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

The company proposing to build a natural gas-fired power plant in Burrillville is billing the project as a solution to alleviate future energy shortages and rising energy costs in New England. But two experts testifying on behalf of the Conservation Law Foundation filed written testimonies with the state’s Public Utilities Commission disputing those statements.

Courtesy of Curt Guyette

As many as 100,000 people in Flint, Michigan were exposed to harmful concentrations of lead in the city’s drinking water.  In an attempt to save money, the city decided to disconnect from Detroit's water system and began to use water from the corrosive Flint River. 

Caterpillars Flourish Across The State

Jun 10, 2016
Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Caterpillars feasting on oak and other hardwood trees are defoliating wooded areas and backyards across the state.

Heather Faubert, a plant specialist at the University of Rhode Island, attributes this year’s infestation to a drought last May. She said diseases usually keep caterpillar numbers low.

“But when we had the driest May on record, those diseases weren’t spread until it really started to rain. And by that time, the caterpillars had advanced, matured, and then those females laid eggs,” said Faubert.

Those eggs survived over the winter.

Courtesy of SmartPower

A state program designed to make buying and installing solar panels affordable and easy is available for residents and small businesses in Providence through late June.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Lawmakers in the Rhode Island House of Representatives easily approved legislation related to the state’s Energy Facility Siting Board and to tax treaties with electricity-generating facilities in Burrillville. But some lawmakers in the state Senate were not as receptive to the bill.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

The Rhode Island House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to allow a voter referendum on a possible tax agreement between the Burrillville Town Council and Invenergy, a Chicago-based developer proposing to build a 1000-megawatt natural gas-fired power plant. 

Courtesy of Steve Dubois

The Westerly Town Council is considering buying a quarry that has been a source of complaints and lawsuits over the course of more than five years. As a first step, the Westerly Town Council votes Monday night on whether they will move forward hiring an appraiser to assess the quarry's property value. 

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

State Representative Cale Keable’s power plant bill took a step forward at the Statehouse yesterday. The House Environment & Natural Resources Committee voted 11-2 for the bill, which now moves to the house floor for consideration. 

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Four peregrine falcons hatched earlier this spring on top of the Superman Building in downtown Providence. Volunteers have now banded the birds so that biologists can keep track of them. 

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

The House Environment and Natural Resources committee heard hours of testimony last night for a bill related to a proposed power plant in Burrillville. Opponents of the bill say it would set a bad precedent for other infrastructure project proposals in the state.

But State Rep. Cale Keable, the lead sponsor, said the bill aims to increase public input into the project’s approval process. 

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Scientists are still working to understand all of the factors behind massive die-offs of honeybees in what’s known as “colony collapse disorder.”

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Two state lawmakers added their voice against a proposed power plant in Burrillville at a third public hearing for the project Monday.

State Sen. Paul Fogarty and Rep. Cale Keable were among more than 30 people who testified before the state board reviewing the power plant proposal. Two local residents yielded their time to speak to the lawmakers.   

Fogarty said in all his years as senator, he has never seen such opposition to a project from his constituents. 

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

For the first time in years, river herring are traveling up the Saugatucket River in Wakefield without the help of humans lifting them over a dam during the spring migration. 

River herring are an important source of food for other animals. This year the Saugatucket River in Wakefield has a new fish ladder that's easier for river herring to find and swim through. Bryan Sojkowski, an engineer with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, said the new ladder replaces an old one that wasn't well designed. 

Policy and Pinot Panel 05-18-2016
Aaron Read RIPR

This month’s Policy & Pinot will focus on the state of the region’s energy grid, which has undergone dramatic changes. Older oil- and coal-fired power plants are retiring, while natural gas production is increasing. State laws requiring ambitious reductions in greenhouse gas emissions have been driving the shift toward cleaner energy from the sun, wind and water.

Located at Save the Bay's offices overlooking Narragansett Bay, and moderated by RIPR environmental reporter Ambar Espinoza, we’ll talk with our guest panelists about what the future grid could look like, how greener energy may impact consumers, and how Rhode Island’s progress compares to other states.

Courtesy of Holly Ewald / UPP Arts

More than 200 people danced and marched to music for a mile and a half around parks in the south side of Providence. They were part of the Urban Pond Procession, an annual event that promotes the health of urban ponds.

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