Welcome to “Maine Environment: Frontline Voices,” the Natural Resources Council of Maine's podcast covering the latest environmental news across Maine. Every two weeks, host Colin Durrant speaks with NRCM’s advocates and experts to bring you a quick, concise summary of breaking news in the Legislature and other places that affect the nature of Maine.
Background photo: Allagash Falls by Garrett Conover
When looking for the podcast on any of these platforms, please search for "Maine Environment: Frontlines Voices" or "Natural Resources Council of Maine."
Episode 54: Bold Federal Infrastructure Investment for Maine, July 22, 2021In this episode Federal Program Director Emmie Theberge joins Colin to discuss how a bold infrastructure investment from Congress would benefit Maine people, our environment, and our economy.
Episode 53: Exciting Progress on Climate Action in 2021 Legislative Session, July 7, 2021 In this episode Advocacy Director Pete Didisheim joins Colin to highlight some of the climate mitigation and adaptation bills that made climate action a stand-out theme of the 2021 legislative session. Though the work of implementing Maine’s Climate Action Plan has just begun, the victories this year help lay the foundation for tackling climate change in Maine.
Episode 52: Big Victories for Maine's Environment at the Legislature, June 17, 2021 In this episode Advocacy Director Pete Didisheim joins Colin to discuss the furious pace of lawmaking at the State House in recent days as they voted on hundreds of bills, including many big victories for Maine’s environment. Pete will describe some big themes that emerged from this year’s action, what’s left to be done, and when lawmakers will finally adjourn.
Episode 51: Consumer-owned Utility and Suspending Drilling in ANWR, June 3, 2021 In this episode Colin speaks with Advocacy Director Pete Didisheim about the proposal to create a consumer-owned utility and the Biden Administration's suspension of drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Pete also provides a legislative update as lawmakers return to the Maine State House for the first time.
Episode 50: Improving Recycling in Maine with EPR for Packaging, May 21, 2021 In this episode Colin speaks with Sustainable Maine Director Sarah Nichols about one of NRCM’s top legislative priorities for 2021: LD 1541, a bill to save taxpayers money and improve recycling by implementing an Extended Producer Responsibility for Packaging program. The bill asks big corporations to share responsibility for the flood of packaging that is increasing waste disposal costs for cities and towns across the state, like they're already doing in other countries. Advocacy Director Pete Didisheim highlights record alewife numbers and provides updates on legislative action, Kennebec River, and CMP corridor.
Episode 49: New Funding for State Parks and Climate Action, May 7, 2021 In this episode Colin speaks with Advocacy Director Pete Didisheim about why we’re excited to see a broad range of investments for Maine’s people and environment in the plan announced by Governor Mills to distribute American Rescue Act funding. Pete also gives updates from an extremely busy legislative session on tribal sovereignty, plastic pollution, and many other issues.
Episode 48: Saving Salmon by Restoring Maine’s Kennebec River, April 22, 2021 In this episode Colin speaks with Staff Scientist Nick Bennett to discuss why removing four dams on the Kennebec River between Waterville and Skowhegan is our best chance to save endangered Atlantic salmon. Colin also provides updates on federal climate action, some positive votes in Maine’s Legislature, and Hannaford’s commitment to zero food waste.
Episode 47: On climate and environment —Maine and Biden Administration leading by example, April 8, 2021 In this episode Colin speaks with Advocacy Director Pete Didisheim to dissect what a recent state climate report and President Biden’s infrastructure plan say about the importance of leading by example to protect the environment and address climate change. Pete also provides updates on a balloon bill, dam removal on the Kennebec, clean cars, and more.
Episode 46: Attacks on solar, CMP’s illegal leases to cross public lands, March 25, 2021 In this episode Colin speaks with Advocacy Director Pete Didisheim about a public hearing on several bills aimed at rolling back solar energy in Maine and a court ruling that the State of Maine violated the law and the Constitution by signing lease agreements with CMP to cross public lands with its controversial transmission corridor without legislative approval.
Episode 45: Maine environmental ethic sinks natural gas proposal for Midcoast, March 11, 2021 In this episode Colin speaks with Advocacy Director Pete Didisheim about the defeat of a proposed $90M natural gas pipeline expansion that faced blistering opposition from residents and elected officials in Midcoast Maine. Pete also highlights recent activity in the Legislature, including a vote to defeat bills that would have reversed the ban on single-use plastic bags.
Episode 44: Remembering George Smith, CMP referendum, plastic pollution, February 25, 2021 In this episode Colin speaks with Advocacy Director Pete Didisheim about the passing of legendary Maine outdoorsman George Smith, a legislative hearing on bills to repeal the ban on single-use plastic bags, and the Secretary of State’s announcement certifying more than enough signatures for the referendum opposing the CMP corridor to move forward. Visit the Take Action Toolkit mentioned in this episode at: www.nrcm.org/take-action/take-action-toolkit.
Episode 43: Huge EV announcement by GM, CMP’s solar snafu, and what’s happening with offshore wind, February 11, 2021 In this episode Colin speaks with Advocacy Director Pete Didisheim about a study in contrasts. On the one hand, there’s General Motors’ bold commitment to a clean energy future with a huge announcement to go all electric with their cars and trucks, and on the other, Maine’s largest utility, Central Maine Power, failing in a colossal way in doing its job of helping solar projects connect to the grid.
Episode 42: Biden-Harris climate actions, EPC priorities, and CMP corridor updates, January 28, 2021 Every two weeks, Advocacy Communications Director Colin Durrant speaks with advocates and experts to bring you a quick, concise summary of the latest news and information you need to know about Maine’s environment. In this episode Colin speaks with Advocacy Director Pete Didisheim about the Biden-Harris Administration’s bold climate action plans and efforts to rebuild the nation’s environmental laws, details the Common Agenda bills identified by NRCM and the Environmental Priorities Coalition, and discusses a few significant development regarding the controversial CMP corridor proposal.
Episode 41: Kennebec restoration, new legislative session, and federal climate action, January 14, 2021 In this episode Colin speaks with Advocacy Director Pete Didisheim about what’s ahead in this year’s unique legislative session, a new effort to restore the Kennebec River, and reflects on the seismic changes happening on the federal level.
Episode 40: On Wilderness, December 23, 2020 Maine has some of the wildest landscapes east of the Mississippi, with more than half the state – 10.5 million acres—in our Unorganized Territories, with no municipal governments, very few services, and few permanent dwellings. Maine’s 600,000 acres of State-owned Public Reserved Land includes wild places that for many come as close to wilderness as they will ever experience. But what does the word “wilderness” mean? That’s the question we pose to several people who live in Maine and know the state’s wild places, in some cases like the backs of their hands.
- Bill Houston, Maine Guide from Kingfield
- Jen Brophy, Owner of Red River Camps
- James E. Francis, Sr., Director of Cultural and Historic Preservation for the Penobscot Nation
- Kevin Slater, Co-owner of Mahoosuc Guide Service
Episode 34-39: Conversations with the 2020 Brookies Award Winners, August 5, 2020 We're so excited to share the stories of the inaugural group of Brookie Award winners as part of NRCM Rising's new program to recognize & celebrate Maine's young environmental leaders.
Episode 39: Hear from Gabrielle Hillyer. Gabby is the co-developer & project coordinator of the Maine Shellfish Learning Network & designed the innovative data-gathering tool—the Bucket Drifter!
Episode 38: Hear from Jordan Kendall Parks. Jordan is a sustainable materials artist, as well as the developer & curator of interactive outdoor art exhibitions—including Surface First Tilts West & Windward Exhibition!
Episode 37: Meet Riley Stevenson, founder of the Coastal Youth Climate Coalition & outreach director for Maine Youth Climate Strikes!
Episode 36: Hear from Logan Parker — field naturalist, founder of the Maine Nightjar Monitoring Project, & organizer of annual conferences for nightjar researchers in North America!
Episode 35: Meet Sirohi Kumar, a climate activist, author, & co-founder of the Climate Emergency Action Coalition.
Episode 34: Meet Ania Wright, a climate organizer, founding member of Maine Youth for Climate Justice, & youth representative on the Maine Climate Council.
Episode 33: A Climate Action Conversation with Mike Williams of the BlueGreen Alliance, June 30, 2020 The Maine Climate Council is charged with developing a new statewide Climate Action Plan that will grow Maine’s economy by reducing carbon pollution and transitioning to clean energy. In this episode, we speak with Mike Williams, Deputy Director of the BlueGreen Alliance and member of the Climate Council’s Transportation Working Group, about how the Climate Council can support and uplift working people in Maine. The BlueGreen Alliance is a national partnership of labor unions and environmental organizations.
Episode 32: A Conversation with Aislinn Sarnacki, May 13, 2020 Aislinn Sarnacki is an outdoor reporter and editor of the Act Out section of the Bangor Daily News, where she writes about outdoor recreation, wildlife, and conservation. She also produces a 1-minute adventure series where she has already documented more than 350 trails and waterways in Maine and is the author of three hiking guidebooks. In this episode, host Carly Peruccio speaks with Aislinn about her extensive experience hiking on Maine trails, reporting on Maine’s outdoors, and reflections on the importance of conserving Maine’s special places.
Episode 31: Maine Nature Poetry Mini-series: Richard Blanco, April 24, 2020
For many of us, the power of nature serves as an inspiration for art, poetry, and action. To recognize the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day and April as National Poetry Month, the Natural Resources Council of Maine created this special series of five podcasts featuring poems by Maine-based poets. In this poetry reading and conversation you’ll hear from award-winning writer and poet Richard Blanco from Bethel, Maine, who was the fifth poet to read at a U.S. presidential inauguration (Barack Obama’s second inauguration).
Richard Blanco was born in Madrid and immigrated to the United States as an infant with his Cuban-exile family. He has been a practicing engineer, writer, and poet since 1991. His collections of poetry include "City of a Hundred Fires" (1998), which won the Agnes Starrett Poetry Prize; "Directions to the Beach of the Dead" (2005), winner of the PEN/American Beyond Margins Award; "Looking for the Gulf Motel" (2012), winner of the Thom Gunn Award, the Maine Literary Award, and the Paterson Prize; "One Today" (2013); "Boston Strong" (2013); and "How to Love a Country" (2019). In 2013, Blanco was chosen to serve as the fifth inaugural poet of the United States. Blanco performed, “One Today,” an original poem he wrote for the occasion, becoming the youngest, first Latino, immigrant, and openly gay writer to hold the honor. He has received numerous honors for his writings and performances, including the Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellowship, a Florida Artist Fellowship, and a Bread Loaf Fellowship, as well as honorary doctorates from Macalester College, Colby College, and the University of Rhode Island. Blanco is currently Distinguished Visiting Professor at Florida International University.
Episode 30: Maine Nature Poetry Mini-series: Russell Libby, April 23, 2020 For many of us, the power of nature serves as an inspiration for art, poetry, and action. To recognize the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day and April as National Poetry Month, the Natural Resources Council of Maine created this special series of five podcasts featuring poems by Maine-based poets. In this poetry reading and conversation you’ll hear the owner of Three Sisters Farm, Mary Anne Libby, reading a poem from her late husband, environmental visionary Russell Libby of Mount Vernon, Maine.
Russell Libby liked to quote his distant relative, the late Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Robert P.T. Coffin, when he describes his personal philosophy: "We eat from the earth, the sky, the water." With degrees in resource economics, he launched a lifelong career in food and agricultural policy at the state, regional, and national levels while also working—with his wife Mary Anne and their three daughters—his own "Three Sisters Farm" in Mount Vernon, Maine. As executive director of MOFGA (Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association), Libby oversaw the organization as it became the country's largest state-level organic association.
Episode 29: Maine Nature Poetry Mini-series: Gary Lawless, April 22, 2020
For many of us, the power of nature serves as an inspiration for art, poetry, and action. To recognize the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day and April as National Poetry Month, the Natural Resources Council of Maine created this special series of five podcasts featuring poems by Maine-based poets. In this poetry reading and conversation you’ll hear from poet, bookstore owner, book editor, publisher, and Bates College associate professor of literature Gary Lawless of Nobleboro, Maine.
Gary Lawless is a poet, book editor, publisher, and co-owner of Gulf of Maine Books in Brunswick. He is an associate professor of literature at Bates College in Lewiston and has been poet-in-residence for the town of Sitka, Alaska, and for the National Park Service at Isle Royale National Park at Lake Superior. After graduating from Colby College in 1973, Lawless left Maine to spend a year in California studying with poet Gary Snyder. When Lawless returned to Maine, he brought the idea of the budding bioregional movement with him. In 1987, he organized a Gulf of Maine Bioregional Congress, bringing together a diverse group of back-to-the-land and "green" folks from across northern New England and eastern Canada for a four-day series of workshops and presentations.
Episode 28: Maine's Outdoors with Legendary Journalist Bill Green, April 20, 2020Legendary Maine journalist Bill Green was an anchor and reporter for more than four decades at News Center Maine, most recently hosting the popular weekly television series called "Bill Green’s Maine" before retiring in 2019. In this conversation with Bill we explore his love for Maine’s outdoors, why Maine is such a special place to live and explore, and learn about some of his favorite places to visit.
Episode 27: Maine Nature Poetry Mini-series: Kristen Lindquist, April 21, 2020
For many of us, the power of nature serves as an inspiration for art, poetry, and action. To recognize the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day and April as National Poetry Month, the Natural Resources Council of Maine created this special series of five podcasts featuring poems by Maine-based poets. In this poetry reading and conversation you’ll hear from award-winning poet, avid-birder, and daily haiku writer Kirsten Lindquist of Camden, Maine.
Kirsten Lindquist’s publications include the chapbook Invocation to the Birds (Oyster River Press, 2001), Transportation (Megunticook Press, 2011), which was a finalist for a Maine Literary Award, and Tourists in the Known World: New & Selected Poems (Megunticook Press, 2017). Her work has received various awards, including the Bread Loaf Poetry Prize, the Red Fox Poetry Prize, the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance's Penobscot Watershed Poetry Prize, and the Maine Postmark Poetry Contest. Garrison Keillor read three of her poems on National Public Radio’s The Writer’s Almanac. Since 2009, Lindquist has maintained a daily haiku blog, Book of Days, and she currently serves on the Town of Camden's Budget Committee, as chair of the Maine Community Foundation's Knox County Fund, and as treasurer of West Bay Rotary.
Episode 26: Maine Nature Poetry Mini-series—Karin Spitfire, April 20, 2020 For many of us, the power of nature serves as an inspiration for art, poetry, and action. To recognize the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day and April as National Poetry Month, the Natural Resources Council of Maine created this special series of five podcasts featuring poems by Maine-based poets. In this poetry reading and conversation you’ll hear from author and former Belfast, Maine, Poet Laureate Karin Spitfire of Belfast, Maine.
Karin Spitfire is the author of a full-length book of poetry, Standing with Trees, and a chapbook, Wild Caught. Her poem, "What is to Be Offered," published in The Kerf, was nominated for the Pushcart Award. Spitfire is the author of "Incest: It’s All Relative," a performance/dance poem that toured nationally from 1982–86. She is a past Poet Laureate of Belfast, Maine.
Episode 25: A Conversation with Dylan Voorhees April 2, 2020 For the past 14 years as NRCM’s Climate and Clean Energy Director Dylan Voorhees has quite literally been a voice on the frontlines of the most important climate and clean energy conversations at the Maine State House. Dylan’s moving on to a new and exciting professional opportunity, and in this episode of Frontline Voices, you’ll hear from him about the clean energy solutions he’s been part of and the lessons he’s learned from his decade plus of climate advocacy at NRCM. (Dylan will be a Senior Consultant at VEIC. The nonprofit is headquartered in Vermont but plans to work remotely from Augusta, demonstrating that working from home can sometimes be a choice, too!)
A note: We’re posting this episode during an unprecedented time. NRCM hopes that you, your family, and your friends are safe and healthy. We really appreciate that you’re listening to this episode today.
Episode 24: Recycling Reform in Maine, February 25, 2020 NRCM's Sustainability Director Sarah Nichols talks about an exciting recycling model that happens around the world—and now there's a bill that would bring it to Maine, too. LD 2104 incentivizes companies that make products with packaging to use less-wasteful packaging in the first place—and they would help Maine towns fund their recycling programs.
Episode 23: Youth Voices for Climate Justice, February 11, 2020 On a cold day in February, the Maine Climate Council met for the second time as part of their work to hammer out a new statewide Climate Action Plan. Just down the hall, more than 100 Maine youth gathered to call on the state’s leaders to take bold climate action. Host Carly Peruccio spoke with some of those youth about their hopes for the future. Listen and get inspired!
Episode 22: Stories that Gave Us Hope in 2019, December 23, 2019 From leaping sturgeon and huge returns of alewives in Maine’s rivers to solar wins and youth climate activism, NRCM Advocacy Director Pete Didisheim sits down with host Carly Peruccio to talk about some of the stories and successes from 2019 that gave us hope. As the year comes to an end, Pete also shares what these exciting developments mean for what we can expect in 2020. Happy New Year everyone!
Episode 21: SolaRise Students from Portland, October 22, 2019 Students at three Portland, Maine, high schools formed the coalition, SolaRise, and organized a march to build support for using solar to power Portland public schools. In August, 2019, the school board voted to support an off-site solar power project. SolaRise received a 2019 NRCM Conservation Leadership Award for their work. Three members of SolaRise speak about their work and share advice to others for those who want to get involved.
Episode 20: From NRCM to the State House, August 12, 2019 This conversation between former NRCM Executive Director Brownie Carson and Deputy Director Joan Welsh covers their time at NRCM and their transitions from NRCM to the Maine State House. After leaving NRCM, Joan served in the Maine House of Representatives, and Brownie is currently in his second term in the Maine Senate. Coincidentally, they’ve both served on the Joint Committee on the Environment and Natural Resources. Hear more in the latest “Maine Environment: Frontline Voices.”
Episode 19: An Interview with George Smith, July 25, 2019 This episode features George Smith, a writer, activist, conservationist, sportsman, and birder. You may know him from his column in the Kennebec Journal or as the former director of the Sportsman's Alliance of Maine (SAM). In our conversation with George, he shares his perspective on the future of wildlife and fisheries protection in Maine; his observations of the impacts of climate change on the North Woods and in his own backyard; and his memories from working in Maine politics for more than four decades. (photo courtesy of George Smith)
Episode 18: Reviewing the 129th Legislative Session, June 25, 2019 NRCM Advocacy Director Pete Didisheim reflects on Maine’s 129th legislative session—and Maine’s environment was a big winner! Governor Janet Mills signed bills into law that will help reduce carbon emissions, support renewable energy development, maintain clean waters, and reduce plastic pollution in our state. It’s refreshing to report that we’re moving forward!
Episode 17: Climate Action in Maine, May 29, 2019: Maine is poised to take its most substantial action on climate change in over a decade by passing legislation that would update our state’s climate action plan for the first time since 2004. The legislation would also create Governor Janet Mills’ climate council. In this episode, you’ll hear our Democratic Governor Mills, the lead Republican sponsor of the bill, a lobsterman, and NRCM CEO Lisa Pohlmann testify at the State House about why this action matters and how it can benefit Maine. Lisa and NRCM Climate Outreach Coordinator Sophie Janeway offer reflections on the public hearing and the exciting progress Maine can make if we continue to move forward and the Legislature passes this legislation.
Episode 16: Maine Brewshed Alliance, April 16, 2019: Great beer needs clean water, and NRCM is collaborating with breweries throughout the state to protect Maine’s waters through education and advocacy. In this episode, you’ll hear about our newly-launched Maine Brewshed Alliance from NRCM Federal Outreach Coordinator Kristin Jackson and three brewers who are part of the alliance: Christie Mahaffey (Foundation), Abe Furth (Orono Brewing), and Dan Kleban (Maine Beer Company).
Episode 15: Staff Scientist Nick Bennett on LD 640, March 19, 2019 NRCM supports LD 640. This bill would require the Maine Department of Environmental Protection to pursue an independent investigation of Central Maine Power’s claims that its proposed power line would reduce greenhouse gas emissions. On March 15, 2019, NRCM’s Staff Scientist, Nick Bennett, delivered testimony in support of the bill in front of the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources. This episode features Nick’s testimony. (Note: When Nick refers to the Sea Brook nuclear power plant, he meant to say the Pilgrim plant.)
Three-part Series on Land for Maine's Future
The Maine Land Conservation Task Force recently released a report with recommendations to guide the future of land conservation in Maine. The group recommended a $95 million investment in bond funding to support the Land for Maine’s Future program and address the maintenance backlog in Maine’s State Parks. In this three-part series, NRCM hears from Task Force co-chair, Tim Glidden, and Task Force members, Senator Cathy Breen and Representative Pat Corey, about their experiences serving on the Task Force and the reasons they support Land for Maine’s Future.
Episode 14: Representative Pat Corey, LMF Part Three, March 12, 2019 Rep. Pat Corey (R-Windham) served on the Maine Land Conservation Task Force, and he is one of over a hundred co-sponsors of LD 911 to support LMF and Maine’s State Parks.
Episode 11, February 15, 2019 Have you ever wondered what actually goes on at Maine’s State House? NRCM Advocacy Director Pete Didisheim has more than two decades of experience working at the Capitol to advocate for policies to protect Maine’s environment. In this episode, our host, Carly Peruccio, joins Pete for a visit to the State House. Pete deconstructs how the legislative process works and how citizens can shape state policies.
Episode 10, January 24, 2019 CMP wants to build a transmission line through Maine’s treasured North Woods. In this episode we’ll tell you why it’s bad for Maine’s environment and people. NRCM’s Clean Energy Staff Attorney Sue Ely walks you through our concerns, shares updates about the review process, and lets you know how to get involved.
Episode Nine, January 8, 2019: 2019 is a big year for the Natural Resources Council of Maine. This is our 60th anniversary! In this episode, NRCM CEO Lisa Pohlmann looks back on NRCM's key achievements from 60 years of advocacy, reflects on Augusta's current political climate, and shares her long-term goals for NRCM. Enjoy!
Episode Eight, December 20, 2018 Hear from NRCM staff members who have participated in our annual Polar Bear Dip & Dash over the past 10 years to find out why they do it, why they think YOU should do it, and hear their advice and memorable moments from past dips. You don't want to miss this event on New Year's Eve Day in Portland, Maine.
Episode Seven, December 19, 2018 After 28 years of outstanding service, NRCM’s media guru Judy Berk retires this week. She sat down with our podcast host Carly Peruccio to talk about her work and to share some memorable experiences during her time at the Natural Resources Council of Maine. Thank you, Judy, for all of you have done to protect the nature of Maine.
Episode Six, December 4, 2018 With Maine’s new legislators being sworn in tomorrow, NRCM Advocacy Director Pete Didisheim breaks down November’s election results and what they mean for the year ahead. You’ll also hear our take on what to watch for as we transition to the 129th Legislature and a new gubernatorial administration.
Episode Five, July 25, 2018 "Maine Environment with NRCM" podcast host Carly Peruccio speaks with Senior Advocacy Director Pete Didisheim. Pete reflects on the setbacks and successes of Maine’s 128th legislative session on environmental issues related to food waste, clean air, solar power, and more. He also looks ahead to the 2019 session.
Episode Four, July 2, 2018 Nate Gray of the Maine Department of Marine Resources describes the largest alewife run in the US at Benton Falls in central Maine. NRCM Advocacy Director Pete Didisheim shares the story of the Edwards Dam removal on the Kennebec River and how the work of NRCM and the Kennebec Coalition helped begin restoration of this fishery.
Episode Three, March 2, 2018 NRCM Climate and Clean Energy Project Director Dylan Voorhees and Outreach Coordinator Sophie Janeway give an update and information about how you can take action on the solar bill currently being discussed in the Maine Legislature. The bill passed the Maine Senate by an overwhelming margin on March 1 and will go to the House for a vote next.
Episode Two, February 8, 2018 features NRCM Senior Advocacy Director Pete Didisheim talking about the current environmental issues facing Maine in both Augusta and Washington, DC. Pete is joined by NRCM Forests and Wildlife Outreach Coordinator Carly Peruccio.
Episode One, January 25, 2018 features NRCM Senior Advocacy Director Pete Didisheim providing the scoop on actions at the State House, while Federal Project Outreach Coordinator Kristin Jackson shares what’s happening with federal challenges that could have an impact on Maine.