Read some highlights from May 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.
May 24, 2022
We will start this week’s News & Noteworthy with some cool news from the Blue Hill area. Local residents are helping to divert food waste from local landfills, which benefits the climate as well as lessens the amount of material going into the landfills.
Some other news that falls into the “cool news” category is this WMTW news video of alewives making their way back into China Lake for the first time since the Revolutionary War!
Last week the Board of Environmental Protection was supposed to discuss the appeal of the Central Maine Power corridor permits, but COVID has caused a delay. Those discussions will now happen on July 20-21.
We mentioned the rezoning proposal for the Moosehead Lake region in our last N&N, but want to share a story from last week’s Bangor Daily News that includes quotes from NRCM’s Forests & Wildlife Director Melanie Sturm.
We want to share two climate-related stories from Maine Public. One is related to increasing high-speed broadband as a way to reduce vehicle use, which would help us reduce climate-changing pollution. The other is a lesson we can learn from centuries of Maine lake ice-out records.
In other climate news, filed under “not cool” news, scientists have reported that nearly 90 percent of the moose calves that they were tracking last year in Maine have died, wiped out by winter ticks, which have increased dramatically in Maine due to climate change.
As you know, NRCM and others oppose the proposed American Aquafarms salmon farm in Frenchman Bay, and this week, the Acadia National Park Superintendent warns of other potential effects if that farm is built.
Recently, NRCM Climate & Clean Energy Director Jack Shapiro spoke at a news conference in Portland, along with representatives of other organizations that support responsible offshore wind development in Maine.
In other renewable energy news, 20 companies across the state have joined a project to start on the path toward using 100% clean, renewable energy. Learn more in this Portland Press Herald news story.
This week, Maine’s US Senator Angus King and his National Parks Subcommittee Co-chair, US Representative Joe Neguse of Colorado called on Congress to increase funding for national park maintenance.
We want to end this week on a high note. Willie Grenier of Waterville shares his love of fishing on the Kennebec with the Morning Sentinel for this great story about a recent fishing trip he took on the river. Enjoy!
May 12, 2022
This week, the Maine Land Use Planning Commission shared a proposal for rezoning the Moosehead region. Hear from NRCM Forests & Wildlife Director Melanie Sturm about this proposal in this Maine Public news story.
More news from Maine’s North Woods: Read this Bangor Daily News op-ed by Steve Richardson, Vice President of Friends of Katahdin Woods & Waters, about opportunities in the Katahdin region, thanks in part to the Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument, established in 2016.
Here’s a fun follow-up article with photos from the Farmington Earth Day clean-up that NRCM staff and others participated in last month. We were happy to offer prizes to some participants mentioned in the article.
Last week, Governor Mills hosted a bill signing at the Maine State House, and one of the bills she signed into law was LD 1959, a bill to ensure grid planning and one that holds utilities accountable for their service. Read this story from Utility Dive to hear from NRCM Climate & Clean Energy Director Jack Shapiro about what this law will do. And then for more information about the benefits of this law, read Jack’s recent blog.
The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention warned people catching freshwater fish in certain parts of the state that they should not eat those fish because they are contaminated with PFAS (“forever chemicals”). There were several bills related to PFAS in soil on farms that were voted on this legislative session, and PFAS contamination has also caused the state to warn against eating meat from deer from certain areas, too.
This week, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court has been hearing two cases related to the proposed Central Maine Power (CMP) corridor through western Maine. One is about the use of public land for a piece of this transmission line to cross and the other is about the referendum passed by Maine voters last fall to oppose the project. Learn more about both cases in this Maine Public story.
Do you have a heat pump in your home? You aren’t alone. Many Mainers are installing heat pumps for both heating and cooling and find that they work well, even in our cold winter climate. Read this Grist story to learn more.
We will end this week with some good news, a follow-up to a story from last week about Pembroke in Washington County. We told you that residents were going to vote on whether or not to allow industrial-scale mineral mining in their community. The vote is in, and they voted overwhelmingly to pass an ordinance prohibiting large-scale mining, with a vote of 129-48!
May 5, 2022
We are going to start this week with a powerful op-ed by the Benton Alewife Warden, Richard Lawrence, about the importance of the health of the Kennebec River and why four dams on the river need to come out to protect the endangered Atlantic salmon and other sea-run fish.
NRCM and other organizations are requesting a “rigorous review” by the federal government of potential effects on the environment of offshore wind farms in the Gulf of Maine before any sites are selected. The Gulf of Maine is already under threat from climate change with last year’s water temperatures the highest ever measured. If we’re guided by the best data and scientific research available, offshore wind, wildlife, and current ocean users can coexist as we build the clean renewable energy we need to respond to the climate crisis.
Did you know that people in the US only recycled about five percent of plastic waste in 2021? Read more in this Grist news story.
Residents of the town of Pembroke in Washington County are voting this week on a ban on industrial-scale mining, after Wolfden Resources had been considering a mining project there.
More solar projects are coming to Maine thanks to more than $10 million from the federal government. Learn about two of the projects in this AP story.
The University of Maine System announced plans to divest from all fossil fuels by 2030, with action happening to begin that process later this month. Learn more in this Maine Public story.
Maine and 15 other states have filed suit in order to get the US Postal Service to begin switching their fleet to electric vehicles.