Environment and Outdoors

Environmental news

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 Bag 2,845 Bears in Maine's 2013 Season

Jul 9, 2014

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.  

BANGOR, Maine (AP) _ The state of Maine is suing the Environmental Protection Agency, saying the federal agency has failed to approve the state's water quality standards under the Clean Water Act.
    The state filed its lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Bangor. The suit says EPA is responsible for approving Maine's revisions to its water quality standards or identifying changes needed for federal approval.

Bowdoin College is constructing what it says is the largest solar installation in the state. The school has already broken ground on the complex, which officials say is seven times the size of the state's largest existing solar installation.

The project consists of five different solar installations, including a 700-kilowatt array on land at the former Brunswick Naval Air station that's owned by the college.   

South Portland councilors postponed their meeting and vote on an ordinance to block tar sands crude from being shipped through the city. The council acted after more people showed up for last night's meeting than could be safely accommodated at South Portland's council chambers.

The new ordinance is supposed to be more narrowly tailored than zoning changes rejected by voters last November. But Burt Russell, vice president of Sprague Energy, says that's not what he sees in the new ordinance.

SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine (AP) _ The South Portland City Council is considering an ordinance that prohibits loading crude oil in bulk onto marine tank vessels.
    The vote was scheduled for Monday night.
    The proposal is narrower in scope than one voters rejected last year. That ordinance was designed to prevent Portland Pipe Line Corp. from bringing tar sands oil into the city from Canada via underground pipe.

BARNSTABLE, Mass. (AP) _ Animal rescuers say they have disentangled a large leatherback sea turtle that was trapped in fishing gear off of Cape Cod.
    Fishermen spotted the turtle off the Sandy Neck section of Barnstable on Sunday. The fishermen reported the sighting to the U.S. Coast Guard who notified the Center for Coastal Studies Marine Animal Entanglement response team.
    A spokeswoman for the center says the turtle was in good condition upon release and swam away promptly.

The town of Harpswell has closed almost 15 acres at the mouth of Strawberry Creek to the harvesting of shellfish and marine worms for the rest of the year.

The closure is being done to study the effectiveness of removing a couple of predators that are taking their toll on clams: invasive European green crabs and milky ribbon worms.

State environmental officials are asking people boating in Maine waters to check their boats before and after they float.  

The Maine Department of Environmental Protection says heavier boat traffic during the summer season increases the risk of spreading invasive plants and animals.

Department officials say boaters should check their vessels for invasive species after they leave one body of water and before launching into another.  DEP biologist John McFedron says, for many environmental issues, prevention is the best bet.