March 23, 2017  
Announcements               
Press releases, events, publications released, etc. from Maine environmental organizations and agencies. Submit content.

Reel Paddling Film Festival, Mar 22
Event - Posted - Wednesday, March 15, 2017 

At Mayo Street Arts, Portland, March 22, 7 pm, $12 online, $15 at the door. Sponsored by Northern Forest Canoe Trail.
World Water Day, Mar 22
Announcement - Wednesday, March 15, 2017 

In 1993, the United Nations General Assembly officially designated March 22 as World Water Day.
Maine Invasive Species Network Annual Meeting, Mar 22
Event - Posted - Wednesday, March 15, 2017 

The Maine Invasive Species Network (MISN) brings together research, education, and outreach professionals who work with invasive species in Maine. At Colby College, Waterville, March 22, 8:30 am-3:30 pm.
A Medicinal Garden in Your Yard, Mar 21
Event - Posted - Tuesday, March 14, 2017 

Katie Munn of Anchor Rose Apothecary talks about turning your yard into a medicinal garden. At Curtis Library, Brunswick, March 21, 6:30 pm.
Prevent the killing of native wildlife on our public lands
Action Alert - Tuesday, March 14, 2017 

Alaska has adopted an intensive “predator control” policy designed to dramatically suppress wolves, bears and other native carnivores in order to artificially inflate game populations. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service finalized a rule to prevent the application of these targeted killing methods on our national wildlife refuges in Alaska. The Alaska delegation aims to use the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to strike down this vital rule. Urge Maine's U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King to oppose this CRA.
Push Back Against Mining Pollution in Maine, Mar 20
Action Alert - Tuesday, March 14, 2017 

Weak mining rules were defeated in 2014 and 2015, but the Board of Environmental Protection has again passed weak rules to facilitate mines throughout Maine. Now these rules are back at the Legislature (LD 395). LD 820 would require strong protections and a rewrite of the weak rules. Public hearing at Cross Building, Augusta, March 20, 9 am. ~ Maine Audubon
Help wanted: Community Forest Conservation Intern
Announcement - Monday, March 13, 2017 

Downeast Lakes Land Trust is seeking an intern for eight weeks in the summer of 2017 to assist with habitat restoration projects, conducting wildlife and habitat monitoring, planning timber harvests, coordinating citizen science data gathering, and performing routine maintenance of hiking trails and campsites in the Downeast Lakes Community Forest.
State of North America's Birds
Publication - Monday, March 13, 2017 

This report is based on the first-ever conservation vulnerability assessment for all 1,154 native bird species that occur in Canada, the continental United States, and Mexico. The assessment was compiled by a team of experts from all three countries. Of these 1,154 species, 432 qualified for the Watch List, indicating species of highest conservation concern based on high vulnerability scores across multiple factors.
CREAtive walk, Mar 19
Event - Posted - Sunday, March 12, 2017 

Monthly creative walks with CREA Poet Laureate Gary Lawless and CREA Photographer Laureate James McCarthy. At Cathance River Education Alliance, Topsham, March 19, 9-11 am.
Papermaker, Mar 16 - Apr 2
Announcement - Thursday, March 9, 2017 

Penobscot Theatre Company presents this play by Maine author Monica Wood. The production opens in previews March 16 and runs through April 2, with 14 performances at the historic Bangor Opera House.
Maine Woods National Park, Mar 16
Event - Posted - Thursday, March 9, 2017 

Thomas Mark Szelog & Lee Ann Szelog will give a multi-media presentation about the proposed 3.2 million acre Maine Woods National Park. At Camden Public Library, March 16, 7 pm. Sponsored by Mid-Coast Audubon.
A Climate of Change, Mar 16
Event - Posted - Thursday, March 9, 2017 

A screening of the Island Institute's documentary "A Climate of Change" followed by a panel discussion. At Curtis Library, Brunswick, March 16, 6-9 pm.
Maine Birds and Their Habitats, Mar 16
Event - Posted - Thursday, March 9, 2017 

Speaker: Ron Joseph, Retired Wildlife Biologist. At Ladd Recreation Center, Wayne, March 16, 7 pm. Sponsored by Kennebec Land Trust.
Solar 101, March 15
Event - Posted - Wednesday, March 8, 2017 

ReVision Energy explains how solar works, how it can help to save energy and money, and what other applications can benefit a homeowner looking to save energy. At Curtis Library, Brunswick, March 15, 5 pm.
Governor’s Conference on Tourism, Mar 14-15
Event - Posted - Tuesday, March 7, 2017 

Sessions include 2017′s Top Ten Digital Travel Trends, Maximizing Ratings and Reviews, Marketing on a Shoestring Budget, Building Experiences, and Working with the Canadian Market. At Augusta Civic Center, March 14-15, organized by the Maine Office of Tourism.
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News Items
Letter: Support North Woods monument
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, March 23, 2017 

The Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument is stimulating economic growth in a region that needs it, protecting wildlife habitat and recreation and putting rural, northern Maine on the world’s radar. Our congressional representatives should fully support it. I’m deeply troubled to think the president may be considering pulling the rug out from under rural Maine. But what troubles me more is the idea that my elected representative, Bruce Poliquin, is not going to bat for this huge boon to the Katahdin region and rural Maine. ~ Debbie Gilmer, Orono
LePage Says He Didn’t Sign $13 Million Biomass Bailout (He Did)
Maine Public - Wednesday, March 22, 2017 

Gov. Paul LePage claimed Wednesday that he did not sign a bill last year that diverted over $13 million to several ailing biomass facilities, though he actually did. LePage signed the proposal in April of last year. The governor has repeatedly lamented its passage, but he has also said that bailing out biomass energy plants was the only way to preserve the logging jobs that depend on the plants. LePage also said that he plans to testify before Congress on legislation that deals with the president’s abilities to create national monuments. The governor has opposed the Katahdin Woods and Waters monument created by President Barack Obama last year. He has since asked President Donald Trump to rescind the designation.
White House slams door on carbon tax
E&E/Greenwire - Wednesday, March 22, 2017 

The Trump administration is not considering a carbon tax, an official said after a White House press briefing yesterday in which press secretary Sean Spicer declined to rule it out. Interest in the administration's stance on the issue has persisted while a lively debate is reportedly taking place within the West Wing over President Trump's economic agenda and various parties aim to influence the result.
Biomass firm asked to explain financial status after loggers say they were not paid
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, March 22, 2017 

Regulators have asked a company that’s receiving state subsidies for operating biomass plants in West Enfield and Jonesboro to explain why loggers supplying the plants report not being paid in more than a month. On Wednesday afternoon, the lead staff attorney for the Maine Public Utilities Commission sent a letter to Stored Solar partner Bill Harrington asking for “an immediate update on the operational and financial status of the West Enfield and Jonesboro facilities and the status of any payment obligation to suppliers, contractors or employees.” Stored Solar has received $426,000 in subsidies for electricity generated in January and February, according to regulatory filings.
The Republican War on Critters
Sierra Club - Wednesday, March 22, 2017 

Since the inauguration, the Trump administration and Republicans on Capitol Hill have pushed several ideas that would put wildlife, including endangered species, at greater risk. The most wantonly (and weirdly) cruel initiative would repeal restrictions on carnivore hunting in wildlife refuges in Alaska, which belong to all Americans. Maine's U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R) and Angus King (I) both voted to kill a rule that protects wildlife, including baby animals, in the national wildlife refuges.
Loggers Say They Haven’t Been Paid By Biomass Company Since Last Month
Maine Public - Wednesday, March 22, 2017 

Last year Maine lawmakers and Gov. Paul LePage authorized state utility regulators to award biomass electricity companies more than $13 million to boost payments for power generated in Maine. The goal was to assist Maine’s beleaguered forest products industry in the wake of multiple mill closures. But Dana Doran, executive director of the Professional Logging Contractors of Maine, says Stored Solar, which operates plants in Enfield and Jonesboro, hasn’t paid many logging contractors in a month or more. Stored Solar has already received more than $400,000 in taxpayer subsidies this year.
Could Mattis and Tillerson buddy up on warming?
E&E/Greenwire - Wednesday, March 22, 2017 

Secretary of Defense James Mattis broke from the Trump administration's usual line in written statements made public for the first time last week in which he addressed the threat that climate change poses to national security. It is probably not likely that Mattis' work will give him much policy overlap with EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, who angered environmental groups this month when he questioned the scientific consensus about carbon dioxide's effect on climate change in a CNBC interview.
Documentaries highlight climate security risks
E&E/Greenwire - Wednesday, March 22, 2017 

Filmmakers who believe in action against climate change are using documentaries about global warming national security risks to reach skeptics about the issue. "Tidewater" is about how sea-level rise affects national security. "The Age of Consequences" focuses on how climate change is a catalyst of global instability, which the military must then respond to.
Trump's next target: The Clean Power Plan
Natural Resources Defense Council - Wednesday, March 22, 2017 

Next on President Trump's list of anti-environment rollbacks: The climate-saving Clean Power Plan. Trump is preparing to sign a devastating executive order directing the EPA to begin dismantling this landmark plan — President Obama's signature initiative to cut carbon pollution from dirty, coal-fired power plants and expand clean energy in the U.S.
Feds will close Maine scallop fishery tonight
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, March 22, 2017 

Federal fisheries authorities are closing the scallop fishery in the northern Gulf of Maine at one minute after midnight Thursday after a contentious 22-day season that pitted the interests of part-time small boat fishermen from Maine against large, full-time scallop operators. Regulators announced the closure Wednesday after small boat fishermen — many of them Maine lobstermen operating with 40- to 45-foot boats — met their annual quota of 70,000 pounds.
Trump budget eliminates agency that brought $5M to rural Maine
Mainebiz - Wednesday, March 22, 2017 

The Northern Border Regional Commission, a federal-state agency that has provided $5.4 million in funding to rural Maine projects since 2010, is targeted for elimination in President Trump's proposed budget.
Blog: The scary, insidious, accidental effectiveness of Paul LePage
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, March 22, 2017 

Land for Maine’s Future is an incredible, bipartisan success story. Land has been conserved for farming, forestry and public access through a partnership between private and government funders. But Gov. Paul LePage has done everything he could — legal and not — to undermine and destroy the conservation program. Now, he’s supporting a project with a hefty $5.7 million price tag. The easement would protect a 23,600-acre maple sugar property near the border of Quebec. The owner, Paul Fortin of Madison, has made significant contributions to LePage’s re-election campaign and his political action committee. The easement would allow Fortin to continue sugar operations and logging and would generate a large payday for the conservation easement, which would be funded by a combination of private, state and federal dollars.
Greens write playbook for 'environmental Armageddon'
E&E/Greenwire - Wednesday, March 22, 2017 

Major environmental groups have a strategy for countering President Trump: all-out war. They are largely united in their opposition to Trump, who has promised to roll back environmental rules, expressed doubts about prevailing climate change science and proposed slashing funding for federal environmental programs. Liberal groups left reeling after the November election are coordinating their tactics as they prepare to shift from gently prodding the Obama administration to combat against the president and his allies.
Maine leaves $1.9 billion on the table
Maine Environmental News - Wednesday, March 22, 2017 

According to a report by the Maine Center for Economic Policy, under the LePage Administration, "Since 2011, Maine has forfeited over $1.9 billion in available federal resources that could have helped families and communities thrive." MECEP says Maine has missed out on as many as 4,800 jobs a year due to the loss of funds. Millions of dollars were lost that would have gone to environmental and conservation programs, including $300,000 for arsenic testing in well water, $450,000 for pollution prevention technical assistance, and $1,725,000 for working forest conservation.
Strong opposition to mining in Maine – but it still might be allowed
George Smith BDN Outdoor News Blog - Wednesday, March 22, 2017 

Mining issues have been debated – and left unresolved – for the last two legislative sessions, and a lot of that history was revisited yesterday. But a strong move by environmental groups, along with the possibility of simply enacting a law banning mining in our state, left the impression that we might finally resolve this very contentious issue. Environmental groups rallied around Senator Brownie Carson’s bill, LD 820, that places strict limits on where and how mining could occur. Beth Ahearn, lobbyist for the Environmental Priorities Coalition, representing 34 conservation groups with 100,000 members, said “LD 820 is a proactive priority…which addresses many of the problems…with the 2017 mining rules.”
Column: Maine could (and should) be energy independent
Kennebec Journal - Wednesday, March 22, 2017 

E2Tech says that it is a catalyst, a change agent, and a resource center that strives to promote Maine companies, support their robust and sustainable acceleration and help them compete in national and global markets. The E2Tech plan includes these initiatives. Accelerate progress to lower heating costs in the residential sector. Consolidate/streamline renewable energy policies to improve their cost-effectiveness and provide market certainty. Support the growth of innovative technologies. Continue pursuit of a regional solution to natural gas capacity constraints. Increase efforts to assist low-income households with high energy costs. Develop a plan to pursue cost-effective energy improvements in state government. ~ George Smith
Letter: Pass solar bill to lift Maine economy
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, March 22, 2017 

Maine needs to grow its solar energy industry to create good jobs and reduce electricity prices. As a designer and builder, I have promoted energy-efficient housing in Maine for almost 40 years. Finally, solar electricity has arrived as an economical tool enabling the building of net zero housing, which annually produces as much energy as it uses. Making solar power systems more accessible for Maine small businesses and residents helps lower and stabilize energy costs for everyone by reducing the need for new transmission lines. Sensible legislation can get us there. ~ Thomas Peterson, Windham
Letter: Don’t weaken the bottle bill
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, March 22, 2017 

Our bottle law does everything it was meant to do and more. It keeps tons of items out of the trash stream. It makes everyone a bit more conscious of the kind of slobs people can be. Some lawmakers have proposed legislation — LD 683 — to exempt 46-ounce or larger bottles from being covered under the bottle bill. Exempting those big bottles under the bottle law is very poor policy. The only tinkering this bottle law needs is to add the nips — 50-milliliter alcohol bottles — to it. Doing otherwise is a step backward. ~ Linda Stearns, Bangor
Letter: Trump budget cuts
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, March 22, 2017 

The Lincoln Town Council wants part of the old Lincoln Paper and Tissue mill site to be designated a federal Superfund site to get federal assistance for the clean up. This is not likely when President Donald Trump’s proposed budget calls for a 30 percent cut for the Superfund program. In Lincoln, 64.48 percent of voters went for Trump. But all is not yet lost. Trump voters, and others, can call for protecting the federal programs that their community needs. The cuts are a long list from Superfund to education programs for children. Contact Rep. Bruce Poliquin and Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King. You know how to support each other, and now is the time. ~ Barbara Kates, Bangor
Where Does Nominee Neil Gorsuch Stand on the Environment? Why Many Greens Are Worried
Other - Tuesday, March 21, 2017 

Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, 10th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Neil Gorsuch, is a conservative judge who environmentalists fear will put up roadblocks to their legal standing. These fears are based on some of Gorsuch’s previous rulings, which have disempowered green groups. At the same time, EnviroNews research uncovered instances where he has ruled against big polluters in the past. Gorsuch is undergoing confirmation hearings this week. So, should environmentalists be concerned Interestingly, Gorsuch’s mother, the late Anne Gorsuch Burford, was a head of the Environmental Protection Agency under Reagan. She is remembered for making drastic cuts to the EPA, reducing the number of lawsuits against polluters and gutting the agency’s staff.
Bill would prohibit discrimination based on climate change beliefs
Portland Press Herald - Tuesday, March 21, 2017 

A conservative state lawmaker is sponsoring a bill that would prohibit discrimination against a person based on their beliefs about climate change. The measure proposed by Rep. Larry Lockman, R-Amherst, also would prohibit the state’s attorney general from pursuing a prosecution against an individual based on the person’s climate change views.
For first time, government lists bee species as endangered in continental U.S.
Associated Press - Tuesday, March 21, 2017 

The rusty patched bumblebee on Tuesday became the first officially endangered bee species in the continental U.S., overcoming objections from business interests and a last-minute delay by the Trump administration.
Judge rules that rockweed harvesters need landowners’ permission
Portland Press Herald - Tuesday, March 21, 2017 

A Superior Court judge has ruled against a Canadian rockweed harvesting company in a civil case, saying that harvesters need to obtain a landowner’s permission before they can remove the seaweed growing on private intertidal property. The March 16 ruling by Justice Harold Stewart II, which could affect an growingexpanding industry in the state, applies to the entire coast of Maine and concludes that rockweed growing in the intertidal zone is privately owned property and is not owned by the state in trust for the public.
LePage says U.S. should challenge EU plan to lift tariffs on Canadian lobster
Associated Press - Tuesday, March 21, 2017 

Maine Gov. Paul LePage says the United States should challenge a European Union plan to lift tariffs on Canadian lobster.LePage, a Republican, says the tariff deal would put Maine lobster at a “significant disadvantage” to Canada.
Fishermen Say Canada-EU Trade Deal Would Hurt Maine’s Lobster Industry
Maine Public - Tuesday, March 21, 2017 

Some Maine fishermen say that they’ve always been at a disadvantage when trying to compete with their Canadian counterparts. Now, the Maine lobster industry is weighing a pending trade agreement between Canada and the European Union that could adversely affect lobster prices in Maine. Known as the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, or CETA, the new partnership would remove the 8 percent tariff on live lobsters for Canada, but the fee would remain on for the United States.
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Maine fears lost lobster 
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