Environment

Jason Moon for NHPR

State and federal environmental officials held a meeting in North Hampton Wednesday night to update residents on efforts to address contamination at the former Coakley landfill site.

For three hours, scientists with the EPA and the state Department of Environmental Services laid out the work that has been done and that will be done to monitor and address contaminated water at a former landfill on the Seacoast.

Jason Moon for NHPR

As New Hampshire’s coastline prepares for a world with rising seas and stronger storms, communities and homeowners have different options, none of them simple: seawalls, raised structures, a retreat from the shoreline.

But some scientists in New Hampshire are pitching a more natural approach. All it takes is a little grass and some time.

Jason Moon for NHPR

Early this week, coastal communities in New Hampshire will experience an event known as King Tide. A King Tide occurs when the sun and moon align and their combined gravitational pull creates an especially high high-tide.

Melanie Tata / Flickr Creative Commons

Cities nationwide and in New Hampshire, including Concord, Nashua and Portsmouth, have pledged support for the international climate agreement known as the Paris Accord, after President Donald Trump announced his plans to withdraw from it.

Morning Edition Host Rick Ganley spoke with climate change expert Dr. Edward Cameron. Cameron is one of the architects of the Paris Accord, and he’s now a New England resident. He will speak on climate change at a meeting in Brattleboro, Vermont, on Tuesday night.


Via USGS.gov

Senate Democrats from New Hampshire have sent a letter to the regional Environmental Protection Agency office raising questions about its determination that a controversial landfill did not pose an "unacceptable human health risk."

The EPA made the ruling about the Coakley landfill last month and announced it wasn't recommending remediation of chemicals on the site. The landfill in Greenland and North Hampton is a federal Superfund site and residents have expressed concerns that their wells could be contaminated.

Ceyhun (Jay) Isik / Flickr Creative Commons

A Senate advisory commission next month will choose to fund several major projects improving drinking water across New Hampshire communities.

More than $200 million from a settlement with Exxon-Mobil over MTBE contamination has been set aside for funding these projects.

Robert Scott is the commissioner of the Department of Environmental Services. He’s also on the Drinking Water and Groundwater Advisory Commission. Morning Edition Host Rick Ganley spoke with him about issues with drinking water in the state.


Jason Moon for NHPR

Senator Maggie Hassan is criticizing the Trump administration’s plan to roll back the Clean Power Plan, an environmental policy of the Obama White House.

Senator Hassan made the remarks as she toured Brayton Energy in Hampton. The company designs high-efficiency, low-emission turbine engines.

Hassan says the Clean Power Plan, which required states to cut back on CO2 emissions would’ve helped protect New Hampshire from the effects of carbon pollution.

U.S. Department of Agriculture

The White Mountain National Forest has a new supervisor. Clare Mendelsohn succeeds Tom Wagner, who retired last month after 15 years of service. She served as deputy supervisor for the past two years.

Morning Edition Host Rick Ganley spoke with her yesterday.


NH Department of Health and Human Services

State health officials say residents on public water in Merrimack and Bedford have been exposed to perfluorochemicals, or PFCs, at rates higher than the general population, but lower than in some other exposed communities.

Blood tests from more than 200 residents in the two towns found levels of the chemical known as PFOA were roughly double what's found in the general population.

The contamination is thought to have come from a nearby Saint-Gobain performance plastics plant.

Jim Richmond

Federal regulators will allow the non-profit nuclear watchdog group C-10 to weigh in on a regulatory review of the Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant.

C-10 has raised concerns about how the plant's owner, NextEra Energy, is addressing concrete degradation caused by a chemical reaction.

Seabrook is the only nuclear power plant in the country known to be affected by this chemical reaction.

NextEra Energy has 25 days to appeal the decision.

Jason Moon for NHPR

Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency said the Coakley Landfill, a superfund site in North Hampton, does not currently pose an unacceptable risk to human health.

That message came as a surprise to some members of a task force charged with investigating a cancer cluster on the Seacoast. They have been arguing for months that the EPA needs to be more proactive in addressing contamination at the site.

NHPR’s Seacoast Reporter Jason Moon recently sat down with All Things Considered host Sally Hirsh-Dickinson to talk more about this.

Seacoast lawmakers want to take steps to ensure that a chemical found in water near the Pease International Tradeport doesn't cause problems elsewhere.

The Portsmouth Herald reports that two bills proposed by Democratic state Rep. Mindi Messmer of Rye would add regulations and create limits for so-called PFCs detected in local drinking water.

PFCs are considered possible carcinogens and are found in household items like Teflon.

New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services

It’s now common for the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services to issue advisories each summer, warning swimmers of bacterial blooms along Northeastern beaches.

Cyanobacteria, which is also known as blue-green algae, has become prevalent throughout the Northeast. Now researchers from Dartmouth, University of New Hampshire, and the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies are collaborating with the Lake Sunapee Protective Association to find out why.

CHRIS JENSEN / NHPR

State regulators will spend the day Tuesday touring part of the 192-mile route for the proposed Northern Pass transmission line project stretching the length of New Hampshire.

A judge on Tuesday ruled that a water pollution lawsuit against the Pease Development Authority can proceed.

The lawsuit is by the Conservation Law Foundation, or CLF, against the management of the Air-Force base turned business district at Pease.

At issue is storm water runoff. The CLF says the 3,000 acre property is discharging polluted rainwater into Great Bay without the proper permits from the Environmental Protection Agency.

Tom Irwin with CLF says it’s a problem that’s only gotten worse as development at Pease has continued.

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.

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