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Fracking: The Downside of the Boom

Fracking downsideIn early August 2013, Arlene Skurupey of Blacksburg, Va., got an animated call from the normally taciturn farmer who rents her family land in Billings County, N.D. There had been an accident at the Skurupey 1-9H oil well. “Oh, my gosh, the gold is blowing,” she said he told her. “Bakken gold.”

It was the 11th blowout since 2006 at a North Dakota well operated by Continental Resources, the most prolific producer in the booming Bakken oil patch. Spewing some 173,250 gallons of potential pollutants, the eruption, undisclosed at the time, was serious enough to bring the Oklahoma-based company’s chairman and chief executive, Harold G. Hamm, to the remote scene.

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Polar bear population in parts of Alaska, Canada down by 40 percent

polar bearThe population of polar bears in parts of Alaska and northwestern Canada has declined by about 40 percent in the first decade of the 2000s, a new study says.

The number of polar bears found near the southern Beaufort Sea dropped to 900 from 2000 to 2010, most drastically between 2004 and 2006. The population recovered in 2007 and began stabilizing in 2009, the study, conducted by researchers with the U.S. Geological Survey, found.

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UN: World not close to avoiding dangerous warming

Climate changeThe world still isn't close to preventing what leaders call a dangerous level of man-made warming, a new United Nations report says. That's despite some nations' recent pledges to cut back on carbon dioxide emissions.

The report looks at the gap between what countries promise to do about carbon pollution and what scientists say needs to be done to prevent temperatures rising another two degrees. That two-degree level is a goal that world leaders set in 2009.

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Fracking to be allowed in largest national forest on US east coast

fracking to be allowedOver the objection of environmental groups and Virginia’s governor, a federal management plan released on Tuesday will allow a form of natural gas drilling known as fracking to occur in parts of the largest national forest on the east coast.

The US Forest Service originally planned to ban fracking in the 1.1m-acre George Washington National Forest, but energy companies cried foul after a draft of the plan was released in 2011. It would have been the first outright ban on the practice in a national forest.

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White-out conditions, bitter cold blast North, East

White ot conditions cover most of eastPlummeting temperatures and lake-effect snow brought weather havoc to much of the North and East on Tuesday, with some areas battling snow measured in feet and white-out highway conditions.

Tuesday, the U.S. awoke to its coldest November morning since 1976 , reported WeatherBell meteorologist Ryan Maue. "More than 85% of the surface area of the Lower 48 reached or fell below freezing Tuesday morning," he said.

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South Dakota Sioux tribe calls Keystone XL pipeline approval 'act of war'

S Dakota Sioux tribe warns against pipelineA Native American tribe in South Dakota has called a congressional vote to approve the Keystone XL pipeline an “act of war” and vowed to close the reservation’s borders if the US government tries to install a pipeline there.

The prospective route for the pipeline, which would connect Canadian tar sands fields to the Gulf coast, runs through the 922,759-acre (1,442 sq mi) Rosebud Sioux reservation in south-central South Dakota. The House of Representatives voted 252-161 on Friday to approve the pipeline.

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Greenpeace boat rammed by Spanish navy

Greenpeace rammedEnvironmental advocacy group Greenpeace said one of its protesters suffered a broken leg after its boat was rammed by a Spanish navy boat.

Greenpeace is in waters off the coast of Morocco protesting against Spanish energy company Repsol. The advocacy group said the company has a permit to operate in Spanish waters near the Canary Islands despite risks to the ecology and tourist economy.

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