July 23, 2019  
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News Items
Big Pine Gun Club hosts popular conservation camp
Piscataquis Observer - Tuesday, July 23, 2019 

The Big Pine Gun Club Youth Foundation sponsored its first Conservation Camp the week of June 24 at the Big Pine Gun Club in Willimantic. Fifteen campers, aged 12-17, participated in the week-long camp. Campers learned to safely handle, load, unload, and shoot rifles, shotguns, crossbows, and standard archery equipment. They also practiced survival skills in the Maine woods and reviewed basic first aid.
Letter: Right whale editorial adds fuel to political fire
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, July 23, 2019 

Last week, the BDN Editorial Board wrote about the dangers of politicizing debate surrounding the North Atlantic right whale, which we applaud. However, its endorsement of Gov. Mills’ decision to reject a collaborative framework designed to save these whales from deadly fishing gear entanglements in favor of Maine’s unilateral plan adds fuel to the politicizing fire. While lobstering is a proud Maine tradition, there is a way to keep the industry thriving while protecting the last surviving 400 right whales. We urge Gov. Mills to keep the politics in Augusta and allow the conservation framework the state itself agreed to come to fruition. ~ Emily Green, Conservation Law Foundation, Portland
Letter: Preserving public lands through LWCF
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, July 23, 2019 

Public lands and outdoor recreation are an essential part of Maine’s culture. Many of these spaces have benefited from the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), a federal program that provides funding to public lands and waters. I grew up in Chelsea and some of my favorite places near my house — like Gardiner Waterfront Park, Hallowell Park Landing and Augusta Waterfront Park — are protected because of funding from LWCF. LWCF benefits areas across Maine, and has supported projects in all 16 counties. I want to thank the Congressional delegation for their overwhelming support of this program, which continues to benefit Maine. ~ Sarah Corkum, Chelsea
How red tide is closing shellfish farms across Maine
WGME-TV13 - Monday, July 22, 2019 

Members of the Quahog Bay Conservancy are spending their Monday on a boat checking their oyster farm. "Each cage contains about 250 oysters, just waiting to be harvested," Quahog Bay Conservancy member Nicole Twohig said. She says that the problem facing the non-profit organization is that they can't harvest because of the state mandated red tide closure. Red tide "is part of the natural marine phytoplankton community," marine scientist Darcie Couture said. "It's been around for hundreds and hundreds of years." Couture says that toxin isn't harmful to the shellfish, but to those who eat it. She says that the tests done at Snow Island, the area of Quahog Bay where the conservancy keeps their aquafarm, show that the farm is clean. However, she says that nothing can be done until the state does a test of their own.
Regulators add hearings on CMP rate case
Bangor Daily News - Monday, July 22, 2019 

The Maine Public Utilities Commission will hold three days of formal hearings later this week to discuss Central Maine Power’s request to raise its distribution rate as much as 10.65 percent, or $5 per month on average. The hearings are scheduled for Wednesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the commission’s headquarters in Hallowell. A CMP spokeswoman said the utility would work with the commission to minimize the requested distribution rate increase to about $3 per month by applying savings from the federal 2017 Tax Cut and Jobs Act.
Penobscot salmon returns top 1,000 for the first time since 2011
Bangor Daily News - Monday, July 22, 2019 

River-watchers had a reason to celebrate last week as the unofficial total of returning Atlantic salmon reached 1,000 for the first time in eight years. As of July 14, that total stood at 1,059, according to Jason Valliere, of the Maine Department of Marine Resources. Atlantic salmon are listed as “endangered” under the federal Endangered Species Act in all Maine rivers, and fishing for them is not allowed.
Editorial: Yet another reason to invest in Maine’s transportation infrastructure
Bangor Daily News - Monday, July 22, 2019 

Maine lawmakers should not need another report to know that much more money needs to be allocated to repairing and upgrading the state’s roads, bridges and other infrastructure. There is a growing library of these reports that demonstrate Maine’s failure to adequately invest in our infrastructure. Combined state and federal funding falls short of meeting transportation goals set in state statute by more than $100 million per year. Our hope — has been that the Legislature will reconvene for a special session to complete a bond package this summer, but time is running short to get a proposal prepared by voter consideration in November. In the long term, policymakers must consider more sustainable and predictable sources of funding for infrastructure projects. Raising fuel taxes, at the state and federal level, must be part of the solution.
Lobstermen, politicians rally in Stonington to protest whale rules
Ellsworth American - Monday, July 22, 2019 

The sun was blazing hot, but tempers were moderate Sunday when hundreds of lobstermen gathered at the Municipal Fish Pier at noon for a rally to protest proposed federal rules aimed at protecting right whales. The rules would force Maine fishermen to cut by 50 percent the number of lines in Gulf of Maine waters that connect lobster traps on the sea floor to their marker buoys on the surface. Proposed by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries, the rules aim to protect endangered North Atlantic right whales from often fatal injuries caused by entanglements in lobster fishing gear. Lobstermen say they object to the new rules because they will make fishing more dangerous, but won’t help the whales.
LL Bean poised to open first store in Canada
Associated Press - Monday, July 22, 2019 

L.L. Bean is poised to open its first store in Canada. The Maine-based retailer announced that the 13,000-square-foot store will open Aug. 23 in Oakville Place, just outside of Toronto. The company sees international sales as an important part of its growth. L.L. Bean already owns 28 stores, a call center and a distribution center in Japan, where it has operated since 1992.
Letter: Clear cuts turn exits into war zones
Kennebec Journal - Monday, July 22, 2019 

I admit to perhaps taking the beauty of trees for granted. At least I did until the Maine Department of Transportation decided that for our safety — increasing visibility — they needed to clear cut the trees around the Interstate 95 exits in the Waterville and Augusta areas. What was once a spectacular tree-lined area now looks like a war zone — utter devastation. How did we let this happen? Why didn’t we have any say in how this $500,000 was spent? ~ Cindy Sturtevant, Oakland
Letter: Will Congress heed climate warning?
Kennebec Journal - Monday, July 22, 2019 

The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration recently warned, ‘The future is already here, a floodier future. We cannot wait to act. This issue gets more and more urgent and complicated with every passing day.” Will members of Congress heed that warning? Will they finally start pricing carbon, as urged by economists and by the U.S. Conference of Mayors? H.R. 763 proposes pricing carbon, but few Republicans have signed as sponsors. Odd: the Climate Crisis in general, including coastal flooding, is bipartisan, so why don’t we combat it with bipartisan efforts? ~ Fern Stearns, Hallowell
Scallop catch is up, and consumers are shelling out
Portland Press Herald - Sunday, July 21, 2019 

Sea scallops, harvested mostly by boats from the cold Atlantic Ocean, are the target of one of the most valuable fisheries in America. New data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says the harvest topped 58.2 million pounds last year, the highest total since 2011 and the fifth-highest in history according to federal statistics going back to 1945. American scallops were worth $532.9 million at the docks last year. That’s the third-highest figure on record and more than $100 million higher than the 2014 total. The scallop industry is thriving as a result of years of conservative management that has allowed the valuable shellfish to grow undisturbed, said Jimmy Wotton, a scalloper based out of Friendship.
Plan would make coastal mansions eligible for disaster aid
Associated Press - Sunday, July 21, 2019 

Proposed changes, which would allow the owners of multimillion-dollar homes to buy lower-cost flood insurance backed by the federal government and potentially benefit from millions of dollars in other federal aid, are drawing criticism from watchdog groups that say making many more properties eligible for federal aid would stress already strained disaster relief programs and is a step in the wrong direction at a time when scientists expect stronger and more frequent storms because of climate change.
Hundreds Of Maine Lobstermen Protest Federal Regulations At Stonington Unity Rally
Maine Public - Sunday, July 21, 2019 

Hundreds of lobstermen and their allies turned out for a unity rally in Stonington Sunday. They were protesting a federal proposal to cut by half the rope they use to haul their traps – a measure to protect the endangered North Atlantic right whale from potentially deadly entanglements. Top elected officials from Maine — including Republican Sen. Susan Collins and Democratic Gov. Janet Mills, spoke at the event — giving some lobstermen heart that their voices are being heard.
At Waterville’s Riverwalk park, police see uptick in complaints
Morning Sentinel - Sunday, July 21, 2019 

The first full summer the RiverWalk at Head of Falls has been open has attracted a lot of enthusiastic visitors to the park, including some who have drawn the attention of police. Police Chief Joseph Massey said between six and eight people have been arrested since June for various violations there including drinking in public, littering, having outstanding warrants or violating bail conditions. Massey and Parks and Recreation Director Matt Skehan say they hope to discuss with people to how they can help make the park welcoming, clean and safe.
Animal Tales: A wild life at Misfits Rehab
Sun Journal - Sunday, July 21, 2019 

About 40 animals now live with Jennifer Marchigiani in Auburn, including a recently arrived baby skunk that was injured in a kill trap meant for rats. Marchigiani, a 46-year-old wildlife rehabilitator, is almost constantly needed at her nonprofit Misfits Rehab, so vacations — or even days off — are out. She spends her own money on food, medical care and other necessities. She gets the joy that comes with returning an animal to the wild, but she also has to deal the heartbreak when things go wrong.
Maine political leaders promise to press Trump for state’s lobster haulers opposed to new rules
Bangor Daily News - Sunday, July 21, 2019 

Mainers who haul lobsters for a living do not kill right whales. That was the message from a rally at Stonington’s commercial fishing pier on Sunday attended by more than 500 people, including Gov. Janet Mills, U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, and U.S. Reps. Jared Golden and Chellie Pingree. At issue are pending federal regulations aimed at protecting the endangered right whale, which can be killed by getting tangled in lobster trap-lines, but would force state lobstermen to cut the number of lines they can put into the water by 60 percent.
Column: Pondering a pocketful of periwinkles
Penobscot Bay Pilot - Sunday, July 21, 2019 

When I was a kid, I spent hours on a cobble beach near my grandparents' Lincolnville home, searching for whatever cool things I could find: cool rocks, fossils, starfish, shells. Periwinkles were by far the predominate shells on this shore. These hard little knobs of calcium carbonate could withstand being pummeled by waves onto rocks, remaining mostly intact. Next time you pocket a silvery summer periwinkle, roll it in your fingers and try to think about it as more than just a pretty shell. This too was once alive, though living on a scale we can barely perceive. ~ Kristen Lindquist
Opinion: Disposable straws are the real risk
Bangor Daily News - Sunday, July 21, 2019 

Los Angeles Times - Yes, there might be the “danger” of a few chipped teeth resulting from laws that restrict single-use plastic. But the real threat to humanity is not restricting it and allowing the ever-growing flow of plastic grocery bags, water bottles, packaging film, snack wrappers, takeout cups and so much more to continue unabated. Too many whales have literally choked to death on our discarded plastic trash, and that’s no freak accident. ~ Mariel Garza
Take a step back in time with these vintage photos of Acadia National Park
Bangor Daily News - Sunday, July 21, 2019 

If any one place is emblematic of summer in Maine, it’s Acadia National Park. Its beauty awes locals and tourists alike, and draws millions of people each summer to its own little corner of Maine. Visitors delight in its plentiful hiking, beaches and even its food. And it’s been this way for over 100 years. See Acadia National Park through the eyes of those who went decades before, with these photos we have unearthed from the Bangor Daily News’ archives.
At visitor-saturated Acadia park, few places to park
Maine Sunday Telegram - Sunday, July 21, 2019 

As the only eastern national park north of Virginia, uniquely surrounded by water and Maine’s signature rocky cliffs, Acadia National Park has always been popular. In recent years, though, park visitation has approached critical mass, forcing officials to continually manage congestion and also visitor expectations. Park officials have seen this coming. They spent five years studying trends and drafting a comprehensive transportation plan that was released in March. Most of the recommendations will take time to materialize, though, so bumps are expected.
In rare move, PUC regulators fault utility for billing failures
Maine Sunday Telegram - Sunday, July 21, 2019 

In a highly unusual move, the Maine Public Utilities Commission wrote an op-ed column, published Sunday, that criticized how Central Maine Power handled the rollout of its new billing system, and promised to hold the utility accountable, even though the regulator has not yet completed its investigation of the billing problems. David Littell, who served as a PUC commissioner from 2010-2015, said, “The PUC adopting a transparent and public-facing role should be welcomed by every Mainer. I read this as a public statement that the PUC is listening to CMP’s customers and will do its job."
Opinion: CMP’s customer service will factor in rate decision
Maine Sunday Telegram - Sunday, July 21, 2019 

The big question we all have about our Central Maine Power electricity bill and CMP’s customer service is also the simplest and plainest: Are we getting what we pay for? That’s the question thousands of Maine families are asking around their kitchen tables. You can be certain that the MPUC will take actions including any required remedies, in order to ensure that CMP delivers trustworthy, affordable, safe and reliable delivery of electricity to Maine households. ~ Philip L. Bartlett II, Dr. R. Bruce Williamson and Randall D. Davis, Maine Public Utilities Commission
Letter: Yarmouth’s dams kill marine life
Maine Sunday Telegram - Sunday, July 21, 2019 

Since the early 1970s, the town of Yarmouth has owned two non-power generating dams. While probably 99 percent of Yarmouth residents support improving the environment and dam removal, the Town Council is in the pocket of the three marina owners who are blocking dam removal due to their unfounded concerns about sediment behind the upper dam. If alewives could return to the river, mussels that depend upon alewives for their life cycle would return. There is sufficient mussel habit that the entire average river flow could be filtered by mussels capturing sediment and nutrients. The river is the property of Mainers. It is decades past when Yarmouth could plead ignorance to the damage their dams are doing.compensation payments. ~ Carl Wilcox, New Goucester
Opinion: CMP rebuttal offered no clarity
Maine Sunday Telegram - Sunday, July 21, 2019 

Central Maine Power CEO Douglas Herling claims that Rep. Seth Berry was “inaccurate and inflammatory” in his opinion piece about the utility’s billing issues. This response was not a model of candor. Herling refers to the “less than 0.2 percent” of customers with disputes, but he doesn’t even acknowledge the 100,000 inaccurate bills sent to customers or the 97,000 whose bills rose more than 50 percent after the change in the billing system. We can only hope that the legal action he threatens brings some clarity. ~ Joe O’Donnell, Portland
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