Energy & Environment

The home for VPR's coverage of energy and environment issues affecting the state of Vermont.

VPR reporters Pete Hirschfeld and John Dillon cover energy and environment issues from the Statehouse Bureau in Montpelier.

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Explore our coverage by topic or chronologically by scrolling through the list below

Water Quality & PFOA | Technology | Vermont Legislature | Iberdrola

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Vermont has 45 species of mosquitoes and all of them are pretty pesky.
CHBD / iStock

Live call-in discussion: They're annoying and they're headed our way. At any moment, you'll be outside and will hear the fateful buzzing of mosquitoes. Vermont Edition will get you prepared for the onslaught of this annoying insect. And maybe even find a reason to appreciate them.

Bill McKibben at a podium in front of lawmakers gathered in the House chamber of the Vermont Statehouse
Toby Talbot / Associated Press File

Bill McKibben has been sounding the alarm on human activity adversely affecting the world's climate and ecosystems for a long time. Now the Vermont-based author has a new book titled Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out?

Eben Bayer's company makes packaging materials out of mycelium, the threadlike roots of fungus.
courtesy Ecovative

Growing up on a Vermont farm gave Eben Bayer a healthy appreciation for the incredible technological achievements of the natural world. Now, he and a co-founder have created a company called Ecovative. They're using mycelium — the long, thread-like roots of mushrooms that lie hidden under the ground — to create simple, biodegradable, affordable packaging and more.

"Vermont Edition" looks at the challenges and dangers solo hikers face, in Vermont and beyond.
Tim Foster / Unsplash

An attack on the Appalachian Trail in Virginia in early May left one hiker dead and another injured. The violence ignited conversations among hikers across the country, sharing stories of times they felt unsafe and reconciling the relative safety of the wilderness with fears such incidents could happen again. We're talking with experienced hikers about staying safe on the trail.

In this photo taken on Tuesday, April 23, 2019, plastic bottles and other garbage float in the river Drina near Visegrad, eastern Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Eldar Emric / AP

With an estimated one million species facing the threat of extinction driven by human activity, is now the time to think seriously about getting a handle on skyrocketing global population? We're talking about human population, its impact on the planet and what can be done.

Spencer Rendahl

I'd been dreaming of taking a break from early spring in northern New England and spending two weeks in Spain as a family sounded like just the ticket.

Exterior of the Vermont Gas building.
Taylor Dobbs / VPR File

Will it matter if a major pipeline company has a larger stake in the parent companies of Green Mountain Power and Vermont Gas? Climate activists and opponents of gas pipelines think so.

Wood stoves for sale at Chimney Sweep II, in Berlin.
Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

Two years ago, the state offered Vermonters money to buy a new wood or pellet stove if they got rid of an old, polluting stove. The program was so popular, they decided to do it again this year (with a few changes). So how many people have taken advantage of these different iterations of the wood stove change-out program? 

A lone feral swine tracked by trail cameras was shot and killed in Lyndonville in March. It tested positive for pseudorabies, a virus that's harmless to humans but potentially deadline to livestock and pets.
Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets

A lone feral swine shot and killed near Lyndonville in March tested positive for the pseudorabies virus, or PRV. The virus is harmless to humans but can be lethal to domestic pigs, other livestock and pets. And once a pig is infected with PRV, it can continue to spread the virus for the rest of its life. 

Toby Talbot / AP/file

Tesla’s solar energy company is again in trouble with the state of Vermont.

Vermont's only native lizard, a five-lined skink, on the move in June 2018. The species is considered endangered in Vermont.
Will Brown / Wikimedia Commons

Vermont's small-bodied snakes are moving, some turtles are basking and vernal pools are beginning to teem with new life. But amid a cool, wet spring, some reptiles and amphibians are still sluggish and vernal pools in higher elevations are still waiting to warm up. We're talking about where Vermont's "herps" are this year and the challenges they face in the near- and long-term.

A Chevy Bolt that's green and white and has the Burlington Electric logo on it.
Henry Epp / VPR

In 2017, officials gathered in Burlington to announce new incentives and rebates aimed at getting Vermonters to buy electric cars. The idea was to make electric vehicles more affordable for more people. But since then, how many low- or middle-income customers actually bought electric cars with those rebates?

Elaine Thompson / AP

A bill that would put Vermont in the vanguard of states trying to restrict plastic pollution awaits final action in Montpelier.

Up to 1 million of the estimated 8 million plant and animal species on Earth are at risk of extinction — many of them within decades — according to scientists and researchers who produced a sweeping U.N. report on how humanity's burgeoning growth is putting the world's biodiversity at perilous risk.

Sen. Christopher Bray holds a jar of crushed glass.
John Dillon / VPR

The state is investigating the Chittenden Solid Waste District for allegedly dumping glass it collects from northern Vermont instead of recycling the material as required.

Congress is once again debating how to dispose of the country's growing inventory of nuclear waste. Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., is proposing legislation that would jump-start licensing hearings for the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste storage site in Nevada.

Members of St. George Villa mobile home park co-op hold up a sign that says We Own It!
John Dillon / VPR

Residents of a St. George mobile home park formed a cooperative and bought the property earlier this month, preserving an important piece of affordable housing.

The park has had a long history of wastewater problems that may need more repairs in the future, but the new owners say the risk is worth it for the benefits of securing affordable housing in the future.

McCallum: String Bags

Apr 29, 2019
McCallum

So I’ve been thinking a lot about France again – and not only because of the devastating Notre-Dame fire. News that the Vermont Senate had just given preliminary approval to a bill that would ban single-use plastic bags instantly carried me back to my earliest visit to France in the sixties, and the first time I saw people carrying purchases in string bags.

Vermont lawmakers gathered around a table along with slate industry representatives
John Dillon / VPR

A bill designed to modernize Act 250, Vermont’s half-century old development review law, won’t get voted on this year.

Solar panels installed in Rutland, Vermont, facing the sky
Wilson Ring / Associated Press File

Vermont’s largest utility, Green Mountain Power, announced last week that it has set the goal of getting all of its power from renewable energy sources by 2030. The plan also called for the company to shift to 100% carbon-free energy by 2025.

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