March 24, 2019  
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Maine Environmental News
Action Alert - Sunday, March 24, 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 60,000 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
Recreational Trails Program workshops
Announcement - Sunday, March 24, 2019 

The Recreational Trails Program provides up to 80% funding assistance for acquisition and or development of all kinds of recreational trails. Informational workshops will be held in 6 locations across Maine in April:
• April 1, 1-4 pm - Bethel, Mahoosuc Land Trust Offices
• April 2, 1-4 pm - Standish Municipal Center
• April 3, 1-4 pm - Ellsworth City Hall
• April 4, 9 am – 12 pm - Wiscasset Community Center
• April 5, 1-4 pm - Greenville Town Office
• April 9, 6-9 pm - Caribou Wellness Center
Maine State Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan Survey
Action Alert - Saturday, March 23, 2019 

Every five years, Maine submits a SCORP plan to the National Park Service to meet planning requirements for the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Since its inception in 1966, LWCF has injected $43 million into non-federal projects in Maine. The Maine Bureau of Parks & Lands wants to know what outdoors activities you engage in, and what you see as priorities for the future. To make your voice heard, take the Maine SCORP Survey:
Earth Hour, Mar 30
Action Alert - Saturday, March 23, 2019 

Join millions around the world to turn off the lights and speak up about why nature matters. March 30, 8:30-9:30 pm.
Hermit Island Hike, Mar 30
Event - Posted - Saturday, March 23, 2019 

Hike a mix of sandy beaches, cliffs, shore trails, woods walk and camp roads. At Hermit Island Campground, Phippsburg, March 30. Sponsored by Appalachian Mountain Club.
MCHT looking for volunteers to mentor kids
Announcement - Friday, March 22, 2019 

Maine Coast Heritage Trust invites the public to volunteer orientation for individuals interested in mentoring families participating in a Kids Can Grow program at MCHT's Erickson Fields Preserve in Rockport. The orientation will be at MCHT's Aldermen Farm, Rockport, April 6, 4-5 pm.
Managing Forests for Bird Habitat, Mar 29
Event - Posted - Friday, March 22, 2019 

Dr. Sally Stockwell, Maine Audubon conservation director, will speak about “Managing Forests for Bird Habitat.” At Keith Anderson Community House, Orono, March 29, 6:30 p.m. Sponsored by Orono Land Trust.
Interactions Among Plants & Insects, March 28
Event - Posted - Thursday, March 21, 2019 

Maine Master Naturalist Roger Rittmaster presents. At Ladd Center, Wayne, March 28, 7 pm. Sponsored by Kennebec Land Trust.
Solo thru-paddling the Northern Forest Canoe Trail, Mar 28
Event - Posted - Thursday, March 21, 2019 

Laurie Chandler describes her 2015 solo thru-paddle of the 740-mile Northern Forest Canoe Trail. At Curtis Library, Brunswick, March 28, 7 pm. Sponsored by Appalachian Mountain Club.
Why Going Native Matters, Mar 27
Event - Posted - Wednesday, March 20, 2019 

Heather McCargo, found and executive director of Wild Seed Project, presents "Why Going Native Matters: Beauty, Biodiversity and Resilience." At Portland Public Library, March 27, 5:30 pm.
Urge Maine's Agencies to Investigate and Halt PFAS Contamination
Action Alert - Tuesday, March 19, 2019 

Highly persistent and toxic chemicals known as PFAS may be lurking undiscovered in farmlands across Maine. State records show that at an Arundel dairy farm, PFOS was in milk at the highest level ever reported anywhere. Urge Maine Ag and DEP commissioners to test the fields, stop sludge spreading, and phase out PFAS products. ~ Environmental Health Strategy Center
Just Eat It: A Food Waste Story, Mar 26
Event - Posted - Tuesday, March 19, 2019 

Film followed by a discussion led by Brie Berry, a Ph.D. candidate in anthropology and environmental policy. Part of a Human Dimensions of Climate Change film series. At Fogler Library, UMaine, Orono, March 26, 6 pm.
Retired Game Warden Randall Probert, Mar 26
Event - Posted - Tuesday, March 19, 2019 

Author, raconteur, and retired game warden Randall Probert will speak to the Hebron Historical Society on “Maine Tales and More.” At Hebron Town Office, March 26, 7 pm.
The Forests of Lilliput: The Miniature World of Lichens & Mosses, Mar 26
Event - Posted - Tuesday, March 19, 2019 

Maine Master Naturalist Jeff Pengel talks about the natural history of lichens, mosses and similar plants. At Topsham Library, March 26, 6 pm. Sponsored by Cathance River Education Alliance.
Celebrating Maine’s Wild Creatures, Mar 26
Event - Posted - Tuesday, March 19, 2019 

Speaker: Ed Robinson, author of “Nature Notes from Maine: River Otters, Moose, Skunks and More.” At Curtis Library, March 16, 7 pm. Sponsored by Merrymeeting Audubon.
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News Items
Public hears plans to assess sea level rise
Other - Thursday, March 21, 2019 

It may not be a matter of if but when, and how to plan for it, when it comes to coastal Maine and sea level rise over the coming decades. And Stonington is one waterfront town that is not chancing a wait-and-see approach. A recent $60,000 Maine Coastal Program Grant from the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry has funded a study by GEI Consultants to assess where and how badly a rise of one, two, four or as much as nine or 10 feet could affect the town’s infrastructure.
Protecting land for Maine is a team effort
Trust for Public Land - Thursday, March 21, 2019 

The Trust for Public Land has completed 74 projects In Maine protecting over 182,000 acres, a collaborative effort working alongside nonprofits, public agencies, and advocates from around the state.
Hundreds of flags mark where people didn’t clean up dog poop in Maine park Hinckley Park in South Portland
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, March 21, 2019 

South Portland Parks and Recreation said they placed about 300 flags in Hinckley Park to mark where people didn’t clean up their dog’s poop. Park officials said the waste ends up in the ponds, which connect to Trout Brook and, ultimately, wash out to Casco bay without treatment. Pet waste contains bacteria that threaten the health of animals and people, especially children. Pet waste also contains nutrients that encourage excess weed and algae growth. Excess nutrients are a major cause of water quality decline.
Gov. Mills Looks To Expand Electric Vehicle Use In Maine
Maine Public - Thursday, March 21, 2019 

In an effort to reduce Maine's carbon footprint and reliance on fossil fuels, Gov. Janet Mills is ready to offer Mainers a subsidy for buying electric vehicles (EV). When she was Attorney General, Mills helped to win payments from Volkswagen over its pollution control scandal, and the settlement included $5 million for Maine's EV efforts. Now she says she'll split the award between EV purchase incentives for nonprofit organizations that serve the elderly or low-income communities and direct rebates for individual car buyers.
Key CMP critic introduces bill to stymie $1 billion hydro corridor
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, March 21, 2019 

A top legislative critic of Central Maine Power has rolled out a bipartisan bill aimed at killing the utility’s $1 billion transmission line. The Legislature is a new battleground for the corridor project that would take Quebec hydropower to Massachusetts via western Maine. The utilities commission is set to field a key report from staff on it next month, but the project backed by Mills is suffering from a lack of local support in her home area in Franklin County, where county commissioners and the town of Wilton rescinded support for it this month. Farmington residents will hold a vote on the issue at their Monday town meeting.
Spring is here, but there’s still plenty of snow for skiers and snowmobilers, tourism officials say
Associated Press - Thursday, March 21, 2019 

Winter might technically be over, but Maine tourism officials say the state’s season for winter recreational activities will continue at least into next month. Thursday’s the first full day of spring. The Maine Office of Tourism says conditions are still ideal for skiers and snowmobilers in the state, and they will stay that way into April. The office says more than half the state still has more than two feet of snow.
Maine to Boost Investment in Electric Vehicles
Natural Resources Council of Maine - Thursday, March 21, 2019 

Maine residents will soon have the opportunity to take advantage of expanded charging stations and a new rebate for the purchase of electric vehicles under a climate change initiative announced by Governor Janet Mills today. Funding for the rebate program will come in part from a $5.1 million settlement against Volkswagen and will be administered by Efficiency Maine. “We applaud the plan from Governor Mills and Efficiency Maine to encourage more people to embrace EVs as a clean choice for their family and for Maine,” said Dylan Voorhees, Climate & Clean Energy Director at the Natural Resources Council of Maine. “It’s good news for energy consumers and good news for our environment.”
Maine Legislature Ends Gross Metering
Maine Environmental News - Thursday, March 21, 2019 

The Maine Legislature has passed LD 91, An Act To Eliminate Gross Metering. Gross metering is a policy that was implemented by the Maine Public Utilities Commission in 2017 during the LePage Administration to collect a fee on power generated by homeowners with solar panels. The PUC had already ended the practice for medium and large users of electricity. LD 91 directs the PUC to amend its net energy billing rules so that homeowners with solar panels will no longer be penalized for generating their own renewable energy. On Thursday, the Maine Senate voted unanimously to give final approval to the bill. Gov. Janet Mills is expected to sign the legislation.
Governor Mills and Efficiency Maine Announce Initiatives To Expand Electric Vehicle Use Across Maine
Maine Government News - Thursday, March 21, 2019 

Governor Janet Mills and Efficiency Maine Trust announced today a set of initiatives that will expand the use of electric vehicles across Maine in an effort to reduce the state’s carbon footprint and reliance on fossil fuels. The initiatives, which include the creation of financial incentives to purchase electric vehicles and the installation of at least 50 public vehicle charging stations, are in part the result of a $5.1 million settlement won last year by then-Attorney General Mills against Volkswagen.
Is Biddeford next municipality to ban plastic bags?
Biddeford-Saco-OOB Courier - Thursday, March 21, 2019 

Plastic shopping bags in Biddeford grocery stores, like those at Hannaford Supermarket on Elm Street, may soon be a thing of the past. An amendment banning plastic bags, which cause problems for recycling facilities as well as for the environment, will appear before city council after being approved by the policy committee on March 18.
Opinion: Land conservation matters, in a neighborhood and in the forest
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, March 21, 2019 

Thanks to the hard work of Maine’s congressional delegation, on March 12, the Land and Water Conservation Fund was permanently reauthorized when a bipartisan public lands package was signed into law. Both of our senators were instrumental in the swift victory for the fund early in this new Congress. The House also passed permanent reauthorization of the fund with overwhelming support. Rep. Chellie Pingree has been a steadfast supporter of the program and advocated for increased funding levels. She set an excellent example for Maine’s new member of Congress, Jared Golden, who cast one of his first votes in Congress in support of permanent reauthorization for the fund. So we offer a huge thank you to our congressional delegation for their hard work and support. ~ Tracy Willette, Maine Recreation & Parks Association, and Kaitlyn Bernard, Appalachian Mountain Club
A Landscape-Scale Vision Takes Hold in the Camden Hills
Free Press - Thursday, March 21, 2019 

Gravity-fed water has linked local residents to the Camden Hills for more than 125 years since the Camden and Rockland Water Company first established Mirror Lake as a public water supply. Passersby today look out at wooded shores that have changed little over the intervening decades because the current utility company, Maine Water, owns 60 percent of the Grassy Pond and Mirror Lake watersheds. That expanse of undeveloped watershed is highly unusual. The local drinking source watersheds remain wooded due to the foresight of water company leaders who began buying up available parcels early in the 1900s and maintained that practice for more than a century. Long-term vision and persistence wasn’t confined to the water utility; by 2003, the nonprofit Coastal Mountains Land Trust had identified Ragged and Bald mountains as priorities for land protection.
Maine’s about to get a look at what its own Green New Deal would look like
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, March 21, 2019 

Democratic lawmakers later today will introduce what they’re calling Maine’s Green New Deal. It looks a lot different from the national plan that has drawn a lot of attention. Unlike the federal Green New Deal proposed Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a freshman progressive from New York, which aims to make the country carbon neutral by 2030, Maine’s bill, from Rep. Chloe Maxmin, D-Nobleboro, is less extensive. It sets some goals, such as requiring 80 percent of electricity sales be from renewable resources by 2040, but it’s more focused on providing a framework from which the state can build and leaving major decisions to committees set up in the bill.
New Right Whale Protection Rules Could Include Gear Changes For Lobstermen
Maine Public - Thursday, March 21, 2019 

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Team will meet next month to consider new rules to protect the endangered North Atlantic right whale. The rules could include costly gear changes for lobster harvesters, whose trap-lines can entangle the whales. They could also affect where and when lobster harvesters can set traps.
Lots of Improvements in DIF&W Budget
George Smith BDN Outdoor News Blog - Thursday, March 21, 2019 

At 2 pm today, DIF&W Commissioner Judy Camuso will present her new budget to the legislature’s Appropriations Committee. Yesterday, she briefed the IFW Committee on the budget, focused on changes and increases. More money is proposed for everything from landowner relations to fish hatcheries to a significant increase for the Information and Education Division. Here it is.
Developers of Belfast salmon farm push back against ‘significant misinformation’
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, March 21, 2019 

It has been 14 months since Nordic Aquafarms officials announced that the company wanted to build one of the world’s largest land-based salmon farms in Belfast. But Nordic has become a lightning rod for protests and even lawsuits from opponents, who criticize the $500 million project as too big, too untested and generally too ill-suited for the quirky midcoast city. "We have truthfully answered questions and put information out there over the past year as it has become available,” wrote Marianne Naess, Nordic’s director of operations. “And yet, there are people in Belfast who choose to put aside our answers, credible scientific assessments from leading environmental institutions, and a unique opportunity for sustainable economic development in Belfast. Significant misinformation is being put out there.”
Bill that would’ve delayed the I-395 connector project is unanimously rejected
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, March 21, 2019 

The six-mile stretch of road that would extend Interstate 395 to Route 9 has been subject to years of debate, but the latest attempt to re-evaluate the project’s necessity — and delay it in the process — has failed. The Legislature’s transportation committee this week unanimously opposed a bill that would have required the Maine Department of Transportation to halt all work on the project temporarily while a private company hired by the state would conduct a new analysis of the project and recommend whether the state should continue the project that would extend I-395 through parts of Brewer, Holden and Eddington.
Opinion: Night of terror in the woods
Portland Press Herald - Thursday, March 21, 2019 

We were camping in Acadia. One night, it seemed we had just drifted off to sleep when we heard a vicious snarling outside our tent. I reached for the key to the car and my Swiss army knife. “You’re going to kill a bear?” my friend Carol asked? “No, I’m going to slit the tent so we can get out of here.” Suddenly, whimpering, then quiet. As soon as it got light out, we emerged from the tent to find all calm. But then we noticed it: empty eggshells in our cooler. Carol spoke to the neighbor: Did you hear some snarling last night? Neighbor: You mean the raccoons? For years, Carol would find, in her Christmas stocking, a raccoon tree ornament. Visitors would ask what the ornaments were about. It gave us a chance to spread the story, which we now thought was funny, of our Night of Terror in the Maine Woods. ~ Diane Price, Peaks Island
Letter: Mills is wrong to try to Eco-balance
Daily Bulldog (Franklin County) - Thursday, March 21, 2019 

What a total disappointment that the Mills administration has opted to follow the same old model of compromising the health of Maine's environment away. This is called eco-balancing and it employs the notion that CMP's offer to provide $248 million over 40 years will provide a benefit that is equal to or greater than the negative impacts of the 150 mile transmission line that will deliver “dirty power” from Quebec Hydro. Mainers should be outraged that CMP is calling Hydro-Quebec power clean renewable power. ~ Jonathan Carter, Forest Ecology Network, Lexington Township
Letter: Enough trash
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, March 21, 2019 

When I came to Hartland 30 years ago, the town had three stores, two gas stations, a grocery store, a restaurant and two diners. What happened? Now the town has only a few business, buildings are falling down, and there is trash all around downtown and a rampant rat problem. To top it off, now we have a landfill. Things got worse in 2016 when the selectboard decided to take out-of-town sludge and waste from other towns, including Brewer, which had recently been banned from the Plymouth fertilizer plant. We also take in construction demolition debris, which is actually used for cover and autofluff, along with other types of waste. We have enough of our own trash, we don’t need any more. ~ Roderick Pease, Hartland
Letter: Nothing in the power line project will benefit Mainers
Portland Press Herald - Thursday, March 21, 2019 

CMP was a great Maine company, but the only thing Maine about it now are the people who do the work and its customers. CMP is owned by Iberdrola Spain. CMP is a myth. Iberdrola Spain, or, as they call themselves in the U.S. now, Avangrid, has proposed to build transmission lines from Quebec to Massachusetts via 145 miles of Maine. Iberdrola Spain, Gov. Mills and the media are presenting this as a CMP project, avoiding the issue that international law pre-empts local law. Calling this a CMP project is deceit. Decorate all the studies you want with numbers – the bottom line is the project means money and power for Massachusetts and Iberdrola Spain. ~ Alec Ferguson, Kennebunkport
Poland officials oppose proposed water tax
Sun Journal - Wednesday, March 20, 2019 

Selectperson Joe Cimino said a bill in the state Legislature proposing a 12-cents-per-gallon excise tax on water that has been extracted from the ground would have a negative and lasting impact on Poland, the home of Poland Spring Water Co. Poland Spring Water Co., a subsidiary of Nestle Waters North America, is a large employer in the region. The bill’s summary states, “This bill creates an excise tax of 12¢ per gallon on the extraction of groundwater or surface water for commercial bottling for sale.” The tax revenue would be used to expand high-speed broadband access and provide tuition grants for postsecondary education.
Teen rescued from ice in Androscoggin River
Rumford Falls Times - Wednesday, March 20, 2019 

A teenage boy fishing the Androscoggin River on Tuesday evening was rescued from a spinning chunk of ice 50 yards from shore, while his friend on another piece of ice made it safely to shore. “They had small fishing poles and they were trying to fish. Almost a fatal mistake,” Fire Chief Chris Reed said.
A large lake trout stole this teen’s ice fishing trap; hours later, he got them both back
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, March 20, 2019 

When Cob van de Sande headed out onto East Grand Lake with family and friends during February vacation, “It was like negative-4 with the wind blowing 20 [mph],” the 14-year-old from Amherst explained. He lowered a bait sucker down the hole and had an instant bite. “I felt it slide down the hole. Gone. The entire trap. With 90 feet of line out.” Seven hours later, on another trap, the lake trout was still attached to the other end of van de Sande’s line, and after several tense minutes, he hauled the fish to the surface. It was a 30-inch togue that weighed 9 1/2 pounds.

Lobster Harvesters Challenge Maine's Aquaculture Permitting Rules
Maine Public - Wednesday, March 20, 2019 

Maine has had a small but growing aquaculture industry, but a proposal by the Mere Point Oyster Company to build a 40-acre oyster farm in Maquoit Bay in Brunswick has angered many local lobster harvesters. They’ve submitted a petition that would require the state to review its aquaculture permitting rules. A group of lobster harvesters joined members of the citizens’ group Save Maquoit Bay at the state house to deliver the signatures.
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