Here are some highlights from news stories and opinion pieces related to the environment, including Maine’s air, land, water, and wildlife:
In good renewable energy news, Governor Mills celebrated National Climate Week and Clean Energy Week at Dave’s World in Dover-Foxcroft. She was there to celebrate a milestone toward Maine’s goal of installing 100,000 high-efficiency heat pumps by 2025.
In some not-so-good news for Maine’s wildlife, the Portland Press Herald shares news that Atlantic Puffin chicks’ survival rate was down considerably over past years. If you haven’t traveled to see these beautiful summer visitors to Maine, we encourage you to add it to your must-do list for next summer (mid-June to mid-August).
Colin Woodard writes about Brookfield’s lawsuit against the State of Maine in regard to the company’s four dams on the Kennebec River. In the article, he writes, “Gov. Janet Mills’ spokesman Scott Ogden blasted the company in a written statement Tuesday, calling its suit ‘meritless’ and ‘a disappointing demonstration of the company’s continued unwillingness to partner with the State of Maine to solve this serious issue.'”
And finally, former Maine State Senator Michael Carpenter wrote an op-ed in the Bangor Daily News in support of LD 1626, a bill carried over from the 2021 legislative session, that would restore tribal sovereignty to Maine’s Indigenous people. NRCM testified in support of this bill earlier this year, too. Read NRCM CEO Lisa Pohlmann’s testimony.
Read this Maine Public story to learn more about the Passamaquoddy tribe’s regaining control “of the site of an ancient fishing village located at a remote lake in Meddybemps, which in the tribe’s language means ‘place of many alewives.'”
Climate action can’t wait, and the Portland Press Herald editorial board calls on Congress to take action now. Learn more about Congress’ last, best chance at meaningful climate action in this Press Herald editorial.
Have you read the new book about the 16-year Penobscot River Restoration Project, From the Mountains to the Sea? Read a review of this book, which features photos and stories of this project and the people who made it possible (including NRCM and our partners) from the Portland Press Herald. Then head to your local bookstore to buy your copy today!
The City of Portland is making changes to reduce the municipality’s use of fossil fuels using renewable energy, electric vehicles, and more. Learn about their plans.
Did you know that food waste may be one of the most pressing climate issues facing Maine? Find out why in this Maine Public article.
Maine’s state motto is Dirigo, which means “I lead.” Treehugger.com shares a story about how Maine is once again a leader when it comes to holding companies accountable.
Central Maine Power’s ads about Question 1 (the proposed CMP corridor) are not true. They are using false information to scare people. In today’s Portland Press Herald column, Bill Nemitz called it “political hokum of the highest order.”
Some good news for electric car owners traveling to or through Wells in southern Maine: you can now charge your car at the Wells Public Library with a newly installed EV charging station!
More good news from southern Maine: Kittery has announced a new composting program for food scraps, compostable plastics, and other food waste.
Some great electric vehicle news: Mount Desert Island High School just purchased Maine’s first electric school bus! And, just a little further inland from MDI, Bangor’s police department purchased their first all-electric police car! Let’s hope other municipalities soon follow.
It’s great to have Mainers making changes like switching to electric cars, weatherizing their homes, taking public transit and more to reduce climate-changing pollution. But, as Maine’s climate warms due to climate change, how can you prepare your home to better withstand extreme storms and the more frequent power outages we are seeing because of them? Read this Portland Press Herald article by longtime staff writer Tux Turkel to get some answers to that question.
As you may know, Maine passed the first-in-the-nation Extended Producer Responsibility for Packaging law in July, with Oregon also passing a law later in 2021. Read more about what these laws will do to shift responsibility for paying for recycling costs in this article from Grist.
The big news today, which just happened moments ago, is that NRCM and our partners filed a lawsuit against Brookfield Renewable, owner of four dams on the Kennebec River, for breaking the law and killing endangered Atlantic salmon. You can read the full lawsuit filing and our news release here.
NRCM continues to oppose the plan by Canadian company Wolfden Resources to mine at Pickett Mountain, very near both Baxter State Park and the Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument. This week, NRCM Staff Scientist Nick Bennett is quoted in an article about Wolfden’s updated rezoning petition to LUPC.
NRCM Sustainable Maine Director Sarah Nichols continues to share information about Maine’s first-in-the-nation EPR for Packaging law, this time in an episode of WYNC Studios’ “The Takeaway.”
“We should work toward win-win solutions that restore sea-run fish to the Kennebec, maintain critical infrastructure, and improve the Kennebec River as a resource for our towns and communities.” Read Willie Grenier’s piece in today’s Morning Sentinel for more on how we can save endangered Atlantic salmon AND protect our local economy.
This year’s Extended Producer Responsibility for Packaging law was a big step in the right direction for recycling in Maine. And now, some more good news for Maine’s recycling market: prices and demand for materials increased this year.
This week we celebrated the fifth anniversary of establishment of the Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument, and the Bangor Daily News did, too, with this editorial.
The Roberts Farm Preserve in Norway will use a grant from the State Economic & Infrastructure Development Investment Program to create 4 electric vehicle charging station spots and 72 total parking spaces as they begin a four-phase project, which will become an agricultural and environmental center.
Wolfden Resources, which has already proposed a mine near Baxter State Park and the Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument, now wants to do some test drilling at another site in Washington County. NRCM strongly opposes Wolfden’s proposed mine at Pickett Mountain and helped the Maine Legislature pass the strongest mining protections of any state in the country a few years ago. Learn about this proposed drilling site in Pembroke.
Take a minute to read today’s Bangor Daily News op-ed by two Maine Climate Councilors (one is chair of the Millinocket Town Council, the other is executive director f the Maine Council on Aging) about how investment in cleaner transportation and renewable energy will result in benefits for Mainers’ health, our economy, and our way of life.
This week’s good news is the ruling by Maine’s Superior Court that vacated the lease on Maine Public Land to Central Maine Power for their controversial transmission line. Read more about this decision in the Portland Press Herald. As a result of this week’s ruling, opponents of the corridor have asked the Department of Environmental Protection to stop construction of the line.
Bangor will start construction on a new multi-use trail to the Kenduskeag Stream, allowing for foot and bike traffic from Ohio Street to the downtown area.
The United Nations released their climate change report this week, and Maine environmental groups, including NRCM, responded to the report. NRCM’s new Climate & Clean Energy Director Jack Shapiro is quoted in this Maine Public story.
NRCM CEO Lisa Pohlmann and NRCM Advocacy Director Pete Didisheim wrote a recent op-ed to share the great news of many legislative victories for Maine’s environment during the 2021 session. Read the full-op-ed in the Portland Press Herald.
York, Maine, along the southern coast of the state, has volunteers who are working to keep microplastics out of the town’s beaches.
News about Maine being the first state in the nation to pass an Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for packaging bill is still coming. Here’s the latest, featuring NRCM’s Sarah Nichols, from Zerohedge.com. And don’t miss last week’s New York Times story, also featuring Sarah.
In more good sustainability news, the University of Maine at Farmington and the Maine Department of Environmental Protection are helping to reduce food waste in the area by making composting more accessible for local residents.
Maine’s US Senator Angus King is chair of the Senate Subcommittee on National Parks, and he and his colleagues are looking for ways to protect our national parks from the sharp increase in park visitors/users while also keeping them accessible to all.
Maine Beer Company, a member of the Maine Brewshed Alliance, just made a substantial gift toward the effort to preserve Little Whaleboat Island for public access. The island is in Casco Bay off Harpswell. Learn more from the Portland Press Herald.
Good news: seven new tent sites are available at the Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument thanks to generous donations from the Roxanne Quimby Foundation, LL Bean, and The National Park Foundation.
Some more good news: NRCM Rising partnered with others to do a litter clean-up at Thompson’s Point in Portland last night. About 70 people cleaned up the area and also learned more about NRCM’s work to reduce plastic pollution. Thanks to everyone who came out for this event.
Mali Obomsawin wrote an op-ed in today’s Kennebec Journal about the importance of clean and free-flowing waterways and the need to remove the four dams on the Kennebec River that are blocking Atlantic salmon passage. Removing these dams is the best chance for restoring endangered Atlantic salmon populations.
NRCM continues to oppose Wolfden Resources’ proposal to mine at Pickett Mountain near both Baxter State Park and the Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument. A recent Bangor Daily News story shares recent criticism of claims made to investors by Wolfden’s CEO. Learn more about this proposal and why NRCM opposes it.
Legislators weighed in on the controversial CMP corridor in several ways in the past week. The Legislature held a symbolic vote of opposition as a state judge expressed concern about the illegal leases granted to CMP to cross public lands.. After a visit to Western Maine, a group of lawmakers expressed concern about CMP’s practices. One of those legislators, Senator Black, wrote about the experience.
The biggest news of the week here is that Maine Governor Janet Mills signed the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for Packaging bill into law on July 12th. Maine is the first state in the nation to join more than 40 jurisdictions around the world (including the European Union and several Canadian provinces) in making companies that produce the packaging pay the costs of recycling, rather than leaving that burden to Maine taxpayers and municipalities. Read more in the Washington Post, Boston Globe, and Seacoast Online. NRCM Sustainable Maine Director Sarah Nichols explains how this law will work in a recent blog post.
The Legislature has adjourned, but two legislators wrote a recent Bangor Daily News op-ed to celebrate the investment in the Land for Maine’s Future program that will take place now that the biennial budget has been signed and gone into effect. Forty million dollars over four years after many years without funding is great news for Maine! And thanks to another bill, Maine will be able to begin better protecting deer wintering habitat, too!
Speaking of land conservation, enjoy this News Center Maine video trip to Baxter State Park with Registered Maine Guide Christi Holmes.
An op-ed in today’s Kennebec Journal urges Governor Mills to sign into law LD 1541, the bill that passed the Maine House and Senate and would create an Extended Producer Responsibility for Packaging law, requiring large corporations to help pay for the costs of recycling their packaging materials, rather than leaving those costs to Maine taxpayers.
As NRCM and thousands of others around the state continue to oppose the proposed Central Maine Power corridor, we learned recently that a coalition of Indigenous tribes from Canada is filing suit against Quebec’s government to stop this CMP and Hydro-Quebec project.
The bipartisan budget bill passed by the Maine Legislature and signed by Governor Mills, includes $40 million over four years to fund the Land for Maine’s Future program, which hadn’t received new funding since 2012. Hurray!
Two members of the Maine Climate Council, Ania Wright and Maulian Dana, wrote a recent Bangor Daily News op-ed about how a consumer-owned utility like the one proposed during this session of the Maine Legislature, would both honor Maine’s Indigenous people and help future generations of Mainers.
After some delay due to the pandemic, Maine’s single-use plastic bag and foam food container bans will be enforced beginning today, statewide. NRCM’s Sarah Nichols is quoted in this Maine Public story.