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Sea rise threatens Florida coast, but no statewide plan

florida sea riseAmerica’s oldest city is slowly drowning.

St. Augustine’s centuries-old Spanish fortress sits feet from the encroaching Atlantic, whose waters already flood the city’s narrow streets about 10 times a year – a problem worsening as sea levels rise. The city relies on tourism, but visitors might someday have to wear waders at high tide.

“If you want to benefit from the fact we’ve been here for 450 years, you have the responsibility to look forward to the next 450,” said Bill Hamilton, whose family has lived in the city since the 1950s. “Is St. Augustine even going to be here? We owe it to the people coming after us to leave the city in good shape.”


Crews search for missing after twisters hit Texas, Arkansas

tornadoes in TexasEmergency responders searched through wreckage in parts of Texas and Arkansas early Monday after a line of tornadoes battered several small communities, killing at least two people and injuring dozens of others.

As many as 10 people were still missing at daybreak, raising the possibility that the number of dead could climb.

Two people who lived in adjoining mobile homes in Nashville, Arkansas, were killed after several twisters were reported late Sunday.


NY Governor says nuclear plant fire produced Hudson oil slick

Indian Point nuclear plantPart of a New York nuclear power plant remained offline Sunday after a transformer fire created another problem: thousands of gallons of oil leaking into the Hudson River, officials said.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said emergency crews were out on the water near Buchanan trying to contain and clean up transformer fluid that leaked from Indian Point 3.

"There's no doubt that oil was discharged into the Hudson River," Cuomo said. "Exactly how much, we don't know."


Indian Point nuclear plant shuts down after fire

Indian Point nuclear plant fireA unit at Indian Point nuclear plant in Buchanan, New York state, was shut down following a transformer failure and fire on Saturday, and at one point smoke was seen rising from the facility.

But the plant was stable and there was no danger to the public or employees, Entergy Corp said.  Several people tweeted from nearby that they saw a big explosion.


Obama’s pipeline safety agency without a permanent boss for 214 days.

No head of PHWM departmentPresident Barack Obama has blown past the legal deadline to name a permanent boss for the agency that oversees the safety of the nation’s oil trains and fossil-fuel pipelines — while potentially life-or-death regulations continue to sit in limbo.

It’s part of a pattern for the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, where an internal structure that gives deference to industry has helped stymie safety initiatives for years, even as pipeline accidents have caused more than 170 deaths, 670 injuries and $5 billion in property damage during the past decade. Critics say the agency is in dire need of an overhaul — and want Obama to appoint a leader who’s willing to carry one out.


What's causing Texas earthquakes? Fracking 'most likely,' report says

Texas earthquakes caused by frackingAccording to the U.S. Geological Survey, the Dallas area has suffered almost 40 small earthquakes (magnitude 2.0 or higher) since the beginning of this year, the latest a magnitude-2.7 quake near Farmers Branch on Monday. Many of the epicenters were recorded in Farmers Branch and Irving, with a couple to the south in Venus.

"The quakes don't sound like much to somebody from California," Jim Wells told CNN. "But when you are sitting right on top of them, they are more than noticeable. They will shake the entire house, and you have no doubt about it when you have gone through it. We have in my home perhaps 100 or more wall hangings, pieces of art -- prints, etchings, oil originals -- and none of them are hanging straight."


Texas Republicans Aim to Preempt Local Democracy, Target Fracking Bans

Denton drilling awareness groupThe Texas Senate - in lockstep with the oil and gas industry, despite the continued protests of their own constituents - approved legislation this week that would make the city of Denton's fracking ban unenforceable and preempt the ability of local communities to regulate oil and gas operations within their city limits.

Last fall, Denton passed Texas' first outright ban on hydraulic fracturing (fracking) within city limits, in a landslide victory in which 59 percent of Dentonites voted for the ban. Since then, state lawmakers connected to the oil and gas industry and to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) have introduced a number of bills aimed at undermining local democracy, ostensibly to prevent other cities from following Denton's lead.


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