Every 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.
June 23, 2023
The National Wildlife Federation honored Greg LeClair this week with its National Conservation Young Leader Award. NRCM folks may recognize Greg’s name because he is the founder of Maine Big Night, protecting amphibians from being harmed as they cross Maine’s roads. Greg was also one of six recipients of NRCM Rising’s 2022 Brookie Awards. Read more about Greg and his award from NRCM. Congratulations for this well-deserved recognition, Greg!
Some good news out of the State House this week: Governor Mills signed into law a bill that will allow Maine to offer rebates to people wanting to purchase electric bikes. Learn more from Maine Public.
NRCM supports LD 1986, which would help Maine continue on our path to a clean energy future. Read more about this bill and why it’s good for Maine. Another bill, LD 1895, supports offshore wind development in the Gulf of Maine. The Portland Press Herald editorial board supports this bill, and so does NRCM.
Residents of the town of Harrison can save money on new heat pumps thanks to an initiative started by Andrea and Michael Dunn. Through a bulk purchase program, residents can save money on top of the rebates already available for heat pumps. Learn more and see if your town can do something like this to save you and your neighbors money and reduce climate impacts.
June 16, 2023
NRCM and others are working to get a bill (LD 1895) passed that would help bring the benefits of offshore wind to Maine, including good-paying jobs and tremendous progress toward Maine’s climate goals. Read this op-ed in support of LD 1895 from a recent Bangor Daily News.
NRCM Senior Advocate Rebecca Schultz wrote an op-ed that appears in today’s Bangor Daily News about the success of solar in Maine, what still needs to be done, and how to proceed in reducing our state’s dependence on fossil fuels.
How are some Maine restaurants reducing food waste and becoming more sustainable? Read this Portland Press Herald article, which quotes NRCM Sustainable Maine Director Sarah Nichols.
ABC News recently reported on plastic pollution, specifically that from plastic bags. ABC added trackers to some plastic bags across the country to follow them through the recycling process. See what they found out.
We will end this week with a great Franklin Journal piece about the return of the Sandy River Festival in Strong. This festival was co-sponsored by the Natural Resources Council of Maine, with our Regional Outreach Coordinator Marc Edwards playing a huge part in bringing back this beloved event. A little rain didn’t stop the fly tying, log rolling, singing, and storytelling that made this event one to remember!
June 8, 2023
Some big news out of the Maine Legislature today is that last night, a bill to jumpstart offshore wind in Maine passed out of the Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee. NRCM and many others have been working on this priority bill this session — you can read more from this morning’s news release.
Another priority for us this session has been passing a bill to modernize and make more efficient Maine’s 45-year-old Bottle Bill, our state’s most successful litter prevention and recycling program. The Environment and Natural Resources Committee voted that bill out of committee with a unanimous “Ought to Pass as Amended” vote. This is great news as the bill now heads to the full House and Senate for votes.
Let’s just keep going with the good news: Governor Janet Mills announced that thousands of acres of land will be protected thanks to Land for Maine’s Future funding. Nine projects that range from acreage near the Appalachian Trail in Franklin County to trails protections in Wells and habitat protection for the New England cottontail will receive LMF funds. Read more from the Portland Press Herald.
In the “not good news” category, some Maine bird species are declining in numbers due in some part to climate change. Governor Mills signed a bill into law that will add five species to the endangered or threatened species list so that they can receive further protections. Dr. Jeff Wells testified in support of this bill. Jeff is one of the authors of NRCM’s monthly Birding with Jeff & Allison blog.
The American Lung Association recently released a report saying that a switch to zero-emission cars could save up to 330 lives in Maine by 2050. That change would also prevent more than 4,700 asthma attacks in Maine and more than 25,000 lost work days due to illness. Learn more in this WMTW news story.
June 1, 2023
ICYMI: A member of the town of Bridgton’s recycling committee wrote a piece in The Bridgton News about Maine’s new Extended Producer Responsibility for Packaging law, which will require manufacturers to pay the costs of recycling their packaging materials. Currently, Maine taxpayers and municipalities are footing those bills.
A recent report by the Wildlands, Woodlands, Farmlands & Communities Initiative calls for an increase in protected lands, off limits to development. The group’s hope is that the amount of “forever wild” lands triples from its current 700,000 acres in Maine by 2060.
Thanks to river restoration projects around the state (many in which the Natural Resources Council of Maine was involved) are the reason alewives and other fish are returning in large numbers to waters around the state. Our staff recently visited Benton Falls and saw thousands of alewives and more than two dozen Bald Eagles circling overhead at one point during their visit.
Another group working hard to protect Maine’s rivers is aptly named Maine Rivers! The organization’s executive director Landis Hudson recently wrote an op-ed in the Kennebec Journal about the rebirth of the Kennebec River.
The Legislature will soon be voting on a bill to limit some large aquaculture farms in Maine. A bill to ban oversized projects from being reviewed or considered by the Maine Department of Marine Resources passed out of committee last week. NRCM and other organizations like Frenchman Bay United opposed American Aquafarms, which had been proposed for Frenchman Bay/Mount Desert Island, but that building is now up for sale after the proposal was rejected by Maine regulators.
We will end this week’s noteworthy news with an op-ed by Kristina Cannon of Main Street Skowhegan, which appeared in yesterday’s Central Maine newspapers. She and her organization are some of the nearly 300 organizations and towns that support passage of a $30 million Maine Trails Bond during this legislative session.