Environment

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

At least 150 Seacoast residents packed a state hearing Thursday night to urge regulators to reject a proposed transmission line.

Eversource and the region’s grid operator, ISO-New England, say the 13-mile line between Madbury and Portsmouth is vital to improve electric reliability in the region.

The project’s $84 million pricetag would be spread across all New England ratepayers.

But residents like Robert Raymond of Newington want the utility to do and spend more to reduce local impacts, or call the project off altogether.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

A group of New Hampshire legislators and renewable energy advocates issued their response Thursday to the governor’s 10-year energy strategy.

The volunteer coalition wrote plans for how the state can rapidly shrink its carbon footprint—and people’s bills—by investing in energy efficiency, renewable energy and new technologies.

They call it a roadmap to their goal of using renewable power for all of New Hampshire’s electricity by 2040.

State Rep. Lee Oxenham, D-Plainfield, says the state shouldn’t wait to start tackling climate change.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Some southern New Hampshire residents are furious the state isn’t acting more quickly to control PFAS chemical pollution. They heard the latest from regulators Wednesday night at a public meeting in Merrimack.

Two years after Merrimack’s Saint Gobain factory disclosed major PFAS air emissions, residents still feel the plant poses an immediate threat.

Joe Lentini / NHFG

Legislators want to talk to federal officials about paying for hiker rescues in the White Mountain National Forest.

But the head of the state Department of Fish & Game isn't optimistic that will solve his agency’s money problems.

Fish & Game executive director Glenn Normandeau says half of the state's search-and-rescue operations are for hikers -- largely in the White Mountains.

New England Aquarium

Another minke whale has been found dead on the New England coast.

The carcass found in Massachusetts on Tuesday marks 26 deaths of what regulators call an "unusual mortality event" for minke whales.

They're not considered endangered. But like all whales, they are a protected species in American waters.

Flickr Creative Commons | ethan john

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.”

Sargent Corp

Liberty Utilities wants to use methane emissions from a North Country landfill as an energy source.

Liberty has proposed spending $15 million on a system to capture methane given off by decomposing trash at the Casella-owned landfill in Bethlehem.

The utility would convert the methane into “renewable” natural gas – so called because the trash that generates it can be replenished.

The project would generate as much gas annually as more than 6,000 homes can use in a year.

Screenshot via US Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee

The U.S. Senate held a major hearing on PFAS chemical contamination Wednesday, with testimony from a local advocate.

New Hampshire Sen. Maggie Hassan, who sits on the Senate subcommittee that held the hearing, and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, who was a guest, questioned federal regulators for two hours.

They pushed for answers on the government's plans for more PFAS research, stricter standards and cleanup plans.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

A Superior Court judge says New Hampshire's right-to-know laws should apply to the towns and businesses in charge of cleaning up the Coakley Landfill Superfund site.

The Coakley Landfill Group, or CLG, includes the municipalities and companies that contributed to pollution at the landfill.

SectionHiker.com

A dilapidated bridge in a North Country wilderness area is officially slated for removal this fall. Officials in the White Mountain National Forest Service finalized their decision on the Thoreau Falls Bridge this week.

The old wooden bridge in the Pemigewasset Wilderness has been closed to hikers since last fall. It spans a rocky creek bed that sometimes floods.

District ranger Brooke Brown has now officially decided the bridge doesn't belong in federal wilderness, which is meant to be primeval and undisturbed.

File Photo

A Senate committee holds a hearing Wednesday about the federal government's role in the nation's growing PFAS crisis.

Federal regulators and advocates from Michigan and New Hampshire will testify on how the military helped spread the industrial toxins by using firefighting foams.

The Merrimack River will briefly run red Tuesday, as officials use dye to test the flow of storm water around a local factory.

The Department of Environmental Services says a contractor for plastics manufacturer Saint Gobain will deploy red dye into the river in Merrimack.

They say the dye will show how surface water and storm water interact in the river. The dye could be visible in the water for up to two hours.

Officials say they've done similar tests in the past at wastewater treatment plants on the Seacoast.

NOAA

 

Researchers say an outbreak of distemper is to blame for a rash of seal deaths in Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Friday that the main pathogen found in the seals is phocine distemper virus. The agency said avian flu also was suspected based on early results but new test results do not point to it as a major cause.

In late August, NOAA declared the seal deaths to be an "unusual mortality event."

Nashua River Watershed Association

The Nashua River is one step closer to federal protections that are decades in the making.

Federal lawmakers from New Hampshire and Massachusetts introduced legislation Thursday to designate the river as "wild and scenic."

The designation would add scrutiny for federal projects that impact the river and two of its tributaries, and would help fund future preservation work.

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.”

Finn from the White Mountains asks: “My question is about dogs. My understanding is that dogs do not sweat, they just pant to cool down. So my question is whether being in front of a fan would actually cool them off?”

Okay, you might think this question is about dogs, but really it’s about thermodynamics. (Which I also, coincidentally, love thinking about.)

Town of Merrimack

The state has confirmed unsafe levels of PFAS chemical contamination at a town park and former industrial site in Merrimack.

This comes nearly a year after the site's owner first reported finding the toxins in groundwater at the former chemical plant and tannery.

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.  

marinas.com

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.

https://flic.kr/p/muU7qZ

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.

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