Environment

Downtown Portsmouth.
Squirrel Flight via Flickr/Creative Commons: http://www.flickr.com/photos/squirrelflight/1355544138/in/photostream/

The Portsmouth City Council has banned the use of what it calls ‘synthetic toxic pesticides’ in public spaces, citing concerns about public health.

The new policy is largely aimed at weed killing chemicals the city sprays on sidewalks and streets.

Portsmouth city councilor Jim Splaine put forward the motion, which was approved Monday night.

“We may be tonight adopting New Hampshire’s first very clear and strong position against synthetic toxic pesticides. This is a step in the right direction.”

Jason Moon for NHPR

Volunteers with the New Hampshire Beach Monitoring program are taking measurements of the state's beaches ahead of Hurricane Jose.

As volunteer Sherri Townsend explains, scientists want to know how the storm will impact the topography of the beach.

"We're just measuring if there's any changes in where the berm is, and how high the berm is, and the slope of the berm -- which is the high point, when the storm surge comes up."

A leaked memo from Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke shows he wants to go roll back some protections for national monuments designated by former President Barack Obama. That includes the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts National Monument — the first marine monument established in the Atlantic.

Thomas Kohler / Flickr Creative Commons

The town of Brentwood, which has a population of about 4,500, celebrated its transition from fossil fuels to solar energy Saturday, Sept. 16.

A public ribbon cutting commemorated the recent installation of a ground-mounted solar array that will offset nearly 100 percent of the town’s municipal electric load.

Malcolm Allison is member of both the solar and budget committees in Brentwood. Morning Edition Host Rick Ganley spoke with him by phone.

This transcript has been lightly edited for clarity.  

Concord joins Portsmouth, Nashua, Keene, and Lebanon in announcing its support for the international climate agreement known as the Paris Accord.

President Trump said he would pull the U.S. out of the agreement earlier this summer.

Rob Werner is a Concord city councilor.

xlibber / Flickr Creative Commons

Electric vehicle enthusiasts are gathering around New Hampshire this weekend for National Drive Electric Week.

Wikimedia Commons

Bedford lawmakers are urging Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics to connect properties with contaminated wells to a municipal water system.

Bedford residents are still using bottled water 18 months after finding out their private wells are contaminated with PFOA.

The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services requested Saint-Gobain put in place a public water treatment system for the affected properties in April 2016.

Keith Shields; NHPR

In light of the recent hurricanes slamming the Gulf Coast and Southeastern United States, The Exchange spoke with Perry Plummer, Director of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, Jonathan Winter, a Dartmouth professor who has studied increasing precipitation over the last two decades in New England, and two engineers, Jim Gallagher, who specializes in dams, and Fred McNeill, who works in wastewater treatment, about how well New Hampshire is prepared for major weather events. 

Flikr Creative Commons / Jim.Richmond

Gov. Chris Sununu praised a new draft of goals for the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a cap and trade program among New England states, as a step in the right direction.

Among other things, the proposal calls for a 30 percent reduction in power plant emissions between 2020 and 2030.

Jason Moon for NHPR

With Congress out on its annual August recess, New Hampshire’s congressional delegation has been enjoying more time in the state.

On Thursday, Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen spent the afternoon exploring Great Bay.

Senator Shaheen’s visit to Great Bay felt a lot like a school field trip.

It began at UNH’s Jackson Laboratory on Adam’s Point, where one scientist after another showcased their research on Great Bay’s marine life.

From investigating whether the invasive green crab problem could turn into a local culinary opportunity.

Jason Moon for NHPR

Democratic U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan says the Trump administration should endorse the findings of a federal report on climate change that was recently leaked to the New York Times.

At a League of Conservation Voters event in Portsmouth, Hassan told reporters that while she had concerns about the leaking of draft documents, she thinks the Trump administration should endorse the report’s findings.

The report, compiled by scientists from 13 federal agencies concludes that climate change is already affecting Americans’ daily lives.

File Photo

Federal regulators are tightening catch limits for recreational fishing of cod and haddock in the Gulf of Maine.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is reducing the number of haddock that anglers can take each day and it’s limiting the number of days they can be fished.

The agency is also continuing its ban on recreational cod fishing.

Wikimedia Commons

The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services says it is seeing an increase of dangerous levels of cyanobacteria in some lakes and ponds.

The most recent advisories include French and Keyser ponds in Henniker, Sebbins Pond in Bedford and Lee's Pond in Moultonborough. Warnings have been posted at sites affected by the bacteria and also at public beaches with advisories for fecal contamination, such as Opechee Park Cove Beach in Laconia. Conditions include surface scums, or streaks, or blue-green flecks in the water.

Officials with the town of Durham say they remain concerned about a proposal to bury a long-distance power cable across a one-mile stretch of Great Bay.

Efforts to clean up PFCs at the former Pease Air Force Base will be the topic of a meeting tonight in Portsmouth. Air Force officials plan to give an update on where those efforts stand, 3 years after the contamination was first discovered.

Hannah McCarthy for NHPR

As the proposed Northern Pass power line – which would connect New England to Canadian hydroelectric power – works its way through the state siting process, officials took opened the floor on Wednesday at a hearing in Concord to receive public feedback.

This hearing drew some of the most steadfast critics of Canadian hydropower: an indigenous community from Northern Quebec.

Over a million dollars is headed to New Hampshire to help protect coastal communities.

Jason Moon for NHPR

People concerned about a proposed utility project on the Seacoast gathered for a demonstration Wednesday afternoon.

Outside the offices of the Department of Environmental Services in Portsmouth, roughly 20 people held signs showing their support for the environmental health of the Great Bay estuary.

The state's largest utility, Eversource, is hoping to bury a portion of a proposed transmission line beneath Great Bay.

Demonstrators here say that could do permanent damage to the tidal estuary. Eversource maintains it won’t.

Photo courtesy of Chris Connors

Residents of Warner and surroundings towns have requested to place the Warner River under a state environmental protection program. 

The Warner River is a favorite location for trout fisherman and kayakers. Joining New Hampshire's River Management and Protection Program would mean that people who live near the river will have a say in conserving it.

Via USGS.gov

State and federal environmental officials are calling for new warning signs to be installed near a superfund site on the Seacoast.

Regulators are asking the group that manages the former Coakley Landfill in Greenland to install the signs at a brook near the site. They want to warn people that getting in the water may expose them to an industrial chemical with uncertain health effects.

apasciuto via Flickr cc

The New England Fishery Management Council is asking the Trump Administration to slow its push for offshore oil and gas developments on the East Coast. (Scroll down to read the letter sent by the organization to the Department of the Interior.)

An Executive Order signed in April urges oil exploration in the mid and south Atlantic. Currently, five companies are seeking permits to conduct what are called seismic surveys in these areas. 

Courtesy SNHU

A New Hampshire undergraduate has confirmed the presence of a fungus in the state that, over the past thirty years, has caused either extinction or massive decline in more than 200 species of frogs around the world.

That was enough to get Outside/In host Sam Evans-Brown interested.

Ian Sane / flickr, creative commons

A bill that advocates say would have improved water quality standards in the state will not become law this session.

The bill would have directed the Department of Environmental Services to conduct a review of the safe drinking water standards for perfluorochemicals.

These industrial chemicals have been found in communities across the state – including near the Saint-Gobain plant in Merrimack and the former Pease Airforce Base in Portsmouth.

Via USGS.gov

The city of Portsmouth and the town of Greenland are asking the state to help pay for public water at homes whose private wells may be at risk of water contamination.

Residents living near the Coakley Landfill in Greenland fear their private wells are drawing contaminated water from the superfund site which received municipal and industrial waste in the 70s and 80s.

Officials in Greenland had previously asked Portsmouth, which operates the only public well in Greenland, to extend water lines to about 300 homes near the landfill.

Downtown Portsmouth.
Squirrel Flight via Flickr/Creative Commons: http://www.flickr.com/photos/squirrelflight/1355544138/in/photostream/

Nashua and Portsmouth have joined a growing number of cities around the country committing to the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement.

In the days since President Donald Trump decided to pull the U.S. out of the global climate accord, over 270 mayors across the country have signed on to a plan to stay in.

Now the cities of Portsmouth and Nashua have added their names to the list. Jack Blalock is mayor of Portsmouth.

Molggl Interactive via Flickr/CC

In the wake of a bear family’s relocation after two cubs entered a Hanover household, New Hampshire communities are reconsidering their responsibilities as environmental stewards and asking the question, “What does it take to live with bears?”

In the wake of President Donald Trump’s decision to pull the U.S. out of the Paris climate agreement, officials in the town of Durham are looking for ways to stay involved locally.

Amy Quinton, NHPR

New Hampshire imports all of its fossil fuels, meaning a lot of money leaves the state to keep our lights on. Local clean energy companies want to change that, by transitioning to renewable sources like solar and biomass. 

Congresswoman Annie Kuster expressed support Monday for New Hampshire’s green energy economy  and opposition to Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord. Speaking in Peterborough alongside clean energy advocates, Kuster said the state should stay committed to the goals of the Paris agreement and invest in New Hampshire energy.

Britta Greene for NHPR

The EPA has awarded $200,000 for the redevelopment of an old paper mill site along the Connecticut River.

Figuring out what to do with old mill buildings is an ongoing - and expensive - challenge for many New England towns. This site, the old Robertson Mill, actually sits on an island in the Connecticut River, right between New Hampshire and Bellows Falls, Vermont. You can hear the nearby falls from here on the property.

"It’s one of the old mill buildings that this town, really...a lot of this economy was built upon."

The Otter, Flickr

By the end of this century, scientists predict the ocean on New Hampshire’s coast will rise anywhere between 4 and 6.5 feet above where it is today—a consequence of climate change. But when the sea rises, groundwater rises to keep up. That would spell trouble for roadways, even roads inland from the ocean, according to a new study from UNH.

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