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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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Wine, Not Gas! New York Residents Fight Gas Storage at Lake Seneca

wine, not gas for Seneca, NYNew York's Finger Lakes region is a national treasure: 9,000 square miles of forest, wetlands, streams and lakes, including 10,000 acres of vineyards. The Finger Lakes wine industry now rivals California's and, say some wine-lovers, even France's. Finger Lakes National Forest has 13,232 acres of forest, trails, ponds and wildlife.

Just southwest of the forest is Watkins Glen, a geological marvel formed 12,000 years ago, its 19 waterfalls cascading over walls of leafy shale directly into Seneca Lake. The lake is the largest and deepest of the Finger Lakes, furnishing water for 100,000 people.

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Maine Victory: City Council Prevents Tar Sands Oil Exports

maine tar sands victoryThe fight against extreme energy extraction, now ongoing in hundreds of communities across the United States and the world, expanded to include another significant victory on Monday night in the town of South Portland, Maine.  Townspeople and Maine environmental groups organized a “relentless 18-month campaign,” as the Los Angeles Times put it, resulting in a near-unanimous City Council vote (6-1) passing a Clear Skies Ordinance preventing the export of crude oil from South Portland’s waterfront.

The new Maine victory follows upon the use of tactics as diverse as tree-sits, nonviolent direct action blockades, massive marches on Washington, and even a blockade of the Douglas Channel in British Columbia made of yarn knit by members of the indigenous Gitga’at Nation. In particular, activists from Texas to Maine, from Nebraska to British Columbia, are expanding their tactical toolkit — now including this old-fashioned community organizing win — in campaigns to stop pipelines from exporting dirty, climate-destroying oil from the tar sands of Alberta, Canada.

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Fire at fracking fluid storage site in North Dakota sparks concerns

Fracking fluid fire ND-North Dakota's Health Department said it's surveying air quality near the site of a fire at an industrial park in Williston, the heart of the state's oil patch.

Chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing caught fire at an industrial warehouse in Williston. Officials said they're going to let the fire burn out on its own because pouring water on the blaze would create a secondary problem for nearby waterways.

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Scientist: "We Are Living in the Steroid Era of the Climate System"

Climate changeJune 2014 has become the second consecutive record-setting month for heat, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Monday. The averge global temperature last month was 61.2°F (16.2°C), which is 0.2°F than 2010, the previously hottest June, and 1.3° degrees higher than the 20th century average. It is the 352nd hotter than average month in a row.

Derek Arndt, NOAA's climate monitoring chief, said unusually hot oceans — especially the Pacific and Indian oceans — were the driving force behind June's heat.

"We are living in the steroid era of the climate system," Arndt said.

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Sierra Club irked by U.S. liquefied natural gas export stance

Sieerra Club opposes LNG exportsU.S. policies on the export of liquefied natural gas are out of step with renewable and climate protection goals, the Sierra Club said.

The Sierra Club announced it filed comments with the Department of Energy on the impacts of LNG. The advocacy group said LNG exports would lead to more domestic gas production, which may cause an increase in greenhouse gas emissions and inhibit the development of renewable energy projects.

Sierra Club attorney Nathan Matthews said Monday the analysis from the Department of Energy falls short.

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Former Health Secretary: Pennsylvania Didn't Seriously Study Fracking Health Impacts

Eli AvilaPennsylvania's former health secretary says the state has failed to seriously study the potential health impacts of one of the nation's biggest natural gas drilling booms.

Dr. Eli Avila also says the state's current strategy is a disservice to people and even to the industry itself because health officials need to be proactive in protecting the public.

"The lack of any action speaks volumes," said Avila, who is now the public health commissioner for Orange County, New York. "Don't BS the public. Their health comes first."

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