Environment

NOAA Fisheries

New Hampshire is drafting plans for how its lobster fishery will help meet new federal goals for protecting endangered North Atlantic right whales.

Seacoast lobstermen weighed in on the proposal at a meeting Thursday night in Portsmouth with the state Department of Fish and Game.

Governor Chris Sununu has joined bipartisan calls for Congress to permanently fund a key federal land and water conservation program.

The decades-old Land and Water Conservation Fund, or LWCF, has provided nearly $40 million in grants for hundreds of New Hampshire's state parks, heritage sites and other outdoor preservation projects.

Alix Contosta / UNH

Scientists say winter warm spells – like the one the Northeast saw this past weekend – are in line with predictions for climate change.

Nearly every New Hampshire city and many in surrounding states set daily high temperature records on Saturday and Sunday, with peak warmth in the high 60s.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

The Air Force says it will study whether people stationed at Pease Air Base in recent decades got cancer at unusually high rates.

Former service members have been calling for a study like this for more than a year.

Flickr Creative Commons | Bryce Bradford

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.”

Ruth from Sandwich asks: “I just was skating on beautiful Squam Lake with black ice, and we could look down and see some other stuff. I was wondering if you could talk about ice forms, why there’s cracks, why there’s little ridges, why there’s bubbles… all that stuff.”

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Federal regulators are proposing a new way to limit water pollution from a dozen towns surrounding Great Bay.

The draft general permit from the Environmental Protection Agency marks a big step forward in the years-long effort to clean up the degraded estuary.

Janet Bland via Flickr Creative Commons / https://flic.kr/p/22SfbXM

New Hampshire legislators this session will consider requiring bottled water brands in the state to be tested and labeled for toxic PFAS chemicals.

The industrial compounds have been linked to health problems and can persist in the environment, but aren't subject to binding federal regulations.

Last year, New Hampshire regulators found high levels of PFAS chemicals in local bottled water brands sourced from a spring in Massachusetts.

Flickr Creative Commons | Denis Fournier

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.”

Keng Susumpow via Flickr CC

State lawmakers will try again to pass restrictions on single-use plastic items in the coming legislative session.

The House last year approved a bill saying plastic straws should only be given out on request. But state Senators of both parties agreed to block the measure.

They argued it wasn’t needed -- that public opinion in the state was already turning against excessive plastic use.

Joe Shlabotnik/flickr

State legislators in the coming session will consider making the state's new lead testing standards for schools and daycares more strict.

The current rule went into effect this past summer. It requires childcare facilities to test their water for lead and take action if they find it above 15 parts per billion.

Tom Irwin is New Hampshire director of the Conservation Law Foundation and helped push for that new law. But he says it doesn't go far enough.

Eversource

The fight against Eversource’s new Seacoast transmission line is winding down, with construction nearly complete.

Environmental advocates withdrew their state Supreme Court appeal against Eversource’s Seacoast Reliability Project in mid-December.

The court challenge had been unsuccessful in blocking the most controversial part of the project – a process known as “jet plowing,” which buried the transmission line under Little Bay.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR News

UPDATE: The draft permit was issued Dec. 31 and is open for public comment until Feb. 14, 2020. Click here for details. Original story continues below: 

A state fish hatchery facing a federal water pollution lawsuit will soon receive a key new permit from the Environmental Protection Agency.

The suit comes from neighbors of the state's largest fish hatchery, Powder Mill in New Durham.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

A power plant in Bow -- the largest coal-burning plant left in New England -- has been the target of protests and civil disobedience in recent weeks. 

This month, activists from across New England have twice attempted to block trains carrying shipments of coal to the plant. Protests on the train tracks and at the plant have so far resulted in dozens of arrests.   

The activists say Merrimack Station should close. Its owners argue that criticism is misplaced. 

Flickr Creative Commons | Charlie Stinchcomb

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

Myles from Alaska asks: When we go underwater, everything looks kind of weird and marbly. When whales are out of the water, what does it look like for them? Does it look weird because they’re not used to being in the air?

Annie Ropeik for NHPR

Northern New England began an ambitious planning process for offshore wind development in the Gulf of Maine Thursday.

More than 200 stakeholders packed into the first meeting of the new regional wind task force at UNH.

They say the new industry will take years to develop – but it could be a powerful way for Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire to fight climate.

File photo

Eversource says it plans to become carbon neutral by 2030 – but the move won't change the kind of energy that's delivered to customers.

The utility, which is the largest in New England and New Hampshire, says it’s the first investor-owned utility in the U.S. to make this move.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

New Hampshire Senator Jeanne Shaheen is the lead author on a letter to the United Nations in support of the Paris climate accords. The UN's climate change convention is currently meeting in Spain to discuss that agreement.

In their letter, Shaheen and 28 other senators say they support and are working on a U.S. government response to climate change, even "in a moment where the commitment of the United States to address climate change seems threadbare."

350 New Hampshire Action

More than 20 protesters were arrested Sunday trying to block a train from delivering coal to Merrimack Station power plant in Bow.

The climate activists who organized the blockades also marched on the plant at a demonstration in September, when dozens more were arrested.

Via Flickr CC

A group of Northeast states - including New Hampshire - is expected to propose a plan this month to reduce carbon emissions from the transportation sector.

Cars and trucks are the region's biggest source of climate emissions, and one of the most challenging to tackle.

Now, the region is drafting a program called the Transportation and Climate Initiative, or TCI

BOEM.gov

The state has begun preparing for potential offshore wind development in the Gulf of Maine.

Governor Chris Sununu issued an executive order Tuesday calling for two studies on the issue, due by January 2021. They'll look at how offshore wind could reduce greenhouse gas emissions in New Hampshire, and at how existing port infrastructure could benefit.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Throughout the presidential primary campaign, voters in New Hampshire have said climate change is one of their top priorities. And even as candidates emphasize the dangers of global warming – and detail their plans to address it – many voters aren't reassured.

NHPR’s Annie Ropeik has more as part of our series “Where They Stand,” which takes a closer look at candidates’ policy proposals. 

Climate Central

A new analysis finds that winter temperatures have risen more in New Hampshire and Northern New England than anywhere else in the country since 1970.

Mount Washington Auto Road

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.”

 

David from Denver, Colorado asks: I studied geology ... and we learned extensively about the long and complex geological of the New England region. And I can’t help but wonder what was the maximum elevation achieved in New Hampshire and New England generally?

Note: This edition of Ask Sam originally aired in November, 2018.

Andreas Levers via Flickr CC

A judge has ruled that New Hampshire will have to stop enforcing its strict new limits on PFAS chemicals at the end of the year – but the case is far from settled.

Merrimack Superior Court judge Richard McNamara’s ruling, which was provided to NHPR, grants an injunction requested by the major chemical company and PFAS-maker 3M, as well as local stakeholders.

But it won’t take effect until Dec. 31, the judge writes, “so that either party may seek immediate review of this decision in the New Hampshire Supreme Court.”

(Read the full ruling below.)

WPS Geography

New Hampshire will host the kick-off meeting of a federal offshore wind task force for the Gulf of Maine. The meeting is set for Dec. 12 at the University of New Hampshire.

It will be open to the public, with time for public input.

Katmai National Park and Preserve

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

Jahleah asks: I have two questions for you. Number one: How do bears hibernate in New Hampshire? Number two: do they even need to hibernate since there’s trash everywhere?

A wastewater plant in Massachusetts says it will stop processing runoff from a landfill in New Hampshire because it contains high levels of PFAS chemicals.

But officials in New Hampshire say this local controversy is just one example of a widespread problem.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

For the past few decades, New Hampshire's logging industry has been selling its wood scraps to be burned for energy. But now, after two years of failed subsidies, the state’s small biomass power plants are shutting down

It's left the forest products sector with few in-state markets for a lot of low-grade timber -- even as innovative new uses for that wood take root elsewhere in the region.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

The state holds a public hearing tonight about a new air emissions permit for the Saint-Gobain plastics factory in Merrimack. The facility is being held responsible for contaminating nearby drinking water with PFAS chemicals from its smokestacks.

The proposed air permit would dictate pollution controls for those stacks to prevent more chemicals from settling into soil and groundwater.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

New Hampshire's strict new limits on PFAS chemicals have been in effect for more than a month now. Officials say the regulations are based on sound science. But the court battle against them is only just beginning.

It's spearheaded by 3M, the chemical company that helped invent PFAS. Their partners in New Hampshire include a cattle farmer, a fertilizer company and a town water utility. 

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