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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RIPR File Photo

The New England Fishery Management Council plans to ask the federal government to suspend an at-sea monitoring program required of the region’s groundfish industry.  The council voted this week to send that request to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

NOAA Fisheries requires that one out of every five fishing trips has a human being monitoring catch. At-sea monitors collect data on catch, bycatch, and fish thrown back to sea.

Beginning late August, NOAA Fisheries will no longer be able to pay for at-sea monitors.

The bill that requires phasing out cesspools heads to the governor’s office, after the Senate and House passed it.  It will take effect January 1, 2016.

Homeowners who are selling their property or transferring ownership have 12 months within the date of sale or transfer to remove and replace their cesspools.  

Low-interest loans and hardship waivers will be available for low-income property owners or purchasers. 

This post has been updated.

The Texas-based pipeline company Spectra Energy has secured a permit from the Department of Environmental Management (DEM) to upgrade its compressor station in Burrillville. The upgrade is part of a pipeline expansion project to bring more natural gas to New England and ease the region’s energy crisis, according to the company.

Providence college professor Tony Affigne, who chairs the Green Party of Rhode Island, said he’s disappointed state officials did not conduct a more comprehensive review of the project.

By law, the Coastal Resources Management Council should have two hearing officers to oversee contested cases. But the agency has gone without a full-time hearing officer for more than 10 years.

  The state’s largest environmental advocacy group, Save The Bay, has called on Gov. Gina Raimondo to appoint at least one full-time hearing officer to the CRMC.

U.S. Geological Survey

The New England Fishery Management Council has reduced protections of highly sensitive areas in Georges Bank, on the continental shelf east of Cape Cod, and opened it to commercial scalloping. The vote comes after a 12-year-review of habitat protection measures in the Omnibus Habitat Amendment.

Approximately 10,000 square kilometers on Georges Bank, an important fishery area for Rhode Island fishermen, have been protected from fishing for more than 20 years.

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