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Tuesday, Jul 29th

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Widely Used Insecticides Are Leaching Into Midwest Rivers

Insecticides leeching into midwest riversA class of insecticides called neonicotinoids, which are used on a lot of big corn and soybean fields, has been getting a pretty bad rap lately.

Researchers have implicated these chemicals, which are similar to nicotine, as a contributor to the alarming decline of bee colonies. That led the European Union to place a on their use, and environmentalists want the U.S. to .

In a published July 24, researchers at the U.S. Geological Survey found that these chemicals are also leaching into streams and rivers in the Midwest — including the Missouri and Mississippi rivers. And that may be bad news for aquatic life in the region, the scientists say.

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Fracking 'a huge load of hype', say Friends of the Earth

Fracking hypeThe government claims that tight restrictions in the new licences that have been made available to frack for shale gas across vast sheaths of the UK means areas of outstanding natural beauty and national parks will not be drilled, unless there are 'exceptional circumstances'.

A number of incentives to help kick-start the industry have also been included including tax breaks, payments of £100,000 per site plus a 1% share of revenue to local communities.

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UK to accept bids for oil and gas exploration after fracking caused earthquakes

UK to allow frackingThe British government said Monday that energy companies will be able to bid for licenses to explore onshore oil and gas, a move aimed at speeding up shale exploration.

The move comes three years after the shale drilling process caused seismic tremors, which led the government to suspend operations.

Business and Energy Minister Matthew Hancock said shale gas has the potential to increase the country's energy supply but stressed national parks will be protected.

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Coal-exporting town of Norfolk, Va. fights rising seas

Norfolk rising seaNorfolk is trapped between the causes and consequences of global warming.

The region exports more coal — and the heat-trapping pollution that comes with it — than any place in the U.S. At the same time, Norfolk is already experiencing one of the fastest rates of sea level rise in the country.

Flood walls protect downtown from rising waters. Residents raise houses to escape floods. Yet an endless procession of trains filled with Appalachian coal rumbles into Norfolk every year. They're bound for ships that will take the coal to foreign power plants and factories to be burned.

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Fire teams battle two fast-moving California blazes

Fires in CaliforniaFire crews are battling two fast-moving wildfires in California that threatened many homes and forced hundreds of evacuations, officials said.

A fire in the Sacramento region had mushroomed to about 4,000 acres by late Saturday, while a blaze that began in the afternoon around Yosemite National Park threatened a small community.

The so-called Sand Fire began Friday in the Sierra Nevada foothills and has since raced through more than 6 square miles of drought-stricken grasslands east of Sacramento.

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EPA fails to address methane leaks from gas pipelines -watchdog

methane leaking from pipelinesThe internal watchdog of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said on Friday that the regulator does not adequately address methane leaks from natural gas pipelines, harming both the economy and environment.

The EPA Inspector General said the agency's current voluntary program to address methane leaks from pipelines has yielded only minimal reductions of the potent greenhouse gas.

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Halliburton Fracking Spill Mystery: What Chemicals Polluted an Ohio Waterway?

fracking watersOn the morning of June 28, a fire broke out at a Halliburton fracking site in Monroe County, Ohio. As flames engulfed the area, trucks began exploding and thousands of gallons of toxic chemicals spilled into a tributary of the Ohio River, which supplies drinking water for millions of residents.

More than 70,000 fish died. Nevertheless, it took five days for the Environmental Protection Agency and its Ohio counterpart to get a full list of the chemicals polluting the waterway. "We knew there was something toxic in the water," says an environmental official who was on the scene. "But we had no way of assessing whether it was a threat to human health or how best to protect the public."

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