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
Letter: Support North Woods monument
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, March 23, 2017 

The Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument is stimulating economic growth in a region that needs it, protecting wildlife habitat and recreation and putting rural, northern Maine on the world’s radar. Our congressional representatives should fully support it. I’m deeply troubled to think the president may be considering pulling the rug out from under rural Maine. But what troubles me more is the idea that my elected representative, Bruce Poliquin, is not going to bat for this huge boon to the Katahdin region and rural Maine. ~ Debbie Gilmer, Orono
Brunswick enacts ban on single-use plastic shopping bags
Forecaster - Wednesday, March 22, 2017 

The Town Council voted 8-1 Monday to ban single-use plastic bags from most town retailers starting Sept. 1. The plastic bag ban passed with little discussion. Councilor Dan Harris said, “We’ve been up and down on this issue,” he said, referring to past lengthy discussion about whether to encourage reduced consumption of single-use plastic bags with a fee, or to ban them outright. Most councilors ultimately supported the ban because it would reduce the impact on the environment. Included were those like Councilor Sarah Brayman, who also campaigned for a penalty on single-use paper bags.
LePage Says He Didn’t Sign $13 Million Biomass Bailout (He Did)
Maine Public - Wednesday, March 22, 2017 

Gov. Paul LePage claimed Wednesday that he did not sign a bill last year that diverted over $13 million to several ailing biomass facilities, though he actually did. LePage signed the proposal in April of last year. The governor has repeatedly lamented its passage, but he has also said that bailing out biomass energy plants was the only way to preserve the logging jobs that depend on the plants. LePage also said that he plans to testify before Congress on legislation that deals with the president’s abilities to create national monuments. The governor has opposed the Katahdin Woods and Waters monument created by President Barack Obama last year. He has since asked President Donald Trump to rescind the designation.
White House slams door on carbon tax
E&E/Greenwire - Wednesday, March 22, 2017 

The Trump administration is not considering a carbon tax, an official said after a White House press briefing yesterday in which press secretary Sean Spicer declined to rule it out. Interest in the administration's stance on the issue has persisted while a lively debate is reportedly taking place within the West Wing over President Trump's economic agenda and various parties aim to influence the result.
Dip in temps may mean sap won’t just go with the flow
Morning Sentinel - Wednesday, March 22, 2017 

Warmer days, freezing nights. The sap is running – sporadically – just in time for Maine Maple Sunday, following a topsy-turvy stretch of winter weather that’s enabled sap to flow a little earlier than usual, only to be halted at times by late-season chills. This weekend Maine will celebrate the 34th annual Maine Maple Sunday, held every year on the fourth Sunday of March.
South Portland asks pipeline company for data to back up tax abatement request
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, March 22, 2017 

City Assessor Jim Thomas has asked for sweeping documentation of Portland Pipe Line Corp. operations to support its request for a property tax abatement, a move that will delay his decision until mid-June. One of the largest taxpayers in South Portland, the pipeline company is seeking a 42 percent reduction in the $44.7 million assessed value of holdings stretching over 210 acres. In its abatement application, the company blamed its reduced property values on shifting economic factors and the city’s Clear Skies ordinance, which the company is challenging in federal court. However, it provided no details to back up the request.
Biomass firm asked to explain financial status after loggers say they were not paid
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, March 22, 2017 

Regulators have asked a company that’s receiving state subsidies for operating biomass plants in West Enfield and Jonesboro to explain why loggers supplying the plants report not being paid in more than a month. On Wednesday afternoon, the lead staff attorney for the Maine Public Utilities Commission sent a letter to Stored Solar partner Bill Harrington asking for “an immediate update on the operational and financial status of the West Enfield and Jonesboro facilities and the status of any payment obligation to suppliers, contractors or employees.” Stored Solar has received $426,000 in subsidies for electricity generated in January and February, according to regulatory filings.
Alligators make a splash, but invasive species pose greater risk in Maine
Kennebec Journal - Wednesday, March 22, 2017 

The discovery of five alligators in a taxi attracted a lot of attention in Augusta Tuesday, but such exotic animals pose relatively little risk in Maine compared with other invasive species. Greater threats to Maine’s woods and waterways are species such as the green crab, the emerald ash borer and the northern pike. However diminutive those species might look next to an alligator, they actually can survive here. Alligators, on the other hand, could not survive the winters in Maine.
The Republican War on Critters
Sierra Club - Wednesday, March 22, 2017 

Since the inauguration, the Trump administration and Republicans on Capitol Hill have pushed several ideas that would put wildlife, including endangered species, at greater risk. The most wantonly (and weirdly) cruel initiative would repeal restrictions on carnivore hunting in wildlife refuges in Alaska, which belong to all Americans. Maine's U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R) and Angus King (I) both voted to kill a rule that protects wildlife, including baby animals, in the national wildlife refuges.
Topsham tour to explain timber-harvesting plan
Forecaster - Wednesday, March 22, 2017 

The town’s Tree Committee will host a site walk Saturday, March 25, for residents to learn about an upcoming harvest of timber on town-owned property. The 9 a.m. walk at the Topsham Solid Waste Facility, 97 Townsend Way, will be guided by Paul Larrivee, a licensed state forester. The walk will cover both the forested and harvested areas. Light selective thinning of about 75 acres began earlier this month, so the public will be able to see both the work that has taken place, and get an idea of what will occur.
Loggers Say They Haven’t Been Paid By Biomass Company Since Last Month
Maine Public - Wednesday, March 22, 2017 

Last year Maine lawmakers and Gov. Paul LePage authorized state utility regulators to award biomass electricity companies more than $13 million to boost payments for power generated in Maine. The goal was to assist Maine’s beleaguered forest products industry in the wake of multiple mill closures. But Dana Doran, executive director of the Professional Logging Contractors of Maine, says Stored Solar, which operates plants in Enfield and Jonesboro, hasn’t paid many logging contractors in a month or more. Stored Solar has already received more than $400,000 in taxpayer subsidies this year.
Could Mattis and Tillerson buddy up on warming?
E&E/Greenwire - Wednesday, March 22, 2017 

Secretary of Defense James Mattis broke from the Trump administration's usual line in written statements made public for the first time last week in which he addressed the threat that climate change poses to national security. It is probably not likely that Mattis' work will give him much policy overlap with EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, who angered environmental groups this month when he questioned the scientific consensus about carbon dioxide's effect on climate change in a CNBC interview.
Documentaries highlight climate security risks
E&E/Greenwire - Wednesday, March 22, 2017 

Filmmakers who believe in action against climate change are using documentaries about global warming national security risks to reach skeptics about the issue. "Tidewater" is about how sea-level rise affects national security. "The Age of Consequences" focuses on how climate change is a catalyst of global instability, which the military must then respond to.
Trump's next target: The Clean Power Plan
Natural Resources Defense Council - Wednesday, March 22, 2017 

Next on President Trump's list of anti-environment rollbacks: The climate-saving Clean Power Plan. Trump is preparing to sign a devastating executive order directing the EPA to begin dismantling this landmark plan — President Obama's signature initiative to cut carbon pollution from dirty, coal-fired power plants and expand clean energy in the U.S.
Federal regulators put an end to turbulent season in northern Gulf of Maine scallop fishery
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, March 22, 2017 

Federal fisheries authorities are closing the scallop fishery in the northern Gulf of Maine at one minute after midnight Thursday after a contentious 22-day season that pitted the interests of part-time small boat fishermen from Maine against large, full-time scallop operators. Regulators announced the closure Wednesday after small boat fishermen — many of them Maine lobstermen operating with 40- to 45-foot boats — met their annual quota of 70,000 pounds.
Trump budget eliminates agency that brought $5M to rural Maine
Mainebiz - Wednesday, March 22, 2017 

The Northern Border Regional Commission, a federal-state agency that has provided $5.4 million in funding to rural Maine projects since 2010, is targeted for elimination in President Trump's proposed budget.
Blog: The scary, insidious, accidental effectiveness of Paul LePage
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, March 22, 2017 

Land for Maine’s Future is an incredible, bipartisan success story. Land has been conserved for farming, forestry and public access through a partnership between private and government funders. But Gov. Paul LePage has done everything he could — legal and not — to undermine and destroy the conservation program. Now, he’s supporting a project with a hefty $5.7 million price tag. The easement would protect a 23,600-acre maple sugar property near the border of Quebec. The owner, Paul Fortin of Madison, has made significant contributions to LePage’s re-election campaign and his political action committee. The easement would allow Fortin to continue sugar operations and logging and would generate a large payday for the conservation easement, which would be funded by a combination of private, state and federal dollars.
Greens write playbook for 'environmental Armageddon'
E&E/Greenwire - Wednesday, March 22, 2017 

Major environmental groups have a strategy for countering President Trump: all-out war. They are largely united in their opposition to Trump, who has promised to roll back environmental rules, expressed doubts about prevailing climate change science and proposed slashing funding for federal environmental programs. Liberal groups left reeling after the November election are coordinating their tactics as they prepare to shift from gently prodding the Obama administration to combat against the president and his allies.
Maine leaves $1.9 billion on the table
Maine Environmental News - Wednesday, March 22, 2017 

According to a report by the Maine Center for Economic Policy, under the LePage Administration, "Since 2011, Maine has forfeited over $1.9 billion in available federal resources that could have helped families and communities thrive." MECEP says Maine has missed out on as many as 4,800 jobs a year due to the loss of funds. Millions of dollars were lost that would have gone to environmental and conservation programs, including $300,000 for arsenic testing in well water, $450,000 for pollution prevention technical assistance, and $1,725,000 for working forest conservation.
Strong opposition to mining in Maine – but it still might be allowed
George Smith BDN Outdoor News Blog - Wednesday, March 22, 2017 

Mining issues have been debated – and left unresolved – for the last two legislative sessions, and a lot of that history was revisited yesterday. But a strong move by environmental groups, along with the possibility of simply enacting a law banning mining in our state, left the impression that we might finally resolve this very contentious issue. Environmental groups rallied around Senator Brownie Carson’s bill, LD 820, that places strict limits on where and how mining could occur. Beth Ahearn, lobbyist for the Environmental Priorities Coalition, representing 34 conservation groups with 100,000 members, said “LD 820 is a proactive priority…which addresses many of the problems…with the 2017 mining rules.”
Column: Maine could (and should) be energy independent
Kennebec Journal - Wednesday, March 22, 2017 

E2Tech says that it is a catalyst, a change agent, and a resource center that strives to promote Maine companies, support their robust and sustainable acceleration and help them compete in national and global markets. The E2Tech plan includes these initiatives. Accelerate progress to lower heating costs in the residential sector. Consolidate/streamline renewable energy policies to improve their cost-effectiveness and provide market certainty. Support the growth of innovative technologies. Continue pursuit of a regional solution to natural gas capacity constraints. Increase efforts to assist low-income households with high energy costs. Develop a plan to pursue cost-effective energy improvements in state government. ~ George Smith
Letter: Pass solar bill to lift Maine economy
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, March 22, 2017 

Maine needs to grow its solar energy industry to create good jobs and reduce electricity prices. As a designer and builder, I have promoted energy-efficient housing in Maine for almost 40 years. Finally, solar electricity has arrived as an economical tool enabling the building of net zero housing, which annually produces as much energy as it uses. Making solar power systems more accessible for Maine small businesses and residents helps lower and stabilize energy costs for everyone by reducing the need for new transmission lines. Sensible legislation can get us there. ~ Thomas Peterson, Windham
Letter: Don’t weaken the bottle bill
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, March 22, 2017 

Our bottle law does everything it was meant to do and more. It keeps tons of items out of the trash stream. It makes everyone a bit more conscious of the kind of slobs people can be. Some lawmakers have proposed legislation — LD 683 — to exempt 46-ounce or larger bottles from being covered under the bottle bill. Exempting those big bottles under the bottle law is very poor policy. The only tinkering this bottle law needs is to add the nips — 50-milliliter alcohol bottles — to it. Doing otherwise is a step backward. ~ Linda Stearns, Bangor
Letter: Trump budget cuts
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, March 22, 2017 

The Lincoln Town Council wants part of the old Lincoln Paper and Tissue mill site to be designated a federal Superfund site to get federal assistance for the clean up. This is not likely when President Donald Trump’s proposed budget calls for a 30 percent cut for the Superfund program. In Lincoln, 64.48 percent of voters went for Trump. But all is not yet lost. Trump voters, and others, can call for protecting the federal programs that their community needs. The cuts are a long list from Superfund to education programs for children. Contact Rep. Bruce Poliquin and Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King. You know how to support each other, and now is the time. ~ Barbara Kates, Bangor
Where Does Nominee Neil Gorsuch Stand on the Environment? Why Many Greens Are Worried
Other - Tuesday, March 21, 2017 

Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, 10th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Neil Gorsuch, is a conservative judge who environmentalists fear will put up roadblocks to their legal standing. These fears are based on some of Gorsuch’s previous rulings, which have disempowered green groups. At the same time, EnviroNews research uncovered instances where he has ruled against big polluters in the past. Gorsuch is undergoing confirmation hearings this week. So, should environmentalists be concerned Interestingly, Gorsuch’s mother, the late Anne Gorsuch Burford, was a head of the Environmental Protection Agency under Reagan. She is remembered for making drastic cuts to the EPA, reducing the number of lawsuits against polluters and gutting the agency’s staff.
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Maine fears lost lobster 
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