January 18, 2018  
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News Items
Maine enviros roll out 2018 legislative priorities
Maine Environmental News - Thursday, January 18, 2018 

On Thursday, the Maine Environmental Priorities Coalition announced it’s list of top priority legislative bills for 2018, including:
• Support LD 178 and 1510, Protect clean water and create jobs through water quality infrastructure investments
• Support LD 1686, Protect Maine families and businesses from unnecessary electric bill increases and fees
• Support LD 1534, Save tax dollars, address hunger, and reduce food waster in Maine
• Reject LD 1699, Don’t weaken Maine’s renewable energy policy
• Support LD 1667, Support Maine fishing industries and stop blocking sea-run fish from Sheepscot
• Reject taxes on fuel-efficient cars and trucks; Protect clean transportation choices for Maine
Gulf of Maine sea turtle could come off ‘endangered’ list
Associated Press - Thursday, January 18, 2018 

Federal ocean managers say it might be time to move the East Coast population of the world’s largest turtle from the United States’ list of endangered animals. A fishing group is asking that the Northwest Atlantic Ocean’s leatherback sea turtles be listed as “threatened” but not endangered under the Endangered Species Act. The giant reptiles, which can weigh 2,000 pounds, would remain protected under federal law, but their status would be changed to reflect some improvement in the overall health of their population.
Federal official assails national park board members who quit in protest
Associated Press - Thursday, January 18, 2018 

Nine members of the 12-member National Park System Advisory Board, including chairman Tony Knowles, a former Alaska governor, resigned Monday in a letter to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, saying their requests to meet were ignored. A 10th stepped down Wednesday. Todd Willens, associate deputy secretary of the U.S. Interior Department, said, “We welcome their resignations."
Ntl. Park Service Seeks Input on Winter Use at Katahdin W&W National Monument
Free Press - Thursday, January 18, 2018 

The National Park Service is holding a public planning meeting in East Millinocket on Wednesday, January 24, to get input on preferences for winter recreation use in the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. Those who cannot attend can send public comments in writing. The meeting is one of many being held to discuss recreational opportunities and concerns as the National Park Service moves ahead in a three-year planning phase for the new 87,500-acre national monument located east of Baxter State Park.
Letter: Don’t blame climate for spread of ticks
Kennebec Journal - Thursday, January 18, 2018 

The article on the spread of ticks and tick-borne disease in the Jan. 7 edition of your paper focused on climate change (”Maine researchers explore link between climate change and Lyme disease”). I was born in New Jersey, and have hunted in Virginia and Maryland, all of which were a lot warmer than Maine is now. I never saw a tick, or met anyone who had. I read of them only in stories set in the South. A more important human factor in this case is introducing the ticks by the increase in auto transport, which included pets, and the reintroduction of turkeys, which has closely paralled the tick spread. ~ Tom Heyns, Chelsea
Is Maine still hurricane-proof?
Working Waterfront - Wednesday, January 17, 2018 

Maine is luckier than most Atlantic states when it comes to hurricanes, as they generally run out of power by the time they reach us. The reason hurricanes rarely hit the coast, explained John Jensenius, warming coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Gray, is the low temperature of Maine’s ocean water. But in the Atlantic region, hurricanes are one of the most destructive weather forces and preparations can prove inadequate.
3,000 Mainers hope to nab one of 11 licenses to fish baby eels
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, January 17, 2018 

More than 3,000 Mainers are vying for one of just 11 new baby eel fishing licenses that Maine will issue this year as it reopens the lucrative fishery. The Maine Department of Marine Resources will issue the licenses through a lottery, with the drawing scheduled for sometime in the coming week. It will be the first time the state has allowed any new entrants into the fishery for baby eels, or elvers, since 2013. Winners with a license who catch four pounds, which will be the annual limit for the new licenses, stand to make between $3,000 and $8,000 this spring, depending on the price.
Bill to Lower Liquor Bottle Deposits Considered
Maine Public - Wednesday, January 17, 2018 

Grocers and others in the food and beverage industry are supporting a proposal to reduce the deposit rate on liquor bottles in Maine from 15 cents to five. This change would match the nickel deposit implemented last year on small containers of liquor commonly called “nips." But environmental groups that support Maine’s 40-year-old bottle deposit law are concerned about the proposal. They worry that the change could reduce redemption rates and hurt non-profit groups that run bottle and can drives to raise money.
Judge urges jurors to try to reach verdicts in Quebec oil train disaster
Associated Press - Wednesday, January 17, 2018 

A judge is urging jurors in a criminal negligence trial stemming from a 2013 derailment that killed 47 people in Quebec near the Maine border to try once more to reach unanimous verdicts after they told him they had come to an impasse. Quebec Superior Court Justice Gaetan Dumas told the eight men and four women Tuesday that failing to reach verdicts for the three defendants will not reflect badly on them, provided they “made an honest effort.”
Editorial: Increased offshore drilling is not the answer to America’s energy future
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, January 17, 2018 

The announcement, from Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, is no surprise as the Trump administration is focused on undoing every action taken by former President Barack Obama. And the administration is a big friend of the oil, gas and coal industries. It is rolling back environmental regulations and protections of federal lands in the name of “energy dominance.” The move to allow more offshore drilling is a step backward. Demand for petroleum in the U.S. has stagnated. Car makers are increasingly moving toward electric vehicles. The costs of solar energy are plummeting. This would be a perfect time for the president to champion a cleaner energy future for the country, one that reduces both greenhouse gas emissions and costs. Instead, the Trump administration is playing games with offshore drilling.
CMP's New CEO: If They Want, 'Everyone Should Put Solar Panels On Their Roof'
Maine Public - Wednesday, January 17, 2018 

Maine's largest electric utility has a new CEO. Doug Herling took over operations of Central Maine Power Company Jan. 1, a day after the utility's long-time leader Sara Burns stepped down. Herling rose through the ranks at CMP, most recently overseeing electric operations for parent-company Avangrid for 2.2 million customers in Maine, New York and Connecticut. Herling says although solar power advocates often criticize the company, he supports build-out of the renewable energy technology in Maine. "I think everyone should put solar panels on their roof if that's what they want to do," he says.
Trader Joe’s to remove controversial chemicals from receipts
Bloomberg News - Wednesday, January 17, 2018 

Trader Joe’s, the grocer known for its eclectic products (and Hawaiian-shirt-clad workers), will remove two controversial substances from its register receipts, according to a statement on the company’s website. The chemicals – BPA and BPS – are widespread in register and ATM receipts, according to findings by the Ecology Center, an organization that works with consumers and companies to promote greener products and practices. The U.S. has banned BPA in sippy cups, baby bottles and formula packaging, following similar measures in Canada and the European Union. Some studies have shown the substance disrupts normal hormone functioning, particularly in younger people, while others have traced links to diabetes and obesity.
What it means in Maine if the federal government shuts down on Friday
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, January 17, 2018 

The federal government has been careening toward a shutdown this week, after President Donald Trump scuttled a bipartisan deal to prevent the deportation of U.S. residents brought into the country illegally when they were children, allegedly calling Haiti and certain African countries “shitholes” in the process. Republicans control both houses of Congress, but they still need Democratic votes to pass a temporary spending measure in the Senate. If they can’t reach a settlement, the government will shutdown on Friday for lack of funds. If that happens, the most visible effect in Maine would be the closure of Acadia National Park.
MCHT Helps Restore Fish Passage in the Bagaduce River Watershed
Maine Coast Heritage Trust - Wednesday, January 17, 2018 

The Bagaduce watershed has long been a conservation focus for Maine Coast Heritage Trust. After years of planning, engineers, conservationists, and local representatives gathered last summer to break ground on the first of two nature-like fishways in the watershed. “Without MCHT’s support, none of this would have happened,” says Bailey Bowden, head of the Penobscot Alewife Committee. “People are looking at this and saying, ‘Wow.’ It’s had a big community impact."
Opinion: I toured the monument with Zinke; his recommendation to open it to logging is disappointing
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, January 17, 2018 

It was with disappointment that I read what Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke may have in store for Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument in his memorandum to the president, especially in light of the secretary’s visit to Maine back in June. Standing on the banks of Wassataquoik Stream, the secretary told us he had a plan that would make everyone happy. Today, I fear the harm “active” logging within earshot of scenic corridors and points of interest will do to this precious gift to the American people. Logging would not only interfere with their experience, but negatively influence the recent promising uptick in tourism in the Katahdin region. ~ Paul Corrigan, retired Baxter State Park range, Millinocket
UPDATED: Maine Governor Wannabes
Maine Environmental News - Wednesday, January 17, 2018 

Maine’s next gubernatorial election is set for November 6, 2018. It will be the first in the state’s history to be conducted by ranked choice voting, unless that is declared unconstitutional by the state’s Supreme Judicial Court. According to various, mostly reliable, sources as of January 17, 2018, there are 13 declared Democratic candidates, 5 declared Republican candidates, and 9 other gubernatorial wannabes. Plus a gaggle of possibles in the wings. Here is the updated list. Repairing the damage done by the LePage Administration to Maine’s land, water, air and wildlife safety net will be a major job for the next governor. Ask each of these candidates about their conservation policies, if any.
Mainers use chainsaws to harvest oysters in the bitter cold
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, January 17, 2018 

When temperatures plummeted below zero in late December, the oyster farmers of Mere Point Oyster Company vowed not to let 8 to 10 inches of ice in Mere Point Bay prevent them from harvesting to keep their winter market satisfied. “The bay froze relatively quickly during that cold snap, and by just after Christmas it was frozen pretty solid,” said Dan Devereaux, who with Doug Niven owns the 2-year-old Mere Point Oyster Company. But with customers clamoring for oysters — and a coveted spot at the Taste of Freeport next month — Niven and Devereaux employed a bit of Maine ingenuity to pull up the oyster cages. They headed out on the ice the second week of January, and returned — thanks to a chainsaw and a lot of lifting — with enough oysters to fulfill all those orders.
Citing ‘Inexcusable’ Treatment, Advisers Quit National Parks Panel
New York Times - Tuesday, January 16, 2018 

The majority of members of the National Parks System Advisory Board, which advises the federal government on management of the country’s national parks, have jointly resigned to protest Trump administration policies that the board members say have ignored science, squelched efforts to address climate change and undermined environmental protections. “From all of the events of this past year I have a profound concern that the mission of stewardship, protection, and advancement of our National Parks has been set aside,” wrote Tony Knowles, the head of the advisory board, in a resignation letter that was co-signed by eight other members of the 12-member panel.
Nearly all members of National Park Service panel resign in frustration
Washington Post - Tuesday, January 16, 2018 

Three-quarters of the members of a federally chartered board advising the National Park Service abruptly quit Monday night out of frustration that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke had refused to meet with them or convene a single meeting last year. The resignation of nine out of 12 National Park System Advisory Board members leaves the federal government without a functioning body to designate national historic or natural landmarks. It also underscores the extent to which federal advisory bodies have become marginalized under the Trump administration.
Lawmakers back bill to ease prohibition on money being part of moose permit swaps
Portland Press Herald - Tuesday, January 16, 2018 

Since 2015, hunters who were successful during Maine's moose lottery have been allowed to exchange permits but could not offer each other money or any other form of compensation. A bill that won preliminary endorsement from a legislative committee on Monday would once again allow payments between hunters and also allow hunting guides to facilitate such swaps. But the bill would prohibit guides from receiving any compensation for helping arrange a swap.
St. Joseph’s College Ends Deal With Company To Build Greenhouse
Maine Public - Tuesday, January 16, 2018 

St. Joseph’s College and a company backed by Cate Street Capital have ended a $750,000 agreement to build a greenhouse as part of the college’s new Institute for Local Food Systems Innovation. Cate Street Capital was behind the failed bid to revive the Great Northern Paper Mill in East Millinocket in 2014, despite receiving millions in taxpayer dollars. Peter Nielsen, St. Joseph’s entrepreneur-in-residence, said, “What we had begun to explore in March of 2017 looked good at that point, but when we got to the end of the year, it just wasn’t making sense to anybody." Nielsen says St. Joseph’s is working with many other partners and will still move forward with the plan.
Major investor in Verso sells off significant lot of shares; company could be sold
Morning Sentinel - Tuesday, January 16, 2018 

A major investor in Verso, owner of the paper mill in Jay, has sold more than $21 million worth of shares in the first two weeks of January, just months after expressing frustration with returns on the investment. Then on the heels of those transactions by Mudrick Capital Management L.P., Verso Corp. revealed Tuesday that its Strategic Alternatives Committee is looking at the possibility of selling the entire company outright, or merging with another. About 400 people now work at the Androscoggin mill. When Verso emerged from bankruptcy in summer 2016, it employed about 560.
Dental student extracts 10-pound landlocked salmon from Maine lake
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, January 16, 2018 

Some of us dream of catching a five-pound brook trout before we die. Others avid anglers want to hook onto a lake trout that’ll barely fit through the hole we drill in the ice. On Jan. 11, Chris Parent ended up with a fish story like that, and he doubts he’ll ever catch a landlocked salmon to top the one he landed, which measured 30 inches long and weighed 10.2 pounds.
Maine college cancels deal with failed paper mill redeveloper
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, January 16, 2018 

St. Joseph’s College and a company backed by private equity firm Cate Street Capital have called off a partnership to develop a greenhouse on the college’s Standish campus, which was tied to a $750,000 donation to the college. The greenhouse is a major feature of St. Joseph’s plans for its new Institute for Local Food Systems Innovation, a college effort to help New England food producers grow crops locally that the region typically has to import. The private equity firm’s failed 2011 restart of the Great Northern Paper mill in East Millinocket left behind a trail of debt that the attorney overseeing the mill’s bankruptcy attributed in part to mismanagement.
Group Acquires Parcel Key To Maine Dam Removal Project
Associated Press - Tuesday, January 16, 2018 

A conservation group has acquired about seven acres in Down East Maine as part of a dam removal project. The Downeast Salmon Federation says it has taken ownership of the parcel in Sullivan that surrounds the head of tide of Smelt Brook, which has been blocked by a stone dam for more than 50 years. The group says the acquisition is part of a "multi-faceted land conservation and habitat restoration project'' designed to reconnect Smelt Brook to Smelt Cove. The restoration is expected to help create habitat for fish such as brook trout and rainbow smelt. The group says by removing the dam it can support recent work to improve fish passage in the area. The project also seeks to provide an outdoor classroom for a high school.
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News Feeds

Natural Resources Council
of Maine

Increased Offshore Drilling is Not the Answer to America’s Energy Future

Bangor Daily News editorial The recent announcement from the Trump administration that it wants to open nea...

1/18/2018 11:37:37 AM

I Toured the Monument with Zinke. His Recommendation to Open It to Logging is Disappointing.

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