Submission deadline extended for new climate solutions film


The upcoming “emergency” session of the legislature has few bills focused on climate disruption. However, 2018 is a significant year to elect a new Maine governor and legislature that will embrace a vision for climate solutions in communities across the state and champion public policies that assure such a vision emerges.

To that end, the Down to Earth Storytelling Project is extending the deadline for completion of our new climate solutions film, so that we are sure to include the most compelling stories and visuals from every corner of the state. We have received many excellent photos from our friends and supporters, but can use more, especially from some of the more remote areas in the 2nd Congressional District and York County. We need your help to complete that task! If you are interested in helping, please find the specifications for photographs here.


Thanks for your interest and help!

Legal Update: Clear Skies Ordinate

Clear Skies Ordinance
Update on Court Case

As you probably know, once the city of South Portland passed with overwhelming support the Clear Skies Ordinance (CSO), the oil industry, as expected, filed a lawsuit. The lawsuit is still in the courts.

The following is our best attempt to describe where things are with the lawsuit at present. At the end, you will find suggestions of things you can do now!

Legal Update

The attorneys for the City of South Portland had submitted a motion to the court to dismiss the case, contending that the case was not “ripe”, in effect that there was really no case. This was based on evidence presented by the city’s expert witness that there is not a supply of diluted bitumen (tar sands oil) available to Portland Pipeline (PPL) for transport from Canada to South Portland. During the hearing the CEO of the PPL admitted under cross examination that the Pipeline had misled the citizens of South Portland in a letter sent to the residents asserting that they had no plan to transport tar sands oil to South Portland. He further admitted that, had the City not declared a moratorium immediately after the WPO (Waterfront Protection Ordinance) was defeated, they would have proceeded at once with their project. In spite of this, and in spite of the City’s expert witness’ testimony, Judge Woodcock did not rule in favor of the City’s motion to dismiss.

The case is now expected to proceed for consideration of the allegations by the Portland Pipeline brought against the city for passing the Clear Skies Ordinance – for example, the allegation that the ordinance violates federal authority over interstate commerce. The attorneys for the City of South Portland argue their position that the toxic fumes generated by this potential project would be unhealthy for our air.

Both parties submitted written briefs to the court a few months ago to get the judge to decide the case (in that party’s favor) without the need for a trial. The judge may hold a hearing on the motions for summary judgment, at which point the lawyers will argue the issue in person. If he does hold a hearing, it is likely that he is very far along in his opinion and just giving parties a final opportunity to make some points or to answer any questions he may have. At this time, a date for that hearing has not been set.

Sometime after the hearing, the judge will issue a ruling. It is also possible that the court will not hold a hearing on the motions for summary judgment, and that he could issue an opinion without hearing further argument. The ruling of the judge will either grant summary judgment in favor of a party, or require the parties to go to trial.

What You Can Do to Help
1.Write letters to the editor at the Sentry or The Forecaster to show support for the Clear Skies Ordinance and the work of the City Council and the city’s legal team in defending the future of our city.
The Sentry –
The Forecaster –

2. Write emails to all the city councilors thanking them for their continuing efforts to defend the Clear Skies Ordinance in the lawsuit in order to protect the future health of our city.
Patti Smith –
Linda Cohen –
Maxine Beecher –
Sue Henderson –
Eben Rose –
Claude Morgan –
Brad Fox –

3. Donate to the Clear Skies Legal Fund – (there is a donation link on
This is a way to help with the cost of the lawsuit, but also to let the city council know that they continue to have the support of the people to continue standing up to the oil industry!

~ Meg Braley and the Protect South Portland Team

G.R.O.W. (GrassRoots Organizing Workshops) Sept. 29 – Oct. 1 2017

14th Annual

GROW (GrassRoots Organizing Workshops)

New England Weekend

September 29 – October 1, 2017

**Strategies for Lasting Social Change**


Learn about organizing, enjoy beautiful surroundings and healthy food, network with old friends and meet new ones with similar interests.

Workshops this year will focus on how to strategize to build lasting and impactful grassroots campaigns. Workshops this year include:

-Strategy Development/Crafting a Campaign Plan

-Centering Directly Affected Communities

-Influencing Public Policy

-Theater of the Oppressed

-Organizing Democratically

-Building Diverse Groups/Coalitions

-Grassroots Organizing 101

***Click here to register and reserve your spot!***

For more information contact Sass Linneken at 207-607-2571, or


Water is Life! — Penobscot River Rally & Flotilla

Water is Life! — Penobscot River Rally & Flotilla

Saturday, June 10 — Noon to 3pm

Join us to celebrate the Penobscot River and support the Penobscot Nation’s ongoing efforts to protect and enhance the water quality of the Penobscot River for the benefit of all. Bring your boat or hop in a voyageur canoe to be part of the Flotilla. Meet at the Bangor boat launch next to Sea Dog! Learn how you can be a Water Protector!

FMI:  Jim Freeman,

Flash News: Federal judge puts hold on pipeline lawsuit against South Portland

The South Portland saga, featured in “Down to Earth: Climate Justice Stories” film, continues. The Maine District Court judge has put a hold on the Portland Pipe Line lawsuit against South Portland in order to determine if the court has jurisdiction to hear the case. Details here.

Our friends at Protect South Portland continue to raise funds for the city’s lawsuit. Consider tossing something in the hat here.

SPRING 2017 — Things Mainers can do after seeing Down to Earth Climate Justice Stories

  • Come to the People’s Climate March/Mobilization on Saturday, April 29, from 10am-1pm at the State House in Augusta. Info available at special Facebook page: Buses to the simultaneous national march in DC are being organized by Sierra Club Maine Chapter.  Call 761-5616 for more info.



  • Workshops on nonviolent direct action are being conducted regularly throughout the state. If you have a group interested in learning about NVDA and hosting a workshop or would like to attend one of the free workshops, contact Larry Dansinger at 262-3706 or Resources for Organizing and Social Change website at


  • Activities are on-going to support pipeline protests (Protect South Portland, Keystone XL, Dakota Access, and others), Indigenous rights, divestment from fossil fuels. To get information, updates and contacts, be in touch with Andy Burt at 380-5387 or She can direct you to Maine contacts.

Protect South Portland

Protect South Portland’s (PSP) citizen-driven campaign to keep tar sands out of their city in order to protect the health of their community was one of the compelling stories featured in the Down to Earth Climate Justice film. Now volunteers have initiated a crowdfunding project to raise money needed to cover costs of a lawsuit the city is engaged in with the pipeline’s owner, a subsidiary of Exxon-Mobil. Please check out the PSP Facebook page and, if you can, toss something in the hat. Stopping the flow of tar sands to Maine’s waters and air is good for everyone!

Here is a recent email from Protect South Portland:




“An anonymous donor, who loves the City of South Portland and its efforts to protect its air with the Clear Skies Ordinance, has offered to be a matching donor for the next $500raised on our crowd funding site between now and 3/1/17. It’s a great  chance to double the power of your gift!

If you LOVE clean air and the right for people to protect their local community, please make a donation now. And if you’ve already given, we thank you!

(one of 3 ways)

1. Go to our crowd funding site to see our video and donate:

2. Donate to the Clear Skies Legal Defense Fund
(direct link to city’s donation site)

3. Send check to:
City of South Portland
Clear Skies Legal Fund
25 Cottage Rd.
South Portland, ME 04106    
(check memo: Clear Skies Legal Fund)

Last week we learned that Big Oil and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce are playing an even bigger role in helping Portland Pipeline Corporation sue the city of South Portland. They’ve filed briefs in support of Portland Pipeline’s lawsuit.

With pipeline battles under threat across the country, it’s now more important than ever to protect our ordinance. In South Portland we’ve set a powerful precedent which could allow more cities to protect their own people.

Please do everything you can to support this critical case.


Thanks for your continued support,
From all of us at Protect South Portland”


Maine youth are leading the way!

Youth voices are leading the way. For inspiration from the King Middle School in Portland, Maine, please watch a video of their Climate March and Rally at City Hall in December! These committed youth have a plan for Portland’s neighborhoods to become sustainable and they are determined to achieve their goals by 2025, when many of them would graduate from college.


One of their exuberant cheerleaders is Chloe Maxmin, a storyteller from the Down to Earth Climate Justice Stories film available through this website.  Chloe started her climate activism when she was 12 years old and continues to be a leader for youth involvement in climate justice work. Not only was she a co-founder of Harvard’s Divest from Fossil Fuels campaign, but now as a graduate she writes for The Nation Magazine and is writing a book about climate change and politics.



The Down to Earth Storytelling Project is launching a new film project and needs your help.

Working in partnership with Maine environmental and social change groups and individuals like you, we want to collect photographs of climate solutions taking root across Maine — home by home, community by community.

The photographs will be put together into a fast-paced, 5-minute film that can be widely shared with the general public and elected officials through YouTube and DVDs. We believe that showcasing the sustainability revolution that is already underway in Maine can change hearts and provide hope and inspiration to others to take action in their own lives and communities as well as to enact public policies supporting efforts to build a just, compassionate and environmentally sustainable Maine community and economy.


DTE’s videographer will create a short inspiring film depicting climate solutions from every county in Maine. Each legislator will receive a DVD containing the short film, and a card with background stories about solutions in their own constituent communities. The plan is to complete the film and story handout by early 2017, as next legislative session begins. Deadline for photos is November 15.


Take high quality photographs that depict climate solutions from your area.

  • Photos might show a community solar farm, residential pv or solar heat system, municipal solar installation, community wind, community gardens, front lawn vegetable garden, innovative energy efficiency/renewable energy production projects, alternative transportation projects such as bike trails, trolleys, trains, electric cars/bikes, electric charging stations, etc.
  • Photos should ideally be high resolution (1920 x 1080 pixels or higher but twice that size would be even better for the videographer to work with). Basically the bigger the picture, the better!  If you take a picture of a unique solution that is not as high quality, DTE may still be able to use it.

Email photos to DTE at Include in email the name of the town & county where the photo was taken. If you can provide more background information about the photo…even a short paragraph or story that could be included in the handout that will accompany the film…that would be a bonus. And please include your name so we can give you credit for your photograph(s).

Please help us capture on film Maine’s climate solutions and seed inspiration for more!  Spread the word about the film project and invite others you know to snap photos and send them to us!


Anne D. (Andy) Burt


Down to Earth Storytelling Project

PO Box 145

Edgecomb, ME  04556