Read the latest news stories and opinion pieces related to the environment, including Maine’s air, land, water, and wildlife, in this month’s News & Noteworthy from the Natural Resources Council of Maine.
December 30, 2020
We start with news about the delay in Maine’s statewide plastic bag and foam bans, which have had enforcement delayed amidst the pandemic. NRCM doesn’t feel that that is necessary or a good idea for Maine’s environment. Read more, including from our Sustainable Maine Director Sarah Nichols, in this Bangor Daily News story.
On a more positive note, we love this Bangor Daily News story of Paige Emerson, a young woman from Old Town, Maine, who has begun hiking all around the state and shares her tips and trails with others via her Instagram account @chubbyhikerreviews.
If you are thinking about getting outside this winter to ski, snowboard, or snowshoe, you aren’t alone. Winter sports equipment is quickly flying off shelves. Learn more in this Portland Press Herald article.
A local group, in their bid to bring a professional soccer league to Portland, has created a clothing line to benefit NRCM and other environmental organizations.
And, finally, this week, it’s not too late to join NRCM for our annual (this year, also virtual!) Polar Bear Dip & Dash. We have had the opportunity to share our reasons for going virtual this year, but also the important reasons to participate. You have until January 3, 2021, to register and do your dip or 5k dash to raise money for our climate work. Here are some recent news stories about this event:
December 24, 2020
Each week there are news stories about Maine towns that are approving community solar projects to help power homes, businesses, and municipalities around the state. This week, there are three: one in Milo, one in Richmond, and one in Hancock County.
The Portland Press Herald printed a strong editorial about how deadly air pollution can be, siting the death of a young girl in Great Britain, who died of a fatal asthma attack.
Bill Trotter wrote a piece in this week’s Bangor Daily News about six signs of climate change that Maine saw in 2020.
Some good news for Maine’s economy: our state’s legacy as an outdoors destination could speed our recovery after COVID-19, with people coming to Maine to spend time outdoors, which works well as we continue to need to socially distance.
And we will end this week’s News & Noteworthy with an op-ed in the Sun Journal by Steve Wight, a former Land Use Planning Commission commissioner, who writes in support of the Land for Maine’s Future program and its need for funding.
December 18, 2020
We will start this week with a fun video of our staff being interviewed about our annual Polar Bear Dip & Dash going virtual for WABI-TV. We also spoke with WMTW as well yesterday. We hope you are making plans to join us virtually for this fun event!
A new solar farm is about to go online in the Belfast area, ready to provide 1,200 customers with clean, renewable solar energy. And the Town of Lisbon just signed on with Nexamp Community Solar, which will save the town about $15,000 per year.
Four years after establishment of the Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument, there is talk about the National Park Service adding 3,000-4,000 acres of new land to the Monument thanks to funding from the Great American Outdoors Act.
NRCM Sustainable Maine Director Sarah Nichols spoke with the Bangor Daily News about the news that a large amount of plastic waste ended up in Penobscot Bay on its way from Northern Ireland to Maine. There is a current loophole in Maine law that allows for out-of-state trash to be brought into Maine’s landfills. NRCM and others are working to close that loophole.
The lawsuit challenging the flawed federal review for the CMP corridor will continue to move forward regardless of a recent decision by the Judge to deny our motion to stop CMP’s preliminary plans to begin construction. As it has done throughout this process, CMP is trying to predetermine an outcome by rushing to construction before appropriate federal review has been completed and all the lawsuits challenging this project are fully heard and decided.
Did you know that Portland is getting a professional soccer team? They recently launched a new clothing collection that will support many Maine environmental causes, such as the Natural Resources Council of Maine, Maine Brewshed Alliance, and Sebago Lake Clean Waters. Learn more and view the collection.
December 10, 2020
The Natural Resources Council of Maine was featured in some news stories this week:
- NRCM CEO Lisa Pohlmann wrote an op-ed for the Bangor Daily News in support of a citizen initiative to close a law loophole that allows the Juniper Ridge Landfill in Old Town and Alton, just north of Bangor, from accepting out-of-state waste. This waste from other New England states is increasing pollution that is harmful to the health of people living in communities around the landfill as well as the health of the Penobscot River.
- The Central Maine newspapers wrote about this year’s NRCM Conservation Leadership Award recipients this week.
- NRCM Advocacy Director Pete Didisheim was featured on Maine Public’s “Maine Calling” this week, along with some of our partners in the Penobscot River Restoration Project, talking about improved fish passage in the Kennebec and Penobscot Rivers after the removal of the Edwards Dam on the Kennebec and two dams on the Penobscot, as well as a nature-like fish bypass around a third dam on the river.
NRCM Climate & Clean Energy Director David Costello was quoted in another Maine Public piece about the reduction of carbon emissions during this time when many Maine state government workers and others are working from home rather than commuting to Augusta.
Bath Iron Works, one of Maine’s largest employers, will be purchasing some of their energy from six solar projects in Maine. Read more from the Portland Press Herald.
Maine’s two US Senators introduced the Save Our Seas 2.0 Act in June, and the bill just passed in the US Senate. This bill would reduce the amount of plastic pollution going into our oceans as it would find re-uses for plastic that right now is waste that is disposed of. Read more in the Sun Journal.
December 4, 2020
Lewiston-Auburn have announced a new study of public transportation, and want input from residents, whether they have ever used the public transit system or not. Read more and follow the link to the survey in this Sun Journal article.
Earlier this week, Maine’s US Senators Susan Collins and Angus King introduced legislation that would give the York River federal designation as a Wild and Scenic River. This designation would allow new funding options to protect the clean water of the river. Maine’s Congressman Jared Golden and Congresswoman Chellie Pingree have sponsored similar legislation in the House.
As we get ready for some snow across Maine this weekend, the editorial board of the Central Maine newspapers wrote about the effect climate change is having on winter outdoor recreation opportunities.