Read highlights from September 2022 news stories and opinion pieces related to the environment, including Maine’s air, land, water, and wildlife, in this News & Noteworthy from the Natural Resources Council of Maine.
We didn’t want to wait to share the fantastic news stories about yesterday’s Clean Water Champions event in Lewiston, so we are posting one last time in September:
- “50 years of progress: Mainers celebrate Clean Water Act anniversary in Lewiston,” Sun Journal
- “Lewiston celebrates 50 years since passage of Clean Water Act,” WGME-13
The Sun Journal had several articles about the Clean Water Act anniversary and what Maine rivers, the Androscoggin in particular, used to be like before passage of the federal Clean Water Act, championed by Maine’s US Senator Ed Muskie, who grew up along the polluted Androscoggin in Rumford.
- Read about the event taking place in Lewiston today to honor Clean Water Champions.
- Read this article about the Androscoggin River when it was so polluted that it would peel paint off houses.
- This Sun Journal piece is about the Androscoggin now and how things have changed since passage of the Clean Water Act in 1972.
There have also been some local news stories about some of the 100 Clean Water Champions:
In other news this week, the Bangor Daily News wrote a feature on Bill Mook, owner of Mook Sea Farm. Bill was a 2018 NRCM Conservation Leadership Award recipient.
Read Michael Good’s op-ed in the Bangor Daily News in support of removal of the four Brookfield dams on the Kennebec River and one on the Union River.
The Portland Press Herald shared an op-ed written by a resident of Trenton, Maine, who shares concerns about the proposed American Aquafarms project in Frenchman Bay, a project NRCM and many others oppose.
We told you last month that Senators Angus King and Susan Collins are sponsoring a bill that would help to expand the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. Learn more about this bill and how the first Senate hearing about it from Maine Public.
As part of their series on climate change, Maine Public shares news of what the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians is doing to restore a river in northern Maine to improve salmon habitat.
NRCM Senior Director of Advocacy CEO Pete Didisheim spoke with News Center Maine this week about the changes in Maine’s waters since the passage of the federal Clean Water Act 50 years ago next month. Watch the full video.
NRCM Climate & Clean Energy Outreach Coordinator Josh Caldwell was a featured guest on Maine Public’s Maine Calling yesterday. He spoke about NRCM’s recent survey of Mainers who own electric vehicles. Listen to the recording.
NRCM Staff Scientist Nick Bennett spoke to about 50 residents in Patten last week about the threats posed by a mining proposal by Wolfden Resources, which would create a mine on Pickett Mountain, near both Baxter State Park and Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument. Read more from the Bangor Daily News.
News Center Maine shared a video about one of our 2022 Brookie Award recipients, Anna Siegel, as part of their “Maine’s Changing Climate” series. Watch the full video.
NRCM Climate & Clean Energy Director Jack Shapiro is quoted in a Maine Public story about new energy efficiency standards for appliances sold in Maine.
South Portland residents have a new rebate program for clean energy products in and around their homes, like electric bikes, electric cars, lawnmowers, and more.
The head of the Maine Immigrant Welcome Center, Reza Jalali, has created an alliance of young climate activists and new Mainers to help them work together for climate action. Read more in the Bangor Daily News.
The Bangor Daily News editorial board wrote a piece saying that the Inflation Reduction Act bill recently signed into law includes language that makes it clear that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has the authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. Good news, especially after the recent Supreme Court ruling that reduced EPA’s authority to regulate them.
The only road to Deer Isle on Maine’s coast is threatened by rising seas caused by climate change. Read more in the Bangor Daily News.
Some good news from Maine’s coast: one oyster farm is trying to eliminate plastics from its seafood packaging. Learn more in this News Center Maine video.
This week, Senator Susan Collins helped secure funding so that the Biddeford Saco Old Orchard Beach Transit can purchase two electric buses to replace old diesel buses.
Speaking of EVs, a new EV rental business has just opened up in Bar Harbor, to help people explore Acadia National Park without creating climate-changing pollution while they do.
You may be wondering about the Inflation Reduction Act and what it means for Maine. Hear from NRCM Climate & Clean Energy Director Jack Shapiro in this Maine Monitor story as he helps to answer that question.
We mentioned the possible expansion of the Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument. The Bangor Daily News editorial board thinks that this is an endorsement of the success of the Monument, and passing the bill will make the Monument more accessible to more people.
As we get ready to celebrate the sixth anniversary of the establishment of the Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument later this month, it was announced that a federal bill co-sponsored by both of Maine’s US Senators was introduced, and it would create easier access to the Monument. Good news for visitors and local businesses!
A new initiative at Maine Maritime Academy (MMA) in Castine will test technology that would allow the school’s ships to store energy and send it back to the grid when its not being used. MMA is partnering with a San Diego tech company on this project.
The Town of Jay has signed an agreement with ReVision Energy to receive solar power credits, which will in turn reduce the Town’s energy costs.
Many of you have already read the latest Birding with Jeff and Allison blog post about a “mega-rare” bird spotted in Maine recently. That blog created a lot of buzz, and you can learn more about the Tufted Puffin’s visit to Maine in this full News Center Maine video interview with co-author of the blog, Jeff Wells.
NRCM Staff Scientist Nick Bennett is quoted in this Maine Public story about Wolfden Resources trying again to convince northern Maine towns that a mine near Baxter State Park and the Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument is a good idea. NRCM and many others disagree.
NRCM’s Allison Wells and her husband Jeff recently wrote a blog about a rare bird spotted in Maine recently, the Tufted Puffin. Read the original blog, and then see stories about it from WGME-TV and yesterday’s Portland Press Herald.
A vote is expected soon in the US Senate on the Inflation Reduction Act, which includes the largest-ever investment in climate action in US history. In today’s Frontline Voices podcast, NRCM’s Colin Durrant spoke with representatives of the Environmental Defense Fund and the National Wildlife Federation to get their perspectives on what this would mean for Maine and the country.
Getting outside to enjoy fresh air and exercise is something many of us take for granted. A small town in Aroostook County has made it a priority to make outside play more accessible for people by building an inclusive playground (for children and adults).
Today marks the second anniversary of the Great American Outdoors Act, which has benefited national parks throughout the United States, including Acadia National Park here in Maine.
Speaking of anniversaries, later this month we will celebrate the sixth anniversary of the establishment of the Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument. Maine author Laurie Apgar Chandler has written a new book, Through Woods & Waters: A Solo Journey to Maine’s New National Monument. Visit your local bookstore to get a copy to enjoy before, during, or after you head to the Monument to see it for yourself!
Were you unable to join us in July as we celebrated the six outstanding young winners of the 2022 Brookie Awards? The Portland Press Herald was there and shares some photos and information from the night’s events.
Many Mainers are investing in energy-efficient heat pumps to help them avoid using oil to heat their homes, especially as prices skyrocket. For people in Maine who deal with very cold temperatures in the winter, some good news from a recent study: these heat pumps can perform well in below-freezing temperatures. It’s hard to think about that cold weather as today is supposed to reach 90+ degrees, but we know winter is just around the corner.
And finally this week, Maine has received $20 million from the federal infrastructure bill to clean up brownfields and redevelop them.
NRCM Staff Scientist Nick Bennett is quoted in this recent Seacoastonline.com news story about removal of dams on the Kennebec River, which is the best chance of protecting endangered Atlantic salmon.
Read this recent Washington Post story about how Maine lobstermen and women are seeing the impacts of climate change on the lobster industry, with the Gulf of Maine warming faster than almost anywhere else in the world’s oceans. Learn how some of them are beginning to harvest seaweed as another source of income.
Have you ever seen an Atlantic Puffin during the summer in Maine? NRCM does a puffin cruise each summer to see these birds on Eastern Egg Rock in Muscongus Bay. NECN recently did a story on puffins and how they are one of the many wildlife species at risk due to climate change.
The Legislature passed a bill this year to provide $2 million in funding for a pilot program to educate teachers about how to teach their students about climate change. Learn more about how this is welcome news for teachers and students alike in Maine.
We will kick off this News & Noteworthy with an op-ed by NRCM Climate & Clean Energy Director Jack Shapiro, which recently appeared in the Bangor Daily News. Jack writes about the path Maine can take and is taking toward a clean energy future.
Recently, NRCM Staff Scientist Nick Bennett traveled to Patten to speak with citizens there at a forum, which also featured Wolfden Resources, a company wanting to build a mine near the Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument. Read more about that meeting and why NRCM opposes this project in this Bangor Daily News story.
Last week, NRCM and NRCM Rising hosted our largest event in more than two years as we celebrated six outstanding young leaders with our 2022 Brookie Awards. One of those awardees, Kiara Firschkorn, was featured in a news piece on News Center Maine. NRCM Rising Director Todd Martin also spoke about the Brookies and the importance of Maine’s young environmental changemakers in this news story.
The Brunswick, Maine, recycling committee gave a shout out to NRCM and our Take Action Toolkit in a recent “Recycle Bin” column, which they write weekly for the Times Record.
Some big news for us today is that NRCM will be celebrating our second class of Brookie Award winners at an event in Portland this evening. Our six awardees are young people making a difference in Maine’s environmental movement. Learn more about this year’s Brookies at www.brookieawards.org. One of this year’s awardees, Anna Siegal, worked with Maine Youth for Climate Justice to get Maine to divest its money from fossil fuel companies.
Read this op-ed by Kathy Scott, a member of the Trout Unlimited national board, about why the four dams on the Kennebec River between Waterville and Skowhegan need to be removed in order to protect the endangered Atlantic salmon and open up that stretch of river for restoration, like has happened further down the river since the 1999 removal of the Edwards Dam and the 2008 removal of the Fort Halifax Dam.
And finally this week, the College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor recently announced that it has acquired North Woods Way wilderness center in Willimantic (in the Moosehead Lake region). This will create some wonderful educational opportunities for students there.
Maine’s state motto is Dirigo, which means “I lead.” And once again, Maine led the nation as the first state to pass an extended producer responsibility for packaging law in 2021. We are now joined by Oregon, Colorado, and this week, California! Californis passed a plastic reduction bill that includes EPR for packaging. Learn more in this Grist article.
In other good news, a federal judge threw out rollbacks to endangered species protections. The rollbacks happened under the previous presidential administration, and currently President Biden’s staff are working to increase protections for endangered species.
In the bad news category the recent decision by the US Supreme Court to limit the power of the US Environmental Protection Agency to regulate climate-changing pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
The Portland Press Herald recently wrote about ways to modernize a power line in the Brunswick/Topsham area, thanks to a new law that requires Central Maine Power and other utilities to work with the state to look at alternatives to new poles and wires. Read more in this piece by Tux Turkel.
It was recently announced that the McCain Foods plant in Aroostook County plans to increase their renewable energy use, with plans to be 50% solar. This is part of the company’s broader sustainability plan. Read more in the Sun Journal.
And let’s end this edition from the other end of the state, Cape Elizabeth to be specific, where two young brothers have created a sustainable, zero-emissions lawn care business. These 17-year-olds own Solar Mow, and their father, Phil, is co-founder of ReVision Energy.