Annie Ropeik

Reporter: Energy, Environment, Development

Annie Ropeik joined NHPR’s reporting team in 2017, following stints with public radio stations and collaborations across the country. She has reported everywhere from fishing boats, island villages and cargo terminals in Alaska, to cornfields, factories and Superfund sites in the Midwest.

Her work has appeared on NPR, the BBC and CNN, and earned recognition from PRNDI, the Delaware and Alaska Press Clubs and the Indiana Society of Professional Journalists.

Originally from Silver Spring, MD, Annie caught the public media bug during internships at NPR in Washington and WBUR in Boston. She studied classics at Boston University and enjoys a good PDF, the rule of threes and meeting other people’s dogs.

AP

A recent federal study found the Northeast, and most of all New Hampshire, had the highest rate of childhood cancers in the country between 2003 and 2014.

Now, the state's congressional delegation wants to know what public health officials are doing to respond. They requested more information on the issue in a letter this week to the federal Department of Health and Human Services.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

This week's new moon and the remnants of tropical storm Chris could bring unusually high tides and minor flooding to parts of Hampton this weekend.

Drivers on roads near Hampton Harbor usually notice when tides reach their flood stage of 11 feet high. Low-lying pavement can become covered in water.

Thursday night's high tide was over 11 feet, and high tides may hit that around midnight and midday through early next week.

National Weather Service meteorologist William Watson says there shouldn't be any serious impacts.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

New Hampshire’s timber sector is rallying around a plan to sustain the biomass industry that Governor Chris Sununu vetoed last month.

They filled a warehouse in Bristol Thursday night for a strategy session with legislators on overturning that veto and passing the bill – which would require utilities to buy more woodchip-fired biomass energy.

In rejecting the bill, Sununu argued it would cost ratepayers too much. But loggers, landowners and suppliers say the benefits would far outweigh the costs.

DES

Nearly half of New Hampshire is officially in a drought, with the whole state experiencing unusual dryness – and forecasts predict more serious, statewide drought by mid-fall.

It’s prompted state regulators to recommend limiting outdoor water use until conditions improve.

Despite a bout of heavy rain last month, the state is getting dryer.

All of Merrimack, Sullivan, Strafford and Belknap Counties are now in moderate drought, along with parts of Northern and Southern New Hampshire.

Anderson/SPNHF

New Hampshire loggers want the legislature to overturn Gov. Chris Sununu's veto of a bill to bolster the biomass industry.

They will make their case Thursday night at a closed meeting in Bridgewater.

Annie Ropeik for NHPR

Smuttynose Brewery is back up to speed on the Seacoast after being sold at auction earlier this year.

North Hampton-based Runnymede Investments bought Smuttynose after that auction, and brought in former Boston Beer Company CEO Rich Lindsay to head up the brewery.

NHPR File Photo

Concord is the latest city to set a goal of working toward using all renewable energy sources in the coming decades. 

Concord's city council unanimously passed a non-binding resolution on the issue Monday night. 

The new goal includes public works, homes and businesses, and covers heat and transportation, as well as electricity. 

Over the next year, the city will seek public input and write a strategic plan on how it could achieve the goals. 

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Governor Chris Sununu was on the Seacoast today, signing two bills dealing with chemical contamination and health risks. 

One bill could lead to stricter limits on PFAS chemicals in drinking water.  

Sununu spoke at Jenness Beach in Rye, near the Coakley Landfill Superfund site and Pease Tradeport.

Both are PFAS hotspots that have raised health concerns for neighbors.  

Hiveminder.com

The Environmental Protection Agency wants public input on its recommendation for cleaning up a toxic waste site in Nashua.

The Mohawk Tannery is a proposed Superfund site in a residential area along the Nashua River. It produced tanned leather from the 1920s to the 1980s, leaving acidic sludge, dioxanes and arsenic in the ground.

Courtesy Redline Guiding

The state is warning casual hikers to reconsider attempting what's considered the toughest trail in the White Mountains.

That's after the second rescue in two years on Mount Washington's Huntington Ravine trail.

On Friday, responders had to scale the cliffs that divide the trail to help two stranded women, both 35 and from Minnesota.

State Department of Fish & Game Lt. Mark Ober says the pair wasn't geared up for the trail's difficulty or for mountain weather.

File photo

Concord's city council will vote Monday night on setting a city-wide goal of using all-renewable energy sources within a few decades. It's the second time they've discussed the plan, and this time, it's expected to pass.

Rob Werner is a Concord city councilor who helped write the energy resolution. He says the first time council took it up, they heard concerns from the city's chamber of commerce and conservation committee, and that the plan came off as too binding.

Flikr Creative Commons / clrlakesand

Divers will be out in Lake Winnisquam this summer removing invasive milfoil by hand. It’s the first comprehensive attempt to manage the weed in New Hampshire’s fourth-largest lake.

The newly formed Winnisquam Watershed Network got $46,000 in state and local funds for the project.

They’ll send out divers from now until September to remove the feathery milfoil from mucky shoreline areas by pulling it out at the roots. They’ll also use suction hoses and, later this fall, herbicide on some denser growths.

Annie Ropeik for NHPR

Mount Washington has had three of its warmest July days ever in the past week, but it didn't quite break its all-time high of 72 degrees.

Weather observer Ian Bailey says they came close Thursday, hitting 71 degrees in the early afternoon.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

The state will hold a public hearing later this month on a private company's bid to buy Mount Sunapee Resort.

Colorado-based Vail announced last month it planned to buy Mount Sunapee Resort in Newbury, along with three other ski resorts in Vermont, Colorado and Washington.

Vail has said it plans to increase capital spending and investments at the four resorts by millions once the purchases go through.

William Sherman via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/cSbaXE

Soaring temperatures have led to scattered power outages for thousands of New Hampshire residents this week. Still, utility managers say the electric system is handling the heat wave relatively well.

In high temperatures, widespread use of air conditioners, fans and other appliances can overload infrastructure that keep the lights on.

The state will require more testing for PFAS chemicals at another former industrial site in Merrimack – the Harcros Chemical site, which is now the town's Watson Park.

PFAS-type chemicals are man-made, don't biodegrade and have been linked to a range of serious health problems. Regulators are investigating their presence at dozens of sites statewide.

Sven Klippel / Creative Commons

State officials say it could be weeks before they have a long-term cleanup plan after an oil spill at the Omni Mount Washington Hotel.

The spill of heavy, number-6 heating oil happened in June, near one of the hotel's boilers.

State waste management director Mike Wimsatt says the fuel, also known as bunker oil, may have been soaking into the ground there for some time without the hotel's knowledge.

New Hampshire Timberland Owners Association

Governor Chris Sununu is standing by his veto of a bill to boost the biomass industry – even as more of the wood-burning plants say they may shut down as a result.

A wood buyer for Bridgewater Biomass confirmed Tuesday that the plant took the veto as a signal about the industry's future, and stopped buying new wood in late June.

The Pinetree Power plants in Tamworth and Bethlehem did the same, according to spokeswoman Carol Churchill of their parent company, ENGIE North America.

Eversource

Eversource is doubling down on what it says will be the best way to run a new power line under the Seacoast's Little Bay. 

The transmission line known as the Seacoast Reliability Project is how Eversource wants to meet the mandates of New England’s electric grid operator.

First proposed in 2016, the project includes a mile of cable buried beneath Little Bay, between Durham and Newington.

Robert Lawton / Creative Commons

New rules took effect Sunday for managing stormwater runoff in dozens of New Hampshire towns.

The Environmental Protection Agency permit for small municipal stormwater systems will last until 2023.

NHDES

The state Department of Environmental Services wants to make its beach safety advisories more timely and accurate this summer.

As of midday Friday, DES had advisories posted for at least eight New Hampshire lakes.

Annie Ropeik for NHPR

A long-running debate is heating up on top of New Hampshire's highest peak. It’s attracting more visitors every year, but some fear its delicate ecosystems are at risk from proposed development and overuse. 

Scroll to the bottom of this story to see a timeline of the history of development on Mount Washington.

Joe Shlabotnik/flickr

The state says it wants to propose new limits on certain industrial chemicals in drinking water by the start of next year.

It comes after this week's big regional summit on the chemicals, known collectively as PFAS.

At the meeting, New Hampshire residents called for state and federal agencies to manage PFAS contamination more aggressively.

Annie Ropeik for NHPR

New Hampshire’s two Democratic candidates for governor have been hitting the campaign trail hard this summer – but so far, they haven’t had much of an audience.

Molly Kelly and Steve Marchand are struggling to draw attention to their primary race – while focused on targeting incumbent Republican Governor Chris Sununu.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

New Englanders had a chance to speak out this week about what they want to see in new Environmental Protection Agency rules for industrial chemicals in drinking water – but residents say the proof that they were heard will be in what the regulators do next.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

New Hampshire residents can have their say Monday night about future federal regulations on a class of potentially toxic industrial chemicals called PFAS.

Exeter will host two days of New England-wide public meetings on the issue.

It’s the EPA’s first regional public engagement on its new standards for PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

The federal government has published new data about the health risks of industrial chemicals known as PFAS.

The Centers for Disease Control study backs the concerns of some residents in contaminated areas here in New Hampshire, who say federal and state limits on PFAS aren't strict enough.

Many lawmakers, including New Hampshire’s congressional delegation, called for the study’s release after reports that the White House and Environmental Protection Agency had sought to withhold the data.

Governor Chris Sununu has vetoed a bill to expand electric net metering in New Hampshire, but renewable energy advocates hope legislators will force the bill through.

Ted Vansant runs a solar business and leads the state's sustainable energy advocacy group. He calls the governor's move short-sighted.

"I really feel like he's missing an opportunity to move our state toward the growth of good jobs, clean air, clean water, and true long-term cost savings," Vansant says. (Read his organization's full statement below.)

State Parks

 

New Hampshire is adding a new letter to its popular moose license plates, after selling out of two past letter combinations. 

 

The state has issued nearly 50,000 of the special conservation plates in the past 20 years. 

 

Now, state natural and cultural resources commissioner Sarah Stewart says they need more letter combinations. 

 

"The letter C for conservation - that was the first letter, then we added H for heritage - and now this spring, we've added P for preservation to meet demand," she says.

 

DES

Southeastern New Hampshire is under an air quality alert today as high temperatures continue.

The state says air pollution and ozone concentrations could reach unhealthy levels in Hillsborough and Rockingham counties due to hot, sunny weather, and with winds carrying pollution into the region.

Officials say children and elderly people—and anyone with a respiratory condition—should limit exertion and time spent outdoors

Ozone exposure can cause coughing, shortness of breath and pain when inhaling, even for healthy people.

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