Ambar Espinoza

Environmental Reporter

Ambar Espinoza’s roots in environmental journalism started in Rhode Island a few years ago as an environmental reporting fellow at the Metcalf Institute for Marine & Environmental Reporting. She worked as a reporter for Minnesota Public Radio for a few years covering several beats, including the environment and changing demographics. Her journalism experience includes working as production and editorial assistant at National Public Radio, and as a researcher at APM’s Marketplace.

Espinoza joins Rhode Island Public Radio most recently from Seattle, WA, where she earned a master of education with a focus on science education from the University of Washington. She earned her bachelor’s degree in political science from American University in Washington, D.C. Espinoza was born in El Salvador and raised in Los Angeles, CA.

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Environment
8:38 am
Thu November 27, 2014

Winter Farmers' Markets Abound With Local Products

Summer may be gone, but locally grown food still abounds with eight winter farmers’ markets open throughout the state. A year-round local food system continues to grow in the Ocean State, as more and more farmers use greenhouses and other tools to extend the growing seasons.

Farmers’ markets these days sell an array of local offerings, not just produce, said Ken Ayars, the Department of Environmental Management’s agriculture chief.

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Battle With The Sea
8:16 am
Tue November 25, 2014

Battle With The Sea: Change Is Here (Part 2)

Matunuck residents Kevin McCloskey, Nancy Thoresen (middle), and Christa Thoresen share a photo opp with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).
Ambar Espinoza RIPR

Last week, we brought you the story of West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin’s visit to Rhode Island. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse brought the Democratic senator, a strong coal advocate, to witness how climate change is wearing away the landscape here. Manchin learned from fishermen what challenges they’re facing in a changing ocean. Rhode Island Public Radio’s environmental reporter Ambar Espinoza brings you the second part of this story, when Manchin sees the effects climate change is having on land. 

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Environment
5:08 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

Rhode Island Fishermen Not Affected By New Cod Restrictions

Juvenile Atlantic cod
Hans Hillewaert via Creative Commons License

NOAA Fisheries issued emergency measures last week to protect Gulf of Maine cod. On the heels of this emergency action, the New England Fishery Management Council has recommended new restrictions to address the depleted cod population, as it finalizes next year’s fishing management measures for several fish.

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Energy
9:12 am
Thu November 20, 2014

Deepwater Wind Set To Begin Construction Of Block Island Wind Farm

A wind turbine in Portsmouth; the Deepwater Wind project would be the state's first offshore farm.
Credit RIPR FILE

More approvals rolled in this week for the five-turbine wind farm Deepwater Wind.  And  the company says it has secured the last of its permits for the offshore wind farm planned for three miles off the coast of Block Island.  Construction is set to start next year.

The Coastal Resources Management Council has approved the lease agreement for the underwater land on which the wind farm will sit. The lease took effect earlier this month and will be valid for 25 years from the wind farm’s start date.

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Energy
8:26 am
Wed November 19, 2014

Major Step Forward For RI's Offshore Wind Farm

Wind turbine at the Port of Providence, currently there are no offshore turbines in Rhode Island.
Credit Catherine Welch / RIPR

Federal regulators have cleared the way for a transmission cable linking Block Island to Rhode Island’s mainland.  It's big step forward for Deepwater Wind’s offshore wind farm.  

The decision for the “right-of-way grant” marks a major milestone – not just for the Block Island Wind Farm project itself – but also for offshore renewable energy in the United States. The cable, which would cross federal waters, would do two things: connect Block Island to the ocean wind farm 3 miles off the island’s coast, and transmit energy between the mainland and the island.

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Battle With The Sea
5:50 am
Tue November 18, 2014

Battle With The Sea: Change Is Here (Part 1)

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) visited each other’s states to find common ground on climate change, an issue that polarizes their parties.
Ambar Espinoza RIPR

Rapidly rising sea levels and severe weather threaten every community and natural habitat in the Ocean State, not just along the coast. Through a new ongoing series we’re calling, Battle With The Sea, Rhode Island Public Radio will examine the range and scope of these threats from city to city and town to town, and the solutions to prepare and strengthen Rhode Island for future threats to come.

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Environment
9:26 am
Mon November 17, 2014

RI's Coastal Resources Management Council Hits Major Milestone

After 2 years, the RI Coastal Resources Management Center has developed a shellfish management plan.
Credit Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management and the Coastal Resources Management Council have released the state’s first comprehensive shellfish management plan. The plan recommends better ways to protect shellfish and the shellfishing industry, and improve communication among state agencies, scientists, and fishermen.

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Environment
11:09 am
Wed November 12, 2014

Deepwater Wind Announces First Round Of Local Jobs

Local tradesmen and women will build some of the foundation parts of the Block Island ocean wind farm, which is slated for construction next year. This is the first round local jobs Deepwater Wind expects to create from the project.

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Environment
10:57 am
Wed November 12, 2014

EPA: Agency Has Done A Good Job Of Taking Action on Westerly Quarry

Last week the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced that Westerly's Copar Quarries, now named Armetta, LLC., paid a hefty $80,000 for violating federal clean air standards. The agency also reports the quarry operation is now meeting clean air rules. Rhode Island Public Radio’s environmental reporter Ambar Espinoza has the EPA’s response to affected neighbors who disagree with the agency's assessment.

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Environment
7:50 am
Wed November 12, 2014

Residents Suing Westerly Quarry Request New Investigation

Neighbors of Armetta, LLC, a quarry formerly known as Copar Quarries, say this aerial photo taken from a private plane depicts a plume of stone dust coming from the quarry shortly after a blast.
Photo Courtesy of Steve Dubois

Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency reported Copar Quarries in Westerly has paid $80,000 in penalties for violating federal clean air standards. According to EPA officials, the quarry is now in compliance. Not so, say neighbors who live near the quarry. Their lawyer is calling for a new investigation into dust and other concerns associated with the operation.

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