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Tuesday, Jul 22nd

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Vancouver: Fracking comes to the world’s ‘greenest city’

Vancouver frackingFrom a plane landing in Vancouver, the city shimmers below. Skyscrapers sheathed in glass reflect water that lies on three sides of downtown. Forested mountains serve as a backdrop that has made it easy for politicians to brand Vancouver the world’s “greenest city.”

There is more to that reputation than just PR. Vancouver’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are among the lowest of any urban center in North America. The city council has made bicycling infrastructure a priority. And in 2008, the government of British Columbia enacted a relatively steep carbon tax that has earned international praise for lowering the province’s per capita consumption of fossil fuels to well below Canada’s average.

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Radon: The silent killer in your home

RadonTobacco smoke in a home is easy to detect as it drifts through the air or leaves its odor in clothes or furniture. Its health toll is equally as obvious as the leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S.

Less obvious and almost as deadly is radon, an odorless gas that causes 21,000 lung cancer deaths a year. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S. and the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers. It's a bigger concern during cold winters like the one we've just experienced when radon levels sky rocket in well-sealed homes.

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Second radioactive oil waste site found in North Dakota

oil waste NDNorth Dakota this week confirmed the discovery of a new radioactive dump of waste from oil drilling. And separately, a company hired to clean up similar waste found in February at another location said it had removed more than double the amount of radioactive material originally estimated to be there.

The twin disclosures highlight a growing problem from North Dakota's booming Bakken oil development, and for other oil and gas operations across the country: the illegal disposal of radioactive material from drilling sites.

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Entire state of California in drought, first time in 15 years

California droughtThe entire state of California is suffering drought conditions, and in more than three-quarters of the state the drought is characterized as "extreme" or "exceptional" -- as designated by the National Drought Mitigation Center.

It's the first time in 15 years that every portion of the state simultaneously suffered some level of drought.

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Fracking: In apparent first, family gets courtroom victory in health case

Robert and Lisa ParrlIn what is being hailed as a landmark victory for opponents of hydraulic fracturing, a Texas family has won a $2.95 million verdict against a Plano oil and gas firm.

Robert and Lisa Parr and their daughter claimed that airborne toxins from the 22 wells run by Aruba Petroleum near their 40-acre Decatur ranch affected their health and poisoned their livestock and drinking water. The process that the firm used, also known as fracking, involves water and chemicals being injected deep underground to release natural gas trapped in rock formations.

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Manager at Japan's Fukushima plant admits radioactive water "embarrassing"

FukushimaThe manager of the Fukushima nuclear power plant admits to embarrassment that repeated efforts have failed to bring under control the problem of radioactive water, eight months after Japan's prime minister told the world the matter was resolved.

Tokyo Electric Power Co, the plant's operator, has been fighting a daily battle against contaminated water since Fukushima was wrecked by a March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government pledged half a billion dollars last year to tackle the issue, but progress has been limited.

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Top court declines Exxon's appeal in NYC water pollution case

exxon fine upheldThe Supreme Court on Monday declined to review a ruling against Exxon Mobil Corp that ordered the company to pay $105 million in damages for polluting New York City's groundwater with a toxic gasoline additive.

The decision not to hear the case leaves intact a July 2 U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that upheld the judgment.

In 2009, a jury concluded that Exxon contaminated water supply wells when the additive, methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE), leaked from its underground storage tanks in the borough of Queens.

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