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: https://mescorpsurvey.com/
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
Trump Uses 'Art of Distraction' to Push Through Dangerous Policies Like Offshore Drilling, Interior Official Admits
Other - Thursday, March 14, 2019 

At a meeting of the International Association of Geophysical Contractors in February, assistant secretary for land and minerals management Joe Balash told the crowd that Trump's ability to distract the public has made it possible for the administration to forge ahead with a plan to open up the Atlantic Ocean to oil and gas drilling, likely beginning in the coming weeks. "The president has a knack for keeping the attention of the media and the public focused somewhere else while we do all the work that needs to be done," Balash told the trade group, which represents many companies that will likely vie for leases in the Atlantic.
Collins urges support for potato growers in trade talks
Mainebiz - Thursday, March 14, 2019 

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, reiterated her support of the potato industry, including joining a push to make it a priority in trade negotiations with China, when she met recently with members of the Maine Potato Board. Collins is a native of Caribou in the heart of Maine's potato region. The letter, signed by 39 members of Congress from both parties, noted that the inclusion of potatoes in any U.S.-China trade deal would create significant economic growth and result in new jobs.
Lawmakers seek to significantly reduce Maine greenhouse gas emissions by 2050
WGME-TV13 - Thursday, March 14, 2019 

State lawmakers are pushing a bill to significantly reduce Maine greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The bill, which has bipartisan support, could have wide impacts across the state. L.D. 797 aims to limit greenhouse gas pollution and to more effectively use Maine's natural resources. The bill is presented by Democratic State Representative Ralph Tucker of Brunswick, along with a bipartisan team of state senators and representatives. They want Maine's greenhouse gas emissions to be 80 per cent below the 1990 levels by the year 2050.
Panel rejects Maine bill to require labels for foods made with nanotechnology
Associated Press - Thursday, March 14, 2019 

Former Rep. John Eder wanted Maine to require labels for food products made with nanotechnology. Nanotechnology allows scientists to manipulate atoms and molecules and is touted by some as a way to enhance the appearance or nutritional quality of food. Greg Dugal, of HospitalityMaine, said a labeling law would give Maine “outlier status” among the states. The Legislature’s Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee unanimously rejected the labeling idea.
Albion voters to consider food sovereignty at Town Meeting
Morning Sentinel - Thursday, March 14, 2019 

This weekend Albion residents will vote on a food sovereignty ordinance at the annual Town Meeting. The new Local Food and Community Self-Governance Ordinance proposes that Albion promote small-scale farming in the area by exempting local food producers from certain state laws when they sell a product directly to a customer. Over 40 municipalities in the state have adopted a similar food sovereignty ordinance since the Legislature passed the Maine Food Sovereignty Act in June 2017.
Opponents of Waterville bag ban appeal clerk’s determination of Colby voter registrations
Morning Sentinel - Thursday, March 14, 2019 

Opponents of a controversial ban on plastic shopping bags are asking Waterville to take another look at the registrations of 75 voters whose ballots were recently challenged, calling into question the voting eligibility of Colby College students in a last ditch effort to halt the implementation of the bag ban. Debate over the plastic bag ban, which is scheduled to take effect April 22, has dragged on for months. The ban, spearheaded by the Sustain Mid-Maine Coalition, calls for retail stores of 10,000 square feet or more to ban plastic shopping bags as part of an effort to reach environmental sustainability.
Investigation of Jackman, Caratunk, Dover-Foxcroft complaints against CMP will extend through summer
Morning Sentinel - Thursday, March 14, 2019 

Public Utilities Commissioners voted to formally investigate Central Maine Power Co. on Feb. 26 after residents of Jackman, Caratunk and Dover-Foxcroft filed complaints that they had experienced an increase in outages and in the duration of those outages over the last five years. The PUC has combined three complaints into one docket, requiring original requests from the separate cases to be refiled along with new data requests for CMP to be filed through April 4.
Nuclear industry pushes NRC for fewer inspections
Associated Press - Thursday, March 14, 2019 

The nuclear power industry is pushing the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to cut back on inspections at nuclear power plants and throttle back what it tells the public about plant problems. The agency, whose board is dominated by Trump appointees, is listening. The Trump NRC appointees and industry representatives say changes in oversight are warranted to reflect the industry’s overall improved safety records and its financial difficulties, as the operating costs of the country’s aging nuclear plants increase and affordable natural gas and solar and wind power gain in the energy market. But the prospect of the Trump administration’s regulation-cutting mission reaching the NRC alarms some independent industry watchdogs.
Senator King Renews Push To Get Word 'Milk' Off Plant Milk Labels
Associated Press - Thursday, March 14, 2019 

Maine's independent U.S. senator is co-sponsoring a bill to require non-dairy products to stop using terms like "milk" "yogurt" and "cheese" on their labels. Sen. Angus King's proposal takes aim at products such as almond milk, which have gained greater acceptance in the market in recent years. He says he's on board with the proposal because Maine's dairy farmers "should not be faced with unfair competition from imitation products" that have different nutritional profiles. King co-sponsored the same proposal in a previous legislative session.
Squirrels ‘declare war,’ maple syrup producers say
Associated Press - Thursday, March 14, 2019 

Maple syrup producers have more than the weather to worry about. Frenetic squirrels are chomping on equipment, interrupting the flow of sap at some operations. Damage from wildlife – deer, bear woodpeckers and squirrels – is not unusual for maple syrup producers, but this year an abundant squirrel population is disrupting plastic sap tubing and spouts at some sugaring operations in New England.
Finally, Rep. Pingree optimistic about bill to address ocean acidification
Portland Press Herald - Thursday, March 14, 2019 

After years of inaction, Congress appears poised to direct federal authorities to assess the risk posed to coastal communities and fishing and aquaculture interests by ocean acidification, a byproduct of global warming that represents a potentially catastrophic threat to harvesters in Maine. Rep. Chellie Pingree (D) reintroduced the Coastal Communities Ocean Acidification Act Thursday directing NOAA to work with state and local experts to assess the impacts of acidification on coastal communities and identify gaps in knowledge. The bill, first introduced more than three years ago, never received so much as a hearing while Republicans controlled the U.S. House. Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska on Thursday reintroduced her companion bill in the Senate, co-sponsored by Maine Sen. Susan Collins.
Chickadees in Maine
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, March 14, 2019 

All Mainers are familiar with the black-capped chickadee. The boreal chickadee is a brown variation that lives among the spruce trees of the North Woods. Don’t expect to find one south of Bangor. ~ Bob Duchesne [video]
Lawmakers seek to make motorists from away pay more for Maine’s highways
Sun Journal - Thursday, March 14, 2019 

Maine lawmakers are beginning to look for ways to have people from other states contribute to the growing cost of government. Imposing seasonal taxes is one way to shift some of the expenses onto people who visit Maine but do not live here. Rep. Andrew McLean, House chairman of the Legislature’s Transportation Committee, has a proposal to hike the state’s gasoline tax between June and November by 23 percent. Another bill proposes to let municipalities impose a local sale tax that could be applied seasonally, another way to sock tourists. The idea to shift some of the expenses onto people who visit Maine but do not live here is not winning many fans in the tourism industry, which fears it could spur potential visitors to go elsewhere.
New law resolves years-old Acadia acquisition of Schoodic land
Mainebiz - Thursday, March 14, 2019 

Legislation that was signed into law Tuesday will resolve a years-long issue related to Acadia National Park accepting hundreds of acres on the Schoodic Peninsula, as well as affirm traditional clam and worm harvesting in the park. The John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management and Recreation Act, signed into law by President Donald Trump Tuesday, also allows permanent reauthorization of the Acadia Advisory Commission, which includes members from towns abutting the park.
Pallet mill catches fire in Mount Vernon
Kennebec Journal - Thursday, March 14, 2019 

Firefighters from 10 towns responded to a structure fire at a pallet mill Thursday morning. Rebecca Tardif and her husband, Paul, have lived beside the mill for 13 years and rent it from the owners of the mill, who had alerted them that there was a fire. They rushed to collect loved ones at their home after being told there was a “75 percent chance there wouldn’t be a house.” It did not appear that the fire had spread to the Tardif home. The mill, Edgar Clark & Son Pallet Inc., is owned by Donny Clark.
Maine Ice Fishermen Spot Big Cat Biologists Say Could Be A Mountain Lion
Maine Public - Thursday, March 14, 2019 

Last Friday, four friends were ice fishing on a backcountry pond in the Jackman area when a big cat popped out of the woods and sauntered across a pond, about 300 yards away. Members of the party managed to take short — although grainy — videos of the animal. "This situation is very much on our radar," says Scott McLellan, a biologist with Maine's Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Service. He and other biologists says the evidence they've seen is, so far, inconclusive, but credible enough that they aren't dismissing it. Last year, the so-called "Eastern Cougar" was removed from the federal endangered species list after it was determined there was no viable breeding population in the Northeast.
A Letter from L.L.Bean CEO Steve Smith
Other - Thursday, March 14, 2019 

In 2018, we launched the L.L.Bean Outdoor Access Fund and partnered with many fantastic nonprofit organizations, including the Trust for Public Land, Hike it Baby, and the National Park Foundation. We invested $4 million to make the outdoors more accessible for current and future generations. Last summer, 86 L.L.Bean employees completed an incredible five-month relay along the Appalachian Trail. By this fall, 69% of our outerwear and 32% of our apparel will be made from sustainable materials. Keeping 8,000,000 plastic bottles out of landfills each year. ~ Steve Smith, President and CEO, L.L.Bean
Column: Legislature honors chickadees by refusing to choose one state bird
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, March 14, 2019 

The Great Chickadee Debate of 2019 is over. Actually, doing nothing is one of the best things the legislature can do. Many Mainers wondered why the legislature would waste time on such matters. Such matters have consequence. For instance, there can be financial benefits. Official state designations sometimes serve as teaching tools. The chickadee debate proved to be a teachable moment for adults. We’re seeing changes in the distribution of chickadees within the state. Climate change is having a noticeable impact. Ultimately, the legislature decided to leave the chickadee question unresolved. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” ~ Bob Duchesne
Solar array proposed in Oxford
Advertiser Democrat - Thursday, March 14, 2019 

Nearly 40 acres of land off Route 26 near the Oxford County Regional Airport may be developed as a solar array – one of the largest solar energy facilities in Maine. The $8-$9 million project proposed by Dirgo Solar hinges on approval of local, state and federal permits, an agreement with Central Maine Power to connect the solar array to the grid and the approval of a 15-year Credit Enhancement Agreement with the town of Oxford.
Opinion: Temperatures are rising, and so are our youth
Portland Press Herald - Thursday, March 14, 2019 

Those who will suffer the greatest from inaction addressing climate change are our youth. People under 25 make up more than half of the global population, yet they’re left out of the local and global decision-making process. That is about to change. On Friday, students from 44 communities in the U.S. – including Bar Harbor, Brunswick, Lewiston and Portland – and over 50 countries on every continent will be going on strike because the “decades of inaction have left us with only 11 years to avoid the worst effects of climate change.” Global carbon emissions must be slashed in half by 2030 to avert planetary disaster, according to the 2018 U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report. ~ Susan Atkinson, Citizens Climate Lobby volunteer, and Ryan Reed, Kingfield
Letter: To stop climate change, we must push for both state, federal action
Portland Press Herald - Thursday, March 14, 2019 

We are currently at 1 degree Celsius in terms of global warming. An additional rise of 0.5C will exacerbate ice sheet instability in Antarctica and Greenland. Current rates of greenhouse-gas emissions will bring us to 1.5 C by 2030, just 11 years away. We will see ever-more-severe flooding of low-lying coastal areas. Over time, hundreds of millions of people will be displaced. To stop the global warming juggernaut we have to implement rapid and far-reaching changes throughout the economy. We need a bold and ambitious plan of action. What we cannot afford is a continuing refusal on the part of our politicians. There is no Plan B. We have to act now. ~ Nigel Calder, Newcastle
Letter: CMP corridor not worth it
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, March 14, 2019 

The proposed Central Maine Power transmission line is bad for Maine and for the environment. The token subsidies are insignificant when analyzed over the course of their intended spans. In exchange, CMP would decimate a 53-mile swath of pristine Maine wilderness, leaving a scar that would exist far beyond 40 years. The environmental consequences of this corridor will cost us in tourism and recreational losses, risks to clean water, disruption to and/or loss of wildlife, suppression of local renewable energy sources, and continued unacceptable levels of carbon emissions. Hardly worth 6 cents a month. ~ Anne Winchester, Pemaquid
Letter: Protect children and crops
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, March 14, 2019 

The Environmental Protection Agency has issued an “emergency approval,” to allow the use of a powerful insecticide, sulfoxaflor, that is harmful to bees. Bees are important to crop raising but bee populations worldwide have suffered precipitous declines. Another pesticide, chlorpyrifos, has been tied to children’s health problems. In 2012, the EPA moved to ban its use, but the pesticide lived on through the efforts of industry lobbyists, until halted by a court order in 2015. The Scott Pruitt-led EPA ignored the court and reinstated use of the pesticide. The manufacturer, Dow Chemical, donated $1 million to the Trump inauguration. Citizens moved to complain to the EPA for decisions that harm children and irreparably damage food crops should send a letter to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. For better results include a crisp $1 million check. ~ Sam Woodward, Surry
Judge Declines ExxonMobil's Motion To Dismiss Case Set To Put Climate Change And Corporate Responsibility On Trial
Other - Wednesday, March 13, 2019 

WBUR - A judge in Boston federal court will allow a first-of-its-kind climate change lawsuit against a major corporation to move forward. Judge Mark Wolf declined a motion by ExxonMobil to dismiss an amended lawsuit filed by the Conservation Law Foundation, which claims the oil giant has failed to safeguard an oil storage facility against the impacts of climate change. In January, in a separate case, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to block a lawsuit against ExxonMobil brought by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey. That ruling clears the way for Massachusetts to obtain records probing whether the oil company had deceived the public and shareholders for decades about its knowledge of the role fossil fuels play in climate change.
Piscataquis County: The under-the-radar hot spot in Maine real estate
Mainebiz - Wednesday, March 13, 2019 

A combination of factors, including a quietly improving economy across the county, which has a population of 16,900, and the state's focus on destination tourism, combined with the state's second-lowest median home price, have made Piscataquis County an under-the-radar real estate hot spot. The state's increased focus on destination tourism has benefited the county, which is home to Baxter State Park, the Gulf Hagas gorge and natural area, the southern end of the Allagash Wilderness Waterway, and countless lakes and rivers and borders borders Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument.
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