Environment

Wikimedia commons

Governor Chris Sununu says he opposes oil drilling off New Hampshire's coast, as the federal government proposes opening the North Atlantic region and much of the nation's coastline to oil and gas production.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management wants to hold two auctions for offshore drilling space between New Jersey and Maine, in 2021 and 2023 – plus four more auctions in the South and Mid-Atlantic.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

State lawmakers on Wednesday put off voting on the future of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative in New Hampshire.

They’d planned to consider two opposing bills about the program known as RGGI during their first session day of 2018.

One would have repealed the cap and trade program in New Hampshire entirely. Similar proposals have failed in the past.

The other bill would redirect the rebate money that residential energy users currently get from RGGI, and put it toward more energy efficiency projects in schools and low-income areas.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Dozens of bundled-up hikers tromped onto the snowy trails of five New Hampshire State Parks Monday, marking the frigid start of 2018 with the parks’ eighth annual First Day Hikes.  

The forecasted high at Wellington State Park in Bristol was only 3 degrees. Park workers handed out beanies, face buffs and hot cider as hikers headed into the woods.

Even the wind chill warning didn’t stop Kathy Bishop and Martha Doelle – both teachers from Enfield – from strapping on snowshoes for a trek up into the park's higher elevations.

via greenenergytimes.org

Two proposals in the next legislative session would slap extra fees on hybrid and electric vehicles, but but environmental advocates say it's an unfair penalty.

New Hampshire sets annual vehicle registration fees based on weight -- $30 or $40 for a small car, into the hundreds for a big truck. Then there's the fuel tax to cover road maintenance. But electric cars don't use gas, so they don't pay the tax.

NH Solar Shares

Plymouth will soon be home to the state's first small solar panel arrays designed to help low-income families. The nonprofit behind the project hopes other towns will follow suit.  

Solar Shares has raised more $115,000 for the arrays and plans to break ground on the first one, near the Common Man Inn, in the spring.

Via USGS.gov

Lawmakers will consider at least a dozen bills about water contamination and other environmental hazards when they return to session in January.

Ken Snow / Flickr Creative Commons

A hot mass of rock has been forming under the New England region for tens of millions of years now.

That’s according to a recent paper published in the journal Geology

Annie Ropeik for NHPR

New Hampshire's Great Bay and the Piscataqua River estuary have been in bad shape for years – and the latest data doesn't show a lot of improvement.

But scientists say there's still hope for the watershed, and they're trying to home in on things people can control.

Flicker CC / https://flic.kr/p/drsrm8

Construction of the state’s largest solar array is set to wrap up by the end of the year.

The project, in Moultonborough, will help power the New Hampshire Electric Cooperative's grid.

The array is the first energy source the Electric Co-op will own and operate itself -- it buys the rest of its power for its 84,000 customers, in 115 towns across the state, on the open market.

The new solar project will only cover about 1 percent of that load, but spokesman Seth Wheeler says it’s a long-term investment.

Chris Jensen / NHPR

Eight months of hearings on the Northern Pass transmission line are set to wrap up this week.

It's the last step before state regulators start deliberating on the controversial project, which is years in the making.

Mount Washington Auto Road

New research from UNH says the effects of climate change on New Hampshire could start to accelerate by the middle of the century.

Cog Railway

A dispute over a new trail atop Mount Washington will go before the Coos County planning board.

The Mount Washington Cog Railway cleared the three-mile trail for recreation and maintenance uses along its train tracks near the summit.

The trail runs mostly in a path left by state installation of a power line in 2010.

The nonprofit group Keep the Whites Wild says the trail violates county ordinance.

File Photo

People exposed to the chemicals known as PFCs at the former Pease Air Force base could soon be taking part in a new national health study.

A defense spending bill signed into law by President Trump on Tuesday included an amendment on PFCs backed by New Hampshire’s congressional delegation.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Former Environmental Protection Agency administrator Gina McCarthy told an audience in Exeter Monday night not to be discouraged by rollbacks of policies she penned under President Obama.

Instead, she said, they should take their own action at the state and local levels.

McCarthy is now a fellow at Harvard University. She said it’s frustrating to see the Trump administration and the EPA under her successor, Scott Pruitt, try to dismantle many of her programs, including the Clean Power Plan.

Hiveminder.com

The Environmental Protection Agency has named 21 contaminated sites across the country, including one in Nashua, where it aims to make quick progress on cleanup or redevelopment.

Mohawk Tannery is an old leather processing facility on the Nashua River. It was open until the 1980s, and used to dump chromium and zinc into the water.

A new report on the environmental health of Great Bay and surrounding waterways says those ecosystems continue to decline.

The report comes from the Piscataqua Region Estuaries Partnership, or PREP. The group is funded by the EPA and administered by UNH. Every five years, they rate the health of the Seacoast’s estuaries using 23 indicators.

Toppazzini / Flickr Creative Commons

A Portsmouth-based conservation group is getting a $25,000 grant to help clean up the New England coastline.

The Portsmouth Herald reports Republican Gov. Chris Sununu's Executive Council approved the Blue Ocean Society for Marine Conservation for the grant Wednesday. The federal grant is backed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. According to state officials, the grant supports debris collection, pollution prevention and public awareness efforts.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Eversource capped construction of a new high-voltage transmission line from Londonderry to Tewksbury, Mass., Wednesday.

The Merrimack Valley Reliability Project aims to make service more reliable and a little cheaper for customers in both states.

The 345-kilovolt line stretches 25 miles along state right-of-ways. Eversource says it will power up to 400,000 homes at peak demand.

Eversource paid less than a third of the project's cost of $129 million, with National Grid covering the rest in Massachusetts and parts of New Hampshire.

Amy Quinton, NHPR

More intense storms are making it harder for freshwater streams and rivers to act as filters for nitrogen pollution, according to a new UNH study.

The research suggests larger storms could cause more harmful runoff to reach coasts and lakes.

Nitrogen comes from lots of things people put in the land – like fertilizer and sewage. Rain and snow wash that pollution into streams and rivers.

But UNH researcher Wil Wollheim says those waterways can usually clean out the nitrogen before it reaches the coast.

Liberty Utilities wants to build a new natural gas pipeline between the Seacoast and Manchester, in an effort to expand the state's strained capacity for the fuel at the lowest cost to ratepayers.

Annie Ropeik/NHPR News

The state has three weeks of hearings left before moving into deliberations on the Northern Pass project – so opponents are gathering last-minute comments from residents on the power line's proposed route.

Keith Shields/NHPR

A Connecticut construction company faces $330,000 in fines after federal officials found its workers were exposed to mercury at a job site in Portsmouth earlier this year.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, says Manafort Brothers, Inc., failed to protect its workers from repeated exposures to high levels of mercury.

File photo

The state Public Utilities Commission has approved the $258 million sale of Eversource's New Hampshire power plants to two buyers.

It caps the years-long process of deregulating the state's energy industry, with this sale spanning the past two years.

New Hampshire is the last New England state where the same company – Eversource – owns the power plants, and the delivery system for the electricity they generate. Selling off the plants is called deregulation.

Annie Ropeik/NHPR News

Ossipee residents narrowly voted down spending $1.2 million to create a town beach, which would have been the first on Ossipee Lake in decades.

The contentious plan drew hundreds of people to a packed special town meeting Tuesday night.

Two hundred and ninety-seven residents voted for the beach, while 171 voted no – putting the plan just shy of the two-thirds majority it needed to pass.

Via The Cog Railway's Facebook page

A New Hampshire nonprofit says a new trail atop Mt. Washington was built illegally. The Cog Railway company recently cleared the three-mile path to the summit on its own land – and it disagrees.

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.

Pages