November is National Native American Heritage Month, and we are happy to read that Charles Sams III is the next National Park Service director, the first Indigenous person to ever lead the NPS in its 105 years of existence. According to this CBS news story, “Sams…is Cayuse and Walla Walla [and] is a member of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation.” Congratulations to Sams and to the National Park Service.
In some of the best news of the week, Maine’s Department of Environmental Protection has suspended the license for CMP’s controversial transmission corridor through western Maine. This came after Monday’s DEP public hearing. Governor Mills wrote to CMP to urge the company to stop cutting until a decision is made in court about the project, and after more than 70 people rallied outside the DEP building last week to urge the DEP Commissioner to suspend the permit after the November 2 vote by Maine people to stop the corridor. Also this week, several Maine lawmakers from both parties wrote a letter to Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker to stop the CMP corridor project as well.
The Town of Brunswick is making some changes to its public bus system to make it more accessible to more people.
In other transportation news, NPR did a story on how it was once a pie in the sky idea to give up gas-powered vehicles for electric ones. But now, it is becoming more of a reality as people and companies work to reduce emissions in the midst of the climate crisis.
It was announced that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) will do a full environmental review of the four dams on the Kennebec River between Waterville and Skowhegan that are blocking access for Atlantic salmon and other sea-run fish to important habitat. NRCM has been working to get these dams removed. Learn more about how you can get involved.
The resounding Yes vote on Question 1 was more than two weeks ago, but Central Maine Power (CMP) continues to move ahead cutting a large swath through western Maine forests for its controversial transmission line. This week, two environmental groups that supported the corridor now say that CMP hasn’t met a major condition of its permit — conservation. Read more from Maine Public.
Speaking of CMP, it was announced this week that Maine homes and businesses that get their electricity via CMP and Versant will likely see an increase in their 2022 monthly bills to tune of about $30, with CMP customers seeing an 83% increase in their electricity supply rates.
NRCM Climate & Clean Energy Director Jack Shapiro is quoted in this Public News Service piece about the urgent need for passage of the Build Back Better Act in order to curb climate change.
And congratulations, again, to NRCM’s 2021 People’s Choice Award recipient, Sam Saltonstall. He is featured in a Working Waterfront article this week—celebrating his many years of environmental advocacy, and his NRCM award.
This week, President Biden signed the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which was praised by Maine’s Congressional delegation and Maine Governor Janet Mills. Read an editorial from the Portland Press Herald, too.
Voters in Gouldsboro overwhelmingly support a moratorium on the development of commercial fish farm infrastructure. They voted at a special town meeting earlier this week. Learn more from the Bangor Daily News.
We highlighted NRCM Sustainable Maine Director Sarah Nichols’ appearance on a radio show last week to talk about Maine’s first-in-the-nation EPR for Packaging law. Well, Sarah’s back, and this time she was featured on both the PBS News Hour and Maine Public’s Maine Calling.
Read a recent column by Bill Nemitz in the Portland Press Herald about the November 2nd vote on Question 1, including a quote from NRCM’s Pete Didisheim.
NRCM Climate & Clean Energy Outreach Coordinator Josh Caldwell wrote an op-ed in the Kennebec Journal about the immediate realities of climate change and what they mean for Maine people.
Another NRCM staff member making news this week is Sarah Nichols. She and Maine State Representative Nicole Grohoski were recently featured in this news story from “Under the Radar” with WGBH. Listen to the full recording.
Maine State Park campgrounds broke attendance records of visitors. This is the second year in a row that 12 State Parks set new records.
Today, in a Portland Press Herald op-ed, NRCM CEO Lisa Pohlmann shares the reasons why the Natural Resources Council of Maine is so strongly urging Mainers to Vote Yes on 1 to stop the CMP corridor in next week’s election. Learn more about NRCM’s opposition to this project, and get some voter resources, too, on our website.
Another op-ed in the Bangor Daily News, this one by Brad Hager, a professor of earth sciences at MIT, explains that new research that shows that hydrodams (like the ones that would send energy via the CMP corridor through Maine’s forests to Massachusetts) are not as clean as previously thought.
John Bohorquez wrote about how important Maine’s North Woods are — not just to Maine, but globally. He writes that the part of Maine’s forests that the CMP corridor would cross is “as vital as the Amazon rainforest or the Australian Outback.” Read John’s full op-ed in the Portland Press Herald.
Another project NRCM has been working on for years is the restoration of the Kennebec River. Right now, it is imperative that four dams between Waterville and Skowhegan, owned by Brookfield Renewables, be removed in order to save the Atlantic salmon. Learn about the restoration of the river that has happened south of Waterville since the removal of Edwards Dam in Augusta in 1999 in yesterday’s Kennebec Journal.
Earlier this week, NRCM hosted our annual Conservation Leadership Awards at which we honor environmental heroes from around Maine. Read more about this year’s award recipients from the Bangor Daily News, and then watch the full recording of event on our website.
Have you picked up the October issue of Down East magazine? If so, you likely have already read the article about what’s next for the Moosehead region. If you missed it, you can read the full story here, including a quote from NRCM Forest & Wildlife Director Melanie Sturm.
Unless you don’t have a television, radio, mailbox, or smart phone, you know that the controversial CMP corridor’s future is Question 1 on the November ballot. What you might not know is that this week, there was a public hearing with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection about the project’s license. Learn more.
A new community solar project in Bethel is now online, with 23 Maine institutional and commercial customers like L.L. Bean, Colby College, Maine’s Community College System, City of Portland, and more. See the full list and learn more about this project.
We will end this News & Noteworthy with two stories about today’s announcement that NRCM and other conservation groups asked a federal judge to issue a preliminary injunction to immediately stop or curtail operations at four dams on the lower Kennebec River to protect endangered Atlantic salmon during critical fall and spring migration periods. The first story is from the Associated Press; the second is from the Portland Press Herald.
The big news of the week is that yesterday Wolfden Resources withdrew its petition for a mine at Pickett Mountain near Baxter State Park and the Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument.
John Wuesthoff shares his thoughts about Question 1 and explains retroactive laws in this week’s Portland Press Herald.
We want to improve Maine’s recycling rates, but there is a problem. The data that we have is very incomplete. Read more from The Maine Monitor.
Some good news about sustainability though — Maine restaurants may soon be able to offer reusable take-out food containers to their customers.
It is likely that Maine’s Land Use Planning Commission will reject Wolfden Resources’ petition to rezone land near Baxter State Park and the Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument for a dangerous zoning proposal. You can read more in the Portland Press Herald and listen to a Maine Public news story by Fred Bever.
Maine Congresswoman Chellie Pingree wrote an op-ed in the Portland Press Herald this week in support of President Biden’s Build Back Better budget, which has important clean energy funding and other benefits to Maine in it.
We’ve told you about a new electric police car in Bangor and a new electric school bus on Mount Desert Island, and now more Maine towns are adding electric vehicles to their fleets.
Good news that a passenger rail study is moving ahead, to see whether or not rail service can be extended beyond Portland to Lewiston/Auburn.
NRCM Sustainable Maine Director Sarah Nichols recently appeared on CNBC to talk about Maine’s new Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for Packaging law. Watch the video. Then learn more about this law on our website.