January 16, 2018  
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Maine Environmental News
Announcement - Tuesday, January 16, 2018 

Thanks for visiting Maine Environmental News, a service of RESTORE: The North Woods. MEN is the most comprehensive online source available for links to Maine conservation and natural resource news and events. We have posted summaries and links to over 50,000 news articles and announcements. We also post breaking stories and exclusives. Be sure to check not only today's news, but take a look at the headlines from the past several days as well. Articles often come to our attention a few days after they are published. Follow us on Twitter @MaineEnviroNews. ~ Jym St. Pierre, Editor
Feeding Maine Photography Exhibit, thru Feb 23
Event - Posted - Tuesday, January 16, 2018 

Feeding Maine: Growing Access to Good Food is a photo exhibit by Brendan Bullock, which seeks to document the many people working to address hunger in the state. Created by Maine Farmland Trust and Good Shepherd Food Bank. At University of Southern Maine Lewiston Auburn College, Atrium Art Gallery, January 16 to February 23, opening event January 19.
February Vacation Camps, Feb 20-23
Event - Posted - Tuesday, January 16, 2018 

Maine Audubon Vacation Camps at Fields Pond in Holden and Gilsland Farm in Falmouth, February 20-23.
Nominations for Source Awards due Feb 12
Announcement - Tuesday, January 16, 2018 

Maine Sunday Telegram Source Awards recognize the individuals, nonprofits, businesses and institutions in Maine working to safeguard the state’s spectacular natural environment. Deadline for nominations is February 12.
Apprenticeships at MCHT Preserves
Announcement - Tuesday, January 16, 2018 

Maine Coast Heritage Trust has paid apprenticeships at Aldermere Farm and Ericsson Fields in Rockport. Each apprenticeship will be up to 9-months starting in March and will include a monthly stipend, benefits, shared housing, training and supervision. Applications are due Feb. 5
Land-use history of Midcoast, Jan 23
Event - Posted - Sunday, January 14, 2018 

Forestry experts Lloyd Irland and Ken Lausten will explore the land-use history of Midcoast Maine. At Camden Public Library, January 23, 7 pm.
Friends of Casco Bay Annual Members Meeting, Jan 23
Event - Posted - Sunday, January 14, 2018 

Recognition for those who help protect the health of Casco Bay, an updated Casco Bay Health Index based on data collected by volunteer Citizen Stewards over the past 25 years, and new program directions. At DiMillo's, Portland, January 23, 5:30-8 pm.
Offshore drilling public meeting, Jan 22
Action Alert - Saturday, January 13, 2018 

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management will hold a public meeting on a proposal to open Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) areas to oil and gas drilling off the Atlantic (and other) coasts. At Augusta Civic Center, Jan 22, 3-7 pm.
Scouting for Mammal Tracks and Signs, Jan 20
Event - Posted - Saturday, January 13, 2018 

Sandra Mitchell will follow up on the November tracks and signs class in the field. At Northeast Penjajawoc Preserve, January 20, 10-11:30 am.
Nature Journaling, Jan 20
Event - Posted - Saturday, January 13, 2018 

Andrea Lani will lead a nature journaling workshop at Viles Arboretum, Augusta, January 20, 10 am to 2 pm, $35 for Arboretum members, $45 for nonmembers.
Prowl for Owls, Jan 19
Event - Posted - Friday, January 12, 2018 

Maine Master Naturalist Kit Pfeiffer will lead a walk scouting for owls. At Carl and Barbara Segerstrom Preserve at Squam Creek, Westport Island, January 19, 6 pm. Sponsored by Kennebec Estuary Land Trust.
Futures of the Maine Waterfront, Jan 19
Event - Posted - Friday, January 12, 2018 

This forum will feature panel discussions on the future of our coastal and island economy, presented with trends and analysis by key coastal leaders. At The Westin, Portland, January 19, 2-8:30 pm, $35-150. Sponsored by the Island Institute.
Meet the Feet: Mammal Tracks and Sign, Jan 18
Event - Posted - Thursday, January 11, 2018 

Dorcas Miller presents an evening of hands-on learning about Maine mammals. At Belfast Library, January 18, 6:30 pm. Sponsored by Belfast Bay Watershed Coalition.
Connecting rivers, people and fish - by bike, Jan 18
Event - Posted - Thursday, January 11, 2018 

Alicia Heyburn spent five weeks on a solo bicycle tour from the source of the Rhine River in the Swiss Alps to the outlet at the North Sea near Amsterdam. Learn about Europe's extensive international network of bike trails, free cultural exchange and accommodation services, the stages and benefits of re-naturalizing a river, and how to travel alone without being lonely. At Curtis Memorial Library, Brunswick, January 18, 7 pm.
Growing Farm-Friendly Communities, Jan 18
Event - Posted - Thursday, January 11, 2018 

Community leaders share policy approaches and practical ideas for ways communities and farmers can benefit from working together. At Windham Town Hall, January 18, 9 – 11 am, Maine Farmland Trust or GrowSmart Maine members $15, non-members $25.
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News Items
Your Public Lands Sold on the Internet
Progress Report - Thursday, January 4, 2018 

At 9:00 a.m. on February 2, 2018, 2 million acres of Utah’s Bears Ears National Monument and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument will be immediately available for mining and drilling. Without paying a dime to the federal government, speculators will be able to stake a claim to mine for uranium, potash, and any other mineral that they believe can be extracted from the monuments. The oil and gas resources in the area, meanwhile, will be eligible to be sold off to energy companies through recently established private internet auctions and anonymous bidding systems that are highly susceptible to waste, fraud, and abuse.
Trump administration plans to allow drilling in all U.S. waters
Washington Post - Thursday, January 4, 2018 

The Trump administration unveiled a controversial plan Thursday to permit drilling in all U.S. waters, including protected areas of the Arctic and the Atlantic, where oil and gas exploration is opposed by governors, nearly a dozen attorneys general, more than 100 U.S. lawmakers and the Defense Department.
Trump administration to exploit all U.S. waters for oil and gas
Other - Thursday, January 4, 2018 

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke today announced the next step for developing the National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program (OCS) for 2019-2024, which proposes to make over 90 percent of the total OCS acreage and more than 98 percent of undiscovered, technically recoverable oil and gas resources in federal offshore areas available. The current program puts 94 percent of the OCS off limits. In addition, the program proposes the largest number of lease sales in U.S. history. “By proposing to open up nearly the entire OCS for potential oil and gas exploration, the United States can advance the goal of...energy dominance,” said Vincent DeVito, Counselor for Energy Policy at Interior.
Thatcher Brook to be focus of effort
Biddeford-Saco-OOB Courier - Thursday, January 4, 2018 

Biddeford will continue its efforts to clean and restore the Thatcher Brook Watershed with the help of the federal and state government, as well as a local nonprofit. The council voted unanimously Dec. 2 to accept $139,790 from the Environmental Protection Agency for phase one of the Thatcher Brook Restoration Implementation. The money, administered through the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. The city will match the EPA funding with $99,521 from the capital improvements fund. York County Soil and Water Conservation District will help administer the EPA funds and serve as project manager for the restoration project.
Let hungry goats help you recycle your Christmas tree
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, January 4, 2018 

The goats who live at the Appleton Creamery in Appleton would like to “recycle” your Christmas tree by eating it. Owner Caitlin Hunter, said, “Goats are browsers, like deer. They aren’t grazers, like sheep. They love to eat trees and shrubs and brush. Small trees, like Christmas trees, are perfect for them. It’s a good combination of fiber and something to do.”
Tanglewood 4-H Camp Founder Leaves Conservation Legacy
Free Press - Thursday, January 4, 2018 

Les Hyde, a University of Maine educator with Cooperative Extension who never outgrew his contagious sense of fun or his ability for making the improbable seem possible, died on Christmas Day, leaving behind a legacy of successful nature education and land conservation projects that he championed — including launching the Georges River Land Trust and Tanglewood 4-H Camp in Lincolnville. He also was the spark to conserving Tommy’s Island and High Island and establishing the Blueberry Cove 4-H Camp in St. George; starting and running Yankee Forestry Camp for landowners for 25 years; establishing a leadership program for youth at Tanglewood; and showing all of us that one person can have a big impact on the world we know and the future we want.
Don’t worry, Maine’s wild critters are just fine in the extreme cold
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, January 4, 2018 

Keel Kemper, a Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife wildlife biologist who works out of the Sidney regional office, says cold weather doesn’t faze our native critters a bit. The animals had a choice, you see. “In this arena, you either migrate, you hibernate, or you adapt. That’s really the three options that you have, isn’t it?” Kemper said.
Eye on Augusta: Biomass Subsidies
Free Press - Thursday, January 4, 2018 

A year and a half ago, Gov. LePage and the Legislature delivered a $13.4 million taxpayer-funded bailout to the state’s ailing wood-to-electricity industry. This year, the Legislature will consider throwing another $45 million down the stacks. On January 10, the Appropriations Committee will hold a public hearing on a $25 million bond (LD 897) that would be used to construct steam piping from stand-alone biomass generators to adjacent manufacturing facilities, to construct biomass combined heat-and-power generation boilers for sawmill manufacturing facilities, and to convert fossil fuel boilers in public buildings and commercial facilities to biomass boilers. The committee will also hear LD 953, which would borrow $20 million to establish a revolving loan fund that would provide capital investment in biomass generators.
Eye on Augusta: Water & Shoreland Bonds
Free Press - Thursday, January 4, 2018 

On January 9, the Appropriations Committee will hear LD 178, which would provide $5 million to correct downstream pollution issues and improve stormwater management, and LD 319, which would create a $25 million grant program to invest in riverfront projects that “contribute to economic, environmental and community development and revitalization [and] promote economic activity.”
Eye on Augusta: Fisheries, Ag & Other Bonds
Free Press - Thursday, January 4, 2018 

On January 10, the Appropriations Committee will hold a hearing on a $5 million bond to purchase federal groundfish permits for Maine fishermen, a $5 million bond to support improvements to sea level prediction models by providing more detailed mapping of coastal zones and monitoring sea level changes in order to help prepare for rising sea levels, a $20 million bond for food processing infrastructure to support local agriculture, and a $6 million bond to provide grants to communities to create digital parcel maps to “accurately identify existing boundaries and land use, identify potential community development areas and protect environmental resources.”
Eye on Augusta: Solar energy
Free Press - Thursday, January 4, 2018 

On January 11, the Energy Utilities and Technology Committee will consider LD 1686, which would prohibit utilities from requiring customers to meter the gross output in order to participate in the net energy billing program. The measure would also require the PUC to do a cost-benefit analysis of net energy billing compared to its own proposed recommendations.
Eye on Augusta: Pine Tree Development Zones
Free Press - Thursday, January 4, 2018 

The Labor, Commerce and Economic Development Committee will take up a measure to extend a controversial tax subsidy program for businesses on January 11. The $12 million Pine Tree Development Zone business tax subsidy program has come under increasing scrutiny for its lack of accountability and transparency. The Office of Program Evaluation and Government Accountability reported last fall that it has been unable to determine whether the subsidies are stimulating job creation, reaching the intended beneficiaries, or if the businesses would have opened or expanded without financial support from taxpayers.
Editorial: Poll petition ban would silence voice of Maine public
Portland Press Herald - Thursday, January 4, 2018 

Banning petitioners from the polls would harm the ability of Maine residents to participate in direct democracy while doing nothing to keep well-funded out-of-state campaigns from targeting our state. It would hinder the ability of Maine residents to respond when the Legislature doesn’t, say, raise the minimum wage, expand Medicaid or increase school funding – all things approved by voters after years of legislative gridlock – but it would do nothing to keep a casino developer with millions of dollars to spare from buying his way onto the ballot.
Opinion: Fix budget so Forest Service has more funds to prevent wildfires
Portland Press Herald - Thursday, January 4, 2018 

Two decades ago, the cost of fighting fires consumed only about 15 percent of the Forest Service’s budget. But increased development in and around undeveloped open spaces, along with, paradoxically, decades of fire suppression, mean that wildfires are growing larger, more intense and more dangerous to communities. Fire suppression now consumes 55 percent of the agency’s annual budget. There are proposals in Congress to allow the Forest Service to tap emergency funds when it exceeds its firefighting budget. The bad news is that Republicans are pushing for legislation that would tie the budget fix to “forest management” proposals that would allow for more commercial logging on public land while weakening environmental reviews and endangered species protections for such projects. ~ Los Angeles Times
Opinion: The key to fighting lead poisoning is in prevention, not detection
Portland Press Herald - Thursday, January 4, 2018 

A Dec. 29 Portland Press Herald editorial called for the lead law to be used as a model in reducing our exposure to another toxin – arsenic in our drinking water – but I believe that a more comprehensive approach to the risk assessment and intervention of a home’s health is the real solution. We have the laws, the people and the tools, but we need to ensure collaboration, communication and consistent financing so that Mainers have healthy housing. ~ Colleen Hennessy, former Lead Hazard Control grant manager for Portland
Letter: We can all do more to help climate
Kennebec Journal - Thursday, January 4, 2018 

The natural world means a lot to me and I believe preserving it for generations to come is a cause of great importance. We are nearly a year into the Trump presidency and each time a budget is cut, or preserved lands are at risk, I hear lamented cries. “The planet is doomed.” Until then there is much that we can do to keep it in tact. Why wait for government to make things right? Take matters into your own hands. Reduce your own carbon footprint. Reduce the amount of meat you eat, support local farmers, recycle, compost, plant trees, consider using alternative energy, convert your car to run on vegetable oil, and hold others accountable, as well. Only purchase products from companies that care about the planet. Be the change you want to see in the world and inspire others to do the same. ~ Brittney Fairfield, Rome
Portland council votes 9-0 to ban synthetic pesticides in city
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, January 3, 2018 

The Portland City Council approved an ordinance late Wednesday that prohibits the use of synthetic pesticides for outdoor pest management on public and private property. It means that Portland will start using organic pesticides on all city-owned properties beginning this summer. The only exempt properties will be Hadlock Field, Riverside Golf Course and five high-use athletic fields that remain exempt until 2021.
‘Electrification’: The Road to Higher Energy Prices
Other - Wednesday, January 3, 2018 

MasterResource - “Electrification” is the new buzz word touted by climate fighters and environmental groups. But the only tangible result of green electrification policies will be higher energy prices. New England states are exploring “strategic electrification” in order to meet tough emissions reduction goals. In most of these efforts, cost to consumers is rarely discussed. Most Americans don’t want electric cars. Large subsidies from taxpayers and mandates on auto companies and consumers will be required to force adoption. Actual costs of wind and solar systems tend to be hidden from the public, but when disclosed, can be hideously expensive.
Food Insider: Viles Arboretum offers chance to get off couch on Super Bowl Sunday
Mainebiz - Wednesday, January 3, 2018 

The Viles Arboretum's annual Table Tour in Augusta is Sunday, Feb. 4 — hours before a certain football game that will be holding many people's attention. "The whole idea of Table Tour is to offer a fun culinary-focused social event on Super Bowl Sunday so people can get outdoors, have fun, eat some amazing foods, exercise, all with time to get back in time for the big game," Mark DesMeules, executive director of the arboretum, said.
Rally of Unity
Other - Wednesday, January 3, 2018 

The 2018 Rally of Unity at Maine State House Wednesday focused on sustainability. [video]
Physician Edmund ‘Ned’ Claxton to run for state Senate seat being vacated by Eric Brakey
Sun Journal - Wednesday, January 3, 2018 

Edmund “Ned” Claxton, 68, said his familiarity with health care and the struggles of his patients give him a unique perspective that would benefit Mainers. Claxton enjoys hiking, biking, kayaking and snowshoeing, helps to maintain trails at Thorncrag and Woodbury sanctuaries for the Stanton Bird Club, monitors conservation easements for the Androscoggin Land Trust and provides trail education for hikers in the White Mountain National Forest. Claxton, a Democrat, faces a tough race against Republican Ellie Espling of New Gloucester, who is also seeking the 20th District seat that Brakey is giving up to run for the U.S. Senate.
Opponents say ban on polling place signature gathering may be unconstitutional
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, January 3, 2018 

Activists who have led recent ballot question drives in Maine attacked a bill Wednesday that would ban them from collecting voter signatures at the polls. But others urged the Legislature’s Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee to adopt the changes. The proposed changes are meant to maintain and restore order to the polling place, according to Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap, who said the bill was prompted in large part by concerns among local election officials in Maine cities and towns. However, Pattie Dubois, the chairwoman for the elections working group of the Maine Municipal Clerks Association, told the committee Wednesday that the clerks association had not asked for the law change.
Editorial: SAM slamming citizen referenda
Maine Environmental News - Wednesday, January 3, 2018 

The Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine (SAM) is advocating to make it harder for volunteers to gather the signatures needed to initiate Maine’s direct initiative process. SAM wants to preempt citizen initiated referenda to ban bear baiting, hounding and trapping. Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap included the provision in a bill that otherwise makes housekeeping changes to state election laws. Dunlap previously served on the SAM board of directors and as interim executive director of the organization. Does that sound like a conflict of interest?
Groups Gather At State House To Oppose Bill That Bars Petitions From Polling Places
Maine Public - Wednesday, January 3, 2018 

Activists converged on the State House Wednesday to oppose a bill that could make it more difficult for referendum campaigns to qualify for the ballot. The proposal prohibits the ability to collect voter signatures near polling places. Opponents say the proposal will make it harder for volunteer-driven campaigns to gather the signatures needed to initiate Maine’s direct initiative process. But David Trahan of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine says some type of buffer could bring order back to the polling places. Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap included the provision in a bill that mostly makes housekeeping changes to state election laws.
Hussey Sound off Long, Peaks islands closed to scallop fishing
Associated Press - Wednesday, January 3, 2018 

Maine fishing regulators are shutting down a pair of scallop fishing areas to protect the health of the population. Scallops are one of the most valuable marine resources in Maine on a per-pound basis. The Maine Department of Marine Resources says it’s closing Hussey Sound in Casco Bay and Rogue Island Harbor as of Jan. 1.
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