News & Noteworthy
Timber company dropping hotly contested Moosehead development plan
The timberland company Weyerhaeuser is asking to terminate a massive rezoning plan for the Moosehead Lake region that was the focus of years of debate and regulatory battles over development in Maine’s North Woods.
Gov. Mills wants Maine carbon-neutral by 2045. What will that take?
Gov. Janet Mills made a surprise announcement when she addressed world leaders at the United Nations Climate Action Summit last week: She had issued an executive order pledging that Maine will be carbon-neutral by 2045. Read more.
Electric car show sparks interest in green energy
The event was sponsored by the Natural Resources Council of Maine, and included free test drives of a variety of different vehicles. “We’re very excited at how many new models are coming out,” Dylan Voorhees said, clean energy director of the Natural Resources Council of Maine. “Just here today, there’s a Hundai model, Chevrolet, Nissan.. every month it seems like a new model comes out.” Read full story.
Faced with mounting recycling costs, committee recommends Brunswick launch public information campaign
Three months after the town tasked the Recycling and Sustainability Committee with finding a solution for Brunswick’s mounting recycling costs, the committee presented a recommendation to the town council: Keep doing what you’re doing, but do it smarter. Read full story.
New law to reduce food waste in Maine schools
Primary schools, secondary schools, and universities consistently deal with managing food waste. And as their cafeteria staff prepare meals each day, students are likely to waste more than seven million pounds of food every year, according to the Natural Resources Council of Maine. However, a new law passed in June may reduce that figure. Read full story.
The Legislature failed to pass a bond for the popular and effective Land for Maine’s Future program. It’s a major setback for conservation in the state because we know from experience at the Katahdin Woods & Waters Monument as it celebrates its third anniversary that conservation benefits everyone, including local economies.
According to a survey conducted by local advocates, restaurants in the Boothbay region are making progress in reducing plastic waste, and NRCM’s Sarah Nichols was honored to join Congresswoman Pingree for a discussion on ideas for reducing food waste.
Businesses Doing Good
In an op-ed in the Portland Press Herald, Maine Beer Company’s Dan Kleban makes the case that a clean environment and healthy economy go hand-in-hand.
In a great blog post on Patagonia’s website, the company’s designers talk about how visiting the Katahdin Woods & Waters Monument inspired them to create the company’s newest collection to protect wild places.
Rivers and Puffins!
WABI highlighted our recent paddle to celebrate the recovery of the Penobscot River. The alewife fishway in Vassalboro hits its half-way point, and Camden is exploring the possibility of removing a dam on the Megunticook.
A piece by Maine Public’s Susan Sharon on Maine’s puffin population was featured on PBS News Hour!
Five Questions and a Paddle
NRCM’s CEO Lisa Pohlmann spoke with the Kennebec Journal for their Five Questions feature and talked about the importance of strategy in overcoming obstacles, and a KJ reporter and photographer joined NRCM and the Penobscot Paddle & Chowder Society for our recent paddle along the Kennebec River.
It’s a Landslide
Following a trend we’re seeing throughout Maine, Livermore Falls residents overwhelmingly voted to oppose the CMP corridor. This makes them the 22nd town to oppose or rescind support for the troubled transmission line proposal.
Happy Birthday KWW!
George Smith and Bill Greene highlight how the Katahdin Woods & Waters Monument is hitting its stride as it enters its third year. The BDN gives insight into how the growing number of trails is also helping the Katahdin area become a mountain biking mecca. In Orono, the bog boardwalk replacement is done—go out and explore it!
Not Enough for Land Conservation
Finally, the Legislature will come back to Augusta for a special session but the proposed bond package includes much less funding for the Land for Maine’s Future program than what NRCM and other groups had asked for.
This will come as no surprise to many of you who enjoy exploring Maine’s wild place: according to a new study, Maine is one of the few places left with a pristine night sky in the U.S.
CMP’s Troubles Not Going Away
Renewable energy developer NextEra called the Public Utility Commission’s (PUC) approval of the CMP corridor project “replete with errors” and Livermore residents want their select board to rescind support for the troubled transmission line project.
After requests from NRCM and others, the PUC officially delayed its decision on Central Maine Power’s propose rate increase. Meanwhile, the utility attempted to save face by offering compensation to those customers with billing issues.
Clear Skies in SoPo
In the ongoing battle against the fossil fuel industry for cleaner air in South Portland, the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) now admits it was wrong to resist the federal crackdown on pollution and a federal appeals court heard arguments defending the city’s clean skies ordinance. NRCM was proud to collaborate with environmental partners on an amicus brief in the case. Residents found out air quality standards were violated once again.
NRCM joined a coalition of organizations in signing a letter praising the Northeast regional initiative to curb transportation emissions, and the University of Maine is poised to produce the first floating wind turbine in the U.S.
CMP Corridor Updates
Chesterville residents overwhelmingly voted to oppose the CMP corridor, becoming the latest town to oppose the troubled project. In a letter to the editor, Nancy Prince of Wilton highlights the impact that the CMP corridor would have on the state’s prized brook trout. And after spending a staggering $318 million to try and get its project approved, Eversource announced it’s pulling the plug on the Northern Pass project, which had been selected prior to the CMP corridor.
The PUC’s Chair indicated that a decision on Central Maine Power’s out-of-touch rate increase request will likely be delayed, after groups, including NRCM, requested a delay because of ongoing issues with the utility.
The BIG news dominating news coverage has been Central Maine Power’s ongoing billing and customer service complaints, coupled with an astoundingly tone-deaf request from the company to raise rates. The PUC kicked off a series of public hearings on the billing issues. Angry and frustrated customers showed up at the hearings, and needless to say, they were not happy about how they’d been treated by CMP.
NRCM Clean Energy Director Dylan Voorhees writes in the Portland Press Herald about how CMP’s billing issues lead to much deeper negative impacts for Maine’s future, namely our ability to meet the state’s ambitious clean energy and climate goals.
Productive Legislative Session a Promising Sign
The Portland Press Herald wrote an in-depth look at NRCM’s efforts to reform recycling in Maine, and the newspaper editorialized in strong support of the campaign.
Conserving Land for All to Enjoy
Maine Calling visited Millinocket for a live discussion of the Katahdin Woods and Waters Monument, and Penoboscot salmon returns are the highest they’ve been in a long time. The Sun Journal takes a look at a school trail project funded in part by an NRCM grant.
A Remarkable Recovery
On Monday, July 1, as Osprey flew overhead and sturgeon leaped, we joined friends and partners at Augusta’s Mill Park to celebrate the remarkable recovery of the Kennebec River at an event recognizing the 20th anniversary of the removal of the Edwards Dam.
ICYMI, we released this video with truly awe-inspiring footage from the Kennebec, highlighting its dramatic recovery.
Big Gains for the Environment and Climate Action
The Sun Journal ran a big story detailing how the environment was a BIG winner in this year’s legislative session, and Governor Mills signed three major climate and clean energy bills into law at an event at the state’s largest solar array in Pittsfield, and Maine continue to be recognized nationally for the amazing slate of climate and clean energy bills that were passed this year.
After advocacy from NRCM and action from the legislators, the Public Utilities Commission reversed its decision to gut energy efficiency funding and will now delivery help to low-income Mainers.
The Bangor Daily News ran a nice profile of our 2016 People’s Choice Award winner, Hirundo Wildlife Refuge in Old Town, and the Land for Maine’s Future program will support preservation of working waterfronts in Maine.
The Sun Journal spoke with plastic bag-toting shoppers who, it turns out, favor the new ban on plastic bags, and Vinalhaven residents have started an island-wide composting program to help save money on shipping trash.