Environment

Environment
5:00 am
Fri January 30, 2015

As Kearsarge Solar Campaign Nears Deadline, Limit On Incentives Causes Uncertainty

Credit Julian- / Flickr Creative Commons

The New Hampshire Electric Coop will soon be the first utility in the state to fulfill a state-mandated requirement on how many customers are allowed to sell their solar energy back onto the grid. This has led some potential solar customers concerned about whether they will recoup their investment to bring their complaints to the Coop’s Board of Directors.

To get what this brouhaha is all about, you first have to know what net-metering is.

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Environment
4:39 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Should Canadian Hydro-Power Count Towards N.H. Renewable Energy Goals?

Credit Mac Armstrong / Flicker CC

State lawmakers are being asked to decide if hydro-power from Canada should be eligible for renewable energy subsidies.

The proposal was one of two presented by Republican David Murotake of Nashua that would make modifications to the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS).

He says lumping hydro in as renewable energy would drive down the cost of meeting the state’s renewable energy goals.

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Environment
5:49 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

DES: Without RGGI, N.H. Won't Meet Federal Carbon Goals

A proposal to remove New Hampshire from a multi-state carbon cap-and trade program appears to have little public support.The House Science, Technology and Energy Committee took testimony on the bill Thursday morning. Two Republican lawmakers spoke in favor of the bill during the first two hours of the hearing while several state officials and members of the public spoke against it.Mike Fitzgerald with the Department of Environmental Services noted that participating in the program, called the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative or RGGI , will likely make the state compliant with proposed fed

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Environment
5:10 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

Woodstove Change Out Program Launched For Cheshire County

Credit Gord McKenna / Flickr Creative Commons

Starting Thursday residents of Cheshire County can turn in old, inefficient woodstoves for a voucher towards a new cleaner-burning stove.

The vouchers are worth $1,000 towards an EPA certified woodstove, $1,500 towards a pellet or gas stove, or $4,000 towards a new outdoor wood boiler. In all $425,000 worth of vouchers will be given out.

Woodstoves built before 1988 are a lot less efficient and put out a lot more pollution than modern stoves, and since they are essentially big chunks of iron they last a long time.

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Environment
5:42 pm
Wed January 21, 2015

Fish and Game Weighs Allowing Trapping Of Bobcats

Protesters outside Fish and Game on Wednesday
Credit Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

In a meeting Wednesday, the New Hampshire Fish and Game Commission began a discussion on whether to open a bobcat trapping season. The proposal is far from final, but it’s already attracting the ire of the animal rights community.

Late last year biologists at the University of New Hampshire announced the results of a study, commissioned by Fish and Game. They estimated that from 1989 to today, the bobcat population in New Hampshire had rebounded from less than 200 cats to somewhere between 800 and 1,400.

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Environment
11:20 am
Thu January 15, 2015

Officials: Air Pollution Levels Unsafe Because Of Weather, Increase Use Of Heating Devices

Much of the locally emitted pollution comes from heating devices such as wood-burning stoves.
Credit Rich Misner via Flickr CC

The state Department of Environmental Services has declared an "air quality action day" for southwestern New Hampshire.

The state said on Thursday, it expected air pollution concentrations to reach unhealthy levels for children, older adults, and anyone with heart or lung disease such as asthma, emphysema and bronchitis.

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Environment
7:16 am
Mon January 12, 2015

If Budget Writers Sweep Dedicated Funds, Is It Legal?

While many funds were raided in the past ten years, three environmental programs - the Renewable Energy Fund, LCHIP, and the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund - have contributed 65% of the money raided by the general fund since 2005.
Credit Sara Plourde / NHPR; Data: NH Legislative Budget Assistant

It’s a budget year, and lawmakers will soon be hard at work trying to come up with a balanced two year spending plan. If past is precedent, one place where budget-writers on both sides of the aisle may look for money is from what are known as dedicated funds – pots of money raised by fees and earmarked for specific purposes. But this year the practice may face serious pushback.

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Environment
10:37 am
Wed January 7, 2015

Mason Residents Raise Objections At Pipeline Forum

Credit Credit Kinder Morgan / http://www.kindermorgan.com/content/docs/TGP_Northeast_Energy_Direct_Fact_Sheet.pdf

Some residents of the New Hampshire town of Mason say they feel singled out by a proposed natural gas pipeline project that would cross the town twice over.

Related: Sam Evans-Brown reports on Kinder Morgan's plans to move their preferred pipeline route to New Hampshire.

They raised objections at a public meeting Tuesday night.

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Environment
4:49 pm
Wed December 31, 2014

Ice Conditions Still Dangerous Across New Hampshire

Credit Flickr

State officials are warning ice conditions are more dangerous than they appear.

After an unseasonably warm December, a hard frost has settled over New Hampshire, coating many ponds and lakes with a layer of ice. That ice may look solid, but in many cases it’s not nearly thick enough for ice fishing or snow mobiles.

Kevin Jordan with Fish and Game says to hike or fish safely you need four to six inches of solid ice, and for snowmobiling you need eight to ten inches.

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New England Snapshot - Vermont
12:42 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

Weatherization Funding Rises And Falls As Winter Sets In

A home in the Northeast Kingdom is warmer in winter, after being weatherized through services offered by RuralEdge, a housing agency serving low-income families. The state's goal to weatherize 80,000 homes by 2020 is behind schedule, despite new funding.
RuralEdge

Originally published on Wed December 10, 2014 8:25 am

As winter arrives, many Vermonters are probably going to be shivering – indoors. The state wants to weatherize 80,000 homes, a quarter of them owned or occupied by people with low incomes, by 2020.

But that goal is behind schedule, even though some new money is coming in.

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Environment
5:28 pm
Mon December 8, 2014

Previously Rejected Wind Farm To Try Again In Antrim

Credit Chris Jensen / NHPR

A proposed wind farm in the Monadnock Region is resubmitting its application to the state. Almost two years ago regulators rejected the project.

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Energy
3:13 pm
Mon December 8, 2014

Kinder Morgan Officially Moves Preferred Pipeline Route To N.H.

Credit Kinder Morgan / http://www.kindermorgan.com/content/docs/TGP_Northeast_Energy_Direct_Fact_Sheet.pdf

A natural gas pipeline developer says New Hampshire is now its preferred route for a brand new project it hopes to build in 2017. 

Kinder Morgan, a Texas-based deveoper, had initially planned to route the Northeast Energy Direct pipeline through Northern Massachusetts. After grass-roots groups and several politicians pushed back against the plan, the developer began to explore alternatives.

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Environment
6:21 pm
Thu December 4, 2014

State Approaching Decision On Mount Sunapee Expansion

Snow guns and early season conditions at Mount Sunapee
Credit Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

  The Mount Sunapee Ski Resort is asking the state for permission to build new lifts and new trails. It’s a proposal that was stymied by political resistance in Concord for ten years. Now with a change of governors, a court victory, and growing local support for the expansion, the lay of the land for the expansion has shifted dramatically.

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Environment
8:40 am
Tue December 2, 2014

Officials Meet In Portsmouth To Discuss 2015 Shellfish Rules

Credit Min Lee via Flickr CC

New Hampshire health, environment and wildlife officials are holding a public meeting on shellfish rules for 2015.

The information session set for Tuesday night in Portsmouth will be an opportunity for the public to hear about a dye tracking study that traced effluent flows from the Pierce Island wastewater treatment facility to Little Harbor and areas of Portsmouth Harbor out to Odiorne Point. Officials say that study indicates that shellfish harvesting in those areas need to be closed.

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Environment
4:08 pm
Wed November 19, 2014

Cod Catch Limits To Be Cut By 75 Percent... Again

New England Cod Fishermen are again facing stricter catch limits.

Last year, fisherman faced a 77 percent cut in how many cod they could catch, and now the New England Fisheries Management Council has voted to establish another 75 percent cut. Together the cuts reduce the catch limit for Gulf of Maine Cod from 6,700 metric tons in 2012 to 386 in 2015.

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Environment
5:11 am
Fri November 14, 2014

As Snow Flies, N.H. Contemplates Using Less Salt

Credit Flicker CC

The southern tier of the state is getting its first dusting of snow of the winter season this morning. As it does, the first question on the minds of many is probably “how is the driving?”

We have never been better at keeping roads clear during snow-storms, but now for environmental and budgetary reasons the question is how to use less salt.

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Environment
6:15 pm
Wed November 12, 2014

'Polar Vortex' Might Be Click-Bait, But Its Effect On Climate Is Real

The Polar Vortex pushes the Jetstream South in 2014
Credit NASA / Flicker CC

There’s a cold snap on the way.

At least one town in Wyoming has set a new all-time low for the month of November, and that arctic air mass is now barreling its way toward New Hampshire.

While it’s unclear to what extent this cold actually is a piece of the polar vortex, that doesn’t mean the vortex isn’t an important driver of New England’s winter Climate. Experts are debating if more extreme swings from warm to cold are part of what a changed climate will look like in New England.

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Environment
5:08 pm
Mon November 3, 2014

Hillsborough County Latest To Be Put Under Firewood Quarantine

With the discovery of an invasive beetle infestation Hillsborough became the latest New Hampshire county under a firewood quarantine. The quarantine expansion went into effect last week, after Emerald Ash Borer was discovered in the town of Weare, which makes three counties now in lockdown. This means that firewood can no longer be taken from Hillsborough County and brought elsewhere.

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Environment
6:12 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

Executive Council OKs Wind Farm Funding, Clears The Way For Five New Turbines

Jericho Mountain Wind Phase II Project. Proposed Conditions with 85M tower. Site 3 - Cates Hill Road
Images captured from Jericho Power's proposal to the Berlin Planning Board

The North Country is on its way to getting a 5-turbine, 14-megawatt wind farm on a ridge called Jericho Mountain to the West of Berlin.

The city of Berlin is working with a private developer to build what’s been termed a “community” wind farm, because of its small size. Despite the objections of wind opponents, the executive council approved the final piece of the project’s financing puzzle Wednesday.

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Environment
5:34 pm
Thu October 16, 2014

Spilled Oil In Speedy Piscataqua Would Make For Tricky Clean-Up

Ray Reimold directs a Newington Fire Department boat during an oil spill drill on the Piscataqua river Thursday.
Credit Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

  At 4:30 in the morning, a worker unloading number six oil from a barge at the Sprague River Terminal in Newington, smells fumes. He finds a leaking pipeline, and radios to stop the pumping, but already there are an estimated 5,000 barrels of oil in the river.

It sounds scary, but as the crackling voices over the radio in the boat supervising the cleanup make clear, there’s nothing to fear. Before every transmission, they declare, “This is a drill, this is a drill.”

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Environment
3:25 pm
Wed October 15, 2014

An Unusual, Non-Lethal Idea to Deal With Connecticut's Pesky Monk Parakeets

Monk Parakeets get their name from the distinctive cowl over their heads. They're also known as "Quaker Parrots."
Kevin Burgio

Originally published on Wed October 15, 2014 12:14 pm

Kevin Burgio remembered the first time he saw monk parakeets. He was out bird watching "and I ran across this puddle that had like five or six monk parakeets drinking from it," he said. "I'm like, what the hell is that? Did someone lose, like, five parrots? I didn't know there were parrots here."

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Environment
4:28 pm
Tue October 14, 2014

'Scrubber' Cost Dispute Heard By Regulator

Credit Christian Patti / http://christianpatti.com/

The question of who will pay the cost of cleaning up emissions from the state’s largest coal-fired power plant is before the Public Utilities Commission this week.

“The issue that we’re facing here today is that as a result of increases of costs of commodities as well as increases in the engineering complexity of what we had to build, the price was higher than a lot of people expected it to be,” said PSNH’s lead attorney Bob Bersak.

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Environment
4:29 pm
Thu October 9, 2014

Report: Cancer Cases Avoidable If Well Owners Test For Arsenic

Credit Dennis Amith via Flickr CC

A new study out of Dartmouth College estimates that arsenic in well water could be causing as many as 830 cases of cancer in the granite state.

Related: Worried About Your Water? How To Get Your Well Tested

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Environment
5:35 pm
Mon October 6, 2014

N.H. Officials Seek Public Input In Ocean Plan

Credit Northeast Regional Planning Body / http://www.northeastoceandata.org/maps/maritime-commerce/#

New Hampshire citizens got a chance Monday night to weigh in on a first-of-its-kind ocean plan at a hearing in Portsmouth. Officials from across the region are working on recommendations on how to use federal waters.

This is a big committee. It includes representatives from the six New England states, ten Native American tribes, ten federal agencies, and the region’s fisheries regulator.

The goal is to balance the various uses of the ocean beyond three miles off-shore.

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Environment
9:32 am
Fri October 3, 2014

Environmental Group Loses Vermont Gas Pipeline Challenge

Credit Via Vermontbiz.com

An environmental group has lost its bid to intervene in a proposal by Vermont Gas Systems to build a pipeline between Colchester and Middlebury.

The Rutland Herald reports Public Service Board denied the Vermont Public Interest Research Group's request to intervene in a re-evaluation of the approval granted to Vermont Gas.

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Environment
5:37 pm
Thu October 2, 2014

Regulators Ask For Emergency Action To Protect Atlantic Cod

Credit Joachim s Muller / Flickr CC

Parts of the cod fishery could soon be closed or see tighter catch limits. The cod fishery has been in free-fall for years, but this week, the New England Fishery Management Council asked the federal government to take “emergency action” to stop the decline in cod stocks. That could mean closing sensitive areas to fishing.

Cod catch limits were cut by 77 percent in 2012, but Pat Fiorelli, Public Affairs officer with the council, says it hasn’t helped.

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Environment
6:15 pm
Wed October 1, 2014

N.H. Solar Could Double, Thanks To 'Group Net Metering'

A dump-truck empties fill into a decommissioned waste-water lagoon in Peterborough. The site will soon be the largest solar array in the state.
Credit Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

In Peterborough, right next to the waste-water treatment plant, there’s what looks like a giant mud pit, with puddles covered with thick green algae.

“What was here was a waste water-treatment lagoon with water depths of around six to seven feet,” explains Rodney Bartlett, the town’s director of public works, as he watches as load after load of rock and gravel is dumped into the mud. “What we have in process is the water’s been removed, sludge has been removed and the filling process has started, and on top of that will be a one megawatt solar array.”

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Environment
4:10 pm
Tue September 23, 2014

State Extends Firewood Quarantine To Rockingham and Hillsborough Counties

These box traps, which drivers will notice hanging from trees along the side of the road.
Credit Mike Gifford / EAB Trap

New Hampshire has expanded its firewood quarantine to Rockingham County and Hillsborough County east of interstate 293, after discovering an invasive beetle in Salem.

The Emerald Ash Borer – which has decimated ash trees in the mid-west – was discovered in traps mounted less than a mile from an infestation just south of the New Hampshire-Massachusetts border, in North Andover.

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Environment
9:54 am
Sat September 20, 2014

Granite Staters Travel To New York City For Climate Change Demonstration

One of many artist posters created in anticipation of the Sept 21 climate march in New York City.
Credit Via Creative Resistance

More than two hundred New Hampshire residents are headed to New York City Sunday for a massive climate change demonstration.

Organizers of the People’s Climate March – which include environmental advocacy groups, labor unions, and religious organizations – think anywhere from one to four hundred thousand people could be in attendance.

From the Granite State there are 3 full charter buses leaving from Concord,  another two are coming from Maine to pick up folks in Portsmouth.

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Environment
4:26 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

Five N.H. Businesses Get USDA Grants For Solar Projects

Credit Via USDA website

Five New Hampshire small businesses are getting over $163,000 in USDA grants for solar projects estimated to power about 180 homes a year.

The businesses are 959 Boys of Portsmouth, Conner Bottling Works of Newfields, Furlone of Spofford L.A. Brochu Inc. of Concord and The Storage Barn in Newington.

The grants cover up to 25 percent of a project's cost. The federal funding will be matched with nearly $500,000 in other funding.

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