December 13, 2017  
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Maine Environmental News
Announcement - Monday, December 11, 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 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
Help wanted: Visitor Center Assistant
Announcement - Monday, December 11, 2017 

Seasonal position, May 1 - October 31, 2018, representing Audubon’s Seabird Restoration Program at the Project Puffin Visitor Center in Rockland.
Free Skiing & Learn-to-Ski Clinics, Dec 16
Event - Posted - Saturday, December 9, 2017 

Waterville Parks & Rec, with support from Friends of Quarry Road, will provide free trail passes, free rentals, and free learn-to-ski clinics at Quarry Road Trails, December 16.
Meadow Brook/Hurds Pond Preserve Hike, Dec 16
Event - Posted - Saturday, December 9, 2017 

Cloe Chunn will lead a hike of Meadow Brook/Hurds Pond, a preserve of Coastal Mountains Land Trust. Meet at Swanville Transfer Station, December 16, 10 am. Sponsored by Belfast Bay Watershed Coalition.
Tax bill would slam the brakes on solar and wind energy
Action Alert - Friday, December 8, 2017 

The tax bill passed by the Senate last Friday includes an obscure provision that could pull the rug out from under solar and wind power. The House version also takes aim at renewable energy by rolling back key tax credits. These provisions "would have a devastating ... impact on wind and solar energy," according to renewable energy industry leaders. ~ Environment Maine
Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, Dec 14
Event - Posted - Thursday, December 7, 2017 

Tim Hudson, Superintendent, will take you through the landscape of Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument with pictures. At Belfast Free Library, December 14, 6:30 pm. Sponsored by Belfast Bay Watershed Coalition.
Whales of the Gulf of Maine: A Naturalist’s Report, Dec 14
Event - Posted - Thursday, December 7, 2017 

Zack Klyver, chief naturalist for the Bar Harbor Whale Watch Company and founder of Flukes whale watch ecotours, will present an engaging review of the 2017 whale watch season. At Schoodic Institute, Winter Harbor, December 14, 12 pm.
Olive oil tasting, Dec 13
Event - Posted - Wednesday, December 6, 2017 

FIORE Artisan Olive Oils & Vinegars will host an evening to support the Brunswick Topsham Land Trust at its tasting room in Brunswick, December 13, 5-7 pm.
The Arctic Needs Your Help
Action Alert - Tuesday, December 5, 2017 

Buried deep within the Senate tax bill is a provision to open the pristine Arctic Refuge, a national treasure, to oil and gas drilling, which will cause widespread pollution and harm to the wildlife and people who call this place home. Express your disappointment to Senator Susan Collins and urge her to protect our natural legacy by working to remove this damaging language before the tax bill becomes law. ~ Maine Conservation Voters
Birds from the Footbridge in Belfast, Dec 9
Event - Posted - Saturday, December 2, 2017 

Join Ron Harrell and Gary Gulezian to watch ducks, loons and other birds in the harbor. At the Belfast Footbridge, December 9, 8-10 am. Organized by Belfast Bay Watershed Coalition.
Win $1,000 L.L.Bean shopping spree and an outing with David Sibley
Announcement - Friday, December 1, 2017 

Wildlife Acoustics, makers of the Song Sleuth bird identifying app, launched the Sibley Sweepstakes on December 1. Ends March 1. No purchase necessary to enter.
Baxter State Park sign auction, ends Dec 6
Announcement - Thursday, November 30, 2017 

Auction of retired Baxter State Park signs, plus the historic dinner bell from Kidney Pond Camps. Friends Baxter State Park will donate half the proceeds to Baxter State Park, and half will support FBSP programs. Ends December 6.
Blazing Ahead: the Rivalry that Built the Appalachian Trail, Dec 7
Event - Posted - Thursday, November 30, 2017 

Jeffrey Ryan tells the story of the unlikely creation of the Appalachian Trail. At Bangor Public Library, December 7, 6 pm. Sponsored by Appalachian Mountain Club Maine Chapter.
Celebrate CREA and the Season, Dec 7
Event - Posted - Thursday, November 30, 2017 

Meet new Executive Director Wendy Van Damme, hear about new programs and plans, and contemplate the joy of winter activity at the Cathance River Education Alliance’s 235 acre nature preserve in Topsham. At Frontier Cafe, Brunswick, December 7, 4:30 to 6:30 pm, RSVP.
Land Conservation in Maine, Dec 7
Event - Posted - Tuesday, November 28, 2017 

Speakers: Angela Twitchell, Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust; Bill Patterson, The Nature Conservancy; Warren Whitney, Maine Coast Heritage Trust. At Curtis Memorial Library, Brunswick, December 7, 7 pm. Sponsored by Appalachian Mountain Club Maine Chapter.
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News Items
Already on Brink, Right Whales Are Pushed Closer to the Edge
Other - Thursday, December 7, 2017 

Yale Environment 360 - North Atlantic right whales, decimated by centuries of whaling, had staged a tentative comeback in recent decades. But the whales’ recovery is now imperiled by collisions with ships and entanglement with fishing lines — threats that could be mitigated with long-overdue controls.
Maine Attorney General joins lawsuit against Trump EPA for failing to meet Clean Air Act requirements
Maine Government News - Thursday, December 7, 2017 

Attorney General Janet Mills has joined 14 attorneys general in suing the Environmental Protection Agency for failing to meet Clean Air Act deadlines. The Clean Air Act requires the EPA to designate areas of the country that are in “attainment” or “non-attainment” with public health standards. The EPA was required to issue these designations by October 1, 2017. In June, the EPA announced it would delay making the required designations. In August, Mills and other attorneys general sued the EPA for illegally delaying the designations that show what areas of the country are meeting the Clean Air Act standards and which are not. The day after the lawsuit was filed the EPA announced they would not delay making the designations.
Maine among 14 states suing EPA to enforce air quality standards
Associated Press - Thursday, December 7, 2017 

Fourteen states, including Maine, announced Thursday that they are suing the Trump administration over what they say is a failure to enforce smog standards. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has not designated any areas of the country as having unhealthy air, missing an Oct. 1 deadline. Nationwide, the tighter restrictions were projected to save between 316 and 660 lives each year, prevent nearly 900 hospital visits and keep children from missing 160,000 school days, bringing $4.5 billion in health benefits.
October Windstorm Took Down CMP’s $200 Million Smart Meter Network
Maine Public - Thursday, December 7, 2017 

When power went out to some half a million Mainers after the October windstorm, another system went down too — Central Maine Power’s $200 million smart-grid communications network that, among other things, was supposed to improve outage communications and storm recovery. Rep. Seth Berry is spearheading a legislative inquiry into the storm response by both CMP and Emera. Even before that gets going, the state’s Public Utilities Commission next week formally opens its inquiry into the storm response.
New Maine lead standard fuels 10-fold jump in interventions after children test positive
Portland Press Herald - Thursday, December 7, 2017 

The number of Maine households notified of childhood lead exposure has increased tenfold in the first year since the state implemented a new law designed to combat lead poisoning with early intervention. Households representing 386 children were notified that the children had tested positive for lead exposure in the year that ended in September 2017. Under the new standard established by the law, that’s more than 10 times the number of households that would have been notified if the old standard had been in place.
Corinna couple shows off cast of mountain lion track
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, December 7, 2017 

After a couple of news stories on reported mountain lion sightings, Esther Buck of Corinna rolled out the welcome mat at their cozy hilltop home in order to tell the story that she and her husband, Terry Buck, saw unfold about 30 years ago. The difference between the Buck story and that of many others: The couple has what they consider proof of the encounter in the form of a plaster cast of the cat’s paw print.
Group that cleans beaches from Maine to Mass. gets a financial boost
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, December 7, 2017 

During hundreds of beach clean-ups last year, 10,000 pounds of trash was removed from the local coastline, said Jen Kennedy, co-founder of the Portsmouth, NH-based Blue Ocean Society for Marine Conservation. To ensure volunteers keep up their good work, the New Hampshire governor’s Executive Council on Wednesday approved a $25,000 grant to the nonprofit group. The grant is allocated for collecting marine debris, monitoring and prevention efforts, as well as to increase public awareness of marine conservation.
Scott Pruitt rejects EPA's mission
Other - Thursday, December 7, 2017 

The Hill - Scott Pruitt, head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, is testifying before a House subcommittee today and a Senate committee in January. These hearings will be Congress’s first chance to get answers from Pruitt since he took office. Pruitt has crusaded against science. In late October, he banned independent scientists who receive EPA funding from serving on its science advisory committees. He made key appointments that increase industry representation while slashing the percentage of academic researchers. It is the latest evidence that Pruitt is rejecting the EPA’s core mission of protecting public health.
Great moose photos and funny comments
George Smith BDN Outdoor News Blog - Thursday, December 7, 2017 

I’m a fan of Paul Cyr’s photography, and his new book, "Uses for Mooses," published by Down East Books, demonstrates why. The moose photos in this book are amazing. And the book is also a fun read, with lots of humorous comments to go with the photographs. [Originally published in 2000 by author Bill Silliker Jr.]
Editorial: Donald Trump’s unprecedented assault on Mother Nature
Boston Globe - Thursday, December 7, 2017 

Donald Trump’s decision to slash the size of two national monuments in Utah is an unprecedented attack on public lands that should worry anyone who cares about having access to pristine wild places or preserving priceless archaeological treasures. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s report also seems to open the door to timbering at Mount Katahdin in Maine — or as he puts it, “active timber management” — and to commercial fishing in the rich aquatic ecosystem of the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts off Georges Bank. The Antiquities Act in 1906 gave the president singular authority to act quickly to protect landmarks of “historic or scientific interest” in an era of rapacious robber barons. The same law, however, stipulates that only Congress can rescind or reduce protections. When it comes to national monuments, Trump has no right to repeal and replace.
Letter: Save the Clean Power Plan
Sun Journal - Thursday, December 7, 2017 

At this moment, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is holding a public comment period over its decision to repeal the Clean Power Plan. The plan provides lifesaving air pollution reductions, including the first federally created limits on carbon pollution from power plants. EPA’s analysis shows that the Clean Power Plan will prevent 90,000 pediatric asthma attacks and up to 4,500 premature deaths every year by 2030. Maine has the highest asthma rate in the country and is downwind for pollution from many power plants. I urge the EPA to prioritize the health of Americans and protect the life-saving Clean Power Plan. ~ John Chandler, Auburn
Maine utility: Our hydro project has lowest cost
Other - Wednesday, December 6, 2017 

CommonWealth mag (MA) - In the public jockeying for a multibillion-dollar clean energy contract with Massachusetts, Central Maine Power on Wednesday said its project would deliver the largest amount of hydroelectricity from Quebec at the lowest cost. Central Maine Power said its proposal for delivering the power to the New England power grid is cheaper than competitors because the electricity will be carried over regular, above-ground power lines along a corridor owned by the company. By contrast, the TDI-New England transmission line will run underground or under Lake Champlain and parts of the Eversource Northern Pass transmission line running through New Hampshire will also be buried underground.
Waterville Winter Farmers Market finally finds a home
Mainebiz - Wednesday, December 6, 2017 

Waterville's Downtown Winter Farmers Market has had a tough time finding a home since its launch three years ago. When the winter market starts Thursday, it will be in a new home in the Alfond Youth Center. "With Alfond Youth Center as a new partner, I feel like our farmers' market is positioned to have a significant impact on the health and well being of this community," said Kelly LaCasse, co-owner with her husband, Mark, of The Maine Meal and a vendor at the market. The market's opening coincides with the youth center opening its new geodesic dome greenhouse, part of the plan to have the kids grow vegetables year-round.
The Environmental Scandal in Scott Pruitt’s Backyard
POLITICO - Wednesday, December 6, 2017 

Former residents of Tar Creek, Oklahoma, one of the dirtiest places in America, want to know why Trump’s EPA chief didn’t prosecute allegations of wrongdoing during a federal buyout program.
4-0 vote in favor of Maine forest product jobs against illegal Chinese subsidies Maine forest product
WAGM-TV - Wednesday, December 6, 2017 

WAGM-TV [verbatim] In October Congressman Poliquin testified in front of international trade commission. He condemned illegal Chinese subsidies hurting Maine wood product jobs. “We won and what it means is these illegal subsidies because of those when these Chinese imports hit American sole there will be 180 % tariffs attached to those products which levels the playing field and that means that our plywood manufacturer in Presque Isle will be able to compete on level playing field.”
L.L. Bean holiday sales steady as company readies buyouts
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, December 6, 2017 

L.L. Bean’s holiday sales have been steady but not record-breaking, as the company prepares to offer employees buyouts aimed at freeing up cash. The family-owned company does not publicly release sales figures. Spokeswoman Carolyn Beem said sales leading up to the holidays have been up and down, but “there is no reason to be concerned for the future of the company.”
Collins Draws Ire From Conservation Groups Over Vote On Senate Tax Bill, Allowing Arctic Drilling
Maine Public - Wednesday, December 6, 2017 

The Senate tax bill includes a provision to open up 1.5 million acres to oil and gas exploration. And because U.S. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine supported the tax bill, she now finds herself under fire from some environmental allies. This week the Natural Resources Council of Maine took out an online newspaper ad expressing disappointment in Collins’ vote. Maine Conservation Voters also expressed disappointment in Collins. Supporters, such as Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, see potential oil drilling in the ANWR as a way to pay for a small portion of the massive tax cuts.
CMP touts its bid to build transmission line through Maine
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, December 6, 2017 

Central Maine Power is facing tough competition in a $1 billion bid to build a transmission line from Canada through Maine and held a news conference Wednesday to challenge its rivals and assert itself as the cheapest and most-reliable choice to supply Massachusetts with hydroelectricity. “The New England Clean Energy Connect will deliver up to 20 percent more clean energy for the region’s utility customers with lower construction costs than any of the competing proposals that are interconnecting with Hydro-Québec,” said Bob Kump, CEO of CMP’s parent company, Avangrid Networks. CMP-Avangrid’s claims were immediately contested by Martin Murray, manager for Eversource Media Relations in New Hampshire and a spokesman for Northern Pass.
Blog: How sportsmen pay the way for wildlife management
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, December 6, 2017 

In the annual Wildlife Division Research & Management Report, Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Division Director Judy Camuso notes, “…the majority (74%) of Maine residents do not understand how the Department is funded, with many residents believing the Department is funded entirely through general state tax dollars. The reality is that approximately 90% of the annual MDIFW budget comes from sportsman dollars.” Most staff salaries, administrative costs and operations of MDIFW’s Bureau of Resource Management are funded by sportsmen through the collection of federal excise taxes on sporting equipment. ~ John Floyd


PUC delays change in solar net metering policy until April
Mainebiz - Wednesday, December 6, 2017 

The solar power net metering rule that would change how users are compensated will not go into effect until the end of April, the Maine Public Utilities Commission decided on Tuesday. The rule — which was to have grandfathered existing solar power customers for 15 years under the current incentives but gradually reduced the credit for solar energy that could be used to offset the transmission and distribution portion of the electric bill — originally was to impact anyone who installed solar panels after Jan. 1, 2018. Critics ranging from the Natural Resources Council to the Conservation Law Foundation, as well as the solar industry, said the gradual phase-out of the net metering rule, which was originally put in place to encourage solar power installation, would drastically slow the state's solar industry.
Late-season toxic algae bloom closes most shellfishing areas in Casco Bay
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, December 6, 2017 

A rare late-season toxic algae bloom has closed most of the fertile shellfishing areas in Casco Bay, disrupting the region’s wild-caught and farmed shellfish industry. The state Department of Marine Resources expanded the area of the harvesting ban Tuesday so that it now stretches from Portland Harbor to the west side of Harpswell. The closure was triggered when tests of shellfish flesh showed elevated levels of domoic acid, a naturally occurring toxin that can produce sickness and brain damage in humans.
Big Changes Could Be Coming To East Coast Herring Fishery
Associated Press - Wednesday, December 6, 2017 

Federal fishing regulators are considering changing the way they manage one of the largest fisheries on the East Coast to better account for its impact on the environment and other industries. The regulatory New England Fishery Management Council has released a group of alternatives for how it could change management of Atlantic herring. The small, schooling fish are harvested from Maine to Florida and are used for fish oil, food for humans and bait for fishermen.
Blog: Senator Murkowski’s Sad Bargain
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, December 6, 2017 

The price of Senator Lisa Murkowski’s vote to approve the tax bill and reverse herself on health care was to end 57 years – dating back to the presidency of Dwight Eisenhower – of protecting the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Like her father who preceded her as Alaska’s senator, she has been fighting for years to open up ANWR to oil and gas drilling. It looks like she will finally get her wish. ~ James G. Blaine
The trick to curbing stress and anxiety could be as simple as going outside
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, December 6, 2017 

It’s not a regulated or licensed form of mental health therapy, but the field of “ecotherapy” is gaining ground not only across the country but also here in Maine. Its practitioners advise clients to get outside and connect with nature as part of an overall treatment plan.
Canadian Company Presents Plan For Mining Thousands Of Acres In Northern Maine
Maine Public - Wednesday, December 6, 2017 

More than 75 people turned out Tuesday night in the northern Maine town of Stacyville for an initial presentation by a Canadian mineral exploration company that has purchased nearly 6.900 acres in the region. The Wolfden Resources Corp. purchased the land that includes Pickett Mountain where mineral explorations undertaken in the late 1970s indicated a significant sulfide deposit that could be rich in zinc, copper, silver and lead. The company plans two test borings on the property this month. But Alice Bolstridge, of Presque Isle, said she wasn't convinced by assurances from Wolfden Resources Corp. representatives that, if a mining operation eventually arrives in the region, it won't conflict with other historical uses of the acreage by area residents.
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