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EPA to scale back federal rules restricting waste from coal-fired power plants

Trump making it easier for coal mines to pollute

The Environmental Protection Agency on Monday plans to relax rules that govern how power plants store waste from burning coal and release water containing toxic metals into nearby waterways, according to agency officials.

The proposals, which scale back two rules adopted in 2015, affect the disposal of fine powder and sludge known as coal ash, as well as contaminated water that power plants produce while burning coal. Both forms of waste can contain mercury, arsenic and other heavy metals that pose risks to human health and the environment.

The new rules would allow extensions that could keep unlined coal ash waste ponds open for as long as eight additional years. The biggest benefits from the rule governing contaminated wastewater would come from the voluntary use of new filtration technology.

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U.K. Halts Fracking in England, Citing Quake Concerns

UK halts fracking in EnglandPrime Minister Boris Johnson once hailed fracking as “glorious news for humanity,” and said the British government should “leave no stone unturned, or unfracked.”

But in a major U-turn, Mr. Johnson’s government announced on Saturday that it would temporarily halt fracking in the only active site in Britain, in northwestern England. The move came after a government agency, the Oil and Gas Authority, concluded this past week that it could not rule out “unacceptable” consequences for people living near fracking sites, including pollution risks and earthquake-related damage.

It was a victory for environmental groups, and might deprive opposition parties of a potentially powerful campaign issue in a general election just weeks away.

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Canada: The ice used to protect them. Now their island is crumbling into the sea.

Canada climate changeHigh on a bluff overlooking the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Adele Chiasson no longer ventures into her backyard for a simple reason: It is falling into the sea.

“I’m afraid to go out there,” the widow said one afternoon from the safety of her kitchen. She nodded toward the 70-foot-tall, red sandstone cliffs out back that creep closer with each passing year. “You never know when a section will fall off.”

Decades ago, when she and her husband moved to this modest house with its majestic views, they never imagined a vanishing coastline might one day drive them away. But the sea long ago claimed the ground where their children once played. An abandoned road out back has mostly crumbled into the surf below. Two of her neighbor’s homes have been moved inland.

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Keystone pipeline spills more than 350,000 gallons of oil in North Dakota

Keystone pipeline spill in N DakotaThe Keystone pipeline has spilled hundreds of thousands of gallons of crude oil into North Dakota this week, The New York Times reports.

The pipeline has leaked roughly 383,000 gallons of crude oil, impacting an estimated half-acre of wetland, according to state environmental regulators.

The leak has been contained, according to Karl Rockeman, the director of the state Department of Environmental Quality's division of water quality.

"It is one of the larger spills in the state,” he told the Times.

He added that there are no homes near the site of the spill and the wetland that was impacted is not a source of drinking water. Pipeline owner TC Energy shut down the pipeline after the leak was detected.

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Earthquake rattles area near California's Kincade Fire; new blaze by L.A. drives more evacuations

Kinkade fire: earthquake rattles those fleeingTens of thousands of residents who evacuated a sprawling Northern California wildfire fueled by high winds and drought conditions were rocked by another slap from Mother Nature on Monday when a magnitude 3.3 earthquake rattled the area.

No damage or injuries were immediately reported from the temblor, centered a few miles from the roaring Kincade Fire, that struck at 1:10 a.m. The fire itself remained just 5% contained as it chewed through more than 100 square miles and destroyed or damaged over 120 buildings.

Another 80,000 homes, businesses and other buildings were threatened by the blaze that accounted for most of the state's 200,000 evacuees.

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Trump prepares to formally withdraw U.S. from Paris Climate Accord

Trump prepares to formally exit from Paris accord

The White House is beginning to prepare to formally withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accord, according to reporting from the New York Times.

The official withdrawal would cement a promise President Trump made in the White House Rose Garden in 2017, where he first announced his intention to withdraw from the global climate change agreement signed by every other country.

Trump can formally begin the yearlong withdrawal process on Nov. 4, allowing the U.S. to finalize the process on the same date in 2020 – just one day after the presidential election.

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Turkey, Russia agree to set up Syria 'safe zone', joint patrols

Turkey and Russia agree on syria patrolsTurkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, have agreed to push back Kurdish fighters from a "safe zone" along the Turkish-Syrian border, after marathon talks in Sochi.

The leaders of Turkey and Russia have agreed to set up an Ankara-ruled "safe zone" in northeast Syria and run joint patrols around the area, hours before a five-day truce between Turkish and Kurdish-led forces ended in the region.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, held talks in Sochi on Tuesday regarding the security situation in northeast Syria following the launch of Turkey's operation on October 9 aimed at driving Kurdish-led fighters Ankara considers "terrorists" from the border area.

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