Environment

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.


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.

The City of Manchester has reached a settlement with the EPA and the Department of Justice for failing to meet clean air standards for its sewage waste incinerator.

The incinerator, located near the Manchester Airport, processes sewage waste from the region.

The EPA found that Manchester violated federal rules requiring them to monitor and reduce pollutants released from the incinerator, including mercury, lead, and carbon monoxide.

The city will pay a fine of over $131,000 and invest in a new monitoring system which will cost an estimated $6 million.

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.  

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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.

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:

Flickr Creative Commons | Mark Moschell

Every other Friday on Morning Edition NHPR’s Sam Evans-Brown tracks down answers to questions about the environment and outdoors for our listeners in a segment we call “Ask Sam.”

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.

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.

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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

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.

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.

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.)

File Photo

New Hampshire's senators are joining an effort to hold the U.S. military more accountable for water contamination at sites like Pease International Tradeport.

The senators are co-sponsoring a bipartisan bill called the PFAS Accountability Act, along with Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, lead sponsor Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, and others.

New Hampshire’s congressional delegation wants more federal study of PFAS chemical contamination in Merrimack.  

The federal lawmakers wrote last week to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, an arm of the Centers for Disease Control.

That office has helped investigate health effects of PFAS contamination on the Seacoast. Now, the delegation wants them to do the same in Merrimack.

Final hearings are scheduled to start this week on Eversource's proposed Seacoast transmission line – but delays at the state Site Evaluation Committee are still possible.

The Seacoast Reliability Project power line would span 13 miles between Madbury and Portsmouth, with one mile buried beneath Little Bay between Durham and Newington. 

Stuart Meek; Wikimedia Commons

Governor Chris Sununu wants federal regulators to speed up approval of new tick repellants and other products that could help prevent Lyme Disease in the state.

Sununu wrote a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency about the issue this week.

The EPA is currently reviewing insecticidal and repellant uses of substances like nootkatone, an essential oil found in grapefruit and Alaska cypress trees.

Credit Flickr Creative Commons | Nicholas A. Tonelli

Every other Friday on Morning Edition NHPR’s Sam Evans-Brown tracks down answers to questions about the environment and outdoors for our listeners in a segment we call “Ask Sam.”

NOAA

 

Avian flu and distemper may be to blame for a rash of seal deaths in Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts.

Southern Maine beaches have been beset with dead harbor seals in recent weeks, with dozens washing up stranded or having perished. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says Thursday that the first batch of sampled seals have tested preliminarily positive for either avian influenza or phocine distemper virus.

Four seals have tested positive for both viruses.

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

Residents of the Manchester area got a chance on Tuesday to ask representatives of Liberty Utilities about its proposed natural gas pipeline, The Granite Bridge.

The 27-mile pipeline would link two existing pipelines in New Hampshire that run north to south. It would be buried along Route 101, between Stratham and Manchester, and would include a large liquefied natural gas storage tank in Epping.

Wikimedia Commons

A sewage facility in the works in the town of Plymouth will give the state a new market for recycled cooking oils, fats and grease.

There's only one plant in New Hampshire that currently processes what's known as FOG, which comes from places like commercial kitchens. FOG can cause costly, unsanitary sewer overflows and gum up standard wastewater treatment systems.

The state’s existing FOG disposal facility is in Allenstown.

Courtesy

A solar company, a honey maker and an environmental group will celebrate the honey bee Saturday in Rye.

ReVision Energy's director of market development, Dan Weeks, says honey bees are threatened by climate change, fossil fuel pollution and other environmental hazards.

Companies like his want to help fix those problems, Weeks says, "because we see fossil fuel dependence, rising temperatures, carbon pollution as a factor harming honey bees, as well as a lot of other species."

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

New data is shedding light on the possible source of PFAS chemical contamination at the Coakley Landfill Superfund site on the Seacoast.

The data comes from a contractor for the Coakley Landfill Group, the towns and businesses responsible for pollution at the landfill.

They voluntarily analyzed water from Berry's Brook, which runs out from the landfill and was found last year to contain high levels of PFAS chemicals.

Those are man-made substances that are slow to biodegrade and have been linked to cancer and other diseases.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

The Coakley Landfill on New Hampshire’s Seacoast is back in the headlines, more than 30 years after it became a Superfund site.

Neighbors are again worried the site could be poisoning their drinking water, after a rash of childhood cancer cases nearby and the discovery of dangerously high levels of PFAS chemicals at the landfill.

That’s despite local officials' promises that the landfill is safe, under control and not a threat to nearby residents. In fact, they say the landfill is mostly just misunderstood.

flickr/creative commons

The mayors of New Hampshire's 13 cities are pushing back against Gov. Chris Sununu's recent veto of two energy bills.

The mayors plan to send a letter to legislative leaders, asking them to overturn the vetoes in September.

Flickr Creative Commons | Andiseño Estudio

 

 

Every other Friday on Morning Edition NHPR’s Sam Evans-Brown tracks down answers to questions about the environment and outdoors for our listeners in a segment we call “Ask Sam.”

Kenny, calling from his van, asks: “I’m wondering if, like I saw in a TED talk, if we could spray chalk into the atmosphere to reflect sunlight to solve global warming?”

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

New Hampshire’s Department of Fish & Game is facing a potential lawsuit over water pollution from its largest fish hatchery.

The Conservation Law Foundation told the state Thursday it plans to file a Clean Water Act lawsuit this fall, unless the state begins working to fix the alleged problems within 60 days.

The Powder Mill hatchery in New Durham grows trout and salmon to stock state fishing areas, and it’s expanded in the past decade or so.

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