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Ozone layer showing 'signs of recovery', UN says

ozone layerThe ozone layer that shields the earth from cancer-causing ultraviolet rays is showing early signs of thickening after years of depletion, a UN study says.

The ozone hole that appears annually over Antarctica has also stopped growing bigger every year.  The report says it will take a decade before the hole starts to shrink.

Scientists say the recovery is entirely due to political determination to phase out the man-made CFC gases destroying ozone.

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Texas case highlights clash between fracking and free speech

fracking caseWhat started as a short YouTube video and a couple of local news interviews about a Texas landowner being able to light his water on fire has ballooned into a free speech fight that’s being closely watched by anti-fracking activists across the country.

Steve Lipsky has complained for years that fracking company Range Resources polluted his drinking water and streams that run through his property. The company sued him in 2011 for defaming its reputation for environmental stewardship.

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House votes to block EPA water rules

EPAThe Republican-controlled House on Tuesday approved a bill to block the Obama administration from implementing a rule that asserts regulatory authority over many of the nation's streams and wetlands — an action that critics call a classic Washington overreach.

The Environmental Protection Agency has proposed a rule that it says will clarify which streams and waterways are shielded from development under the Clean Water Act, an issue that remains in dispute even after two U.S. Supreme Court rulings.

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Record rainfall swamps Phoenix

Record rainfall swamps PhoenixTorrential rain from the remnants of a Pacific Ocean hurricane swamped the Desert Southwest Monday, with Phoenix and Tucson seeing some of the worst flooding.

In Phoenix, the rain turned freeways into lakes and forced the closure of highways, streets and schools throughout the region.  In Tucson, one woman died after her car was swept away by heavy floods and became trapped against a bridge.

Monday was the rainiest single day in the history of Phoenix, where weather records go back to 1895.

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In shadow of oil boom, Dakota farmers battle contamination

Dakota spillsLast summer, in a wet, remote section of farm country in Bottineau County, landowner Mike Artz and his two neighbors discovered that a ruptured pipeline was spewing contaminated wastewater into his crop fields.

“We saw all this oil on the low area, and all this salt water spread out beyond it,” said his neighbor Larry Peterson, who works as a farmer and an oil-shale contractor. “The water ran out into the wetland.”

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BP found grossly negligent in 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill

BP negligent A federal judge ruled BP committed gross negligence that contributed to the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, a finding that may lead to the energy company owing billions in fines.

U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier found BP to hold the most responsibility for the catastrophe that killed 11 people and dumped millions of barrels of crude oil into the Gulf, spreading to impact the shorelines of five states.

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Halliburton Pays $1B for Gulf Oil Spill

HalliburtonHalliburton Co. agreed to pay $1.1 billion to settle a majority of lawsuits brought over its role in the largest offshore oil spill in U.S. history.

The agreement is subject to court approval and includes legal fees, the Houston-based company said in a statement today. Halliburton was accused by spill victims and BP Plc of doing defective cementing work on the Macondo well before the April 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Halliburton blamed the incident on decisions by BP, which owned the well.

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