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.

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New Hampshire has joined 48 other states and cities to sign a non-binding agreement to reduce carbon emissions by 80 percent by 2050.  The pledge is called the Under 2 MOU (MOU is short for memorandum of understanding, and “Under 2” refers to the goal of keeping temperatures from increasing more than 2 degrees Celsius).

Ron Sher; PREP King Tide Photo Contest

Thirty-five mayors and other local elected officials from coastal communities all over the country gathered in New Hampshire this weekend to talk about Sea Level Rise. They came from both parties, and they didn’t wind up in the state that hosts the nation’s first primary by accident. 

Basically anywhere with a coast was represented.

Mayors and other local elected officials from coastal communities all over the United States gathered in Hampton Saturday, hoping to capture the attention of candidates visiting the first in the nation primary state.

Selbe B via Flickr/CC

Officials in Laconia say they’re pleased with their first efforts at holding the New Hampshire Pumpkin Festival.

Eversource New Hampshire / http://bit.ly/201NMGe

If printed on 8 x 11 paper, and laid end to end, a single copy of the Northern Pass’ application to the state’s Site Evaluation Committee, would stretch nearly 4 miles. With 51 appendices spread across 35 volumes, each application takes up more than 20,000 pages.

When they were laying out the boxes of applications that needed to be delivered “it looked like we were moving,” says Lauren Collins, Northern Pass spokeswoman. 

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Solar energy is big business in New Hampshire right now. Enough projects have submitted at least preliminary applications to add up to more than a 400 percent increase from 2014.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

The Northern Pass has submitted its application to state officials.

The proposed 192-mile power line that would connect New England to Canadian hydro-power has been mired in controversy since it was announced in 2010. But with the filing of Monday's application, New Hampshire's Site Evaluation Committee now has until December of 2016 to approve or reject the project.

  Despite attracting heated opposition, a plan to allow the trapping of 50 bobcats every year will go forward following a Fish and Game Commission vote Wednesday. The proposal will still it still will have several public hearings before Fish and Game and a legislative committee.

Seven of eleven commissioners voted in favor of the proposal.

Carroll County’s commissioner Dave Patch said that if all fifty permit holders managed to trap a bobcat that would be only a fraction of the overall population estimated in a UNH study last year.

Allegra Boverman / NHPR

Recently, the Sanders campaign held an organizing party in Nashua.

There have been thousands of parties like these throughout the country, but in the beginning they were organized by local volunteers. 

Via USDA website

A compromise is in the works to raise the limit on the number of solar panels being installed on New Hampshire's electricity grid. The deal would likely result in less revenue for solar owners, but would allow the current boom in solar installations to continue.

At an annual energy summit in Concord Monday, Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley said a bipartisan group is working to lift the cap on a solar incentive called net-metering.

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.

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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.

https://flic.kr/p/4KCogq / 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.

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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.

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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.

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