Read some highlights from this month’s news stories and opinion pieces related to the environment, including Maine’s air, land, water, and wildlife, in this April 2022 News & Noteworthy from the Natural Resources Council of Maine.
April 28, 2022
Last week on Earth Day, several NRCM staff members joined community members in Farmington (more than 100 people attended!) to clean-up the downtown — and all together, they collected more than 800 pounds of trash! Congrats and thank you to all involved.
There were some big wins for Maine’s environment during this session of the Legislature, including two bills to address climate change: one to create a Maine Climate Corps and the other will create a pilot program about climate change for Maine’s schools.
We recently shared our first blog in a series highlighting federal money for renewable energy programs and projects that will benefit Maine communities. Read about three Maine towns that received more than $10 million and what they are doing with it.
More good news about federal funding is that Maine has received more than a billion dollars for improvement of our infrastructure, and Landis Hudson, Executive Director of Maine Rivers, wrote an op-ed in the Maine Sunday Telegram sharing why she thinks Maine should use some of those funds for dam removal to protect Maine’s fish and the health of Maine’s rivers.
NRCM Climate & Clean Energy Outreach Coordinator Josh Caldwell is quoted in this story about an increase in the number of electric vehicle charging stations coming to Bangor.
Last week, Maine Public focused their Maine Calling episode on food waste and its link to climate change. It also focused on how Maine is taking action. Listen to the full episode.
And finally this week, while many of us are thinking spring, the residents of Piscataquis County are learning that they will soon have a chance to comment on a proposal for a massive ski resort project in the Moosehead region. A public hearing has been scheduled for June 7. Learn more from the Bangor Daily News.
April 22, 2022
Happy Earth Day! We are going to start this week’s News & Noteworthy with some great news from the Maine Legislature, which should be wrapping up its session early next week:
- The bill to close the out-of-state waste loophole was signed into law by Governor Mills this week. This is great news for all Mainers, especially those living near the Juniper Ridge Landfill in Old Town.
- Governor Mills also signed a bill into law that will give the Passamaquoddy Tribe at Pleasant Point access to cleaner drinking water.
- Earlier this week, Senator Stacy Brenner (D-Cumberland) wrote an op-ed in support of a bill she sponsored (LD 1959) for utility accountability and grid planning. And, the bill passed both the House and Senate this week.
In other news:
This week, American Rivers joined NRCM and other organizations in calling for the removal of four dams on the Kennebec River between Waterville and Skowhegan to save the endangered Atlantic salmon.
The Bangor Daily News wrote an editorial for Earth Day about how it’s “now or never” to act on climate change.
One way to act on climate is by increasing renewable energy, and the City of Brewer has just approved five new solar projects.
Just across the bridge in Bangor, the American Lung Association has ranked that city’s air as some of the cleanest in the country.
NRCM and others oppose a large aquafarm in Frenchman Bay near Acadia National Park, and this week there is some big news about that project. The Maine Department of Marine Resources has stopped review of American Aquafarms’ permit application and will require the company to submit an entirely new application if it chooses to do so. That will add years to the permitting process if the company decides to move ahead.
Residents of the town of Pembroke in Washington County are pushing back against plans by Wolfden Resources to mine for silver there because of environmental and safety concerns.
April 14, 2022
To follow up last week’s news about the bill (LD 1639) to close the out-of-state waste loophole in Maine law, we will start this week’s N&N with the fantastic news that the bill passed through the House and Senate and is now on Governor Mills’ desk to sign. This article from Maine Public states that a spokesperson for the governor said she will sign the bill into law. Thanks to everyone who took action on this important bill!
Hannaford, a well-known supermarket chain if you live in Maine, announced a new goal to use only renewable power by 2024. Read more about the changes they have already made and will be making in this Portland Press Herald story.
Several southern Maine cities have announced plans to start using some electric buses starting later this spring. “When they are put into operation May 17, they will become the first fixed-route, all electric, zero emission buses in Maine,” according to this Portland Press Herald news story.
People in support of a bill (LD 906) that would help provide clean drinking water for the Passamaquoddy Tribe at Pleasant Point in Washington County gathered at the Maine State House for a rally earlier this week. Stay up to date on this bill as it moves through the Legislature by visiting our bill tracking page.
NRCM Climate & Clean Energy Director Jack Shapiro was one of the speakers at a news conference in Augusta earlier this week, calling on Maine legislators to pass bills that would increase renewable energy in Maine. He is quoted in this WGME-13 news story and video.
Another rally took place earlier this week across from the Maine State House. This rally was in support of an economic package being worked on in Congress that could have benefits for Mainers. The “Rally for Climate, Care, Kids, and Workers,” was cosponsored by NRCM and several other advocacy organizations.
And finally this week, House Speaker Ryan Fecteau and Representative Amy Arata coauthored this recent op-ed in support of LD 2003, a bill that would help Maine with our affordable housing crisis as well as climate action. If you want to contact your legislators about this important bill, use our online action form to email them today as the bill will be voted on soon.
April 7, 2022
Maine’s forests provide our state with an important opportunity to store carbon, but according to a recent Spectrum News story, “’Maine’s ability to continue to store carbon in the future is going to depend on the ability to maintain the high forest cover that we currently have,’ said University of Maine associate professor William Livingston, the interim director of the School of Forest Resources.”
Another concern Mainers have related to a warming climate, is an increase in road hazards, including more potholes, due to the changing climate.
Ogechi Obi, a student at Bangor High School, is participating in the Maine Science Fair with her new biodegradable plastic. Wow! Read more about Ogechi and others participating in the science fair, and then listen to Ogechi who was a recent guest on our Frontline Voices podcast.
The City of Brewer planning board unanimously approved a new solar farm recently.
Speaking of renewable energy, the former Great Northern Paper Mill in Millinocket is looking for tenants in order to turn the site into a “hub for renewable energy jobs,” according to this Bangor Daily News story.
NRCM and other conservation organizations this week called on Brookfield Renewables to do more at their four dams on the Kennebec River to protect Atlantic salmon during their spring migration. Read more in this Morning Sentinel news story.
And let’s end with some great news! LD 1639, the bill to close the out-of-state waste loophole passed unanimously through the Maine Senate today.