Environment

Flickr Creative Commons | Steven Guzzardi

This is the inaugural edition of a new segment we’ll be doing every other Friday on Morning Edition: “Ask Sam” in which NHPR’s Sam Evans-Brown tracks down answers to questions about the outdoors for our listeners.

Do Drought Conditions Affect Fall foliage?

Oh my gosh, Stephanie, Isn’t it a bit early to already be having fall foliage anxiety‽

SANBORN HEAD

An environmental group is challenging state approval of an expansion plan at the region’s largest landfill – Turnkey in Rochester.

The Conservation Law Foundation filed the appeal with New Hampshire’s Department of Environmental Services Wednesday.

It reiterates earlier arguments that expanding Turnkey Landfill goes against a state policy of trying to reduce waste. And it says the landfill’s owner, Waste Management, should address potential water contamination around the landfill before getting to expand it.

Hiveminder.com

The Environmental Protection Agency wants public input on its recommendation for cleaning up a toxic waste site in Nashua.

The Mohawk Tannery is a proposed Superfund site in a residential area along the Nashua River. It produced tanned leather from the 1920s to the 1980s, leaving acidic sludge, dioxanes and arsenic in the ground.

Via Youtube (Link to video in the story)

An invasive earthworm may be on the move in New Hampshire.

The University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension is hosting a public seminar later this month about a fast, hungry species called the "jumping worm" that was recently introduced to North America from eastern Asia.

Watch a video the worms here.

File photo

Concord's city council will vote Monday night on setting a city-wide goal of using all-renewable energy sources within a few decades. It's the second time they've discussed the plan, and this time, it's expected to pass.

Rob Werner is a Concord city councilor who helped write the energy resolution. He says the first time council took it up, they heard concerns from the city's chamber of commerce and conservation committee, and that the plan came off as too binding.

Flikr Creative Commons / clrlakesand

Divers will be out in Lake Winnisquam this summer removing invasive milfoil by hand. It’s the first comprehensive attempt to manage the weed in New Hampshire’s fourth-largest lake.

The newly formed Winnisquam Watershed Network got $46,000 in state and local funds for the project.

They’ll send out divers from now until September to remove the feathery milfoil from mucky shoreline areas by pulling it out at the roots. They’ll also use suction hoses and, later this fall, herbicide on some denser growths.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

The state will hold a public hearing later this month on a private company's bid to buy Mount Sunapee Resort.

Colorado-based Vail announced last month it planned to buy Mount Sunapee Resort in Newbury, along with three other ski resorts in Vermont, Colorado and Washington.

Vail has said it plans to increase capital spending and investments at the four resorts by millions once the purchases go through.

 

A new online guide aims to track the bacteria levels of the Connecticut River at nearly 200 sites throughout New England.

The Connecticut River Conservancy's "Is It Clean?" webpage lists results from testing done for E. coli at nearly 200 sites in Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and northern Connecticut. 

Sven Klippel / Creative Commons

State officials say it could be weeks before they have a long-term cleanup plan after an oil spill at the Omni Mount Washington Hotel.

The spill of heavy, number-6 heating oil happened in June, near one of the hotel's boilers.

State waste management director Mike Wimsatt says the fuel, also known as bunker oil, may have been soaking into the ground there for some time without the hotel's knowledge.

Eversource

Eversource is doubling down on what it says will be the best way to run a new power line under the Seacoast's Little Bay. 

The transmission line known as the Seacoast Reliability Project is how Eversource wants to meet the mandates of New England’s electric grid operator.

First proposed in 2016, the project includes a mile of cable buried beneath Little Bay, between Durham and Newington.

Robert Lawton / Creative Commons

New rules took effect Sunday for managing stormwater runoff in dozens of New Hampshire towns.

The Environmental Protection Agency permit for small municipal stormwater systems will last until 2023.

NHDES

The state Department of Environmental Services wants to make its beach safety advisories more timely and accurate this summer.

As of midday Friday, DES had advisories posted for at least eight New Hampshire lakes.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

New Englanders had a chance to speak out this week about what they want to see in new Environmental Protection Agency rules for industrial chemicals in drinking water – but residents say the proof that they were heard will be in what the regulators do next.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

New Hampshire residents can have their say Monday night about future federal regulations on a class of potentially toxic industrial chemicals called PFAS.

Exeter will host two days of New England-wide public meetings on the issue.

It’s the EPA’s first regional public engagement on its new standards for PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

The federal government has published new data about the health risks of industrial chemicals known as PFAS.

The Centers for Disease Control study backs the concerns of some residents in contaminated areas here in New Hampshire, who say federal and state limits on PFAS aren't strict enough.

Many lawmakers, including New Hampshire’s congressional delegation, called for the study’s release after reports that the White House and Environmental Protection Agency had sought to withhold the data.

Fred Bever / Maine Public

By Fred Bever, Maine Public

 

While the Trump administration is working to prop up coal-fired power plants, many states are on the hunt for renewable energy. In New England, though, a plan by Massachusetts to tap into Canada's vast, low-polluting hydroelectric dam system is drawing fire.

 

Jason Moon for NHPR

A new study says rising seas could threaten more than 5,000 homes on the New Hampshire Seacoast by the end of the century.

The Seacoast properties at risk from chronic flooding pay more than $33 million in property taxes, according to the national report from the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Nature Conservancy

A major study of the Connecticut River shows how its flow and ecosystem has been altered by dozens of dams.

The nonprofit Nature Conservancy worked with the Army Corps of Engineers to try and reconstruct how the Connecticut River might flow if not for the more than 70 large dams in its watershed.

Sanborn Head

The main landfill serving the Seacoast has gotten state approval for a big expansion, over the objections of some neighbors and environmental groups.

The 1,200-acre Turnkey Landfill in Rochester takes trash from the Seacoast and out of state.

Waste Management told New Hampshire regulators last year it wanted to add about 60 acres to its landfill in order to keep it open through at least 2034.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen is joining a legislative bid to get a federal study on certain industrial chemicals released.

The Environmental Protection Agency has reportedly spent months blocking publication of the report, from an arm of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The study reportedly shows that PFAS chemicals may pose more risk to humans than the EPA has previously said.

Flikr Creative Commons / Claudio Schwarz

New Hampshire's largest utility hopes regulators will revisit two big energy proposals – one dealing with natural gas and the other with Northern Pass – in the wake of a recent state Supreme Court decision.

The utility's filings this week seek to revive two 2016 cases where the Public Utilities Commission applied a view of the state law restructuring the electric industry that the Supreme Court overturned in May.

Screenshot via office of Sen. Jeanne Shaheen

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will begin planning emergency dredging of Hampton Harbor over the next year.

The Army Corps' 2018 Work Plan includes $275,000 for planning work ahead of dredging.

The funds will let the Corps assess dredging conditions and draw up a contract for the project.

New Hampshire's Congressional delegation has been pushing since last year for the harbor to be dredged.

LPC

This summer, the state is paying anglers to give up their lead fishing tackle, in an effort to protect loons from lead poisoning. 

Loons are a threatened species that’s iconic in New England. They can eat lead sinkers or jigs inside fish, or they might ingest bits of lead among the pebbles they swallow to help digest food.

“The smallest little split shot that you can imagine, if it’s ingested by a loon, is going to kill that bird within two to four weeks,” says Harry Vogel, the executive director of the Loon Preservation Committee in Moultonborough.

NHDES

State environmental regulators will ask a North Hampton car wash to change how it disposes of used water, after testing showed high levels of potential toxins.

The investigation comes after two types of contaminants – PFAS and 1,4 dioxane – were found last year in a North Hampton well that served Seacoast residents.

The pollutants were under state limits, but Brendan Kernen of the state’s drinking water protection bureau says the well's operator, Aquarion, shut it off anyway.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Neighbors of the Coakley Landfill Superfund site in Greenland are optimistic the site may see further cleanup.

They met privately with top Environmental Protection Agency officials Monday.

The group held a press conference at the edge of a brook that runs alongside the landfill and contains high levels of potentially toxic PFAS chemicals.

“While this may have been called an emerging issue some time ago, it is now a top priority issue for the U.S. EPA,” said New England EPA Administrator Alexandra Dunn.

City of Nashua

The city of Nashua is moving forward in its plan to reduce its carbon footprint.  

The Solarize+ campaign covers Nashua and Hudson, and runs through the end of August.

The city is working with two New Hampshire companies to offer residents and businesses discounts on clean energy upgrades – like solar installations, battery storage and energy efficiency audits.

Madeline Mineau of the city’s energy committee says the more sign-ups they get, the bigger the discounts will be.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

The Environmental Protection Agency will meet Monday with residents who live near the Coakley Landfill Superfund site on the Seacoast.

An EPA spokesman says the agency’s New England administrator, the new head of the Superfund task force and others will be in Greenland to fulfill a promise to talk with neighbors about their concerns.

People who live and work on New Hampshire's lakes will gather this week for their annual conference.

Andrea LaMoreaux vice president of New Hampshire Lakes. She says their annual Lakes Congress lets lakeside residents connect with scientists and regulators.

"We're all coming together to talk about not only how great our lakes are and celebrate them, but say hey, if in 25 years we want our lakes to be healthy, we really need to address some major threats," she says.

U.S. Forest Service

The last prescribed burns of the year are set for this week in the White Mountain National Forest.

The U.S. Forest Service has been setting fires since April all across the forest area in New Hampshire and Maine.

The controlled burns are a way of restoring habitat and reducing the risk of wildfires.

Weather permitting, North Country residents might see smoke or roads closed in parts of the forest on Wednesday and Thursday.

Burn season must end after May 31, when nesting season for the protected northern long-eared bat begins.

NHPR File Photo

Governor Chris Sununu has signaled he’ll sign a pair of energy-related bills approved by legislators at the end of session last week.

One gives lawmakers control of the system benefits charge. That's a small fee on energy bills that helps pay for energy efficiency upgrades for low-income ratepayers.

Legislators also voted to tell utilities to list the costs of complying with renewable energy standards on electric bills.

Sununu says that will help consumers understand what’s behind New Hampshire’s high energy rates, which are some of the highest in the country.

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