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
9:00 am
Fri April 11, 2014

Proposed Bill Would Remove Extra Layer Of Protection Granted To River Otters

Credit Photo courtesy of Jonathan Gourlay

A bill making its way through the General Assembly would remove an extra layer of protection granted more than 40 years ago to river otters. 

 

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Local Feature
5:30 am
Wed April 9, 2014

Beer, Wine Bills Backed By Farm Breweries And Wineries, But Not Liquor Industry

Exeter resident Matt Richardson tapped his maple trees this late winter to collect sap to brew in his beer.
Ambar Espinoza RIPR

Right now, in Rhode Island you pretty much have to go to a liquor store to stock up on beer for a dinner party. A few bills under consideration in the General Assembly aim to change that. If passed, the bills would give farmers, who grow crops for beer production, special licenses to sell their craft beers at their farms and at farmer’s markets. These bills are pitting local farmers against the local liquor industry. Rhode Island Public Radio brings you two perspectives on the issue: one from a farmer, and one from a liquor store owner.

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Environment
4:15 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

CRMC Subcommittee Recommends Approving Proposed Offshore Wind Farm

Credit RIPR File

A subcommittee of the Coastal Resources Management Council has unanimously recommended approving a proposed offshore wind farm off the coast of Block Island.  

The subcommittee’s official recommendation will be read at a council meeting within the next 30 days, and then scheduled for a full committee vote. The subcommittee’s recommendation holds a lot of weight, according to Laura Dwyer, information coordinator for the Coastal Resources Management Council.

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Environment
6:45 am
Thu April 3, 2014

Bill On Climate Change Gets First Hearing In RI Statehouse

A bill to help the state prepare for climate change will have its first House committee hearing today. 

Rep. Art Handy introduced the bill, called the Resilient Rhode Island Act of 2014. He said it would require the state to start studying what areas are vulnerable to climate change threats, from flooding to sea level rise to temperature changes. 

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Local Feature
6:20 am
Thu April 3, 2014

Heavy Rain, More Severe River Flooding In A Warmer Rhode Island

A flood in 2005 was the first catastrophic flood that affected Paul Prendergast's house in Johnston. The next one took place in 2010.
Ambar Espinoza RIPR

Decades of development along floodplains and on wetlands in Johnston have made the town vulnerable to severe flood issues. Scientists say climate change may make these floods even worse, with more frequent and intense storms. A couple families that have long dealt with floods year after year will soon get relief, as federal money is available to buy out and demolish these properties in flood zones in the Pocasset River watershed.

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Environment
2:35 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

CRMC Subcommittee To Decide Its Recommendation On Offshore Wind Farm

Credit RIPR File

A subcommittee of the Coastal Resources Management Council will take another step in the permitting process for a proposed offshore wind farm in state waters, when it decides next week whether to recommend approval for the project. 

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Environment
8:39 am
Mon March 24, 2014

Composting Programs Priority For RI's Central Landfill

With the shrinking capacity of the Central Landfill, the executive director of the Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation wants recycling and composting food waste to become a priority, not just for the agency, but for the state.

Executive director Michael O’Connell said there’s no time to waste. The landfill’s gates will close in about 25 years at the current rate we’re sending trash to it. He wants people to feel a sense of urgency about the group effort it’s going to take to increase recycling and composting food waste.

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Environment
5:30 am
Wed March 19, 2014

Narragansett Bay Commission To Temporarily Close Sewer Overflow Tunnel

When the Narragansett Bay Commission temporarily closes its sewer overflow tunnel, the Department of Environmental Management will revert to its old rules for shellfish closures for the Upper Narragansett Bay in order to protect people's health.
Credit Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Starting today, the Narragansett Bay Commission will temporarily close a tunnel that’s part of a long-term, massive project designed to meet the federal clean water act. During heavy rains, that tunnel normally stores overflows of sewer and street runoff that are later treated and released into Narragansett Bay. Now the tunnel will be offline for the next three to four weeks.

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Environment
6:00 pm
Fri March 14, 2014

U.S. Senate Passed Bill To Prevent Hikes In Flood Insurance Premiums

The U.S. Senate approved legislation this week that would spare many Rhode Island homeowners from sharp rate hikes in their federal flood insurance policies.

The Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act was passed in response to the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012.

The Biggert-Waters Act required the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, to develop new rates for flood insurance premiums that more accurately reflect flood risk.

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Environment
5:48 pm
Fri March 14, 2014

Narragansett Bay Commission Looks For Cheaper, Greener Ways To Finish Sewer Overflow Project

The Narragansett Bay Commission has started to re-evaluate the third and final phase of the combined sewer overflow project. The project aims to reduce the amount of untreated sewage and polluted runoff overflows entering Narragansett Bay and its tributaries. Federal officials ordered the overhaul to meet the federal Clean Water Act.

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