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

All of New Hampshire is now in a drought, with severe conditions persisting from the Seacoast to Grafton County.

Moderate drought conditions have expanded into the few areas of the North Country thathad been unaffected, according to a weekly update from the national drought monitor.

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New Hampshire’s federal lawmakers want a bigger cut of a new national grant program to address sewage discharges in local rivers.

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Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Casella has filed its first formal application to build a new landfill in the North Country – a major step forward for a controversial project that’s been in the works for more than a year.

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Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Today, Labor Day, caps off one of New Hampshire's warmest summers on record -- a consequence of climate change.

National Weather Service data for June, July and August says this summer was the warmest on record in Manchester, with an average temperature of 74.4 degrees.

Thirty-two days were over 90 degrees in the Queen City - compared to fewer than 10 normally in the years since 1980.

Labor Day highs in Manchester have also ticked up in that time, according to weather records.

The Board of Selectmen in Deerfield is calling for a local state representative to resign after comments about the Black Lives Matter movement that prompted a state civil rights investigation.

In a recent Facebook post that’s since been deleted, Deerfield Republican James Spillane calls for homes displaying Black Lives Matter signs to be looted and burned.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

Former New Hampshire Gov. Steve Merrill has died.

Merrill, a Republican, served two terms as governor, from 1993 to 1997. He had previously served as New Hampshire Attorney General.

He was 74.

Portsmouth Athenaeum / via Portsmouth Peace Treaty Forum

Portsmouth marks the 115th anniversary Saturday of its hosting of peace talks that ended the Russo-Japanese War.

The 1905 armistice earned President Theodore Roosevelt a Nobel Peace Prize for ending the conflict between the Russian and Japanese Empires.  

The delegations involved in the peace talks stayed at the Hotel Wentworth in New Castle, and met for about a month at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard before reaching an agreement. 

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

New Hampshire’s ongoing drought has worsened again, with severe dryness now spreading into Grafton County and escalating impacts to surface water and agriculture.

At a meeting Thursday, officials said nearly the entire state remains in a drought, with the worst of it stretching from the Seacoast into the lower White Mountains.

NHPR staff

After taking the spotlight in the presidential primary, climate change policy is back in focus in New Hampshire's governor's race -- and not just as a partisan issue.

Energy is driving a wedge between the Democratic candidates competing in next week's primary, as well as with incumbent Republican Gov. Chris Sununu.

NHPR’s All Things Considered host Peter Biello spoke with energy and environment reporter Annie Ropeik, who’s heading up NHPR’s climate reporting project By Degrees, for more on the candidates’ views and the role this is playing in the race.

NHSaves

New Hampshire's electric and natural gas utilities are proposing an increase to their energy efficiency savings goals for the next three years, in a plan that aims to cut costs and carbon emissions but could slightly increase customers’ bills in the short-term.

The proposal centers on the utility-run NHSaves rebate program, which gives ratepayers incentives to use less energy by upgrading things like appliances, insulation or machinery.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Rye Harbor is officially set to be dredged for the first time in 30 years this winter, addressing a build-up of sand that local vessel owners say threatened their livelihoods.  

Senator Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat who’s up for reelection, toured the harbor Wednesday. She helped get the dredging project approved after a petition from local fishermen and charter boat captains.

USDA

The state has found mosquitoes with West Nile Virus for the first time this season.

The Department of Health and Human Services says the positive test came from a batch of mosquitoes in Manchester.

The last time a New Hampshire resident caught West Nile from a mosquito was in 2017. But the state has found the virus in mosquitoes every year for the past decade. It’s more prevalent during drought years, like this one.

Cori Princell / NHPR

The state is out with a first-of-its-kind report on the health of New Hampshire’s lakes, showing the effects of climate change, population growth and a decline in acid rain.

The report takes a comprehensive look at water quality trends from the past few decades or longer in 150 of the state’s lakes and ponds monitored by volunteers and state biologists.

Google Maps

The Environmental Protection Agency is proposing new health restrictions around a Superfund site in the town of Merrimack.

The New Hampshire Plating Company site near the Merrimack River housed an electroplating factory until the 1980s. It left toxic chemicals like lead and arsenic in the soil and groundwater. 

The EPA’s original cleanup plan mostly involved treating contaminated soil and monitoring the groundwater as the chemicals faded away on their own. 

Jerry and Marcy Monkman / Trust For Public Lands

The state is out with a draft 10-year plan for managing its forests, with a new focus on recreation and climate change impacts. 

The Division of Forests and Lands updates this plan every decade. The new 2020 draft plan is out for public comment until Oct. 15.

USDA

Researchers at Dartmouth College have published a new analysis on how current and future uses of plant-based energy could be a key solution to climate change.

The study looks at bioenergy and biofuels, which can come from all kinds of plants, including grass, trees, corn or algae.

Drought Monitor

Drought conditions are spreading and getting worse in New Hampshire, after months of below-average rainfall.

Twenty-three percent of the state is now in a severe drought – where crops, wildlife, forests and groundwater will likely be impacted. The worst conditions are in the southeastern and south central part of the state.

Nearly all of the rest of New Hampshire is in moderate drought, except for a few isolated parts of the North Country.

Scott Heron / Flickr CC

State agencies say there’s room for improvement in a construction permit process designed to protect endangered species – but they’re still debating who’s responsible for enforcing and revising the recently loosened rules.

Keith Williams / Flickr CC

A fight is brewing at the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services about the permitting rules for construction projects. Builders support a recent change that loosened a key standard, while conservationists worry it'll harm endangered species. 

The groups will air their views Thursday at the first of two virtual public input sessions at DES.

NHPR’s environmental reporter Annie Ropeik joined All Things Considered host Peter Biello to explain the significance of the controversy. 


Dan Tuohy for NHPR

The New Hampshire Supreme Court has agreed to hear a community group’s appeal in a dispute over an environmental protection ordinance in Nottingham, temporarily halting a lower court lawsuit against the rule.

The case comes from a citizen group, the Nottingham Water Association, which wants to intervene in an ongoing Superior Court challenge to their town’s freedom from chemical trespass” ordinance.

CDC.gov

State health officials said this week that they're prepared for a likely increase in demand for coronavirus contact tracing as schools and colleges reopen this fall. This process involves finding out exactly who an infected person might have exposed to a communicable disease. 

Gov. Chris Sununu has described New Hampshire's contact tracing program as one of the best in the country. But the state hasn't shared many details on the program until now. 

Annie Ropeik

The state is asking for the public’s help in counting wild turkey broods for a couple more weeks.

The annual count by the New Hampshire Fish & Game Department lasts through the end of August.

Residents can participate by filling out a survey with details of any groups of turkeys they see. These groups typically include at least one turkey hen and several juvenile turkeys, sometimes of different sizes.

Will Strathmann

Conservation groups in the Squam Lakes region want residents to turn off their lights and watch the stars for an hour Saturday night.

The event marks the 60th anniversary of the Squam Lake Conservation Society.

People in the Squam Lakes--or anywhere--are invited to turn off all artificial lights starting at 9 p.m. It should reduce light pollution and let features like the Milky Way and more stars become visible.

Roush Clean Tech / Twitter

The city of Manchester is adding 14 propane-fueled school buses to its fleet in an effort to improve local air quality.

The city has 81 school buses in total. The new propane-powered ones will replace the oldest buses, all of which are between 14 and 18 years old. Officials say tests show the propane buses can cut emissions from diesel buses by 96%.

NHPR Staff

The state says multiple college students have tested positive for coronavirus at home before returning to campuses in New Hampshire.

State health commissioner Lori Shibinette says it's a success for the state's pre-arrival testing requirements for returning students. She did not disclose how many students have tested positive before returning. She says some are in other states, and some are in New Hampshire.

Dan Tuohy for NHPR

Governor Chris Sununu says state public health officials will work hand in hand with school districts to identify positive cases, conduct contact tracing, and notify the public about outbreaks in schools.

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Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Activists are calling on electric customers in New Hampshire and New England to stop paying their utility bills on Sept. 1, in a strike that aims to put pressure on the regional energy system to address climate change.

No Coal, No Gas campaign volunteer Jeff Gang says the goal is to have a thousand people signed up to strike ahead of time.

ReVision Energy Instagram

COVID-19 has been hard on just about every industry in New Hampshire, and renewable energy is no exception. 

People worried about money are putting off investing in solar panels, and health concerns have made home energy efficiency visits more complicated. But scientists say investments like these can lower energy costs, and remain a critical way to combat the other big crisis we’re facing – climate change. 

As part of NHPR’s new climate change reporting project, By Degrees, NHPR’s Annie Ropeik has been trying to find out what might be ahead for the renewable energy industry in the state. Morning Edition Host Rick Ganley spoke with her about what’s next.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

State officials are urging swimmers to be careful in unsupervised areas after a series of river drownings, amid pool closures and beach restrictions.

At a press conference on the Merrimack River in Concord Friday morning, Fish & Game Col. Kevin Jordan said New Hampshire averages 13 to 15 deadly drownings a year.

Todd Bookman for NHPR

The Democratic candidates for governor continue to clash over their approaches to climate change, with State Sen. Dan Feltes rolling out a "green jobs" plan Thursday.

His primary opponent, executive councilor Andru Volinsky, says the new plan glosses over Feltes's continued support for natural gas.

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