Environmental groups in New Hampshire and Maine want the EPA to investigate sulfur dioxide emissions at a power plant in Portsmouth.

Sierra Club chapters in the two states are mounting a petition drive.

It asks the EPA to look into the possible effect of the emissions on asthma cases in the Seacoast regions of the two states.

The groups contend that sulfur dioxide emitted by the Schiller Plant could be adding to respiratory illnesses, especially in Maine.

But Martin Murray, spokesman for PSNH says that an examination of the plant isn't necessary.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has announced cuts to the catch limits on Atlantic Cod for the 2012 fishing year. But New Hampshire fishermen got a reprieve, since the cuts could have been much worse.

Sam Evans-Brown


The New Hampshire legislature is considering a bill that would expand the state’s renewable portfolio standards. That means more money to subsidize renewable energy.

Supporters say the measure is a real boost to the state’s wood industries, but critics doubt whether the new subsidies are worth the price.

There’s a little something for everyone in the new Renewable Portfolio Standards.

Amy Quinton, NHPR

A coalition of Great Bay area communities is suing the state and the Department of Environmental Services, claiming DES failed to follow proper rules when determining water quality standards in the Great Bay.

Dover, Portsmouth, Rochester, Exeter and Newmarket claim DES violated state and federal law by not conducting a formal public process when determining water quality standards in the Great Bay.

As a result, the communities say they face unnecessary multi-million dollar wastewater treatment upgrades.

Jim Richmond

Anti-Nuclear groups are angered by a decision of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to exclude them from the re-licensing process for the Seabrook Nuclear Plant. 

A number of groups filed for intervener status so that they could file objections to the plant's extension of its operation to 2050. The coalition of environmental organizations planned to argue that renewable energy resources, such as wind power, could ultimately replace nuclear power. But the NRC ruled that their argument lacked merit, because that replacement power isn't available now.

Part of a series

Thanks to high commodity prices and surging productivity, U.S. farmers earned a net income of nearly $98 billion last year — a record, according to the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute.

Here's the secret of the modern dairy farm: The essential high-tech advances aren't in machinery. They're inside the cow.

Take a cow like Claudia. She lives at Fulper Farms, a dairy farm in upstate New Jersey. Claudia is to a cow from the 1930s as a modern Ferrari is to a Model T.

In the 1930s, dairy farmers could get 30 pounds of milk per day from a cow. Claudia produces 75 pounds a day.

To appreciate a cow like Claudia, you have to know where to look.

The mountain village of Kawauchi lies partly inside the area deemed unsafe because of high levels of radiation in Japan's Fukushima prefecture. Chiharu Kubota uses a high-pressure water gun to hose down buildings there.

Radiation is still leaking from the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, which suffered multiple meltdowns immediately after last year's earthquake and tsunami.

'Nothing Is Better'

Oil giant BP has agreed to settle thousands of lawsuits stemming from its well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico.

The deal was announced late Friday and prompted a federal judge in New Orleans to postpone a Monday trial, but the proposed settlement solves only one piece of BP's legal exposure from the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history.

WBUR Flickr

A Westinghouse plant in Newington New Hampshire is facing $82,000 in fines for workplace safety violations.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Westinghouse Electric for allegedly exposing workers to hexavalent chromium at its stainless steel component manufacturing facility in Newington.

In response to a complaint, an OSHA inspection found that employees performing welding work were exposed to airborne concentrations of the carcinogen in excess of permissible limits.

Hexavalent chromium can cause damage to eyes and skin upon contact.

Two controversial studies on bird flu will once again be reviewed by an expert committee that advises the government on what to do with biological research that could pose potential dangers.

The move is just the latest development in a fierce ongoing debate about genetically altered flu viruses created in laboratories at Erasmus Medical Center in the Netherlands and at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Part two of a two-part series on the Keystone XL pipeline

Gas isn't like a rare bottle of wine that fetches a high price just because it's rare. But at the same time, no one can agree what drives gas prices. Demand for gasoline in the U.S. is at its lowest point in more than a decade; domestic oil production is at an eight-year high.

Peter Gleick is not just any scientist. He got his doctorate at the University of California, Berkeley and won a MacArthur "genius" award. He is also an outspoken proponent of scientific evidence that humans are responsible for climate change.

And earlier this week, he confessed that he had lied to obtain internal documents from the Heartland Institute, a group that questions to what extent climate change is caused by humans.

A federal court in New Orleans is preparing for one of the largest and most complex environmental lawsuits ever to come to court. It stems from the worst oil disaster in U.S. history: the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig nearly two years ago and the resulting oil gusher in the Gulf of Mexico.

Testimony is scheduled to begin at the end of the month. The case combines more than 500 lawsuits in one proceeding designed to determine who's responsible for what went wrong.

photo: Rise

RISE takes listeners on a journey of the San Francisco Bay: underneath the surface to swim with harbor seals and phytoplankton, overhead to soar with a million migratory birds, and along the coast to explore marshlands and skyscrapers that ring the Bay. On the way, this program addresses the impact of climate change. Projected sea level rise, snow pack melt and increased storm surges threaten to flood the Bay’s coastlines, including roads and airports, shoreline cities, the Financial District and Delta farmlands.

The twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are the busiest in the nation. They also have some of the dirtiest air, thanks to thousands of cargo trucks that pass through each day.

But this month marks the beginning of a new era, as tighter emissions standards go into effect.

'100 Percent Clean Energy'

A common trope in environmental stories is to put things in terms of jobs vs. the environment. But that's not what happened in the case of the ports.

Yet another foreign government has accused Americans of meddling in its internal affairs. It says U.S. donors are bankrolling local political activists, and it may be time for a crackdown on the political influence of outsiders.

Politically, climate change is off this year's campaign agenda. Jobs, the economy and social issues are front and center.

But scientists are working as hard as ever to figure out how much the Earth is warming and what to do about it. Some now say it's time for a new strategy, one that gets faster results.

Talk to Durwood Zaelke, for example. Zaelke is a grizzled veteran of the climate wars: He was in Kyoto in 1997 when the world's nations drafted a treaty promising to curb warming, and he has watched that promise fizzle while the planet's temperature continues to rise.

Public Service of New Hampshire

The Environmental Protection Agency has released its 2010 data of the biggest greenhouse gas emitters in the state.

Power plants are at the top of the list.

The EPA collected data from nine different industries that emit greenhouse gases including power plants, pulp and paper mills, landfills and other industrial sources.

All told, they produced five-point nine million metric tons of greenhouse gases in New Hampshire.

About 40-percent of that comes from just one power plant, Merrimack Station in Bow.

It burns coal.

LCHIP's Last Hurrah? 23 Projects Get Money

Dec 15, 2011

The state’s Land and Community Heritage Investment Program, or LCHIP, has funded 23 projects across the state. But this could be the last year the program exists to help protect everything from historic buildings, to forests,  to farms.

The LCHIP managers say about $1 million in state money has leveraged about $ 13 million in projects.  Executive Director Dijit Taylor says one unusual site involves a farm on the state’s western border.

“It includes two islands in the Connecticut River, one of which has the potential to be a campsite for people canoeing down the river.”

A Carbon Tax With a Twist to Please GOP -- Maybe

Dec 14, 2011

If there is a patron saint of modern Republican tax policy, it is economist Arthur Laffer.  Laffer is best known for the  Laffer Curve – a graph of the theory that under the right circumstances, a cut in tax rates produces higher tax revenues.   The Laffer Curve was the keystone of  so called Reaganomics.

Laffer was in Manchester today to present a very different idea – one that so far Republicans have been slow to embrace. 


Scientists and commercial fishermen are at odds over a new report on overfishing in the Gulf of Maine.

A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration study gives a dire assessment of the health of the codfish population. 

At a meeting in Portsmouth, federal regulators met with fishermen to discuss the study that has yet to be peer reviewed. 

Jim Richmond via Flickr Creative Commons

Seabrook Nuclear Plant officials says the plant is continuing to operate safely.

The vote of confidence came during the Seabrook’s annual required press briefing.

Spokesman Alan Griffith said the failed cooling system pump that prompted the plant’s shutdown in October has been fixed. But he said engineers continue to assess possible deterioration of concrete under one plant section, an electrical tunnel.. Griffith says a core sample turned up what is called Alkalide silica reaction, or ASR .


Amy Quinton, NHPR

This week NHPR’s Amy Quinton has been taking an in-depth look at the New Hampshire’s Great Bay.

The estuary is one of the state’s natural treasures.

But it’s in trouble.

Yesterday, Amy told us about the role wastewater treatment plants have played in polluting the bay and how they now face tougher clean water standards.

Study Shows RGGI Saves Consumers Money

Nov 15, 2011

The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative faces an uncertain future in some states. New Jersey plans to end its participation and New Hampshire has considered legislation that would do the same.

But a new analysis shows the carbon dioxide cap and trade program has saved consumers money and created jobs. Under the program, power producers buy pollution allowances at auction for each ton of carbon dioxide they emit.

 New Hampshire’s U-S senators helped defeat a measure to unwind new regulations to clean up air in the Granite State.

The Environmental Protection Agency is trying to prevent unhealthy smog and soot from coal fired power plants in 27 states from spreading to other states. The EPA’s cross-border pollution rule would force those states to drastically cut their emissions.

But tea party backed Kentucky freshman Rand Paul forced the Senate to vote on unwinding those new rules to protect his coal rich home state.

White Mountains: To Log or Not to Log

Mar 31, 2011
(WMNF photo by Dave Neely)

NHPR is taking an in-depth look at the Weeks Act, the historic legislation that led to the creation of our eastern national forests.

The White Mountain National Forest, created in 1918, has been used for many different purposes including recreation, wildlife protection, and timber harvesting.

Managing all those different uses doesn’t come without controversy.

NHPR’s Amy Quinton looks at the role our forests play and what threats they may face in the future.

More than 26 million acres of eastern national forests owe their existence to the Weeks Act.

At the turn of the 20th century, forests in the White Mountains were being clear cut and many were worried about the damage logging had done to the White’s.  The Weeks Act of 1911, helped protect these forests by the purchasing of land by the federal government.  Over time standards were set as to the amount loggers could log in the state.  Although they adapted, there have been challenges to the industry.  There has been the debate over logging in road less areas of the White Mountain National Forest as well as the change in industry in the North Country.

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/scottfidd/with/3211176586/">scottfidd</a> vis Flickr/Creative Commons

In commemoration of the centennial of the Weeks Act, NHPR is looking at the impact the federal legislation has had on the state and its largest forest. The Weeks Act gave the federal government the authority to buy private land to turn into the National Forest system. While the law is typically appreciated by conservationists, it was business interests that drove its passage. And one hundred years later, the law has had a large and positive economic impact on the North Country, providing jobs and improving the quality of life. NHPR’s Chris Jensen reports.



<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/deerhake11/4569470696/in/photostream/">deerhake. 11</a> via Flickr/Creative Commons

One hundred years ago this month, the Weeks Act was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Taft.  It was designed so that the federal government could purchase private land, especially forests in order to protect them.  It also helped create  the Eastern National Forests which included New  Hampshire’s White Mountain National Forest.  One hundred years later, and as you enter the White’s you are greeted by a sign claiming that this is a “Land of Many Uses”.