Monday, April 30, 2012

Maine "Forever Farms"

The Maine Farmland Trust has a program to protect farmland through conservation easements. Their website shows farms protected so far.

The Press Herald reports on a farmer trying to protect her farm. You can lean more about Maine farms on this blog.

"Stacy Gambrel, lands projects coordinator at the trust, said the Forever Farm Program and its website was launched last year. “It’s an effort to recognize all the farms across the state permanently protected with easements,” Gambrel said. “As part of this, we have unveiling events where people hear about what it means to have protected farms. We have these signs that we’ve been putting up across the state denoting farms that will always be protected.” She said the website lists the farms and links to their websites as a way to promote their efforts to preserve the land for future generations. Included on that list is Lakeside Orchards in Manchester. “We’re always looking for new farms to protect,” Gambrel said. “At this point we’ve protected over 20,000 acres of farmland. We do this in partnership with other land trusts. Our goal is 100,000 acres, so we’re interested in having more farms” participate in the program."

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Few Bird Deaths from Vinalhaven Wind Turbines

The conclusion of a recently released study about how many birds fly into the three industrial wind turbines on Vinalhaven: Not many. Fewer than 10 per year, ornithologist Richard Podolsky said.

Podolsky was hired by Fox Islands Wind LLC to do a 28-month study on the wind turbines’ effect on local eagles and osprey. The study was required by the town’s wind ordinance.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Endangered Species May Derail Windfarm

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife recently expressed concerns about the planned wind farm's impact on certain species in comments prepared for the state agency reviewing the developer's request for construction permits.

The habitats of lemmings, mayflies, spring salamanders, bats and birds would be put at considerable risk, according to the report to the Land Use Regulation Commission. The lemming and mayfly are on the state's endangered list. The salamander and eight species of bats in the plantation are all on a state "special concern" list.

The comments surprised developers, who have been working with the wildlife department for the last four years in their effort to install 39 wind turbines on ridges in the tiny community.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

$1.2 Million for Alternative Energy Education

Northern Maine Community College has received $1.2 million to open an alternative energy education and training center.
The funding from Presque Isle native Mary Smith is one of the largest private contributions a community college in Maine has received, according to a press release. The college will use the money to establish the Northern Maine Center for Excellence in Alternative Energy Training and Education, a concept already in the works but which had lacked funding to move ahead

900,000 acres sold

Bangor Daily News:
Nearly 1 million acres of Maine forestland are about to change hands.

Under a deal slated to be completed Feb. 1, a company called BBC Land LLC with ties to a Colorado billionaire will purchase more than 900,000 acres — much of it in eastern and western Maine — from current owner GMO Renewable Resources.

John Cashwell, a local consultant for BBC Land, said very little will change under the new ownership. BBC Land will continue to manage the land as a working forest and will still allow public access for recreation, Cashwell said.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Pollution prevention needed for Gulf of Maine

"The report, 'U.S. Gulf of Maine Habitat Restoration and Conservation Plan,' found that implementing conservation efforts -- including restoring fish and wildlife habitats, and developing ecosystem and ocean management plans -- will cost $3.03 billion, not including funding needed for the long term. The costliest initiative, at $2.7 billion, includes upgrading outdated sewage treatment systems to reduce pollution, remediating contaminated soils and launching stricter water quality testing. Restoring and conserving the gulf's ecosystems will create jobs and benefit the region's fishing, recreational and tourism industries, according to the report."

Downeaster extension gets more funds

Mainebiz: "The extension of the Amtrak Downeaster train from Portland to Brunswick currently under way is getting another boost from the feds.

Maine will receive another $3.3 million to help fund the $38.3 million project, scheduled for completion in 2012, on top of the $35 million the state has already received, according to The Associated Press."

Monday, November 22, 2010

Roxanne Quimby's Landholdings

The Maine Sunday Telegram looked into the recent development begun by Roxanne Quimby in Willimantic. Quimby, who owns over 100,000 acres in Maine, apparently prohibits hunting and motorized vehicles on much of this land. Many people have assumed that her landholdings would not be developed, but as the article reveals none of her properties have easements that restrict development.
"'Our message really is this genuine compassion for the local economy,' said Leathers. Among other benefits, it would provide a boost for the town's tax base, he said.

Quimby bought the land in 2002, at the urging of neighbors who were trying to protect it from development, said Fran Leyman of Bowdoin. Leyman owns a camp on a half-acre lot she leased and then bought from International Paper Co., which at the time was selling a half-dozen leased lots and 142 surrounding acres for about $200,000.
Leathers, Quimby's property manager, said he couldn't say whether she has similar plans for any of the other timberland she owns.

He said Quimby has no easements on any of her land to protect it from development.

"She enjoys having unencumbered title to property," he said.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Where is LePage on Wind Power?

The Press Herald asks this important question.
"Our next governor, who has said repeatedly that he is pro-business, should clearly voice his support for [wind power] business, which has the potential to play a key role in Maine's economic future.

The arguments against wind power break down into two main categories. The first is aesthetic (with both visual and aural complaints) and the second is economic, made by people who say that wind energy is too expensive and can't be harnessed without government subsidies.

While the second charge may be true, at least in the short run, it has also been true for hydroelectric dams and other new kinds of energy generators.

As wind power becomes established and the technology improves, new investment won't need the subsidies.

And the price of power is relative. There is no guarantee that natural gas prices won't spike, making wind power a lower-cost alternative, even if its price does not go down over time."

Monday, October 25, 2010

Roads are no Solution

In what should be obvious to anyone who has looked at traffic problems throughout the country, simply adding more roads does not solve congestion problems. But when the people whose budget is based on road building are making decisions, too often that what happens.

Portland Press Herald:
"Some participants began the study with the idea that suburban congestion could be solved primarily through construction, perhaps with a turnpike spur or by expanding existing roadways, such as routes 22 and 114.

'But to make any road improvements last longer, we're going to have to ask communities to change how they develop,' said Carol Morris, a spokeswoman for the task force.
The study was conducted with $1 million from the Maine Turnpike Authority and the Maine Department of Transportation."

Monday, October 18, 2010

Construction on40-turbine wind project

Bangor Daily News:
"The Lincoln Planning Board approved the project on Dec. 1, 2008, with the other host towns eventually following suit. The Maine Department of Environmental Protection’s permit for the First Wind subsidiary came in April 2009, but the project, probably the most protested since wind-to-energy companies began investing in Maine, had been in civil court since then.

The Friends of Lincoln Lakes, a citizens group formed to oppose the project, took its series of appeals to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court but lost. Its latest appeal, to the Board of Environmental Protection on Oct. 7, was rejected."

Tidal Energy Tests in Castine

Bangor Daily News:
"TEDEC provides a much-needed component in the emerging tidal energy industry, where there is a need for independent, reliable assessment of prototype turbines, Armstrong said. There are no independent “proving grounds” where designers and developers can test those devices, he said.

With no vested interest or commercial component to its operation, he said, TEDEC can effectively evaluate whether a design works.

“We’ll look at the physics of it, does it survive in a real-life situation outside of the lab,” Armstrong said. “We’re not so much interested in the number of light bulbs it lights up, but we’ll look at whether it behaves as the developer expected and whether it is capable of providing sufficient energy that can be fed to a generating device that produces electricity.”

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Damariscotta Hardware Goes Solar

"Damariscotta Hardware recently had 301 photovoltaic panels installed on the roof of the 24,000-square-foot business on Business Route 1. The panels are designed to meet about 70 percent of the store's electricity needs.

The 69-kilowatt system was installed by Maine Energy Performance Solutions of Washington.

The project represents a major step in controlling energy costs for the 55-year-old family business, said Rob Gardiner, the company's president. The store installed a wood gasification boiler last year, cutting heating oil consumption by 90 percent. Electricity stood out as the next biggest energy expense, with a bill exceeding $13,000 in 2008."

- Portland Press Herald