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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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.

A school of alewives circle in Nobleboro, Maine. This spring Lake Champlain saw a mass die-off of alewives because they are not suited for significant water temperature changes.
Robert F. Bukaty / AP

Dozens of aquatic invasive species are already established in Vermont’s waters — from zebra mussels to milfoil to alewife. For swimmers and anglers, they’re a nuisance, but for our native aquatic life, their presence can cause dire consequences. We’ll discuss the threat of invasive species and why it's so challenging to prevent their spread.

Unknown passer-by

I’d been living in California, where a phrase like “it’s freezing” merely meant a mad rush to get the warmest sweater possible. So when I told my friends I was moving to Vermont, they warned me it would be cold, really cold. I could handle “cold,” I told them.

Mnookin: Next Steps

Apr 23, 2019
Mnookin

Walkers came from around the state and stretched across age brackets: families with strollers, young children on bikes, teens, college students, partners, baby boomers, and an eighty-five-year-old from Windham County. I was one of them, joining both to speak out against business as usual and to grow a community with shared visions of sustaining life on this planet.

Coyotes infected with rabies are rare in Vermont. But two cases of rabid coyotes were recently reported in Addison County.
Bill_Dally / iStock

Since 2005, just over 800 animals in Vermont have tested positive for rabies. But no coyotes. Until recently, when two coyotes in Addison County were found to be rabid. We'll take a full look at rabies in Vermont and the threat it poses to humans.

Blue-green algae blooms in the summer of 2014 in Lake Champlain.
Taylor Dobbs / VPR FILE

Vermont lawmakers agree the state needs millions of dollars' worth of clean water projects. But there's less agreement on where Vermont will get the roughly $60 million it needs to fund them. We're talking about clean water plans advancing in Montpelier and what the options are to pay for them.

What does your life in Vermont look like in the year 2050? We're imagining Vermont at the mid-century and asking you to share what has - and hasn't - changed.
hanibaram / iStock

We're jumping ahead to the year 2050 to imagine what life will be like in Vermont by mid-century, and looking back from an imagined future to talk about how Vermont can address climate change and other challenges. 

The April episode of Brave Little State answers a question from Jack Haskell, of Brattleboro, who asked: “How is climate change affecting Vermont right now?”

Eben Markowski stands near a field in Panton.
John Dillon / VPR

The state is investigating an Addison County farm for violating water quality regulations after it spread manure last month that flowed directly into tributaries of Lake Champlain. The case is among several farm pollution cases now under investigation by the state.

Michael and Stacy Lee stand in the front yard of their white, one-story ranch just after sunset in early spring.
Angela Evancie / VPR

We know the predictions are dire; we know there are urgent conversations to be had about policy. But to answer this listener question, we stay focused on the present.

The return of red-winged blackbirds herald the arrival of spring in Vermont.
Putneypics / Flickr

You might be hearing songs lately that herald the changing of the season, from red-winged blackbirds to sparrows and woodcocks. On Vermont Edition's annual spring bird show, we'll talk bird behavior, the oddities of bird courtship and how lighting up your house at night may impact the migration of some species.

Some 3 billion American chestnut trees succumbed to a fungal blight in the early 1900s. Now an organization dedicated to restoring the tree is seeking approval to release a genetically engineered chestnut tree into the wild.
Public Domain via Pixabay

The once-ubiquitous American chestnut tree is now functionally extinct, nearly erased from the landscape by a blight that killed roughly 3 billion trees over 50 years. Now a nonprofit organization dedicated to restoring the tree is seeking federal approval to release a genetically engineered blight-resistant chestnut into the wild. But is a genetically engineered tree the right way to restore a virtually extinct species?

The exterior of the Green Monutain Power building
Emily Alfin Johnson / VPR File

Green Mountain Power wants a little more freedom from regulation in exchange for assuming a little more risk to its own bottom line over the next three years.

A white-tailed deer photographed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. We're looking at the proposed changes to deer hunting in Vermont by 2020.
Scott Bauer / USDA

Hunting rules usually change due to shifts in the animal population hunters are harvesting. But in 2020, Vermont’s deer hunting rules are changing for a different reason: a long decline in the number of hunters. That's leading the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department to propose changes from bag limits to antler point restrictions to season structure. We're looking at the proposed changes.

Upper Valley Land Trust

Lilla McLane-Bradley was dogged; she was fearless; she showed up and she put us to work. I met Lilla in 1987, when I was hired for a part time bookkeeping and secretarial position. She was incoming chair of the Upper Valley Land Trust’s Board – UVLT for short - a group with a big idea – land conservation from the grassroots; sustainable and permanent protection of our region’s most special places.

House lawmakers Wednesday approved a doubling of the tax on heating fuels Wednesday to raise revenue for a low-income weatherization program.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR file

The Vermont House of Representatives has approved legislation that would boost funding for home weatherization programs. But opponents of the bill say the tax on heating fuel used to pay for it will drive up the cost of living for the people who can least afford it.

Warmer winters mean ticks are taking a toll on the moose population. We're featuring some of our recent coverage of the local impacts on climate change.
Elliot Black / flickr

Vermont Edition is featuring some of our recent coverage of climate change on our region - including significant changes for weather, wildlife and agriculture. Plus: discussion of what we can do on local and global levels to combat climate change and effectively deal with its effects.

The melty weather in New Hampshire this winter has been a big problem for some kinds of seasonal recreation -- and it’s all part of a long-term warming trend.

As this season comes to an end, some of the region's favorite pastimes are preparing for an uncertain future.

Windblown Cross Country Skiing and Snowshoeing is tucked into the hills of New Ipswich, New Hampshire, not far from the Massachusetts border.

Forest therapy guide Duncan Murdoch takes in his surroundings in Arms Forest in Burlington.
Jane Lindholm / VPR

Forest bathing is an English interpretation of the Japanese term shinrin-yoku and it is the idea that spending time in nature in an alert but relaxed manner has healing and rejuvenating benefits. But why, in a state where many Vermonters already feel connected to the natural landscape around them, would someone pay to go on a forest bathing excursion with a forest therapy guide? Vermont Edition went to find out.

We're talking potholes.
Andy Arthur / flickr

A rough winter for roads throughout the state means potholes are plentiful and making for some bone-rattling car rides. Experts from the Agency of Transportation join Vermont Edition to talk about how potholes form, how they're fixed and how they can be prevented.

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