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U.S. fracking rules to face early legal test

Fracking rules face legal testEnergy industry groups and states that oppose new U.S. rules for hydraulic fracturing on public lands are headed to court this month to try to block the regulations a day before they are to take effect.

Foes of the regulations will go before a federal judge on June 23 to seek a preliminary injunction. The Interior Department rules, slated to take effect on June 24, would require companies to provide data on chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and to take steps to prevent leakage from oil and gas wells on federally owned land.

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Why shale producers are happy with this EPA fracking study

EPA Fracking studyThe energy industry agrees with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — at least when it comes to the findings of an EPA study on hydraulic fracturing.

Michael Krancer, partner and chair of the energy industry team at law firm Blank Rome LLP, said a draft report on the EPA study shows that fracking is “safe,” with “no widespread issues.”

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Secretive donors gave US climate denial groups $125m over three years

Cliate deniars got millionsThe secretive funders behind America’s conservative movement directed around $125m (£82m) over three years to groups spreading disinformation about climate science and committed to wrecking Barack Obama’s climate change plan, according to an analysis of tax records.

The amount is close to half of the anonymous funding disbursed to rightwing groups, underlining the importance of the climate issue to US conservatives.

The anonymous cash flow came from two secretive organisations – the Donors Trust and Donors Capital Fund – that have been called the “Dark Money ATM” of the conservative movement.

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Seattle detains 'Raging Grannies' after Shell Arctic oil rig protest

raging granniesSix older women were detained by Seattle police on Tuesday during a protest to block access to a Royal Dutch Shell drilling rig that activists believe may depart this week to resume fossil fuel exploration in the Arctic, authorities said.

The six, members of an activist group known as the Seattle Raging Grannies, the local chapter of an international nonviolent activist network, were questioned and released by police after blocking railroad tracks near the Port of Seattle, police spokesman Patrick Michaud said.

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Court throws out lawsuits challenging climate plan before it was final

Gina McCarthyA federal appeals court on Tuesday threw out a pair of high-profile lawsuits challenging the Obama administration’s sweeping plan to address climate change, saying it’s too early to challenge a proposed rule that isn’t yet final.

The ruling from the US court of appeals for the District of Columbia circuit is a temporary setback to opponents of the plan, who are expected to renew their legal attack once the regulation is finalized later this year.

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Cuomo administration keeping fracking ban in New York

CuomoThe Cuomo administration is sticking by its decision to ban hydrofracking in New York despite a federal report Thursday that found it caused no “widespread” water contamination.

A spokesman for the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation said New York’s decision not to allow the controversial natural gas drilling process was based on factors beyond possible water contamination.

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Norway Confirms Major Divestment From Coal

Norway divests from coalNorway's Parliament has formally endorsed a move to exclude coal companies from the country's $900 billion oil fund because of their impact on climate change.

Friday's decision was expected after a parliamentary committee last week unanimously recommended dropping coal investments.

The new guidelines, which will take effect by Jan. 1, 2016, call on fund managers to exclude mining or power companies that depend on coal for at least 30 percent of their activities or revenues.

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