Environment

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. 

N.H. DES courtesy

State beach monitors say they're still observing cyanobacteria blooms on New Hampshire's lakes and ponds, even this late in the year.

Blooms have been seen recently on shorelines in on Country Pond Newton and on Webster Lake Franklin. They appear as green or blue streaks, flecks and pond scum, caused by excess nutrients in the water.

Cyanobacteria can contain toxins that can sicken or harm humans and pets on contact and can lead to serious chronic conditions.

Flickr Creative Commons | Tracey

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

Panther from New Hampshire asks: "I was wondering if milkweed was related to cotton, and if it’s ever been used for material like clothing?"

First of all, I’m not sure if Panther is a nom de plume, nom de guerre or just a regular old nom, but what a name, sir!

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Unusually high king tides on parts of the Seacoast may cause flooding in the next few days.

The colloquial term refers to unusually high tides, over 10 feet on the Seacoast.  A series of those high tides are forecast through Wednesday. This can cause minor flooding on streets that border tidal areas, in towns like Hampton.

On Sunday, the beach town was also hit with rain and gusty winds. The tide inundated the back marsh of Hampton Beach, pushing some low-level flooding onto some streets.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Update, 5 p.m. Monday: Saint-Gobain has agreed to pursue one of the protesters' main demands — saying it will work to set up a new community group for Merrimack residents to weigh in on hazardous waste cleanup at the factor.

In a letter to those protesters, the company says it often sets up what it calls community advisory groups with residents and government officials near its major facilities. Saint-Gobain says it'll reach out to the town of Merrimack to start the process. They say the group could be a forum to address protesters' other concerns.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

A Superior Court judge heard arguments Friday against New Hampshire's strict new limits on PFAS chemicals in public water supplies.

The major chemical company 3M and a group of local stakeholders want an injunction against the recently implemented rules.

3M's attorney laid out their arguments inside Merrimack Superior Court, as protesters outside denounced the involvement of the corporation that pioneered PFAS.

Photo by Jonathan Combe, https://bit.ly/2BhLrRu

Every other Friday on Morning Edition, Outside/In host Sam Evans-Brown tackles a question from a listener. This week, we're buzzing because...

...Patty from Northampton asks: "I should understand the tides but I really don't. So in North Hampton, we have a very small beach even at low tide. And I was recently at Ogunquit beach with a friend, and the tide goes the way the heck out at low tide. And I don't know why!"

NHPR Photo

Senator Jeanne Shaheen will be in Portsmouth Friday to talk about an upcoming federal health study on the effects of PFAS chemicals.

The Centers for Disease Control are piloting their first national PFAS study on people who were exposed to the compounds at Pease International Tradeport.

File photo

A new study from the Audubon Society says climate change could push some state birds out of their home ranges – including New Hampshire’s purple finch.

The report, released Thursday in a major follow-up to a less detailed 2014 Audubon study, says even a moderate warming scenario could push the iconic finch out of much of New Hampshire.

But senior conservation biologist Pam Hunt with the state Audubon society cautions that the true climate picture for birds may be more complicated than that.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

The state says Eversource should be allowed to proceed with a controversial plan to bury a new transmission line under Little Bay -- but it's not the last hurdle the utility must clear before construction begins.

Eversource wants to bury a mile of its 13-mile Seacoast Reliability Project power line underwater, between Durham and Newington.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

Portsmouth became the latest U.S. city to ban the use of some disposable plastic containers after the City Council voted Monday night to outlaw Styrofoam city-wide.

Supporters of the new law say they believe it’s the first of its kind in New Hampshire.

The ordinance will take effect at the end of next year. It’ll ban most Portsmouth businesses – except some nonprofits – from distributing single-use Styrofoam.

It’ll also ban the distribution of single-use plastic straws and containers, but only on city property.

Sara Ernst / NHPR

Nashua is replacing two buses powered by diesel engines with electric hybrid vehicles. 

The company that developed the hybrids, BAE Systems, say they will avoid burning 4,000 gallons of diesel fuel and reduce carbon emissions by 50 tons a year. 

Flickr Creative Commons | Ian Jacobs

Every other Friday on Morning Edition, Outside/In host Sam Evans-Brown tackles a question from a listener. This week, we're buzzing, because...

...Carolyn from Maine asks: “This summer there’s been a lot of attention paid to diseases like EEE, which can be transmitted from a bite from an infected mosquito. But my question is, during the middle of the day when these species of mosquito are less likely to be feeding, what are they doing instead? Which made me wonder if mosquitoes sleep?”

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

The town of Merrimack is requesting the Department of Environmental Services to temporarily shut down operations at Saint-Gobain Plastics. 

State regulators have held the factory responsible for addressing widespread PFAS chemical contamination in nearby water wells.

Pages