Environment and Outdoors

Environmental news

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) _ Maine regulators have once again approved a deal that gave Canadian utility Emera a stake in First Wind.

The state Supreme Court in March ordered the Maine Public Utilities Commission to re-examine a deal in which Nova Scotia-based Emera invested more than $300 million to have a 49 percent stake in Boston-based First Wind's Northeast project portfolio.

Susan Sharon

Environmentalists are anticipating passage later tonight of a local ordinance that blocks Canadian tar sands oil and other raw crude from being loaded onto tanker ships.  The South Portland City Council's action could complicate plans to use a controversial pipeline that runs across northern New England.  But Canadian crude has other avenues into the region.

MACHIAS, Maine (AP) _ Maine Gov. Paul LePage is giving $25,000 to the Downeast Salmon Federation to help with improving the East Machias Aquatic Research Center.

LePage says Friday the money to aid the Columbia Falls-based federation will come from state contingency funds. The federation is working to conserve wild Atlantic salmon populations in Maine.

WATERVILLE, Maine — A federal appeals court has revived part of a lawsuit brought by two Maine-based environmental groups hoping to save Atlantic salmon and American shad populations from being chewed up in the turbines of hydroelectric dams on the Kennebec River.

The dams are in Waterville, Skowhegan, Fairfield and Brunswick.

Environment Maine and Friends of Merrymeeting Bay brought the lawsuit, claiming dam operators have not demonstrated that measures they say they have taken to protect the fish are effective.

Environmentalists say they're disappointed with a Board of Environmental Protection vote today which relaxes mercury emissions rules for the Dragon Cement plant in Thomaston.

"It's the largest single source of mercury pollution in Maine - by a considerable amount," says Dylan Voorhees, the clean energy director with Natural Resources Council of Maine.

Irwin Gratz

The city of Portland is launching an effort to take stock of its parks and open spaces and plan for their future. Officials today announced they will work with The Trust for Public Lands and Portland Trails to complete the project.

At an event in Portland this morning, Portland Trails Executive Director Kara Wooldrik announced that her group has received an $18,000 grant from the Lerner Foundation that will be used to reach out for public comment.

SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine (AP) _ The South Portland Planning Board is endorsing s proposal to ban tar sands oil from coming into the Maine city.

The Portland Press Herald  reports the board voted 6-1 on Tuesday night to recommend the City Council approve the proposal. About 80 people attended South Portland High School for the vote - far fewer than the nearly 500 who gathered last week for the City Council's first vote on the subject.

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) _ The Conservation Law Foundation is asking Vermont for access to more documents about energy plans in New England that it says are shrouded in secrecy.
 
    The foundation filed an appeal to Vermont agencies on July 9 seeking copies of records related to electric system transmission, gas pipeline capacity and electricity imports from Canada.
 

There's enough wind power potential right now off the Atlantic coast to power five million homes, according to a report released today by coalition of environmental, conservation and alternative energy groups.

BUXTON, Maine (AP) _ Maine officials say late blight symptoms have been found in a potato field in Buxton.
 
    The Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association and the University of Maine Cooperative Extension say the blight symptoms were located this week. Late blight is a non-treatable disease that spreads rapidly in warm, wet conditions. It affects potatoes and tomatoes.
 
    MOFGA and the university ask growers and gardeners to take precautions to prevent infections and spread of the disease.

Jennifer Mitchell

It's sometimes said that farmers must be both gamblers and fortune tellers in order to be profitable: They need to take risks, try new things and stay ahead of market trends.  While Maine is known for its reliable, frost-hardy crops, climate change may have its own hand to play.

Getting Down to Business on Climate Action panel discussion
Natural Resources Council of Maine

  The Natural Resources Council of Maine and the Portland Regional Chamber hosted a panel discussion about climate change focusing on how the regional climate initiative (RGGI) has impacted Maine businesses. Also discussed was the brand-new U.S. EPA carbon pollution standards that ask the rest of the country’s power plants to adopt the standards adhered to by Maine. The panel consisted of Senator Angus King (I-Maine); U.S.

Hunters in Maine harvested 2,845 bears in 2013. Officials with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife say that's about 26 percent of the more than 10,888 bear-hunting permits issued for the season. More than 90 percent of the bears killed were taken using bait, dogs or traps, officials say.

But it was a good year for the natural foods bears rely on. The department's annual winter bear den survey found that the average weight of year-old bears was 46.6 pounds, compared with 2012, when the average weight for yearlings was 32.5 pounds.

In a rare, joint action, a member of the LePage administration has teamed up with the Maine attorney general to file a federal lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Filed in U.S. District Court in Bangor, the lawsuit says the agency has failed to approve state water quality standards under the Clean Water Act.

A Maine Superior Court judge has sided with Brunswick residents in a dispute over a planned maintenance and layover facility for the Amtrak Downeaster rail service.

Neighbors of the proposed facility contended that the Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority - or NNEPRA - which operates the Downeaster, failed to notify them about an application for a state storm water management permit.  

Pages