March 24, 2019  
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Maine Environmental News
Action Alert - Sunday, March 24, 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 60,000 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
Recreational Trails Program workshops
Announcement - Sunday, March 24, 2019 

The Recreational Trails Program provides up to 80% funding assistance for acquisition and or development of all kinds of recreational trails. Informational workshops will be held in 6 locations across Maine in April:
• April 1, 1-4 pm - Bethel, Mahoosuc Land Trust Offices
• April 2, 1-4 pm - Standish Municipal Center
• April 3, 1-4 pm - Ellsworth City Hall
• April 4, 9 am – 12 pm - Wiscasset Community Center
• April 5, 1-4 pm - Greenville Town Office
• April 9, 6-9 pm - Caribou Wellness Center
Maine State Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan Survey
Action Alert - Saturday, March 23, 2019 

Every five years, Maine submits a SCORP plan to the National Park Service to meet planning requirements for the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Since its inception in 1966, LWCF has injected $43 million into non-federal projects in Maine. The Maine Bureau of Parks & Lands wants to know what outdoors activities you engage in, and what you see as priorities for the future. To make your voice heard, take the Maine SCORP Survey: https://mescorpsurvey.com/
Earth Hour, Mar 30
Action Alert - Saturday, March 23, 2019 

Join millions around the world to turn off the lights and speak up about why nature matters. March 30, 8:30-9:30 pm.
Hermit Island Hike, Mar 30
Event - Posted - Saturday, March 23, 2019 

Hike a mix of sandy beaches, cliffs, shore trails, woods walk and camp roads. At Hermit Island Campground, Phippsburg, March 30. Sponsored by Appalachian Mountain Club.
MCHT looking for volunteers to mentor kids
Announcement - Friday, March 22, 2019 

Maine Coast Heritage Trust invites the public to volunteer orientation for individuals interested in mentoring families participating in a Kids Can Grow program at MCHT's Erickson Fields Preserve in Rockport. The orientation will be at MCHT's Aldermen Farm, Rockport, April 6, 4-5 pm.
Managing Forests for Bird Habitat, Mar 29
Event - Posted - Friday, March 22, 2019 

Dr. Sally Stockwell, Maine Audubon conservation director, will speak about “Managing Forests for Bird Habitat.” At Keith Anderson Community House, Orono, March 29, 6:30 p.m. Sponsored by Orono Land Trust.
Interactions Among Plants & Insects, March 28
Event - Posted - Thursday, March 21, 2019 

Maine Master Naturalist Roger Rittmaster presents. At Ladd Center, Wayne, March 28, 7 pm. Sponsored by Kennebec Land Trust.
Solo thru-paddling the Northern Forest Canoe Trail, Mar 28
Event - Posted - Thursday, March 21, 2019 

Laurie Chandler describes her 2015 solo thru-paddle of the 740-mile Northern Forest Canoe Trail. At Curtis Library, Brunswick, March 28, 7 pm. Sponsored by Appalachian Mountain Club.
Why Going Native Matters, Mar 27
Event - Posted - Wednesday, March 20, 2019 

Heather McCargo, found and executive director of Wild Seed Project, presents "Why Going Native Matters: Beauty, Biodiversity and Resilience." At Portland Public Library, March 27, 5:30 pm.
Urge Maine's Agencies to Investigate and Halt PFAS Contamination
Action Alert - Tuesday, March 19, 2019 

Highly persistent and toxic chemicals known as PFAS may be lurking undiscovered in farmlands across Maine. State records show that at an Arundel dairy farm, PFOS was in milk at the highest level ever reported anywhere. Urge Maine Ag and DEP commissioners to test the fields, stop sludge spreading, and phase out PFAS products. ~ Environmental Health Strategy Center
Just Eat It: A Food Waste Story, Mar 26
Event - Posted - Tuesday, March 19, 2019 

Film followed by a discussion led by Brie Berry, a Ph.D. candidate in anthropology and environmental policy. Part of a Human Dimensions of Climate Change film series. At Fogler Library, UMaine, Orono, March 26, 6 pm.
Retired Game Warden Randall Probert, Mar 26
Event - Posted - Tuesday, March 19, 2019 

Author, raconteur, and retired game warden Randall Probert will speak to the Hebron Historical Society on “Maine Tales and More.” At Hebron Town Office, March 26, 7 pm.
The Forests of Lilliput: The Miniature World of Lichens & Mosses, Mar 26
Event - Posted - Tuesday, March 19, 2019 

Maine Master Naturalist Jeff Pengel talks about the natural history of lichens, mosses and similar plants. At Topsham Library, March 26, 6 pm. Sponsored by Cathance River Education Alliance.
Celebrating Maine’s Wild Creatures, Mar 26
Event - Posted - Tuesday, March 19, 2019 

Speaker: Ed Robinson, author of “Nature Notes from Maine: River Otters, Moose, Skunks and More.” At Curtis Library, March 16, 7 pm. Sponsored by Merrymeeting Audubon.
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News Items
Where Will Your Plastic Trash Go Now That China Doesn't Want It?
National Public Radio - Wednesday, March 13, 2019 

What should wealthy countries do with their plastic waste? For years, some 70 percent of the world's plastic waste went to China, about 7 million tons a year. Numerous Chinese millionaires were minted as recycling businesses blossomed. They paid for the world's plastic and paper trash but they made far more money from processing it and selling the resulting raw materials. But last year the Chinese government cut back almost all imports of trash. Now a lot of that plastic gets shipped to other countries that don't have the capacity to recycle it or dispose of it safely. Recycling experts say that wealthy countries need to stop exporting to countries that can't handle it.
Maine AG’s office: Submerged lands bill is unconstitutional
Seacoast Online - Wednesday, March 13, 2019 

State Rep. Deane Rykerson has tabled his bill that would designate submerged lands beneath impounded waters as state-owned, after a work session this week merited a letter from the attorney general’s office stating the bill “raises constitutional questions.” Rykerson’s submission of the bill has drawn criticism from certain Kittery town officials and residents. A 3.67-acre experimental aquaculture lease application from Spinney Creek Shellfish currently lies with the Department of Marine Resources after months of hearings and testimony. In a letter, Assistant Attorney General Lauren Parker wrote that Rykerson’s bill “would declare certain privately owned lands without compensating the affected private landowners.”
Three hurt in Rangeley when snowmobiles collide
Sun Journal - Wednesday, March 13, 2019 

Two men and a child were injured Saturday night when two snowmobiles collided on Rangeley Lake. Mark Latti, director of communications for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife, said speed was a contributing factor in the accident, which occurred just before 8 p.m. Mark Lindsay, 41, of Bennington, Vermont, was driving one snowmobile and Tyler Graham, 27, of Brunswick the other. Evan Almeida, 7, of Middleborough, Massachusetts, was Graham’s passenger.
Trump's Proposed Budget Would Devastate National Parks
Outside - Wednesday, March 13, 2019 

When you look at the Trump administration’s 2020 budget proposal for the Department of the Interior, the numbers paint a pretty clear picture. Despite rhetoric about allocating more money to address the National Park Service’s maintenance backlog, the reality is that, if this proposal were to move forward, there would be less cash to go around for virtually every line item that isn’t directly related to oil and gas extraction. The NPS budget would be cut by $494,946,000. The Fish and Wildlife Service budget is slashed by $267 million. The USGS’s budget is cut by $165 million.
Clary Lake property owners lose in court
Kennebec Journal - Wednesday, March 13, 2019 

While disputes over the water level in the lake have been aired for years, property owners around Clary Lake have complained about the low water levels since 2011 that have left their docks far from the water’s edge and reduced their beaches to mud and grass. Justice Daniel Billings found that the value of Robert Rubin's and Cheryl Ayer's property on the Whitefield lake had been lowered because of the operation of the dam, but Richard Smith and his company were not responsible.
Climate bills call for Maine to reduce emissions to 80% below 1990 levels
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, March 13, 2019 

Maine scientists, fishermen and environmentalists urged lawmakers Wednesday to embrace a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent and begin work on a new “action plan” to address climate change. But while manufacturers and energy producers welcomed the proposed discussions, they warned against setting unrealistic requirements on industries that have already dramatically reduced emissions. “Please don’t ask us to do more until other sources have done similar levels” of reductions, said Scott Beal, environmental security manager for Woodland Pulp in Baileyville.
New Bill Aims To Drastically Reduce Maine's Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Maine Public - Wednesday, March 13, 2019 

Scientists, activists and people working in Maine's natural resources-based economy are backing a bill designed to dramatically reduce Maine's greenhouse gas emissions over the next 30 years. The proposal is an update to the state's 2004 climate action plan and one of the first major pieces of climate change legislation that could become law in more than eight years. While the bill has widespread support, some industries warned that it could have a negative effect on their businesses. The bill targets aims for an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, hoping to get them below 1990 levels by 2030 and a 100 percent reduction by 2050.
Caco Bay advocates at the ‘cutting edge’ of research, call for new statewide advisory group
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, March 13, 2019 

For more than two decades, researchers from the group Friends of Casco Bay have been testing water at 22 locations from South Portland to Brunswick regularly. They have tested temperature, salinity, acidity, oxygen, nitrogen and other levels to gauge the health of the bay environment. The Friends of Casco Bay are setting out for a series of talks to tell the public what they’re learning and to call for a state law that will bring together some of the region’s top experts to focus on the future of Maine’s marine life. Casco Baykeeper Ivy Frignoca said her organization hopes new Gov. Janet Mills, who has called climate change a “top priority” for her administration, will embrace the advisory council in some form.
N.H. Town Meeting Voters Approve A Range of Responses to Climate Change
Maine Public - Wednesday, March 13, 2019 

Municipalities across New Hampshire took a range of steps to confront climate change at the local level during their annual town meetings Tuesday. Voters in Hampton overwhelmingly passed a set of zoning changes that will require new construction in certain flood-prone coastal neighborhoods to be built up on pilings that let water flow underneath. Other town meeting articles focused more on renewable energy as a means of tackling the carbon emissions that scientists agree are driving global warming.
Editorial: Why Trump’s budget plan doesn’t really matter
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, March 13, 2019 

The White House released its budget proposal for 2020 this week, more than a month late. As in the past two years, it proposes big cuts in some government spending. In reality, the president’s budget doesn’t matter all that much. Sure, it outlines his proposals to slash funding for education, environmental programs and public health. Already Sen. Susan Collins and Rep. Chellie Pingree, who sit on the appropriations committees, say the president’s 2020 budget won’t pass without significant changes. When short-term spending plans are set to expire, both parties use the urgency of agreeing on a spending plan to advance their agendas — and to paint their opponents into a difficult corner. This brinksmanship is no way to handle decisions as complex as allocating trillions of taxpayer dollars to government operations.
LD 797 would set roadmap for cutting carbon pollution and strengthening Maine’s economy
Natural Resources Council of Maine - Wednesday, March 13, 2019 

From shellfish growers and farmers to doctors and home-grown clean energy businesses, a wide range of Mainers testified today in support of a bipartisan bill to spark action on climate change. An Act to Limit Greenhouse Gas Pollution and Effectively Use Maine’s Natural Resources (LD 797) would set Maine on a clear path forward for tackling climate change by reducing carbon pollution and growing local economies, while protecting families and businesses from the worst effects of the changing climate..
Windham Middle School Students Create Buzz about Bees
Natural Resources Council of Maine - Wednesday, March 13, 2019 

Seventh grade students at Windham Middle School will soon embark on an interdisciplinary project based learning endeavor involving the importance and protection of Maine’s bees. With the recent addition of the rusty patched bumble bee to the endangered species list it’s understandable to be concerned, if not alarmed, about the possibility of a world without bees. It’s also understandable to feel overwhelmed by the scale of the epidemic and thus quite powerless. This spring our academic team will attempt to protect our local bee populations through the creation and implementation of a recovery plan. ~ Erin Beal, seventh grade teacher, Windham Middle School
Column: Barred Owl Booms and Busts
Boothbay Register - Wednesday, March 13, 2019 

It is possible that the number of barred owls that all of us are seeing now here in Maine is elevated because the total population has been at an unusually high level. We could surmise that the boom in acorn production of two years ago that led to the high squirrel population (and perhaps a high mouse population as well) allowed barred owls to produce more surviving young than usual. If so, this high owl population could have carried right into late-winter when squirrel populations began to decline. Add to this the various late-winter coatings of ice and snow that made catching mice harder and harder and it could mean a bust in barred owl food supplies. Fortunately for these barred owls, spring is already bringing warmer temps and likely some better conditions for hunting. ~ Jeffrey V. Wells and Allison Childs Wells
Editorial: Trump's latest slight of hand
Maine Environmental News - Wednesday, March 13, 2019 

On Tuesday, President Trump signed a bill to permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund. However, on Monday the president proposed a fiscal 2020 budget that would slash funding for LWCF by 95 percent. Trump wants to be able to brag that he supports conservation. Perhaps he thinks no one will notice that he doesn't.
As rates spike and debt grows, a small Maine town considers selling its water department
Lincoln County News - Wednesday, March 13, 2019 

The Waldoboro Board of Selectmen has voted unanimously to start the process necessary to increase water rates and to sit down with the Maine Water Co. to discuss the sale of the town’s water utility. The utility’s working capital is depleted. Rick Knowlton, president of Maine Water Co., said a projected cash shortfall of $200,000 over the next five years is anticipated with minimum levels of capital spending, indicating Drinking Water State Revolving Fund money through the EPA is available if an unanticipated major project comes up.
Meet the Maine man who wants to be our next president
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, March 13, 2019 

More than 300 people across the country have declared their candidacy for president. Maine can claim one candidate among that pool. Fred Wiand, 78, resides on a woodlot in China. While he was working toward his forestry degree from Unity College and earning money as a seasonal employee at L.L.Bean, carpenter, and paralegal, he was also fostering his keen interest in evangelizing about the perils of climate change, which is almost single-handedly fueling his run for president. Wiand’s aim to curb carbon carbon emissions and make the country carbon neutral is his campaign platform, which he’ll get to exhibit in full force next month when he embarks on a months-long cross-country campaign tour.
Former legislator charged with fraudulently obtaining hunting licenses
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, March 13, 2019 

A former Republican legislator who got a pardon is charged with fraudulently obtaining hunting licenses. Former state Rep. Jeff Pierce, R-Dresden, will appear in a Wiscasset court on Thursday to answer three misdemeanor charges of fraudulently obtaining licenses. That issue came to light during his 2018 campaign, when the state discovered that Pierce had purchased firearm hunting licenses and tagged game on them despite a 1982 felony drug trafficking conviction. Former Gov. Paul LePage pardoned Pierce of that conviction during his last days in office, but these charges relate to licenses purchased before the pardon and pardons don’t expunge convictions in Maine. Pierce narrowly lost his re-election bid to Rep. Allison Hepler, D-Woolwich.
Squirrel emerges victorious in treetop showdown with bald eagle
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, March 13, 2019 

Roger Stevens Jr., a professional photographer from Lincoln has published several photo books. Monday, when Stevens began to drive home from McDonald’s, in a tree next to the Rite Aid store, was a bald eagle behaving oddly. A gray squirrel walked into the frame. “[The squirrel] just kept seeing how close it could get to the eagle. [It] would come up and just taunt him, dare him [to attack],” Stevens said. Eventually, the squirrel emerged victorious. “[The eagle] said, ‘Leave me alone,’ and he flew away,” Stevens said. “And he flew off over the lake.”
Column: Let’s clean our lakes and ponds
Kennebec Journal - Wednesday, March 13, 2019 

We’re blessed with our beautiful brooks, steams, rivers, ponds and lakes — but there is still a lot of work to do to clean them up. I applaud the efforts of so many Mainers who work diligently to keep out or remove invasive plant species from our waters. I’m worried that no similar effort has been made to rid our waters of invasive fish. We need to launch a statewide project to clean our lakes and ponds of lures and sinkers. We also need the industry to step up with more biodegradable lures. In case you want to celebrate Maine’s clean waters, please consider this. Freshly caught freshwater fish may be delicious but we are warned not to overindulge because of mercury, dioxin, DDT and PCBs that can be found in Maine waters. Let’s do everything we can to make them cleaner and keep them beautiful. ~ George Smith
Opinion: Portland waterfront task force lacking public input, sense of urgency
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, March 13, 2019 

Last November, Portland residents, mostly fishermen, filed a petition seeking a referendum to restore the concept of water dependency to the zoning provisions that control development along the seaward side of Commercial Street in Portland. The moratorium was passed as an emergency measure. It called for a task force to begin putting some of the more obvious zoning changes in place. A series of meetings beginning in early January was scheduled. The Waterfront Working Group on its face seems a fair-minded body, but it suffers from the absence of any critic of recent city zoning policies, the lack of opportunity for any public input, and any sense of urgency. ~ Orlando E. Delogu, Portland
Opinion: Say ‘no’ to transmission line
Sun Journal - Wednesday, March 13, 2019 

Maine residents cannot allow the Maine Public Utilities Commission to give Central Maine Power the right to build the proposed transmission line. I don’t care what Barry Hobbins has negotiated “for the benefit” of the people. There is nothing Mainers are going to get from CMP that would help. The majority of the jobs would be temporary. The power isn’t stopping here; Maine is just a transportation portal to Massachusetts. Hydro-Quebec didn’t sign a contract to sell power to Maine; it signed the deal with Massachusetts. The money it has offered will be eaten up by inflation within two years. Maine will be left with a physical abscess across the state forever. That is all Mainers will get out of it. ~ Eric Coffman, Livermore Falls
Letter: Buying approval?
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, March 13, 2019 

Central Maine Power should not be able to buy approval for its power line to Massachusetts. This is bribery. If there was any inherent benefit to Maine residents, pay outs would not be necessary. ~ Walter Hickson, Orrington
Letter: No western Maine transmission line
Times Record - Wednesday, March 13, 2019 

The proposed CMP transmission line is bad for Maine and for the environment. New Hampshire has already banned a similar proposal. HydroQuebec has not verified that the energy to be transmitted via this line will result in a net carbon reduction in the Northeast. CMP is fighting hard for this transmission line because of the profit it stands to gain by routing Canadian power to Massachusetts. Its recently proposed token benefits to Mainers mean little in the face of the long-term losses we will bear. Maine can do better. We can say NO to this poorly conceived project and encourage all Northeastern states to invest in locally sourced and verifiably clean, renewable power. ~ Jock and Annie Winchester, Pemaquid
Letter: Vote yes for new Belgrade Village Green
Kennebec Journal - Wednesday, March 13, 2019 

On March 15, Belgrade residents will be voting on a new park called the Belgrade Village Green. A generous local couple purchased the triangular piece of land where Route 27 meets the West Road and are transforming it into a beautiful park. This new Belgrade Village Green creates a great entrance to the southern end of the Village. And the classic gazebo, stone sitting wall and walking path blend with the landscape and encourage people to slow down, relax and enjoy the sense of the Village. Please join me in voting yes on March 15 to accept the new park. ~ Kathy Atkinson, Belgrade
Letter: Tannery problems hurting Hartland
Morning Sentinel - Wednesday, March 13, 2019 

I was born and raised in Hartland and the tannery has always been a part of life here in town. We put up with the smell and commotion because we felt it was worth it. However, the tannery has gone through bankruptcy and in the process burdened the town with a hazardous waste dump and a huge tax burden. In 2016, the town received approval to dispose of “special wastes,” including paper mill sludge, on an ongoing basis. People in close proximity to the landfill have been exposed to horrendous odors and huge dust plumes. Wake up Hartland — we are putting our community at risk. The landfill and its out-of-town sludge and waste are not worth the cost to our health and quality of life. ~ Debbie Cooper, Hartland
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