Entries Filed in 'Environment'
The Environment and Natural Resources Committee on Thursday rejected inadequate proposed mining rules that would put Maine’s environment and taxpayers at risk.The committee voted 7-5 to reject the proposal. Thousands of citizens along with environmental groups protested and testified against the new rules that were backed by Irving Oil interests.
“Maine people are rightly worried that the proposed rules will not prevent water pollution or protect taxpayers from cleanup costs,” said Assistant House Majority Leader Jeff McCabe. “Thankfully, the majority of the committee acted to protect Maine’s water and environment and listened to the concerns of Maine citizens rather than siding with mining advocates.”
The Department of Environmental Protection drafted deficient rules last year, and they were further weakened by the Board of Environmental Protection, which gave its OK to them in January. The rules require the approval of the Legislature.
Read more ›
Tags: Corporate interests in Maine
A proposed law to address how changing ocean chemistry can damage Maine’s coast, shellfish industry and jobs won unanimous support from the Marine Resources Committee on Monday. Bill L.D. 1602, sponsored by Rep. Mick Devin, would establish a commission to look at the effects of ocean acidification and its potential effects on commercial shellfish harvested along the Maine coast.
“Maine’s history and way of life are tied to our coast,” said Devin, a marine biologist. “If the health of our ocean waters is at risk, so are thousands of jobs, the seafood and tourist industries and the seafood we eat.”
The commission would be tasked with recommending policies and steps to respond to the adverse effects of ocean acidification on commercially important shellfish fisheries and Maine’s shellfish aquaculture industry.
Shellfish hatcheries on the West Coast have failed in recent years due to 60 to 80 percent production losses caused by ocean chemistry changes. Major inshore shellfisheries in Maine that provide clams, oysters, lobsters, shrimp and sea urchins, could see major losses if ocean acidification is left unchecked.
Read more ›
Tags: Aquaculture in Maine·Climate change·Lobster fishing in Maine
Inadequate mining proposals that would put Maine’s environment and taxpayers at risk drew an outcry from concerned citizens at a public hearing on February 24,2014.
“Bald Mountain is a very dangerous ore deposit with extremely high concentrations of sulfur and arsenic. A mine at this site would create a high risk of extensive pollution and large cleanup costs. A recent NRCM report describes that risk. It is poor policy to weaken rules to allow mining at a site this dangerous. This is a site that calls for very strict rules,” said Nick Bennett’s, staff scientist of the Natural Resources Council of Maine.
The proposal rules were the subject of a public hearing before the Environment and Natural Resources Committee. The Department of Environmental Protection drafted deficient rules last year, and they were further weakened by the Board of Environmental Protection, which gave its OK to them last month. The rules require the approval of the Legislature.
Read more ›
Tags: Mining in Maine
More than a third of Maine’s most vulnerable wildlife species are threatened by climate change, according to a recent study.
“Maine will experience more warming than most states and this may pose a huge threat to our wildlife,” said lead author Andy Whitman, of the Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences. “We identified Maine’s wildlife and habitats most vulnerable to climate change. This is the first step for moving forward on this issue.”
The report, Climate Change and Biodiversity in Maine, identified 168 vulnerable species that could experience large range shifts and population declines in Maine as a result of climate change by 2100. Iconic Maine species, such as the common loon and moose, were some of the species found to be at risk.
Read more ›
Tags: Climate Change impact in Maine
Maine’s Department of Marine Resources announced today the immediate closure of the Fort Point-area lobster fishery due to high levels of toxic mercury contamination found in surrounding parts of the Penobscot River and its local marine life. This proactive measure ensures the broader Maine lobster fishery remains strong and consumers can feel confident that Maine lobster is safe for consumption.
“Closing this small portion of the fishery was a smart and responsible move by the State,” said Maine People’s Alliance executive director Jesse Graham. “We need to protect local residents from harmful contamination and also ensure the ongoing health and vitality of Maine’s iconic lobster industry.”
According to a court-appointed scientific panel, the source of the mercury contamination in the river is the HoltraChem chemical processing plant, which dumped tons of mercury into the Penobscot, mostly in the late 1960s.
Read more ›
Tags: Lobster fishing in Maine
Maine places last in the New England region when it comes to solar capacity. Environmentalists and renewable energy industry representatives met at the end of January to voice their concerns at a hearing for LD 1652, a bill aiming to address the solar capacity gap.
If LD 1652 passes, a bill sponsored by Sen. Eloise Vitelli (D-Sagadahoc), Maine would be set on a path to match Massachusetts in solar capacity by setting a state goal to generate 40 megawatts of solar energy by 2016 and 200 megawatts by 2020, powering 30,000 Maine homes.
Maine installed 2.2 MW in 2012, while New Hampshire doubled Maine with 4.2 MW, and Massachusetts installed 31 MW.
Read more ›
Business leaders gathered at the iconic Porthole Restaurant on Portland Harbor to release a letter to Maine Senators Susan Collins and Angus King urging their support for proposed national standards on power plant carbon pollution that are as strong as New England’s own under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.(RGGI)
“The new EPA power plant standards will cut climate pollution and spur innovation in clean energy,” said Shenna Bellows Maine’s Democratic U.S. Senate candidate. “Bold federal action to confront climate change will benefit the environment and our economy. Anyone who gardens, farms or fishes can tell you that Maine’s climate is changing. We need leadership in Washington that will recognize this and act to fix it.”
So far, the letter has been signed by nearly 250 Maine businesses, including Lee Auto Malls, Lamey Wellehan Shoes, Mechanical Services, Baxter Brewing Company, Cole Haan, and Woodard & Curran, as well as innkeepers, outdoor guides, energy companies, small manufacturers, fishermen, farmers, shopkeepers, and many other types of business people from across the state.
RGGI also helps economically strapped state budgets with energy programs. In Maine RGGI has brought in over $30 million to help weatherization and other cost saving energy efficient methods for businesses and consumers. RGGI had unanimous bipartisan support when signed into law under Governor John Baldacci.
“I am delighted that so many Maine businesses are yearning for solutions to climate change,” said Ken Macgowan, owner of The Porthole Restaurant and Casablanca Cruises. “We have so much at stake with the rising sea levels and increasingly severe weather that is coming our way due to climate change. Lobstermen tell me they are seeing worrisome changes in lobster stocks as the ocean warms and becomes more acidic. These guys are my friends and customers, but their industry is also a foundation of Maine’s thriving tourism.”
Read more ›
Tags: RGGI - Regional Green House Gas initiative
Members of Maine Conservation Voters (MCV) announced their board’s unanimous endorsement of Mike Michaud for governor, and pledged to educate and engage voters around the state on his behalf. The announcement was delivered 80 miles downstream from where Michaud began his political career in 1980, when he ran for the Maine Legislature from East Millinocket because he wanted to clean up the river’s polluted waters.
“Mike said ‘enough is enough’ to the sludge being dumped into this great river by his own employer. He helped clean up the Penobscot, and in the Maine Legislature and in Congress he’s been a leader on dozens of environmental and economic policies. He’s a champion for clean air, land and water resources, for clean energy and keeping toxics out of the environment,” stated Caroline Pryor, board chairwoman of Maine Conservation Voters.
Michaud’s a strong supporter, and helped secure funds, for UMaine’s offshore wind floating wind turbine project as well as UMaine’s ocean energy research that has led to collecting ocean energy from wind and the tides for the grid. These are two firsts for the Americas.
Read more ›
Tags: Congressman Mike Michaud·Governor election in Maine 2014
The Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust, Harpswell Heritage Land Trust, and Maine Coast Heritage Land Trust have joined in collaboration under their Middle Bay Wetlands Partnership to protect some of the region’s most valuable coastal wetlands.
The $1 million grant comes from the National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program, which is administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.The grant award totaled $16.5 million to conserve lands. Additional funding comes from the Maine Natural Resource Conservation Fund and from the local membership support within the three land trusts.
A new study by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service identifies a net annual loss of 80,160 acres of coastal wetlands across the country.
Middle Bay, located between Harpswell Neck and Mere Point, is a focus area because of its productive wildlife habitat for birds, shellfish, and other plants and animals.
Read more ›
Maine consumers are facing increasing costs for electricity. Wind energy can help to reduce those costs.
The Maine Public Utilities Commission announced this week that the standard offer price for electricity in Maine in both the CMP and Emera Maine services areas will increase by more than 10 percent for next year.
“Mainers’ energy costs are going up because the price for natural gas is volatile and difficult to predict. Wind energy, particularly through the use of long-term contracts, can reduce the impact of the volatility from the natural gas market, protect consumers from price spikes and lessen our dependency on a single fuel for electricity production,” said Ian Grady, a spokesperson for Wind for Maine. “Right now, New England relies heavily on natural gas, and we’re paying the price every month in our electric bills.”
Read more ›
Tags: WInd energy good for electric rates