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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News Items
Chandler Robbins, ornithology ‘giant,’ dies at 98
Washington Post - Thursday, March 23, 2017 

Among fellow birdwatchers, Robbins, who died March 20 at 98, was revered as a father of modern ornithology. He was the principal author of “Birds of North America: A Guide to Field Identification,” a bible for millions of birding enthusiasts. In the 1950s, he documented the damage wrought by the pesticide DDT, including its thinning effect on osprey and eagle eggshells. Rachel Carson, a colleague at the time, relied on his research for her 1962 environmental manifesto “Silent Spring.”
Editorial: The Katahdin monument is a great addition to Maine; LePage should stop fighting it
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, March 23, 2017 

We get it. Gov. Paul LePage doesn’t like the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, which President Barack Obama designated by executive order in August. But, it exists and is already drawing people to northern Maine and spurring local economic activity. It’s past time for the fight over this monument to end. LePage, of course, is not ready to move on. State Rep. Stephen Stanley, D-Medway, was long an opponent of the monument. Now, he worries what would happen to the new investment in the region if it went away, as the governor wants. He’s concerned there is too much activity in motion to scuttle the project now. If LePage really wants to help the region, he’ll work with local leaders to attract more businesses and jobs to the region, not try to kill its one new economic bright spot.
In a Jam — Maine Growers Struggling with Plummeting Blueberry Prices
Maine Public - Thursday, March 23, 2017 

Ask a Maine wild blueberry grower how business is these days, and you’ll get a common response. “Terrible. Just horrible,” says William Rudelitch recently in Ellsworth. A typical acre of blueberry barrens will yield about 2,000-4,000 pounds of berries, depending on pollination and other factors. It may sound like a lot, but the prices paid at freezer facilities to growers like Rudelitch have slid into the pennies per pound. “Oh, 25, 29 [cents] — in there. Half the cost of production, maybe. Not good,” he says.
Proposed Road Would Ease Traffic Woes in Portland Suburbs
Maine Public - Thursday, March 23, 2017 

State lawmakers are evaluating a new proposal to ease traffic congestion in Portland’s western suburbs. The Legislature’s Transportation Committee on Thursday heard testimony on a bill that would allow the Maine Turnpike Authority to build a five-mile connector to mitigate traffic jams in the Gorham-Scarborough area. Rep. Andrew McLean, a Democrat from Gorham, says, “The growth in Portland’s western suburbs has been significant. And without improved transportation facilities it has become unsustainable.”
The Eastern U.S.: Just Gotta Be a Forest?
Forests for Maine's Future - Thursday, March 23, 2017 

Maine is the most forested state in the nation. About 90 percent. It wasn't always that way, of course.
Franklin County 2017 Big Tree Contest
Daily Bulldog (Franklin County) - Thursday, March 23, 2017 

For the fourth year, the Franklin County Soil & Water Conservation District is asking local residents to be on the look out for big trees. The Franklin County Big Tree Contest runs from May 1 through Oct. 15. The goal is to find really big and really old native trees, including lesser-known trees listed on the Maine Forest Service website under “Project Canopy."
Column: It’s time for the sky dancing rituals of woodcock
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, March 23, 2017 

Woodcocks are eastern birds. There are few west of the Mississippi. They are game birds, historically so popular that when their numbers declined from habitat loss, Congress leapt into action. Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge is one of the nation’s earliest refuges, and it was created to conserve and improve game bird habitat, especially for woodcock. Tour through its divisions in Baring and Edmund, and you’ll see lots of clearings along forest edges to provide woodcock breeding areas. It’s that time of year. The sky dances have begun. Get out and witness a natural spectacle. ~ Bob Duchesne
Editorial: As loggers get stiffed, Maine learns a lesson about propping up struggling industries
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, March 23, 2017 

Last year, lawmakers approved a $13.4 million bailout for the state’s biomass industry. The money from Maine’s taxpayers flows to two companies that generate electricity by burning wood at plants in Maine. The aim was to keep Maine loggers working. Instead of helping the loggers directly, however, the scheme requires Maine people and businesses to buy electricity produced at the biomass plants at above-market rates. But problems have already surfaced. Gov. Paul LePage wants to reduce the money the companies must have on deposit and one of the companies has allegedly not paid loggers who provide it with wood for weeks. This mess fulfills the concerns raised by lawmakers and others that giving taxpayer money to struggling biomass plants wasn’t the best way to help Maine loggers.
The changing face of camping: record numbers of minorities hit the trails
Other - Thursday, March 23, 2017 

Camping has been traditionally associated with white Americans. But the activity is increasingly becoming an attractive form of vacation for people of color, according to a new study from the large national private campground system Kampgrounds of America. It found nonwhite campers now comprise 26% of all campers — more than double when it was first measured in 2012.
Bill to protect against Maine oil spills likely dead
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, March 23, 2017 

A bill that would require ships transferring fuel in Maine waters to use protective devices meant to block the spread of oil in the case of a spill is likely dead. The Legislature’s Joint Committee on Environment and Natural Resources last week recommended that Portland Sen. Ben Chipman’s bill should not be passed after a bevy of industry lobbyists and the Maine Department of Environmental Protection testified against it. Casco Baykeeper Ivy Frignoca said in written testimony that the bill is unlikely to effectively reduce the risk of spills during fuel transfers, as it does not clearly define who would determine when booms could or could not be safely used.
LePage will take his fight against North Woods monument to DC
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, March 23, 2017 

Gov. Paul LePage is planning another trip to Washington, D.C. This time, it’s about the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. The Republican governor told WGAN on Thursday he’s going in April or May to testify before a congressional committee that former President Barack Obama “overstepped” the U.S. Antiquities Act when he designated the monument in August 2016. LePage has long toyed with the idea of running against U.S. Sen. Angus King in 2018. Keep that in mind when he heads to D.C. later this spring.
Democrats summon Zinke to testify on Interior Dept budget
E&E/Greenwire - Thursday, March 23, 2017 

A group of Democratic lawmakers are calling on Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to explain how his agency would fulfill its responsibilities following a 12 percent budget cut. In a letter to House Natural Resources Chairman Rob Bishop, the panel's ranking member, questioned a budget proposal that recommended slashing Interior funding while prioritizing fossil fuel extraction on federal lands. "Given the lack of detail provided in the President's proposal, it is critical that Secretary Zinke appear before the Committee to explain how the Department plans to fulfill its responsibilities to manage our National Parks and other federal lands, oceans, endangered wildlife, cultural resources, and honor the federal government's trust responsibilities to Native American Tribes using $1.5 billion less in funding," the letter says.
Gov Says He'll Testify Against Maine Monument in Congress
Associated Press - Thursday, March 23, 2017 

Maine's Republican governor says he'll testify before Congress against a national monument in his state. Then-President Barack Obama created the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument last summer on nearly 90,000 acres of donated forestlands. Maine Gov. Paul LePage opposes the designation. LePage called on President Donald Trump to undo the creation of the monument last month. He said on Thursday that he will testify against the monument before Congress in May.
Stinky spill of something fishy makes mess in Kennebunk
Portland Press Herald - Thursday, March 23, 2017 

A truck spilled three inches of fish product on a Kennebunk highway overpass Thursday morning, creating a stinky situation for town crews that had to scrape the frozen mess off the street during the morning commute. A truck that got off the northbound Maine Turnpike exit in Kennebunk spilled some type of fish product on the road. With temperatures in the single digits, the fish product quickly froze, according to the town’s fire chief. “A lot of the contents they were carrying slopped out onto the street and caused three inches of frozen mess,” Fire Chief Jeff Rowe said. “The neighborhood has a definite fish odor.”
11 Ways the EPA Has Helped Americans
Free Press - Thursday, March 23, 2017 

The budget proposal Donald Trump’s administration announced last week will slash the Environmental Protection Agency’s funding by nearly a third, crippling an agency that has played a key — but often unnoticed — role in American life for nearly a half-century. The main target of the president’s ire seems to be the agency’s programs that address climate change. Here is a look back at some of what the EPA has accomplished over the last 46 years since Richard Nixon signed an executive order in 1970 bringing the agency into existence. These successes were, almost unanimously, won despite the strenuous and well-financed objections of recalcitrant polluters, and are, almost unanimously, now taken for granted.
Maine bill aims to protect climate deniers
E&E/Greenwire - Thursday, March 23, 2017 

A Republican lawmaker in Maine wants to protect the rights of people who reject the science of climate change. In a recently introduced bill, state Rep. Larry Lockman includes provisions that would prevent discrimination against people based on political views — including their "climate change policy preferences." Lockman, who has previously dressed up as a vampire to speak out against the IRS, said the bill would also protect the free speech of climate change supporters.
Maine Rep. Lawrence Lockman’s decades-long history of extremism
Mike Tipping's Tipping Point Blog - Thursday, March 23, 2017 

Representative Lawrence Lockman has a consistent history of words and actions on rape, AIDS, taxes, education and gay and lesbian Mainers that should prompt us all, especially the voters who elected him, to have some significant concerns about his role as a legislator and public figure. At the very least, his history of extremism should be kept in mind when evaluating his current actions as a lawmaker.
U.S. Global Change program plugging ahead amid uncertainty
E&E/Greenwire - Thursday, March 23, 2017 

Scientists with the U.S. Global Change Research Program are continuing to work under a cloud of uncertainty after the Trump administration revealed its so-called skinny budget. The program is in charge of putting together a report on the impacts of climate change in the United States every four years as per the 1990 Global Change Research Act, and the next one is due in 2018. However, after the Trump budget suggested cuts to the scientific community that are both vast and unspecific, the future of the program seems uncertain.
Maine fishermen see warning signs in lobster surge
Forecaster - Thursday, March 23, 2017 

After Maine’s lobster industry set sales records for a second straight year, area fishermen are enjoying the boom while the water is warm. Literally. Rising sea temperatures are benefiting Maine’s iconic crustacean, leading to an increase in population while other marine species, such as soft-shell crabs, have suffered a decline, according to fishermen who spoke at a March 16 Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association panel. But the factors for today’s success may portend tomorrow’s economic and cultural disaster, according to some area fishermen.
For true Mainers, canoe racing season starts even if there’s still snow
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, March 23, 2017 

Over the past 38 years, Dale Cross has become accustomed to taking frequent trips to the St. George River in March, and keeping a close eye on long-range weather forecasts. Cross is the race director of the state’s first two whitewater canoe races of the season. And if the St. George is still clothed in its winter coat come the third week of March, Cross begins to get a bit nervous. The St. George is the first race of the annual Maine Canoe and Kayak Racing Organization’s series, and begins at 11 a.m. on Saturday.
Former EPA staffers decry 'draconian' budget cuts
E&E/Greenwire - Thursday, March 23, 2017 

A coalition of former U.S. EPA staffers yesterday unveiled a scathing analysis of President Trump's proposed budget, calling cuts to the agency "draconian" and "a full-throttle attack" on environmental laws. The report by the Environmental Protection Network is based on an assessment of the "skinny" budget Trump released last week as well as an earlier leaked internal Office of Management and Budget "passback," which provided much more detail on specific proposed cuts. Overall, the White House aims to reduce EPA spending by 31 percent. That, the authors argue, would limit the agency's ability to protect environment and public health.
Maine searches for opportunities in offshore wind power
Portland Press Herald - Thursday, March 23, 2017 

Gov. Paul LePage’s opposition to the cost of renewable energy has stalled Maine’s chances of developing an offshore wind power industry. But this month, his acting energy director went to England to learn about the economic development and government policies around offshore wind that are creating thousands of jobs and attracting billions of dollars in investment. Angela Monroe said that while offshore wind would still be more expensive than other energy sources for Maine, wind farms planned off the coast of Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island and other states could hold promise for Maine companies.
Bangor needs $63 million to keep wastewater from spilling into Penobscot
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, March 23, 2017 

Bangor’s sewer rates may soon rise to help fund nearly $63 million in projects during the next 15 years to stop wastewater spillage into the Penobscot River and Kenduskeag Stream. The first major project outlined in a city plan to meet a federal mandate under the Clean Water Act is an estimated $22 million installation of a 3.8 million gallon wastewater storage tank along the waterfront behind Tim Hortons. It’s the first of several projects the city agreed to complete by 2032 in a 2015 consent decree with the U.S. Department of Justice, which was acting on behalf of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Column: The value of air and water
Kennebec Journal - Thursday, March 23, 2017 

How did Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act rules go from necessary to the public good to “horrible”? It kind of makes you wonder if wisdom, temperance, trust, honesty, courage, justice or, let’s say, piety for nature have any currency at all in the Trump administration’s financial-balance-sheet morality. It doesn’t look like it. And a glance through history will tell you that when the core, perennial moral values melt, destruction ensues. Especially when the replacement value is avarice. ~ Dana Wilde
Letter: Let Maine’s development always be within reason
Portland Press Herald - Thursday, March 23, 2017 

I must be the voice of reason on state mining regulations. The Legislature’s Environment and Natural Resources Committee all but guarantees siding with the touchy-feely crowd. We need work in Maine. Whether it was the east-west highway and pipelines or the Bald Mountain mining project in Aroostook County referred to in the article, certain people want “their” georesources intact yet have no compunction about their homes (built with natural resources), their computers and their automobiles. But it doesn’t matter where any project is located in Maine when it comes to bulldozers. Do you think our beloved Maine Turnpike would have been allowed to be constructed today? ~ Bill Capistran, Kennebunkport
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Maine fears lost lobster 
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Photo: Maine Lobster Festival 1947

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