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.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

At least 150 Seacoast residents packed a state hearing Thursday night to urge regulators to reject a proposed transmission line.

Eversource and the region’s grid operator, ISO-New England, say the 13-mile line between Madbury and Portsmouth is vital to improve electric reliability in the region.

The project’s $84 million pricetag would be spread across all New England ratepayers.

But residents like Robert Raymond of Newington want the utility to do and spend more to reduce local impacts, or call the project off altogether.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

A group of New Hampshire legislators and renewable energy advocates issued their response Thursday to the governor’s 10-year energy strategy.

The volunteer coalition wrote plans for how the state can rapidly shrink its carbon footprint—and people’s bills—by investing in energy efficiency, renewable energy and new technologies.

They call it a roadmap to their goal of using renewable power for all of New Hampshire’s electricity by 2040.

State Rep. Lee Oxenham, D-Plainfield, says the state shouldn’t wait to start tackling climate change.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Some southern New Hampshire residents are furious the state isn’t acting more quickly to control PFAS chemical pollution. They heard the latest from regulators Wednesday night at a public meeting in Merrimack.

Two years after Merrimack’s Saint Gobain factory disclosed major PFAS air emissions, residents still feel the plant poses an immediate threat.

Seacoast residents can weigh in tonight on a transmission line proposal from Eversource.

The so-called Seacoast Reliability Project would span 13 miles between Madbury and Portsmouth, with a mile buried beneath Little Bay.

Eversource says the project will help shore up the area's electric service, as mandated in recent years by the New England grid operator.

N.H. DES

 

State environmental officials will update Merrimack-area residents Wednesday night about progress on cleaning up PFAS chemical contamination around the Saint Gobain factory.

 

They will give a status report on work to connect residents with contaminated wells to public water. And they will talk about long-term plans to monitor contamination and regulate air emissions at the factory. 

 

Joe Lentini / NHFG

Legislators want to talk to federal officials about paying for hiker rescues in the White Mountain National Forest.

But the head of the state Department of Fish & Game isn't optimistic that will solve his agency’s money problems.

Fish & Game executive director Glenn Normandeau says half of the state's search-and-rescue operations are for hikers -- largely in the White Mountains.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

New Hampshire’s Sierra Club endorsed more than 100 candidates for state offices Tuesday.

The Sierra Club is endorsing dozens of State House candidates, but only three candidates for state Senate. Only one incumbent senator made the list - Sen. Jay Kahn of Keene. That's partly because a vast majority of sitting senators threw their support earlier this year behind the new Liberty Utilities gas pipeline proposal called Granite Bridge.

Anderson / SPNHF

New Hampshire's logging industry and the truckers who carry their trees will be in Concord for a big annual convention Saturday.

This year, the event comes on the heels of a major legislative victory. That's the recent revival of a bill to subsidize wood- and waste-fired power plants, at the expense of electric ratepayers.

The Silent Spring Institute will study how PFAS chemicals affected the health of children in Portsmouth and on Cape Cod.

The National Institutes of Health gave Silent Spring $2.6 million for the study.

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

The candidates for New Hampshire's First Congressional seat campaigned in opposite sides of the district Thursday night.

In Manchester, Democrat Chris Pappas talked about economic opportunity. And in Dover, Republican Eddie Edwards discussed solutions to treating substance misuse and addiction.

Pappas made his campaign stop at a carpenter training facility to discuss his proposals for improving opportunity for middle class workers.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

The New Hampshire Attorney General won't file criminal charges against two Rochester police officers and two state troopers who shot and killed a man after a recent car chase.

At a news conference Thursday, Assistant Attorney General Peter Hinckley played dashboard camera and cell phone videos from the Aug. 20 confrontation. 

The footage shows 38-year-old Douglas Heath crashing his SUV on Route 125 in Rochester, after allegedly fleeing warrants for felony drug charges. 

New England Aquarium

Another minke whale has been found dead on the New England coast.

The carcass found in Massachusetts on Tuesday marks 26 deaths of what regulators call an "unusual mortality event" for minke whales.

They're not considered endangered. But like all whales, they are a protected species in American waters.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

 

The state has ordered the Saint Gobain plastics manufacturer to install air pollution controls on its Merrimack factory. 

 

The facility’s smokestacks are thought to be the source of high levels of PFAS chemicals that contaminated nearby drinking water wells two years ago. 

Sargent Corp

Liberty Utilities wants to use methane emissions from a North Country landfill as an energy source.

Liberty has proposed spending $15 million on a system to capture methane given off by decomposing trash at the Casella-owned landfill in Bethlehem.

The utility would convert the methane into “renewable” natural gas – so called because the trash that generates it can be replenished.

The project would generate as much gas annually as more than 6,000 homes can use in a year.

U.S. Drought Monitor

Data from the U.S. drought monitor shows that dry conditions peaked in mid-July, when nearly two-thirds of the state was in a moderate drought.

Officials asked residents to conserve water amid those conditions, fearing drinking water supplies could be affected.

But cooling temperatures and steady rains that fell in recent weeks may have helped replenish groundwater reserves.

Now, only small portions of the North Country are experiencing abnormal dryness.

Screenshot via US Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee

The U.S. Senate held a major hearing on PFAS chemical contamination Wednesday, with testimony from a local advocate.

New Hampshire Sen. Maggie Hassan, who sits on the Senate subcommittee that held the hearing, and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, who was a guest, questioned federal regulators for two hours.

They pushed for answers on the government's plans for more PFAS research, stricter standards and cleanup plans.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

A Superior Court judge says New Hampshire's right-to-know laws should apply to the towns and businesses in charge of cleaning up the Coakley Landfill Superfund site.

The Coakley Landfill Group, or CLG, includes the municipalities and companies that contributed to pollution at the landfill.

SectionHiker.com

A dilapidated bridge in a North Country wilderness area is officially slated for removal this fall. Officials in the White Mountain National Forest Service finalized their decision on the Thoreau Falls Bridge this week.

The old wooden bridge in the Pemigewasset Wilderness has been closed to hikers since last fall. It spans a rocky creek bed that sometimes floods.

District ranger Brooke Brown has now officially decided the bridge doesn't belong in federal wilderness, which is meant to be primeval and undisturbed.

File Photo

A Senate committee holds a hearing Wednesday about the federal government's role in the nation's growing PFAS crisis.

Federal regulators and advocates from Michigan and New Hampshire will testify on how the military helped spread the industrial toxins by using firefighting foams.

Dennis Amith via Flickr CC

New Hampshire schools have until next summer to get in compliance with the state’s new lead testing law. But advocates hope schools won’t wait to begin the process.

Exposure to almost any amount of lead can cause developmental delays and other health issues in young children.

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.

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