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Thursday, Aug 21st

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Toxic fumes, health concerns remain after L.A. pipeline rupture

los angeles oil spillToxic fumes continued to hang in the air at an industrial area of Los Angeles Friday, a day after a pipeline run by a company with a checkered history of accidents ruptured and spilled at least 18,000 gallons of crude oil onto city streets.

“We can smell fumes, but we’re all in today for work,” said an employee at Plumbing and Industrial Supply, a business next door to The Gentleman’s Club, a strip joint that served as the epicenter to the spill and was showered in crude during the rupture in the early hours of Thursday morning.

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Big mammals vs. big oil: New pipeline puts humpback whales at risk

humpback whaleIn a deep fjord in British Columbia called the Douglas Channel, where the Kitimat River pours runs of Chinook salmon into the Pacific Ocean, fishermen see singing humpback whales fling themselves into the air.

These barnacled, 40-ton whales with long, ridged flippers were harpooned to the brink of extinction in the 1900s. Only through intense conservation efforts have they found safety in ancient migration routes. Mothers birth a single calf in tropical seas and fast for months as it nurses, before migrating thousands of miles up to the North Pacific. There, in enclaves like the Douglas Channel — a critical feeding ground — the whales nourish themselves on krill.

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Only a fraction of Ohio fracking wastes to undergo regulation

fracking wastesOhio annually processes thousands of tons of radioactive waste from hydraulic-fracturing, sending it through treatment facilities, injecting it into its old and unused gas wells and dumping it in landfills. Historically, the handling and disposal of that waste was barely regulated, with few requirements for how its potential contamination would be gauged, or how and where it could be transported and stored.

With the business of fracking waste only growing, legislators in 2013 had the chance to decide how best to monitor the state's vast amounts of toxic material, much of it being trucked into Ohio from neighboring states.

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Western Antarctic ice sheet collapse has already begun, scientists warn

antarctic ice sheet The collapse of the western Antarctic ice sheet is inevitable and is already underway, scientists said on Monday.

The melt will cause up to four metres (13 feet) of additional sea-level rise over the coming centuries, devastating low-lying and coastal areas around the world – from Bangladesh to New Jersey – that are already expected to be swamped by only a few feet of sea-level rise.

But the researchers said the sea-level rise – while unstoppable – was still several centuries off, potentially up to 1,000 years away.

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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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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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