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Thursday, Apr 17th

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Here's What Fracking Can Do to Your Health

fracking dangersIf you know one thing about fracking, it might be that the wells have been linked to explosive tap water. Of course, a tendency toward combustion isn't the biggest problem with gas-infused water; it's what could happen to you when you drink it.

Although the natural gas industry is notoriously tight-lipped about the ingredients of the chemical cocktails that get pumped down into wells, by now it's widely known that the list often includes some pretty scary, dangerous stuff, including hydrochloric acid and ethylene glycol (a.k.a. antifreeze). It's also no secret that well sites release hazardous gases like methane and benzene (a carcinogen) into the atmosphere.

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10 Nobel winners to White House: Reject Keystone XL

keystone xl pipeline10 recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize called on President Obama's administration to reject an application for the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada.

Pipeline company TransCanada submitted an application to build the cross-border pipeline more than five years ago. President Obama said he'd weigh the project against its environmental footprint, and a State Department report this year said the pipeline would have few net issues.

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Appeals court upholds EPA limits on air toxicity

EPAA federal appeals court Tuesday upheld the Environmental Protection Agency's first-ever limits on air toxics, including emissions of mercury, arsenic and acid gases, preserving a far-reaching rule the White House had touted as central to President Barack Obama's environmental agenda.

In a 2-1 decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit found that the rule "was substantively and procedurally valid," turning aside challenges brought by Republican-led states that had argued it was onerous and environmental groups that had contended it did not go far enough.

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Life in the shadow of an oil refinery

shreveport oil refineryOn the blocks surrounding Calumet Specialty Products’ Shreveport Refinery the stench of rotten eggs is nearly constant. It’s a sign that hydrogen sulfide is in the air, and residents say the chemicals they’ve come to associate with that smell are responsible for a host of health issues — from cancers to lung disease to nerve damage — that plague families in the area.

Still, hundreds of little wooden houses on small plots of grass dot the blocks surrounding the plant, in the Ingleside neighborhood of Louisiana’s third largest city.

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IPCC climate change report: averting catastrophe is eminently affordable

Climate change affordableCatastrophic climate change can be averted without sacrificing living standards according to a UN report, which concludes that the transformation required to a world of clean energy is eminently affordable.
“It doesn’t cost the world to save the planet,” said economist Professor Ottmar Edenhofer, who led the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) team.

The cheapest and least risky route to dealing with global warming is to abandon all dirty fossil fuels in coming decades, the report found. Gas – including that from the global fracking boom – could be important during the transition, Edenhofer said, but only if it replaced coal burning.

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Magnitude 7.5 quake strikes off Solomons, sparks tsunami warning

7.5 earthquake solomon islandsA powerful magnitude-7.6 earthquake triggered large waves in the Solomon Islands on Sunday, and authorities were trying to determine if there was any serious damage or injuries.

Government spokesman George Herming said people throughout the Pacific island chain awoke to the strong quake at 7:14am. He said that people on Makira and nearby islands southeast of the capital, Honiara, reported seeing three large waves after the quake.  He said there were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

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Climate panel warns emissions rising, blurs reason

emissions rising: climate panelThe U.N.'s expert panel on climate change on Sunday highlighted the disconnect between international goals to fight global warming and what is being done to attain them.

Emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases must drop by 40-70 percent by 2050 to keep the global temperature rise below the 2-degree C (3.6-degree F) cap set in U.N. climate talks, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said.

The opposite is happening now. On average global emissions rose by 2.2 percent — or 1 gigaton — a year between 2000 and 2010, outpacing growth in previous decades to reach "unprecedented levels" despite some efforts to contain them, the IPCC said.

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