Environment and Outdoors

Environmental news

Elise Amendola / Associated Press

BOSTON - Utilities are racing to restore power to tens of thousands of customers in the Northeast still without electricity after last week's storm as another nor'easter threatens the hard-hit area with heavy, wet snow, high winds - and more outages.
The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning that stretches from eastern Pennsylvania, across most of New England, from late Tuesday night into Thursday morning.
More than a foot of snow is forecast for some interior areas.

Taking On 'Microfiber' Pollution, A Laundry Room At A Time

Mar 6, 2018
Alexander Nolte / via Associated Press

PORTLAND, Maine — The fight to keep tiny pollutants from reaching the dinner plate might start in the laundry room.

Innovators are coming up with tools to keep tiny pieces of thread that are discharged with washing machine effluent from reaching marine life. Such "microfibers" are too small to be caught in conventional filters, so they eventually pass through sewage plants, wash out to waterways, and can be eaten or absorbed by marine animals, some later served up as seafood.

Kay Aikin/Introspective Systems / via Bangor Daily News

Isle au Haut residents plan to install a sophisticated microgrid this spring that could eventually end their reliance on expensive power and heating fuel from the mainland.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine's fox hunting season is ending for the winter.
The Pine Tree State has a small but active group of hunters who pursue foxes. The season ends on Wednesday. There is no limit on the number of foxes a hunter can harvest during the season, which begins in October.
There are a handful of clubs remaining in New England for traditional fox hunters who pursue the animals on horseback with hounds.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

The Coast Guard is urging members of the public who haven’t done so already to remove their ice shacks from the Kennebec and Penobscot rivers as it begins its annual spring breakout to reduce the risk of flooding as snow and river ice melts.

Chief Warrant Officer Robert Nichols says the operation begins Wednesday, and is being done in two phases using four ice breakers — three at 65 feet and one at 140 feet.

Beech Trees Dominating Northeastern Forests, Worrying Scientists, Landowners

Feb 26, 2018
Brian E. Roth / University of Maine/via AP

PORTLAND, Maine — Beech trees are dominating the woodlands of the northeastern United States as the climate changes, and that could be bad news for the forests and people who work in them, according to a group of scientists.

BANGOR, Maine - Officials in Bangor say winter weather is wreaking havoc for the roads, causing a four-vehicle crash in one instance over the weekend.
Bangor officials say the crash took place Sunday afternoon, with two of the cars crashing into separate buildings. WABI-TV reports one person involved in the crash was taken to the hospital for injuries that were not life-threatening.
Bangor Fire Department Capt. George Hodge says his department is urging people to take it slow on the roads, as crews have been responding to multiple crashes.

Another group has filed a lawsuit against Maine Republican Gov. Paul LePage's moratorium on new wind power projects, saying the executive order is unconstitutional.

The Portland Press Herald reports the Maine Renewable Energy Association this month filed the lawsuit in Kennebec County Superior Court saying the governor lacks the executive authority to decide which industries can get regulatory review. The group is seeking a judge to nullify the governor's moratorium on new wind power permits.

The coast guard is trying to assess the potential for environmental concerns following a tugboat crash off the coast of Kennebunkport.

The coastguard responded Wednesday to a call from crewmen on the tugboat Helen Louise which alerted them of a collision with the Captain Mackintire tug they had in tow.

According to a coast guard representative, they collided during a fuel transfer but fuel did not enter the water during the transfer. The Captain Mackintire sank. 

PORTLAND, Maine - The federal government is taking comments from the public about a plan to try to better manage a piece of the scallop fishery that has been a source of conflict in recent years.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is looking to tweak the scallop fishing rules in the Northern Gulf of Maine. Small-boat fishermen in the area have complained in recent years that they are being squeezed out of the fishery by bigger boats, which operate under a different set of rules.

Peter Duley / NEFSC/NOAA

The North Atlantic right whale is the most endangered large whale species on Earth. The principal cause of right whale fatalities is entanglement with fishing gear, including lobster trap lines. Scientists at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution say new technology could stop these ensnarements, but some lobstermen say the cost of adopting the new gear would be prohibitive.

Woods Hole Director Michael Moore says the right whale is really in trouble, and something has to be done to stop entanglements.

The National Weather Service says record or near-record warmth is in store for northern New England for a day.
Temperatures were expected to rise into the 50s and 60s, and possibly 70 in parts of southern New Hampshire on Wednesday.
In Burlington, Vermont, it was 61 on Wednesday morning, already breaking the record for the date. It reached a record 59 degrees in Burlington on Tuesday.
The snowmelt may lead to some ice jam flooding in the region.
Typical winter weather is returning Thursday, with highs in the 30s.

Portland is joining forces with South Portland to develop a collaborative climate action plan aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050.

Troy Moon, Portland’s sustainability coordinator, presented the plan before the City Council’s Sustainability and Transportation Committee on Thursday.

Moon, who has been working on the plan for six months, says their goal of reducing CO2 emissions 80 percent by 2050 is no easy task.

Jack Kennealy / Maine Land Trust Network

Governor LePage used a portion of his 90-minute State of the State address Tuesday to attack one of his favorite targets: land trusts.

Governor LePage is behind a bill to gut most of the state's fast-track permitting process for commercial wind power projects.

The Portland Press Herald reports the governor's bill is part of his recent efforts against Maine's wind power industry.

LePage recently announced a moratorium on new wind permits in Maine and created a commission that would study the economic impact of wind turbines on western Maine mountains, coastal areas and along migratory bird pathways.