Environment

Environment
1:19 pm
Tue April 9, 2013

ExxonMobil Found Liable In N.H. Pollution Trial

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.

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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.

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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.

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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."

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.


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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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