Each month, we highlight news stories and opinion pieces related to Maine’s air, land, water, and wildlife. We update News & Noteworthy weekly with the latest news related to the nature of Maine, including the work of staff at the Natural Resources Council of Maine.
July 27, 2023
NRCM, the Conservation Law Foundation, and Sierra Club all agree that Maine needs to adopt strong clean car and truck emission standards, and on August 17, Mainers will have a chance to show their support at a public hearing at the Augusta Civic Center. NRCM Climate & Clean Energy Director Jack Shapiro explains more in this Portland Press Herald article.
Maine had an ambitious goal of installing 100,000 heat pumps by 2025. Well…mark that goal as met…two years early! So, now the new goal is 175,000 more heat pump installations by 2027. This will help Maine homeowners and businesses reduce or end their reliance on fossil fuels to heat their homes and businesses.
As the 2023 legislative session comes to a close, the Washington Post reports that Governor Janet Mills has reached a deal with labor unions related to the offshore wind bill.
And in the wee hours of this morning, the Maine Legislature passed LD 1895, for the procurement of 3 MW of energy generation from offshore wind. This bill was a high priority for NRCM throughout the session, and NRCM’s Jack Shapiro was there at 3:00 a.m. when the bill passed. It now heads to Governor Mills’ desk for signing into public law.
While this week’s news about renewable energy is getting a lot of headlines, another headline that is important to Maine is this one out of Lewiston: “Lewiston teens help make trails accessible for disabled at Camp Gustin” — the Sun Journal highlights work of the Maine Youth Action Network and Androscoggin Land Trust to make these trails ADA-compliant so that people of all abilities can enjoy them.
And finally this week, three Midcoast Maine towns have passed moratoriums on metallic mineral mining after Exiro Mineral Corporation announced plans to look for metallic minerals in their area.
July 20, 2023
If you have spent any time in Maine this summer, you will know that we have had a humid and hot stretch of weather (and lots and lots of rain). The Gulf of Maine ocean temperatures also remain warm…actually warming faster than 99% of the world’s oceans. Learn more about a recent report about the rapid warming that continues in the Gulf of Maine.
The town of York was one of the first to ban single-use plastic bags before the statewide ban was passed by the Legislature. Now, students at York High School are hoping the town will ban all single-use plastic utensils. These students are part of the school’s Eco Club and have already successfully banned single-use plastic foodware in their school’s cafeteria. Learn more from the Sun Journal.
NRCM Climate & Clean Energy Director Jack Shapiro is quoted in this Bangor Daily News article about having Maine adopt clean car and truck rules in order to reduce greenhouse gas emission to help the state meet its climate goals.
And, NRCM Climate & Clean Energy Outreach Coordinator Josh Caldwell spoke with WGME about these same rules and the importance of increasing the number of zero-emission vehicles on Maine’s roads with WGME.
Good news for Maine: the Maine Legislature passed a bill (LD 1814) that will ban the sale of new compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) in the state beginning in 2026. These bulbs contain mercury, and LED bulbs are more efficient and don’t contain mercury. Read this Portland Press Herald article, which quotes NRCM Sustainable Maine Director Sarah Nichols.
Sarah Nichols also spent much of the legislative session working with redemption center owners and others to pass bills that will increase the handling fee paid to redemption centers for their collection and sorting of returnable cans and bottles as well as a bill that will modernize Maine’s wildly successful Bottle Bill. Learn more in this Bangor Daily News article. Then tune in to NRCM’s Frontline Voices podcast to hear today’s episode, which features one redemption center owner talking about these bills.
July 13, 2023
Let’s start the week off with some important news from Augusta. Last night, a historic offshore wind bill was approved by the Maine Legislature’s Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee, and his now headed to both the House and Senate when each body comes back to wrap up this year’s session.
Earlier this week, Kevin Slater, a Master Maine Guide, shares in the Bangor Daily News why he is so concerned about Wolfden Resources’ proposal for a metallic mineral mine at Pickett Mountain, near both Baxter State Park and the Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument. Read Kevin’s full letter here.
People wanting to share their thoughts about a proposed powerline in Aroostook County have a chance to weigh in at several upcoming public meetings.
Speaking of Aroostook County, did you know that electric bikes (e-bikes) are gaining popularity in Maine, including in the County? Learn more about them and how they transformed one resident’s life.
How did you celebrate Independence Day last week? Did you prepare a meal of salmon and peas? Did you know that meal used to be a New England tradition on July 4th? Hear from NRCM Staff Scientist Nick Bennett in this Portland Press Herald article about salmon, peas, and why dams on the Kennebec need to be removed.
And ICYMI, the City of Gardiner had some exciting times earlier this summer with a huge population of sturgeon making their way up Cobbosseecontee Stream right through downtown. Due to high water levels (it rained in Maine for almost the entire month of June!), the sturgeon had access to the stream to spawn. People flocked to the city to see the fish for themselves.