There He Goes Again — Governor LePage Says “No” to Maine-Grown Food

Apr 24, 2014 at 11:35am by  | Bio |  1 Comment »

Last week, Maine Governor Paul LePage vetoed a bill that would help Maine farmers and fishermen bring more of their food to institutional markets: “An Act To Support School Nutrition and Expand the Local Foods Economy” (LD 1431). The Maine legislature recently passed the bill unanimously in the Senate and with a supermajority in the House. As noted in a previous post, a major component of the bill is a thoughtful and well-considered approach to getting more Maine-grown and –harvested foods into our schools.  The Portland Press Herald recently published an excellent editorial explaining the importance of overriding the Governor’s veto. Governor LePage’s letter explaining why he vetoed the bill illustrates a misunderstanding about how much of our modern food system operates. His logic is that if public schools wanted read more…

Protecting Farmland and Communities – Keeping Act 250 Strong

Apr 23, 2014 at 4:10pm by  | Bio |  Leave a Comment

For decades, Vermont’s premiere land use law, Act 250, has provided important protections for Vermont’s natural resources and communities. Prescient when it was passed in 1970, it provides for development to conform to the natural resources on which we all rely, and to provide for objective, citizen oriented environmental review of major development projects. Over the years, efforts to weaken Act 250 have mostly been defeated. This year a number of bills being considered by the Vermont Legislature, and the alliances created to support them, cast doubt on Act 250’s continued success. There is no doubt we are all poorer if we abandon efforts to keep Act 250 strong. One bill, H.448, weakens protections for agricultural resources by making it easier to develop valuable farmland. By expanding the availability of read more…

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Climate Problems of Expanding Natural Gas

Apr 21, 2014 at 4:42pm by  | Bio |  2 Comments »

If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Take natural gas. Its oft-touted low cost and climate benefits are overrated – reminiscent of the nuclear industry’s promise a few decades ago to provide power that would be “too cheap to meter.” True, current low gas prices have helped the region close its old and polluting coal and nuclear plants. But simply replacing all our oil, propane and coal use with natural gas will not meet our climate objectives. Using gas instead of oil is like a drug addict replacing heroin with methadone – a step in the right direction, but one that fails to provide the meaningful and long-term recovery that we need. Vermont, like other states in the region, committed to reduce greenhouse gases 75 percent read more…

This Week on TalkingFish.org – April 14-18

Apr 18, 2014 at 3:55pm by  | Bio |  Leave a Comment

April 14 - Commonwealth Loses Lawsuit on Lower Catch Limits - With a court decision released on April 8 which denied the Commonwealth’s claims, Coakley’s lawsuit has run its predicted course. It’s time to recognize that we need real solutions such as stopping overfishing, protecting habitat, reducing bycatch and improving ocean management. April 18 - Fish Talk in the News – Friday, April 18 - In this week’s Fish Talk in the News, Captain John McMurray says the Hastings MSA draft “is really awful”; a second MSA discussion draft circulates; federal and state lawmakers work to combat seafood fraud; DMF warns boaters to look out for right whales in Cape Cod Bay; new research suggests acidification could cause fish to lose their fear of predators; traps can help eels pass dams on the Byram River; the read more…

This Week on TalkingFish.org – April 7-11

Apr 11, 2014 at 4:48pm by  | Bio |  Leave a Comment

April 8 - Court Issues Decisions on NOAA’s Fishing Rules - On Friday, the U.S. District Court in Washington, DC issued a pair of rulings concerning NOAA’s proposals for allowing new fishing in long standing protected areas and increasing catch levels above legal limits. The rulings were in response to challenges brought by Conservation Law Foundation with Earthjustice. April 10 - Is NOAA studying river herring to death? - If you’ve been following the (mis)management of river herring over the last few years, you may not even be surprised at the latest shenanigans of the NOAA fisheries officials: a delay tactic in the form of a “working group.” This powerless, unmanageably large, and unfairly stacked “Technical Expert Working Group (TEWG)” is purportedly meant to comprehensively address the multifaceted problems facing river herring. But it looks more read more…

#ACleanLakeStartsHere

Apr 9, 2014 at 2:54pm by  | Bio |  2 Comments »

Riding the single chair ski lift to 3637′ summit of General Stark’s Mountain at Mad River Glen is among my life’s great pleasures. The lift pulls you ever upward through the forest at treetop height. You sit comfortably in solitude soaking it all in. The experience imparts a sense of serenity that competes with the giddy anticipation of the long, fast descent that awaits. The best moment comes when your chair attains the elevation that affords you a sweeping panoramic view over the spine of the Green Mountains to the shimmering shores of Lake Champlain that lie beyond, stretching northward in the distance to the Canadian border. It is a compelling visual reminder that “The Lake Starts Here.” When the snow melts it flows downhill into one of the many Vermont rivers that feed into Lake Champlain. These rivers and read more…

Act Now to Support Maine Farms and Food!

Apr 8, 2014 at 5:01pm by  | Bio |  Leave a Comment

The Maine legislature is considering a bill that would help Maine farms bring more of their food to our tables. “An Act To Support School Nutrition and Expand the Local Foods Economy” (LD 1431) supports Maine in producing and consuming more of its own food. Under a two-pronged approach, the bill gives crucial start-up capital to emerging food hubs that meet certain criteria and incentivizes public schools to source Maine-grown or -harvested foods. It’s a win-win for Maine. (You can read more about this bill in my previous blog post.) Please act now! The Maine legislature will vote on this bill any day. Please show your support for Maine farmers and fresh local food by calling members of Maine’s Appropriations Committee, Senate President Justin Alfond, and House Speaker Mark Eves, read more…

Did the King Give Away Maine’s Beaches or Not?

Apr 4, 2014 at 10:57am by  | Bio |  2 Comments »

This winter has been too long. Like many Mainers who live near the coast, I am dreaming of walking on the beach and exploring pools of water along our rocky coast. But after the State Supreme Court’s confusing decision about Kennebunkport’s Goose Rocks Beach, the question is: where can I go to do this? The part of the coast between the high tide mark and low tide mark – called the intertidal zone – includes Maine’s treasured stretches of sandy beaches and famous rocky shoreline. The intertidal zone provides many of us with recreation and solace, and forms the backbone of our summer tourist industry. The public has enjoyed Goose Rocks Beach for more than 100 years. Before the Supreme Court’s recent decision, the public could access Maine’s intertidal zone, read more…

Gender Justice, Environmental Justice

Apr 3, 2014 at 4:47pm by  | Bio |  Leave a Comment

CLF is pleased to highlight the great work of our Vermont intern, Taylor L. Curtis, who is the lead and driving force behind a month-long symposium Sex, Gender, Expression and the First Amendment Project (SGE1) held at Vermont Law School from March 20–April 12 – exploring the intersection of free expression, sexuality, sexual orientation, and gender identity. Inspired by the artwork of Evie Lovett, the program includes panel discussions, a film, an art exhibit and Gayla, a celebration of the historic queer art form of drag. Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin and Vermont Supreme Court Justice Beth Robinson, and transgender rights attorney and activist Jennifer Levi provide lively presentations and support for the event. “As Evie’s work inspired the creation of this Project,” Taylor L. Curtis said that her “hope is that read more…

Ocean Planning: The Path Forward for Deepwater Wind

Apr 3, 2014 at 4:04pm by  | Bio |  Leave a Comment

Thomas Edison, in his quest to produce a reliable, long-lasting source of light said, “Hell, there are no rules here, we’re trying to accomplish something.” As environmental advocates we are constantly battling against this idea that rules and process delay progress and chill innovation. As advocates for ocean planning, we have argued that just the opposite is true – using good data, understanding how people and species use the ocean will eliminate conflict and facilitate the appropriate siting and development of offshore wind projects. This morning, at a hearing to decide the fate of Deepwater Wind’s proposed 30-megawatt wind project off the coast of Block Island, Coastal Resources Management Council member, David Abedon, used this Edison quote to suggest that Thomas was wrong about rules stifling innovation, at least in read more…

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