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.
February 25, 2021
The Belfast Bay Watershed Coalition hosted a virtual talk by NRCM’s Chrissy Adamowicz last week—the topic was plastic pollution and the need for Maine to pass an Extended Producer Responsibility for packaging law, which will be discussed at the Maine Legislature again this year.
Speaking of plastic pollution, there are currently three bills being discussed at the Legislature that would repeal Maine’s statewide ban on single-use plastic bags. NRCM and many others testified in strong support of keeping the ban in place as we work to reduce the amount of plastic pollution that is harming our fish, wildlife, and enviornment.
The tributes for longtime conservationist and sportsman George Smith continue with a Central Maine Newspapers op-ed by Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Commissioner Judy Camuso and James Cote, an advocate for Maine sportsmen and women.
Presque Isle’s director of economic and community development, Galen Weibley, wrote an op-ed in The County detailing how Presque Isle is advancing a clean energy future with solar energy and electric vehicles.
The Land for Maine’s Future program has protected thousands of acres of land in all 16 counties of our state for all of us to enjoy. The program is now out of money and needs additional funding and the Legislature will again have a chance to decide on adding a land bond to the ballot. Learn more about why the LMF program is so vital for Maine in this Portland Phoenix op-ed.
February 18, 2021
We start this week off with some sad news from Maine. Longtime conservationist and outdoorsman George Smith passed away after a courageous battle with ALS. Read more about George’s life and legacy. Read NRCM’s full statement about George.
Maine newspapers wrote about a pole for the proposed CMP transmission line being erected along the existing corridor and how that was met with mixed feelings by many people in the area.
Senator Susan Collins announced that Maine has three newly designated National Scenic Byways, including the Katahdin Woods and Waters Scenic Byway. Learn more about yesterday’s announcement.
To help reduce their impact on the climate and because of the low cost of leasing an electric vehicle due to rebates being offered by Efficiency Maine and the manufacturer, the Town of Kennebunkport will be adding two EVs to their fleet.
The Maine Legislature’s State and Local Government Committee voted yesterday to support LD 2, which would require all legislative bills to be reviewed and analyzed for how they might impact historically disadvantaged racial or ethnic groups. NRCM CEO Lisa Pohlmann submitted testimony in support of the bill.
Since we started with sad news, let’s end with another article about the Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument, specifically about exploring it during the winter. Read this Portland Press Herald article to learn more about planning your fun overnight adventure at the Monument.
February 11, 2021
The Bangor Daily News wrote a piece about the concerns Maine tribes have about Wolfden Resources’ proposal to mine at Pickett Mountain. Hear more from Dan Kusnierz of the Penobscot Nation and Sharri Venno of the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians, along with a sporting camp owner, from a recent NRCM webinar, as they share the reasons they oppose this mine. You can read more about this mining proposal in a recent story in the Maine Monitor.
Sam Steele of South Portland recently shared with NRCM a photo essay about his trip to view the lands along the route of the proposed CMP corridor. Read more from him in a recent Mainer News piece, “Hiking the Path of Destruction.”
Tux Turkel of the Portland Press Herald shares the latest on the controversial CMP corridor and NRCM and others’ work to stop it.
In more CMP news, the company recently announced huge new costs to renewable energy developers who are trying to add solar power to the grid. The governor and others are demanding answers as to why this happened. Read a recent Portland Press Herald op-ed about this same issue, “Maine needs CMP to be a partner to clean energy, not an obstacle,” by NRCM Staff Attorney Sue Ely, Kathleen Meil of Maine Conservation Voters, and Sean Mahoney of the Conservation Law Foundation.
NRCM Sustainable Maine Director Sarah Nichols recently shared her top five take-aways from the latest recycling and waste report by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. Read more about the report and how Maine has not yet met its recycling goals in this recent Maine Public news story.
Peter Blair of the Conservation Law Foundation shared his thoughts in a Bangor Daily News op-ed about why Maine’s plastic bag and foam food container bans are still the right policy for Maine.
Also this week, NRCM CEO Lisa Pohlmann and John Banks of the Penobscot Nation recently spoke with the Public News Service about the reasons they support Rep. Deb Haaland’s nomination as the Biden Administration’s Secretary of the Interior.
And we are ending this week’s news on a positive note. This article notes that 2021 could be the year for Extended Producer Responsibility for Packaging laws, with 12 states — including Maine — with bills in play this session. Learn more about NRCM’s work on recycling reform.
February 4, 2021
George Smith, in his latest column today, highlights two projects that the Natural Resources Council of Maine has been and currently is involved with: the Penobscot River Restoration Project and restoration of the Kennebec River. First, he writes about the new book, From the Mountains to the Sea, released late last year by Islandport Press, telling the story of the 16-year project to remove dams, build a nature-like fish bypass, and reopen 2,000 miles of habitat for sea-run fish. NRCM was a founding member of that project. And then George writes about a current opportunity to restore the Kennebec River above Waterville, with removal of four outdated dams there, which are blocking sea-run fish passage. Learn more about that project and how to get involved.
NRCM Forests & Wildlife Director Melanie Sturm wrote a letter to the editor of the Sun Journal calling on Maine’s Senators Angus King and Susan Collins to support the nomination of Congresswoman Deb Haaland as the new US Interior Secretary.
NRCM CEO Lisa Pohlmann cowrote a recent Portland Press Herald op-ed about the flawed review process for the controversial CMP corridor. Also authoring the piece were the President of the Appalachian Mountain Club and the chapter director of Sierra Club Maine. Read the op-ed.
Speaking of electric vehicles, have you seen the new Super Bowl ad featuring Will Ferrell, Kenan Thompson, and Awkwafina? Turn on your speakers and watch the ad!
NPR did a story about people moving away from their town of residence in search of places that don’t have as severe climate impacts. Read the full story.
An update on the plastics spill near Sears Island in Penobscot Bay, Maine Public reports that the Maine DEP is citing the company responsible for that spill.
The town of Readfield, in Central Maine, received a $22,000 grant for work on a food composting program, which could save area towns money.
Let’s end this week’s News & Noteworthy with big congratulations to Amara Ifeji of Bangor who has been named a National Geographic Young Explorer. Learn more about Amari and her work.