January 20, 2019  
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Maine Environmental News
Action Alert - Saturday, January 19, 2019 

Thanks for visiting Maine Environmental News, a service of RESTORE: The North Woods. MEN is the most comprehensive online source available for links to conservation and natural resource news and events in Maine (and a bit beyond). We have posted summaries and links to over 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
Lake St. George Ice Fishing Derby, Jan 26
Event - Posted - Saturday, January 19, 2019 

Learn how to fish. All equipment and bait provided. Lunch, hot cocoa, and warming hut. At Lake St. George State Park, Liberty, January 26, 8 am - 2 pm.
Brown-tail moths, Jan 24
Event - Posted - Thursday, January 17, 2019 

Eleanor Groden, professor of entomology at the University of Maine, will discuss the health hazards presented by, and recommended management strategies of, brown-tail moths. At Palermo Community Library, January 24, 6:30 pm.
20th Anniversary Maine Farmland Trust Kick Off Event, Jan 24
Event - Posted - Thursday, January 17, 2019 

Join a festive hometown gathering to look back at Maine Farmland Trust's many milestones since 1999, and celebrate the founders and members who helped to shape the organization. At United Farmer’s Market of Maine, Belfast, January 24, 6 pm.
Explore Nature through photography, Jan 24
Event - Posted - Thursday, January 17, 2019 

Local photographers Michele Benoit, Donne Sinderson, and Richard Spinney will share their photographs, experience and tips for photographing the natural world. At Bangor, January 24, 6:30 pm. Sponsored by Bangor Land Trust.
Help pick BDN top issue
Action Alert - Tuesday, January 15, 2019 

This year, the Bangor Daily News opinion pages will focus attention on four issues that are critical to Maine’s future. We have picked three areas: economic development; referendum reform; and Maine’s rural, spread out population. Help pick the fourth topic. Climate change and the associated energy, land-use and conservation policies are the top concern so far.
Marching Backwards
Publication - Tuesday, January 15, 2019 

A report by the Environmental Defense Fund about how Andrew Wheeler and Donald Trump are endangering the health of American families by rolling back environmental safeguards.
Browntail Moth, Jan 22
Event - Posted - Tuesday, January 15, 2019 

Maine Forest Service Entomologist Tom Schmeelk and District Forester Morten Moesswilde explain how to identify and manage browntail moths. At Boothbay Regional Land Trust's Oak Point Farm, January 22, 3 pm.
Tree Appreciation Walk, Jan 20
Event - Posted - Monday, January 14, 2019 

Kids, adults, and families are invited on a walking exploration and appreciation of trees. At Thorne Head Preserve Bath, January 20, 1-2:30 pm. Co-sponsored by Kennebec Estuary Land Trust and Beth Israel Congregation.
Colonizing history of Wabanaki people, Europeans, Jan 20
Event - Posted - Sunday, January 13, 2019 

Maine-Wabanaki REACH and the Unitarian Universalist Community Church of Augusta hold an interactive story-telling experience about the colonizing history of Wabanaki (the Indigenous people of Maine) and Europeans and their descendants. At UU Church, Augusta, January 20, 1-3 pm, RSVP.
L.L.Bean Outdoor Discovery Programs
Event - Posted - Thursday, January 10, 2019 

Expert guides. Amazing scenery. Hundreds of new activities to learn. Plus, customized trips, all-inclusive adventures, kids’ camps and more. Starting at $25.
Ice Fishing the Downeast, Jan 17
Event - Posted - Thursday, January 10, 2019 

Gregory Burr, regional biologist for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, talks about “Ice Fishing the Downeast Region.” At Schoodic Institute, Winter Harbor, January 17, noon.
Nature Notes from Maine, Jan 17
Event - Posted - Thursday, January 10, 2019 

Ed Robinson shares interesting facts about some of Maine's most beautiful and fascinating wildlife. At Curtis Library, Brunswick, January 17, 6 pm potluck, 7 pm presentation. Sponsored by Appalachian Mountain Club.
Working with your Woodland, Jan 16
Announcement - Wednesday, January 9, 2019 

Morten Moesswilde, District Forester for the Maine Forest Service, leads a series of presentations and field tours on woodland management on small ownerships. At Maranacook Community High School, Readfield, starting January 16, 6-8 pm, $5 per session or all 8 sessions for $35.
Weekly Winter Adventure camp in Bethel begins Jan. 16
Announcement - Wednesday, January 9, 2019 

The UMaine 4-H Camp & Learning Center at Bryant Pond, in partnership with the Mahoosuc Land Trust and Mahoosuc Kids Association, is offering a six-week Winter Adventure course, beginning Wednesday, January 16.
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News Items
Audit fails to quell anger over CMP bills
Maine Sunday Telegram - Sunday, January 6, 2019 

An eight-month independent audit of Central Maine Power’s billing and metering systems offered hope that ongoing anger and confusion about high electric bills for tens of thousands of customers finally would be cleared up. That didn’t happen. About 97,000 CMP customers saw their bills increase last year by 50 percent or more in three winter months when compared with the same period a year earlier. And while the audit focused on what happened in the past, the PUC continues to hear from customers who are reporting new problems. More than 30 new public comments were filed on the PUC’s case docket in the first three days of the new year.
Mushers can be a dog’s best friend
Maine Sunday Telegram - Sunday, January 6, 2019 

More than a third (36%) of U.S. households have dogs, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. And few people have keener insights into dogs than mushers, who spend most days biking, skiing or driving sleds with dogs as part of a team. Maine has two sled dog clubs with about 100 members between them.
Column: Three ideas to make Maine a bit greener
Maine Sunday Telegram - Sunday, January 6, 2019 

Maine is a green state, both figuratively and literally (being the most heavily forested state in the union). As a new gubernatorial administration takes hold, and as climate change causes our ocean to creep up our beaches, I offer a few millennial’s-eye solutions for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions:
• create a program, administered through local banks and credit unions, of subsidized, low-interest car loans specifically for purchasing electric or hybrid vehicles
• create a contest for best industrial-park climate garden
• encourage carpools and ride-sharing in rural areas
~ Victoria Hugo-Vidal
Column: Turkey hunting decisions have worked
Maine Sunday Telegram - Sunday, January 6, 2019 

Restoration of Maine’s wild turkey population has to be among the top wildlife management success stories of the last century. State biologists and volunteers from the National Wild Turkey Federation should be commended for the careful and responsible approach they took, and consistently maintained in bringing the king of North American game birds back to our state. But even success is not without its detractors, and there are already those calling for still more effort directed toward increasing both hunting opportunity and harvest. We need to proceed slowly, responsibly, and according to recommendations of trained wildlife professionals. ~ Bob Humphrey
Column: Great black hawk sighting highlights first Christmas Bird Counts
Maine Sunday Telegram - Sunday, January 6, 2019 

This column is the first of three reviewing the highlights of the Maine Christmas Bird Counts. This count season spans Dec. 15 through Jan. 5. The Greater Portland count was held Dec. 15 and yielded 102 species. The highlight was a great black hawk, still present on count day in the Deering Oaks park area in downtown Portland. This record represents not only a first for Maine Christmas Bird Counts, but for the United States! The Augusta Count was also held Dec. 15, yielding 52 species. The Unity Count on Dec. 15 produced 47 species. The Moose Island-Jonesport count, conducted Dec. 15, produced 65 species. ~ Herb Wilson
Letter: Efficiency Maine Trust a burden to needy electricity customers
Maine Sunday Telegram - Sunday, January 6, 2019 

Efficiency Maine is playing the ISO-New England Forward Capacity Market to enrich itself with an additional $13.89 million while the poorest among us struggle with a crippling $150-per-year addition to their bills? The $13.89 million is what the market saves when Efficiency Maine clients use more-efficient electrical devices; this money is remitted not to the clients, but to Efficiency Maine Trust. The right thing to do now is to eliminate the system benefit charge. Allow Efficiency Maine to retain the $13.89 million to administer programs that will benefit the poor, who need help with energy poverty. ~ Clayton McKay, Dixfield
Letter: Ocasio-Cortez’s ‘Green New Deal’ a godsend
Maine Sunday Telegram - Sunday, January 6, 2019 

On first reading about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s primary win, I became ecstatic, even though much of the media saw it as a flash in the pan. Now she has, as per the headline on the Dec. 23 Katrina Vanden Heuvel column, proposed an economic incentive that “might just save the world.” Vanden Heuvel writes that “a new Yale survey found that a Green New Deal is supported by a staggering 81 percent of registered voters.” Yes, I am ecstatic! ~ Eliot Chandler, Augusta
Silencing Science
Other - Saturday, January 5, 2019 

Center for Investigative Reporting - President Donald Trump says he doubts humans have much of a role in climate change. His administration has downplayed the science of climate change and sought to silence scientists working for the federal government. This podcast details the pressures one researcher faced as she worked on a project for the National Park Service.
Maine Bird Superlatives
Maine Audubon - Saturday, January 5, 2019 

In celebration of #NationalBirdDay today, Maine Audubon has compiled a list of "Maine Bird Superlatives." Which bird is Maine's fastest? Largest? Most numerous? And which is our class clown??
Emergency scallop conservation closure implemented near Vinalhaven
Penobscot Bay Pilot - Saturday, January 5, 2019 

The Maine Department of Marine Resources will implement an emergency conservation closure for scallop harvesting in West Vinalhaven within the Lower Penobscot Bay Rotational Area, effective January 6. Machias Seal Island and North Rock are open to harvest on Zone 2 calendar days and also January 1 - 31, 2019. The Scallop Management Area Map has been updated to reflect these closures.
Column: Checking the backtrack of 2018
Sun Journal - Saturday, January 5, 2019 

For ice fishermen, the winter of 2018 could not have been more action-filled with some bragging-size fish. The safety record for snowsledders was not good. More than a dozen snowmobilers died on the trails. The Fish and Wildlife Department liberalized bag and size limits on trout in the Allagash Waterway. The fall hunt was memorable with good harvests of moose and bear, not to mention a good tracking snow for the November deer hunt. Finally, during 2018, the Maine outdoor community lost a number of dedicated and talented outdoor acquaintances: Tom Hennessey, Steve Takach, John Ford and Lefty Kreh. ~ V. Paul Reynolds
DEP Rules Rumford Whitecap is Not a Scenic Resource of State or National Significance
Citizens Task Force on Wind Power - Saturday, January 5, 2019 

A public comment session regarding the RoxWind proposal and its impact on Rumford Whitecap will be held January 7 starting at 6 PM at the Roxbury Town Hall. Rumford Whitecap is a jewel of western Maine that took Mahoosuc Land Trust many years and millions of dollars to buy land on the summit, secure conservation easements and secure public access. It has 360 degree views to Mt. Washington to the south and the High Peaks area around Sugarloaf to the north. Yet, the DEP staff have denied reviewing visual impact of the RoxWind turbines by ruling the Rumford Whitecap Preserve is not a "Scenic Resource of State or National Significance." Everyone should be outraged by this determination, published just a few days ago on January 2. The ruling is not transparent because it has not been posted for the public on the DEP website.
No free weekend for visiting snowmobilers in New Hampshire
Associated Press - Saturday, January 5, 2019 

For seven years, during the last weekend of January, snowmobilers registered in New Hampshire, Maine, and Vermont have been allowed on trails in all three states without paying additional registration. Bob Meyers, of the Maine Snowmobile Association, said Maine felt the three-state agreement was tying it down, and that not a lot of snowmobilers from Maine were going into New Hampshire during the designated weekend.
National parks struggle to stay open and safe during shutdown
Associated Press - Saturday, January 5, 2019 

Nonprofits, businesses and state governments nationwide are putting up money and volunteer hours in a battle to keep national parks safe and clean for visitors as the partial U.S. government shutdown lingers. But such makeshift arrangements haven’t prevented some parks from closing and others from being inundated with trash. Trump said Friday the shutdown could last “months or even years.”
3 dead in national parks as shutdown wears on
Washington Post - Saturday, January 5, 2019 

Three days after most of the federal workforce was furloughed on Dec. 21, a 14-year-old girl fell 700 feet to her death at Glen Canyon Recreation Area in Arizona. The following day, Christmas, a man died at Yosemite National Park in California after suffering a head injury from a fall. On Dec. 27, a woman was killed by a falling tree at Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The deaths follow a decision by Trump administration officials to halt most of the parks operations. The Park Service estimates that up to 16,000 of its 19,000-person workforce is furloughed during the shutdown.
Some of These Fish and Wildlife Legislative Bills Will Be Provocative
George Smith BDN Outdoor News Blog - Saturday, January 5, 2019 

I’m expecting lots of fish and wildlife bills this session, including some from our governor and new DIFW commissioner. But for the first time in 30 years, I did not offer any bills, most importantly because I am working closely with Governor Mills and Commissioner Camuso to support their initiatives. And I provided them with my own suggestions.
Piscataquis County joins state in suing Big Squaw ski resort’s owner
Bangor Daily News - Saturday, January 5, 2019 

Piscataquis County sees the revival of the Big Squaw Mountain ski area as a part of the Moosehead Lake region’s economic revitalization. The county’s commissioners have joined the state in a lawsuit against the partially defunct ski area’s owner that seeks millions of dollars to restore the ski mountain. The Big Squaw Mountain resort opened in 1963 and, as it grew, became a major tourist draw to the Moosehead Lake Region. The state owned the resort from 1974 to 1986 after Scott Paper Company gave up ownership. It passed through several owners before the 1,216-acre ski area was sold in 1995 to James Confalone “with the explicit understanding that the purchaser would invest in and improve the ski area and resort." He used the property to secure more than $4 million in loans but failed to reopen the ski lift, trails and lodge.
Ellsworth to stop accepting glass, boxboard, office paper for recycling
Bangor Daily News - Saturday, January 5, 2019 

As of Feb. 1, Ellsworth will become the latest Maine municipality to significantly curtail its recycling program because of changes in the global recycling market. The city’s transfer station will no longer accept glass, several types of plastic, boxboard items such as cereal boxes, or office paper. The changes have been prompted by a 2017 decision by China, the world’s largest importer of waste, to stop importing 24 types of waste in 2018, and to enforce its limits for accepting waste contaminated with nonrecyclable material.
Commentary: Hydro-Quebec offers misleading claims about power’s climate impact
Portland Press Herald - Saturday, January 5, 2019 

Hydro-Quebec’s claim that the electricity they would send south is “produced with none of the carbon emissions blamed for global warming” is dead wrong, directly contradicted by scientific research sponsored by Hydro-Quebec itself. When Hydro-Quebec dams rivers on northern Quebec’s relatively flat terrain, it floods vast areas of forests and wetlands under shallow water. The amount of power Hydro-Quebec produces per acre flooded is among the lowest of any hydropower in the world. The trees, bogs and soils flooded have been storing carbon since the last Ice Age. This stored carbon decomposes, releasing CO2 and methane. To make things worse, drowned trees are gone forever and cannot grow back to remove CO2 in the future. ~ Bradford H. Hager, MIT earth sciences professor, Mercer
Letter: No lifestyle change to protect the planet
Portland Press Herald - Saturday, January 5, 2019 

Regarding Len Frenkel’s Dec. 12 letter, “Protect planet by changing lifestyle” (Page A6): If Mr. Frenkel wants to give up his standard of living and go to homesteading, please do. I’m not going to. Having worked for 46 years and now living on Social Security, I will not give up my little standard of living until hypocrites like Al Gore (with his mansion and travel by private jet) gives up his. Meanwhile, China and India aren’t about to stop their pollution. Talk to China, Mr. Frenkel, not to the average American who is living from paycheck to paycheck. ~ Craig Elliott, Bristol
Letter: EPA rule change threatens habitat
Kennebec Journal - Saturday, January 5, 2019 

The Trump administration has proposed regulations under the Clean Water Act to eliminate protections for small streams and wetlands, which would result in the severe rollback of many decades of federal regulation of water quality. Failing to maintain our small waters will result in significant degradation of our larger, navigable waters. Increased wetland loss will prevent those areas from continuing to provide flood protection. Failure to regulate our small streams and wetlands will significantly degrade habitat for our fish and wildlife, including brook trout, waterfowl, and all other species that use wetlands and small streams for their homes. Get involved. ~ James Hynson, Pittston
Letter: The reason I don't trust CMP
Sun Journal - Saturday, January 5, 2019 

In 1979, my wife and I started to renovate her family cottage in Poland. As summer changed to winter, our electric bill went up each month. I called Central Maine Power and asked for someone to come check the meter. Nothing the CMP representative mentioned had any application to our concerns. The meter check was never done, but the February bill dropped by half and the March bill dropped by half again. Kind of strange. CMP is planning a new transmission line through Maine. It will not reduce electricity bills. I do not trust CMP and it shouldn’t be allowed to build that transmission line. ~ Fern Bosse, Norway
Finally, a Legislative Check on a Runaway White House
Natural Resources Defense Council - Friday, January 4, 2019 

The 116th Congress of the United States of America was sworn in on Thursday at noon, and for the first time in two years, a formidable legislative check has been placed on the climate-denying, polluter-coddling Trump administration. The newly composed House of Representatives may not be able to stop the destructive Trump juggernaut in its tracks, but it does have the power to countervail this administration’s worst tendencies—and, with any luck, mitigate the damage.
Unease Hangs Over National Parks as Partial Shutdown Continues
National Parks Traveler - Friday, January 4, 2019 

Sinking morale among the National Park Service ranks and accumulating human waste and garbage are just some of the symptoms of the ongoing government shutdown that has left many national parks open but without adequate staffing. Not so visible are the impacts being suffered in long-term environmental monitoring, work on visitor management plans and environmental impact statements, and even potential setbacks to the hiring of next summer's seasonal rangers.
Public hearings set on Roxbury Wind Project
Sun Journal - Friday, January 4, 2019 

Roxwind LLC has submitted a permit application to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection for the Roxwind Project on North Twin Mountain. The project would consist of four turbines, each 492 feet tall, or about 83 feet taller than the Record Hill towers in Roxbury to the north, and about 1 mile closer to Whitecap Mountain. The project would be within plain view of the summit of Whitecap Mountain. The state invested $243,000 of Land for Maine’s Future funds toward the purchase of Whitecap to preserve these views. The DEP’s consultant who reviewed the proposal concluded the application did not adequately consider the visual effects of clearing and grading, as seen from Whitecap. The DEP will hold a public hearing at 1 pm and from 6 to 8 pm on January 7 at the Town Hall.
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