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
LePage says U.S. should challenge EU plan to lift tariffs on Canadian lobster
Associated Press - Tuesday, March 21, 2017 

Maine Gov. Paul LePage says the United States should challenge a European Union plan to lift tariffs on Canadian lobster.LePage, a Republican, says the tariff deal would put Maine lobster at a “significant disadvantage” to Canada.
Fishermen Say Canada-EU Trade Deal Would Hurt Maine’s Lobster Industry
Maine Public - Tuesday, March 21, 2017 

Some Maine fishermen say that they’ve always been at a disadvantage when trying to compete with their Canadian counterparts. Now, the Maine lobster industry is weighing a pending trade agreement between Canada and the European Union that could adversely affect lobster prices in Maine. Known as the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, or CETA, the new partnership would remove the 8 percent tariff on live lobsters for Canada, but the fee would remain on for the United States.
Hike: Simon Trail in Lamoine
Aislinn Sarnacki Act Out Blog - Tuesday, March 21, 2017 

Simon Trail is a loop trail that travels through a beautiful mixed forest on an easement on private land in Lamoine. Measuring just over 1 mile, the trail is well-marked and maintained by the Frenchman Bay Conservancy, a nonprofit land trust that conserves wilderness and maintains several public trails in the Frenchman Bay and Union River watersheds.
Solar energy advocates call on PUC to reconsider decision to reduce incentive
Portland Press Herald - Tuesday, March 21, 2017 

A coalition of organizations and businesses is petitioning the Maine Public Utilities Commission to reconsider a recent decision on solar energy billing even as they gear up for a potential court challenge. In a formal request filed Tuesday with the PUC, the petitioners argued the commissioners failed to take into account the broader interests of electricity ratepayers when they voted to change the compensation system for solar energy users. Instead, the petitioners said the PUC decision to gradually reduce the financial incentives offered to homeowners who install solar energy systems “are more likely to raise unnecessarily electricity costs for Maine ratepayers without any countervailing benefits.” “We are giving them one last chance to get this right and to avoid taking us in a backward direction,” said Dylan Voorhees, climate and clean energy director of the Natural Resources Council of Maine.
RESTORE testimony on mining bills
Maine Environmental News - Tuesday, March 21, 2017 

The mining rules presented by the DEP are written with the assumption that Maine should say “yes” to mining — while attempting the impossible, namely, to make industrial mining clean and safe. The DEP rules are not written to give our natural resource protection agencies a good opportunity to say that the short-term benefits of mining are not worth the long-term costs to Maine's fragile and valuable natural environment. By contrast, we support LD 820, An Act to Protect Maine’s Clean Water and Taxpayers from Mining Pollution.
Opinion: Trumping the Wild?
Other - Tuesday, March 21, 2017 

If we put aside Trump’s strange, chaotic behavior in the Oval Office and his odd, narcissistic personality, and key in on the matters important for conservationists—especially public lands and Endangered Species—we can compare Trump to Reagan and Bush, Jr., and perhaps wash away some of the fear we have all been battered with since Inauguration Day. We have been here before and have come through. ~ Dave Foreman, The Rewilding Institute
Opinion: Maine’s experiment with retail competition failed to lower electric bills
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, March 21, 2017 

Nearly two decades ago, Maine embarked on an experiment in retail competition for electricity supply. Does retail competition benefit consumers? From 2012 to 2015, Mainers who bought electricity from competitive suppliers paid $50 million more than they needed to for their electricity. The best way to save money with a competitive supplier is not to buy from a competitive supplier. Maine should use data from utilities to find out if competitive suppliers are actually saving residential and small-business customers money or offering them meaningful choice. If not, Maine should end the retail competition experiment for these customers. ~ Tim Schneider, Maine Office of the Public Advocate
Clean Power Plan hovers in background of Gorsuch hearing
E&E/Greenwire - Tuesday, March 21, 2017 

Democrats will try to pin down Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch on how much deference he would give federal agencies like U.S. EPA, they showed yesterday during the first day of a hearing to advance him. Gorsuch would fill the spot of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, who died last February. He could break ties between justices appointed by Republicans and Democrats. And he could rule on how much power the president has to pursue or forgo climate action.
Group backing South Portland’s Clear Skies ordinance gives city $10,000
Portland Press Herald - Tuesday, March 21, 2017 

The advocacy group Protect South Portland has raised more than $11,000 through a crowd-funding website to support the city’s fight against a federal lawsuit by the Portland Pipe Line Corp. that has already cost more than $1 million in legal fees. Group leaders presented a check for $10,000 to the City Council on Monday night, bringing the total for private contributions to the city’s Clear Skies Legal Defense Fund to $135,242.
Maine Delegates Want to Know How NOAA Will Address Scallop Issues
Associated Press - Tuesday, March 21, 2017 

Two lawmakers from Maine want to know what the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is doing to address trouble in the Atlantic scallop fishing industry. U.S. Sen. Angus King and U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree say NOAA should work to ensure sustainability in the high-value fishery. A disagreement over the right to fish for the scallops has recently pitted small boats against big boats in the northern Gulf of Maine, a key fishing area. The federal government maintains different rules for the small- and big-boat fisheries, though they work some common areas. Pingree and King say they've heard concerns that the scallops are being overfished.
How LePage found a Land for Maine’s Future project he can support
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, March 21, 2017 

Bucking his pattern of opposing taxpayer-funded conservation projects, Gov. Paul LePage is backing a proposal that could clinch a $5.7 million easement on property that includes a major maple forest in Somerset County. The Big Six Forest is widely seen as worth protecting, and LePage’s early support is perfunctory, yet notable in part because of the governor’s past criticism of the Land for Maine’s Future program and past insinuations of corruption. Big Six’s owner is a LePage donor. It could also spark a wider policy debate: While LePage’s office couched support for the project as consistent with his jobs-minded approach, a land trust official said it shows how the governor has favored rural conservation over more accessible projects near population centers.
Repeal of Obama drilling rule stalls in the Senate
Other - Tuesday, March 21, 2017 

The GOP’s effort to roll back contentious Obama-era regulations is hitting a snag. Some Republican senators are coming out against a resolution that would repeal an Interior Department regulation governing oil and natural gas drilling on federal land. The rule is designed to cut down on the release of methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said she is “leaning against” the resolution.
Jamies Pond timber harvest project in Hallowell, Manchester ahead of schedule
Kennebec Journal - Tuesday, March 21, 2017 

Work to remove trees and improve wildlife habitat at the nearly 1,000-acre property should finish early, state wildlife department officials said at a recent meeting.
Letter: Monument not harming economy
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, March 21, 2017 

There’s been a lot said lately about “fake news.” A perfect example is Gov. Paul LePage’s misinformation in his letter to President Donald Trump asking him to reverse the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument designation. He claims the people of Maine and the Katahdin region don’t want it, that it’s damaged our economy, and threatens our rich heritage. But the governor couldn’t be more wrong. ~ Shelley Farrington, Millinocket
Does ‘green energy’ have hidden health and environmental costs?
Other - Monday, March 20, 2017 

There are a number of available low-carbon technologies to generate electricity. But are they really better than fossil fuels and nuclear power? To answer that question, one needs to compare not just the emissions of different power sources but also the health benefits and the threats to ecosystems of green energy. Stopping global warming will require a transformation of electricity production. But it is important to avoid various environmental pitfalls in this transition, such as disrupting ecosystems and wildlife or causing air pollution.
GlobEcoMaine aims to replace the kitchen sponge
Mainebiz - Monday, March 20, 2017 

Phil Pastore, founder and managing director of GlobEcoMaine LLC, knew he had a good idea when he realized wood pulp could be made into strong cloth that was biodegradable. He founded GlobEco in 2014 and started selling cloth made from biodegradable wood fiber in July 2015, backed by a $240,000 Community Development Block Grant that was matched by more than $300,000 from CEI. He says a package containing two of GlobEco's Durafresh 9-1/2-by-11-inch cleaning cloths can replace 40 rolls of paper towels. The challenge for Pastore and COO Jeff Laniewski is to grow by bringing most of the production for the cloths to Maine. They currently use trees from Canada that are shipped to Vietnam for pulping and then other parts of Asia to be woven and spun into material before they are finished in the company's Dover-Foxcroft factory.
LePage's budget proposal cuts funding for three 'incubator' programs
Mainebiz - Monday, March 20, 2017 

Three incubator programs within the Applied Technology Development Center system are slated to be "zeroed out" in Gov. Paul LePage's $6.8 billion two-year state budget proposal. The impacted programs are: Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development's 15-week Top Gun training program, which assisted more than 140 small businesses in 2016. Maine Aquaculture Innovation Center, which sponsors innovative research and development projects involving food, pharmaceuticals, and other products from sustainable aquatic systems. Target Technology Center at UMaine, which is the home of the UpStart Incubator that provides coaching services and support to entrepreneurs in order to build competitive, market-oriented companies.
Blog: Connections between Monica Wood’s Papermaker and life in Bangor
Bangor Daily News - Monday, March 20, 2017 

Saturday evening, I attended the Penobscot Theatre Company’s production of Papermaker, written by Maine author and playwright, Monica Wood. Papermaker follows two families whose worlds are centered around a paper mill in the fictional town of Abbot Falls—but in two very different ways. What Papermaker shows through a poignant, relatable and often humorous story, is what is sacrificed when we don’t have empathy for others—what happens when we choose to ignore the struggle of somebody different than us. ~ Rebecca Reisman
Dozens fight back over Maine’s proposed mining rules
Bangor Daily News - Monday, March 20, 2017 

Dozens of Mainers showed up in Augusta on the first day of spring with a familiar message for members of the Legislature: open pit metal mining is too risky for Maine. More than 40 citizens, plus additional representatives from environmental groups, voiced their opposition to large scale metal mining and to proposed regulations that could open the door for such mining to start up again in Maine during a public hearing Monday before the Maine Legislature’s Joint Environment and Natural Resources Committee. For some, it was the third time testifying against proposed mining regulations submitted by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection in attempts to implement a controversial 2012 law.
Maine environmental groups back rewrite of metallic mining rules
Portland Press Herald - Monday, March 20, 2017 

Several of Maine’s major environmental groups are coalescing behind a proposed rewrite of metallic mining rules after years of opposition to earlier versions sought by state regulators. But others are urging lawmakers to impose a moratorium or an all-out ban on the industry in Maine, highlighting divisions even among mining skeptics over an issue bogged down in the Legislature for five years. “I think the most likely thing to happen is nothing,” said Rep. Ralph Chapman, a Brooksville Democrat whose district includes two contaminated mine sites. “I would not like to see it left in this legal limbo. That is untenable.”
Six hunters accused of illegally shooting snowshoe hares
Portland Press Herald - Monday, March 20, 2017 

Five hunters from Massachusetts and one from Maine were issued summons after the hunters shot 87 snowshoe hares on Great Duck Island in Frenchboro, 67 more than their limit, according to the Maine Warden Service.
Trump aides cause friction at EPA
E&E/Greenwire - Monday, March 20, 2017 

White House political appointees are clashing with U.S. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. Staffers installed on the Trump administration's "beachhead team" at EPA have been at odds with the agency's new chief since Pruitt and his aides arrived at headquarters last month. The internal conflicts at EPA have already resulted in one high-profile departure, and the White House's liaison to the agency has been shut out of meetings by Pruitt. One source who's in touch with political employees at EPA said "things are a mess" at that agency, citing infighting among top political officials.
Pruitt's Okla. posse arrives at agency
E&E/Greenwire - Monday, March 20, 2017 

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has brought on several staffers who either worked under him when he was Oklahoma attorney general or were part of his campaign team. Sarah Greenwalt, who was general counsel for the Oklahoma Office of the Attorney General, has joined EPA as senior counsel. Lincoln Ferguson, who was press secretary for the Oklahoma attorney general's office, has joined EPA's public affairs office. Millan Hupp, a political consultant who was part of Pruitt's campaign team in Oklahoma, has joined the agency to handle advance work. Her sister, Sydney Hupp, another former Pruitt campaign aide, has joined EPA as well to work as a scheduler. All four individuals started at EPA last week.
Hunters busted for killing 87 snowshoe hares on remote Maine island
Bangor Daily News - Monday, March 20, 2017 

Maine game wardens have busted a group of hunters who killed 87 snowshoe hares, 67 over the legal limit, on a remote island. The Nature Conservancy owns 245 acres or about 90 percent of Great Duck Island. TNC does allow hunting on its land on the island, provided all state and federal regulations are followed, but it has little information about the size of the island’s hare population. College of the Atlantic has a summer research program on Great Duck Island, where students study the island’s seabird colonies and other natural phenomena.
Proposed Maine Mining Rules Draw Criticism, Support at Hearing
Maine Public - Monday, March 20, 2017 

Environmentalists and residents of Aroostook County converged on the State House Monday to testify on a slate of bills designed to allow, limit or ban metal mining in Maine. Lawmakers are reviewing seven different proposals. One is a bill that contains the mining rules unanimously adopted by the Board of Environmental Protection that would allow mining operators to apply for a permit. Other proposals would either limit or ban metal mining altogether. One proposal, by Democratic Sen. Brownie Carson, would allow mining but alter the rules approved by the BEP. Carson's proposal would also prohibit mining in or under lakes, rivers, wetlands, state parks and the Allagash Wilderness Waterway.
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Maine fears lost lobster 
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Photo: Maine Lobster Festival 1947


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