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FEMA: Caught Between Climate Change and Congress

climate change Thanks to climate change, extreme weather disasters have hammered the United States with increasing frequency in recent years—from drought and wildfires to coastal storms and flooding.

It is perhaps surprising, then, that the U.S. agency in charge of preparing for and responding to these disasters, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), doesn't account for climate change in most of its budget planning and resource allocation or in the National Flood Insurance Program it administers.


Thousands without heat in frigid Manitoba after huge natural gas pipeline explosion

manitobaTanker trucks carried emergency supplies of compressed natural gas on Sunday to heat critical locations in southern Manitoba as thousands of residents have to contend with no heat.

The residents have been told that a pipeline explosion on Saturday means they could have to spend several days in frigid temperatures without fuel to heat their homes.

Natural gas service for an estimated 4,000 people in municipalities south of Winnipeg was interrupted following a huge explosion at a TransCanada Pipelines valve site near St. Pierre-Jolys.


US coal’s new focus on exporting leaves a cloud of dust over Louisiana

louisiana coal pollutionWhen Warren Lawrence retired, he settled on Myrtle Grove, a small community of brightly colored houses sitting on stilts, 40 miles south of New Orleans, because it’s surrounded by water. The Mississippi River is on one side of Route 23, the main road, and the bayou is on the other. Lawrence’s boats are tied up out back, and he takes his small dogs on a ride through the swampland nearly every day.

He loves his way of life, he said. Except for the dusting.

On a clear, windy day, from the porch of his house Lawrence can see a cloud of black dust hanging over Kinder Morgan’s coal terminal two miles away. Lawrence — and everyone else who lives near that terminal, where up to 4 million tons of coal are exported each year — knows the cloud means a cleaning will soon be in order.


Oil starts flowing through Keystone XL pipeline to Texas

XL Keystone pipelineOil began flowing Wednesday through the southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline, as a massive environmental battle continues over whether President Barack Obama should approve the northern portion to tap Canadian oil sands.

The southern part of the pipeline runs 487 miles from Cushing, Okla., to refineries in Texas. Keystone developer TransCanada hopes to soon get permission to start building the northern leg and bring controversial Canadian crude to the Gulf Coast.

The planned 1,179-mile northern leg gets most of the attention because the Canadian oil sands result in more planet-warming gases than conventional oil. But Keystone opponents in Texas have been fighting the southern section for years.


A Big Fracking Lie President Obama isn’t just not fixing climate change—he’s making it worse.

fracking lieIf you want to know just how bad an idea it is for America to ship “fracked” natural gas to overseas markets, travel the 65 miles from the White House to a place called Cove Point in southern Maryland.

There, right on the Chesapeake Bay, the Obama administration wants to give fast-track approval to a $3.8 billion facility (12 times the cost of the NFL Ravens stadium) to liquefy gas from all across Appalachia. The new plant, proposed by Virginia-based Dominion Resources, would somehow be built right between a coveted state park and a stretch of sleepy beach communities, with a smattering of Little League baseball fields just down the road. Along the Chesapeake itself, endangered tiger beetles cling to the shore while Maryland “watermen” hunt crabs and oysters in age-old fashion.


Study: Higher tides from climate change likely to make hurricane flooding worse

hurricane flooding to worsenHigh tides have been getting higher and low tides lower at cities around the Gulf of Mexico, according to a new study produced in part by scientists at the University of South Florida.

Those extreme swings, caused at least in part by global climate change, have increased since the 1990s, the study found. The trend for sea level rise spells very bad news for anyone living along the coast if a hurricane hits during one of those higher high tides.


Officials: Second chemical leaked into West Virginia water

w. Virginia leakA second chemical was mixed in with the previously identified MCHM crude that leaked from a storage tank at Freedom Industries chemical company earlier this month and tainted drinking water in a large swath of West Virginia, a spokeswoman for Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin confirmed to Al Jazeera Tuesday evening.

State authorities said that earlier Tuesday they had received a document from Freedom Industries indicating the presence of the second substance, a modified form of a chemical called PPH. The chemical spill into the Elk River prompted authorities to impose a Jan. 9 ban on drinking, bathing or even touching water from taps.


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