Unprotected dams push salmon to the brink

The Kennebec and Androscoggin rivers once teemed with salmon runs of 100,000 or more — but now almost no Atlantic salmon return to the rivers each year.

Unprotected turbines at dams along the rivers are among the leading causes of the declining salmon populations. The dams kill and injure migrating salmon when they attempt to pass through the dams’ rotating blades — akin to having fish swim through the rotating blades of a giant window fan.

To make matters worse, dam owners have refused to implement simple protection measures that have been successfully adopted elsewhere, such as installing effective devices to divert salmon from turbines.

Environment Maine sues to save the salmon

With the number of Atlantic salmon perilously low, the need for action to protect the fish and their habitat is urgent.

In early 2011, Environment Maine and Friends of Merrymeeting Bay sued multiple dam owners and operators on the rivers for failing to take simple, inexpensive measures to protect the salmon.

Since the salmon populations in both rivers are on the Endangered Species List, the dam owners’ negligence violates federal law.

This summer, in a preliminary victory, the courts rejected attempts by the power companies to dismiss the cases.


Preservation Updates

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Advocates Protest Maine oil sands plan

PORTLAND, Maine, April 24 (UPI) -- Canadian regulators need to take a closer look at the potential environmental consequences of oil sands before backing more pipelines, an advocacy group said.

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News Release | Environment Maine

New Mining Law Rolls Back Drinking Water Protections

Portland, Maine—Environment Maine strongly criticized the mining bill, LD 1853, signed into law today by Gov. Paul LePage.  The bill weakens (1) groundwater standards for mining operations; (2) clean up requirements for mining operations; and (3) standards intended to hold mining companies, not taxpayers, accountable for cleanup costs. 

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News Release | Environment Maine

Mainers, Others Submit 41,000 Comments Against Tar Sands Pipeline

Portland, Maine—The Canadian National Energy Board today closed public input on the proposed Line 9 Reversal Phase I tar sands pipeline project after receiving more than 41,000 citizen comments in opposition. A coalition of 11 groups, including Environment Maine, Natural Resources Council of Maine, Sierra Club Maine, ENE (Environment Northeast), and Conservation Law Foundation, submitted the comments, which focus on the environmental and public health dangers presented by the tar sands project and the need for a comprehensive environmental and public safety review. If fully completed, the tar sands pipeline reversal could threaten the Androscoggin River, Sebago Lake, and Casco Bay.

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Maine Voices: There's no such thing as clean mining

I was born and raised in Orrington, on the banks of the Penobscot River. However, for the last four years I have been living in El Salvador and working in coordination with people who have struggled with blood, sweat and tears to stop gold, silver and copper mining projects from destroying their communities and country as a whole. 

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LURChing to an Amazing Finish

When Governor Paul LePage proposed to abolish Maine’s Land Use Regulation Commission, and give counties the planning and regulatory authority for the 10 million acres of unorganized territory, it unleashed what promised to be an ugly bitter battle.

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