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Thursday, Nov 20th

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Alabama community alleges race bias over toxic landfill site

Alabama toxic wasteFive-and-a-half years have passed since an earthen dam holding toxic coal ash from a coal plant failed in Harriman, Tenn., spilling more than a billion gallons of the ash into rivers and forests, and destroying several homes. The TVA Kingston Fossil Plant disaster was widely considered one of the worst in U.S. history, or at least one of the biggest by volume. And it’s still causing headaches, hundreds of miles away.

Last week, Environmental Protection Agency investigators traveled to Uniontown, Ala., to interview residents and activists who say a local landfill that accepted much of the Tennessee coal ash is polluting air and water sources nearby, causing people who live in the area to become sick. The residents of the poor, predominantly black area say they are being unfairly burdened with the literal remnants of a disaster they had nothing to do with.

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Drought is causing Earth's crust to rise in the West

eath's crust risingAbout 63 trillion gallons of water have been lost to drought in the western United States, enough to blanket the region with 4 inches of water, according to a study published Thursday.

Researchers at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, arrived at the conclusion by measuring the level of the earth's crust with a network of GPS stations that is normally used to predict earthquakes.

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America's biggest PR firm formally declares it will not accept climate denial campaigns

EdelmanEdelman, America’s biggest public relations firm, has for the first time formally declared it will not take on campaigns that deny global warming, in response to an investigation by the Guardian. However it is unclear on its commitment to existing clients that have been involved in spreading doubt about climate change and fighting regulations to cut carbon pollution.

The explicit rejection comes in response to a story earlier this week that saw a number of top firms in the industry – but not Edelman – declare as a matter of company policy that they viewed climate change as a threat, and that they would not take on clients or campaigns that deny climate change.

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Once-frozen Arctic sea now gets 16-foot waves

Waves in arctic seaGood news for Arctic surfers? The Beaufort Sea, part of the Arctic Ocean, was long covered in a perpetual layer of ice; not so anymore.

Now, the area has seen waves 16 feet high thanks to warmer temperatures, scientists say in a new study, per National Geographic. The giant waves happened during a storm in 2012, the year the researchers collected their data. Such big waves could themselves contribute to a further reduction in ice. Waves break ice, and that gives the sun a chance to make the ocean even warmer.

Big waves can also result in quicker erosion on nearby shores, and could indirectly boost the release of greenhouse gases in the Arctic.

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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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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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