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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.