kayaks, paddle boards, (and more) into the Androscoggin River and complete one of three courses of varying length and challenge. At Festival Plaza, Auburn, June 22, 9 am, $15 for single paddler, $25 for a double, benefits Androscoggin Land Trust.
Plants of Corea Heath, Jun 22
Event - Posted - Saturday, June 15, 2019 

Join Jill Weber, botanist and co-author of The Plants of Acadia National Park, to learn about carnivorous plants, orchids, stunted trees and shrubs and cotton-grass. At Corea Heath, Goldsboro, June 22, 8:30 am. Sponsored by Downeast Audubon.
Maine Wildlife Park open house, Jun 21
Event - Posted - Friday, June 14, 2019 

The Maine Wildlife Park in Gray will hold an open house with free admission, June 21, 5-8 pm. Feeding times for moose, lynx, foxes, cougars, vultures and bears will be posted.
Call for a presidential primary debate on climate change
Action Alert - Thursday, June 13, 2019 

Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez has rejected a presidential primary debate on climate change. 15 Democratic presidential candidates have joined the call. So can you. ~ CREDO Action
Trekking through Time
Announcement - Thursday, June 13, 2019 

From June through October, Lakes Environmental Association, Loon Echo Land Trust, Greater Lovell Land Trust, Upper Saco Valley Land Trust, and Western Foothills Land Trust will host the Trekking through Time Series. Once a month throughout the summer and early fall, each organization will host a historical tour of one of its conservation properties.
Help document impact on shell middens, Jun 18
Announcement - Tuesday, June 11, 2019 

Many cultural artifacts of Maine's first coastal residents are preserved in shell middens, but these sites are disappearing as sea levels rise, collectors dig into the middens, and visitors walk on them. Maine Midden Minders is developing a database of erosion conditions at middens. Volunteer training at Coastal Rivers’ Education Center, Damariscotta, June 18, 3-7 pm.
“Dog-Friendly Hikes in Maine” book launch, Jun 18
Event - Posted - Tuesday, June 11, 2019 

Book signing and presentation for “Dog-Friendly Hikes in Maine” by Aislinn Sarnacki, which contains detailed descriptions and maps of 35 hikes across Maine that are ideal for dogs and their owners. At Epic Sports, Bangor, June 18, 5-7:30 pm.
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News Items
Tribes criticize state’s reluctance over elver deal
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, February 19, 2014 

Indian officials have been strongly criticizing Maine officials since a preliminary agreement between state fisheries regulators and the Passamaquoddy Tribe started to fall apart last week. But officials with the Maine Department of Marine Resources and the Passamaquoddy Tribe say they still hope to work out an agreement over the upcoming elver season.
Snowy owls infiltrate Maine, stirring questions about human-wildlife relations
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, February 19, 2014 

Hundreds of snowy owls, native to the Arctic tundra, have traveled south in a migration that is unprecedented, and many of them are finding suitable hunting grounds in the Pine Tree State. A series of natural events led to this year’s “irruption,” a term biologists use to describe a sudden upsurge in numbers. Broadly speaking, a recent boom in the lemming population in the Arctic tundra fostered a high rate of survival among snowy owl fledglings, and therefore, an increase in the snowy owl population. And now, there simply aren’t enough lemmings to go around.
Editorial: Michaud sets a policy direction — and a considerable leadership challenge
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, February 19, 2014 

U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud is cutting his work out for himself. The six-term Democratic representative and gubernatorial candidate Wednesday released his plans for helping out the state’s small businesses, fostering key industries that have a realistic chance of growing and succeeding in Maine, and equipping the state’s workforce with the skills they need to find work and grow their incomes. It’s the first of a number of policy documents to come. “Maine Made,” the name for Michaud’s business and investment plan, is a welcome addition to the 2014 campaign.
Michaud unveils his plan to grow Maine’s economy
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, February 19, 2014 

U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, a Democratic gubernatorial candidate, wants to raise the state minimum wage, conserve more land, and spend $36 million in state funds to establish new business, energy and education programs. Michaud outlined his plan to grow Maine’s economy Wednesday morning in Portland. He released a 33-page business and investment plan titled “Maine Made” that proposes building on Maine’s local food, tourism and energy industries by investing in and promoting six areas: small businesses, workers, farms, fisheries, renewable energy, and building a stronger community.
State bans lobstering in mouth of Penobscot River due to mercury contamination
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, February 19, 2014 

The Maine Department of Marine Resources said Tuesday that mercury contamination in some lobsters led to its decision to close a small area at the mouth of the Penobscot River to fishing for at least two years. The area is downstream from the now-closed HoltraChem factory in Orrington, which produced 23,000 pounds of toxic mercury waste each year between 1967 and 1982. The company manufactured chemicals for papermaking and other industries before the adoption of significant hazardous waste disposal regulations.
Michaud unveils economic development plan
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, February 19, 2014 

U.S. Rep. and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mike Michaud on Wednesday released his plan to build Maine’s economy. “Maine Made” outlines initiatives in six areas, prioritizing what Michaud says are the advantages Maine has over other states, such as its large small-business sector, its farms and fisheries, its renewable energy resources and its thriving tourism industry, built on the back of the state’s scenic coast, mountains and towns.
New maps track show how climate change may affect global biodiversity
Summit Voice - Wednesday, February 19, 2014 

An international team of researchers have published new global maps showing how fast and in which direction local climates are shifting, and how those changes could affect global biodiversity. As climate change unfolds over the next century, plants and animals will need to adapt or shift locations to track their ideal climate. “The maps show areas where plants and animals may struggle to find a new home in a changing climate and provide crucial information for targeting conservation efforts,” said researcher Dr. Elvira Poloczanska.
Tax law allows billions in business property taxes to be diverted
Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting - Wednesday, February 19, 2014 

[Part 1] Since 1985 — the year TIFs became popular in Maine — the program has earmarked almost $2.8 billion in property tax revenues for diversion over the lifetime of those TIFs, which can last up to 30 years. Of that amount, up to $1.2 billion is or will be rebated directly to business. Orlando Delogu, emeritus law professor at USM, said the early TIFs performed an important function by encouraging redevelopment in Maine’s decaying mill towns and waterfronts. But a second wave of TIFs granted in Maine allowed cities to give property tax payments directly back to developers, often with no specific public benefit in return. Those TIFs amount to public money subsidizing private interests.
Letter: Farm bill takes from the poor, gives to the rich
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, February 19, 2014 

Our Congress succeeded in finally producing a farm bill that will trim back the government giveaways to those who, some lawmakers believe, clearly are too lazy to work or to make their children take jobs cleaning school cafeterias. Luckily, 15 of those same lawmakers ensure food production continues by keeping themselves on the list of agriculture subsidy recipients. The pro-business American Enterprise Institute notes the subsidies could cost taxpayers $15 billion more per year than do existing crop programs, much of it going to the wealthiest farmers and the crop insurance industry. Even the libertarian/conservative Cato Institute calls it corporate welfare. ~ Dawn Leland, Portland
Letter: Democrat against wind
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, February 19, 2014 

As a lifelong Democrat, I am concerned about the inroads out-of-state wind corporations have made on our politics. The latest example is Democratic Senate President Justin Alfond’s bill that I call the “Corporate Windpower Revenge Act.” It would, in effect, retaliate against the DEP for rejecting two questionable wind power site applications and against Maine residents who wish to have their concerns taken seriously at future wind power hearings. At a hearing, a corporate attorney urged the DEP to disregard the testimony of citizens because they were not credentialed “experts,” meaning that expensive representatives only the wealthy taxpayer supported corporations would hire should be heard. It may be time to organize Democrats Against Wind Power. ~ Clyde MacDonald, Hampden
Letter: Support LD 616
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, February 19, 2014 

Last month, my wife and I traveled from Trescott Township to testify before the Energy, Utilities, and Technology Committee in Augusta in support of LD 616, a bill to amend the Maine Wind Energy Act of 2008. If enacted, LD 616 would restore to Unorganized Territory residents within “expedited permitting areas” an opportunity to speak out regarding the development of large-scale industrial wind projects in their communities. No law can be just that denies a resident the opportunity to be heard on issues regarding the industrial development near his or her home. ~ Michael Smith, Trescott
Penobscot Chief Calls for Investigation of Maine Attorney General's Office
Other - Tuesday, February 18, 2014 

Indian Country Today - Penobscot Indian Nation Chief Kirk Francis is calling for an investigation of the state attorney general’s office following the latest successful effort by Maine Attorney General Janet Mills to thwart a tribal-state agreement that would have benefited all stakeholders while acknowledging the sovereignty of the Wabanaki nations. Francis and leaders of the Passamaquoddy Tribe learned on February 12 at a meeting of the Maine legislature’s Committee on Marine Resources that a Memorandum of Agreement between the Passamaquoddy Tribe and the Department of Marine Resources over elver fishing licenses and conditions, which had been hammered out over months of negotiations, would not be finalized as planned. DMR Commissioner Patrick Keliher said the department was backing off from its support of the MOA because of “legal concerns” raised by Mills. According to Indian law experts, neither the U.S. Constitution nor case law supports Mills’s legal concerns.
Bird count confirms Arctic owl migration
Associated Press - Tuesday, February 18, 2014 

Preliminary results from the Great Backyard Bird Count show more than 2,500 snowy owls being reported in 25 states and seven Canadian provinces. The big white owls are in the midst of an irruption, or a sudden invasion of a region in large numbers, which scientists attribute to a population boom in the birds and a scarcity of their preferred food, lemmings, in their normal range on the Arctic tundra.
Mercury levels close mouth of Maine river to lobster, crab harvesting
Portland Press Herald - Tuesday, February 18, 2014 

The Maine Department of Marine Resources said Tuesday it will close a seven-square-mile area at the mouth of the Penobscot River to the harvesting of lobsters and crabs because “mercury contamination” has been found in lobsters there. The closure will last a minimum of two years, according to a news release issued by Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher. Environmentalists have said for years that HoltraChem dumped mercury into the river for years. The plant operated from 1967 to 1982.
Bill to strengthen wind energy law receives support
Maine Insights - Tuesday, February 18, 2014 

A measure to strengthen Maine’s wind energy law, sponsored by Senate President Justin Alfond received strong support today at a public hearing before the Legislature’s Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee. “Business and industry need a fair, consistent, and predictable regulatory environment,” said Alfond. “Renewable energy and wind power development are very important to Maine, and this bill is an attempt to create a regulatory environment where decisions are made in a transparent, consistent, and predictable manner.” The bill explicitly states that the Department of Environmental Protection shall not establish new requirements on permitting without going through established procedures. The bill also requires a written explanation when the primary siting authority ignores the opinion of a hired expert.
Appalachian Trail groups drop opposition to Bingham wind project
Morning Sentinel - Tuesday, February 18, 2014 

A coalition of nonprofit organizations representing the Appalachian Trail announced Tuesday that they have dropped opposition to what could be the state’s largest and most expensive wind project after Blue Sky West, a subsidiary of First Wind, agreed to take measures to protect the scenery along the trail. The Appalachian Trail Coalition groups, which include the Appalachian Mountain Club, Maine Appalachian Trail Club and Appalachian Trail Conservancy had concerns about the potential effect that this and other projects may have on the trail environment. The Orbeton Stream Conservation Easement Project, the goal of which is protect 5,800 acres along the trail in the western Maine high peaks area, will receive first $150,000 from the conservation fund.
Lobster fishing area closed in Stockton Springs
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, February 18, 2014 

Maine’s Department of Marine Resources announced Tuesday the immediate closure of the Fort Point-area lobster fishery because of high levels of toxic mercury contamination found in surrounding parts of the Penobscot River and its local marine life, according to the Maine People’s Alliance. According to a court-appointed scientific panel, the source of the mercury contamination in the river is the defunct HoltraChem chemical processing plant.
Norridgewock farm named Oakhurst’s producer of the year
Morning Sentinel - Tuesday, February 18, 2014 

About 250 dairy cows are milked twice a day on the farm, where Elroy Chartrand, his two sons and a grandson work. The farm recently was named producer of the year for the second year in a row by Oakhurst Dairy Farms. Oakhurst, based in Portland, buys milk from 70 farms across the state. The company was sold recently to the Dairy Farmers of America, but its annual tradition of recognizing farmers is one example of how practices at the company will remain intact under the new ownership.
Maine gov. pushes back against wind energy bill
Associated Press - Tuesday, February 18, 2014 

The LePage administration pushed back against a proposal Tuesday that supporters say would ensure the decision-making process on wind energy proposals in Maine clearly follows the law. The bill, by Senate President Justin Alfond, D-Portland, would mean several changes for wind energy regulators, including requiring them in instances where their views differ from the hired experts to explain why. Dan Riley, a lawyer representing the Maine Renewable Energy Association, said energy and emission benefits of wind energy are to be presumed under the Maine Wind Energy Act and, therefore, applicants shouldn’t be required to prove them to get their projects approved. But state officials under Republican Gov. Paul LePage say the Democratic-supported bill would prevent regulators from receiving information needed to weigh wind energy projects.
First Wind partners with environmental coalition to form $700,000 land conservation fund
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, February 18, 2014 

Industrial wind developer First Wind announced Tuesday that it has partnered with a coalition of not-for-profit organizations dedicated to preserving the Appalachian Trail to create a $700,000 land conservation fund. The conservation fund will protect the Appalachian National Scenic Trail viewshed lands in Maine. First Wind operates five wind farms in Maine. It has also proposed the Bingham Wind project, a 62-turbine wind farm located in Bingham, Kingsbury Plantation, Mayfield Township, Parkman and Abbott. The Bingham Wind project would be near the Appalachian Trail, a fact that concerned the Appalachian Mountain Club, the Maine Appalachian Trail Club and Appalachian Trail Conservancy.
Report: Gas pipeline not enough to avert New England energy crisis
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, February 18, 2014 

Union Leader (NH) - New England is facing an energy crisis brought on by high natural gas prices, and the call by governors in the six states for a new, publicly funded natural gas pipeline does not go far enough to solve the problem, according to a detailed analysis of the region’s energy options.
Maine railway’s new owner plans to add jobs, regain lost rail traffic
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, February 18, 2014 

The company in the process of buying Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway plans to hire more people and regain business the railroad lost after last summer’s disaster in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, although it is unclear whether the company will return to transporting oil. The Central Maine and Quebec Railway, which is a subsidiary of New York investment firm Fortress Investment Group, made the revelations in documents filed on Feb. 14 with the federal Surface Transportation Board as part of the regulatory process to buy a railroad. Fortress won a bankruptcy auction for the bankrupt MMA’s assets on Jan. 21. It expects the sale to be complete by the end of March.
Forest Service, USM Program Making Forest Data Accessible for Students with Disabilities
Other - Tuesday, February 18, 2014 

In the next several months, the U.S. Forest Service and the University of Southern Maine will launch “Linking Real World Studies with “RealTime” Cyber Science: A Universal Design and Learning Initiative at the Northern Research Station’s Smart Forests,” a program that will use a cyber ‘bridge’ to bring data from experimental forests managed by the Forest Service to science, technology, environment and math students at USM who have disabilities or other restrictions that limit access to forests.
Bigrock Mountain ski area saved from closure, making plans for summer
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, February 18, 2014 

Last August, when the Maine Winter Sports Center announced that it was ending its relationship with the Bigrock Mountain Alpine Ski Area and turning over ownership to the community, many supporters of the facility feared that they never could raise the more than $200,000 that was needed to save it from closure. But after a three-month-long fundraising effort, supporters helped garner the necessary funding to open Bigrock for the winter. And while fundraising continues, Bill Getman, general manager at Bigrock, said late last week that the mountain has had one of the best winters in years.
Hike: Oak Point Trail
Aislinn Sarnacki Act Out Blog - Tuesday, February 18, 2014 

Once a peat bog destined to be destroyed by a peat mining company, Sunkhaze Meadows is now a sanctuary for a variety of wildlife. Established in 1988, Sunkhaze Meadows National Wildlife Refuge is one of more than 500 national wildlife refuges in the country. The 10,000-acre refuge is open to visitors year round, sunrise to sunset, for a variety of low-impact recreational activities.
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