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Thursday, Sep 18th

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The hidden leaks of Pennsylvania's abandoned oil and gas wells

Pennsylvania well leaksLaurie Barr spent a recent Saturday like she spends a lot of her weekends: trodding through the thorny and damp woodlands of rural north-western Pennsylvania, juggling a point-and-shoot camera, a GPS navigator, a cell phone, and, most importantly for the mission at hand, a methane detector.

“I found one!” Barr yelled from deep in the woods to her two friends – fellow abandoned oil and gas well enthusiasts who were decidedly more hesitant to walk off the pre-cut path.

“Here’s the spot they killed the last abandoned well hunter,” Barr joked from somewhere deep in the woods. Then Barr did something she’s done hundreds of times in the last three years – she leaned over a foot-wide hole in the ground and waved around the gas detector until it began beeping. First the beeps were slow, then rapid.

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Massive Calif. wildfire threatens thousands

California wildfiresFire crews in California's rugged Sierra Nevada battled to gain the upper hand on Wednesday against a blaze that threatened at least 2,000 homes and has displaced hundreds of residents as flames roared for a fifth day through dry timber and brush west of Lake Tahoe.

The so-called King Fire, the most menacing of 11 major wildfires raging across the drought-ridden state, has scorched nearly 44 square miles of state land and the El Dorado National Forest since it erupted Saturday, fire officials said. California's fire season, which traditionally runs from May to October, is on track to be the most destructive on record, state fire managers say.

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Northern California town hit hard by wildfire

california wildfireA wildfire whipped by 40 mph winds gutted 100 buildings in a small northern California town while another spread to almost 12,000 acres on the American River.

At least five other major fires burned around the state, including the massive Happy Camp Complex, which has charred more than 100,000 acres in Klamath National Forest in northern California.

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President Obama has a huge gas problem

fracking problem for OamaLater this month, hundreds of delegates will gather inside the U.N. to talk about climate change. President Barack Obama plans to attend the climate summit and reportedly wants work on a deal with other world leaders to “name and shame” countries that aren’t actively pursuing serious climate action.

But outside the U.N., thousands of activists will be protesting with one message: Whatever Obama accomplishes at the U.N., it won’t be enough to save his climate legacy.

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Fracking may put drinking water supply at risk for many countries, study finds

rfacking dangersA new study by the World Resources Institute finds that many places with water scarcity are using too much of their resources on fracking. "Eight of the top 20 countries with the largest shale gas resources face arid conditions or high to extremely high baseline water stress where the shale resources are located; this includes China, Algeria, Mexico, South Africa, Libya, Pakistan, Egypt, and India," the study states.

The United States is also at risk, according to the study, since many of the places inside the United States that are good for fracking are going through a drought or generally have low water supply.

To drill a fracking well takes 5 million gallons of water, on average. States like Texas have a strong fracking industry, but lack of water supplies has forced frackers to import water from elsewhere to continue their business.

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In Vermont, a milestone in green-energy efforts

burlington, vt.Vermont’s largest city has a new success to add to its list of socially conscious achievements: 100 percent of its electricity now comes from renewable sources such as wind, water and biomass.

With little fanfare, the Burlington Electric Department crossed the threshold this month with the purchase of the 7.4-megawatt Winooski 1 hydroelectric project on the Winooski River at the city’s edge.

When it did, Burlington joined the Washington Electric Co-operative, which has about 11,000 customers across central and northern Vermont, which reached 100 percent earlier this year.

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Time Is Running Out for Activists to Halt Fracked Gas Pipeline Into New York City, Connecticut, Rhode Island

Fracked gas pipelineUnless an extension is granted, concerned citizens have only until September 29 to comment to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission about the Algonquin Pipeline Extension pushing fracked gas through sensitive regions in New York, Connecticut and Rhode Island - creating environmental and nuclear hazards.

I am moving to New York City next year, a life change friends are congratulating me about but one that means fracking will be invading my kitchen in the form of the radon that will soon issue from gas jets on Manhattan's stoves.

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Southern California wildfire forces evacuation of 200 homes

So. California wildfiresAuthorities say a wildfire in southern California has been 20% contained but more than 200 homes near the Cleveland National Forest remain evacuated.

Captain Steve Concialdi of the Orange County fire authority said on Sunday that more than 1,000 firefighters and fire personnel are battling the two-and-a-half square mile blaze.

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Developer defends Walmart in rare forest

walmartThe developer behind a controversial Walmart shopping center, facing angry neighbors and environmentalists for the first time in public, vowed to make the project a paragon for building on environmentally sensitive land.

Peter Cummings, chairman of Palm Beach County-based Ram Realty Services, said that four preserves planned for about a third of the 137-acre development near Zoo Miami on endangered pine rockland may even help scientists understand the disappearing habitat.

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