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Thursday, May 28th

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Second Oil “Bomb Train” Derailment in Philadelphia in One Year

Oil tran derails So. PhiladelphiaToday the second major oil “bomb train” derailment occurred in Philadelphia, risking residents’ lives, endangering drivers on one of the nation’s busiest highways, I-95, and putting waterways at risk. One year and eleven days ago, early on Martin Luther King Day 2014, seven cars carrying Bakken Shale crude derailed over the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia in a “near miss from disaster.”

That derailment put the entire University of Pennsylvania medical complex, the Schuylkill Expressway, the Veterans Administration, Children’s Hospital, and other major institutions at risk, along with a chunk of Philadelphia’s residential population too big to safely evacuate.

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Scientists puzzled, worried by rapid draining of Greenland lakes

greenland lakesTwo subglacial Greenland lakes thought to be stable -- pockets of icy water accumulated over many years -- are now gone, drained in a matter of weeks. And scientists aren't exactly sure why or what it means.

In one spot along Greenland's massive ice sheet, what was once a holding cell for more than 7 billion gallons of water (supplied by melting ice caps), is now a cold, empty crater, stretching some 1.2 miles wide and 230 feet deep.

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NASA, NOAA proclaim 2014 hottest year on record

Hottest year on record- 2014The official numbers are in, and they confirm what most already suspected: 2014 was the hottest year on record. Temperature records were shattered in places across the globe, including in much of Europe, parts of South America, as well as in China and portions of Russia and the Far East.

As NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Friday, average global temperatures on land and sea surfaces collected across the planet were 1.24 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century average.

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Methane plume over western US illustrates climate cost of gas leaks

methane gas cloudThe methane that leaks from 40,000 gas wells near the desert trading post of Cuba, New Mexico, may be colourless and odourless, but it’s not invisible. It can be seen from space.


Satellites that sweep over the north of the energy-rich state can spot the gas as it escapes from drilling rigs, compressors and a pipeline snaking across the badlands. In the air it forms a giant plume: a permanent methane cloud, so vast that scientists questioned their own data when they first studied it three years ago. “We couldn’t be sure that the signal was real,” said Nasa researcher Christian Frankenberg.

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Winter storm brings snow to California's New Year's celebration

winter snow storm in CAA blustery winter storm dumped snow and ice across the American west on Wednesday, making driving treacherous in the mountains from California to the Rockies and forcing residents and party-goers in some usually sun-soaked cities to bundle up for a frosty New Year’s.

Giddy residents in Southern California foothills snapped photos of snow-covered lawns as kids tossed snowballs. In suburban Phoenix, swimming pools and cactus-lined backyards were dusted with the white stuff.

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Trains plus crude oil equals trouble down the track

crude on the tracksEvery day, strings of black tank cars filled with crude oil roll slowly across a long wooden railroad bridge over the Black Warrior River.

The 116-year-old span is a landmark in this city of 95,000 people, home to the University of Alabama. Residents have proposed and gotten married next to the bridge. Children play under it. During Alabama football season, die-hard Crimson Tide fans set up camp in its shadow.

But with some timber pilings so badly rotted that you can stick your hand right through them, and a “MacGyver”-esque combination of plywood, concrete and plastic pipe employed to patch up others, the bridge demonstrates the limited ability of government and industry to manage the hidden risks of a sudden shift in energy production.

And it shows why communities nationwide are in danger.

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Gov. Cuomo to Ban Fracking in New York State, Citing Health Risks

Andrew CuomoNo one understands better than impacted people — residents and workers in shale country, from the Barnett Shale of Texas and the Haynesville Shale of Louisiana to the Bakken Shale of North Dakota and the Marcellus and Utica Shales in Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia and beyond — the wisdom of Governor Cuomo’s historic decision today to ban fracking in New York State:

ALBANY — The Cuomo administration announced Wednesday that it would ban hydraulic fracturing in New York State, ending years of uncertainty by concluding that the controversial method of extracting gas from deep underground could contaminate the state’s air and water and pose inestimable public-health risks.

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