Environment

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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."

Baby Black Bears Nursed Back To Health

Mar 30, 2013
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

The controversy over the development of wind farms in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire has caused a split in the state’s environmental groups. That split was on display during a hearing over a proposed moratorium on wind development.

A $900,000 river dredging project is underway in Newington.

The Army Corps of Engineers is the contractor for the federal project, which is intended to make the Piscataqua River more navigable in one area. When completed next month, some 15 thousand cubic yards of sand and gravel will be taken from the Simplex Reach, upriver from the I-95 bridge. Tugboat Captain Chris Holt says that the project will improve navigation for vessels in that area.

Right now, he says, the three shoals created by river currents can create a hazard.

Governor Hassan’s is proposing the state restore funding to Environmental groups’ first priority: the Land and Community Heritage Investment Program. The $4 million dollars a year for LCHIP comes from fees tacked generated by certain real-estate transactions. It’s supposed to go into a dedicated fund used to put land and historic building into preservation.

Chris Jensen / NHPR

For the first time New Hampshire has rejected an application to construct a wind farm. The Site Evaluation Committee, which decides whether or not new power plants and transmission projects can be built, has rejected Eolian Energy’s 10 turbine Antrim project.

Captain Kimo / Flickr Creative Commons

The nine states that make up the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative are recommending reducing the cap on power-plant carbon emissions by 45%. The New Hampshire representative on the RGGI board is Tom Burack commissioner of of the DES. 

PSNH

New Hampshire is about to start re-thinking its ten year energy plan. In a weeklong series, NHPR's Environment Reporter Sam Evans-Brown looked at where we get our electricity from and where we will get it in the future.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

For the most dedicated environmentalists, small scale renewables, right in our back-yard are the gold standard of energy generation. In the final installment of this weeklong look at New Hampshire’s energy future, we consider what a more distributed grid might look like.

Along with smart-grid, micro-grid is the newest buzz word in the energy world. Basically it’s a little island of power lines coupled with its own source of energy, that is still wired into the broader grid. They’re not totally self-sufficient but can generate their own electricity for short bursts when needed.

Eugene Hunt / SustainX

The energy grid is vastly more complicated than it was ten years ago. The old model was to plug in and pay for what you use, but now the grid is starting to ask for something back from consumers. This change is aimed at flatten the demand curve.

Think about how you use electricity: you wake up, turn on some lights, and maybe have a hot shower. After work you come home, cook some dinner, and watch TV. In the winter, maybe you heat with some kind of electric heat, or – even more likely – maybe in the summer you switch on AC.

Peupleloup / Flickr Creative Commons

Along the corridor of towns that would host the controversial Northern Pass Transmission line, it’s hard to find much support for the project.

But with power plants retiring and the slow growth of many renewables, all of those rivers in Canada look mighty promising to grid operators. As part of our weeklong series on NH’s energy future we ask does big Canadian hydro have a place in New England’s energy mix?

New England Fishermen Face Grim Vote On Cuts

Jan 30, 2013

New England's fishing fleet is facing grim news as regulators meet to consider steep cuts in catch limits that fishermen warn will trigger industry collapse.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

New Hampshire’s energy grid relies heavily on fossil fuels like oil and coal, and getting the grid off of those fuels will be a major hurdle in addressing the challenge of global warming.

But here in New Hampshire, it’s proving a steep challenge to get carbon out of the electric supply, without breaking the bank for customers or utilities. But that doesn’t mean that people aren’t trying. As part of a weeklong look at New Hampshire’s Energy Future, we ask what’s being done about CO2?

Efficiency First

PSNH

New Hampshire is about to start re-thinking its 10 year energy plan. But to understand the future of energy, it’s important to understand the energy past, and how we got to our current energy mix.

In the first of a week-long series looking at where we are and will be getting our electricity, here is this look at today's grid.

You flick a switch, and the lights come on, the microwave starts, the computer boots up.

But apart from knowing that yes, there are some power plants around burning various things to generate juice, how does this all happen?

Environmental Protection Agency

The EPA says that releases of toxic chemicals into the environment in New Hampshire were down in 2011. 

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