Each month, we highlight news stories and opinion pieces related to Maine’s air, land, water, and wildlife. We update News & Noteworthy weekly with the latest news related to the nature of Maine, including the work of staff at the Natural Resources Council of Maine.
April 21, 2023
This week, the Senate made its initial vote on LD 134, an emergency bill that would increase the handling fee for returnable cans and bottles, to help keep redemption centers open and people employed at those centers. Learn more about the bill in this piece by News Center Maine. More votes on the bill will be happening next week at the Legislature.
Congratulations to Kevin Adam, selected by the Baxter State Park Authority to be the new park director at Baxter. Learn more about Kevin in this Portland Press Herald story.
Ben Lucas of the Maine State Chamber of Commerce wrote a recent Bangor Daily News op-ed in support of renewable energy development in northern Maine, and a bill (LD 924) that would help make that happen, with the benefit of adding many good-paying jobs to Maine. NRCM also supports passage of LD 924.
NRCM Advocacy Director Pete Didisheim is quoted in this Maine Public piece about amendments introduced this legislative session to relax Maine’s mining law, the strictest in the country.
Speaking of mining, Wolfden Resources, a Canadian mining company, again missed a submission deadline of their rezoning application to the Land Use Regulation Commission. Many area residents near the proposed project are concerned about harm that could come to their watershed and land.
April 13, 2023
Good news for drivers of electric vehicles: four additional EV charging stations have been installed in Bangor and Newport. There will be 12 more coming to central and eastern Maine, with 8 installed by the end of Maine, 2 more by the end of the year.
Legislators and others gathered at the Maine State House yesterday to announce support for a $30 million Maine Trails Bond, which would support creation and maintenance of trails around the state. The trails would be for hiking, biking, snowmobiling, ATVs, and improve accessibility to trails. NRCM supports this bill and is working with more than 260 organizations, towns, and businesses to get this bill (LD 1156) passed this session.
A cool new project by University of Maine students is a collaboration between art and science. Students are creating art to bring attention to microplastic pollution and PFAS chemicals. One piece of art is made from PFAS-contaminated soil!
The EPA announced that Maine will receive more than $60 million in federal funds to update and upgrade drinking water infrastructure.
The Maine House and Senate both voted against a bill that would have repealed Maine’s statewide single-use plastic bag ban. The bill is now dead with no further discussions.
April 6, 2023
At the Maine Legislature, there are several pieces of legislation suggested related to Maine’s highly successful recycling program known as the Bottle Bill. NRCM is supporting legislation to modernize the bill and support redemption centers in order to keep them open. If you missed our webinar last month, featuring NRCM Sustainable Maine Director Sarah Nichols and other bottle redemption experts, you can watch it on our YouTube channel.
The City of Ellsworth is working to protect almost 300 additional acres to add to its public forest at Branch Lake.
The Environmental Protection Agency recently announced $3 million in funding to help Maine cut climate-changing pollution. That money will go toward updating Maine’s Climate Action Plan, according to the Governor’s Office on Policy Innovation and the Future.
Earlier this week, NRCM and our partners dropped our lawsuit against Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners, the owner of four dams on the Kennebec River that are a threat to the already endangered Atlantic salmon. In their press release, the group said, “We have withdrawn our lawsuit against Brookfield for violating the Endangered Species Act at its four lower Kennebec dams to focus on the FERC [Federal Energy Regulatory Commission] process that is currently underway.”
Isabelle Rogers, an organizer with the Sunrise Movement of Franklin County and a member of Maine Youth for Climate Justice wrote an op-ed last week for the Portland Press Herald in opposition to the CMP corridor, which was overwhelmingly voted down during the November 2021 election.
A bill introduced by Senator Russell Black (R-Franklin County) would try to prevent invasive species like northern pike from getting past two dams in eastern Maine.