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
1:46 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

DEM Issues Expedited Citations To Property Owners In Violation Of State Cesspool Law

If you have a cesspool within 200 feet of a drinking well, a public reservoir, or the coastline, expect to receive a $200 citation in the mail from the Department of Environmental Management. The deadline to replace cesspools with a septic system or to connect to a municipal sewer system has passed.

Cesspools are holes in the ground used to get rid of human waste from buildings. The untreated waste seeps into the soil and contaminates ground and surface waters. A law to phase out cesspools focuses on cesspools within public drinking water supplies or the coastline. 

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Environment
5:01 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

Brown Launches New Environmental Institute Next Month

The Building for Environmental Research and Teaching (BERT) will be the hub for Brown University's new Institute for the Study of Environment and Society.
Credit Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Brown University wants to be at the forefront of solving big environmental challenges related to such issues as climate change, food production, and water distribution. So next month it’s launching a new institute designed to draw on research from across different disciplines. The goal is to better prepare future leaders to address those challenges.

The Institute for the Study of Environment and Society will draw on the expertise of many disciplines at Brown, said Amanda Lynch, professor of geological sciences and director of the new institute.  

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Environment
1:15 pm
Fri April 11, 2014

Sen. Whitehouse Embarks On A Climate Change Road Trip

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse spoke at the signing of Gov. Chafee's executive order to create a climate change council.
Credit Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse is embarking on a road trip along the southeast coast of the United States to talk about climate change.

Last month, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse went to Iowa to urge Iowans to make climate change a key issue there during the 2016 presidential election cycle. He’s concerned about the ways in which climate change is already affecting Rhode Island. He wants the nation to tackle the issue together.

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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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