July 27, 2017  
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Maine Environmental News
Announcement - Friday, July 21, 2017 

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 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
“Bringing Nature Home” in Maine, Jul 26
Event - Posted - Wednesday, July 19, 2017 

Join Maine Audubon’s Director of Education, Eric Topper, to explore the plants, practices and perks involved in restoring native food webs in our gardens, yards and communities. At Portland Public Library, Rines Auditorium, July 26, 5:30 pm.
Little Swan Island Evening Paddle, Jul 26
Event - Posted - Wednesday, July 19, 2017 

Leader: Warren Whitney. At Richmond, July 26, 5:30-7:30 pm. Sponsored by Friends of Merrymeeting Bay.
Land for Maine's Future, July 26
Announcement - Wednesday, July 19, 2017 

LMF has helped protect more than 600,000 acres of land in Maine through matching funds. Guests: Kate Dempsey, The Nature Conservancy in Maine; David Trahan, Sportsman's Alliance of Maine; Jeff Romano, Maine Coast Heritage Trust. Maine Public Radio, July 26, 1 pm.
Exploring the Night Sky, Jul 25
Event - Posted - Tuesday, July 18, 2017 

Discover the wonders of the night sky with astronomer Bernie Reim. At Scarborough Marsh, July 25, 8:30-9:30 pm, Maine Audubon members $6, non-members $8.
Recreational Fishing, Jul 24
Announcement - Monday, July 17, 2017 

Hear from experts on what fishing means to Maine's culture and economy, best places to go, ways to get started. Guests: Mac McKeever, LL Bean senior public relations representative; Bonnie Holding, Director of Information and Education, Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. Maine Public Radio, July 24, 1 pm.
Maine Open Farm Day, Jul 23
Event - Posted - Sunday, July 16, 2017 

Maine has about 8,200 farm operations statewide, worth more than $740 million, not including face-to-face sales. Officially, more than 60 farms in all 16 counties are open July 23, although historically many other farms also open their doors to piggy-back on the event.
Summer Nature Journaling, Jul 22
Event - Posted - Saturday, July 15, 2017 

Join Master Naturalist Andrea Lani to explore the worlds of wildflowers and insects beginning with an introduction to nature journaling, then heading into the woods and fields to observe, sketch, and write about the bugs and blooms you discover. At Viles Arboretum, Augusta, July 22, 10 am - 2 pm, Arboretum members $35, others $45.

Rainbow Loop Trail Grand Opening, Jul 21-22
Event - Posted - Friday, July 14, 2017 

Celebration in Millinocket, July 21, 5-7 pm. 6-mile hike on the spectacular Rainbow Loop Trail, July 22 at 8:30 am and 9:30 am. Sponsored by The Nature Conservancy.
Native Plant Walk, Jul 20
Event - Posted - Thursday, July 13, 2017 

Explore the habitats at Fields Pond with Heather McCargo and learn to recognize some of the wildflowers, ferns, shrubs and trees native to Maine. At Fields Pond, Holden, July 20, 10-11:30 am, Maine Audubon and Wild Seed Project members $7; non-members $10.
Happy Birthday, Henry
Announcement - Wednesday, July 12, 2017 

Henry David Thoreau, American poet, author, naturalist, philosopher, abolitionist, and leading Transcendentalist, was born on July 12, 1817 in Concord, Mass.
Help wanted: NRCM Forests and Wildlife Outreach Coordinator
Announcement - Wednesday, July 12, 2017 

Works with Natural Resources Council of Maine's Forests and Wildlife Project Director to advance the goals of the Forests and Wildlife Project, and works with the Outreach Team to serve the strategic goals of the organization as a whole. Deadline Aug 7, 2017.
Help wanted: NRCM Clean Energy Policy Advocate & Staff Attorney
Announcement - Wednesday, July 12, 2017 

Helps advance Natural Resources Council of Maine initiatives by providing legal, policy and advocacy support primarily for the Climate & Clean Energy Project. Deadline Jul 24, 2017.
Time to override the governor’s solar veto
Action Alert - Monday, July 10, 2017 

We are so close to having a new solar power law. The full Maine House and Senate enacted LD 1504 (with amendments) by overwhelming majorities. However, it was vetoed by the Governor. Tell your legislators—particularly House members—how much solar matters to you and your community. ~ Maine Audubon
The Goslings, July 17
Event - Posted - Monday, July 10, 2017 

Visit The Goslings, one of the best-loved island destinations on Casco Bay. ShoreKeepers, a group of young conservation-minded donors, are hosting a free Open House with hot dogs on the beach to complete the perfect island getaway, July 17, 10 am - 2 pm. Meet at Mere Point Boat Launch, Brunswick, shuttles approximately every 15 minutes. Sponsored by Maine Coast Heritage Trust.
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News Items
Letter: Protect clean air standards
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, July 27, 2017 

Air pollution can cause respiratory problems, more asthma attacks and even premature death, and it comes from burning fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas for electricity and transportation. Global warming makes it worse. President Donald Trump's budget to Congress fails to protect our health and our planet and has proposed rolling back pollution standards for cars and power plants. The House of Representatives also passed the “Smoggy Skies Act” — HR 806 — which would delay life-saving clean air standards. I want to thank Reps. Bruce Poliquin and Chellie Pingree for opposing this wrong-headed bill. Now it’s time for our senators, Susan Collins and Angus King, to stand up for our health and reject these dangerous proposals. ~ Julia Gesensway, Environment Maine, Portland
11 easy mountain hikes in Maine, part 2
Aislinn Sarnacki Act Out Blog - Wednesday, July 26, 2017 

Hiking doesn’t have to be this big daylong undertaking, especially in Maine, where there are hundreds of easy to moderately challenging trails to enjoy. Some of these trails explore small mountains and hills that offer great views. A couple of years ago, I wrote up a list of 11 easy mountain hikes in Maine that I thought would be great spring adventures, and this summer, I’ve found 11 more “easy” mountain hikes for you to try.
LePage moves to dig up abuse of tree growth tax program
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, July 26, 2017 

Gov. Paul LePage has ordered the Maine Forest Service to work with municipal officials to review properties enrolled in the state’s tree growth tax program to root out potential abuses. The program offers landowners property tax breaks when they promise to actively manage their woodlands with regular harvesting activities. The law was originally created to help keep timber flowing to the state’s wood products industries including lumber and paper mills but LePage and others have said they believe the program is being misused or even abused by some woodland owners. The program was at the center of a 2009 controversy involving Maine’s 2nd District U.S. Congressman Bruce Poliquin.
Outdoor recreation credited with $8.2 billion annual impact on Maine’s economy
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, July 26, 2017 

From Maine’s lengthy coastline to its vast forest — and everywhere in between — the outdoor recreational economy is a major driver that injects $8.2 billion in spending to the state each year, according to a report released by the Outdoor Industry Association on Wednesday. In addition, that outdoor economy, which includes everything from hunting and fishing to wildlife watching, motorcycling, skiing, and hiking, generates 76,000 jobs in the state, according to the report.
Outdoor Industry Association Releases State-By-State Outdoor Recreation Economy Report
Other - Wednesday, July 26, 2017 

Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) today released the state-level Outdoor Recreation Economy Report featuring economic data for all 50 states across the United States. The data underscore a growing economic force that generates billions in consumer spending and directly contributes millions of good-paying, American jobs in communities across the country. Earlier this year, OIA released its national Outdoor Recreation Economy Report, which found that the outdoor recreation economy generates $887 billion in consumer spending annually and directly sustains 7.6 million American jobs.
Of Men and Mountains
Other - Wednesday, July 26, 2017 

While Myron Avery and Percival Baxter had vastly differing backgrounds and opinions, both shared a passion for Katahdin and a fierce desire to protect it.
30-acre tract may be workforce housing
Mount Desert Islander - Wednesday, July 26, 2017 

Island Housing Trust (IHT) has an option to buy 30 acres of land near the head of Mount Desert Island for a workforce housing development with as many as 12 homes. The property is part of a 60-acre parcel adjacent to Jones Marsh, which was purchased last year from a private owner by Conservation Limited Development LLC, an entity created by Maine Coast Heritage Trust (MCHT). The LLC will sell the western half of the property, which is mostly a peat bog and forested wetland, to MCHT for conservation. MCHT is raising funds for the project and recently was awarded $100,000 in North American Wetland Conservation Act funds. The LLC has granted a purchase option to IHT for the eastern, upland half of the property. The LLC will sell the parcel at a “bargain price” if IHT determines it is suitable for a housing development and if IHT is successful in raising funds for the project.
African leaders head to Maine for public management program
Associated Press - Wednesday, July 26, 2017 

Fellows from 18 African countries are set to visit Lewiston and meet with Somali immigrants. The Sun Journal reports that 25 recipients of the Mandela Washington Fellowships for Young African Leaders are scheduled to culminate six weeks in Maine with the Wednesday visit. The fellowship program is part of the Young African Leaders Initiative launched by former President Barack Obama. The 25 individuals in the leadership and public management program work in fields such as wildlife conservation, climate change, and water research.
Keepers of the trail
Down East - Wednesday, July 26, 2017 

In August of 1937, a crew from the Civilian Conservation Corps completed the final link of the nascent Appalachian Trail — in Maine, between Sugarloaf and Spaulding mountains. The construction of the iconic footpath, stretching 2,190 miles from Georgia to Katahdin, owed to the efforts of dedicated trail clubs and volunteers. To celebrate the AT’s 80th anniversary, we checked in with five trail stewards, from all walks of life, who help make Maine’s 282 miles of trail a wilderness experience like no other.
LePage orders review of forestry tax break program that once benefited Poliquin
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, July 26, 2017 

Gov. Paul LePage issued an executive order Monday scrutinizing a tax break aimed at preserving commercial woodlots, telling his forestry bureau to reach out to local assessors who administer it and submit a report to his office by December. The governor wants to tighten the Maine Tree Growth Tax program, which preserves commercial woodlots by giving property tax breaks to their owners. A 2009 state report said 11.1 million acres are enrolled. That’s been relatively stable since the program was created in the early 1970s but assessors have long perceived problems with wealthy waterfront landowners using the program to avoid taxes. Much of the state learned about the program during a 2012 controversy around then-State Treasurer Bruce Poliquin’s use of it to largely avoid paying taxes on 10 acres of a 12-acre property in Georgetown valued at more than $3 million.
Legislature overrides Governor’s veto of Public Lands bill
George Smith BDN Outdoor News Blog - Wednesday, July 26, 2017 

After several years of intense effort, a bill governing our public lands has been enacted, thanks to votes in the House and Senate to override the Governor’s veto of the bill. Last year, the same bill was vetoed by the Governor, and the veto override failed.
SunEdison sets bankruptcy exit with nothing for shareholders
Bloomberg News - Wednesday, July 26, 2017 

SunEdison won final approval for a bankruptcy plan that will leave what was once the world’s largest renewable-energy firm as a shell of its former self, with nothing for shareholders whose investment at one point had been worth about $10 billion. The bankruptcy covered $16.1 billion in liabilities and a tangle of 1,500 legal entities, including wind projects in Maine.
Editorial: Flame retardants have no place in Maine furniture
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, July 26, 2017 

As any firefighter will tell you, it’s the smoke – not the fire – that poses the real danger in a burning building. The toxic chemicals released by burning household items have been linked to the increased risk of cancer faced by firefighters, a risk that Maine firefighters and their families know all too well. Some of the toxins are released by the burning of flame retardants, which have been shown to be ineffective as well as dangerous, and thus have no place in furniture. L.D. 182, which would ban the sale of new furniture containing flame retardants, and over time reduce the amount of harmful chemicals in Maine households, passed the House 127-5 and the Senate 26-0. It now goes to veto-prone Gov. LePage.
Letter: North Woods monument economic boost
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, July 26, 2017 

Thousands of Maine people fully oppose any action that would modify the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. Katahdin Woods and Waters is a spectacular place already helping the region’s economy. Businesses are investing, tourism is growing and real estate sales are on the rise. The region has been clobbered financially in recent years, in part, because of paper mill closings. There is a huge pool of good workers who can and will be employed by the national monument and supporting businesses. ~ Rick Alexander, Blue Hill
Hike: Lobster Mountain
Aislinn Sarnacki Act Out Blog - Tuesday, July 25, 2017 

Lobster Mountain, rising 2,318 feet above sea level by the scenic Lobster Lake, is a hiking destination for the truly adventurous. Reachable only by boat, the hiking trail that leads up Lobster Mountain is about 2 miles long, ending at a scenic outdoor near the mountain’s wooded summit.
Insect Repellent Donated to Trail Workers
Maine Environmental News - Tuesday, July 25, 2017 

Frenchies’ Natural Products has donated dozens of bottles of natural insect repellent (Maine Woods Bug Dope) to the Maine Conservation Corps, to be used by field teams while working on the trails. Frenchies’ was co-founded by Lou Demers and Matt Dubois. They say, "We are happy to make this small gesture as a way of saying thank you for the tremendous hard work of MCC members and for the very long days these folks put in, often in extreme weather conditions. As avid hikers, ourselves, we do not take their efforts for granted!"
EPA chief vows aggressive Superfund site cleanups
Washington Post - Tuesday, July 25, 2017 

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt vowed Tuesday to cut through bureaucratic red-tape that has slowed the cleanup of toxic Superfund sites and follow a task force’s recommendations to act more boldly in holding companies responsible for past contamination. There are 1,300 Superfund sites nationwide, and more than 100 have languished for at least five years with no formal remedy plan. [Ed: President Trump's proposed budget would slash $300 million from the superfund program.]
Senate panel approves more money for states that border Canada
Associated Press - Tuesday, July 25, 2017 

Maine Sen. Susan Collins says the Senate Appropriations Committee approved $15 million, a $5 million increase, for the Northern Border Regional Commission. The appropriations committee has approved language specifying at least $3 million of the funding must be used to address the decline of forest-based economies in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and New York.
Fishermen taking fight over monitors to Supreme Court
Associated Press - Tuesday, July 25, 2017 

A New England fishermen’s group is taking its fight over monitors who collect sea data to the U.S. Supreme Court, hoping it removes a new cost they say is an existential threat to the industry. The monitors are workers who collect data used to help develop government fishing regulations, and the government shifted the cost of paying for monitors to fishermen last year. The fishermen, represented by Washington, D.C.-based Cause of Action Institute, filed have a petition with the Supreme Court seeking a review of the case.
O.J. Simpson says he is going to hike The Appalachian Trail
Other - Tuesday, July 25, 2017 

[Caution: may be fake news] After being incarcerated 9 year of a possible 33 year sentence, Orenthal James Simpson, has been granted his parole and is scheduled for release in October 2017 from Lovelock Correctional Center in Nevada. According to ABC affiliate KSAT 12, O.J. Simpson is considering hiking the Appalachian Trail. When asked during a phone call interview orchestrated through Simpson's legal team, O.J. was quoted as saying: “I've spent the last nine years thinking about doing something personal and spiritual where I can disappear from the public eye and reconnect with my newly regained freedom. I'm going to hike The Appalachian Trail. I don't know much about it. But I'm capable of doing anything.”
EPA Chief Taps Taxpayer Dollars for Weekend Flights Home
Associated Press - Tuesday, July 25, 2017 

Records show the head of the Environmental Protection Agency spent weekends in his home state during his first three months in office, frequently flying to and from Oklahoma at taxpayer's expense. EPA spokeswoman Liz Bowman did not respond to emails or phone messages on Monday seeking comment. "These travel records show that Administrator Pruitt is more focused on cultivating his relationships with industry and conservative political organizations in his home state of Oklahoma than he is on protecting the environment and the public health for the rest of America," said Eric Schaeffer, executive director of the Environmental Integrity Project.
EPA chief taps taxpayer dollars for weekend flights home
Other - Tuesday, July 25, 2017 

ABC News - EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's expense reports from March, April and May were released following a Freedom of Information request filed by Environmental Integrity Project, a nonprofit watchdog group. The records show Pruitt traveled home at least 10 times. Pruitt was either in Oklahoma or on trips that included stops there for nearly half the days encompassed in the three-month period, costing more than $15,000.
Editorial: Regional climate initiative is victim of its own success
Portland Press Herald - Tuesday, July 25, 2017 

The regional effort to cut the greenhouse gases emitted by power generators here in the Northeast has beaten goals set five years ago, without any of the dire predictions about slowing down the economy coming true – in fact, it’s been just the opposite. At this point it appears that the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative may have even been a little too successful, reducing emissions so fast that, at the same time, it reduced the financial incentives to cut them even more. Before the effort goes into a stall, regulators should update their goals to reflect this progress. RGGI has built a national model for what works, and it ought to keep doing it.
Letter: Legislators must override solar veto
Kennebec Journal - Tuesday, July 25, 2017 

Now that Gov. Paul LePage has vetoed the solar bill (L.D. 1504) we must all contact our legislators to ensure the veto is overridden. I am building a “solar shed” next to my small house in Augusta, without subsidy. Thanks to net metering and my heat pump, six solar panels will provide up to 80 percent of my heating and electricity costs. Maine people want policies that encourage solar energy in Maine. The opposition, led by LePage and other Republicans, and joined by lobbyists for the utilizes and fossil fuel industry, argue that compensating people for the solar energy they contribute to the grid increases everyone else’s cost. That’s not true. Studies in 10 states (including Maine) conclude that solar power produces a net gain for all ratepayers. ~ Denis Thoet, Augusta
Portland council rezones farmland to make way for 95 homes
Portland Press Herald - Monday, July 24, 2017 

The Portland City Council voted 5-4 Monday night to rezone 45 acres of open space on outer Westbrook Street to allow a developer to build nearly 100 single-family homes, while preserving 25 acres of recreational open space for public use. The proposal for Camelot Farm at 1700 Westbrook St. still needs subdivision and site plan approval before it moves forward.
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Art and Land Conservation Symposium
at Colby College, August 3-4

Frederic E. Church, 
Mount Katahdin from Millinocket Camp, 1895, 
Portland Museum of Art

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