State admits it was wrong to resist federal crackdown on oil tank pollution

Maine was wrong to fight a federal crackdown on hazardous emissions from petroleum storage tanks in South Portland and Searsport, a state official now admits, but there is still no consensus on how to safeguard the public from air pollution produced by oil facilities across the United States.

For much of the last decade, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection sided with oil companies and defended a widely disputed method of estimating air pollution from storage tanks that was developed by the petroleum industry, according to documents obtained by the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram under a Freedom of Access Act request.

Source: Portland Press Herald

Only One Company Raising Salmon In Maine Right Now

Atlantic salmon farming has made news in Maine recently with construction of a $180 million, indoor salmon farm due to start in Bucksport this fall and another entirely land-based farm seeking permits to build in Belfast.

But so far, the only company raising salmon in Maine is New Brunswick-based Cooke Aquaculture, which has its operation spread between hatcheries in western Maine, pens in the Gulf of Maine and a processing plant in Machiasport. Cooke’s operation, partially on land and partially in pen stocks at sea, differs from the operations proposed in Belfast and Bucksport in key ways.

The company has been raising salmon in Maine since 2004, and it has effectively built itself a salmon monopoly in the Gulf of Maine in that time. Since 2016, the New Brunswick-based corporation has invested about $2 million in its Maine facilities and it expects some growth in its operation over the next two years, according to company spokesman Andrew Lively.

Source: Maine Public

Portland Water District issues warning about deceptive mailing that urges water testing

The Portland Water District is warning customers about a deceptive postcard that urges people to get their water tested due to seasonal changes.

The water district said it has received several calls from people in Cape Elizabeth who have received the postcard.

Officials said people in other communities might have received it as well.

Source: WMTW

Reopening Old Town Mill Expects To Produce Pulp By August

The new owner of the Old Town pulp mill has hired 130 workers and expects the reopened facility will begin producing pulp by the end of July, a major turnaround for a plant that shed nearly 200 jobs when it closed in 2015. More than 1,000 people applied for the open positions at the Old Town mill, which was bought in October by ND Paper, a subsidiary of the Chinese company Nine Dragons Paper (Holdings) Ltd.

Source: Maine Public

Boston Celtics buy the Maine Red Claws

The Boston Celtics have reached an agreement to purchase the Maine Red Claws, their NBA G League affiliate, the Celtics announced Thursday.

The teams have been affiliated since the Red Claws began play in the 2009-10 season. In 2012, the Celtics became the team’s sole affiliate, assuming control of all basketball operations. In the Red Claws first three seasons, Boston shared the affiliation with the Charlotte Bobcats and Philadelphia 76ers.

“The Celtics have been great partners with the Red Claws over the last 10 seasons,” said Bill Ryan Jr., the Red Claws chairman and principal owner, in a press release. “We are thrilled that the Celtics will continue to build upon the success we’ve had in making the Red Claws an important part of the Maine community.”

Source:  Portland Press Herald

Locals have been tricking visitors with this Down East ‘mall’

You’re in Machiasport, wondering what local sites you should check out. A local resident tells you that you really should visit the Bucks Harbor Shopping Mall.

Sounds impressive, right? So you decide to take a look.

You might at first dismiss the observation that the road to the mall is suspiciously narrow, curvy and lined with trees that provide a thick canopy, unlike most multi-laned mall roads. Then, as you pull up to the mall’s parking lot, you see that it’s gravel and large enough for maybe a dozen vehicles. The one-story structure it leads to is not much larger than a double-wide trailer, and it looks like it has been closed for years.

Source:BDN Maine

Hancock County, wind firm head to mediation over $38,000

Hancock County is at odds with the developer of a local wind farm over about $38,000 that the county says the developer owes in community benefit payments. Hancock County commissioners are meeting Thursday in Bangor with representatives of Hancock Wind, owned and operated by Novatus Energy, to see if they might work out a deal. Hancock Wind is a 17-turbine installation in the Unorganized Territory northeast of Ellsworth that was erected in 2016.

Source: BDN Maine

PUC regulators fault utility for billing failures 

In a highly unusual move, the Maine Public Utilities Commission wrote an op-ed column, published Sunday, that criticized how Central Maine Power handled the rollout of its new billing system, and promised to hold the utility accountable, even though the regulator has not yet completed its investigation of the billing problems.

Nearly 100,000 customers received bills at least 50 percent higher than for the same period the previous year during the launch of the new system.

Source:  Portland Press Herald

Senator King Joins Push To Boost Rural Broadband Access

A Maine senator says a plan to boost innovation and job growth in rural areas by providing money for broadband access would benefit his state, much of which is forested and sparsely populated. Independent Sen. Angus King says he’s getting behind the Revitalizing Underdeveloped Rural Areas and Lands Act, which is also called the RURAL Act. The proposal is supported by Republicans and Democrats and it would ensure access to government grants and assistance for tax-exempt electrical cooperatives.

Source:  Maine Public