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Wednesday, Jan 28th

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Strongest 2014 Storm Churns Without Getting Closer Look

Strongest storm of 2014The strongest tropical system the Earth has produced in almost a year is now churning in the Pacific Ocean on a track toward Japan.

Super Typhoon Vongfong’s exact strength may never be known. Yesterday, the best estimate pegged its winds at just over 178 miles (286 kilometers) per hour, according to the U.S. Navy Joint Typhoon Warning Center in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

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Dukesville, NC: Don’t drink the water, locals and activists warn

Dukesville, NCIn Sherry Gobble’s house, the water runs toxic.

Gobble, who lives alongside Duke Energy’s Buck Steam Station in a Rowan County community called Dukeville, discovered six months ago that water in her family’s well contains the carcinogen hexavalent chromium, also known as chromium-6. Since then, they have armed themselves with bottled water and a growing pile of empty jugs they fill up across town where they know the water isn’t tainted.

She believes the potentially cancer-causing contaminant is seeping in from the leaking coal ash pond next door. It’s a charge Duke Energy vigorously denies.

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Earthquake Rattles Wichita, Tulsa; 4.4-Magnitude Tremor Felt Widely in Kansas, Oklahoma

Tulsa earthquakeA 4.4-magnitude earthquake rattled a large part of Kansas and Oklahoma Thursday afternoon, just one day after residents had been ducking for cover from tornado warnings and severe thunderstorms.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake struck at 1:01 p.m. CDT. The epicenter was 7 miles east-southeast of Harper, Kansas, or about 43 miles southwest of Wichita, Kansas. There have been no immediate reports of damage. Wichita television station KAKE-TV said officials near the epicenter in Harper County, Kansas, reported no known damage.

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Australia's 2013 heat waves linked to human-caused climate change, studies conclude

australia heat linked to climate changeAustralia has suffered through two back-to-back sweltering summers, with a record-setting heat wave sweeping across the country at the end of 2013 and into 2014. Now, five separate studies published today conclude that the blazing summer was linked to human-caused climate change.

The papers are part of a larger report, Explaining Extreme Events of 2013 From a Climate Perspective, published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (BAMS). It includes 22 separate studies focusing on 16 different extreme weather events that occurred last year. And while researchers concluded that human activity had increased the likelihood and severity of Australia’s heat wave, they reported that it was hard to see any direct link between climate change and other extreme events last year—including the last 2 years of California drought and Colorado’s extreme rains.

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Pennsylvania Releases Official File Detailing 250 Water Supplies Directly Polluted by Fracking

Pa. frackingThe following list identifies cases where DEP determined that a private water supply was impacted by oil and gas activities. The oil and gas activities referenced in the list below include operations associated with both conventional and unconventional drilling activities that either resulted in a water diminution event or an increase in constituents above background conditions.

This list is intended to identify historic water supply impacts and does not necessarily represent ongoing impacts.

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U.S. Appeals Court Orders Disclosure of Secrets in Chevron Oil Pollution Case

Chevron loses appealOne might assume that after 21 years of litigation, all the sordid details surrounding the epic Chevron oil pollution case had been made public. Not so. A three-judge federal appeals court panel in Richmond, Va., ruled unanimously on Tuesday that plaintiffs’ lawyers accused of fraud against the oil company must reveal the contents of documents that had been confidential and could hold new information about wrongdoing.

The appellate ruling constitutes the latest victory for Chevron (CVX) as the company seeks to nullify a $19 billion judgment imposed against the company in 2011 by a trial court in Ecuador. The Andean nation’s supreme court has affirmed Chevron’s liability while halving the damages to a still-substantial $9.5 billion.

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EU climate change chief: Obama has six months to take substantial action

EU Climate Change Commissioner Connie HedegaardBarack Obama has six months to deliver on the promises he made in a rousing speech at the United Nations climate change summit, Europe’s climate action commissioner said.

Obama, in a well-received address on Tuesday, promised the United States would play a leading role in reaching an international agreement to fight climate change, due to be finalised in Paris at the end of next year.

Connie Hedegaard, who is responsible for ensuring the European Union meets its climate change obligations, told the Guardian that after the president’s speech raised expectations, other countries, especially the rising economies of China, India and Brazil, will be looking closely at what the US has to offer in six months.

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