Annie Ropeik

Reporter: Energy, Environment, Development

Annie Ropeik joined NHPR’s reporting team in 2017, following stints with public radio stations and collaborations across the country. She has reported everywhere from fishing boats, island villages and cargo terminals in Alaska, to cornfields, factories and Superfund sites in the Midwest.

Her work has appeared on NPR, the BBC and CNN, and earned recognition from PRNDI, the Delaware and Alaska Press Clubs and the Indiana Society of Professional Journalists.

Originally from Silver Spring, MD, Annie caught the public media bug during internships at NPR in Washington and WBUR in Boston. She studied classics at Boston University and enjoys a good PDF, the rule of threes and meeting other people’s dogs.

The Merrimack River will briefly run red Tuesday, as officials use dye to test the flow of storm water around a local factory.

The Department of Environmental Services says a contractor for plastics manufacturer Saint Gobain will deploy red dye into the river in Merrimack.

They say the dye will show how surface water and storm water interact in the river. The dye could be visible in the water for up to two hours.

Officials say they've done similar tests in the past at wastewater treatment plants on the Seacoast.

Centers for Disease Control

State health officials have found this year's first mosquitoes carrying a potentially deadly virus known as EEE.

That stands for eastern equine encephalitis. It was found in two batches of mosquitoes from Newton and Sandown.

State officials says EEE can be more dangerous than West Nile, but it's also less common so far this year. The state has found 29 batches of mosquitoes carrying West Nile this season.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Members of New Hampshire's energy industry joined lawmakers Monday at the state’s annual energy summit, which helps set priorities for next year's legislative session.

They debated the policies – and politics – that could help lower the region’s high electric costs, diversify and stabilize fuel supplies, and reduce reliance on imported fossil fuels.

Governor Chris Sununu and Democratic rival Molly Kelly presented contrasting ideas on those issues at the start of the summit.  

Nashua River Watershed Association

The Nashua River is one step closer to federal protections that are decades in the making.

Federal lawmakers from New Hampshire and Massachusetts introduced legislation Thursday to designate the river as "wild and scenic."

The designation would add scrutiny for federal projects that impact the river and two of its tributaries, and would help fund future preservation work.

Town of Merrimack

The state has confirmed unsafe levels of PFAS chemical contamination at a town park and former industrial site in Merrimack.

This comes nearly a year after the site's owner first reported finding the toxins in groundwater at the former chemical plant and tannery.

Annie Ropeik

The candidates for New Hampshire's 1st Congressional district made their first joint appearance today since their primary wins.

Democrat Chris Pappas and Republican Eddie Edwards took tough questions at a wide-ranging press conference… with high school journalists.

Pappas and Edwards stood side by side in the Oyster River High School multi-purpose room, surrounded by teenagers brandishing reporters' notebooks and cell phone cameras.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Officials say fish in a brook near the Coakley Landfill Superfund site are not a risk to public health.

Berry’s Brook was found to contain dangerously high levels of toxic PFAS chemicals in 2017.

Portsmouth and the rest of the Coakley Landfill Group tested the fish in that brook at the request of the Environmental Protection Agency, after public pressure.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

New Hampshire is doing its part this weekend for the Ocean Conservancy's annual, international coastal cleanup.

NHPR’s Annie Ropeik went out with one group of enthusiastic trash collectors at Wallis Sands State Beach Friday morning and has this story.


NASA Goddard Space Flight Center / https://flic.kr/p/8AZbes

New Englanders can get a closer view of stars this weekend at the University of New Hampshire. 

UNH is expecting clear skies for its annual Fall Astronomy Festival.  

Kids and families can look through telescopes at the school's observatory Friday night and listen to a talk by a top NASA scientist at 7 p.m. 

On Saturday, observatory director John Gianforte says, they can do some engineering of their own.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

New Hampshire’s timber industry scored a major victory today as legislators narrowly voted to overturn Gov. Chris Sununu’s veto of a bill subsidizing biomass plants.

But lawmakers fell just short of overturning another energy veto that had become intertwined with the biomass bill – one subsidizing net metering.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

State legislators vote Thursday on whether to override two controversial vetoes of bills about energy.

One would subsidize biomass power plants. The other would expand net metering in New Hampshire.

Governor Chris Sununu says both bills would cost residents and businesses too much.

But supporters from the state’s established timber industry and its newer renewable energy sector disagree.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

Thursday is veto day at the State House. Lawmakers will vote whether to override several controversial vetoes Gov. Chris Sununu handed down this year.

Sununu vetoed six of the bills legislators passed in their 2018 session. Two, dealing with energy, have been especially high-profile.

The vetoed bills would subsidize biomass power, and expand towns' and businesses' ability to sell renewable energy back to the grid.

The timber industry has led the charge to overturn those vetoes, though it's not clear yet if they have the votes to do it.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Rye Harbor users are urging federal officials to prioritize a dredging project they say is long overdue.

About 700 boat captains, fishermen and other residents signed a petition that was given to staffers for New Hampshire’s U.S. Senators at the town selectman’s meeting Monday night.

Rye Harbor hasn’t been dredged since around 1990, and users say increasing sedimentation is becoming an economic burden and a safety risk for mariners.  

marinas.com

Vessel owners from Rye Harbor want action on what they say is a long-overdue dredging project.

They’ll meet Monday night with state and federal officials to talk about the need for that maintenance, which would be carried out by the Army Corps of Engineers.

Lobsterman Keper Connell docks his boat, the Figment, in Rye Harbor.

He says rising seas, bigger storm surges, and more development nearby are all worsening the natural sedimentation at the edges of the harbor.

Chris Jensen

The Federal Emergency Management Agency says it's given New Hampshire more than a million dollars in disaster aid after the severe storm that hit nearly a year ago.

The storm in late October 2017 brought heavy flooding and high winds throughout the state.

It washed out major roads, caused widespread power outages, prompted evacuations and destroyed some homes.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Hundreds of people rallied for action on climate change in Keene and Portsmouth this weekend.

They were part of demonstrations nationwide, ahead of a global climate summit in San Francisco this week.

Seacoast families and students filled Portsmouth's Market Square with electric vehicles and signs denouncing fossil fuels and President Trump’s climate policies.

They listened as mock-time travelers told stories from two potential futures. One came after inaction on climate in the present day:

State of N.H.

State officials are proposing changing their strategy for slowing the spread of the invasive emerald ash borer.

The destructive beetle arrived in New Hampshire in 2013 and has now entered seven counties, including Carroll and Grafton, where the majority of the state's ash trees grow.

Ash makes up about 6 percent of the state’s hardwood forests, netting at least $1 million for the forest products industry every year.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Hundreds of people from the timber and renewable energy industries crowded the New Hampshire State House lawn Thursday, rallying for legislators to overturn two vetoes they say could put them out of business.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The fight to overturn two energy bill vetoes will come to the State House today with a demonstration.

The timber industry and renewable energy supporters have teamed up to urge legislators to override Gov. Chris Sununu's vetoes. One would subsidize the biomass power industry, while the other would expand net metering in New Hampshire.

Julian- / Flickr Creative Commons

The Portsmouth City Council voted Tuesday night to expand a tax exemption for home solar panels.

They passed a resolution extending the city’s current exemption to solar arrays of any age, and removing caps on valuations and how long exemptions last.

The value of the panels will be added to homeowners’ property assessment, then immediately deducted, which officials say means the change won't have a big effect on city revenues or residents' tax bills.

https://flic.kr/p/muU7qZ

Two environmental groups are siding with Gov. Chris Sununu in the fight over subsidies for the biomass industry.

In June, Sununu vetoed two energy bills – one that would tell utilities to buy more wood-fired power from biomass plants at a discounted rate, and one expanding net metering in New Hampshire.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Portsmouth hosted a trans-Atlantic visitor Tuesday – the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, England.

Lord Mayor Lee Mason donned his ceremonial best to meet the staff at Portsmouth City Hall.

He wore glittering gold and black robes, a feathered tri-corner hat, and an ornate gold medallion, which he showed to Portsmouth Mayor Jack Blalock in the city council chambers:

“This part’s from 1842, the chain itself is 1887, but the logo that’s on it goes back 824 years,” Mason said.

NHPR File Photo

Energy has become a focal point in the race to become New Hampshire's next governor.

The region’s high energy rates make it a key economic issue, and climate change make it a crucial environmental one.

Democrats Molly Kelly and Steve Marchand and Republican Governor Chris Sununu are all working to differentiate themselves on those challenges.

Marchand is a self-described energy wonk. He's gone all in on the details of what he calls "generational change."

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

The head of the Environmental Protection Agency in New England has been tapped to lead the agency's national Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention office.

Alexandra Dunn is a long-time lawyer and environmental justice advocate who’s been the EPA's New England administrator for a little less than a year.

In this and other roles, she's worked with residents, industry and state officials in places like New Hampshire and Vermont to address chemical contamination in drinking water.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Governor Chris Sununu announced plans last week to study whether New Hampshire schools should be required to start after Labor Day.

But some families who flocked to Seacoast beaches on the holiday Monday said they don’t really care when school starts.

Dawn Szelog’s family had staked out a spot among the crowds at Wallis Sands State Beach in Rye by late morning, as the temperature neared 90.

Blue Ocean Society

A fishing crew from Massachusetts is accused of harassing a humpback whale off Rye Harbor Thursday. A federal investigation could follow.

Dianna Schulte of the Blue Ocean Society was whale-watching in the area Thursday when she says she saw the Gloucester-based vessel Western Wave use its purse seine net to encircle a humpback whale and the herring she was eating.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

A group of New Hampshire timber land owners and renewable energy advocates are rallying for an override of two controversial vetoes by Governor Chris Sununu.

State of NH

State officials are getting closer to a plan for redeveloping the old State School property in Laconia.

The Legislature created a commission last year to find a reuse for the scenic, 200-acre state property.

It was a prison for almost 20 years, and a home for people with developmental disabilities before that.

The commission put out an interim report this week, saying they'll have a master plan with three redevelopment proposals by the end of the year.

Chris Jensen / NHPR

Several groups are asking the state Supreme Court to uphold regulators' denial of the Northern Pass project.

Towns and nonprofits that oppose the transmission line proposal filed their motions with the high court Thursday.

(Read one of the motions, filed by the McKenna's Purchase development that abuts the project route.)

Eversource

Hearings began Wednesday on Eversource’s proposed transmission line between Madbury to Portsmouth.

The Seacoast Reliability Project would span 13 miles between Madbury and Portsmouth, with a mile buried under Little Bay at Durham and Newington.

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