Environment

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”.

If we could travel back in time 100 years, the landscape we’d see in Northern New Hampshire would be quite different from what it is today.

Many of the mountains that we know as covered with forests, would be stripped bare.

Some would be scarred from recent fires.

What changed much of that landscape was a piece of legislation called the Weeks Act.

The law gave the federal government the right to buy private land….and turn it into our eastern national forests.

That law turns 100 this month.

Urban Sprouts

Mar 24, 2011

A composite of the voices, poetry, and free-styles of young men who are residents in a youth detention facility located in the mountains south of San Francisco. The young men participate in a garden and nutrition education program with Urban Sprouts.

Environmental Guilty Pleasures

Mar 24, 2011

Some of us are well-meaning earth-lovers. We want to be model green citizens, but we don’t quite hit the mark all of the time. We’re not alone, as Devon Dennison and Kellie Blauvelt from Weekday High in Seattle, Washington, found out.

A Little Flushed Up

Mar 24, 2011

Did you know that one in three people in the world does not have access to a toilet? That means environmental and health hazards that most of us wouldn't have thought of. Sara Zhang from Carmel High School's WHJE youth radio station in Carmel, Indiana, tells us more.

From Cafeteria to Compost

Mar 24, 2011

We asked youth radio groups from Portland, Maine, to Seattle, Washington, to pick a product or a pastime and size up its green credentials. What they learned surprised us - like this piece from Zoe Sheinkopf from public radio station KUOW’s weekday high radio training program in Seattle, Washington. She followed the leftovers from a local university cafeteria to a distant compost heap to find out what becomes of all that waste, and to weigh the economic and environmental advantages of composting over just chucking garbage in the trash.

Getting Real About Greenwashing

Mar 24, 2011

We're hearing from teens across the United States who are getting to the heart of what’s really good for the planet… and what just might look that way. Here’s one Maine high school student’s critical take on greenwashing, the corporate practice of making green claims about products and services that might or might not live up to their marketing.

Isaac Woodbury High is a reporter from Blunt Youth Radio in Portland, Maine, a youth radio program that hosts a weekly public affairs call-in show. Isaac took a look at Wal-Mart’s green initiatives and filed this story.

Turf or Grass?

Mar 24, 2011

Eitan Stern-Robbins and Camara Langford from Terrascope Youth Radio at MIT put together a contest of sorts. Which is better for the environment: turf, or grass?

Making Water a Universal Right

Mar 24, 2011

A look at access to fresh water from youth producer Dolna Smithback from the Youth Media Project in Santa Fe, New Mexico, which celebrates youth voices and fosters youth-produced media. In 2009, Dolna traveled to the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Melbourne, Australia, to find out how other nations value water—and cope with its scarcity.

Fresh Greens 2.0

Mar 24, 2011

In the second special from NHPR, Generation PRX and Terrascope Youth Radio at MIT, youth radio producers reflect on this question and seek out programs and efforts designed to have a positive impact on the environment.

The Weeks Act Turns 100

Mar 1, 2011
<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/deerhake11/4569470696/in/photostream/">deekhake. 11</a> via Flickr/Creative Commons

This historic piece of legislation created the country’s eastern national forests and New Hampshire’s own White Mountain National Forest. We talk with a US Forest Service expert on how the act has influenced New Hampshire’s environment and why it has remained such an important part of the country's conservation landscape.

Guest

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/compasspointsmedia/4102268640/">Compass Points Media</a> via Flickr/Creative Commons

Today is the 100th anniversary of the passage of the Weeks Act, which permitted the federal government to purchase private land, protecting forests and watersheds in the Eastern United States. The act has been called one of the most successful pieces of conservation legislation in the nation’s history. It safeguards habitats for hundreds of species, and recreation space for millions, including miles of the Appalachian Trail. The trail meanders through twelve states and thousands of acres of federally conserved land.

Courtesy of The Weeks Estate

Lancaster’s John Weeks, who was responsible for the Weeks Act of 1911 that gave the government the authority to create national forests, appreciated nature but wasn’t a hardcore environmentalist, according to a historian who is also his great granddaughter.

 “He, himself was a businessman. He did not claim to be a conservationist in the classic sense of the word, certainly not in our sense,” said Rebecca Weeks Sherrill More. “But I think it is important that as a good businessman he understood that conservation was good business”

The Weeks Act created the country’s eastern national forests and New Hampshire’s own White Mountain National Forest. In this ongoing series, NHPR looks at how the Weeks Act has affected the Granite State. 

Help us tell the story: share your connection to  New Hampshire's forests through the Public Insight Network

 

Series Stories:

On March 1st, 100 years ago President William Howard Taft signed the Weeks Act into law.

The historic legislation led to the creation of our eastern national forests.

Much of the effort to pass the law began here in New Hampshire, as a reaction to widespread deforestation.

New Hampshire Public Radio’s Amy Quinton has this look back.

Some historians dub the Weeks Act one of the most important pieces of environmental legislation in the 20thcentury.

Amy Quinton, NHPR

This week, NHPR’s Amy Quinton has been taking a look at some of the challenges facing the Great Bay estuary.

Earlier she reported on how pollution is killing the bay’s eelgrass, a source of food and habitat for wildlife.

But the Bay also has lost most of its oysters, which help filter the water.
Pollution, disease, and overharvesting have all played a part.

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