Entries Filed in 'Environment'
Maine Audubon, a wildlife advocacy group based in Falmouth Maine, issued a report stating that there is enough room to develop wind energy in the state without major damage to the wildlife population.
Maine has 1.1 million windy acres that could be used for wind energy development, 933,000 of which does not contain sensitive habitats, according to the report released Dec. 4 by wildlife biologist Susan Gallo.
The areas designated for wind projects that have both enough wind and low impact on the wildlife comes to 418,000 acres, which is 45 percent of the total acreage being looked at for potential development.
“We recommend that any land-based wind development in the mountainous areas of northern and western Maine and along our coast be carefully studied,” stated the report.
Wind energy continues to be a contentious issue as opponents argue that wind energy is not as effective as other renewable energy sources like hydropower and mars the mountain ranges with turbines.
The Board of Environmental Protection struck down two challenges to permits issued earlier this year for the $110 million Hancock Wind project in Hancock County on Dec. 5th.
Darren Lord and Oscar Weigang had filed an appeal against the construction of the 18-turbine wind farm in the Hancock County territories of T16 MD and T22 MD, but were rejected.
Maine Audubon’s report asserts that all concerns will be taken into account, as there will be a site-by-site review.
“The location and siting of wind developments is a complex issue, and while there is a broad array of important concerns — impacts to the local economy, tourism, outdoor recreation, regional power supplies, local residents, and scenic views — Maine Audubon has always focused its concern on wildlife and habitat,” the report stated.
According to the report, at least 15 percent of the acreage needs to be developed in order to meet the state goal of 3,000-megawatt capacity of land-based wind energy by 2030.
This would require 600 more wind turbines to be constructed, which would produce enough energy to power between 675,000 and 900,000 homes.
Maine Audubon maintains that it is possible to develop wind farms without compromising sensitive habitats.
Maine generated 884,000 megawatt-hours of wind power in 2012, which displaced an estimated 535,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions, according to a report issued by Environment Maine last month.
President Barack Obama is ordering the federal government to nearly triple its use of renewable sources for electricity by 2020. Already the White House has been equipped with solar panels. These efforts are aimed to show an example to others that transitioning to renewable energy sources makes economic sense as in the long run it saves money, saves finite resources, keeps jobs in America, lessons our dependency on other countries for oil, reduces the effects of climate change, and grows American jobs. It also strengthens our national security.
Obama announced the plan today as part of a wide-ranging, second-term drive to fight climate change and prepare for its effects. The directive on renewable energy applies to all federal agencies — civilian and military. The Defense Department has already set a goal that 25 percent of its energy needs should be supplied by renewable energy by 2025 and is implementing their plan.
The U.S. State Department has said it would review and consider any change of use for the Portland Pipeline, including the reversing of its flow.
“I’m glad the State Department is taking this seriously. The Portland Pipeline passes through the hearts of many Maine communities and along some of our state’s most valuable natural resources, like Sebago Lake. Any change in the pipeline’s use—including the transport of Canadian tar sands—should be reviewed closely at the federal level. While there are currently no plans to make changes, I think it’s important that the State Department has said that none could go forward unchecked,” said Congresswoman Chellie Pingree.
Communities across the state have issued ordinances baring Tar Sands from being transported through their areas. The environmental clean-up of leaks in Tar Sands Pipelines continues in committees throughout America. The most notable being in Michigan.
In February of this year, Pingree wrote a letter signed by 17 House and Senate members asking the State Department to require a new permit and full environmental review before allowing the owners of the Portland Pipeline to reverse its flow to transport tar sands.
Tags: Tar Sands in Maine
Through the USDA Rural Development a total of $462,591,340 in the areas of homeownership, business assistance, energy and renewable energy development, water and wastewater and community facilities in Maine.
“These investments represent an historic level of funding – the largest ever by Rural Development in Maine, of which the impact can be felt in nearly every part of a rural community. From assisting Maine families gain equity for a more secure future through homeownership, to assisting rural businesses to expand and grow to supporting community facilities such as health clinics, libraries and fire stations, our work is critical in strengthening rural Maine communities,” said USDA Rural Development State Director Virginia Manuel.
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Tags: Agriculture·Maine rural areas
Top Democratic leaders in the Maine House on Monday called Gov. Paul LePage’s proposed toxic chemical rules “smoke and mirrors” that fail to protect Maine children. Under the LePage proposal, mercury, arsenic, cadmium and formaldehyde would be named as Priority Chemicals under Maine’s Kid Safe Products Act. These chemicals have already been removed from most children’s products, so the move has little public health benefit.
“These kinds of toxic chemicals have been banned or taken out of children’s products for years, in some cases for over a decade. This is nothing but window dressing.” said Speaker of the House Mark Eves of North Berwick. “These rules do little or nothing to protect pregnant women and young children from harmful toxic chemicals.”
Former Gov. Angus King signed legislation banning mercury in most products in 2001 and 2002, and the Maine Legislature with Gov. John Baldacci phased out arsenic in pressure-treated wood in 2003.
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Rising temperatures, spreading diseases, and more extreme weather events fueled by manmade climate change are making survival more challenging for America’s treasured big game wildlife from coast to coast, according to a new report from the National Wildlife Federation. Nowhere to Run – Big Game Wildlife in a Warming World details how climate change is already putting many species of big game at risk, creating an uncertain future for big game and the outdoor economy that depends on them.
“A healthy natural environment for wildlife, and sporting community that relies on it, is indispensable to our state’s economy and traditional values,” said Dylan Voorhees, Clean Energy Director for the Natural Resources Council of Maine. “That’s why there has been so much focus in Maine on conserving and restoring habitat for deer and other species. But today, a changing climate threatens to undermine those efforts and those values.”
Nowhere to Run shows rising temperatures, deeper droughts, increasing parasites and disease, and more extreme weather events fueled by manmade climate change are making survival more challenging for America’s treasured big game wildlife from coast to coast. Unprecedented changes in habitat are having far-reaching consequences for big game and for the sporting population, affecting, for example, the timing of hunting seasons and the distribution and survival of animals.
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Mainers are overwhelmingly lining up in opposition to draft rules for mining in Maine. According to an analysis by the Natural Resources Council of Maine, 248 individuals from all parts of the state have either testified in person or submitted comments to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to oppose the draft mining rules, while only 16 individuals have spoken or submitted comments in support of the rules. An additional 2,000 people signed a petition submitted by Maine Conservation Voters expressing opposition to weak mining rules.
At the public hearing, opponents of the rules outnumbered proponents by 58 to 11, based on sign-in sheets.
“DEP’s draft rules fail to provide the level of protection needed for Maine’s environment and taxpayers,” said NRCM Advocacy Director Pete Didisheim. “Clearly, the public is becoming increasingly concerned about the pollution and long-term financial costs that could result from metal mining in Maine. That explains the strong public comments calling on DEP to revise the draft rules to include stronger protections.”
The Board of Environmental Protection (BEP) currently is reviewing the draft mining rules and comments on those draft rules received during a public hearing held October 17 and submitted by a comment deadline of October 28. DEP has received more than 1,000 pages of comments on the draft rules.
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The Legislative Council on Thursday voted to reverse an earlier decision to reject a bill to address ocean acidification for the upcoming legislative session in January.
The measure sponsored by Rep. Mick Devin, would establish an 11-member commission to study and address the negative effects of ocean acidification.If left unchecked, ocean acidification could cause major losses to Maine’s major inshore shellfisheries, including clams, oysters, lobsters, shrimp and sea urchins, risking thousands of jobs and billions of dollars to the state’s economy.
“Maine’s marine resources support a billion dollar industry and thousands of jobs,” said Devin. “Ocean acidification has the potential to shut down Maine’s shellfish industry and we can’t afford to lose it.”
Rising levels of carbon dioxide from fossil fuel use are in part absorbed by the ocean. Because carbon dioxide and seawater combine to make carbonic acid, these naturally alkaline ocean waters become more acidic. Carbonic acid can dissolve the shells of shellfish, an important commercial marine resource. Over the past two centuries, ocean acidity levels have increased 30 percent.
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Congresswoman Chellie Pingree worked to get the $100,000 grant for Maine schools. photo by Ramona du Houx
Congresswoman Chellie Pingree announced today that Healthy Communities of the Capital Area in Kennebec County will receive a $100,000 Farm to School grant from the USDA.
“Maine schools today want to buy more food locally, but there aren’t many systems in place to help them do it easily. This investment will help fund innovative efforts to help schools overcome those barriers,” said Pingree. “Maine schools have shown such an incredible commitment to supporting local farmers and connecting students with the food they eat—and the results have been strengthened economies and healthier school meals. I’m excited that Healthy Communities of the Capital Area has this opportunity to help strengthen and expand those impacts.”
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Wind energy is on the rise in Maine and is providing large environmental benefits for the state, according to a new report released today by Environment Maine. Maine’s wind energy avoided 534,700 metric tons of climate-altering carbon pollution in 2012, which is equivalent to eliminating the pollution from more than 111,000 cars. The report also finds that wind energy reduces smog and soot pollution and saves the nation vast amounts of water.
“Wind energy isn’t just good for the environment and our health, it’s Maine’s economic future,” said Paul Williamson of the Maine Wind Industry. “The wind industry has invested more than $1 billion in Maine over the last 10 years, putting more than 700 local Maine businesses to work across all 16 counties. That represents thousands of real jobs for local people. And the industry is poised to invest almost $2 billion new dollars in Maine during the next three years alone. Wind is Maine’s future.”
Thanks to its current and future benefits, wind power is a key component of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan to reduce the carbon pollution fueling global warming by 17 percent by 2020. The plan calls for an expansion of renewable energy, investment in energy efficiency, and the first-ever federal limits on carbon pollution from power plants.
Wind Power for a Cleaner America II: Wind Energy’s Growing Benefits for Our Environment and Our Health report analyzes 2012 data from the U.S. Department of Energy and the wind industry to quantify environmental benefits from current wind generation in Maine, as well as the additional benefits five years from now, in 2018, if wind development continues at a pace comparable to that of recent years.
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