August 18, 2019  
Email link to Maine Association of Conservation Commissions Annual Conference, Apr 27
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News Items
State’s ‘forever chemical’ restrictions not applied to compost
Maine Sunday Telegram - Sunday, August 18, 2019 

State environmental regulators have allowed companies to sell compost made with treated municipal sludge to the public this summer, even as they restrict the use of sludge on many farm fields because of concerns about chemical contamination. Maine has about a dozen operations that use treated sludge, referred to in the industry as a “biosolid,” to make compost, and they continue to distribute products containing PFAS as environmental regulators and a task force formed by Gov. Janet Mills try to figure out how to deal with the pervasive “forever chemicals.”
Intense questioning fails to pierce CMP explanation: ‘The usage is the usage’
Maine Sunday Telegram - Sunday, August 18, 2019 

Nearly two years after a new billing system triggered thousands of complaints, Central Maine Power is sticking its story – most high bills ultimately were a result of customers using more power than they realized. By law, public utilities must provide “safe, reliable and adequate service.” If they don’t, they can be fined, or have their revenues and rate of return on investment cut. They can be ordered to take specific steps to fix service deficiencies and to refund customers. Meanwhile, lawyers representing customers are seeking a class-action lawsuit against CMP.
Column: Heald and Bradley Ponds Reserve offers ponds, peaks and views of the Whites
Maine Sunday Telegram - Sunday, August 18, 2019 

The piney woods and pretty lakes along Route 5 between Fryeburg and Bethel make it one of the most scenic stretches of road in western Maine. Partway along the drive in North Lovell, just east of the White Mountain National Forest, is where you’ll find the Heald and Bradley Ponds Reserve, 802 acres cared for by the Greater Lovell Land Trust. Five trailheads provide entry points into the reserve. Working since 1985 in Lovell, Stoneham, Stow and Sweden, the Greater Lovell Land Trust has protected 5,300 acres across the Kezar Lake, Kezar River and Cold River watersheds. ~ Carey Kish
Column: Is it convergence or one big, happy family?
Maine Sunday Telegram - Sunday, August 18, 2019 

Examples of convergence abound among the birds. For example, four sparrow subspecies that occur in tidal marsh environments share three adaptations for life in those areas. First are modifications of the kidneys to deal with the heavy salt load. Second, the bills of the tidal marsh birds are larger than the bills of their upland relatives to allow more efficient heat loss. Finally, all tidal marsh sparrows have darker plumage than upland populations, an adaptation to reflect harmful ultraviolet radiation in the coastal environments. Research showed that these three adaptations had mostly separate genetic origins.This suite of adaptations represents examples of convergence to the same solutions for living in stressful tidal marshes. ~ Herb Wilson
Editorial: Lawmakers should pass bond package
Maine Sunday Telegram - Sunday, August 18, 2019 

It’s easy to see that Maine’s roads and bridges are in need of repair, but the state has other, less-visible needs that are just as important. The Land for Maine’s Future program became a political flash point during the Paul LePage years for no good reason. Partnering with communities and nonprofits to preserve public access for special natural places is always popular with Maine voters. Now that LePage is gone, there is no good reason to continue pretending that this is a controversial use of state resources. Like a vote on the state budget, it makes sense to put the bonds together in one package and call on members of the House and Senate to say “yes” or “no.” After the debate is done, members have to look past some of their specific objections and decide if it’s worth doing something for the general good.
Letter: Senate carbon-pricing bill would jibe with Angus King’s views
Maine Sunday Telegram - Sunday, August 18, 2019 

On July 17, in a speech before the Senate, Maine’s Angus King called on his fellow lawmakers to fulfill their responsibility to leave future generations free from debt – both financial, in terms of the nation’s deficit, and environmental, as in the carbon debt accrued from our use of fossil fuels. The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act (HR 763) would send a clear signal that the nation has elected to transition to renewable energy, and ensure that businesses and manufacturers that minimize their energy use and transition to alternative energy will be more competitive. Sen. King recently joined efforts to reduce energy use by introducing the American Energy Efficiency Act. His endorsement of a Senate version of a strong carbon-pricing bill complements the Energy Efficiency Act. ~ Philippa Solomon, Readfield
Letter: Harvest the smaller fish, release the bigger ones
Maine Sunday Telegram - Sunday, August 18, 2019 

Re: “Why catch-and-release is killing, not conserving, Maine fisheries” (Aug. 11): The younger years are the growth years, and this is also true for fish. Taking and encouraging harvesting of smaller fish is a great idea. But with this, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife would also have to step up and end harvesting of the larger fish of these prize species. These larger fish are the ones that produce the future generations. They simply should not be harvested. And during ice season, they should not even be removed from the water. ~ Jim Smith, North Yarmouth
Opponent of nation’s public lands is picked to oversee them
Associated Press - Saturday, August 17, 2019 

An ardent critic of the federal government who has argued for selling off public lands has been named the Trump administration’s top steward over nearly a quarter-billion federally controlled acres. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt has named Wyoming native William Perry Pendley acting head of the Bureau of Land Management. Pendley has written books accusing federal authorities and environmental advocates of “tyranny” and “waging war on the West.” He says that the “Founding Fathers intended all lands owned by the federal government to be sold.”
Hiker planning ‘comeback’ to Appalachian Trail
Sun Journal - Saturday, August 17, 2019 

Anne Renner, 24, of Arlington, Illinois, had the help of an ex-Marine, a nurse, a forest ranger and fellow hikers after she fell in Grafton Township and seriously injured her leg on July 30. If she decides to return to the to Appalachian Trail, her new trail name may be The Comeback Kid.
After 7 years, 120 volunteers and $1.56 million, the Orono Bog Boardwalk replacement is done
Bangor Daily News - Saturday, August 17, 2019 

It took seven years for 120 volunteers, who worked more than 4,000 hours, to replace the original wooden sections of the Orono Bog Boardwalk with more durable plastic composite one at a cost of $1.56 million. An open house was held Saturday and will continue Sunday to thank donors and volunteers for their financial support and labor. Each year, between 27,000 and 30,000 visitors come the boardwalk, which is open between May and November.
From tusks to tails, nations target trade in endangered species
Associated Press - Saturday, August 17, 2019 

Representatives of some 180 nations are meeting in Geneva to agree on protections for vulnerable species. The World Wildlife Conference on trade in endangered species, known as CITES, which takes place every three years, aims to make sure that global trade in specimens of wild animals and plants doesn’t jeopardize their survival. Three months ago, the first comprehensive U.N. report on biodiversity warned that extinction is looming for over 1 million species of plants and animals. There are growing concerns that policymakers aren’t acting quickly enough to stop it.
Column: State regulators making much-needed concessions for crossbows
Sun Journal - Saturday, August 17, 2019 

Not surprisingly, it took some time for Maine’s fish and wildlife regulatory apparatus to loosen up when it came to accepting the crossbow as a legitimate and acceptable hunting device. Compared with other states, we have been a long time coming around. Because of concern among some wildlife managers that allowing crossbows during the October archery season could result in excessive doe harvest, a three-year “test period” was agreed to. ~ V. Paul Reynolds
Podcast: From NRCM to the State House
Natural Resources Council of Maine - Saturday, August 17, 2019 

This conversation between former Natural Resources Council of Maine Executive Director Brownie Carson and Deputy Director Joan Welsh covers their time at NRCM and their transitions to the Maine State House. Joan served in the Maine House of Representatives, and Brownie is currently in his second term in the Maine Senate. They have both served on the Joint Committee on the Environment and Natural Resources.
Editorial: Trump guts the Endangered Species Act
Kennebec Journal - Saturday, August 17, 2019 

The Trump administration announced reckless and potentially devastating new rules Monday that will weaken the Endangered Species Act, which currently bestows a mantle of protection over 1,663 species of animals and plants. It’s unconscionable — and dangerous — to be removing protections at a time when scientists warn that a million species could become extinct. The new rules should be legally challenged and overturned. They undermine a far-sighted, environmentally conscious law that has worked well for nearly half a century. ~ Los Angeles Times
Students lead effort to bring solar power to Portland public schools
Portland Press Herald - Saturday, August 17, 2019 

The tide at Back Cove will rise 6 feet by 2100, according to NOAA. “Eighty years may seem like a long time, but many of our current elementary school students will experience these high tides in their lifetime,” Lucy Medd said. To lessen that probability, Medd and fellow students at all three of Portland’s public high schools are calling on the school board to use solar energy in the city’s 18 schools to replace fossil fuel use that contributes to climate change. The students formed SolaRISE Portland and have received nearly $20,000 toward the effort from local businesses and individuals through GiveGab, an online donation platform. “That is not an environmental crisis, it is going to be a human rights crisis,” said Siri Pierce, a rising senior at Casco Bay.
Opinion: We have to work together to protect our common resources
Portland Press Herald - Saturday, August 17, 2019 

Innocently begun with England’s Industrial Revolution in the early 1700s, an increase of CO2 resulting from the burning of fossil fuels, is now melting ice in the Arctic and Antarctic, acidifying and warming our rising oceans, creating unprecedented hurricanes and causing desertification and droughts, gigantic forest fires and mass extinctions of Earth’s animal and plant life. Of all the costly adaptations being suggested to address global warming, putting a price on CO2 emissions seems to be the only fair and workable solution as time runs out. Endorsed by 3,554 U.S. economists, carbon fee and dividend is a market-based policy that would tax each fossil fuel at its source. Carbon emissions would be subject to an increasing price, with all revenues put back into the economy as a dividend to all families. The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act (HR 763) has 58 co-sponsors. ~ JeanAnn “JA” Pollard, Winslow
Letter: Critics have valid grounds to oppose CMP corridor
Portland Press Herald - Saturday, August 17, 2019 

As a citizen of Pownal who opposes the proposed Central Maine Power corridor, I wish to rebut David Hyde’s claim that “dark money” is behind the campaign and the many “No CMP Corridor” signs in Pownal. Opposition to the project has strong grass-roots support based firmly on environmental concerns. The project’s putative carbon benefits could be negated by the destruction of forests, which serve as essential carbon sinks. The negative environmental, climate and social effects of Hydro-Quebec’s destruction of large forests in Quebec are also significant. And the project would hamper the growth of Maine’s own renewable-energy economy. Insinuating that opponents of the proposed CMP project are in the thrall of the fossil fuel lobby is insulting. Most of us passionately support renewable fuels. I have one of the larger solar arrays in Pownal. ~ Janet Lynch, Pownal
Letter: Consider results of survey
Sun Journal - Saturday, August 17, 2019 

In the next year, Auburn will face decisions that have community-defining and irreversible consequences: Will Lake Auburn continue to provide high quality drinking water for Lewiston and Auburn residents? Will Auburn be able to offer a land base that allows an agricultural economy to exist? As a resident of Auburn’s Agricultural and Resource Protection Zone, I was pleased to receive a survey asking for my opinion on current and possible uses of the land in the district. I urge the Planning Board and the City Council to consider the results of that survey in their deliberations. ~ Bonnie Lounsbury, Auburn
Migrants to Progressives: Protect Us from Our Fear of Snakes in Maine
Breitbart News - Friday, August 16, 2019 

Asylum-seeking migrants who were recently welcomed into southern Maine are complaining about being sent to free housing in wooded districts of central Maine, according to the Associated Press. “Some families expressed fear about being relocated from the busy city to towns where the vast woods that are part of Maine’s identity could trigger bad memories from their journeys.” They recalled seeing fellow asylum seekers fall to their deaths, get swept away by rivers, starve to death and get bitten by venomous snakes. A webpage about snakes in Maine reports, “There are only nine species and two sub-species of snakes in the Pine Tree State, none of them venomous and only one considered endangered. The Maine Herpetological Society lists three other species as having 'special concern' status, with dwindling numbers in the state.”
Developer envisions restaurants, bed-and-breakfast at Fort Gorges
Portland Press Herald - Friday, August 16, 2019 

A developer who has been talking with city officials about putting restaurants and shops in Portland’s historic Fort Gorges says he may continue to pursue the idea despite strong opposition from the nonprofit group formed to maintain and preserve the island park. Mike Dugay, who worked in development in Florida before moving to Portland, said he’s proposed raising money to preserve the decaying fort in Casco Bay by building restaurants, shops and perhaps a bed-and-breakfast there.
Remediation work continues at site of Gardiner bridge project
Kennebec Journal - Friday, August 16, 2019 

Starting early next week, the state Department of Environmental Protection will oversee geoprobe borings near the Bridge Street bridge to try to identify the source of petroleum contamination. When work started on the remediation project about a month ago, state environmental officials estimated the project would take a couple of weeks. Now, that estimate has changed. “It’s a big remediation, and it’s turning into a fairly significant one,” David Madore, director of communications for the state DEP, said this week.
Island Institute 2019 Summer Lecture Series
Other - Friday, August 16, 2019 

Listen to authors, scientists, community members, and other experts discuss life along Maine's waterfront and offer their perspectives, reflections, and insights on everything from art and aquaculture to modern-day challenges and connections.
Column: Muscle or Mussel Ridge Islands?
Times Record - Friday, August 16, 2019 

The Delorme Maine Atlas calls them the Mussel Ridge Islands. Various other sources refer to the archipelago as the Muscle Ridge Islands. I’ve always assumed that some misguided mapmaker from away misspelled the name “mussel” as the islands must be named for the bivalve mollusk endemic to the area. It seems I’m not so clever after all. Charles and Carol Evarts McLane in their book Penobscot Bay wrote that the Old English spelling for “mussel” was “muscelle” which was “muscle” in Middle English. Regardless, the Mussel Ridge Archipelago is one of the finest sea kayak destinations on the Maine coast and perhaps its best kept secret. ~ Ron Chase
Podcast: Interview with George Smith
Natural Resources Council of Maine - Friday, August 16, 2019 

George Smith shares his perspective on the future of wildlife and fisheries protection; his observations of the impacts of climate change on the North Woods and in his own backyard; and memories from working in Maine politics for more than four decades.
A ‘Whale Wars’ ship is in Maine, but it’s not here to pick a fight with lobstermen
Bangor Daily News - Friday, August 16, 2019 

A high-tech ship from the TV show “Whale Wars” is docked at a local marina, but its crew is not interested in the debate between lobstermen and environmentalists over endangered right whales. The MV Brigitte Bardot, one of 14 Sea Shepherd Conservation Society ships, has been docked in Southwest Hasrbor since mid-July because it needs repairs. It’s not here to weigh in on whether Maine’s lobster fleet is responsible for fishing lines that entangle and kill the endangered whales, said society founder Paul Watson — though he did say fishing lines pose a threat to whales. “The answer to that is to have a [disentanglement] response team. You could say that the lobstermen could go out and free them, but it is a dangerous thing. You need training to do it.”
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