May 27, 2017  
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Maine Environmental News
Announcement - Saturday, May 27, 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
Bird Walk at Erickson Fields Preserve, Jun 3
Event - Posted - Saturday, May 27, 2017 

Naturalist Kirk Gentalen will lead a group around MCHT’s Teen Ag garden and through the woods to search for migratory songbirds and discover what other feathered creatures inhabit the preserve. At Maine Coast Heritage Trust's Erickson Fields Preserve, Rockport, June 3, 8-11 am.
Making Paper, Making Maine, Jun 3
Event - Posted - Saturday, May 27, 2017 

Get an inside look at the new exhibit "Making Paper, Making Maine," which recognizes the historic shifts going on in Maine’s paper industry. Also, keynote talk by Alan Caron, author of "Maine's Next Economy." At Maine Historical Society Annual Meeting, Portland, June 3, 10 am - 2 pm, $25 MHS Members; $30 others.
Hills to Sea Trail Opens, Jun 2
Event - Posted - Friday, May 26, 2017 

All are invited to a Grand Opening Celebration for the Hills to Sea Trail, a 47-mile trail from Unity to Belfast. At Waldo County Technical Center, Belfast, June 2, 9 am - 1:30 pm.
Flying WILD and Bird Sleuth Educator Workshop, Jun 2
Event - Posted - Friday, May 26, 2017 

This 4.5 hour workshop provides activities that teach people about birds and what they can do to help birds and their habitats. At Fields Pond, Holden, Jun 2, 8:45 am – 2 pm, Maine Audubon members $23, non-members $25.
Help wanted: Conservation Policy Associate
Announcement - Wednesday, May 24, 2017 

Appalachian Mountain Club is seeking to fill this temporary position July-December 2017; there is the potential for the position to extend into 2018.
Speak up in defense of Maine’s new National Monument
Action Alert - Tuesday, May 23, 2017 

Last summer’s creation of the Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument in northern Maine was a huge victory for conservation and wildlife in our state. Today, that designation is at risk. The Trump administration is conducting a review of national monument designations, including Katahdin Woods & Waters. The Department of Interior is accepting public comments until July 10. ~ Maine Audubon
Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument is Under Attack
Action Alert - Tuesday, May 23, 2017 

The Trump Administration is threatening to overturn Maine’s new National Monument. At the request of Governor Paul LePage, the Department of Interior (DOI) included Katahdin Woods & Waters on a list of 27 monuments to be “reviewed.” DOI Secretary Ryan Zinke could recommend that Maine’s National Monument be changed, or possibly even abolished. Tell the Trump Administration to keep its hands off Katahdin Woods & Waters. ~ Natural Resources Council of Maine
Save Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument
Action Alert - Tuesday, May 23, 2017 

President Trump is considering eliminating or changing the Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument in Maine. Urge the Trump Administration and your U.S. congressional representatives to oppose any effort to eliminate or weaken Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument. Comment deadline is July 10, 2017. ~ RESTORE: The North Woods
Appalachian Odyssey, May 28
Event - Posted - Sunday, May 21, 2017 

Jeff Ryan will regale with tales about his 28-year odyssey hiking the Appalachian Trail. At Freeport Conservation Trust annual meeting, at the Freeport Community Center, May 28, 7 pm.
BDN Poll: Should the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument get its own signage?
Action Alert - Saturday, May 20, 2017 

Gov. Paul LePage is refusing to put signs along state roads showing the way to Maine’s national monument. Should the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument get its own signage?
Damariscotta Mills Fish Ladder Restoration Festival, May 27-28
Event - Posted - Saturday, May 20, 2017 

The towns of Nobleboro and Newcastle and the Nobleboro Historical Society present the 10th annual Damariscotta Mills Fish Ladder Restoration Festival on Memorial Day weekend, May 27-28. Witness the annual return of the alewives as they ascend the fish ladder to spawn in Damariscotta Lake.
Ragged Mountain Preserve Nature Walk, May 27
Event - Posted - Saturday, May 20, 2017 

Maine Master Naturalists Cloe Chunn and Roger Rittmaster will lead a general natural history walk at the peak time for spring wildflowers and songbird migration in midcoast Maine. Meet at Route 17 parking area for Georges Highland Path, May 27, 10 am - noon. Sponsored by Coastal Mountains Land Trust.
Third Annual Freeport Birding Festival, May 26-28
Event - Posted - Friday, May 19, 2017 

Owl Prowl at Mast landing Sanctuary; birding at Florida Lake, Pettengill Farm, Wolfe’s Neck Farm, and Sayles Field; Casco Bay kayak tour; outing at Winslow Park, etc. May 26-28. Sponsored by L.L. Bean and Maine Audubon.
Saving Seabirds: New Lessons from Puffins, May 25
Event - Posted - Thursday, May 18, 2017 

60% of all seabirds have vanished in the last 60 years. Dr. Stephen Kress, Director of National Audubon’s Seabird Restoration Program, will talk about the restoration of Maine seabirds. At L.L. Bean, Freeport, May 25, 7-9 pm, Maine Audubon members $10, non-members $15.
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News Items
Former critics sign letter asking to preserve Maine’s monument
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, May 10, 2017 

With President Donald Trump targeting northern Maine’s national monument, Katahdin-area leaders who fiercely opposed its creation now say they want to keep it. Nineteen officials representing towns near the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument wrote Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke asking him to do “everything in your power to ensure that this monument is a success,” as Zinke’s agency reviews whether President Barack Obama followed the law in creating it. At least two officials who signed — Millinocket Town Council member Jesse Dumais and Rep. Steve Stanley, D-Medway — previously opposed the monument. Stanley in 2016 sponsored a bill that would have barred landowners from donating land for monuments.
Collins votes with Democrats to help defeat bill revoking Obama-era methane rules
Reuters - Wednesday, May 10, 2017 

In a blow to administration efforts to free the oil and gas industry from Obama-era environmental rules, a Senate resolution to revoke a rule to limit leaks and flaring of methane from oil and gas production on federal lands fell short of votes 49-51. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, was one of three Republicans who joined Democrats and independents to vote against the measure. The surprise vote outcome came after Republican leaders scrambled for weeks to secure the 51 votes necessary to pass the Congressional Review Act resolution, which would revoke the rule and prevent any similar regulations from being introduced.
Lawmakers vote against moving UMaine wind project farther from Monhegan
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, May 10, 2017 

A bid to move a nationally significant wind energy test site farther from Monhegan Island suffered a major setback on Wednesday when a key legislative committee unanimously voted against a bill to do that. With little discussion, the Energy, Utilities and Technology committee agreed that while some islanders and their supporters had valid concerns about the project, overturning the ongoing review process would set a bad precedent. At issue is the Maine Aqua Ventus offshore wind project, a plan to test floating turbines roughly 3 miles from the island.
Opinion: Trump is right about Canadian softwood lumber imports
Washington Post - Wednesday, May 10, 2017 

I agree with the recent decision of the White House and the Commerce Department to impose anti-subsidy duties against Canada’s unfairly traded softwood lumber imports. This belated enforcement of U.S. trade laws will help millions of private timberland owners, American forestry workers and members of their local communities by leveling the playing field in the timber industry. ~ Jimmy Carter, 39th president of the United States
Letter: Climate change to blame for jump in ticks, temperatures
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, May 10, 2017 

Maine saw a skyrocketing of the tick population in 2016 and subsequently saw a record rate of Lyme disease. It is predicted that 2017 will also have record-breaking tick populations and Lyme disease transmission rates. It is not surprising that we are seeing these increased rates of ticks, as increases in tick populations are directly correlated with higher temperatures. The Trump administration, in addition to trying to cut the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget by 31 percent, is proposing cuts to fundamental environmental programs such as the Clean Power Plan. We need Sen. Susan Collins and Sen. Angus King to oppose any cuts to environmental programs in order to mitigate climate change and protect our public health. ~ Emma Rotner, Portland
Letter: Philanthropist David Rockefeller practiced dark politics
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, May 10, 2017 

Re: The magnanimous David Rockefeller: Well, now, a “philanthropist” donates millions to Maine institutions, but not much is really known by the average citizen about his dark politics. I’ll bet most people don’t realize that John D. Rockefeller Jr., in addition to donating 11,000 acres to create Acadia National Park, also donated the land on which the U.N. is built. The Rockefeller family constantly assaults traditional Christian social values and is actively engaged in the push for open borders, refugee resettlement, secret trade deals that dilute U.S. sovereignty, abortion and homosexual marriages. ~ Frank Thiboutot, Cumberland
In Trump era, conservation advocate preaches collaboration
E&E/Greenwire - Tuesday, May 9, 2017 

When Democrats on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee rallied in January against the nomination of then-Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to be U.S. EPA administrator, National Wildlife Federation President Collin O'Mara was on hand to explain why his group was opposing an executive branch nominee for the first time in its 80-year history. In contrast, O'Mara joined the leaders of other sportsmen's groups at the Interior Department for a March ceremony in which Secretary Ryan Zinke reversed a number of Obama-era policies. NWF backed Zinke's nomination and stood by him even though the group had supported some of those rescinded policies. The two events reflect the dual roles O'Mara, 38, plays in steering the organization through the Trump presidency.
Will National Monuments Get a “Fair Hearing” on Zinke’s Listening Tour?
Sierra Club - Tuesday, May 9, 2017 

On Sunday, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke kicked off a listening tour in response to President Trump’s recently signed executive order, which calls on the secretary to make sure any national monument in the United States larger than 100,000 acres created since 1996 [plus Katahdin Woods 7 Waters in Maine] gets a "fair hearing,” as Zinke put it. It all sounded great, but then the real listening tour got underway—one in which Zinke seemingly had ears for one point of view. He only met with a carefully curated batch of anti-monument interest groups. It sure feels like he already has an outcome in mind.
Trump will wait to decide on Paris climate accord after G-7 meeting
Washington Post - Tuesday, May 9, 2017 

President Trump will now wait until after the G-7 meeting in late May before making a decision about whether to keep the U.S. in the Paris climate agreement, his press secretary Sean Spicer said Tuesday. The announcement pushed back a decision that has sweeping implications for the fate of global efforts to fight climate change – and has drawn intense interest from the international community, corporate lobbyists, and environmental groups. Trump famously promised on the campaign trail to “cancel” the Paris agreement. But four months into his presidency, the Trump administration’s position on the historic agreement endorsed by over 190 nations remains in limbo.
Legislature kills contractor training, certification bill designed to reduce lead poisoning
Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting - Tuesday, May 9, 2017 

A Maine bill reinforcing federal requirements for training and certification to do renovation work on buildings containing lead is dead, leaving unresolved questions about the safety of renovating homes in Maine that contain lead paint or plumbing. The Maine House and Senate failed to come to agreement on the measure, with the Democrat-led House voting in favor of the bill in late April but the majority-Republican Senate voting against it. The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Nathan Libby, a Democrat from Lewiston — which has the most severe lead paint problem in the state — called the partisan result “depressing” and said Maine still has much work to do reducing the risks of lead contamination.
Opinion: Endangered species should face same Trump test as national monuments
Other - Tuesday, May 9, 2017 

The Hill - Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke is touring two national monuments as part of President Trump’s April 26 executive order to review the last 20 years of national monument designations. Obama’s designation of Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument in Maine caused concerns. At a recent hearing of the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Federal Lands, Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) identified economic losses to the forestry industry and public access barriers such as the loss of connectivity for ATV trails. Just as Secretary Zinke is seeking local input on national monument designations, he should require FWS to do so with endangered species regulations. ~ Terry L. Anderson, former president of the Property and Environment Research Center
Is Maine's Largest Maple Sugar Bush In Danger, Or Is The Owner Getting A Sweet Deal?
Maine Public - Tuesday, May 9, 2017 

A Maine businessman and a national conservation group are seeking $6 million from the state and federal governments to protect a prized plantation of sugar maples in Somerset County. However, the project’s remote location and its Canadian-produced maple syrup raise questions about whether Mainers should subsidize a conservation easement. And the land owner, Paul Fortin, has contributed a lot of money to the gubernatorial campaigns of Paul LePage as well as to a political action committee run by the governor. LePage previously said Maine would not seek future federal conservation funding and he has been a vociferous critic of the Land for Maine’s Future program, but LePage is backing the deal that would net Fortin millions of dollars.
Maine House Strongly Supports Putting Deposit on Miniature Liquor Bottles
Maine Public - Tuesday, May 9, 2017 

For decades Maine has had a bottle redemption system for soda, beer and liquor bottles to encourage recycling and prevent littering of those containers. Now the Maine House has voted to expand the deposit law to include small liquor bottles called nips. If given final approval, the bottles would join the long list of glass, metal and plastic beverage containers that have been added to the bottle deposit law since it was first passed in 1978.
Driven By Lobster, Value of Maine Fisheries Landings Rises
Maine Public - Tuesday, May 9, 2017 

Landings of finfish and shellfish in Maine accounted for over $588 million in revenue in 2015, the most recent year for which statistics are available, and more than 39,000 jobs, according to numbers released Tuesday by NOAA Fisheries. Rita Curtis, a NOAA Fisheries division chief for economics and social analysis, says American lobsters drive Maine fisheries. “Maine lobster was up again, about $40 million. Prices were up we’ll say about 10 percent, more or less. Soft shell clams were up,” she says. At the same time, NOAA Fisheries says that the number of U.S. stocks on the overfishing and overfished lists remains near all-time lows.
LePage’s Democratic nominee clears hurdle to utility watchdog post
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, May 9, 2017 

Barry Hobbins, a Democrat with more than two decades of past legislative service, won a unanimous committee endorsement Tuesday to serve as the state’s next utility ratepayer watchdog. The vote advances his nomination, by Gov. Paul LePage, to the Senate. The unanimous committee support signals what should be an easy road to Senate confirmation, which would give Hobbins a four-year term as Maine’s public advocate. In the role, Hobbins would lead an office of attorneys and staff to represent low-income, residential and small business utility customers in cases that come before the Maine Public Utilities Commission.
Lawmakers endorse Barry Hobbins as Maine’s utility public advocate
Portland Press Herald - Tuesday, May 9, 2017 

Former longtime Democratic legislator Barry Hobbins of Saco was unanimously endorsed by a legislative committee on Tuesday to represent the interests of Maine’s utility customers as the head of the Office of Public Advocate. If approved by the state Senate, Hobbins would represent Maine ratepayers, notably low-income and residential customers, in proceedings of the Maine Public Utilities Commission on issues that include electricity and natural gas prices, telecommunications and access to broadband internet.
Opinion: An ill wind blows in Augusta
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, May 9, 2017 

The governor chased Statoil out of the state after the Public Utilities Commission had approved its project for floating wind turbines to give UMaine's Aqua Ventus a chance to finalize its proposal. Hanging in the air is whether the governor, having achieved what he set out to accomplish three years ago by escorting Statoil out the door, would give UMaine’s seven-year quest the opportunity to demonstrate its technology. He would not. The Governor’s Energy Office testified last week that he no longer supports the university’s project. The governor and his Energy Office have not only damaged Maine’s reputation among investors, but they have also elevated NIMBY-ism into a state policy for vast new areas of the Gulf of Maine. The only question now is whether the Legislature will extinguish Maine’s rapidly diminishing offshore wind opportunity. ~ Philip Conkling, Camden
New reports reveal status of managing marine resources
Maine Environmental News - Tuesday, May 9, 2017 

U.S. commercial and recreational fishing generated $208 billion in sales, contributed $97 billion to the gross domestic product, and supported 1.6 million full- and part-time jobs in 2015—above the five-year average, according to NOAA's Fisheries Economics of the United States report released today. Also out today, the Annual Report to Congress on the Status of U.S. Fisheries shows that the number of domestic fish stocks listed as overfished or subject to overfishing remain near all-time lows, with two new stocks rebuilt in 2016.
Nips bill passes Maine House
Maine Environmental News - Tuesday, May 9, 2017 

A bill to bring miniature liquor bottles under Maine’s returnable bottle bill passed the Maine House of Representatives on Tuesday with 111 legislators voting yes, 34 voting no, and 6 absent or excused. The bill would extend a 15-cent deposit to wine or spirit bottles 50 milliliters and smaller. Lobbyists for the liquor industry opposed the bill.
Mining reform bill unanimously passes Maine Senate
Maine Environmental News - Tuesday, May 9, 2017 

A bill to revamp Maine's mineral mining law unanimously passed the state senate today. LD 820, "An Act to Protect Maine's Clean Water and Taxpayers from Mining Pollution," was sponsored by Senator Brownie Carson, former executive director of the Natural Resources Council of Maine (NRCM). According to NRCM, if passed as amended, the bill would provide some of the strongest protections against metallic mineral mining pollution in the world. However, some grassroots activists believe the bill would reduce, not enhance, environmental protections. They have called for LD 820 to be stopped. The bill must still go through several more votes in the Maine House and Senate.
Hike: Annie Sturgis Sanctuary in Vassalboro
Aislinn Sarnacki Act Out Blog - Tuesday, May 9, 2017 

An excellent place to find woodland flowers and wildlife, the 40-acre Annie Sturgis Sanctuary in Vassalboro features a simple, two-mile trail network that open to foot traffic only. Owned and maintained by the New England Wild Flower Society, this property is home to what’s known as the largest stand of wild ginger in Maine, as well as a variety of wildflowers, including bloodroot, trout lily and purple trillium.
LePage claims he was not invited to view national monument
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, May 9, 2017 

During an interview on WVOM Tuesday, Gov. Paul LePage reiterated his complaint that the process leading up to former President Barack Obama’s declaration of a national monument in the Katahdin region lacked transparency. He claimed his communications with Lucas St. Clair, who testified with LePage last week at a congressional committee hearing about designation of national monuments, had been poor and that he could not recall receiving an invitation from St. Clair to view the property before the designation. St. Clair represents his family, who donated the land and set up an endowment to care for it. “We’ve been looking ever since I’ve been back [from Washington],” LePage said of his staff. “I can count them on one hand and they’re mostly complaint letters rather than inviting me to be involved in the process.”
Pesticide bill from Gov. LePage mirrors model by secretive national group
Portland Press Herald - Tuesday, May 9, 2017 

Gov. Paul LePage’s bill to take away municipal government’s ability to enact local pesticide ordinances closely mirrors a model bill written and promoted by a secretive national group that helps large national corporations ghost-write laws for sympathetic state legislators. Not disclosed during a lengthy May 1 public hearing is that L.D. 1505 is almost identical to a model bill advanced in state houses across the country by a business-backed organization called the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, and drafted by one of its task forces with corporate members such as pesticide makers CropLife America, Dow AgroSciences and the American Chemistry Council.
Editorial: Don’t drive away investment in Katahdin region
Portland Press Herald - Tuesday, May 9, 2017 

In just the short time since then-President Barack Obama designated roughly 87,500 acres near Millinocket as the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, millions of dollars have been earmarked for the region, and along with anecdotal evidence of increased interest in the area, there is reason for the newfound optimism in a region that needed it. But now all that is in danger for no good reason. The Katahdin national monument is among 22 such designations now up for review by the Trump administration. With a comment period on Trump’s review about to begin, it’s up to Maine residents to counter the governor’s misguided narrative.
Letter: Get involved in protecting environment from pesticides
Portland Press Herald - Tuesday, May 9, 2017 

President Trump’s choice of Scott Pruitt to lead the Environmental Protection Agency is an indicator that our population and environment are now in deep jeopardy. Our citizens will have to take the lead. A primary issue for Portland will be protection from exposure to the enormous array of chemicals overburdening our endocrine and immune systems, and implicated in the development of many chronic diseases. I urge Portland citizens to join me in becoming informed about the dangers of the continued use of pesticides, and in speaking out strongly in defense of our air, our water and the future health of all beings in our community. ~ Priscilla Skerry, naturopathic doctor, Portland
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