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.

Ways to Connect

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in North Dakota has asked for support from across the country in its fight against construction of a crude oil pipeline across tribal land. They’ve encouraged peaceful demonstrations and acts of civil disobedience against investors and other backers of the project. Rhode Island environmental activists and concerned residents have responded to their call, holding a third rally yesterday in Providence.

David Goehring / Creative Commons License via Flickr

A trio of New England states has selected projects that will add about 460 megawatts of renewable energy to the region’s market in the next few years. Bidding companies can start negotiating with utilities in Rhode Island, Connecticut and Massachusetts.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Has little Rhode Island become the center for offshore wind power in the United States? Sure seems like it. The nation’s first offshore wind farm will start operating off Block Island next month. The project drew interest from European visitors recently, and this week, Rhode Island hosted an offshore wind energy conference.

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.

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. 

Providence Business News Editor Mark Murphy joins Rhode Island Public Radio's Dave Fallon for our weekly business segment, The Bottom Line.

This week, Dave and Mark speak with Christian Cowan, center director at Polaris MEP. 

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. 

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.

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