Here are some highlights from January 2023 news stories and opinion pieces related to Maine’s air, land, water, and wildlife. News & Noteworthy from the Natural Resources Council of Maine is updated weekly with the latest news related to the nature of Maine.
January 26, 2023
Earlier this week, we joined Senator Mark Lawrence, University of Maine students, and others to announce a new offshore wind bill that will be discussed in the Legislature this session. If you missed the news, you can read stories from Maine Public, Portland Press Herald, News Center Maine, and WGME-13, as well as read this editorial from the Press Herald that includes a quote from NRCM Climate & Clean Energy Director Jack Shapiro.
In the not-good-news category, Wolfden Resources has submitted a new proposal for a zinc mine at Pickett Mountain near Baxter State Park and the Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument. Read our news release to find out why NRCM continues to oppose this proposal.
Acadia National Park will receive millions of dollars in funding from the Great American Outdoors Act to update its water systems, which were installed in the 1970s.
NRCM Sustainable Maine Director Sarah Nichols is quoted in a recent Sun Journal article with tips for recycling and reuse in the Bethel area. Read the full article.
If you haven’t listened to our newest podcast episode, we encourage you to do so to learn about the important environmental priority bills being discussed at the Maine Legislature this session. NRCM Advocacy Director Pete Didisheim shares his thoughts on the bills and how Mainers can get involved.
And finally this week, the exciting news here at NRCM is that our new CEO Rebeccah Sanders has arrived!
January 20, 2023
The big news of the week happened yesterday, when the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announced that it is moving ahead with the review of the first floating offshore solar array for research in federal waters — 29 miles off the coast of Maine. Read our statement about this news.
The High Peaks Alliance in Franklin County received $2 million in federal funding to build a multi-use bridge to connect Farmington and Jay on the Whistle Stop Trail. That will allow people to get to downtown Farmington from this trail, which also provides access to wheelchair- accessible trails on land owned by the University of Maine Farmington and the town of Farmington. Great news!
Read this Bloomberg piece about how reducing food waste and helping those facing food insecurity go hand in hand. The piece begins, “One of the final, unseen triumphs of the 117th Congress was the passage of the Food Donation Improvement Act, an obscure bill that could catalyze a major effort to solve the twin crises of hunger and food waste in America. But the landmark legislation will succeed only if private-sector leaders make sure it lives up to its promise.” Learn more about what needs to happen next.
Downeast Maine recently became Maine’s first federally designated National Heritage Area, which “means that the region is now considered a nationally significant landscape.”
And, we will end this week’s News & Noteworthy with some news that most Mainers have been waiting for — many southern and coastal parts of the state are enjoying our first “all-snow” snowstorm today. We have had sleet, freezing rain, and very little snow so far this winter, so today’s snowstorm is blanketing most of the state in fluffy, white snow. We hope you will head out to enjoy it! Send us your snowy Maine pics at email@example.com. You might also consider entering your photos in our Fall in to Winter photo contest, with a chance to win some wonderful prizes from local Maine businesses.
January 12, 2023
A recent report found that Maine’s recycling rates during the pandemic are lower than in past years, only recycling 34% in 2020 and 2021. Maine’s state goal for recycling is 50%. NRCM Sustainable Maine Director Sarah Nichols spoke with News Center Maine yesterday to share her thoughts about why Maine’s recycling numbers are down.
NRCM got mentioned in the top stories from Aroostook County for the second half of 2022 due to our meeting with residents in Patten who are concerned, like we are, about a plan from Wolfden Resources to mine at a mountain very close to Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument and Baxter State Park.
Some good news for Bangor residents and visitors: two new electric vehicle charging stations have opened up in downtown Bangor. Learn more.
Last week, Kate Dempsey, the state director of The Nature Conservancy in Maine, wrote an op-ed in the Portland Press Herald about the opportunities in the new year for investing in climate resilience in the state.
Speaking of the new year, did you make any resolutions? The Bangor Daily News shared ways you can save money in 2023 by going green. Check them out!
Portland has a new way to go green thanks to $2.1 million in federal funds. It will begin creating new public greenspaces, including one near the waterfront near Portland Harbor. Learn more about the plans in this Portland Press Herald article.
And finally this week, 2022 was a record-setting year for attendance at Maine’s state park campgrounds, with the third year in a row breaking the previous year’s record. Have you started planning your summer camping adventures? It’s never too soon! Reservations for Lily Bay State Park and Sebago Lake State Park camping open on February 1st (less than a month away!) and all other state park camping reservations open on February 6th.
January 5, 2023
Happy New Year!
As we rang out 2022, the Natural Resources Council of Maine once again hosted our annual Polar Bear Dip & Dash, back in person, this year at a new venue: the Southern Maine Community College in South Portland. We had almost 150 dippers and/or dashers, and many more staff, volunteers, and people cheering on the runners and ocean dippers. Here is some of the coverage of this fun-filled event, which raises funds for our climate mitigation work.
Some more good news to start 2023: the York River becomes the second river in Maine (the Allagash being the first) to receive “Wild and Scenic” federal designation. This will help with wildlife protection, clean water, and sea-level rise protections.
Let’s keep going with good news, ok? Recently the Environmental Protection Agency repealed a change made during President Trump’s administration that put clean water at risk. According to this Associated Press story, “President Joe Biden’s administration…finalized regulations that protect hundreds of thousands of small streams, wetlands and other waterways, repealing a Trump-era rule that federal courts had thrown out and that environmentalists said left waterways vulnerable to pollution.”
Maine and federal lawmakers have earmarked millions of dollars in funding to help Maine communities in all 16 counties to work on climate initiatives from climate-friendly farming to developing renewable energy sources, and so much more. Read this Maine Monitor article for more specifics about the funding and how it will be used.
As we wrote last month, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection is currently working on implementation of Maine’s first-in-the-nation Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for Packaging Law. Learn more in this Gorham Times piece.
If you are looking for some winter activities in Maine, you have a chance to visit new trails and lodge in the Katahdin region. The Seboeis Riverside Trail is located near Patten, Maine, and is open for snowshoeing and hiking…and it’s FREE. Watch a video and learn more about how to access this trail.