March 22, 2018  
Press releases, events, publications released, etc. from Maine environmental organizations and agencies. Submit content.

Beekeeping & Pollinators, Mar 29
Event - Posted - Thursday, March 22, 2018 

Find out why pollinators are failing to thrive. At Curtis Library, Brunswick, March 29, 6 pm.
Green Fire, Mar 29
Event - Posted - Thursday, March 22, 2018 

A film about Aldo Leopold and a Land Ethic for Our Time. At Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center, Rockland, March 29, 11:30 am and 2 pm, free.
Community Conservation film, Mar 29
Event - Posted - Thursday, March 22, 2018 

Mark Ireland’s documentary profiles four land trusts in different regions of Maine, demonstrating the variety of efforts to make conserved lands available to all community members. Following the screening, Q&A with the filmmaker and local land trusts leaders. At UMaine, Orono, March 29, 7 pm. Presented by Bangor, Brewer, and Orono Land Trusts.
Maine Environmental News
Announcement - Wednesday, March 21, 2018 

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 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
Going Solo: Women in the Woods, Mar 28
Event - Posted - Wednesday, March 21, 2018 

Alexandra Conover Bennett, Jennifer Dumont, and Aislinn Sarnacki will discuss their outdoor experiences and what it’s like to embark on remote adventures, alone. At Greenville Town Office, March 28, 6 p.m. Hosted by Moosehead Trails.
Four-Season Gardening, Mar 27
Event - Posted - Tuesday, March 20, 2018 

Learn from the UMaine Cooperative Extension how to enjoy our gardens all year round. At Curtis Library, Brunswick, March 27, 12 pm.
Help wanted: Organizing Director
Announcement - Monday, March 19, 2018 

Maine Conservation Voters/Maine Conservation Alliance, two statewide, nonpartisan, nonprofit organizations, are seeking a shared full-time Organizing Director to build and manage grassroots organizing and field programs.
How to Participate in the Maine Bird Atlas, Mar 26
Event - Posted - Monday, March 19, 2018 

Rich MacDonald will talk about the history of the Maine Bird Atlas and how you can participate. At Blue Hill Library, March 26, 7 pm. Sponsored by Downeast Chapter of Maine Audubon.
Growing More Crops in Less Space, Mar 25
Event - Posted - Sunday, March 18, 2018 

Workshop leader Will Bonsai is director of the Scattered Project. He is best known for his work in preserving crop diversity. At St. Paul's Church, Brunswick, March 25, 2-3:30 pm, $5 donation. Sponsored by Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust.
Maine Adaptive Sports & Recreation Ski-A-Thon, Mar 24
Event - Posted - Saturday, March 17, 2018 

Maine Adaptive Sports & Recreation promotes year-round education and training for individuals with disabilities to develop skills, enhance independence, and provide enjoyment through active recreation. In addition to being an excellent fundraiser, the Ski-A-Thon is a ton of fun. Fundraising goal: $380,000.
Stand up for Federal Bird Conservation Funding
Action Alert - Saturday, March 17, 2018 

The proposed federal budget would gut major programs and protections for birds and their habitats. One-third of migratory bird species have already lost significant populations as threats to wildlife increase. Tell your U.S. Senators and U.S. Representative to make protecting migratory birds a priority in the federal budget. ~ American Bird Conservancy
Earth Hour, Mar 24
Event - Posted - Saturday, March 17, 2018 

Join millions of people around the world—along with businesses, cities, and landmarks—who will turn off lights in celebration of Earth Hour. March 24, from 8:30 - 9:30 am local time.
Lessons from Avian Haven, Mar 23
Event - Posted - Friday, March 16, 2018 

Laura Suomi-Lecker will discuss Avian Haven in Freedom, which was established in 1999 as a bird rehabilitation center dedicated to the return of injured and orphaned wild birds of all species to their natural environment. In 2017, they admitted over 2,500 birds from all over the state with varying degrees of injuries or illnesses. At Blue Hill Library, March 23, 7 pm. Sponsored by Downeast Chapter of Maine Audubon.
Solar Energy for ME, Mar 23
Event - Posted - Friday, March 16, 2018 

Dylan Voorhees, Climate & Clean Energy Director for the Natural Resource Council of Maine, and Rep. Seth Berry, House Chair of the Maine Legislature's Committee on Energy, Utilities and Technology, discuss expanding solar energy in Maine. At Curtis Library, Brunswick, March 23, 7 pm. Sponsored by Friends of Merrymeeting Bay.
Resist Mike Pompeo’s confirmation as Secretary of State
Action Alert - Thursday, March 15, 2018 

Trump just fired Rex Tillerson, one of the few people left in his cabinet who was willing to speak out against Vladimir Putin. But even more egregious is that Trump nominated Mike Pompeo, a xenophobic, pro-torture, climate-denying war hawk, to replace Tillerson.
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News Items
Historic Maine wilderness inn destroyed by fire
Portland Press Herald - Saturday, March 17, 2018 

The Chesuncook Lake House, a historic inn 50 miles north of Moosehead Lake, was destroyed by fire early Saturday. The remote inn, built in 1864 in Chesuncook Village, originally supplied logging operations in northern Maine. Accessible only by snowmobile in the winter, it is on the National Register of Historic Places. The owners, David and Louisa Surprenant, said they are trying to make sense of the conflagration. The fire started about 1:30 a.m. but it took the owners, whose cellphone service was cut off, about two hours to alert the fire department. Nine firefighters set out on five snowmobiles hauling portable pumps and other equipment. By the time they reached the inn at daybreak, the fire was over.
Those Little Produce Stickers? They’re a Big Waste Problem
Other - Saturday, March 17, 2018 

Produce stickers are a major problem for composting facilities. They don't break down, and sorting them out from the actually-compostable product is time-consuming and expensive. Being extremely thin and pliable, the stickers pass through screens designed to catch them, and some composting companies single them out as the worst contaminant in their entire chain. Solutions have been proposed—one company in Sweden laser-etches their avocados—but a more biodegradable solution has not yet been adopted. In the meantime, do your part: PLU stickers in the garbage, produce waste in the compost.
It’s been three years since Maine towns started banning plastic bags. How’s it working?
Bangor Daily News - Saturday, March 17, 2018 

Bag regulations have been enacted in Portland, South Portland, Belfast, York, Falmouth, Freeport, Kennebunk, Topsham, Brunswick, Saco and Cape Elizabeth, with the most recently adopted ordinances in the cities of Bath and Rockland. Single-use plastic bags certainly can be convenient, but non-biodegradable plastic bags can end up littering streets and storm drains, stuck high in tree branches or floating out to sea, where they break down into tiny pieces and can be mistaken as food by fish and wildlife. Sarah Lakeman of the Natural Resources Council of Maine hopes that there eventually will be a statewide ban.
Former Coal Lobbyist On Tap For No. 2 Spot At EPA
National Public Radio - Saturday, March 17, 2018 

President Trump's nominee for deputy administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Andrew Wheeler, has spent much of his career working for less oversight from the agency. A longtime aide to Sen. James Inhofe, known for his climate-denying antics on the floor of the Senate, Wheeler worked on environmental legislation for more than 15 years in various roles on the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. He helped to defeat a 2008 climate bill before leaving to be a private consultant and lobbyist.
Maine Farmland Trust applying for accreditation
Morning Sentinel - Saturday, March 17, 2018 

Maine Farmland Trust has announced it is applying for accreditation. The land trust accreditation program recognizes land conservation organizations that meet national quality standards for protecting important natural places and working lands. A public comment period is now open. The Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance, conducts an extensive review of each applicant’s policies and programs. The commission invites public input and accepts signed, written comments on pending applications.
Letter: Respect Union River
Bangor Daily News - Saturday, March 17, 2018 

On Feb. 9, FERC issued notice of a new license application for the Union River dams. This starts a 60-day clock that is the last chance to comment on or protest the details of this license application. The license proposed will not stop the fish kills that are documented in Ellsworth each year as alewives and eels try to head out to sea. It does not offer any new proposal to help native fish returning to the Union River. It does nothing to change the way water levels are managed at Graham Lake. Contact DEP Commissioner Paul Mercer and encourage him to issue a water quality certificate that respects the Union River. ~ Dwayne Shaw, Columbia Falls
Letter: Water rights
Bangor Daily News - Saturday, March 17, 2018 

Regarding Attorney General Janet Mills and Penobscot Nation fishing rights, what is not stated in any coverage I’ve seen on this issue is the intention behind the state’s denial of tribal control over the water surrounding their Islands. The Environmental Protection Agency supports tribal water quality standards. Tribal water quality standards are tough and environmentally sustainable. The state is motivated by big business interests that lobby for the freedom to pollute. There is a word game going on and surprisingly little demand from the people for clarity. ~ Rosalie Paul, Brunswick
Industry, landowners oppose LePage bill to gut wind power permitting process
Portland Press Herald - Friday, March 16, 2018 

A longtime skeptic of the cost-competitiveness of wind power, Gov. Paul LePage imposed a moratorium on new turbine permits in January and wants to change the streamlined review process applied to most of the commercial wind energy projects in Maine. But LePage’s bill, which faces strong opposition from both environmentalists and industry, got a chilly reception from lawmakers on Friday.
LePage Proposal Would Limit Turbine Permitting Options
Maine Public - Friday, March 16, 2018 

Governor Paul LePage is proposing to significantly reduce the area in which wind-turbine projects can get a streamlined permit review. Maine lawmakers, residents, businesses and environmental groups are divided on the issue. Depending on your point of view, the turbine farms that have been developed in the state's windiest areas over the last ten years are either a boon to the economy or a blight on the landscape.
Maine Coast Heritage Trust offers paid internships
Courier-Gazette - Friday, March 16, 2018 

Maine Coast Heritage Trust, a statewide land conservation organization, is offering teens paid internships through the Teen Ag Crew program, at Erickson Fields Preserve in Rockport.
Walmart Files Patent for Robot Bees
Other - Friday, March 16, 2018 

With the mass die-off of bees spelling trouble for agriculture, the world's largest retailer has filed patents for the use of "unmanned vehicles," or drones, to aid with pollination and crop production. In U.S. Patent Office documents made public last week, Walmart has applied for six patents on drones designed to identify pest damage, spray pesticides and pollinate plants.
Officials react to stormwater rules
Scarborough Leader - Friday, March 16, 2018 

New federal and state regulations affecting stormwater runoff will go into effect this summer and Scarborough will likely have to consider increased spending on education and outreach to remain in compliance with the law. One issue that the town hopes to do is reduce the amount of chloride in all watersheds, which comes from the salt that the town uses throughout the winter to treat the roads. Reducing the amount of salt used during snowstorms is possible, but residents will have to change their expectations of road conditions.
LePage lies about conservation lands—yet again
Maine Environmental News - Friday, March 16, 2018 

In a rambling speech to the Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce on Thursday Maine Gov. Paul LePage again lied about conservation lands. LePage claimed the state’s property taxes are high because "the most valuable land in Maine, including that which is along the coast and property placed in conservation, is not taxed." That has been shown repeatedly to be untrue. Just last month, a legislative committee issued a report that found of the 2.5 million acres of land conserved by nonprofit conservation organizations in Maine, 94.5% are on the tax rolls. Virtually all the rest make voluntary payments in lieu of taxes.
UPDATED: Maine Governor Wannabes
Maine Environmental News - Friday, March 16, 2018 

Maine’s next gubernatorial election is set for November 6, 2018. Several had dropped out recently. The field was further narrowed when some failed to meet the deadline to submit signatures from 2,000 Maine voters by March 15. Five Republicans and seven Democrats remain standing. The Democratic and Republican primary elections are on June 12. Independent candidates have until June 1 to turn in 4,000 signatures. Here is the updated list. Repairing the damage done by the LePage Administration to Maine’s land, water, air and wildlife safety net will be a major job for the next governor. Ask each of these candidates about their conservation policies, if any.
Hiking Maine’s Baxter Park by Greg Westrich
George Smith BDN Outdoor News Blog - Friday, March 16, 2018 

Greg Westrich joins me in loving Baxter Park, and his new book, "Hiking Maine’s Baxter Park," is a FalconGuide that will propel you up and over some of Baxter’s wonderful mountains, and to its beautiful ponds and waterfalls.
FEMA Drops 'Climate Change' From Its Strategic Plan
National Public Radio - Friday, March 16, 2018 

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, the federal government's first responder to floods, hurricanes and other natural disasters, has eliminated references to climate change from its strategic planning document for the next four years. The document does not say what could be contributing to "rising natural hazard risk," or what conditions could require the "increased investments in pre-disaster mitigation." Similarly, under a section about "Emerging Threats," the document cites cybersecurity and terrorism. There are no references to global warming, rising sea levels, extreme weather events or any other term related to the potential impact of rising surface temperatures.
How Maine’s loon population grew 70 percent in 30 years
Bangor Daily News - Friday, March 16, 2018 

One of Maine’s most iconic creatures, the common loon, is holding steady in the state with a population about 70 percent higher than it was 30 years ago, according to results of the 2017 Maine Audubon Loon Count, released earlier this week. “I think education and outreach has really helped [the loon population],” said Maine Audubon wildlife biologist Susan Gallo. Recent state laws to regulate lead fishing lures may also contribute to the long-term incline in the state’s loon population, Gallo said. Maine Audubon estimates a statewide population of 2,817 adult common loons and 453 chicks.
Letter: Food sovereignty not about safety
Bangor Daily News - Friday, March 16, 2018 

In a March 10 BDN article, the Maine commissioner of agriculture argues against food sovereignty laws on the basis of food safety, but the only evidence cited in the article is that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found no food-borne illness in Maine over the last 10 years that can be attributed directly to a farm or dairy. There is an obvious disconnect here. Clearly, the issue here is not one of food safety, but of big government versus local control. ~ Deb Suran, Deer Isle
A passenger rail connection for Lewiston-Auburn?
Sun Journal - Thursday, March 15, 2018 

Does it make sense for the Twin Cities to pursue a passenger rail service between Lewiston-Auburn and Portland? City officials are hoping that local residents can help them answer that question during an upcoming open house at the Lewiston Public Library. The public feedback is part of a study underway to see if connecting the Twin Cities with the Amtrak Downeaster service in Portland is feasible. While the mayors of both cities say they are anxious to hear feedback, they aren’t optimistic it will make sense financially.
Trophy hunters win seats on Trump wildlife protection panel
Associated Press - Thursday, March 15, 2018 

A new U.S. advisory board created to help rewrite federal rules for importing the heads and hides of African elephants, lions and rhinos is stacked with trophy hunters, including some members with direct ties to President Trump and his family.
Man barred from entering Smiling Hill Farm after goat killed with crossbow
Portland Press Herald - Thursday, March 15, 2018 

A homeless man from the Portland area has been barred from stepping foot on the Smiling Hill Farm property following the killing of a pregnant goat in February. Police say the goat was shot by an arrow fired from a crossbow. A judge in Cumberland County District Court approved a one-year protection-from-harassment order filed by Smiling Hill Farm against Daniel J. Arnold, 40. Arnold has not been charged with killing the Toggenburg goat named Ava. However, police investigated Arnold in connection with the crime, and a witness reported to investigators seeing Arnold walking out of the woods around the time of the killing, carrying a crossbow, according to court records.
Former Saddleback employee sues Aussie development company for unpaid wages
WCSH-TV6 - Thursday, March 15, 2018 

A former employee for the Australian development company that is planning to buy Saddleback Mountain resort in Rangeley has filed suit against the company alleging he was not paid for his services. Perry Williams of Rangeley sued the Majella Group for nearly $30,000 in unpaid wages. Williams was hired on Jan. 1, 2017, as a consultant for the Saddleback project.
Australian CEO denies visa program is key to Saddleback purchase
Portland Press Herald - Thursday, March 15, 2018 

The CEO of an Australian company planning to buy the idle Saddleback ski area said Thursday the controversial foreign investor visa program is not key to his plans to finance the deal. “The EB-5 program has got nothing to do with purchasing the property and nothing to do with getting the mountain back up and running,” said Sebastian Monsour of the Majella Group.
Hiker rescued after 8 hours
Sun Journal - Thursday, March 15, 2018 

A Massachusetts man was found safe late Wednesday night, eight hours after being lost while hiking the Grafton Loop Trail, according to the Maine Warden Service. Thomas Dilger, 29, of Worcester, Massachusetts, was hiking alone on the eastern section of the trail that goes from Route 26 to the summit of Puzzle Mountain. He called for help around 3 p.m., according to a news release from the Warden Service. Searchers used Dilger’s cellphone coordinates to locate him.
Nova Scotia government will fund Portland terminal upgrades to keep ferry service afloat
Portland Press Herald - Thursday, March 15, 2018 

Nova Scotia will pay for improvements at the Portland ferry terminal required by the federal government so international ferry service can resume this summer. The provincial government will spend as much as $1.5 million for license plate readers and radiation detectors at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility at Portland Ocean Gateway, said Marla MacInnis, a spokeswoman for the Nova Scotia Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal. “This funding clears the way for the return of the Nova Scotia-Maine ferry service for the 2018 sailing season,” MacInnis said.
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