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Tuesday, Jul 29th

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Greenpeace takes another swipe at LEGO

LegoGreenpeace said it was calling on LEGO to review its relationship with Royal Dutch Shell because of the oil company's environmental legacy.

"We're asking LEGO to square the circle between its values and the companies it chooses to endorse," James Turner, a spokesman for Greenpeace International's Arctic campaign, said in a statement.

Greenpeace last week published a 15-page pamphlet expressing concern over a decision by LEGO to put Shell images on toys available at service stations operated by the energy company.

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Cleanup of North Dakota pipeline spill may take weeks

ND salwater spillIt could take weeks to clean up 1 million gallons of saltwater that leaked from a North Dakota pipeline over the weekend. The saltwater, a byproduct of oil production, spilled into a bay leading to a lake used by a Native American reservation in the heart of the state's booming oil patch, according to company and tribal officials.

From oil to radioactive waste to saltwater, spills and even rail accidents involving trains carrying oil from North Dakota's Bakken field have become increasingly common since the state's energy industry began expanding rapidly.

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Climate change makes criteria used to predict weather obsolete, UN says

Climate changeThe criteria used by everyone from farmers to governments to predict normal weather patterns need to be updated more frequently to account for significant changes caused by climate change, the U.N.’s World Meteorological Organization said Wednesday.

The WMO's Commission for Climatology believes that rising temperatures and more frequent heat waves and heavy rains mean that existing criteria, based on climate averages from 1961 to 1990, are out of date.

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Water levels at Nevada's Lake Mead drop to new low

Water level Lake MeadeDrought in the southwestern U.S. will deplete the vast Lake Mead this week to levels not seen since Hoover Dam was completed and the reservoir on the Colorado River was filled in the 1930s, federal water managers said Tuesday.

The projected lake level of about 1,080 feet above sea level will be below the level of about 1,082 feet recorded in November 2010 and the 1,083-foot mark measured in April 1956 during another sustained drought.

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Scientists: 2,500 Earthquakes in Oklahoma Linked to Fracking

Oklahoma earthquakesIn this Nov, 6, 2011 photo, Chad Devereaux examines bricks that fell from three sides of his in-laws home in Sparks, Okla., following two earthquakes that hit the area in less than 24 hours. A study published Thursday by the journal Science explains how just four wells forcing massive amounts of drilling wastewater into the ground are probably causing quakes in Oklahoma.

Suddenly, the good old days — you know, when Arkansas had only had about 900 earthquakes linked to the re-injection of fracking wastewater — seem almost nostalgic, as the number of quakes, the amount of damage, the number of states impacted, and the scientific studies keep growing.

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Mining companies face lawsuits as US government rallies to their defense

Mining companiesCoal industry representatives say lawsuits against mines in three western states could have consequences across the US as environmentalists seek changes in how mining is approved on federally owned reserves.

In civil cases unfolding in Colorado, New Mexico and Montana, the group WildEarth Guardians asserts coal companies benefited from lax oversight by federal regulators.

The group says the US Department of Interior approved mining plans without enough public involvement, and gave little heed to the pollution caused by digging, shipping and burning coal. The group asked the courts to stop mining until the plans are re-done.

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A Fracking Fortune Gets Political

wilkes brothersBrothers Farris and Dan Wilks, who reaped a fortune off the fracking gold rush and cashed in their Texas-based company a few years ago for more than $3 billion. In addition to buying up vast swaths of land in the West, they’re “using the riches that the Lord has blessed them with to back specific goals,” as Christian Broadcasting Network’s David Brody puts it.

What are those goals? They’ve embraced both the anti-government politics of the Koch brothers and the religious right’s anti-gay, anti-choice cultural warfare. The Wilks brothers belong to Pastors and Pews, an organization connected to Christian-nation extremist David Lane, who wants to make the Bible a primary public school textbook.

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