March 23, 2019  
Press releases, events, publications released, etc. from Maine environmental organizations and agencies. Submit content.

Kingfield Art Walk, Mar 1
Event - Posted - Friday, February 22, 2019 

Cornelia “Fly Rod” Crosby, Maine’s first registered guide, as well as local student artists grades 1-8, will be featured. At Kingfield Winter Friday Artwork, March 1, 5-7:30 pm.
Thoreau Society Graduate Student Fellowship
Announcement - Friday, February 22, 2019 

$1,000 for travel and Thoreau-related research in greater Boston area, plus free attendance at the 2019 Thoreau Society Annual Gathering. Application deadline: March 1.
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News Items
Letter: Healthy fun from watershed coalition
Bangor Daily News - Saturday, March 23, 2019 

I’m writing to express my gratitude to The Belfast Bay Watershed Coalition. This February vacation, they sponsored a free winter break day camp. Each day they had a snowshoe adventure in a different location, each a preserve of Coastal Mountain Land Trust. They were led by Cloe Chunn and Jennie Judkins, both full of fun and knowledge. The kids (and adults) learned about different animals and their adaptations, how to identify tracks and their environment. What a great time they had! My grandson participated and just loved It. This same program offers nature literacy in local schools. I’m so proud to live in an area that offers such healthy fun for kids. ~ Susan Langley, Belfast
Maine CDC Trying To Identify Individuals Exposed To Rabid Bat
Maine Public - Friday, March 22, 2019 

The Maine Center for Disease Control (CDC) is trying to identify individuals who may have been exposed to rabies last weekend in Bangor through the handling a rabid bat. State epidemiologist Dr. Siiri Bennett says the live bat was found in the vicinity of Shaw House, a youth shelter. "We know that it was passed from hand to hand, and apparently, it was passed around for about a 24-hour period," she says. The bat was taken to a lab and tested positive for rabies.
How Maine Farmers Get By When They Find Themselves Buried In Snow
Maine Public - Friday, March 22, 2019 

Do you ever wonder what farmers are doing when it's 20 degrees below zero and the snow is as high as an elephant's eye? It can be hard for farmers to make ends meet in the winter, but, even when the fields are buried in snow, the work never stops. Erica Fitzpatrick, of Fitzpatrick-Peabody Farm in Aroostook County, says, "It's a twelve month food cycle. These buyers need product year round." It’s not as simple as plant something in the spring, harvest it in the fall, then kick back and put your feet up all winter. “But it's great,” says Fitzpatrick "because it's a different set of tasks and challenges we're working on."
Maine DEP to require testing of sludge for ‘forever chemicals’
Portland Press Herald - Friday, March 22, 2019 

State environmental regulators announced Friday that all sludge will have to be tested for the presence of an industrial chemical before being used as fertilizer or applied to land. The Maine Department of Environmental Protection announced the new testing requirement in response to growing concerns about contamination from PFAS, a group of chemicals widely used to create non-stick coatings on cookware, food packaging and fabrics as well as in firefighting foam. An Arundel dairy farmer has also blamed PFAS contamination on his farm on the treated municipal sludge he used to fertilize his hay fields for years.
As Elver Season Opens, Fishermen Hope For Year Free Of Poaching, Shutdowns
Associated Press - Friday, March 22, 2019 

Maine fishermen are taking to rivers and streams in the state to fish for baby eels in a high-stakes season they hope isn't interrupted by poaching concerns as it was a year ago. Fishermen in Maine use nets to harvest baby eels, called elvers, to feed demand from Asian aquaculture companies, who use them as seed stock. They are one of the most valuable fisheries in the country on a per-pound basis, and were worth a record of more than $2,300 per pound last year. The elver season began Friday. Last year's season was shut down two weeks early by state regulators after investigators found illegal sales had caused Maine to blow past its quota for the eels. New controls on the fishery are expected to clamp down on clandestine sales.
Maine DIF&W commissioner names communications chief
Bangor Daily News - Friday, March 22, 2019 

Judy Camuso, the commissioner of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, has named a longtime department employee to serve as its communications director. Mark Latti first joined the department in 1998 and oversaw media relations for a decade, until leaving for a job at the Maine Department of Transportation in 2008. He returned to the DIF&W in 2011, directed the landowner relations program for two years and then assumed a position overseeing communications for the department’s Bureau of Resource Management. In his new position, he will oversee all media relations for the DIF&W.
Young exhibitors leave their marks on Eastern Maine Sportsmen’s show
Bangor Daily News - Friday, March 22, 2019 

Last weekend, I had the chance to talk with a few of the younger exhibitors at the Eastern Maine Sportsmen’s Show, each of whom helped remind me why the show is so much fun. Eri Martin, a student at Unity College was displaying some of the products he produces through his business, Mountain Adventure Baskets. Martin makes traditional pack baskets. At the Annika Rod & Fly booth, an impressive young fly tier, 14-year-old Noah Tibbetts, turned out a steady supply of “maple syrup” and “spunky” flies. He was selling those flies to benefit the Children’s Miracle Network. He has raised more than $40,000 during the past several years.
Column: People don’t become good at bird identification by being right all the time
Bangor Daily News - Friday, March 22, 2019 

People don’t become good at bird identification by being right all the time. They get better by being wrong, and then remembering the mistake. There’s nothing like a good mistake to sear a particular field mark into your brain. ~ Bob Duchesne
Opinion: A different view of Auburn’s zone
Sun Journal - Friday, March 22, 2019 

In a guest column Jason Levesque accused all of the people in Auburn’s agricultural zone, including myself, of living off the rest while allowing our land to just waste away. It was frightening to read the words of the mayor. What kind of person believes in a terrifyingly dystopian future in which farmers are lazy, mooching enemies of the people? What kind of person believes that our precious farmland is better beneath the enormous footprint of a McMansion? I invite Levesque to come visit our farm. We would like to show him around and talk about how important open space, healthy woods and thriving ecosystems are to sustainable farming. ~ Bronte Roberts, Auburn
Letter: Public utility can’t be any worse than CMP
Portland Press Herald - Friday, March 22, 2019 

CMP has demonstrated complete incompetence in the one area in which the private sector is supposed to have an advantage over government – customer service. The absurdity of their billing problems is unmatched by anything I’ve seen – and I’ve paid electric bills in five states and three countries. Last month, CMP charged me for about 50 percent more electricity than any of my previous bills using an “estimate” that was contradicted by CMP’s own online data. Beyond poor customer service, they have distorted our public policies toward renewable energy; and manage the grid for profits instead of reliability, efficiency and sustainability. It shouldn’t be hard for Maine to do better than allow ourselves to get swindled time and again by this profit-over-everything-else company. ~ Bill Savedoff, Brunswick
Letter: Clean windshield shows that insects are absent
Portland Press Herald - Friday, March 22, 2019 

Re: “Our View: Insect population’s rapid decline alarming” (March 18): I can corroborate that I have seen a vast disappearance of insects, and the evidence is my windshield in summertime.For years I have driven an hour each way to Fryeburg on Route 113, which is a rural road, and I return at dusk, so each summer my windshield would just be a mash of squashed bugs. For the last two summers, though, 2017 and 2018, there have been hardly any insect bodies on my windshield at all. Poof! Just gone. Where did they go? ~ Mallory Hattie, Scarborough
Letter: Mills willing to sell out Maine for very little
Portland Press Herald - Friday, March 22, 2019 

How sad and disgusting to see that the governor of Maine is willing to sell Maine’s heart and soul for a lousy $6.5 million per year for 40 years. With inflation, what will that money buy in 10 years, let alone 40 years from now? Very little! Furthermore, the money will probably end up in the General Fund and used for whatever – probably to balance their overspent budget. Obviously, our governor is a typical politician. Once in office, they turn 180 degrees and forget what they said on the campaign trail. ~ Craig Elliott, Bristol
Bates professor: The state of Lake Auburn depends on a much larger watershed
Sun Journal - Thursday, March 21, 2019 

On Thursday, Bates College professor Holly Ewing attempted to unpack the complicated — and now political — issue playing out at Lake Auburn during a Great Falls Forum titled “History and Mysteries at Lake Auburn.” In the most-basic terms, she told the audience more nutrients, on which algae thrive, are entering the lake through stormwater runoff carrying fertilizer or fecal matter from animals or leaky septic systems. Ewing has studied the lake with her students since 2008. Ewing said, “It’s easy to do a treatment of the lake, but it’s much more difficult to control what happens in the watershed.”
Massive Exxon Valdez oil spill marred Alaska waters, beaches, wildlife 30 years ago
Associated Press - Thursday, March 21, 2019 

This month marks 30 years since an Exxon Shipping Co. tanker ran aground outside the town of Valdez, Alaska, spewing millions of gallons of thick, toxic crude oil into the pristine Prince William Sound. The world watched the aftermath unfold: scores of herring, sea otters and birds soaked in oil, and hundreds of miles of shoreline polluted. Commercial fishermen in the area saw their careers hit bottom. The disaster was, at the time, the largest oil spill in U.S. history. Only the 2010 Deep Water Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico has eclipsed it. [Ed: In 1990, Majority Leader U.S. Senator George Mitchell (D-Maine) shepherded through Congress the Oil Pollution Act, which established a fund to deal with catastrophic oil spills. It was based on the Maine Coastal Conveyance of Petroleum Act passed in 1970 to deal with oil spills along the Maine coast.]
Energy Committee Co-Chair Introduces Bill That Would Let Affected Mainers Vote On CMP Project
Maine Public - Thursday, March 21, 2019 

A legislative effort emerged Thursday to put Central Maine Power's proposed billion-dollar transmission line on hold. State Rep. Seth Berry, a Bowdoinham Democrat, says that state regulators should hit the pause button while the Legislature considers several measures, including one he is introducing, that could affect the controversial project. Berry co-chairs the Legislature's Energy Committee. He and a bipartisan group of lawmakers are introducing a bill that would strengthen standards that regulators use when considering large-scale transmission projects, and require that the majority of residents in every host municipality vote in support.
Waterville plastic bag ban opponents file more specific argument in appeal
Morning Sentinel - Thursday, March 21, 2019 

Opponents of a plastic bag ban have fulfilled a request by the city to submit more specific information about why they are challenging 75 Colby College students who cast ballots for the ban in the November election. Their request says they suspect the challenged voters swore an oath of residency and submitted no other proof of residency to confirm the validity of their oath. The challengers initially took the voter issue to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, which dismissed the case.
Biologists want to issue more moose hunting permits for 2019 hunt
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, March 21, 2019 

Maine wildlife biologists on Thursday proposed a 12.8 percent increase in the number of moose permits for the coming seasons. If approved, the number of permitted hunters would jump from 2,500 to 2,820, according to a Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife spokesman. The modern moose hunt in Maine began in 1980 as a one-year experimental hunt. After a year to assess that season, it was staged again in 1982 and has been held annually since.
Maine Lawmakers Consider Local Version Of Green New Deal
Maine Public - Thursday, March 21, 2019 

Maine lawmakers and the Sierra Club are beginning their push for a local version of the Green New Deal, currently under consideration in Congress. The state and federal proposals share the same name and many of the same goals: namely tackling climate change while also transitioning the economy to create manufacturing jobs in the renewable energy sector. But the proposals differ significantly on how to get there. The federal bill is a non-binding resolution. It calls on the federal government to take specific steps, but lacks the force of law compelling the government to do so. Conversely, the Maine bill creates a task force to come up with a local Green New Deal.
Maine Legislature Approves Bill To Repeal Gross Metering
Other - Thursday, March 21, 2019 

Solar Industry - The Maine legislature has approved a bill that would eliminate the state’s controversial “gross metering” rule for solar. The legislation, L.D.91, was introduced in January by State Rep. Seth Berry, R-Maine, to repeal a fee for solar customers that was enacted under the administration of Maine’s previous governor, Paul LePage. In the face of criticism from the business and industrial sectors, the Maine Public Utilities Commission suspended gross metering for those sectors. Now, L.D.91 would terminate the fee for residential solar systems.
ReEnergy to tear down its shuttered Fort Fairfield biomass plant
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, March 21, 2019 

The company that operated the recently-closed Ashland and Fort Fairfield biomass plants is planning to demolish the Fort Fairfield facility. New York-based ReEnergy is seeking to demolish the Fort Fairfield biomass plant that closed last November, in an effort to make the property suitable for other uses, ReEnergy communications director Sarah Boggess said. ReEnergy also is closing its Ashland biomass plant in April, leaving Aroostook County’s forestry sector without biomass plants and without a market for low-grade mill and logging residues.
State biologists propose increasing moose permits by 11 percent to 2,820
Portland Press Herald - Thursday, March 21, 2019 

For the second straight year state biologists propose increasing the number of moose permits in the fall hunt after a four-year stretch that saw the number of permits slashed 49 percent, largely because of the winter tick parasite. At the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Advisory Council meeting Thursday biologists proposed increasing moose permits 11 percent to 2,820 – with most additional permits being alloted in what biologists are now calling the state’s “core moose habitat” in northern Maine.
Public hears plans to assess sea level rise
Other - Thursday, March 21, 2019 

It may not be a matter of if but when, and how to plan for it, when it comes to coastal Maine and sea level rise over the coming decades. And Stonington is one waterfront town that is not chancing a wait-and-see approach. A recent $60,000 Maine Coastal Program Grant from the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry has funded a study by GEI Consultants to assess where and how badly a rise of one, two, four or as much as nine or 10 feet could affect the town’s infrastructure.
Protecting land for Maine is a team effort
Trust for Public Land - Thursday, March 21, 2019 

The Trust for Public Land has completed 74 projects In Maine protecting over 182,000 acres, a collaborative effort working alongside nonprofits, public agencies, and advocates from around the state.
Hundreds of flags mark where people didn’t clean up dog poop in Maine park Hinckley Park in South Portland
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, March 21, 2019 

South Portland Parks and Recreation said they placed about 300 flags in Hinckley Park to mark where people didn’t clean up their dog’s poop. Park officials said the waste ends up in the ponds, which connect to Trout Brook and, ultimately, wash out to Casco bay without treatment. Pet waste contains bacteria that threaten the health of animals and people, especially children. Pet waste also contains nutrients that encourage excess weed and algae growth. Excess nutrients are a major cause of water quality decline.
Gov. Mills Looks To Expand Electric Vehicle Use In Maine
Maine Public - Thursday, March 21, 2019 

In an effort to reduce Maine's carbon footprint and reliance on fossil fuels, Gov. Janet Mills is ready to offer Mainers a subsidy for buying electric vehicles (EV). When she was Attorney General, Mills helped to win payments from Volkswagen over its pollution control scandal, and the settlement included $5 million for Maine's EV efforts. Now she says she'll split the award between EV purchase incentives for nonprofit organizations that serve the elderly or low-income communities and direct rebates for individual car buyers.
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