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

News Release | Environment Maine

Hundreds of Local Businesses Call for Keeping Tar Sands Out of So. Portland

South Portland—Protect South Portland this morning released a list of 216 South Portland businesses opposed to exporting tar sands out of Casco Bay. The businesses expressed deepseated concerns about the impacts tar sands could have on South Portland’s drinking water, air quality, coastal resources, economy, quality of life and property values.

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News Release | Environment Maine

Environment Maine Praises Senators for Confirming Gina McCarthy to Lead the EPA

The U.S. Senate today confirmed Gina McCarthy as the new Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King voted to confirm Ms. McCarthy. The confirmation comes just weeks after President Obama instructed the EPA to take historic action to cut carbon pollution from power plants as part of his plan to fight global warming. Environment Maine Director Emily Figdor issued the following statement in response:

“Gina McCarthy’s confirmation is great news for Maine’s environment.

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Headline

Arkansas spill raises concerns on piping tar sands oil through New England

The recent spill of Canadian heavy crude oil from a ruptured ExxonMobil pipeline in Mayflower, Ark., which forced the evacuation of 22 homes, has added fuel to the heated debate over the proposed Keystone XL pipeline that would bring heavy crude from the tar sands of Western Canada to Texas refineries along the Gulf of Mexico. The Arkansas spill comes only a month after the Environmental Protection Agency ordered the Canadian firm Enbridge to conduct yet more cleanups on a 2010 rupture and spill of heavy tar sands crude in the Kalamazoo River in Michigan. Now at $1 billion, that cleanup is the most expensive for an onshore spill in US history. The National Transportation Safety Board determined that Enbridge ignored pipeline cracks for years and did not detect the rupture for more than 17 hours.

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