Environment

Environment
4:38 pm
Tue June 25, 2013

President Obama's Climate Action Plan Comes Home To N.H.

Credit Steve Rhodes / Flickr Creative Commons

President Obama’s newly announced climate action plan could have impacts down the line for New Hampshire. The big headline for New Hampshire is that over the next two years the EPA will develop restrictions on carbon emissions from power plants.

“Power plants can still dump unlimited amount of carbon pollution into the air for free.” Obama told students assembled at Georgetown University, “That’s not right, that’s not safe, and it needs to stop.”

That raises questions for the state’s coal plants.

Read more
Environment
5:57 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Budget Deal Funds LCHIP, Raids Renewable Energy Fund

A big priority for environmental groups – The Land and Community Heritage Investment Program, or LCHIP – has survived through budget negotiations. But that win comes at the expense of a raid on funds set aside for renewable energy development.

Under the budget deal struck today LCHIP was allotted the full $8 million dollars that it’s expected to raise. The program uses funds raised from fees tacked on certain real-estate transactions to pay for land conservation grants.

Read more
Environment
5:39 pm
Wed June 12, 2013

Maine Town Wants EPA To Stop Border-Crossing Pollution

Credit Jim.Richmond / Flickr Creative Commons

Residents in the border town of Elliot, Maine have voted to ask the EPA to test air quality downwind of a Portsmouth power plant. Eliot is just across the river from Schiller Station, a three-boiler plant run by Public Service of New Hampshire. Two of its boilers burn mostly coal, and a third burns primarily wood chips.

Read more
Environment
5:30 am
Mon June 10, 2013

Gulf Of Maine At High Risk From Ocean Acidification

Commercial oyster cultivation has become the poster child of the impacts of Ocean acidification. Juvenile oysters melt away in just slightly acidic water, and on the west coast farmers have been struggling as climate change has resulted in more and more acidic oceans.
Credit Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

Saturday was World Ocean Day. Coastal and Marine scientists used the occasion to highlight their growing concern over Ocean Acidification, and it’s impacts on New Hampshire.

The laws of thermodynamics dictate that as CO2 increases in the atmosphere, the ocean will absorb more CO2 as well. As that happens, the acidity of the ocean slowly begins to rise, which can start to dissolve the shells of young plankton, the foundation of the ocean’s food chain. 

Read more
Environment
4:57 pm
Fri June 7, 2013

With Lower Caps Announced, RGGI Carbon Prices Climb

Credit Captain Kimo / Smokestacks

The price of carbon under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative or RGGI is on the rise. For some time the cost that a New England Power plant has paid for the right to emit a ton of carbon dioxide was bumping along near the floor price of $1.98.

That price has jumped ever since the RGGI states announced that they would lower the cap on carbon dioxide, bringing it in line with the lower emissions that have resulted from the region’s switch to natural gas. In the last two auctions, carbon has gone for $2.80 and $3.21 a ton.

Read more
Environment
6:36 pm
Thu May 23, 2013

Senate Sends Lower RGGI Cap To Governor

New Hampshire’s Senate has joined the House of Representatives and voted to ratchet down the cap on carbon dioxide restrictions under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, or RGGI. Because of the historic rise of cleaner burning natural gas, it’s been easy for  carbon dioxide RGGI’s existing caps. So earlier this year, the RGGI board asked the member states to lower those caps by 45 percent.

Read more
Environment
4:24 pm
Wed May 22, 2013

Lead Fishing Tackle Ban Charges Through N.H. House

Credit aaronHWarren / Flickr Creative Commons

The New Hampshire House of Representatives has voted to ban lead fishing jigs or sinkers that weigh less than an ounce.

The bill had a hard fight to get to this point. Last year it was scuttled in the House after passing unanimously out of the Senate. A big reason for that was opposition from the Fish and Game commission, an appointed body that many see as supportive of sportsmen.  That’s why Republican John Burt from Goffstown voted against the bill.

Read more
Environment
3:00 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

New Study: Lawn Fertilizer, Septic Tanks Big Contributors To Great Bay Pollution

The study modeled nitrogen inputs from Non-Point Sources, which is to say, it didn't count outflow from waste water treatment plants.
Credit NH Department of Environmental Services

The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services has released a draft of a major study trying to pin down the sources of nitrogen pollution in the Great Bay Estuary. The results offer some insight, but few easy solutions.

Read more
Environment
4:49 pm
Thu May 9, 2013

Fiddleheads: Tasty Forest Secrets

Fiddleheads, when fresh-picked, are a vibrant green. After a few days they begin to brown along the stalk.
Credit Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

Fiddleheads are the whimsical, tightly coiled spiral of fern sprouts that push their way up from under the layers of winter debris on the forest floor. They are also a regional and seasonal delicacy, and their season is incredibly short. In some Southern parts of the state, it may already be over. For any given fiddlehead patch, it can last as little as a week and a half.

That means for those who harvest the sprouts, fiddlehead patches are closely guarded secrets.

Read more
Environment
4:58 pm
Wed May 8, 2013

Hassan to Malloy: Hydro Doesn't Need Support

Credit Chris Hunkeler / Flickr Creative Commons

Governor Maggie Hassan has sent a letter to the governor of Connecticut, Democrat Dannel Malloy, asking him to reject changes to that state’s renewable energy laws, called the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS). The changes are seen as a boost to the controversial Northern Pass Transmission line.

The Governor Hassan’s letter says the Connecticut proposal that would allow hydro to be counted toward that state’s renewable energy goals quote, “undermines our common goal of fostering new and small-scale renewable resources here in New England.”

Read more
Environment
9:25 pm
Thu May 2, 2013

Connecticut Law Could Be Good For Northern Pass, Bad For N.H. Biomass

Credit Peupleloup / Flickr Creative Commons

Lawmakers in Connecticut are working to review and revamp the rules that encourage renewable electricity generation. And the changes as proposed could be good news for Canadian hydropower, and bad news New 

  Hampshire Biomass.

Democrat Bob Duff chairs the Energy and Technology Committee in the Connecticut State Senate. He’s also a sponsor of a controversial bill on renewable energy.

Read more
Environment
3:28 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

Stabilizing The Suncook: Pacifying A River Run Amok

During the 2006 Mother's Day flood the sand pit showed in the square filled with water from the Suncook's secondary channel (the smaller river that breaks off south of Old Mill Road. Water spilled into the main channel, and released the river.
Google Earth: 2003

Since 2006 the Suncook River has been on a different course: it jumped its bank in the Mother’s Day flood, and the state has been trying to stabilize it ever since. Now as part of a recent fine for filling wetlands, a gravel company will give the project 8,000 tons of stone for the project. But this is only part of a continuing effort to live next to a changing river.

Read more
Environment
5:23 pm
Tue April 23, 2013

Invasive Beetle Survey Finds Infestation Along Merrimack River

Ash limbs that have been peeled and found not to be infested by emerald ash borer stack up in a warehouse in Concord
Credit Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

A survey is now underway in Concord, to determine how far an infestation of invasive beetles has spread. The Emerald Ash Borer has been detected in trees up and down the Merrimack River in Concord. But so far the survey has not found any of the pests outside of a six-mile radius of the city.

There are 25 million ash trees in New Hampshire, found mostly in western and Northern counties. They make up about 6 percent of the state’s forests. But so far, the beetle that has decimated forests in the Midwest, has only been discovered in and around Concord

Read more
Environment
5:30 am
Thu April 18, 2013

As Water Infrastructure Ages And Funds Dry Up, Towns Struggle To Keep Up

The wastewater treatment plant in Manchester has been operating continuously for the past 37 years, and its superintendent Fred McNeill says its due for an update
Credit Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

Folks working in the world of water infrastructure have a joke: if all of those pipes, and storm-drains, and treatment plants were fire trucks, they’d be kept shiny and new. But instead much of that is buried underground, or kept out of sight in industrial parks, and often out of mind. So instead, tax and sewer rate-payers don’t worry about it until it breaks. And when it breaks you’ll know about it: sinkholes in streets, and backed up sewage aren’t pretty.

Read more
Environment
2:24 pm
Tue April 9, 2013

Prospects Good For Tighter Lead Laws

Stricter lead laws hope to reduce adult loon mortality. 49% of dead loons studied had been killed by ingesting lead, and half of the studied birds ate jigs that would be banned under this law.
Credit aaronHWarren / Flickr Creative Commons

  People who work to protect loons think that this year the stars could be aligned for passing a bill that would tighten restrictions on lead fishing tackle. The proposed bill would ratchet up restrictions on lead fishing jigs in 2015.

Read more
Environment
1:19 pm
Tue April 9, 2013

ExxonMobil Found Liable In N.H. Pollution Trial

Credit Via Flickr CC

A jury in New Hampshire has ruled that Exxon-Mobile must pay the state $236 million dollars to help clean groundwater contaminated with a gasoline additive known as MTBE. But the monetary award is by no means a done deal.

In a little state like New Hampshire, $236 million is nothing to sneeze at.

Delaney: This is the largest verdict obtained by the state of New Hampshire in the history of the state.

That’s attorney General Mike Delaney announcing the verdict to reporters.

Read more
Environment
1:15 pm
Tue April 9, 2013

Rising Tides In Seabrook: Is the Nuclear Station Ready For Higher Seas?

Looking out at Seabrook Station from a "wildlife blind" that NextEra installed on a nature boardwalk next to the plant. The plant might find water lapping at its toes during storms in the coming decades, but the plants operators are confident that it will well protected from flooding.
Credit Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

The Sea is rising. Satellite measurements have found that globally the seas are coming up about 1.2 inches per decade; a rate that has increased by 50% since before the 1990s. On New Hampshire’s seacoast, there’s a lot of vulnerable infrastructure, the most obvious of which is Seabrook Nuclear power station.

Seabrook station sits in a salt-marsh, more than two miles from the open ocean. It’s nestled behind Seabrook and Hampton beaches, and you can see the buildings of the strip in the distance.

Read more
Environment
5:51 pm
Mon April 8, 2013

With Borer Announcement, Merrimack County Under Firewood Quarantine

Kyle Lombard points out the "galleries" that Ash Borer larvae cut into the cambium of ash trees. This girdles the tree, keeping nutrients from reaching the trees extremities.
Credit Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

Merrimack county is under quarantine. Emerald Ash Borer, an invasive Asian beetle that has killed millions of Ash trees in the Midwest, has been discovered in Concord.

Once the beetle’s population has been established, they can spread incredibly fast, doubling every year. Today the state learned where the patient zero of the New Hampshire infestation can be found.

Read more
Environment
5:56 pm
Thu April 4, 2013

AG's Office Announces Settlement in 'Largest Wetlands Fill In N.H. History'

The Toromeo gravel yard in Kingston is the site where 12-acres of wetlands were filled over the years, resulting in over $1.3 million in penalties for the company.
Credit Google Earth

The Attorney General’s office has announced a settlement in what it calls the largest illegal wetlands fill in New Hampshire History. The company involved faces up to $1.3 million dollars in state and federal fines, restoration, and "supplemental environmental projects."

Read more
Environment
6:00 am
Sat March 30, 2013

Baby Black Bears Nursed Back To Health

Benjamin Kilham

It's cuddly work, but someone has to do it.

The Kilhams are those someones. Last spring, black bear specialist Benjamin Kilham, his wife Debbie, and his sister Phoebe, who together operate a bear rehabilitation sanctuary near Lyme, New Hampshire, took on the care of twenty orphaned black bear cubs - much higher than their usual number of charges.

Read more
Environment
2:40 pm
Mon March 25, 2013

Keeping Connected: Preserving North Country Wildlife Corridors

Pete Steckler does GIS mapping for the Nature Conservancy. He has worked to create a computer model of how animals move through different landscapes, and he says that rivers like the North Branch of the Contoocook can be thoroughfares for several types of critters
Credit Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

The Northern Woods contain a lot of the animals that are symbolic of New Hampshire: bobcat, otter, black bear, fishers, and porcupines to name a few. Many of these animals are mostly found up north because they need a lot of space to move around. One project is trying to come up with a plan to make sure that movement can continue.

Read more
Environment
2:48 pm
Wed March 20, 2013

Wind Moratorium Will Get A Vote On Senate Floor

Credit gsbrown99 / Flickr Creative Commons

Opponents of Wind Farms and of Northern Pass are backing an effort to explicitly require the state’s Site Evaluation Committee to consider effects on view sheds, home values, opinions of town governments and other factors, when permitting new energy projects.

One bill also includes an amendment that tacks on a one year moratorium on new projects while these changes are implemented.

The bill’s sponsor, Republican Senator Jeannie Forrester says people who worry that the bill would chill development should think of the chill she believes energy development could create.

Read more
Environment
11:54 pm
Tue March 12, 2013

Newfound Voters Reject Wind Farms

New Hampshire Wind Watch has signs sprinkled around the region. Opposing green "Yes" signs have been distributed by Iberdrola, and can be found in front of a few homes as well.
Sam Evans-Brown NHPR

It’s town meeting season. Around Newfound Lake Several towns are contemplating non-binding resolutions to take the pulse of voters on the question of wind-farms.

Read more
Environment
6:00 am
Fri March 8, 2013

Coping With The 'Crazy Quilt'? Towns And State Revamp Shoreland Protection

Thanks to a strong conservation ethic, Squam Lake is one of the state's most un-developed large lakes. But development is starting to threaten water quality of many New Hampshire water bodies.
Credit Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

Perhaps the biggest driver of New Hampshire’s tourist economy is clean water. Sparkling lakes sell boats, second homes, and jet-ski rentals. But keeping that water clean means smart development. As a new bill changing how the state protects shoreland works its way through the legislature, different New Hampshire towns disagree on what exactly smart development looks like.

Read more
Environment
3:52 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

D.E.S. Says Wastewater Infrastructure Needs $1.7 Billion

Historical Survey Results
Courtesy of NHDES

New Hampshire’s wastewater infrastructure is in need of $1.7 billion in investment over the coming decade according to the Department of Environmental Services.


Read more
Environment
4:46 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

Another Wind Farm Eyes The Lakes Region

Credit Donna Hiltz / NHPR

A group that opposes wind development in New Hampshire says another wind farm is in the works for New Hampshire’s Lakes Region. Members of New Hampshire Wind Watch say that a subsidiary of a German company, called Juwi Wind, has signed a lease for 1,300 acres of land Groton, for the purpose of building a wind farm.

Read more
Environment
4:29 pm
Tue March 5, 2013

Wind Moratorium Won't Make It Out Of Committee

While wind opponents were frustrated today, the committee's vote sets the stage for an omnibus bill to come forward next session to reform how the Site Evaluation Committee makes its decisions
Credit Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

New Hampshire’s legislature will not put a moratorium on new wind projects... at least not now. Today a house committee voted to work on the bill over the summer. 

Several members of the Science, Technology and Energy committee, like Meredith Republican Herbert Vadney, indicated support for a moratorium, because of the controversy bubbling around Newfound Lake.

Read more
Environment
10:52 am
Fri March 1, 2013

Who Needs Batteries? Seacoast Firm Stores Energy With Air

SustainX’s compressor is built from the lower half of a MAN Diesel Turbo engine. SustainX’s Richard Brody says this type of engine powers 80% of the world’s marine fleet, and is known for reliability.
Credit Courtesy Photo / SustainX

Solar and wind power are intermittent, and if enough of them are powering the grid, some kind of storage will be necessary. And storage means batteries, right?

Not necessarily. In Seabrook New Hampshire, a start-up is doing it with compressed air.

It’s pretty easy to see how energy stored as compressed air works: When you let go of a full balloon, it flies all around the room because of the energy stored inside. So if you use electricity to run an air compressor, you basically just need to find a way to run that compressor backwards to get electricity again.

Read more
Environment
5:44 pm
Mon February 25, 2013

N.H. Has Authority Over Any "Sizeable Change" To Portland-Montreal Pipeline

The Portland-Montreal Pipeline currently carries crude from Portland to Montreal for refining.
Credit A.F. Litt / Flickr Creative Commons

The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services says it might have authority over a controversial project to reverse a crude oil pipeline that crosses the North Country. In a memo DES says while pipelines are regulated by the federal government, it would need to issue a permit for any quote “sizeable change or addition” to line. It does not specify if it considers reversing the flow of the line would be considered such a change.

Read more
Environment
7:18 am
Fri February 22, 2013

Reaping What Winter Sows: The Ice Harvest

The ice harvest at Rockywold-Deephaven has been keeping the camp's food cold for 115 years.
Sam Evans-Brown NHPR

Camp Rockywold-Deephaven is a rustic retreat on the North end of Squam Lake. For one-hundred and fifteen years, the camp has been cutting and storing ice from the Lake to keep food cold in their old-fashioned ice boxes. John Jurczynski, the co-manager of Rockywold-Deephaven, oversees a team of about fourteen helpers cutting grid patterns into 12 inch thick ice, and breaking off the squares like chunks of Hershey Bar. The squares are floated into a channel; prodded into a queue with long hooked poles where they bob in place, waiting to be hauled away.

Read more

Pages