Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

At an annual conference by the American Wind Energy Association in Rhode Island, federal officials declared their commitment to speed up the deployment of more offshore wind energy projects.

From the coasts to the Great Lakes, different regions can tap into offshore wind, said Abby Hopper, director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. The nation’s total offshore wind energy potential is equal to about double its demand for electricity. Hopper said the time to pursue offshore wind is now.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The rare New England cottontail rabbit and other shrubland species are getting some new help from the U.S. Fish and wildlife Service. The agency is targeting 15,000 acres of land in six northeastern states, to be included in a new "Great Thickets National wildlife Refuge".

Courtesy of The Nature Conservancy and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Conservationists have kicked off a project this week to shore up thirty acres of salt marsh at the John H. Chafee National Wildlife Refuge. It’s one of the larger projects underway to make the state’s salt marshes more resistant to climate change.

Ryan Caron King / New England News Collaborative

The largest gathering of offshore wind energy experts in the country began in Warwick Tuesday, as the American Wind Energy Association holds its annual offshore wind conference.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

The nation’s first offshore wind farm off the coast of Block Island is in the middle of its testing phase. It’ll start producing electricity next month. Delegates from various federal Sea Grant programs around the country got a boat tour of the turbines to learn how the Ocean State got this project done. 

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

The Energy Facility Siting Board has temporarily suspended its review of energy developer Invenergy’s application to build a power plant in Burrillville. That decision has disappointed the town, residents and environmental groups.  

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

State officials worked over the weekend, collecting more water and shellfish samples to test for a toxin produced by algae blooms. Concerns about health risks associated with the toxin prompted an emergency shellfish harvesting closure that is still in effect for most of Narragansett Bay. Ernest Julian, the Health Department’s food safety chief, said the first set of results are in. 

"The good news is that all of the samples, but one, from throughout the bay and the salt ponds are negative for the toxin,” said Julian. “The one that is not negative is inconclusive.”

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Rhode Island’s tool for managing and planning activities in state waters has become a case study for the European Union. A couple of EU delegates have concluded a two-week visit to Rhode Island, meeting with the Coastal Resources Management Council, the University of Rhode Island, and other stakeholders in the community and in private sectors.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Farming is a growing industry in Rhode Island, with many new farmers starting small businesses. But when they don’t come from farming families, finding land can be a challenge, especially in a state with the most expensive farmland in the country. To help new farmers purchase land, state officials have set up a new land access program as part of a longstanding effort to acquire and preserve green space. Now that program has come under attack by a conservative movement. 

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

The White House is honoring a Rhode Island fisherman Friday for his work promoting sustainable fishing in the industry.

Chris Brown has been fishing for more than 35 years. He’s receiving the “Champion of Change for Sustainable Seafood” award. 

Environmental Working Group

The carcinogen often referred to as the "Erin Brockovich chemical" is present in about two-thirds of the drinking water across the country, according to water testing data from the Environmental Protection Agency.

The Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission suspended reviewing National Grid’s proposal to charge electricity customers for the expansion of natural gas pipelines in the region. It denied the Conservation Law Foundation’s motion to dismiss the application all together, but left the door open for CLF to raise the issue later.

The Public Utilities Commission will rule Thursday on whether to dismiss National Grid’s proposal to charge electricity customers for the cost of new natural gas pipelines. Protestors who oppose fossil fuels are expected at the meeting.

This proposal is related to Access Northeast, a project that would affect electricity ratepayers in several New England states. National Grid, Eversource Energy and Spectra Energy are all partners in this project. They say the region needs additional gas pipeline capacity to stabilize electricity prices.

Courtesy Campobello Whale Rescue

The recent death of two right whales in the Gulf of Maine and the discovery of another entangled in fishing gear is bringing renewed attention to the plight of the endangered species.

Last Thursday, a female Right Whale was spotted off Provincetown Mass., swimming, but entangled in gear. Friday, a dead female whale was seen off Boothbay, Maine and towed to shore, where its death was determined to be from stress caused by entanglement. Saturday a dead whale was spotted off Mount Desert Rock, but could not be recovered.

David González Romero / Creative Common License via Flickr

For the ninth year in a row, Rhode Island ranks among the top 10 states, taking fourth place this year, for energy efficiency programs and policies.  That’s according to a new report from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.