Sam Evans-Brown

Environment and Education Reporter


Sam Evans-Brown has been working for  New Hampshire Public Radio since 2010, when he began as a freelancer. His work has won several local broadcast journalism awards, and he was a 2013 Steinbrenner Institute Environmental Media Fellow at Carnegie Mellon University. He studied Politics and Spanish at Bates College, and before reporting was variously employed as a Spanish teacher, farmer, bicycle mechanic, ski coach, research assistant, a wilderness trip leader and a technical supporter.

Follow Sam's tweets about the environment, education news, and everything else he's tracking.


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Kinder Morgan

  Late Friday evening the Public Utilities Commission approved Liberty Utilities' proposal to buy space on a controversial natural gas pipeline proposed for Southern border of the state.

If you want to install solar panels at your home, it’s about to get a little more expensive. A reduction in the state’s renewable energy rebate goes into effect Thursday. The previous rebate was $.75 per watt, maxing out at $3,750, whereas the new one will be $.50 a watt, with a maximum of $2,500.

Saratoga Associates

A proposal to construct 9 large wind turbines in Southwestern New Hampshire will be allowed to go before state regulators again. The Site Evaluation Committee has decided the previously rejected Antrim wind farm has changed its proposal enough to get a second chance.

Eolian Renewable Energy’s original proposal for the Antrim wind farm was for ten-turbines, and to produce 30 megawatts on the windiest days. State Regulators rejected the project in 2013 because of the aesthetic impact it would have had on the region.

For most New Hampshire residents, electricity should be less expensive this winter than last. At least, that's the indication based on recent rate requests from some of the state's largest electric utilities.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

Staff at the Public Utilities Commission say a grand bargain struck earlier this year to sell Eversource’s New Hampshire fleet of power plants may not be in the best interest of rate-payers.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

Apple growers say good growing weather means they are expecting a bumper crop this year, but when the pick-your-own customers get to the orchards they may notice some changes.

Ella NIlsen / NHPR

A coalition of New Hampshire businesses has released a report urging other local companies to take action on climate change. The group is looking to re-frame the issue as a financial risk.

The report flows from a closed door meeting where representatives of around 100 New Hampshire businesses were invited to come and talk climate change.

“Basically to complain about a bunch of things we saw in the state in terms of dealing with increasing weather events that affect our business,” says developer and hotel owner Steve Duprey, co-chair of the group.

MattBritt00 via Flickr Creative Commons

Dartmouth College has released the results of a major survey which finds that more than 1 in 4 female undergraduates at the school have been victims of some sort of unwanted sexual encounter.

Allegra Boverman / NHPR

Bernie Sanders took his campaign for the Democratic nomination for President to the University of New Hampshire Sunday evening for the first time this primary season. The result: a big, enthusiastic crowd.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

When hurricanes or other large storms roll in, we often focus on the human toll-- buildings destroyed, properties damaged.

But those same storms can also wreak havoc on ecosystems and the plants that are their foundation. And if a native system is wiped out, will it bounce back? One conservation group is trying to create a repository of native New England seeds, which can be used for just that purpose. / Flicker CC

Two electric utilities, Eversource Energy and National Grid, have teamed up with a pipeline developer, Spectra, to propose an upgrade to a natural gas pipeline that passes through Eastern Massachusetts. But before that project can proceed, Eversource needed a question answered from regulators: legally, can an electric utility buy space on a natural gas pipeline?

File photo

Federal officials announced Friday they won’t be listing the New England Cottontail Rabbit as an endangered species. The news underscores how states are increasingly doing everything possible to turn declining species around before they incur the restrictions the Endangered Species Act can bring.

The New England Cottontail has been a candidate for listing as a federally endangered species since 2006. The big culprit: the slow erosion of the rabbits’ habitat as the region’s forests have been allowed to gradually mature.

Consumer Energy / Flicker CC

Natural-gas pipeline developer Kinder Morgan is teaming up with the New Hampshire Building Trades Council on the proposed Northeast Energy Direct Pipeline. The deal is likely to guarantee the support of major labor unions for the controversial project.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

Wednesday night marked the first in a series of open houses during which Eversource is presenting its latest proposal for a power line that will connect the massive hydro-electric dams of Quebec all the way down to the town of Deerfield, New Hampshire.

Flickr CC /

As hunters head out into the New Hampshire woods today for the first day of bear season, they may have a harder time finding their quarry. Not only is there a new ban on using chocolate as bait, but it’s been a good year for natural bear sustenance.

Last year, bear hunters took 784 bears, up 20 percent from the year before. This year, Fish and Game Bear Biologist Andy Timmins says the number will likely be lower, as there’s a bumper crop of acorns, beech nuts and berries out in the woods.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

If you’ve got an issue -- a single issue -- you want to bring to the nation’s attention, there’s no better place to be right now than New Hampshire.  

The state's position as host of the first presidential primary gives enterprising advocates a chance to seize the attention of would-be White House occupants. But the issues now jockeying for position seem to be proliferating, and advocates' tactics often undercut the image of New Hampshire as a bastion of spontaneous encounters between candidates and ordinary voters.

Chris Jensen/NHPR

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders was back in New Hampshire yesterday, in a swing that took him through the North Country. Over the course of the day, Sanders did his best to stick to the issues, even as continued questions about the Democratic horse-race swirl around the campaign.

Allegra Boverman / NHPR

Former Democratic congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter has filed paperwork clearing the way for another shot at the seat she lost in 2014.

All eyes have been on the District 1 seat since the Federal Elections Commission ruled earlier this spring that embattled Republican incumbent Frank Guinta had accepted an illegal campaign contribution from his parents.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

In this year’s Democratic primary, several candidates have made action on climate change a major part of their campaign. This time around they think it could be a winning issue for them in the general election, and they’re also more comfortable using it to draw distinctions between each other.

Flicker CC /

By all accounts, New Hampshire’s solar industry has started to accelerate in a big way. This year New Hampshire is on track to see a five-fold expansion in the number of solar farms in state since last fall. While that may be the case now, many in the industry say solar is racing towards a brick wall.

Here’s why.

Solar power is supported by a collage of incentives in New Hampshire: There are state rebates for smaller projects, state grants for larger ones, a federal investment tax credit, and renewable energy credits that owners can sell.

Flkr Creative Commons / PSNH

The final version of the Obama administration’s regulations on carbon emissions from power plants, which were released Monday, set a substantially softer goal for New Hampshire. State officials are confident they can achieve the reductions.

  While nation-wide the so-called Clean Power Plan calls for a 32 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2030, in New Hampshire is slightly less than 15 percent.

Governor Maggie Hassan and Senator Jeanne Shaheen gathered with law enforcement officials in Laconia Monday to push for more funding for substance abuse treatment and prevention. The group says politics is standing in the way of progress in confronting the city’s heroin epidemic.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

The room at Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester had 400 seats set out for Bernie Sanders’ town hall meeting on Saturday; all of them were full and people were standing in the aisles. They’ve come for the message Sanders has been delivering with the consistency of a jackhammer for his whole political career.

Allegra Boverman / NHPR

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is back in the Granite State this weekend.

Saturday Sanders collected the endorsement of a major environmental Group, the Friends of the Earth, in Concord, before heading to town hall meetings in Manchester and Exeter. Sunday he’ll do three more town hall meetings in Rollinsford, Franklin and Claremont.

His early stops drew big crowds. “A lot has happened in three months,” he joked in Manchester, “Something happened on the way to a coronation.”


When Ted Diers, the watershed bureau administrator with DES, first started working at New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services a few years ago, he spotted an employee walking down the hall with a bucket.

Diers asked him where the bucket was headed and learned that since 1972 employees had been sampling rainwater on the roof of the building for its acidity and for various pollutants.

“And so I said, ‘Wow, that’s a great data set. What do we do with it?’” Diers recalls, “and he said, ‘Well, really nothing.’”

Courtesy: NH Agricultural Research Station

Walking in among the rows of more than a 100-varieties of cold-hardy kiwis planted at his UNH observational vineyard, Professor Iago Hale says forget those fuzzy brown kiwis, if you really want flavor, try his plants. 

“Right off the bat you’re dealing with a much, much sweeter fruit, but it’s not cloyingly sweet,” he says squinting against the morning sun, “It also has a lot of acid to it, so it has this really complex flavor to it, a lot of tropical kind of flavors: pineapple, mango, papaya – I mean they’re amazing!” / Flicker CC

This story starts with with John Ramaska, of Manchester, and any customer like him. A while back, he wanted to switch to heating his house with natural gas.

“My neighbor in back of me right over here has gas, so I’m in between gas and gas. No big deal, this is great!” he says, describing his thinking at the time.

But then he found out the pipe that connected him to the gas main wasn’t up to code, and he’d have to get a new hot water heater, and in the end Ramaska didn’t make the change. / Flicker CC

State officials announced Monday that the state’s renewable energy fund, which provides rebates for people putting solar panels on their roofs or installing high efficiency wood-fired boilers, earned $4.38 million dollars last year.

That might sound like a lot, but it’s a drop of 75% from the previous year.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

  Tom Steyer, the billionaire who poured more than $70 million into an effort to make climate change a top issue in the 2014 elections, was back in the Granite State Friday.

He toured Conner Bottling Works in Newfields, a soda-maker which covered its roof in solar panels.

“Why come all the way from California to New Hampshire?” he said in response to a reporter’s question during a round-table, which elicited chuckles from the crowd.

“Other than the beautiful day, the great business and the charming people, is that your question?” he joked.


The invasive beetle that has devastated ash trees in the Midwest is now confirmed in a fourth county here in New Hampshire. State officials have found Emerald Ash Borer in a box trap in the town of Gilmanton.

On Monday, a quarantine which prohibits taking wood across county lines will extend to Belknap county.

New Hampshire’s State Entomologist, Piera Siegert, says the pest has also been found in Hillsborough, Rockingham and Merrimack County. The infestation appears to be clustered in the center of the state.