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.

Jason Moon for NHPR

A new study says rising seas could threaten more than 5,000 homes on the New Hampshire Seacoast by the end of the century.

The Seacoast properties at risk from chronic flooding pay more than $33 million in property taxes, according to the national report from the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Nature Conservancy

A major study of the Connecticut River shows how its flow and ecosystem has been altered by dozens of dams.

The nonprofit Nature Conservancy worked with the Army Corps of Engineers to try and reconstruct how the Connecticut River might flow if not for the more than 70 large dams in its watershed.

Sanborn Head

The main landfill serving the Seacoast has gotten state approval for a big expansion, over the objections of some neighbors and environmental groups.

The 1,200-acre Turnkey Landfill in Rochester takes trash from the Seacoast and out of state.

Waste Management told New Hampshire regulators last year it wanted to add about 60 acres to its landfill in order to keep it open through at least 2034.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Governor Chris Sununu is reportedly set to veto at least one bill that would subsidize alternative forms of energy.

Sununu plans to veto one or two of the high-profile energy bills legislators passed this session, according to New Hampshire Journal.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen is joining a legislative bid to get a federal study on certain industrial chemicals released.

The Environmental Protection Agency has reportedly spent months blocking publication of the report, from an arm of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The study reportedly shows that PFAS chemicals may pose more risk to humans than the EPA has previously said.

Flikr Creative Commons / Claudio Schwarz

New Hampshire's largest utility hopes regulators will revisit two big energy proposals – one dealing with natural gas and the other with Northern Pass – in the wake of a recent state Supreme Court decision.

The utility's filings this week seek to revive two 2016 cases where the Public Utilities Commission applied a view of the state law restructuring the electric industry that the Supreme Court overturned in May.

Eversource/Business Wire

Eversource is currently trying to buy its second water company in the past year.

The region’s biggest electric utility hopes to provide water service to hundreds of thousands of customers across four New England states.

It would still be a small swath of the overall water system – but that could change. 

Screenshot via office of Sen. Jeanne Shaheen

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will begin planning emergency dredging of Hampton Harbor over the next year.

The Army Corps' 2018 Work Plan includes $275,000 for planning work ahead of dredging.

The funds will let the Corps assess dredging conditions and draw up a contract for the project.

New Hampshire's Congressional delegation has been pushing since last year for the harbor to be dredged.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Governor Chris Sununu has signed a bill allowing him to appoint more private citizens to the state Site Evaluation Committee and requiring them to undergo more training.

The SEC is tasked with approving big energy projects in New Hampshire.

Right now, it includes the state's three public utilities commissioners and other state agency heads, plus two public members – citizens, appointed by the governor, who have some relevant expertise.

LPC

This summer, the state is paying anglers to give up their lead fishing tackle, in an effort to protect loons from lead poisoning. 

Loons are a threatened species that’s iconic in New England. They can eat lead sinkers or jigs inside fish, or they might ingest bits of lead among the pebbles they swallow to help digest food.

“The smallest little split shot that you can imagine, if it’s ingested by a loon, is going to kill that bird within two to four weeks,” says Harry Vogel, the executive director of the Loon Preservation Committee in Moultonborough.

NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Conceptual Image Lab

A University of New Hampshire astrophysics team will be part of a NASA mission to study the edge of the solar system.

UNH astrophysics professor Nathan Schwadron says he’s been working for 10 years on the instrument NASA has chosen to send into space. 

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Lakes Region residents got their first look Wednesday night at possible future plans for the former Laconia State School.

The scenic, state-owned property was a state prison, and before that, a residential facility for people with developmental disabilities. 

NH Department of Transportation

Lakes Region residents can hear more Wednesday night about plans to redevelop the site of a former state prison in Laconia.

The Lakes Region facility was a minimum-security prison from 1991 to 2009.

For nearly 100 years before that, it was the Laconia State School – a residential facility for people with developmental disabilities. It had a documented history of abuse, neglect and overcrowding.

Now, state and local officials have to decide what to do with the scenic, 200-acre property long-term.

NHDES

State environmental regulators will ask a North Hampton car wash to change how it disposes of used water, after testing showed high levels of potential toxins.

The investigation comes after two types of contaminants – PFAS and 1,4 dioxane – were found last year in a North Hampton well that served Seacoast residents.

The pollutants were under state limits, but Brendan Kernen of the state’s drinking water protection bureau says the well's operator, Aquarion, shut it off anyway.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Neighbors of the Coakley Landfill Superfund site in Greenland are optimistic the site may see further cleanup.

They met privately with top Environmental Protection Agency officials Monday.

The group held a press conference at the edge of a brook that runs alongside the landfill and contains high levels of potentially toxic PFAS chemicals.

“While this may have been called an emerging issue some time ago, it is now a top priority issue for the U.S. EPA,” said New England EPA Administrator Alexandra Dunn.

Google Maps screenshot

A wood-burning power plant in Springfield could face more than $125,000 in federal fines after a worker died on the job last November.

The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration found that a 23-year-old plant employee died after being pulled into a conveyor.

Inspectors found a lack of safety guarding on that conveyor and other machinery. And they say employees weren’t trained to keep equipment from accidentally turning on.

In a statement, officials say the worker’s death was a tragedy the plant’s owner could have prevented.

City of Nashua

The city of Nashua is moving forward in its plan to reduce its carbon footprint.  

The Solarize+ campaign covers Nashua and Hudson, and runs through the end of August.

The city is working with two New Hampshire companies to offer residents and businesses discounts on clean energy upgrades – like solar installations, battery storage and energy efficiency audits.

Madeline Mineau of the city’s energy committee says the more sign-ups they get, the bigger the discounts will be.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

The Environmental Protection Agency will meet Monday with residents who live near the Coakley Landfill Superfund site on the Seacoast.

An EPA spokesman says the agency’s New England administrator, the new head of the Superfund task force and others will be in Greenland to fulfill a promise to talk with neighbors about their concerns.

Britta Greene for NHPR

Right now, a group of hydroelectric dams on the Connecticut River are undergoing a once-in-a-generation process – a federal relicensing. NHPR’s Annie Ropeik went to the dams and talked with people who live, work and play nearby about what they hope might change.  

People who live and work on New Hampshire's lakes will gather this week for their annual conference.

Andrea LaMoreaux vice president of New Hampshire Lakes. She says their annual Lakes Congress lets lakeside residents connect with scientists and regulators.

"We're all coming together to talk about not only how great our lakes are and celebrate them, but say hey, if in 25 years we want our lakes to be healthy, we really need to address some major threats," she says.

U.S. Forest Service

The last prescribed burns of the year are set for this week in the White Mountain National Forest.

The U.S. Forest Service has been setting fires since April all across the forest area in New Hampshire and Maine.

The controlled burns are a way of restoring habitat and reducing the risk of wildfires.

Weather permitting, North Country residents might see smoke or roads closed in parts of the forest on Wednesday and Thursday.

Burn season must end after May 31, when nesting season for the protected northern long-eared bat begins.

NHPR File Photo

Governor Chris Sununu has signaled he’ll sign a pair of energy-related bills approved by legislators at the end of session last week.

One gives lawmakers control of the system benefits charge. That's a small fee on energy bills that helps pay for energy efficiency upgrades for low-income ratepayers.

Legislators also voted to tell utilities to list the costs of complying with renewable energy standards on electric bills.

Sununu says that will help consumers understand what’s behind New Hampshire’s high energy rates, which are some of the highest in the country.

NH Agriculture

Forest rangers will be enforcing New Hampshire's firewood quarantine at roadside checkpoints this Memorial Day weekend.

They want to stop the spread of a pest called the emerald ash borer. It was first found in Concord in 2013 and has since spread to five counties across the Southeastern part of the state - Rockingham, Merrimack, Belknap, Strafford and Hillsborough.

Forest ranger captain Doug Miner says residents shouldn't move untreated firewood from that region, outside it -- to places like the North Country, or the Upper Valley.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

State regulators voted unanimously Thursday not to give Eversource a new hearing for its Northern Pass power line proposal.

That means the case, which has stretched for nearly a decade, will likely go before the New Hampshire Supreme Court. 

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Southern New Hampshire residents had a lot of questions for Liberty Utilities Wednesday night at the public unveiling of a proposed natural gas pipeline.

The project is called the Granite Bridge. It would be buried along Route 101 between Stratham and Manchester, with a large liquefied natural gas storage tank in Epping.

Liberty says it needs the 27-mile, $340-million project to meet growing demand and expand natural gas service for commercial, industrial and residential customers.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

The Northern Pass power line proposal returns before state regulators Thursday. NHPR's Annie Ropeik has more on what a recent court ruling could mean for the project's appeal.


Liberty Utilities' natural gas pipeline proposal gets its first close-up with the public tonight in Epping.

The company will hold an open house to answer questions about the project, known as Granite Bridge.  

The 27-mile proposed pipeline would run underground along Route 101 from Stratham to Manchester. Liberty also wants to build a liquefied natural gas storage facility in an empty quarry in Epping.

Wednesday’s open house marks the start of public input on the project, as Liberty works to get Granite Bridge approved.

Consumer Energy / Flicker CC

The New Hampshire Supreme Court says electric utilities like Eversource should be allowed to invest in natural gas pipelines.

Tuesday’s ruling reverses a 2016 order by the state Public Utilities Commission.

EPA

The Environmental Protection Agency will develop new regulations on certain industrial chemicals in drinking water. The substances, called PFAS, have been a problem on New Hampshire's Seacoast and elsewhere.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said at a summit on PFAS in Washington on Tuesday that they’ll talk about the issue in Portsmouth next month.

New Hampshire environmental regulators joined officials from at least 30 other states and tribes at the summit.

Google maps

Anglers are advised not to eat fish from part of the Souhegan River in Milford.

The Environmental Protection Agency wants people to throw back any fish they catch on a roughly one-mile stretch of river near downtown. 

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