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
EPA criminal action against polluters hits 30-year low
Associated Press - Tuesday, January 15, 2019 

The Environmental Protection Agency hit a 30-year low in 2018 in the number of pollution cases it referred for criminal prosecution, Justice Department data show. The 166 cases referred for prosecution in the last fiscal year is the lowest number since Ronald Reagan was president. Criminal referrals have been on a downward trajectory, especially under the Trump administration.
Watchdog accuses Wheeler of potential ethics violations
E&E/Greenwire - Tuesday, January 15, 2019 

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington this afternoon urged EPA's inspector general to investigate several potential violations of the Trump administration's ethics pledge by acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler. EPA dismissed the request as political theater. It comes a day ahead of a high-profile confirmation hearing for Wheeler, whom President Trump has nominated to serve as the long-term leader of the agency. "After spending years as a lobbyist for coal and energy companies, Wheeler should have taken every measure possible to avoid even the appearance of impartiality at the EPA. He has not," CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder said.
Column: Loaded questions
Turner Publishing - Tuesday, January 15, 2019 

The speed of the technological innovations boggles the mind. For example, Sig Sauer is now marketing an Electro-Optics telescopic sight called a BDX. The hunter talks to the sight by inputting ballistics data from his phone app, dials in the range to target, connects the dot and pulls the trigger! Audaciously, Sig Sauer bills this as “unprecedented simplicity.” Granted, many of us hunters, young and old, like gadgetry for its own sake, but there comes a point when a dependence on technology defeats one of the reasons we hunt — freedom, a period of liberation from the hustle and bustle of the cell phones and computers. ~ V. Paul Reynolds
Battling freezing wind to ice skate on Green Lake
Aislinn Sarnacki Act Out Blog - Tuesday, January 15, 2019 

As we laced up our skates at the edge of Green Lake on Saturday, the cold numbing our bare fingers, I thought, “We’re crazy.” “What?” my husband Derek said, shouldering our backpack of emergency gear and snacks. “Oh,” I said, realizing I had voiced my opinion out loud. “We’re just kind of crazy to be going out in this cold … but it looks like we aren’t the only crazy ones,” I added, nodding to the ice fishermen roaming among the ice shacks in the distance.
Land trusts to ask Brunswick for $150K in public funds to conserve Woodward Point
Times Record - Tuesday, January 15, 2019 

The Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust and Maine Coast Heritage Trust are asking the town of Brunswick to help complete the funding for conservation of Woodward Point on the New Meadows River. The town council will consider the $150,000 request Jan. 24. BTLT and MCHT want to raise $3.5 million by March 31 to purchase the land and provide for its long-term management as a public preserve. They have $340,000 left to raise. They are asking that funds from the town come from the proceeds of the sale of the town-owned property at 946 Mere Point Road, which has been designated for water access projects. 75 individuals have given donations toward the project; the Land for Maine’s Future Program awarded a $400,000 grant; the federal government has awarded a $570,000 Coastal Wetlands Grant.
Third installment of debate over controversial oyster farm expansion continues tonight
Times Record - Tuesday, January 15, 2019 

The third installment of the Department of Marine Resources hearing on Mere Point Oyster Co.’s proposed oyster farm continues tonight with testimony from an opposition group known as the Maquoit Bay Preservation Group. The series of hearings started in November to evaluate the ecological, visual, navigational and general use impacts of a proposed 10-year, 40-acre aquaculture lease in Maquoit Bay. If granted, Mere Point Oyster’s expansion would increase its operating space by nearly 160 times. The company’s annual harvest would increase from 60,000 last year to 1.5 million in the next three years, putting as many as 5 million oysters in the water at a given time. Two groups of opponents, the preservation group and a group of commercial fishermen, are concerned that the expansion would drastically change the character and use of the bay while also infringing on valuable lobstering grounds.
Lisbon student Maine winner in national cabbage contest
Turner Publishing - Tuesday, January 15, 2019 

Christina Pulsifer, a student at Lisbon Community School, was named the Maine winner in the Bonnie Plants Third Grade Cabbage Program. Christina grew an 8.9 pound cabbage for the program, and was randomly selected from Maine’s entrants by the state Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. She will receive a $1,000 saving bond from Bonnie Plants towards education. A total of 4,229 Maine students participated in the program, and more than 1 million third graders in the 48 contiguous states took part.
Report shows how badly LePage’s wind energy panel fizzled
Associated Press - Tuesday, January 15, 2019 

A Maine commission created as part of the former Republican governor’s efforts to hinder wind projects has released a report drawing few conclusions about the impact of wind turbines. The wind energy advisory commission’s report said its initial information does not suggest wind turbines pose “significant detrimental impacts” on property values, tourism or other concerns. Maine has more wind output than all the other New England states combined, with 924 megawatts of capacity from 19 operating wind projects. State regulators are reviewing proposals for two additional wind projects, and expect applications for another.
Editorial: Maine finishes last in race to keep the lights on
Portland Press Herald - Tuesday, January 15, 2019 

In 2017, Maine led the nation in the number of times an average home loses its power. With more than three outages a year, a Maine consumer was in the dark more than twice as often as the national average. It also won 2017’s dubious gold medal for the length of time Mainers sat in the dark waiting for the lights to come back on. Maine officials should take a hard look at this data and determine if this is an area where the state doesn’t have to finish first.
Opinion: Scientific knowledge about Québec hydropower must not be overlooked
Portland Press Herald - Tuesday, January 15, 2019 

Opponents have criticized Québec hydropower, putting forward a series of falsehoods that need to be corrected. No energy source can be said to be carbon free, whether it is renewable or not. There is a gradient. Emissions from Québec hydropower are 50 times lower than gas-fired power plants. ~ Alain Tremblay, Ph.D., and Francois Bilodeau, M.Sc., senior environmental advisers with Hydro-Quebec
Opinion: Trump’s EPA taking its most harmful step yet, this time on mercury emissions
Portland Press Herald - Tuesday, January 15, 2019 

Los Angeles Times - President Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency recently released a proposal that would undermine not only current regulations, but regulatory efforts in the future by disavowing the legal justification for a major rule limiting mercury emissions. If the approach survives court challenges, it could lead to a fundamental change in how regulatory impacts are measured and make it significantly harder to protect the health and safety of Americans. A proposed policy would no longer count a regulation's benefits, just its costs to polluters, in deciding the severity level of environmental protections.
Letter: The facts on carbon fee and dividend
Kennebec Journal - Tuesday, January 15, 2019 

Two recent pieces in this newspaper misrepresent details about the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend bill recently introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. Four points to set the record straight: 1. H.R. 7173 will reduce carbon emissions 40% within 12 years, generate over 2 million new jobs in renewable energy over the coming decade, and pay a monthly dividend to each household to offset increased costs of carbon-based products and fuels for all but the most wealthy. 2. This is a revenue-neutral program. 3. Republicans as well as Democrats support this well-thought-out proposal. 4. The recent carbon tax in France did not return money to citizens in the form of a dividend. Had it done so, the ensuing riots may have been avoided. ~ Bonnie Sammons, Belgrade
Letter: Oyster company expansion strikes the right balance
Times Record - Tuesday, January 15, 2019 

My wife and I have owned a cottage at the end of Mere Point for almost 40 years overlooking Maquoit Bay. I generally go up to the head of Maquoit Bay once or twice a week to fish. Over the years the number of lobster traps I have encountered has been minimal. The creation of decent full time jobs is of paramount importance to our state, particularly where the total reliance on lobster fishing represents a vulnerability. Oyster farming holds the promise of a self-sustaining marine business that does not deplete our natural resources and in can leave a cleaner environment. Mere Point Oyster represents a wonderful balance between providing for economic development while protecting our natural resources. ~ Peter Blyberg, Brunswick
State awards $76,500 for Norway Branch Rail Trail
Sun Journal - Monday, January 14, 2019 

The Maine Trails Advisory Committee has awarded a $76,500 grant for the Norway Branch Rail Trail project. The trail for walkers and bicyclists would follow the former Norway Branch Railroad tracks for six-tenths of a mile.
Maine Water announces credit for Camden, Rockland area customers
Village Soup Gazette (Knox County & Penobscot Bay) - Monday, January 14, 2019 

Maine Water Company has announced that it will apply a credit to water bills for customers in its Camden Rockland division, which serves customers in Rockland, Rockport, Camden, Thomaston, Owls Head, Union and Warren. This customer credit, totaling $435,000, is possible as a result of the recent sale of a conservation easement covering watershed land around Mirror Lake and Ragged Mountain to the Coastal Mountains Land Trust.
Spinning in the Presumpscot, this alien-looking ice disk has Westbrook all abuzz
Portland Press Herald - Monday, January 14, 2019 

A disk of ice roughly 100 yards across that formed on the Presumpscot River and was slowly rotating and gaining size Monday had Westbrook buzzing almost as much as when city police spotted a giant snake eating a beaver in roughly the same location in 2016.
Portland Mayor Ethan Strimling delivered the his State of the City address and he shot for the stars.
Bangor Daily News - Monday, January 14, 2019 

Some of what Strimling announced Monday night did not come as a surprise. But he added some new, big and — in some cases — expensive things to his to-do list for 2019, including making all Portland schools solar-powered and bringing in light rail for commuters.
Snowmobilers Bring Flurry of Activity to Some of Maine’s Most Remote Outposts
Maine Public - Monday, January 14, 2019 

Maine winters can be long, cold and difficult for small businesses. But there’s one recreational pursuit that has been loudly putting money into some of the most remote tills in the state. More than 280 clubs across Maine collectively maintain some 14,000 miles of snowy trails. Last year more than 80,000 people registered sleds to ride in Maine. What’s not known is how much they contributed to the economy. But the Maine Snowmobile Association and the University of Maine are planning a study this year to find out. Snowmobile safety specialist Al Swett has a guess. “It’s gotta be billions.”
Working-waterfront advocates end petition drive to limit use of Portland piers
Portland Press Herald - Monday, January 14, 2019 

A group of fishermen and their supporters is dropping a push for a citywide referendum to stop non-marine uses from expanding on Portland’s working waterfront. The decision against moving forward comes days after a developer withdrew his proposal to build a waterfront hotel that had become a catalyst for the referendum effort, and after the city announced that it would eliminate a loophole that allowed the hotel to be proposed on Fisherman’s Wharf.
What’s The Deal With The Westbrook Ice Disk? Scientists Aren’t Really Sure Either
Maine Public - Monday, January 14, 2019 

An unusual ice formation has appeared in the Presumpscot River in Westbrook. It’s a giant, spinning ice disk about 100 yards across and moving counterclockwise. The disk looks rather alien, but it’s actually a natural occurrence.
Mills to announce her final Cabinet pick this week
Portland Press Herald - Monday, January 14, 2019 

Lawmakers will hold hearings and vote on the 14 Cabinet-level nominees once the governor announces her selection to lead the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry.
Lobster processor closing in Connecticut, may shift work to its Maine plant
Portland Press Herald - Monday, January 14, 2019 

The East Coast Seafood Group has announced that the Garbo Lobster facility in Groton, Connecticut, will shut down Thursday, potentially sending some of its work to Maine. Garbo, which has a Maine processing facility in Hancock, southeast of Bangor, has been in Connecticut for 36 years, and also has a facility in Canada.
Antarctica losing ice 6 times faster today than in 1980s, research shows
Washington Post - Monday, January 14, 2019 

Antarctic glaciers have been melting at an accelerating pace over the past four decades thanks to an influx of warm ocean water — a startling new finding that researchers say could mean sea levels are poised to rise more quickly than predicted in coming decades.
Land trust raising funds to buy Weston Homestead Farm land in Madison
Morning Sentinel - Monday, January 14, 2019 

The oldest land trust in the state of Maine has signed an option to purchase land on the historic Weston Homestead Farm in Madison for recreational use, which organizers say one day will connect a trail system all the way to Oakland. Somerset Woods Trustees, with in Skowhegan, is raising money to buy 275 acres of forest land from the Weston Homestead Farm Corp. with about a mile of frontage on the Kennebec River. So far, $200,000 has been raised toward the purchase price of $450,000. The nonprofit Somerset Woods Trustees was formed in 1927.
Maine salmon farm builder pushes back at resident’s appeal
Associated Press - Monday, January 14, 2019 

The developer of a salmon farm scheduled for construction at the site of the former Verso paper mill in Bucksport is locked in a dispute with a resident who is seeking to forestall the project. Whole Oceans LLC has filed a motion with the state Board of Environmental Protection to try to dismiss a complaint from Holly Faubel, of Belfast, about the proposed salmon farm. Faubel has appealed a wastewater discharge permit state regulators have issued.
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