Environment

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Nine Northeast states and the District of Columbia will plan a new program to price and reduce carbon emissions from the transportation sector.

The initiative, announced Tuesday, does not yet include New Hampshire, Maine or New York.

Passenger vehicles and other forms of transit are the country's biggest sources of carbon emissions that drive climate change.

Jeff Cutler / Flick/Creative Commons

An independent group of scientists says they believe the concrete cracks at Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant are under control.

The report from the Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards agrees with earlier findings from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

The groups conclude that Seabrook's owner, NextEra, has a sufficient plan in place to monitor changes in and effects from the cracks over time.

State Impact

New Hampshire's U.S. senators have joined calls for one of the nation's top energy regulator to recuse himself from future decisions on coal and nuclear power.

The Senate voted along party lines in November to narrowly confirm Bernard McNamee as the latest member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC.

Sean Linehan / NOAA

Most wetlands permits issued in New England would not be affected by a proposed change in federal environmental rules.

The Trump administration wants to narrow which wetlands receive federal protection under the Clean Water Act to only those that directly feed navigable waters.

Flickr Creative Commons | Ole Husby

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.”

Matt from Concord asks: We were out hiking the other day and we saw these ice crystals coming up out of the ground and pushing moss up off the ground. They look like these long thin needle-like things. What causes that? Thank you!

NHDOT

The state is testing a new way to keep beavers from clogging up culverts and flooding roads.

Engineers from the Department of Transportation have installed two “"beaver deceivers" on Route 28 in Londonderry, just east of Manchester-Boston Regional Airport. 

mikebaird / Flickr/Creative Commons

East Coast environmental groups are suing the Trump administration to block drilling activities in the Atlantic Ocean.

Federal officials issued permits last month for five companies to conduct offshore seismic tests in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast.

Steve and Michelle Gerdes / Flicker CC

New Hampshire's members of Congress say they support the call for a select House committee on a "Green New Deal."

The campaign is being led by the group Sunrise Movement and incoming Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York.

Her proposed committee would draft a plan by 2020 to move the U.S. economy off fossil fuels, and combat climate change, by creating new jobs and technology in renewable energy.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

The state Site Evaluation Committee has given Eversource the green light to build a new transmission line on the Seacoast.

They voted unanimously Monday to certify the so-called Seacoast Reliability Project, after more than two weeks of exhaustive deliberations.

Thomas Gehrke / Flickr Creative Commons

New England's electric grid operator says the region should have enough fuel to get through the winter, even if the weather gets colder than expected.

But utilities and power users say they’re still worried about winter reliability long-term.

The grid operator, ISO-New England, says they learned some things from last winter's cold snap.

Demand was high and natural gas imports and pipelines were strained, so power plants turned to their coal and oil reserves.

Google Maps

A plan to build a natural gas plant at a North Country landfill has gotten preliminary approval from the town of Bethlehem.

The $15 million-dollar project comes from several companies, including Liberty Utilities.

John Phelan / Wikimedia Commons

The state begins public hearings Monday on the final draft of a major update to its wetlands rules.

The regulations lay out when developers need a permit to work around sensitive wetlands – whether to build a dock, a bridge or a logging road – and set parameters for those developments.

The state hasn't rewritten this code since 1991, and they've been working on these new regulations since 2014 – including a series of public hearings on an early draft this year.

NOAA Fisheries

The Trump administration has approved a first step toward offshore oil and gas drilling on the Atlantic coast.

The National Marine Fisheries Service issued permits Friday for five private companies to conduct offshore seismic tests from New Jersey to Florida.

Chris Jensen

The U.S. government released its Fourth National Climate Assessment report at the end of last week that shows the effects of climate change are already here – both in New England and all over the country.

Jennifer Jacobs is a professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of New Hampshire, and she’s the lead author on that report’s chapter on transportation and infrastructure.

Morning Edition Host Rick Ganley spoke with Jacobs about her work and what it means for New Hampshire.

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?

Are you ready? Time to get your plate tectonics hat on! 

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

State regulators are in final talks about whether to approve a new transmission line on the Seacoast.

After two days of deliberations, the Site Evaluation Committee has agreed that the Seacoast Reliability Project meets some of the criteria required by state law.

Goffstown Fire

Officials are taking precautions after a heating oil spill near Goffstown's drinking water reservoir.

It came from an Irving Oil delivery truck that crashed and tipped over Sunday morning. 

The truck spilled as much as 1,100 gallons of oil near a stream that runs into the local reservoir.

The driver was uninjured. Officials believe the crash, on Mountain Road, was caused by icy conditions. 

Local firefighters, private contractors and state responders removed most of the oil and contaminated snow and sediment on Sunday and Monday.

Office of Sen. Jeanne Shaheen

Hampton-Seabrook Harbor is one step closer to an emergency dredging project.

The Army Corps of Engineers says it plans to spend $4.6 million for maintenance in New Hampshire’s largest fishing port.

The project was included in the Corps’ national work plan for next year. The Corps received money this year to plan the dredging project.

Mark Nozell / Flickr CC

Regulators are planning new efforts to keep the state’s rivers from running dry, and they’re taking public input on which rivers to study next.

The state’s instream flow studies will look at how much water runs through a river under different conditions – say, in drought – and at how animals, plants and people like to use that water.

Annie Ropeik for NHPR

The EPA says new types of nonstick industrial chemicals might not be much safer than their predecessors – raising alarm in parts of New Hampshire.

For years, companies used fluorinated chemicals like PFOA and PFOS to make nonstick, waterproof or stain-resistant products.

Now, science suggests those chemicals can harm human health even at very low levels.

So industry has replaced them with similar compounds called GenX. They're all part of the PFAS family.

woodfin / Flickr CC

New research suggests New Hampshire forests could help store more climate-warming carbon dioxide while growing higher-value trees.

The study, from Clark University and the Nature Conservancy, says better land management – especially reforestation – could store up to a fifth of America’s climate-warming carbon emissions. 

USFS

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.”

A new report suggests New Hampshire's Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant will be essential to curbing the effects of climate change in the coming years.

Seabrook and Millstone Station in Connecticut will be the only two nuclear plants left in New England after next year.

They're also some of the most profitable nuclear plants in the country, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists.

 

A fundraising campaign to preserve the Chocorua Lake Basin has raised over $1.85 million.

The Chocorua Lake Conservancy said Friday the funds will "ensure that the Chocorua Lake Basin and an iconic view of Mount Chocorua will continue to be preserved and protected forever."

The funds protect the area from development, employ a stewardship director, and maintain public beaches and conservation land.

Among the donors were over 350 households across 31 states. The conservancy also received grants.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

The Environmental Protection Agency is honoring a water clean up activist on the Seacoast for her community organizing.

Testing for Pease co-founder Andrea Amico is this year’s only recipient of the EPA’s national award for citizen excellence in community involvement.

It’s been four years since Amico learned her family was exposed to dangerous levels of PFAS chemicals at Pease International Tradeport.

Ceyhun (Jay) Isik / https://flic.kr/p/cG7qFL

Right now, state regulators are doing something they almost never do: writing their own limit on a chemical contaminant in drinking water.

It's called a maximum contaminant level, or MCL. In the past, like most states, New Hampshire has used federal standards as its default MCLs.

State regulators say they wrote one other drinking water standard, for the lead-based gasoline additive MTBE, in 2000. 

Public Service of New Hampshire

New Hampshire is the only New England state that didn't join a coalition opposing the proposed rollback of the Clean Power Plan.

The EPA wants to replace the Obama-era plan with a rule that loosens carbon emissions standards for coal-fired power plants.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

Two environmental groups plan to sue the owners of a coal-fired power plant outside Concord – Merrimack Station, the largest of its kind left in New England.

The Sierra Club and the Conservation Law Foundation say they'll file suit under the Clean Water Act in January if things don't change at the power plant.

CREDIT FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS | MARK FOWLER

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.”

Pam asks: Thank you for your article about the swimming squirrels. It made me wonder about all of the mice that are coming into our house and our rental, and wondered if you can explain why so many of our friends are finding mice already coming into their homes.  

This might seem like a simple question to answer, but there are layers here, people!

An environmental group is suing the state Fish & Game Department for alleged pollution from a Lakes Region fish hatchery.

Meanwhile, the department’s executive director says they suit won’t affect their ongoing work to fix the problem.

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