Fred Bever | Connecticut Public Radio
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Fred Bever

A Columbia University graduate, Fred began his journalism career as a print reporter in Vermont, then came to Maine Public in 2001 as its political reporter, as well as serving as a host for a variety of Maine Public Radio and Maine Public Television programs. Fred later went on to become news director for New England Public Radio in Western Massachusetts and worked as a freelancer for National Public Radio and a number of regional public radio stations, including WBUR in Boston and NHPR in New Hampshire.

Fred formerly was Maine Public Radio’s chief political correspondent from 2001 to 2007 and returned to Maine Public Radio in early 2016 as a news reporter and producer, covering a wide variety of topics across Maine and the region.

Campobello Whale Rescue

A showdown over lobsters and whales appears to be brewing between Maine and the federal government.

Under direction from Gov. Janet Mills, the Maine Department of Marine Resources is telling federal regulators that the state will not accept their targets for reducing risk that endangered North Atlantic right whales will be entangled in rope the state's lobstermen use to tend their gear. 

A showdown over lobsters and whales appears to be brewing between Maine and the federal government.

This week a high-stakes conference in Providence is considering new measures that could help endangered North Atlantic right whales avoid life-threatening entanglements in fishing gear. These measures could also challenge Maine's lobster industry, though.

For many in the community surrounding Walker's Point in Kennebunkport, Maine, the former President George H.W. Bush was much more than the leader of the free world — he was their beloved friend and neighbor.

No matter where in the globe former President Bush's pursuits took him, he circled back every year, as if tethered, to Walker's Point — the estate his ancestors established more than a century ago on a windy promontory off Kennebunkport.

George Herbert Walker Bush died late Friday. For many in the community surrounding Walker's Point in Kennebunkport, Maine, the former president was much more than the leader of the free world — he was their beloved friend and neighbor.

A group of New England senators is calling on the U.S. government to speed up an analysis of Canada’s efforts to protect the endangered North American right whale, and to consider trade action if Canada’s rules do not prove as strong as in the U.S.

A dead humpback whale is floating in a Lubec cove. Scientists are eager to find the cause of its demise, as the discovery comes at a time of increasing mortality rates for the species.

New science is bearing down on a poorly understood part of the North American lobster’s diet. And it turns out that a tiny crustacean’s abundance may help to explain expected declines in Maine’s lobster harvest.

CENTER FOR BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY

The endangered North Atlantic right whale population took a big hit last year, with a record number killed by fishing gear entanglements and ship strikes. Now, an ongoing debate over threats posed by Maine's lobster industry is gaining new urgency.

The endangered North Atlantic right whale population took a big hit last year with a record number of animals killed by fishing gear entanglements and ship strikes. Now, an ongoing debate over threats posed by Maine's lobster industry is gaining new urgency as scientists estimate these whales could become extinct in just 20 years.

Lobster conservation techniques pioneered by Maine fishermen helped drive a population boom that's led to record landings this century. That's the conclusion of new, peer-reviewed research published today

Lobster conservation techniques pioneered by Maine fishermen helped drive a population boom that's led to record landings this century. That's the conclusion of new, peer-reviewed research published today

This story was originally published Jan. 8, 2017 at 5:22 p.m. ET.

New England electricity customers could get a direct benefit from a cut in federal corporate taxes — lower utility bills.

Consumer advocates in New England are calling on regulators and utilities to turn over to ratepayers any savings from a reduction in the corporate income tax rate, which the recent tax law knocked down by 40 percent.

The recent cold spell has spurred oil-fired power plants throughout New England into action. But the operator of the regional electricity grid says pollution control regulations could throttle supplies from those sources.

Over the last decade, relatively low-polluting natural gas has been New England’s dominant fuel for electricity generation. But in winter, demand for gas can skyrocket from consumers who need it to heat their homes, and that can limit supplies for electricity generation.

Fishermen up and down the New England coast say it has been decades since they’ve been able to catch so many Atlantic bluefin tuna, so fast. Once severely depleted, populations of the prized sushi fish appear to be rebuilding.

Kathleen Masterson / Vermont Public Radio

New England electricity consumers paid billions of dollars more than necessary over a three-year period, according to a report by a national environmental group. It's prompted a review by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, but one utility named in the report is calling it an outright fabrication.

A new wave of forest loss is underway in New England, at a rate of 65 acres a day. That's the conclusion of a new regionwide study spearheaded by a Harvard University forest research group. And the authors say New England could lose more than a million acres of forest cover over the next half-century.

In the wake of hurricanes Harvey and Irma, observers are predicting that premiums for a cash-strapped federal flood insurance program are likely to rise. Along the Atlantic coast, meanwhile, communities from Rhode Island to Maine are already mounting a related challenge to the program: the accuracy of federal flood maps maps that designate who must pay those premiums in the first place.

FRED BEVER / MAINE PUBLIC

New England is home to thousands of dams that have fallen out of use -- a legacy of our industrial past. 

For more than half a century, a massive, oil-fired plant has been churning out electricity from an island in the heart of Maine’s Casco Bay, where sailors use its towering smokestack for navigation.

The old generator is expensive to run and dirtier than new technologies, so these days it comes on only a few times a year. Nonetheless, since December, the wires on the island have been humming pretty much nonstop.

A play by Massachusetts to inject more renewable power into its electricity mix could reshape the entire region's energy landscape. Dozens of developers are competing to offer Massachusetts the best price for long-term contracts to supply clean energy to hundreds of thousands of homes. 

But many of the projects also face another challenge: convincing residents of Northern New England it's in their interest to host the Bay State's extension cord.

Fred Bever / Maine Public

A new type of energy-efficient construction is drawing attention in the U.S. It’s called “passive housing” -- residences built to achieve ultra-low energy use. It’s so efficient that developers can eliminate central heating systems altogether.

After a decade of rapid growth, wind energy in Maine has hit the doldrums. No big new wind projects are likely to go live anytime soon, and it could cost billions to unlock enough of the state’s wind resource — the best in the region — to serve southern New England’s thirst for renewable energy.

New England states are considering the idea of sticking with daylight saving time year 'round. Proposals to make the switch are being taken up by several legislatures, including Maine's.

For the first time in decades, the length of the U.S. ski season is shrinking. And as climate change curtails winter’s length, an industry transformation is under way: one expert says most ski mountains in southern New England could be out of business in 25 years unless they diversify their offerings. But ski areas in northern New England could benefit.

Summer resorts around the nation are bracing for a tough season — not because the tourists won’t come, but because the workers might not. The reinstatement of a cap on visas for temporary workers has some in the hospitality industry predicting catastrophe.

Muslim immigrants have become an increasingly large part of the fabric of New England in recent years.

Some fishermen are pinning their hopes on a new kind of trawl net at use in the Gulf of Maine, designed to scoop up abundant flatfish such as flounder and sole while avoiding species such as cod, which regulators say are in severe decline.

There’s some good news for sushi lovers. A new report finds that over an 8-year period, mercury levels in Gulf of Maine tuna declined 2 percent a year — a decline that parallels reductions in mercury pollution from Midwest coal-fired power plants.

Two years ago, Dr. Nicholas Fisher, a professor of marine sciences at Stony Brook University in New York, had a bit of luck — he found out that a colleague had established a collection of 1,300 western Atlantic bluefin taken from the Gulf of Maine between 2004 and 2012.

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 right whale was spotted off Provincetown, Mass., swimming, but entangled in gear. Friday, a dead female whale was seen off Boothbay 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.

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