Annie Ropeik | New Hampshire Public Radio

Annie Ropeik

Reporter: Climate, Energy, Environment, Seacoast

Credit Samantha Searles / NHPR

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 and multiple state press clubs.

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.

Ways to Connect

Dennis Schroeder / National Renewable Energy Labs

Offshore wind advocates in New Hampshire have high hopes after federal regulators this week approved construction of the Vineyard Wind project in Massachusetts – the largest offshore wind farm yet to reach the construction stage in the U.S.

Josh Graciano / Flickr

Two New Hampshire towns will get federal grants to clean up contaminated sites seen as obstacles to economic revitalization.

Boscawen and Jaffrey are among about 150 towns nationwide to receive the brownfield funding from the Environmental Protection Agency this year.

Boscawen will use half a million dollars to clean up a former mill and leather tannery on its riverfront. The contaminated Allied Leather site has sat abandoned since 1987. 

Annie Ropeik/NHPR

As the warm weather continues, New Hampshire is preparing for its second summer in the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic. But state tourism officials say they're optimistic that this summer will be better - and safer - than last year.

Mount Washington Observatory

There’s a new top cat on the rock pile.

The staff of the Mount Washington Observatory have adopted a new feline companion: a 1-year-old short-hair named Nimbus.

For almost a century, the summit station has usually kept at least one cat as a mouser, mascot and pet for the overnight weather observers.

Their last cat, Marty, died in November after 12 years on top of the tallest mountain in the Northeast.

NHDES / NHPR annotation

State regulators will give an update Thursday night on drinking water contamination in Bedford, in the first of a series of upcoming public meetings around the Saint-Gobain plastics factory in Merrimack.

Entergy / Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Natural gas use is expected to increase in New York after the closure Friday of the state's largest nuclear plant. But it probably won’t trickle out to New England, according to a regional industry leader.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

A new federal grant aims to protect the Merrimack River from climate change, pollution and development pressures in New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

The U.S. Forest Service says the Merrimack River watershed is one of the most threatened in the country due to forest loss and increasing water quality risks. 

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Seacoast tourism and business leaders want federal officials to approve more foreign visa workers and economic aid to support what they hope will be a busy summer on the tail end of the pandemic.

NHDES

With another drought developing in much of the state as of this Earth Day, Gov. Chris Sununu is urging affected residents to take advantage of an emergency aid program.

Much of southern and western New Hampshire is in moderate drought, with abnormally dry conditions in the rest of the state. Without more sustained precipitation, forecasters say, the drought could worsen in the coming weeks.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public / NENC

People living on and off the coast of New England will soon be at a greater risk from flooding due to heavier rain and rising seas caused by climate change.

Global warming will put more pressure on the federal flood insurance program, which is already overstretched, prompting an overhaul to be completed later this year.

Regulators hope the change will make the system more fair, sustainable and climate-conscious. But some homeowners worry it’ll drive up their rates.

NHDES

A top state environmental regulator who had ties to the chemical industry has resigned less than a month after his confirmation.

The governor and Executive Council on Wednesday accepted Dennis Deziel’s resignation as assistant commissioner of the Department of Environmental Services.

Deziel began the job in late March and says in a statement that he is leaving for “personal reasons.”

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR file

In New Hampshire and much of New England, climate change is already causing a lot more of what's sometimes called winter whiplash -- rapid freeze-thaw cycles, from unusually warm to bitter cold and back again mid-season. 

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire are working to learn more about how this affects ecosystems and people. NHPR's Morning Edition host Rick Ganley spoke with one of those scientists, Alix Contosta, about her work in this area.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

By the time today's teenagers turn 50, New England's climate will feel very different. 

Under current warming trends, states like New Hampshire will have shorter winters with less snow. Some coastal areas will be underwater. And it will all be worse without swift action to stop fossil fuel emissions. 

This possible future is calling more and more of New Hampshire's young people to act -- and they're getting results. 

FranklinSites.com

Officials in the town of Thornton have rejected a proposed cell tower on land owned by Gov. Chris Sununu’s family at the edge of the White Mountain National Forest.

Eversource

Eversource is joining a group of utilities aiming to build a national network of high-speed electric vehicle chargers.

The company, which is New Hampshire’s largest electric provider, is the first in the Northeast to join the Electric Highway Coalition, launched last month by utilities in the Southeast, Gulf Coast and Midwest.

NHPR Photo

New Hampshire’s U.S. senators are asking federal regulators to allow state and local governments to spend pandemic stimulus funds on addressing PFAS chemical contamination.

Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan joined a bipartisan group making the request to theTreasury Department this week.

Rochester city councilor Doug LaChance
City of Rochester / RochesterNH.net

A Rochester city councilor is facing calls for his resignation after being accused of sexually abusing boys two decades ago.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

The state says it hasn't been following its own rules in notifying people of potential water contamination near the Saint-Gobain plastics factory in Merrimack.

Regulators say they’re working to correct the problem and think most affected properties are already aware of the issue. But citizen advocates are worried that some in the area may be unknowingly drinking contaminated water as a result of the lapse.

Liberty

Liberty Utilities has suspended a home weatherization program for its natural gas customers because of delays at the Public Utilities Commission in approving expanded energy efficiency goals for the state.

Other electric and gas utilities say they could soon face similar choices that will affect their customers if regulators continue to leave the issue undecided.

Emerson Aviation view of Lake Winnipesaukee ice out
Emerson Aviation

This week's ice-out on Lake Winnipesaukee is part of a trend toward earlier spring thaws in New Hampshire due to climate change.

The lake was declared ice-free and navigable by boat on Monday, April 5. It's about two weeks earlier than the average ice-out date over the past hundred-plus years.

Graphic showing a fire danger scale with an arrow pointing showing a moderate level of fire danger
NH Forest Rangers

Responders have put out at least two small brush fires in New Hampshire this week amid dry conditions and high winds.

One was in Cornish, near homes on Route 12-A. The other destroyed a barn in Hinsdale.

Fire danger has been rated at least moderate in the state this week. And there's little rain in the forecast in the coming days. The state is well below average on precipitation for the year, with another potential drought in the works this spring.

Combined with gusty winds, the state says it means any open burning can easily catch and spread uncontrolled.

NHPR File

In a federal whistleblower complaint, a former attorney for the Saint-Gobain plastics company claims he was told to “look the other way” on potential water contamination like the kind that’s affected New Hampshire and Vermont. 

The New Hampshire House meets this week to vote on dozens of bills, prime among them is a state budget full of conservative policies.

The conservative budget plan reflects the fact that Republicans now enjoy unified control of the New Hampshire State House. But beyond that, the party's health is less clear.

NHPR File Photo

In a report released Tuesday, New Hampshire’s Attorney General ruled a police officer was justified in shooting and killing a man in Meredith last November. It was the fifth police-involved shooting the state has investigated in about a year.

NHDES

New Hampshire is likely headed into an early spring drought despite recent rain and snow, according to the latest national forecast – and state officials are already warning of the potential drinking water impacts.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

President Biden’s $2-trillion-dollar infrastructure plan could bring expanded Amtrak train service to New Hampshire and Northern New England.

Amtrak, the publicly funded national rail operator, released a new map this week of expansions it could offer by 2035 under Biden’s proposal.

Great Bay National Estuarine Reserve

New runoff controls are coming to Great Bay after three adjacent cities reached an agreement with the Conservation Law Foundation to avert an appeal of a key federal water quality permit.  

The Environmental Protection Agency issued the long-awaited permit for a dozen towns around Great Bay last year.

A Seabrook man who shouted racist threats at a family last year violated the state's Civil Rights Act, the Rockingham Superior Court has ruled.

According to a complaint released by the Department of Justice in January, John Doran, unprovoked, began shouting slurs at a car containing a family returning from a beach trip last July.

When one victim approached him, Doran pointed a gas hose at them, threatened to burn them and said "go back to Africa."

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

New Hampshire Sen. Maggie Hassan is re-introducing a bill to give more federal support to multi-state climate change programs like the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.

EPA New England

A former chemical industry lobbyist and top official in the Trump Administration's Environmental Protection Agency will serve as the assistant commissioner for the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services.

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