Read the latest news stories and opinion pieces related to the environment, including Maine’s air, land, water, and wildlife.
We start with news about the delay in Maine’s statewide plastic bag and foam bans, which have had enforcement delayed amidst the pandemic. NRCM doesn’t feel that that is necessary or a good idea for Maine’s environment. Read more, including from our Sustainable Maine Director Sarah Nichols, in this Bangor Daily News story.
On a more positive note, we love this Bangor Daily News story of Paige Emerson, a young woman from Old Town, Maine, who has begun hiking all around the state and shares her tips and trails with others via her Instagram account @chubbyhikerreviews.
If you are thinking about getting outside this winter to ski, snowboard, or snowshoe, you aren’t alone. Winter sports equipment is quickly flying off shelves. Learn more in this Portland Press Herald article.
A local group, in their bid to bring a professional soccer league to Portland, has created a clothing line to benefit NRCM and other environmental organizations.
And, it’s not too late to join NRCM for our annual (this year, also virtual!) Polar Bear Dip & Dash. We have had the opportunity to share our reasons for going virtual this year, but also the important reasons to participate. You have until January 3, 2021, to register and do your dip or 5k dash to raise money for our climate work. Here are some recent news stories about this event:
Enjoy this fun video of our staff being interviewed about our annual Polar Bear Dip & Dash going virtual for WABI-TV. We also spoke with WMTW yesterday. We hope you are making plans to join us virtually for this fun event!
Four years after establishment of the Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument, there is talk about the National Park Service adding 3,000-4,000 acres of new land to the Monument thanks to funding from the Great American Outdoors Act.
NRCM Sustainable Maine Director Sarah Nichols spoke with the Bangor Daily News about the news that a large amount of plastic waste ended up in Penobscot Bay on its way from Northern Ireland to Maine. There is a current loophole in Maine law that allows for out-of-state trash to be brought into Maine’s landfills. NRCM and others are working to close that loophole.
The lawsuit challenging the flawed federal review for the CMP corridor will continue to move forward regardless of a recent decision by the Judge to deny our motion to stop CMP’s preliminary plans to begin construction. As it has done throughout this process, CMP is trying to predetermine an outcome by rushing to construction before appropriate federal review has been completed and all the lawsuits challenging this project are fully heard and decided.
Did you know that Portland is getting a professional soccer team? They recently launched a new clothing collection that will support many Maine environmental causes, such as the Natural Resources Council of Maine, Maine Brewshed Alliance, and Sebago Lake Clean Waters. Learn more and view the collection.
Read this op-ed in the Sun Journal by Steve Wight, a former Land Use Planning Commission commissioner, who writes in support of the Land for Maine’s Future program and its need for funding.
NRCM CEO Lisa Pohlmann wrote an op-ed for the Bangor Daily News in support of a citizen initiative to close a law loophole that allows the Juniper Ridge Landfill in Old Town and Alton, just north of Bangor, from accepting out-of-state waste. This waste from other New England states is increasing pollution that is harmful to the health of people living in communities around the landfill as well as the health of the Penobscot River.
The Central Maine newspapers wrote about this year’s NRCM Conservation Leadership Award recipients this week.
NRCM Advocacy Director Pete Didisheim was featured on Maine Public’s “Maine Calling” this week, along with some of our partners in the Penobscot River Restoration Project, talking about improved fish passage in the Kennebec and Penobscot Rivers after the removal of the Edwards Dam on the Kennebec and two dams on the Penobscot, as well as a nature-like fish bypass around a third dam on the river.
Lewiston-Auburn have announced a new study of public transportation, and want input from residents, whether they have ever used the public transit system or not. Read more and follow the link to the survey in this Sun Journal article.
Earlier this week, Maine’s US Senators Susan Collins and Angus King introduced legislation that would give the York River federal designation as a Wild and Scenic River. This designation would allow new funding options to protect the clean water of the river. Maine’s Congressman Jared Golden and Congresswoman Chellie Pingree have sponsored similar legislation in the House.
Let’s start off with some great news stories about this year’s NRCM Conservation Leadership Award winners from their local papers:
- The Piscataquis Observer wrote a story about our People’s Choice Award winner, Eric Sherman, of Greenville, for his work to stop the CMP corridor and to protect Maine’s North Woods.
- The Wiscasset Newspaper wrote about this year’s Lifetime Achievement Conservation Leadership Award, presented to NRCM’s long-time Forests & Wildlife Director Cathy Johnson of Alna.
- And the University of Maine shared the news that one of their professors, Aram Calhoun, was presented with a People’s Choice Award for her important work and advocacy related to vernal pools.
Twenty-three years ago today, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for the first time ordered the dismantling a working hydroelectric dam (the Edwards Dam on the Kennebec River in Augusta). And of course, 20 years ago, many of us watched as workers breached the dam for the first time in more than 150 years. Since then the river’s ecosystem has rebounded remarkably!
Speaking of dam removals, the Bangor Daily News recently shared news that the return of Atlantic salmon to the Penobscot River is at its highest level since 2011. Visit our Penobscot River restoration web page to watch a recent webinar featuring NRCM and our Penobscot River Restoration Project partners hosted and pre-order a new book, From the Mountains to the Sea, which tells the story of the 16-year river restoration project on Maine’s largest river.
The main feature of this BBC news story isn’t about Maine, but it does mention the Penobscot River Restoration Project, in which NRCM was a founding member.
Speaking of the Penobscot River Restoration Project, NRCM and our partners hosted a webinar earlier this week about the success of that 16-year project. WABI-TV reported on the webinar. And, in December, you can read the new book, From the Mountains to the Sea, about this project.
Thank you to U.S. Representative Jared Golden and U.S. Senator Angus King for their proposal to make national park visits free for veteran Gold Star families. The U.S. Department of the Interior recently approved this proposal!
The Maine Supreme Judicial Court ruled in the tar sands case. The Portland Press Herald writes, “Maine’s top court has decided that a South Portland [Clear Skies] ordinance blocking oil exports does not conflict with state law.” There is more work to be done, but this was a positive step in the right direction. Thank you to Protect South Portland and everyone else working to protect the city and Casco Bay from this dirty fossil fuel.
If you haven’t heard that NRCM, Sierra Club Maine, and the Appalachian Mountain Club have filed suit against the Army Corps of Engineers over its analysis of the proposed CMP corridor, you can read about it in this Portland Press Herald news story.
Late last month, Elliotsville Foundation returned more than 730 acres of ancestral land back to the Penobscot Nation. Many news outlets covered this announcement. Read the Bangor Daily News story and Maine Public news story.
If you are in the Bangor area and drive an electric vehicle—you can now find a new charging station installed inside the Pickering Square Parking Garage. And even better news, if someone is already there charging their car, no worries—this charging station can charge two vehicles at once! The best news—it’s free! No charge for your EV charge.
NRCM Sustainable Maine Director Sarah Nichols is quoted in this article: EPR-style Legislation Increasingly Draws State-level Interest Despite Pandemic Setbacks
The Maine Trails Coalition made a big announcement today, unveiling plans for a statewide rail-trail network.
And if you missed our announcement yesterday, you can read this Maine Public news story about the federal lawsuit NRCM and two other environmental groups filed yesterday related to the proposed CMP corridor.
As weather turns colder and we head toward winter, the Bangor Daily News invited four climate experts to answer people’s questions about how climate change affects winter recreation in Maine.
We have all seen video and heard reports of the terrible wildfires in the West. Did you know that this year has been a record-breaking year for forest fires here in Maine, too? Read more from a member of the Maine Forest Service.
We helped pass the strongest mining rules in the nation, and now a proposed mine near Baxter State Park and the Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument is the first test of the new law. Learn more in this Bangor Daily News story.
The Bangor Daily News reports that City of Ellsworth is planning to buy all of its electricity from a new solar farm.
In clean water news, Sebago Clean Waters, who has partnered with the Maine Brewshed Alliance (a group of Maine brewers and NRCM working to protect Maine’s clean water) on several initiatives, has set a goal of protecting 10,000 acres in the Sebago Lake Watershed by 2025. Read more about their plan in this Portland Press Herald article.
If you live in Kennebunkport, the good news is that curbside recycling pickup is set to resume. Learn more.
The Bangor Daily News shared a story of their bird expert, and former Maine legislator, Bob Duchesne’s recent trip to the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. What a beautiful time to visit the National Monument.
Lots of news about our work, along with many others, including the Penobscot Nation, to close a loophole in state law so that out-of-state waste can’t fill up Maine’s state-owned landfills. Today there was a Central Maine newspapers editorial. Earlier this week, the Portland Press Herald wrote about the issue in this front-page story.
Central Maine Power and Hydro-Quebec continue to spend an obscene amount of money on their campaign to build a new energy corridor through Western Maine. Read the latest in this Bangor Daily News story.
The Natural Resources Council of Maine partnered with Museum L-A for a webinar about work to clean up the Androscoggin River, and to highlight a new exhibit at the museum. Read this Sun Journal article about the event, and then visit our YouTube channel to watch the full webinar, which featured NRCM CEO Lisa Pohlmann.