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EPA weighs rule requiring disclosure of fracking chemicals

fracking chemicalsThe Environmental Protection Agency is taking the first steps toward regulations that could require companies to disclose chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” operations.

The EPA issued an advance notice of proposed rule-making Friday in response to a petition filed in 2011 by the environmental group Earthjustice and more than 100 other green organizations pressing for mandatory testing and reporting rules.

The groups have raised concerns over various chemicals used during the fracking process, which involves pumping water, sand and chemicals underground in order to fracture rock and unlock trapped oil and gas.

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Fed Govt Failed To Inspect Higher Risk Oil Wells

oil well drillingThe government has failed to inspect thousands of oil and gas wells it considers potentially high risks for water contamination and other environmental damage, congressional investigators say.

The report, obtained by The Associated Press before its public release, highlights substantial gaps in oversight by the agency that manages oil and gas development on federal and Indian lands.

Investigators said weak control by the Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management resulted from policies based on outdated science and from incomplete monitoring data.

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Pesticides to blame for honeybee colony collapse disorder, not mites

Honeybee disappearancesThough parasitic mites continue to infect and kill honeybees, a new study suggests they are not to blame for colony collapse disorder (CCD), the phenomenon blamed for rapidly depleting the world's honeybee population -- pesticides are.

Harvard researchers, working with beekeepers in Massachusetts, kept tabs on 18 bee colonies, six hives in three different locations -- from October 2012 to April 2013. Half the colonies were treated with a non-lethal dose of two neonicotinoid pesticides.

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Oil spill reported in St. Maarten; source unknown

St. Maarten oil spillhe St. Maarten Nature Foundation responded to reports of a significant oil spill in the Simpson Bay area in the vicinity of Gourmet Marché stretching towards the Simpson Bay Causeway on Friday. Foundation staff responded by taking a vessel out to investigate.

Once on scene, the situation was assessed and the environmental impacts of the spill on the marine environment determined. Initial assessment found that a large quantity of diesel was released into the Simpson Bay Lagoon from an unknown source. There was no activity observed regarding oil entering the water from industrial or shipping sources within the Simpson Bay Lagoon.

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Medical experts warn against high levels of radon and radium from fracking

fradking dangersA group of health professionals opposed to hydraulic fracturing penned a letter Wednesday to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, calling on him to take a closer look at radon levels in shale gas before allowing fracking in New York.

The letter, signed by nine people including a representative of the American Lung Association, urges Cuomo’s administration to first examine whether gas from the Marcellus Shale has elevated levels of radon before green-lighting fracking. The state should take a closer look at radiation issues related to shale-gas before proceeding, the letter signers content.

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Sentinel satellite spies speed-up of ice cap melting

ice cap speedupMelting at one of the largest ice caps on Earth has produced a big jump in its flow speed, satellite imagery suggests.

Austfonna on Norway's Svalbard archipelago covers just over 8,000 sq km and had been relatively stable for many years.  But the latest space data reveals a marked acceleration of the ice in its main outlet glacier to the Barents Sea.

The research was presented in Brussels on Thursday to mark the launch of the EU's new Sentinel-1a radar spacecraft.

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Duke Energy spends tiny percentage of revenue on coal ash cleanup

coal ash spillDuke Energy, the company responsible for a massive coal ash spill in North Carolina in January, raked in billions in revenue in the first quarter of 2014 but failed to spend more than a tiny fraction of its earnings on cleaning up its spill, according to its quarterly report released Wednesday.

The company, the largest electrical utility in the United States, has also seen what one Duke stock owner called a “shareholder revolt” over a reluctance to provide more detailed disclosure of its political contributions. Duke denies there’s a mutiny, saying that management’s preference for less disclosure is supported by a majority of shareholders.

Duke Energy, valued at about $51 billion, said it spent just $15 million cleaning up the results of the coal ash leak, a figure dwarfed by its $6.62 billion in revenue in the first quarter of 2014.

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