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Monday, May 22nd

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Arctic stronghold of world’s seeds flooded after permafrost melts

Doomsday seed vaultIt was designed as an impregnable deep-freeze to protect the world’s most precious seeds from any global disaster and ensure humanity’s food supply forever. But the Global Seed Vault, buried in a mountain deep inside the Arctic circle, has been breached after global warming produced extraordinary temperatures over the winter, sending meltwater gushing into the entrance tunnel.

The vault is on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen and contains almost a million packets of seeds, each a variety of an important food crop. When it was opened in 2008, the deep permafrost through which the vault was sunk was expected to provide “failsafe” protection against “the challenge of natural or man-made disasters”.

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Locals dismayed as Trump's EPA gives new life to controversial Alaska mine

Trump's EPA re-opens Alska gold mineFurther legal battles and protesters “standing in front of bulldozers” could be in store in Alaska, after the Trump administration on Friday settled a lawsuit over the proposed development of a massive gold and copper mine at the headwaters of one of the state’s main salmon fisheries.

The Environmental Protection Agency settled the long-running case with the Pebble Ltd Partnership, allowing the Canadian-owned company to seek a federal permit to build its mine near Bristol Bay.

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US Glacier national park losing its glaciers with just 26 of 150 left

US Glacier national park losing glaciersIt’s now “inevitable” that the contiguous United States will lose all of its glaciers within a matter of decades, according to scientists who have revealed the precipitous shrinkage of dozens of glaciers in Montana.

Warming temperatures have rapidly reduced the size of 39 named glaciers in Montana since 1966, according to comparisons released by the US Geological Survey (USGS) and Portland State University. Some have lost as much as 85% of their expanse over the past 50 years, with Glacier national park, site of 37 of the surveyed glaciers, set to lose all of its eponymous ice formations within the next few decades. Of the 150 glaciers that existed in the park in the late 19th century, only 26 remain.

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Dakota Access pipeline leaks 84 gallons in South Dakota

Dakota pipeline leakThe Dakota Access Pipeline, the target of months of environmentalist and Native American protests, leaked about 84 gallons of oil in South Dakota, the state said.

The surge pumped at a station in Tulare had a mechanical failure and the oil leak was limited to a containment area protected by gravel and synthetic liner.

"They have the main line and the main pump, but they also have a surge tank, which they have pump a little off the main line into," said Brian Walsh, an environmental scientist with the Ground Water Quality Program of the South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources. "And that's where the leak occurred -- at the surge pump."

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New York Threatens to Spoil Trump's Push for Fossil Fuels

NYC blocks Trump efforts to develop fossil fuelsForget the climate warriors of California. The state best positioned to spoil Donald Trump’s plan to unleash America’s fossil-fuel resources may be New York.

In the past year, New York regulators have blocked two major natural gas pipelines -- a $455 million proposal by National Fuel Gas Co. and a $925 million one from Williams Partners LP -- on the grounds that they pose environmental risks. One bank’s saying investors have no choice but to assign “elevated risk premiums” to energy projects in the state, National Fuel Gas is threatening to take its money elsewhere and Williams’s chief executive officer said Wednesday that he’s in talks with the White House on how the administration can help.

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Obama: Private Sector Is Key to Tackling Climate Change

Obama talks climate change in IralyFormer U.S. President Barack Obama said Tuesday that he is "confident that the United States will continue to move in the right direction" on climate change despite his successor's pledges to undo many of his policies.

On his first foreign foray since leaving the presidency, Obama told an audience at a conference on food innovation in Italy that businesses in the United States are already committed to clean energy because it is cost-saving, which would help counteract moves by the Trump administration.

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EPA website buries youth guide to climate change

EPA website scrubs youth climate change infoThe Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has buried a climate change website aimed at kids, the Washington Post reported, citing a public watchdog group.

Last month, the EPA removed several pages from its website — including those related to climate change — as part of an update to "reflect the agency's new direction under" President Trump and EPA administrator Scott Pruitt.

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