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.

IBEW

Union workers at the New Hampshire Electric Cooperative will return to work tomorrow, after a two-week strike.

The utility says its board of directors voted unanimously Monday to approve the workers' new contract. 

 

Eighty-three co-op employees are members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. 

 

They ratified the new contract last week. It addressed a dispute over who should control future changes to workers' pensions. 

 

It marks the end of the IBEW's first strike in 30 years in New Hampshire and Maine.

 

Annie Ropiek for NHPR

Crews in the White Mountains will spend the summer repairing the oldest hiking trail in continuous use in America. Crawford Path has carried countless hikers to the summit of Mount Washington for nearly 200 years, and endured a lot of wear and tear along the way.

Now it’s getting a badly needed facelift, to mark the White Mountain National Forest’s hundredth birthday

Courtesy IBEW

A strike at the New Hampshire Electric Cooperative is over after members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers voted to ratify a new contract. 

The company reached the three-and-a-half year agreement with its 83 union workers Thursday, more than a week after they walked off the job.

They were picketing for more control of their pensions than the co-op initially wanted to give. In a statement, the union says the contract they agreed to addresses those concerns.

The strike was the first for the IBEW in New Hampshire and Maine in at least 30 years.

Joe Shlabotnik/flickr

Local water regulators from around the state will be in Concord on Thursday to talk about risks facing New Hampshire's drinking water system.

The state organizes the annual conference, focused on sustaining and protecting the state’s groundwater, with the American Ground Water Trust, a national nonprofit based in Concord.

The group’s executive director, Andrew Stone, says New Hampshire relies more on private or community wells than almost any other state – which makes safeguarding water supplies tricky.

NHPR File Photo

 

The New Hampshire Electric Cooperative says stolen copper wires led to a power outage for nearly 3,000 of its customers Tuesday.

In a statement, the utility says the vandalism caused tens of thousands of dollars in damage to a substation in Lincoln. 

 

Workers had to shut off power to repair the damage. The outage lasted about an hour. 

 

Local police are now investigating the theft. 

 

Via apartments.com

New Hampshire-based developer Brady Sullivan is facing calls for more investigations at a building it owns in Rhode Island.

The Environmental Protection Agency has confirmed a report that it's investigating potential lead contamination at the Harris Mill Lofts in Coventry, Rhode Island.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Concord’s city council wants more time to get local businesses on board with a plan to transition to all renewable energy sources within about 30 years.

Councilors in the state capital voted Monday night to get a fiscal review of the proposal before aiming to pass it next month.

Jim Peaco / NPS

New Hampshire’s U.S. senators are criticizing the Trump administration for reportedly blocking the release of new data about chemicals called PFCs, which have raised contamination concerns in the state.

Emails obtained by Politico reportedly show White House and Environmental Protection Agency officials citing public relations fears in delaying publication of a PFC study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Sargent Corporation

Environmentalists are suing over alleged water pollution at a North Country landfill.

The federal lawsuit, filed Monday against landfill owner Casella, comes from the Conservation Law Foundation and Toxics Action Center.

Annie Ropiek for NHPR

Residents in and around Merrimack are nearing the end of a two-year struggle with contaminated drinking water.

Hundreds of private water wells near the Saint Gobain plastics factory have been contaminated during that time with suspected carcinogens called PFCs

Chris Jensen / NHPR

Opponents of the Northern Pass power project are pushing back on developer Eversource’s request for a new hearing before state regulators.

The utility has argued the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee didn’t give the embattled power line proposal its due consideration before denying it a building permit earlier this year.

They want the SEC to set a new hearing and consider more specific conditions that could green-light the project.

IBEW Local 1837

Union workers are on strike at the New Hampshire Electric Cooperative as of Monday.

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers represents about 85 of the cooperative’s employees, including all of its linemen.

Local 1837 business manager Dick Rogers says negotiations on their next collective bargaining agreement fell apart after the utility wanted to retain the right to alter workers’ pension plans “at any time, for any reason” in future.

Rogers says it shows “disrespect” for the workers who walked off the job Monday.

File photo / Allegra Boverman for NHPR

New England’s power grid operator is getting pushback on a study that said some worst-case scenarios could lead to rolling blackouts in the region by 2024.

Jim Richmond via Flickr Creative Commons

Critics of the Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant voiced concerns about the facility’s bid for a new license at an annual federal meeting in Hampton Wednesday night.

Officials with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission say the Seacoast plant is currently operating safely, despite cracks spreading through some of its concrete.

creative commons

Update -- Tuesday, May 1: Co-op spokesman Seth Wheeler says the company and union agreed late Monday to extend negotiations by 24 hours, through Tuesday night.

It puts off the possibility of a strike until at least Wednesday.

Wheeler says the co-op's union employees may also work without a contract until negotiations are done.

Original story -- Monday, April 30: 

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Energy leaders from around New England met in Manchester Friday to brainstorm how to keep the region’s lights on at a reasonable price long-term.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Senator Maggie Hassan was in Nashua Friday to tout her proposed study on the renewable energy practice of net metering, which lets ratepayers offset their bills by selling power they generate back into the grid.

It’s commonly used for homeowners to save on energy costs with rooftop solar panels, but it’s possible with bigger customers and energy developments, too – depending on state laws.

Hassan, a Democrat, wants the National Academy of Sciences to study the issue, so states like New Hampshire can fine-tune those rules.

File photo

Eversource has filed a new version of its request for a new hearing on its proposed Northern Pass transmission line.

The state Site Evaluation Committee, or SEC, is already scheduled to discuss the utility's appeal on May 24.

But the committee hadn't yet put out its formal, written denial of the project the first time Eversource made that request, in February.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Supporters of Eversource’s Northern Pass transmission line want to remove two evaluators from the appeal process for the project’s state permit.

A group of business and union stakeholders made the request to the state Site Evaluation Committee this week.

The business group wants Public Utilities Commission member Kathryn Bailey and public representative Patricia Weathersby to recuse themselves from future Northern Pass proceedings at the SEC.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

A state representative's plan to spur more clean-up at the Seacoast's Coakley Landfill Superfund site may be scaled back after a Senate vote Thursday.

The original proposal would have gotten the state involved in forcing the entities responsible for the pollution to pay for more thorough cleanup. 

That measure passed the state House last month.

But the Senate opted for what the bill's sponsor, Rep. Mindi Messmer, calls a “stripped-down version.”

creative commons

The New Hampshire Senate Thursday put an end to one effort to expand energy efficiency funding in the state.

They voted down a bill regarding how the state spends money from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, or RGGI.

The proposal, which had passed the House, would have gotten rid of the RGGI rebate for residential ratepayers.

Selbe B via Flickr CC

Coos County officials have sided with the Mount Washington Cog Railway in a dispute over a trail near the summit – but the fight is far from over.

The Coos County planning board says the Cog didn't need a permit to clear the trail on its property, as long as it's used for maintenance and recreation.

They say it will need a permit if it's ever used commercially, but it's still not clear what that means.

Six New Hampshire towns are getting $700,000 in federal grants to clean up contaminated industrial sites.

The money will be used to address brownfields -- sites where the Environmental Protection Agency says redevelopment might be complicated by contamination.

The North Country Council plans to use its grants to do environmental assessments in Berlin, Colebrook and Northumberland.

The Southwest Regional Planning Commission will do the same in Hinsdale and Winchester.

EPA Twitter

The Environmental Protection Agency says it will treat wood fuels from managed forests as carbon-neutral. It could give New Hampshire's timber industry some long-term certainty.

Charlie Niebling has worked around the Granite State's forest products industry for decades. He says scientists have never agreed on if biomass fuels, like wood chips, offset more carbon than they produce. 

 

Niebling thinks biomass can have a net carbon benefit if it's harvested from a well-managed forest and burned efficiently. 

 

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Citizen scientists have begun another year of sifting through sand on Seacoast beaches, in search of tiny bits of plastic known as microplastics.

It's the fifth year for the volunteer-driven New Hampshire Sea Grant project.

Blue Ocean Society executive director Jen Kennedy says scientists want to collect, sort and analyze the different types of microplastics that wash ashore on the Seacoast.

A solar power developer wants to install an array on a sealed-off Superfund site in Londonderry. It’s one of the largest solar projects currently in the works in the state. 

U.S. Forest Service

You might see smoke rising or trails blocked off in parts of the White Mountain National Forest over the next six weeks.

The U.S. Forest Service will be setting as many as 20 fires across the park in an effort to keep the forest healthy. Fire management officer Patrick Johnson says the fires' locations depend on what the forest needs every year. 

US Department of Energy

Offshore wind supporters will mark Earth Day with a rally outside the Statehouse Sunday.

They want Gov. Chris Sununu to request a federal study of the Seacoast's wind potential.

Griffin Sinclair-Wingate, of the group 350 New Hampshire, says generating more clean power in-state will help Granite Staters financially and environmentally. And he thinks offshore wind is a perfect way to do it.

Annie Ropeik for NHPR

Eating local in New Hampshire can mean more than just stopping by the farmers' market. For more adventurous residents, it means foraging for wild ingredients – like seaweed, straight from the Seacoast.

NHPR’s Annie Ropeik reports this old culinary tradition is getting a second life. 

Jim Richmond

New Hampshire is refocusing its energy policy for the next decade, aiming to prioritize lower costs for consumers and to allow “unaided market competition” for all forms of energy.

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