Environment | New Hampshire Public Radio

Environment

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.

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.

Sarah Gibson / NHPR

The state's largest water distribution project hits a milestone this month. Households in Salem, Atkinson, and Hampstead will start getting water from Manchester through the Southern New Hampshire Regional Water Interconnection Project.

The interconnection project aims to pipe 3 million gallons of water a day from Manchester to five towns in Southern N.H. facing water shortages and contamination.

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.

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.

Sara Plourde / NHPR

NHPR’s new climate change reporting project, By Degrees, begins in the midst of a global pandemic, mass protests against systemic racism, a presidential election and an economic crisis.

We need your help to tell new stories of how New Hampshire is living through climate change at this historic moment.

What are we missing? What do you want to know? How is climate change affecting you right now? 

Are snow-making machines an example of climate adaptation, or an example of an emissions feedback loop? Does the fire risk posed by planting trees outweigh the benefits of their use as a carbon sink? Can the team talk big planet problems and still leave room for bad puns?

We’ll answer these questions and more climate queries on this special edition of Ask Sam.

Hemera Collection

The state is launching a broad new effort to find ways to reduce the air emissions that drive respiratory disease and climate change in New Hampshire.

The non-partisan Emissions Commission meets for the first time next week and will include members of state agencies, utilities and the legislature, along with health, business and environmental advocates.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

Environmental groups want federal regulators to reconsider a new water discharge permit for New England’s largest coal-fired power plant – Merrimack Station in Bow.

The Environmental Protection Agency permit was issued in May after many years of delay.

It dictates how the power plant uses water from the Merrimack River – burning coal to heat the water into steam that generates electricity, before putting that hot water back into the river.

Ewen Roberts, Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/cXwod9

State Agriculture Officials are warning New Hampshire residents not to plant packets of seeds that may arrive in the mail, unrequested, and with return addresses in China.

People across the world have begun to receive small packages of all sorts, as part of an e-commerce scam known as "brushing." Sellers create fake orders in order to boost their rating on websites like Amazon, which moves their products closer to the top of search results.

Chris Nash, NH DES

Nearly two months after implementing a ban on shellfish harvesting in coastal Atlantic waters, environmental regulators say a potentially toxic algal bloom has subsided to safe levels.

In early June, regulators found extremely high levels of a marine algae capable of producing a neurotoxin that can build up in shellfish.

Get stories about the environment and climate change delivered to your inbox - sign up for our newsletter today.

FLORIANHUAG / FLICKR/CC

Governor Chris Sununu has signed an omnibus bill that will reinstate new drinking water standards for toxic PFAS chemicals.

Democrats hailed the signature of the bill, which was opposed by some business groups. The legislation enacts some of the strictest PFAS drinking water standards of any of the handful of states that have such rules.

Daniela Allee / NHPR

Earlier this year, the city of Lebanon gave a small group of residents the chance to bring not their trash and recyclables to the local landfill, but their compost too.

It makes Lebanon one of a few cities in the state helping residents reduce food waste, which is a major contributor to climate change.


Annie Ropeik / NHPR

New Hampshire is seeing more heat waves due to climate change. And staying cool is even harder this year because of COVID-19. Our new climate change reporting project, By Degrees, has this look at how New Hampshire's cities are coping. 

wikimedia commons

Congresswoman Annie Kuster is co-sponsoring a new plan to add toxic PFAS chemical standards to the next federal defense spending bill.

The amendment mirrors a bill that passed the House earlier this year. Speaking on a press call Tuesday, Kuster said that bill has stalled in the Senate.

Courtesy of Charles Driscoll

By Degrees is a new reporting project by NHPR shedding new light on climate change in New Hampshire. That project launches this week.

Air pollution is known to cause health problems like premature deaths, hospitalizations, heart attacks, and childhood asthma. It's also closely connected to climate change.

Syracuse University Professor Charles Driscoll joined NHPR’s All Things Considered host Peter Biello to talk about what air quality in New Hampshire can tell us about the extent of the problem.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

Our new climate change reporting initiative, By Degrees, begins in an unprecedented time – one where people are making seismic shifts in their lifestyles and attitudes in response to COVID-19 and the Black Lives Matter movement. 

Many of our listeners have wondered: why haven’t people reacted the same way to the climate emergency, and could that be about to change? 

Britta Greene for NHPR

By Degrees is a multi-year reporting project from NHPR that will tell stories about climate change in New Hampshire - its challenges, solutions and connections to other forces shaping our lives today. 

The project begins today. Morning Edition Host Rick Ganley spoke with lead reporter Annie Ropeik, who covers energy, the environment and the Seacoast for NHPR, to learn more about the project's goals, what to expect this week and how listeners can contribute.  

CSPAN

To kick off NHPR's new reporting project By Degrees, we're unpacking the basics of how climate change is already affecting life in New Hampshire, and how the state is contributing to and responding to the problem. 

Rachel Cleetus is the policy director for the Union of Concerned Scientists' Climate and Energy Program, based in Massachusetts.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen returned to in-person campaigning on the Seacoast Wednesday, positioning climate change at the center of her re-election bid.

Shaheen, a Democrat, was at Throwback Brewery in North Hampton – joined, in masks and at a distance, by environmentalists, students and groups endorsing her.

NHPR

More septic systems in New Hampshire are failing, and the pandemic may be to blame.

The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services says it received more replacement applications in May of this year than in May of 2019.

The landmark Supreme Court ruling known as Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency held that greenhouse gases were pollutants that could be regulated by the executive branch, and defined de facto federal climate policy in the United States for a decade.

Could it soon be reversed? 

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

Piping plovers have settled in at New Hampshire beaches and volunteers are needed to help babysit the delicate birds.

Brandan Clifford, with the New Hampshire Fish and Wildlife Service, says that COVID-19 restrictions allowed the endangered birds to nest freely on the beaches. Now that people are back, the state needs volunteers to watch and protect the nest areas both day and night.

Google Maps / screenshot

The Environmental Protection Agency is out with a plan to clean up a hazardous waste site in downtown Berlin.

The Chlor-Alkali Superfund site sits on the east bank of Androscoggin River, next to the city’s Sawmill Dam.

From the late 1800s until the 1960s, the property housed a factory that supplied paper mills with chemicals, including chloroform, lye and bleach.

Some toxic waste from the factory sits in a capped landfill on the site, where demolition debris from the facility was deposited as recently as 1999, according to the EPA.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

With reports of busy hiking trails, New Hampshire’s search-and-rescue teams are urging people who head into the forest to use an extra degree of caution to avoid putting wilderness first responders at risk for COVID-19.

While conservation officers are carrying personal protective gear, performing rescues could expose rescuers to the coronavirus.

Flickr Creative Commons | Rod Haley

Every other Friday on Morning Edition, Outside/In host Sam Evans-Brown tackles a question from a listener. 

Right now, many New Hampshirites are home, giving us a unique opportunity to question the nature invading our personal spaces.

Click here for all of NHPR's coronavirus coverage, including the latest news, FAQs, and more.

State regulators are monitoring how this winter’s low snowpack could affect water supplies in the dry summer months.

The state has between 60 and 75 percent less snow on the ground than average right now. State water division director Tom O’Donovan says that's just one source of the state’s drinking water and other water supplies – in reservoirs, lakes and wells.

Courtesy N.H. Fish and Game

 

Low snow cover, warm spells this winter, and a mast crop of berries and acorns in the fall have more bears coming out of hibernation, particularly in the southeastern corner of the state.

Dan Bailey, a wildlife biologist with New Hampshire Fish and Game, says they are seeing more winter bear activity this year than usual, with regular sightings in people’s backyards.

Sarah Gibson / NHPR file photo

New research shows the Northeast is the only part of the country where winter snowfall is increasing, not decreasing – but the data the snowy season is also getting shorter.

Enel Green Power North America

The Littleton Zoning Board will continue to hear from residents at a hearing Tuesday about a proposed battery storage project.

Battery energy storage systems use rechargeable lithium ion batteries to store electricity from the grid when prices are low.

Pages