Environment and Outdoors

Environmental news

Conservation Groups Oppose Development Changes Proposed For Maine Woods

Apr 14, 2018
Bangor Daily News

Conservation groups in Maine on Wednesday urged state officials not to expand the distance limit that determines where subdivisions and commercial projects can be built in the state’s Unorganized Territory.

Central Maine Power

This story was originally published at 4:56 p.m. Thursday, April 12, 2018.

As part of a deal to win a state permit for a major transmission project eight years ago, Central Maine Power (CMP) agreed to transfer the scenic Kennebec River Gorge to the state. But that never happened. Environmentalists say that raises troubling questions about a new CMP project that would cross the same gorge.

Department of the Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke says he believes Maine residents will be "very happy" with a revised proposal on offshore drilling, which notes there are few reserves off the coast of Maine.

The secretary's comments on Wednesday in Washington suggest that the Maine coastline may be excluded from the next version of the Interior Department's plan for offshore drilling.

The Portland Press Herald reports Zinke was responding to U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, a Democrat, noting there was strong opposition to drilling off the Maine coast.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke insists that his department is not changing scientific reports to edit out references to climate change. Zinke's response came under questioning by Maine Congressperson Chellie Pingree at a budget hearing Wednesday.

“There is a pending report about the national parks and the impact of climate change on the national parks, and there has been reporting to say there has been some editing to take climate change out of the document.”

Regina Asmutis-Silvia/WDC

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is awarding more than $700,000 to Maine’s Department of Marine Resources to study whether lobstermen’s gear poses a mortal threat to the endangered right whale.

There are about 450 right whales left on the planet, and some scientists say entanglement in lobster-trapping gear is making their extinction more likely. But many Maine lobstermen are skeptical and are pushing back against calls for new regulations on their ropes and buoys.

BOOTHBAY HARBOR, Maine - The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is giving the state of Maine more than $700,000 to help provide better data to try to protect endangered right whales.
The Maine Department of Marine Resources say the grant funds a three-year project set to begin this summer that will support work aimed at improving and increasing the amount of data on fishing gear. The data can be used to inform future protections for the whales.

Some Of Maine’s Most Reliable Heat May Be Under Our Feet

Apr 8, 2018
Gina Philippon / BDN

When John Nickels was in the United States Navy and stationed aboard a submarine, he read a book about then-President George W. Bush and his use of geothermal technology at his Texas ranch. The retired submariner has been hooked on the subterranean heating and cooling systems ever since.

Tons Of Trash Going To Landfills Due To Hampden Waste Facility Delay

Apr 6, 2018
Alex Acquisto / Bangor Daily News

The solid waste processing and recycling facility that was slated to open April 1 in Hampden could take months longer to be operational, meaning that trash from 115 municipalities will meanwhile be dumped in landfills.

Michael Dwyer / Associated Press

NANTUCKET, Mass. - Federal ocean managers are extending a voluntary speed restriction zone off of Massachusetts to try to help protect endangered right whales.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration established the zone to protect a group of eight North Atlantic right whales spotted 20 nautical miles south of Nantucket on March 29. The agency says the zone will be in effect through April 12.
NOAA asks mariners to route around the area altogether or transit through it at 10 knots or less.

WINSLOW, Maine - A traveling petting zoo in Maine says its reindeer has unexpectedly given birth to the first baby reindeer in the state in more than 20 years.
Pony X-Press co-owner Ed Papsis says the reindeer is a dark brown female calf and it was born at a farm on Easter Sunday.
Papsis tells the Morning Sentinel that the new reindeer has yet to be named. Her mother's name is Cocoa.

Brian Jackson / AP Photo

State lawmakers are giving an initial thumbs down to Gov. Paul LePage's proposal to raise the bar for new wind energy projects in Maine.

The governor wants to limit streamlined permit reviews to wind projects only in eastern Aroostook County. And he wants to expand reviews of their visual impacts to anywhere within 70 miles of significant scenic resources.

Rep. Paul Stearns, a Guilford Republican, says he sees the scenic harm wind farms can do first hand.The porch of his camp on Piper Pond in Abbot is in the shadow of the Bingham wind plantation.

The state continues to be at a slightly higher than normal risk for flooding. That's according to the state’s River Flow Advisory Commission, which met Thursday, for the second time this season.

Commission members said that while rivers in southern Maine are mostly ice free, in northern Maine it's a different story.

"The rivers still have as much as 40 inches of ice on them," said Susan Faloon, with the Maine Emergency Management Agency.

Jesica Waller / University of Maine Darling Marine Center

New science is bearing down on a poorly understood part of the North American lobster’s diet. And it turns out that a tiny crustacean’s abundance may help to explain expected declines in Maine’s lobster harvest.

CALAIS, Maine - Officials say a small earthquake was recorded along the border of Maine and Canada.
The 2.2 magnitude earthquake was reported early Tuesday about 20 miles north of Calais. WMTW-TV reports the earthquake is the latest in a spate of earthquakes recorded across Maine since the beginning of the year.
The U.S. Geological Survey says earthquakes recorded below a 3.0 magnitude are considered low intensity and felt by very few people, usually.

Court: Lawsuit To Eliminate Atlantic Marine Monument Can Proceed

Mar 27, 2018

PORTLAND, Maine - A federal court has ruled that a group of fishing organizations can move forward with a lawsuit that seeks to eliminate the first national marine monument in the Atlantic Ocean.

The fishing groups sued to challenge the creation of the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument created by President Barack Obama in 2016. It's a 5,000-square-mile area off of New England.