January 18, 2018  
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Maine Environmental News
Announcement - Wednesday, January 17, 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
Feeding Maine Photography Exhibit, thru Feb 23
Event - Posted - Tuesday, January 16, 2018 

Feeding Maine: Growing Access to Good Food is a photo exhibit by Brendan Bullock, which seeks to document the many people working to address hunger in the state. Created by Maine Farmland Trust and Good Shepherd Food Bank. At University of Southern Maine Lewiston Auburn College, Atrium Art Gallery, January 16 to February 23, opening event January 19.
February Vacation Camps, Feb 20-23
Event - Posted - Tuesday, January 16, 2018 

Maine Audubon Vacation Camps at Fields Pond in Holden and Gilsland Farm in Falmouth, February 20-23.
Nominations for Source Awards due Feb 12
Announcement - Tuesday, January 16, 2018 

Maine Sunday Telegram Source Awards recognize the individuals, nonprofits, businesses and institutions in Maine working to safeguard the state’s spectacular natural environment. Deadline for nominations is February 12.
Apprenticeships at MCHT Preserves
Announcement - Tuesday, January 16, 2018 

Maine Coast Heritage Trust has paid apprenticeships at Aldermere Farm and Ericsson Fields in Rockport. Each apprenticeship will be up to 9-months starting in March and will include a monthly stipend, benefits, shared housing, training and supervision. Applications are due Feb. 5
Public Meeting on Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument Management Plan, Jan 24
Event - Posted - Sunday, January 14, 2018 

The National Park Service will host a public meeting to discuss winter use within the monument. At Katahdin Region Higher Education Center, East Millinocket, January 24, 6-8 pm.
Land-use history of Midcoast, Jan 23
Event - Posted - Sunday, January 14, 2018 

Forestry experts Lloyd Irland and Ken Lausten will explore the land-use history of Midcoast Maine. At Camden Public Library, January 23, 7 pm.
Friends of Casco Bay Annual Members Meeting, Jan 23
Event - Posted - Sunday, January 14, 2018 

Recognition for those who help protect the health of Casco Bay, an updated Casco Bay Health Index based on data collected by volunteer Citizen Stewards over the past 25 years, and new program directions. At DiMillo's, Portland, January 23, 5:30-8 pm.
Join the REAL public hearing to stop oil drilling in Maine waters, Jan 22
Event - Posted - Saturday, January 13, 2018 

The Trump Administration is hosting a sham ‘public meeting’ on January 22 in the Augusta Civic Center to hide Mainers’ vocal opposition to their plan to open up the Atlantic Ocean, including the Maine coast, to oil and gas drilling. Conservation groups will host a "real public hearing" at the Civic Center in the Aroostook Room where there will be a microphone and videographer to capture all public comments.
Offshore drilling public meeting, Jan 22
Action Alert - Saturday, January 13, 2018 

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management will hold a public meeting on a proposal to open Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) areas to oil and gas drilling off the Atlantic (and other) coasts. At Augusta Civic Center, Jan 22, 3-7 pm.
Scouting for Mammal Tracks and Signs, Jan 20
Event - Posted - Saturday, January 13, 2018 

Sandra Mitchell will follow up on the November tracks and signs class in the field. At Northeast Penjajawoc Preserve, January 20, 10-11:30 am.
Nature Journaling, Jan 20
Event - Posted - Saturday, January 13, 2018 

Andrea Lani will lead a nature journaling workshop at Viles Arboretum, Augusta, January 20, 10 am to 2 pm, $35 for Arboretum members, $45 for nonmembers.
Prowl for Owls, Jan 19
Event - Posted - Friday, January 12, 2018 

Maine Master Naturalist Kit Pfeiffer will lead a walk scouting for owls. At Carl and Barbara Segerstrom Preserve at Squam Creek, Westport Island, January 19, 6 pm. Sponsored by Kennebec Estuary Land Trust.
Futures of the Maine Waterfront, Jan 19
Event - Posted - Friday, January 12, 2018 

This forum will feature panel discussions on the future of our coastal and island economy, presented with trends and analysis by key coastal leaders. At The Westin, Portland, January 19, 2-8:30 pm, $35-150. Sponsored by the Island Institute.
Meet the Feet: Mammal Tracks and Sign, Jan 18
Event - Posted - Thursday, January 11, 2018 

Dorcas Miller presents an evening of hands-on learning about Maine mammals. At Belfast Library, January 18, 6:30 pm. Sponsored by Belfast Bay Watershed Coalition.
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News Items
Opinion: Maine business tax break program has failed; lawmakers need better ideas to create jobs
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, January 10, 2018 

Pine Tree Development Zones, one of Maine’s many tax breaks for corporations, is set to expire at the end of 2018, and lawmakers are starting to discuss whether to extend it. They should let it expire. The program was created in 2003 to encourage job creation in economically distressed areas using a slate of tax breaks and lower utility rates. Over time, the program expanded to cover the entire state. But, like other tax breaks that deliver windfalls to corporations, it’s failed to deliver any meaningful benefit to Maine families or Maine’s economy. ~ Sarah Austin, Maine Center for Economic Policy
Professors question Maine university system’s push to limit political activity
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, January 10, 2018 

The University of Maine System is weighing a new policy on “Institutional Authority on Political Matters,” which states that all legislative advocacy must be coordinated through the chancellor’s office, and only by certain high-level employees. Faculty groups worry it might be a step toward limiting how and where professors and researchers are allowed to express their views or share their research and expertise. Jim McClymer, president of the faculty union Associated Faculties of the Universities of Maine, said, “A physicist or engineer could not comment on fears of [radiofrequency] radiation, or a wildlife expert on bear trapping or hunting, or a political scientist commenting on anything. Pretty much anything of import ends up being political in a democracy or republic.”
A "Moosy and Mossey Place"
Maine History - Wednesday, January 10, 2018 

A research note on Thoreau's Maine Wilderness by Megan Vhay.
Opinion: Why spend $12 million on ineffective program? It’s zombie politics
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, January 10, 2018 

Pine Tree Zones appeared with a lot of optimism in 2003. The idea was to create jobs in economically disadvantaged parts of the state. The program packaged various tax credits and discounted energy rates in order to reward companies that created new jobs, either by attracting businesses to Maine or helping existing ones expand. The zones have been expanded over the years and now include most of the state. About 200 companies receive benefits, costing the taxpayers about $12 million a year. There’s only one thing missing: the jobs. ~ Greg Kesich
Letter: Climate has changed greatly in the last six decades
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, January 10, 2018 

In January 1956, I was a young Marine stationed in Portland. I was one of a group of Marines who volunteered to hike from Kittery to Portland to help bring attention to the March of Dimes, which, at the time, was known as the Maine Polio Drive. We hiked along the shoulder of a highway, with a Jeep in front and a Maine State Police cruiser behind. The recent weather situation reminds me that, at the time, 62 years ago, the ground was dry and we encountered no snow or ice during our march Semper Fidelis. ~ Jack M. Sands, former staff sergeant, U.S. Marine Corps
Letter: City’s synthetic pesticide ban not based on science
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, January 10, 2018 

The synthetic pesticide ban recently approved by the Portland City Council may create an “organic” city, but it won’t create a green city or a beautiful city. As a scientist, I find it disappointing that the City Council voted based upon emotion and scare tactics by activists rather than scientific data. Synthetic pesticides have all been extensively tested under strict protocol, whereas many natural products have not. I do not work for any chemical company. I am not paid by any chemical company or association. I do not own Monsanto stock. ~ James Albright, Ph.D., Bristol
Letter: Help fight climate change by eliminating plastic products
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, January 10, 2018 

One of the changes that I can point to as a 70-something-year-old citizen is the general acceptance of recycling among the American public. I recycle all my metal, glass, paper and plastic that is recyclable. I hate the idea that it might go into the trash barrel and end up in a landfill. I have been saving, buying and repurposing glass containers. Glass is easier to clean, and when it is time for it to go, it can be melted down and made into new glass. Plastic is made largely from petroleum products. These are a major factor in shifting the climate of our planet. They pollute the air when burned, groundwater when fracked and the ocean when carelessly disposed of. Ask Rep. Bruce Poliquin to sign on to the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus. ~ Karen Tolstrup, Kennebunk
Climate and Weather Disasters Cost U.S. a Record $306 Billion in 2017
Inside Climate News - Tuesday, January 9, 2018 

In 2017, it was warmer than average in every state across the lower 48 and Alaska for the third consecutive year. Each of the five warmest years since record-keeping began in 1895 have come since 2006. But when it comes to damage, 2017 stood apart. Last year, 16 weather disasters inflicted $1 billion or more in losses. Damages from climate and weather disasters in the United States in 2017 totaled $306 billion, shattering the previous record by more than $90 billion.
Katahdin Collaborative initiative looks to bolster region
The County - Tuesday, January 9, 2018 

The Katahdin Collaborative, a regional platform for municipalities, dozens of community groups, businesses, clubs and organizations, is launching a regional visioning process called “Katahdin Gazetteer: a roadmap to the future.” The process kicks off in February 2018 and will take approximately 12 months to complete. Future iQ, a global consulting firm specializing in future and strategic planning, has been hired to facilitate the process. The Katahdin Gazetteer is the first region-wide initiative to create a long-term vision and action plan for the future.
Record Breaking Land Protection by Midcoast Conservancy
Other - Tuesday, January 9, 2018 

Midcoast Conservancy announces the permanent protection of one of the largest and most important parcels of land in the Midcoast. The property is land on which Hidden Valley Nature Center (HVNC) operates, almost 1,000 acres with over a mile of frontage on the Egypt Road in Jefferson. Jody Jones, Midcoast Conservancy’s Executive Director, says, “This acquisition boldly confirms the driving force behind the merger in 2016 of four conservation organizations to form Midcoast Conservancy. A key aim of the merger was to enable large scale protection of land. The Hidden Valley Nature Center property is the largest single land conservation project ever completed by the organization or any of its four founding organizations. And it has been done in record time.”
Oil tanker burning in East China Sea could cause environmental disaster
Associated Press - Tuesday, January 9, 2018 

Beating rain, fire and 10-foot waves are making it impossible for rescue crew to reach the Sanchi, an oil tanker on fire in the East China Sea. Three days after it collided with another ship off the coast of Shanghai, the tanker is still ablaze. Since the crash, the Sanchi has been billowing thick plumes of black smoke into the air. Unless the fire can be brought under control, officials worry that the ship might explode and sink, releasing its 1 million barrels of oil into the water.
UMaine System 2 years ahead of its goal of sourcing 20 percent of its food locally
Portland Press Herald - Tuesday, January 9, 2018 

The University of Maine System announced Tuesday that it already has surpassed the goal it set to source 20 percent of its food from local growers and producers by 2020. A leader in sourcing local foods to feed its students and staff, the university system said it now is getting 23 percent of its food from local growers and processors. This represents more than $770,000 in sales for local growers and processors as of November 2017 and means the university system is on pace to spend approximately $1.5 million this fiscal year on locally sourced food from 134 different Maine food producers.
At agriculture show, farmers share strategies to cope with changing weather
Kennebec Journal - Tuesday, January 9, 2018 

As part of the annual Agricultural Trades Show, a handful of farmers were brought together Tuesday for a panel discussion on how changes in weather patterns and extreme changes in weather have affected their farming operations. Organized by the University of Maine Climate and Agriculture Network, the panel featured five farmers from around the state, each of them specializing in one area. They were not there to discuss the politics surrounding theories of climate change or why climate change might be happening but rather to stick to the weather.
Barry Higgins honored at the Maine Agricultural Trades Show
Maine Government News - Tuesday, January 9, 2018 

Barry Higgins of Maple Lane Farms (Charleston, ME) received the Commissioner’s Distinguished Service Award today at the 77th Annual Maine Agricultural Trades Show. Maple Lane Farms is a fourth-generation family farm and has been at the same location since 1935 when Stanley Higgins bought the farm. Today, the whole family is incorporated into the business. The farm has nearly 1600 acres in Penobscot and Piscataquis Counties, with 500 acres in Corn, 60 acres in barley and the rest in hay production. They keep about 400 head of dairy and beef cattle.
Help wanted: Maine farmers use agricultural fair to connect, find workers
Kennebec Journal - Tuesday, January 9, 2018 

The 77th annual Agricultural Trades Show in Augusta kicked off Tuesday with a job fair and exposition at the Augusta Civic Center. Fewer children are growing up on farms in Maine, and the schools don’t have the same kind of introductions to agriculture programs that are offered in other states. But at the same time, the industry is undergoing expansion and the need for workers is growing.
Maine one of two states where more people are dying than being born
Other - Tuesday, January 9, 2018 

Business Insider - The US Census Bureau recently released its estimates of state populations for 2017. Maine's population was 1,335,907. One of the components is "natural population change," or net births minus deaths. For most states, natural change was positive, with more births than deaths. However, Maine was one of two states that had more deaths than births: Maine saw a natural population decrease of 0.9 per 1,000 residents.
Americold launches initial public stock offering
Portland Press Herald - Tuesday, January 9, 2018 

Americold Realty Trust, the Atlanta-based company that plans to build a cold-storage facility on Portland’s western waterfront, has launched an initial public offering with the goal of raising up to $384 million.
Acadia broke another attendance record in 2017
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, January 9, 2018 

With final tallies still outstanding, it’s already clear that a record-setting number of people visited Acadia National Park for the second straight year in 2017, officials said Tuesday. The park counted 3,497,187 visitors at the end of November. That’s 560,601 more than came into Acadia for 11 months of 2016 and breaks the park’s record 3.3 million visitations that year. Among the challenges park workers face is balancing the desire to have as many park visitors as possible with the need to preserve the park and the quality of the visitor experience.
Regulators delay power contract essential to UMaine floating wind farm
Portland Press Herald - Tuesday, January 9, 2018 

The Public Utilities Commission decided Tuesday to reopen terms of the 2013 contract between Aqua Ventus and Central Maine Power Co. because of changing energy markets. The commissioners noted that current wholesale electric prices are roughly 7 cents per kilowatt-hour, while the demonstration wind project would start at 23 cents per kwh and escalate yearly at more than 2 percent under the initial terms of the power agreement. In contrast, a large solar project recently approved by the PUC, Dirigo Solar, has an initial price of 3.4 cents per kwh. A leading environmental group, the Natural Resources Council of Maine, that supports the project said it was disappointed but not surprised by the PUC’s action.


Corporate Tax Cuts Could Mean ‘Quite Substantial’ Savings In New Englanders’ Electricity Bills
Maine Public - Tuesday, January 9, 2018 

New England electricity customers could get a direct benefit from a cut in federal corporate taxes — lower utility bills. Consumer advocates in New England are calling on regulators and utilities to turn over to ratepayers any savings from a reduction in the corporate income tax rate, which the recent tax law knocked down by 40 percent.
Deadline Looming For Maine's Elver Fishing Lottery
Maine Public - Tuesday, January 9, 2018 

The deadline to enter Maine's lottery for new elver fishing licenses is coming next Monday, Jan. 15. Maine Department of Marine Resources spokesman Jeff Nichols says this year, there are 13 new licenses available for Maine residents who haven't had their eligibility suspended, and who are at least 15 years old. In the last season, elvers were worth more than $1,300 per pound. Overall, the fishery brought in $13 million.
Rescued Maine seal named for Scarlett Johansson released to the wild
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, January 9, 2018 

A seal abandoned by its mother in Phippsburg was rescued, rehabilitated and now released back into the wild. In keeping with a recent naming trend by the National Marine Life Center, where the animals are rehabilitated, the Maine seal was named for a celebrity. In this case, Scarlett Johanseal, after actress Scarlett Johansson. A National Marine Life Center official said the center picks a new theme each year for naming its seals, and for the last two seasons, the theme has been “seal-ebrities.”
Zinke Creates Council for Hunting and Shooting Sports
Other - Tuesday, January 9, 2018 

US Dept of Interior - U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke today announced the creation of the Hunting and Shooting Sports Conservation Council. The Council will examine ways to benefit recreational hunting and recreational shooting sports; benefit wildlife resources; and encourage partnership among the public, the sporting conservation organizations, state, tribal, territorial, and federal government.
Baby moose rescued from snow by passersby is put down after observation
Portland Press Herald - Tuesday, January 9, 2018 

A baby moose that was rescued from deep snow by nine people in a small Aroostook County town had to be put down by game wardens because it was sick. The moose, which weighed a couple hundred pounds and was likely born last spring, drew attention from passersby Monday morning as it sat unmoving in deep snow near a roadway. Game wardens took the moose to a more secluded spot and asked the owners of a nearby house to keep an eye on the moose to see if it stayed in the area. Late Monday afternoon, the homeowners notified wardens the moose had not moved all day. When wardens returned, the moose was showing signs indicative of lungworm. The wardens, in consultation with wildlife biologists, decided to put down the moose because of its condition.
Muddying the Clean Water Rule
Other - Tuesday, January 9, 2018 

Center for American Progress - Yesterday afternoon, President Trump spoke in Nashville at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s annual conference. The president called the Clean Water Rule a “disaster” and said that ending the rule “gave [people] back their property.” But this isn’t true. The Clean Water Rule was an important safeguard that protected water sources that feed rivers, lakes, and streams and ensured that drinking water remains clean. The EPA’s decision to end this rule under Trump opens our streams and wetlands—many of which feed our drinking water—to pollutants.
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