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Monday, May 25th

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Indian Point nuclear plant shuts down after fire

Indian Point nuclear plant fireA unit at Indian Point nuclear plant in Buchanan, New York state, was shut down following a transformer failure and fire on Saturday, and at one point smoke was seen rising from the facility.

But the plant was stable and there was no danger to the public or employees, Entergy Corp said.  Several people tweeted from nearby that they saw a big explosion.

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Obama’s pipeline safety agency without a permanent boss for 214 days.

No head of PHWM departmentPresident Barack Obama has blown past the legal deadline to name a permanent boss for the agency that oversees the safety of the nation’s oil trains and fossil-fuel pipelines — while potentially life-or-death regulations continue to sit in limbo.

It’s part of a pattern for the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, where an internal structure that gives deference to industry has helped stymie safety initiatives for years, even as pipeline accidents have caused more than 170 deaths, 670 injuries and $5 billion in property damage during the past decade. Critics say the agency is in dire need of an overhaul — and want Obama to appoint a leader who’s willing to carry one out.

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What's causing Texas earthquakes? Fracking 'most likely,' report says

Texas earthquakes caused by frackingAccording to the U.S. Geological Survey, the Dallas area has suffered almost 40 small earthquakes (magnitude 2.0 or higher) since the beginning of this year, the latest a magnitude-2.7 quake near Farmers Branch on Monday. Many of the epicenters were recorded in Farmers Branch and Irving, with a couple to the south in Venus.

"The quakes don't sound like much to somebody from California," Jim Wells told CNN. "But when you are sitting right on top of them, they are more than noticeable. They will shake the entire house, and you have no doubt about it when you have gone through it. We have in my home perhaps 100 or more wall hangings, pieces of art -- prints, etchings, oil originals -- and none of them are hanging straight."

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Texas Republicans Aim to Preempt Local Democracy, Target Fracking Bans

Denton drilling awareness groupThe Texas Senate - in lockstep with the oil and gas industry, despite the continued protests of their own constituents - approved legislation this week that would make the city of Denton's fracking ban unenforceable and preempt the ability of local communities to regulate oil and gas operations within their city limits.

Last fall, Denton passed Texas' first outright ban on hydraulic fracturing (fracking) within city limits, in a landslide victory in which 59 percent of Dentonites voted for the ban. Since then, state lawmakers connected to the oil and gas industry and to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) have introduced a number of bills aimed at undermining local democracy, ostensibly to prevent other cities from following Denton's lead.

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How America’s biggest swamp could become fracking wasteland

fracking wastelandOne hundred miles west of New Orleans, Belle River is considered the gateway to the Atchafalaya Basin, the largest wetland in the U.S. The area is famous for its plentiful seafood and cypress-tupelo swamps. "This is no place to dispose of toxic chemicals," said Dean Wilson, the head of the Atchafalaya Basinkeeper grassroots environmental group.

But that is precisely what FAS Environmental Services has done since the mid-1980s. The company receives industrial waste from processes ranging from conventional oil drilling to hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking. The waste can often contain high concentrations of methanol, chloride, sulfates and other substances. “Produced water,” the industry’s name for waste from fracking sites, can also contain toxins like benzene and xylene.

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Global Carbon Dioxide Levels Topped 400 PPM Throughout March In Unprecedented Milestone

C)2 levels at historic highAverage global levels of carbon dioxide stayed above 400 parts per million, or ppm, through all of March 2015 -- the first time that has happened for an entire month since record keeping first began, according to data released this week by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Scientists with NOAA's Earth System Research Laboratory have called the news a "significant milestone" in the growing scourge of man-made climate change.

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Crude oil train derails in North Dakota

North Dakota oil trai exxplodesFederal regulators said Wednesday a North Dakota town was evacuated after several tank cars carrying crude oil derailed and caught fire.

Ten responders from the Federal Railroad Administration were dispatched to Heimdal, N.D., to investigate the cause of the incident. The small town of less than 50 residents in central North Dakota was evacuated as a security precaution.

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