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 December 2021 News & Noteworthy from the Natural Resources Council of Maine.
December 30, 2021
If you don’t know about the Paris Autobarn and their focus on sustainability —selling only electric and hybrid vehicles, read this recent story from Maine Public. Owner Tony Giambro was a 2017 NRCM Conservation Leadership Award recipient, along with then-employee Travis Ritchie.
Speaking of electric vehicles, NRCM Climate & Clean Energy Outreach Coordinator Josh Caldwell is featured in this Bangor Daily News piece about what you should consider before buying an EV. Maine Public also shares what it will take to get more Mainers driving EVs.
Kate Dempsey, state director of The Nature Conservancy in Maine, shares in a recent Portland Press Herald op-ed how community action around Maine has given her hope on climate action in the coming year.
As we end 2021, having passed the first-in-the-nation Extended Producer Responsibility for Packaging law, two researchers share their thoughts about recycling in this op-ed in the Bangor Daily News.
Some good news to end 2021: thanks to $450,000 in federal money, dozens of acres of wetlands along Maine’s southern coast will be protected. The new Moosehead region ski resort developments plans have changed in order to protect more wildlife habitat. And Maine’s economy is getting a boost from some tech start-ups focused on outdoor recreation.
Here’s to more good news for Maine’s environment in 2022. Happy New Year!
December 23, 2021
Last week ended with some great news for Maine. A judge denied a request for an injunction to the law resoundingly passed by Maine voters in November against the proposed CMP corridor. With that ruling, the law was cleared to go into effect this past Sunday, December 19. Hurray!
It was announced this week that $22 million for upgrades to wastewater infrastructure is coming to Oxford County. These federal investments will advance the goals in Maine’s Climate Action Plan to help towns become more resilient to the impacts of climate change.
Former NRCM board member and current NRCM National Advisory Board member Adam Lee, owner of Lee Auto Malls, shares his thoughts about the advantages of electric vehicles in this recent piece from The Maine Monitor.
Also this week, the Environmental Protection Agency announced more stringent auto pollution rules, which will help in the fight against climate change.
Speaking of transportation, the Portland Press Herald recently wrote an editorial about the need for a better transportation system – to reduce climate-changing pollution, of course, but also for the safety of Maine pedestrians and cyclists, as fatalities are on the rise.
NRCM recently joined other conservation organizations in opposition to a proposed salmon farm in Frenchman Bay. The president of Frenchman Bay United wrote an op-ed expressing concerns and why his group is also opposed to this plan. Learn more about American Aquafarms’ proposal on our website.
The Penobscot Nation recently asked the U.S. Supreme Court to decide if the Nation’s boundaries include the waters of the Penobscot River. A decision from earlier this summer that found that the land but not the river is owned by the Penobscot Nation is what is being appealed by the Tribe. Read more from the Bangor Daily News.
If you have seen a sturgeon leap out of the Kennebec River in the summer, it’s not an image or sound you will soon forget. But, if you don’t have the patience or time to wait to see one leap, next year, you won’t have to — just head to downtown Augusta to see a new art installation of 25 colorful, life-size sturgeons made of fiberglass. You won’t want to miss it!
And speaking of rivers, we will end this week, and our 2021 News & Noteworthy updates, with news that the state may upgrade the water quality rating for part of the Androscoggin River. Did you know that the Androscoggin River was the reason US Senator Edmund Muskie helped to author and pass the Clean Water Act, which turns 50 in 2022? Visit our website in the New Year to learn more about this important legislation and this big milestone anniversary.
December 16, 2021
Let’s start this week off with some good news (we can all use some of that!): 12,000 acres of land in Oxford County in western Maine has been permanently protected. Much of this land filters water into Sebago Lake, the drinking water source for one in seven Mainers.
The Boston Globe and Portland Press Herald have partnered for a series of features about Maine’s lobster industry and climate change. Read “The Lobster Trap” series.
American Aquafarms has proposed a large aquafarm for Frenchman Bay off Mount Desert Island, home of Acadia National Park. Read an op-ed opposing the aquafarm in The Working Waterfront, and then learn more about this proposal and why NRCM opposes it on our new web page.
The federal infrastructure bill is funding, at historic levels, passenger rail service in Maine. Learn more in this Associated Press news story.
Another result of the federal infrastructure bill is increased funding for important upgrades to Maine sewage treatment plants and systems, which will hopefully reduce the amount of untreated sewage that flows into Maine waters during heavy rain events.
Martin Grohman, the head of E2Tech (the Environmental & Energy Technology Council of Maine) shares his thoughts about the infrastructure bill and the potential it has for Maine’s clean energy future and economy in this recent Portland Press Herald op-ed. Congresswoman Chellie Pingree shares her thoughts about the infrastructure bill that was signed into law last month and the need for Congress to now pass the Build Back Better Act.
For automotive technicians, Southern Maine Community College has a newly created electric vehicle repair class, the first of its kind in Maine. This is great news for EV drivers and others considering electric or hybrid vehicle purchases.
Tom’s of Maine has launched a new multi-million-dollar campaign to connect children with the outdoors. Tom’s of Maine has a new product, a compostable toothpaste tube, which you can read about, along with the new initiative by the company, in this MaineBiz article.
The Bangor Daily News editorial board wrote this week that they don’t think the fine for the company that spilled large amounts of plastic info Penobscot Bay earlier this year was enough.
Some good news out of Mount Desert: recycling is resuming in that municipality after a two-year absence.
We can’t have a news round-up without the latest on the CMP corridor. Read this op-ed by former state legislator Tom Saviello about how “CMP is a sore loser” following the corridor vote in November. Also, today CMP was ranked dead last in the entire United States for customer satisfaction.
We will end this week’s News & Noteworthy with two articles about yesterday’s court hearing on the proposed CMP corridor and whether or not construction can resume after the November vote by Mainers to stop the project. The first story is from Maine Public; the second from the Portland Press Herald.
December 9, 2021
Many of you have been hearing about a large aquafarm proposed for Frenchman Bay near Acadia National Park. The Natural Resources Council of Maine signed onto a letter, along with 20 other organizations, asking Governor Mills to deny this project.
There are a lot of lessons to be learned from the CMP corridor debacle. NRCM Senior Director of Advocacy Pete Didisheim and Joel Clement, a senior fellow at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs share their thoughts in today’s Portland Press Herald.
Another lesson from the controversial CMP corridor proposal is that Maine should pass a law to close a loophole that allows foreign governments to get involved in electoral issues in Maine. Senator Rick Bennett shares his thoughts in this Portland Press Herald op-ed.
After reopening last year in Rangeley, Saddleback Mountain ski resort is getting ready to build a solar farm on the mountain.
Did you know that there is a strong connection between plastics and the climate crisis? Learn more in this column by Marina Schauffler.
Maine is set to receive more than $68 million from the Environmental Protection Agency to improve clean water and infrastructure.
Last week was the one-year anniversary of Maine’s Climate Action Plan. Listen to Maine Public’s “Maine Calling” to hear from Ivan Fernandez and Hannah Pingree. A side note: both Ivan and Hannah have received Conservation Leadership Awards from NRCM.
December 2, 2021
The United States tops a list. Often we like to be #1, but in this case, it’s nothing to be proud of. A recent study finds that the US is number one when it comes to top contributors to the ever-growing issue of plastic pollution. Learn more from the Washington Post.
Central Maine is getting a new recreational trail that will stretch along an abandoned rail line through Norridgewock, Oakland, Madison, Emden, and more. This will be open for ATVs, hikers, cyclists, skiers, snowmobiles, and more.
Last month we told you that Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument Superintendent Tim Hudson was retiring, and now we are happy to announce that KWW has a new National Park Service Superintendent, Mark Wimmer, who will start on the job on January 2, 2022.
Yesterday was the one-year anniversary of Maine’s Climate Action Plan, and Governor Mills announced new initiatives related to the Plan that will help Maine reach our goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 45% by 2030. Learn more in this Portland Press Herald article by Colin Woodward. Also, get NRCM’s view on this anniversary in a blog by our Climate & Clean Energy Director Jack Shapiro.
Another NRCM Climate & Clean Energy staffer, Senior Advocate Rebecca Schultz, was in this news this week with her opinion piece about lessons learned from the “Central Maine Power transmission corridor debacle.” Read the full piece from Utility Dive.
An entrepreneur in northern Maine has recently built a 200-panel solar array, which will be used to power his business and several apartment buildings that he owns. Read more about this new solar installation in Houlton.
More renewable energy news from northern Maine: “state regulators called for bids to construct a transmission line that would connect northern Maine to the New England electricity grid and encourage the development of renewable energy sources.”
After nearly a decade of no new funding available, the very popular Land for Maine’s Future program received funding in this year’s budget, passed by the Maine Legislature—$40 million over the next four years. Now that money is available, the LMF director says that she is receiving a lot of inquiries about possible projects. With more and more people spending time outdoors, with record numbers visiting Maine’s State Parks and campgrounds, it will be great to protect more land for people to explore.