Annie Ropeik

Reporter: 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

courtesy Eversource

Eversource wants to bring battery storage and other new energy technology to a small, rural town in western New Hampshire.

The utility’s clean energy strategy director, Charlotte Ancel, says the town of Westmoreland experiences some of the longest, most frequent power outages of any town in the utility's New Hampshire service area.

Ancel says this is because Westmoreland relies on one power line with no backups, and it’s vulnerable to falling tree branches in storms the utility expects to increase with climate change. 

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Hampton residents are talking about how their public schools can do a better job handling prejudice.

About 50 people, most of them white, came out to a listening session held by the local school district Monday night.

Superintendent Kathleen Murphy says Hampton has been working toward a meeting like this for more than a year. 

The school district in Hampton will hold a listening session about diversity Monday night, after allegations of racist bullying in an elementary school.

The district says it planned the event “to discuss diversity issues that impact our community.”

It comes after the parents of a black third-grader criticized administrators for their handling of more than two years of reported bullying.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

Lawmakers working on subsidies for the state’s biomass energy industry have stripped funding for a trash incinerator in Concord from their latest proposal.

The Senate will vote this week on the plan, which is a version of a law passed last year.

That law is held up in an ongoing legal challenge. It would have made utilities buy more energy from struggling wood-burning power plants and the energy-producing Concord trash incinerator.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee brought his climate change-driven presidential campaign back to New Hampshire this weekend.

The Democrat recently unveiled a detailed, $9-trillion plan to spur rapid renewable energy growth and create 8 million related jobs.  

Three New Hampshire cities are joining a Northeast network to promote small businesses within walking distance of electric vehicle charging stations.

More than 100 businesses across seven states are part of the project, called Destination Electric. Nearly half those businesses are in New Hampshire - mostly in Portsmouth, along with Dover and Nashua.

The list includes coffee shops, restaurants, galleries and cultural spots, like the Strawbery Banke museum.

Seacoast Bee Keepers Association

People in Concord and Portsmouth will rally for the bees this weekend.

Organizers in Concord will share organic growing tips and give out free seeds in front of the State House Saturday at 10 a.m.

Attendees can bring organic food to donate to a local homeless shelter.

A rally at the Portsmouth farmers market will also highlight concerns about probable human carcinogens in certain pesticides.

NH DOT

A bill that would make it easier for landowners to control flooding from beaver dams is heading to Gov. Chris Sununu’s desk.

The New Hampshire House and Senate have both approved the “beaver deceiver” proposal.

The bill says towns and landowners generally don’t need a state permit to install fences and pipes around beaver dams.

Cori Princell / NHPR

The biomass power plant in Berlin is getting half a million dollars from the state to build a waste heat recovery system that will soon power a new greenhouse.

The Burgess Biopower plant burns woodchips to make steam, which turns turbines and generates electricity.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The state Senate passed a bill today that would do away with a consumer rebate from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, or RGGI.  

The program is made up of several Northeast states. It seeks to limit carbon emissions by selling the right to pollute.

Right now, New Hampshire rebates most of its RGGI proceeds to ratepayers. This bill would put all that money towards energy efficiency programs instead.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

The New Hampshire Supreme Court heard oral arguments Wednesday in Eversource's bid to revive its Northern Pass transmission line.

The justices are considering whether the proposal – a nearly 200-mile high-voltage power line to bring Canadian hydropower through the White Mountains to New England – should get a new hearing with the state Site Evaluation Committee, or SEC.

TABER ANDREW BALN VIA FLICKR CC

The state Senate Wednesday rejected two bills aimed at restricting single-use plastics in New Hampshire.

The Senate killed one proposal to require food service businesses to not to give out plastic straws except on request.

The bill had passed the House, and dozens of people supported it at a Senate hearing last month.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

After nearly a decade of heated debate, the Northern Pass project is being argued Wednesday at the New Hampshire Supreme Court.

The state's highest court will spend nearly two hours – 50 minutes per side, longer than in most cases – hearing arguments and asking questions of attorneys in the appeal by developer Eversource.

Eversource

Opponents of a new Eversource transmission line on the Seacoast are asking the state Supreme Court to review the project, even as construction gets underway.

The Conservation Law Foundation and residents of Durham filed appeals Monday on the Site Evaluation Committee's decision last December to let construction of the “Seacoast Reliability Project” proceed.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

There’s an old cliché in politics – who’s the candidate voters would want to have a beer with?

It’s a euphemism for likability. But this year, it’s also something New Hampshire voters might actually be able to answer.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

State senators heard three hours of testimony Tuesday from dozens in the New Hampshire forest products industry who support a plan to resurrect biomass energy subsidies.

The plan, proposed in an amendment on an unrelated bill, is a version of a law passed last year that's since stalled in a legal challenge before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Federal regulators will give Seacoast residents more time to weigh in on construction permits for a new transmission line.

Eversource commences work on the Seacoast Reliability Project this month, after winning a long-fought approval late last year.

But they still need permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to build in sensitive wetlands and tidal areas.

File Photo, NHPR

Governor Chris Sununu says he hopes to sign a bill that would spur development of solar energy projects to benefit low-income residents. It was a stated priority at the start of his term, but until now, he hadn't weighed in much on related legislation.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

The national office of the NAACP will investigate recent incidents of alleged racism in Dover and Hampton public schools, according to local officials with the civil rights group.

Seacoast NAACP president Rogers Johnson said at their monthly branch meeting Monday night that the organization’s national leadership in Washington, D.C. is having him write up the details of each situation for further review.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Democrats on Monday called for Governor Chris Sununu to reconsider plans to veto a paid family and medical leave proposal. 

State Senator Martha Fuller Clark visited Moonshine, a small business in Portsmouth, to urge Sununu to sign the proposal known as Senate Bill 1.

It involves a .5 % payroll tax to fund up to 12 weeks of family and medical leave at up to 60 % of a worker’s salary. 

NH State Parks

Residents in the North Country town of Dalton are organizing against a proposed new landfill near Forest Lake State Park.

The plan comes from Vermont-based Casella, which says it’s running out of room for trash in the North Country.

More than a year ago, the town of Bethlehem voted down an expansion for the near- capacity Casella landfill there.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

A bipartisan group of state lawmakers hopes to revive an embattled plan to subsidize New Hampshire's wood-fired power plants.

The biomass subsidy package that narrowly passed last year over Gov. Chris Sununu’s veto has stalled amid a federal challenge.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Federal lawmakers say they've been assured that funding won't be taken from Portsmouth Naval Shipyard to pay for President Donald Trump's proposed Southern border wall.

The Congressional delegations of New Hampshire and Maine toured the shipyard Friday with Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer, touting its successes and its impact on the local economy.

Maine Democratic Rep. Chellie Pingree says Spencer’s visit reaffirms the shipyard's importance.

New Hampshire's Seacoast is going analog this weekend. Residents will be shutting off their phones and other devices for a 48-hour “digital fast.”

The fast begins at 5:30 p.m. Friday and lasts until 5:30 p.m. Sunday. Residents are encouraged to put their phones in a drawer, turn off the TV and computer, and find other things to do.

“We have let our devices dictate the terms and it really should be the other way around,” says organizer Jeff Stern, a Seacoast resident who teaches at Bentley College in Massachusetts.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

The Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire has a new home in Portsmouth, and plans to expand statewide.

Dozens of people packed into the two-year-old nonprofit's new offices, in a historic downtown house near Strawbery Banke, for a blessing ceremony Wednesday.

Inside, retired Rev. Robert Thompson and other clergy led songs and dedications in front of shelves of books and cultural artifacts about African-American history. 

A set of renewable energy bills got bipartisan support in a state legislative committee Tuesday. Most members of the House energy committee voted to advance a bill expanding net energy metering in the state.

The proposal would let towns and businesses generate more of their own power to sell back to the electric grid. Governor Chris Sununu vetoed a version of the plan last year.

Now, this year’s versions of the bill are nearing Sununu’s desk with potentially veto-proof margins of support.

Annie Ropeik for NHPR

Dozens of people came to Concord Tuesday to support a proposal banning the use of most plastic straws and shopping bags. The two bills heard in the state Senate Commerce Committee have already passed the House of Representatives.

One would require businesses – except health care facilities – to only provide plastic straws on request.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Officials in Kingston say they’ll wait for more data before taking action on potential water contamination around a long-dormant Superfund site.

The Ottati and Goss Superfund site, off Route 125 near the Newton town line, is surrounded by campgrounds, homes, businesses and a popular swimming and fishing area, Country Pond.

Between the 1950s and 1980s, the site housed a business that cleaned chemicals out of steel drums and sold the drums for reuse.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Businesses in Portsmouth have mixed reviews for a proposed ban on single-use plastics in the city.

It's the fourth year Portsmouth has been considering introducing such a policy, aimed at reducing plastic pollution and litter. A handful of communities are considering similar bans.

USACE/Eversource

Eversource plans to break ground on a new Seacoast transmission line within two weeks.

But the utility still needs a federal permit to build in the Great Bay area, and environmental advocates want a public hearing before that permit is issued.

Eversource is seeking a Clean Water Act permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

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