March 25, 2017  
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Maine Environmental News
Announcement - Friday, March 24, 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
Edible Ornamentals, Mar 31
Event - Posted - Friday, March 24, 2017 

Speaker: Lisa Fernandez of The Resilience Hub. At Curtis Library, Brunswick, March 31, 12 pm.
State of Maine Sportsman’s Show, Mar 31-Apr 2
Event - Posted - Friday, March 24, 2017 

At Augusta Civic Center, March 31 - April 2.
Grow Your Own Mushrooms, Mar 30
Event - Posted - Thursday, March 23, 2017 

Speaker: Ben Whatley of Whatley Farm. At Curtis Library, Brunswick, March 30, 6:30 pm.
2017 Maine Sustainability & Water Conference, Mar 30
Event - Posted - Thursday, March 23, 2017 

Keynote "Conserving Pools and Watersheds" by Aram Calhoun, Professor of Wetland Ecology, UMaine. At Augusta Civic Center, March 30, 7:30 am - 4 pm.
Northern Goshawks in the Northeast, Mar 30
Event - Posted - Thursday, March 23, 2017 

Speaker: David Brinker, Maryland Natural Heritage Program. At Ladd Recreation Center, Wayne, March 30, 7 pm. Sponsored by Kennebec Land Trust.
Backyard Bees, Mar 29
Event - Posted - Wednesday, March 22, 2017 

Beekeeper Mike Mcnally talks about keeping bees. At Curtis Library, Brunswick, March 29, 12 pm.
Planning a Garden for Preserving, Mar 29
Event - Posted - Wednesday, March 22, 2017 

Speaker: Kate McCarty of UMaine Cooperative Extension. At Curtis Library, Brunswick, March 29, 6:30 pm.
New interactive Androscoggin River Trail Guide
Publication - Tuesday, March 21, 2017 

The Androscoggin River Trail Guide is an interactive, mobile-friendly website describing launch site details, river mileages, points of interest, and other on-river information to help guide paddlers down the Androscoggin.
Inspired by Nature, Mar 28
Event - Posted - Tuesday, March 21, 2017 

Wildlife biologist and author of I Am Coyote, Geri will illustrate how nature inspires her. At Topsham Library, March 28, 6 pm. Sponsored by Cathance River Education Alliance.
Waypoints: Community Indicators for Maine’s Coast and Islands
Publication - Monday, March 20, 2017 

This Island Institute publication presents economic, community and environmental indicators for Maine’s coastal and island communities as they compare to the rest of the state and the nation.
Maine Maple Sunday, Mar 26
Event - Posted - Sunday, March 19, 2017 

Maine will celebrate its 34th annual Maine Maple Sunday on March 26.
Birding at Plum Island, Mar 25
Event - Posted - Saturday, March 18, 2017 

A field trip to find special winter birds. At Plum Island, MA, March 25, 7 am - 4 pm. Sponsored by Stanton Bird Club.
Trump's "America First Budget"
Publication - Thursday, March 16, 2017 

The Office of Management and Budget today released the Trump Administration's 2018 bare-bones budget outline.
Top "Public Lands Enemies" in Congress
Publication - Thursday, March 16, 2017 

A Center for Biological Diversity report analyzed 132 bills that were introduced in Congress from 2011 to 2016, and identified the lawmakers who authored and cosponsored the greatest number of these bills. The list that emerged includes 9 members of the U.S. House of Representatives and 6 U.S. senators from 8 states.
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Maine Environmental News is provided as 
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News Items
Opinion: It’s time to get big money out of the State House, once and for all
Bangor Daily News - Monday, March 13, 2017 

Mainers expect our public officials to be accessible to their constituents, and government to be responsive to the average citizen. That’s why it’s so disturbing that we have a completely legal system the prioritizes access to public officials for lobbyists and corporations with the largest checkbooks, who crowd out the everyday citizen. The amount of money in politics has reached record levels. Six states have various bans on lobbyist contributions. Maine can be next. To maintain our state’s proud tradition of open, transparent, accessible and public-minded government, we need to get special interest money out of politics once and for all. ~ Sen. Justin Chenette, D-Saco
Lots of opinions shared in Sportsmen Say Surveys
George Smith BDN Outdoor News Blog - Monday, March 13, 2017 

The opinions expressed in my Sportsmen Say Surveys are always interesting. Here are some responses.
Editorial: 3 ways to make Maine government more open
Bangor Daily News - Monday, March 13, 2017 

Maine’s Freedom of Access Act provides the cornerstone for strong journalism and an informed electorate, and should be vigorously defended. With Sunshine Week upon us, it’s a good time to remember what open access means to Maine and point out where the state can continue to improve:
• Publicize contract awards
• Increase understanding of the state budget
• Follow the spirit of the law
Blog: LePage finally brings hope back to Maine
Bangor Metro - Monday, March 13, 2017 

A glorious wave of optimism has swept across Maine’s political class with the growing speculation that Paul LePage may actually resign his governorship. ~ Lance Dutson, Republican communications consultant
Amid Cold and Snow, Maine Officials Look Ahead to Tourism Season
Maine Public - Monday, March 13, 2017 

The annual Governor's Conference on Tourism opens Tuesday in Augusta. Steve Lyons, the state's acting director of tourism and film, says tourism is a part of the Maine economy that continues to grow, and change. Direct tourism expenditures total nearly $6 billion. It supports about 100,000 jobs each year. And tourism also generates about $600 million in total state and local taxes.
Letter: LePage seems determined to ruin state parks system
Portland Press Herald - Monday, March 13, 2017 

First Gov. LePage weakened the stand-alone Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands and dumped it into the Department of Agriculture, where this busy department has been forced to allow it to languish. Now, he is trying to eliminate important positions and at the same time go to some contract services. Seasonal workers do more than mow the lawn. They help locate a lost child, guide an ambulance, answer visitor questions and so much more. Our parks are our escape valve from our pressured lives and help restore us. We ask our legislators to please look at these issues, decline contract services, fill vacant positions and preserve our parks. ~ Sandra and Ole Jaeger, Georgetown
Letter: North Woods monument an asset
Bangor Daily News - Monday, March 13, 2017 

The Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument is as great an asset to America as are Yellowstone, Yosemite and other national treasures. As the world population increases, the pressure to overdevelop the Maine wilderness is becoming a reality. People worked tirelessly to establish the Sieur De Monts National Monument, which later became Acadia National Park. Gov. Paul LePage is completely wrong in attempting to get President Donald Trump to rescind the executive order that created the monument. LePage’s vision for Maine is shortsighted and biased. His views are not in the best interest of residents of Maine. ~ Robert Chaplin, Bar Harbor
Trump budget expected to seek historic contraction of federal workforce
Washington Post - Sunday, March 12, 2017 

President Trump’s budget proposal this week would shake the federal government to its core if enacted, culling back numerous programs and expediting a historic contraction of the federal workforce. The spending budget Trump is set to release Thursday prioritizes the military and homeland security while slashing many other areas, including environmental programs.
As demand for herring soars, catch declines in Maine
Associated Press - Sunday, March 12, 2017 

Maine's iconic lobster fishery is healthy, having set records for volume and value in 2016. But the fishery for herring, a small schooling fish that lobsters love to eat, is another story. Herring is suddenly the second-most valuable fishery in the state, and Maine’s most valuable species of fish, bringing in $19 million at the docks in 2016. It’s also the most popular bait used in lobster traps, and the climb in value corresponds with demand from the hungry lobster fishery and a drop in catch of herring off New England. Scientists and fishermen are trying to figure out why Maine’s Atlantic herring catch – the largest in the nation – has fallen.
Winslow city officials divided over tax relief for farmers
Morning Sentinel - Sunday, March 12, 2017 

A first-in-the-state support program for farmers has caused a debate between some members of the Town Council and the agricultural commission on how much tax relief to hand out. At a Town Council meeting Feb. 21, councilor Ken Fletcher proposed amending the Voluntary Municipal Farm Support Program to include a framework that would limit relief. However, the co-chair of the agriculture commission, which manages the applications for the program, said it needs to remain flexible to work. The council ultimately voted to table decisions on the first two recommendations for the program from the town’s agricultural commission at the meeting.
Trump’s proposed EPA cuts would damage Maine’s environment and economy, critics fear
Maine Sunday Telegram - Sunday, March 12, 2017 

The Trump administration’s proposal to impose deep cuts on the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget is raising fears that it would devastate Maine’s environment and undermine its economy. The preliminary White House plan would trim the EPA’s budget by 25 percent. It would cut nearly a third of state grant programs that fund the cleanup of abandoned industrial sites as well as protect air and water quality, and it would eliminate grants that help Maine and other states mitigate radon, conduct beach water quality tests and buy cleaner school buses.
Despite making it a priority, LePage remains stymied on lowering energy costs
Maine Sunday Telegram - Sunday, March 12, 2017 

After six years in office, Gov. Paul LePage's accomplishments on energy are mixed. He has helped keep electric rates essentially flat, opposing measures that could make them higher than they might otherwise be. At the same time, he has largely failed to advance policies that actually lower the price of energy – his often-stated goal. His prospects for making progress lowering prices look even worse this year.
New England power grid’s ample capacity proves dire predictions wrong
Maine Sunday Telegram - Sunday, March 12, 2017 

Dire predictions that power plant closures in New England would strain electricity supply so far are proving to be wrong. An auction conducted last month by the region’s grid operator to meet demand in 2021 attracted more than enough power, and at the lowest prices since 2013. Upgrades at existing plants have the area's grid operator pointing to 'a market that works.'
How a Van Buren-based vegetable processor went from triumph to shut down
Maine Sunday Telegram - Sunday, March 12, 2017 

The bad news arrived right around Labor Day. Northern Girl’s customer Whole Foods, which had been buying nearly 3,000 pounds of its fresh harvest medley every week – cleaned, cubed and ready to be roasted and served up in the grocer’s tempting hot, prepared foods area – would not be placing any more orders with the Van Buren-based vegetable processor for those organic root vegetables from Aroostook County. Northern Girl never quite recovered from that, or the rest of a sales year that was “tumultuous.”
Dan Devereaux watches over the waters in Brunswick
Maine Sunday Telegram - Sunday, March 12, 2017 

When it comes to marine issues in Brunswick, Marine Warden Dan Devereaux has a special expertise. He’s in his 18th year on the job, for one thing. And he’s wedded to his work. We talked about how he landed the job and what he’s done with it.
Column: Patagonia founder takes on Gov. LePage over monument
Maine Sunday Telegram - Sunday, March 12, 2017 

Yvon Chouinard, the founder of Patagonia, the outdoor apparel and equipment company, says Gov. Paul LePage’s opposition to Maine’s Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, and his plea to President Trump to send back the recent gift addressed to the American public because of states rights, is “baloney.”
Letter: LePage needs to lead on locally made solar power
Maine Sunday Telegram - Sunday, March 12, 2017 

My household has reduced fuel oil consumption by 85 percent since installing heat pumps. I’d love to be able to generate my own electricity to operate the heat pumps by installing solar panels. If Maine had any leadership at the gubernatorial level, or even less mindless opposition, we would have a solar policy that could truly benefit the state. It is inane to assert we should build expensive transmission lines to bring hydropower all the way from Quebec, then pay whatever cost they demand for the power, rather than make every effort to generate our own power locally from wind, solar and tidal sources. ~ Ann Morrill, South Portland
Federal Endangered Species Act targeted for constraints
Washington Post - Saturday, March 11, 2017 

The federal Endangered Species Act has been called the world’s gold standard for environmental protection. Passed in 1973, it strengthened earlier federal protections for animals that had been nearly wiped out by humans, including bald eagles, humpback whales and California condors. But the act has faced opposition from those who believe it unfairly protects animals that sometimes poach livestock and that it unfairly restricts land use. Here are eight species that would probably have disappeared already were it not for the Endangered Species Act.
Column: Hunting? Leave the drones at home
Sun Journal - Saturday, March 11, 2017 

There was a day in the life of a deer hunter when his technological aids were limited to a functional deer rifle, a hunting knife, a good compass, and, perhaps, a topo map. That all changed with the dawning of satellite technology and all of the gizmo spinoffs that have followed. ~ V. Paul Reynolds
Fragile Cadillac ecology focus of protection efforts by alpine group, others
Acadia On My Mind Blog - Saturday, March 11, 2017 

Cadillac is tough as granite, yet the alpine zone of Acadia National Park’s tallest mountain is fragile as eggshells. With the approximately 3 million visitors a year to the park, and Acadia’s highest peak a must-see stop, it’s a constant battle to protect the bald summit and ridge, and the special Cadillac ecology. One recent victory in the conservation battle: Fixing a couple of sections of the popular Cadillac South Ridge Trail, which had become eroded and could turn into a muddy mess, tempting hikers to trample rare alpine plants.
With mills struggling, a Maine lumber firm is building a biomass plant
Bangor Daily News - Saturday, March 11, 2017 

The shuttering and shrinking of paper mills has forced businesses across the forest products industry to take a fresh look at their approach. At Robbins Lumber, a 136-year-old family-owned sawmill in Searsmont, the upheaval is prompting a big investment to become not just a lumber producer, but an energy producer. The company is building a $36 million, 8.5 megawatt biomass plant, with capacity to sell about 7.5 megawatts to Central Maine Power.
Editorial: Republicans want to undo a rule that protects taxpayers and the environment
Bangor Daily News - Saturday, March 11, 2017 

A regulation that protects taxpayers, improves the environment and could save corporations money sounds like a winning combination. But not with this Congress. The aim of the rule was to ensure as much methane as possible is captured and sent to a processing facility to become part of the nation’s natural gas supply. BLM estimates that about 375 billion cubic feet of natural gas were flared or leaked on public and tribal lands between 2009 and 2014. That’s enough gas to supply more than 5 million homes a year. It would be worth $330 million if processed and sold. The methane rule rollback was passed by the House last month. Rep. Bruce Poliquin voted for it. Rep. Chellie Pingree voted no. Fortunately, Sen. Susan Collins and Sen. Angus King oppose the rollback effort.
Two Oregon occupiers guilty of conspiracy in second trial
Reuters - Saturday, March 11, 2017 

Jason Patrick and Darryl Thorn were each found guilty of conspiring to prevent federal workers from doing their jobs at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in remote eastern Oregon. Duane Ehmer and Jake Ryan were cleared of those charges but found guilty of depredation of government property. Last October, another trial ended with the acquittal of anti-government activist Ammon Bundy and six of his followers, who cast their protest as a patriotic act of civil disobedience in opposition to U.S. government control over public lands in the West. Ammon Bundy, his brother Ryan and their father Cliven Bundy are in federal custody ahead of a trial scheduled to begin later this year over another armed standoff with federal officers in 2014 in Nevada.
Great reads about hunting, fishing, and more
George Smith BDN Outdoor News Blog - Saturday, March 11, 2017 

I probably overwhelmed Kristina Wheelock, assistant librarian at Gardiner High School, when she asked for book recommendations. I’ve got bookshelves full of books about hunting, fishing, birding, wildlife, and the great outdoors. Some are very old, some just published, and lots in between. I plowed through my many books to give her the following recommendations.
Opinion: Pruitt ignoring science consensus could have dire consequences for Maine
Portland Press Herald - Saturday, March 11, 2017 

I spent Valentine’s Day making a whirlwind trip to Washington, D.C., on behalf of my company, Mook Sea Farm, an oyster farm on the Damariscotta River to oppose Scott Pruitt’s nomination to be the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. I talked about almost being forced out of business in 1998 by illegal dumping of septic and chemical waste next to my hatchery. Mook Sea Farm would likely not have survived had it not been for the Clean Water Act. I also explained that the impact of carbon emissions suddenly became very real. Just maybe, by going to Washington I provided Sen. Susan Collins and Sen. Angus King with a story that will make the difference in convincing a Senate colleague that a healthy environment is good for business. ~ Bill Mook, Walpole
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