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Tuesday, Jul 29th

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Fracking wells possible culprit of Texas earthquakes

Texas fracking and earthquakesThe first time the earth shook their home, David and Meredith Hull thought it was a propane tank exploding outside, an odd but rare phenomenon.

Then it happened again. And again and again — more than 30 earthquakes since early November. One tremor tossed David Hull against the refrigerator and Meredith atop the stove.

"It felt like something was under the house literally lifting it up and slamming it back down on its foundation," said David Hull, 60, a retired sheriff's deputy. "The whole house was shaking."

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Green energy investment set to 'explode' after Obama unveils carbon cuts

green energyFederal plans to enforce new carbon emissions cuts — potentially by up to 20 percent — could spark a rapid expansion in the renewables sector, environmental groups predicted Sunday ahead of the unveiling of a new government blueprint on clean energy.

“If you’re working in the solar or wind industry, you should feel very happy right now — those are the industries growing faster than the rest of economy,” Mike Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, said. “It’s clear that those are going to be the industries to work in, invest in, and watch. They’re about to explode in terms of growth.”

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Big Carbon’s big liability for misleading the public about climate change.

Big CarbonA new and potentially potent weapon is being unleashed in the climate wars. Yesterday, three major international environmental organizations warned the corporate executives of some of the largest fossil fuel companies that they could be personally liable for damages for funding climate change denialists and working against efforts to slow climate change.

The notice came in the form of a letter, signed by Greenpeace, the World Wildlife Fund and the Center for International Environmental Law, that was sent to the directors and officers of thirty-two of the “carbon majors”—the ninety companies that a recent groundbreaking study (see “Paying the Price,” The Nation, May 12, 2014) demonstrated may be responsible for some two-thirds of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. Forty-four of the insurance companies that underwrite the carbon majors also received letters.

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Bill legalizing fracking heads to North Carolina governor

pro fracking billA bill to allow permits for fracking in North Carolina was all but a done deal Thursday as it heads to Gov. Pat McCrory for his signature.

It was a fast turnaround for the bill after being passed with no debate by the Senate hours after the House approved it with minor changes. McCrory, an ardent proponent of expanding natural gas exploration in North Carolina, will very likely sign the bill.

Natural gas exploration includes fracking, which refers to hydraulic fracturing, a method of extracting oil and gas by injecting high-pressure mixtures of water, sand or gravel and chemicals into rock. Permits for the practice could be issued by May 2015.

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Can we hide carbon dioxide underground? Algeria site offers note of caution.

CO2 stored undergroundA facility in Algeria that captured carbon dioxide on an industrial scale – and locked it up deep underground – is yielding this lesson for researchers exploring ways to deal with global warming: Select a site with care, because the unexpected can happen.

A new study that aims to explain why sequestered CO2 was moving surprisingly quickly through rock formations beneath In Salah, a natural-gas extraction site in central Algeria. In Salah hosted the second-largest industrial-scale sequestration demonstration project after Norway's Statoil, which has been conducting a sequestration demonstration at the Sleipner field in the North Sea since 1996.

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Obama will let states decide how to cut greenhouse gas emissions

emissionsPresident Barack Obama is about to unveil the centerpiece of his agenda to fight climate change, a much anticipated rule to slash the emissions of planet-warming gases from power plants.

The president will call for major reductions, according to sources familiar with the planning, with each state given its own greenhouse gas emissions reduction target and the power to decide how to meet it. The Environmental Protection Agency is putting the plan together, and Obama will announce it Monday.

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One Of America's Dirtiest Coal Plants Had Some Dire Predictions. It Was Wrong.

coal plantThree years ago, the operators of one of the nation's dirtiest coal-fired power plants warned of "immediate and devastating" consequences from the Obama administration's push to clean up pollution from coal.

Faced with cutting sulfur dioxide pollution blowing into downwind states by 80 percent in less than a year, lawyers for EME Homer City Generation L.P. sued the Environmental Protection Agency to block the rule, saying it would cause it grave harm and bring a painful spike in electricity bills.

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