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EPA issues clean-up order for California oil spill

California oil spillThe U.S. federal government issued an order to Plains All American Pipeline to ensure the California coastline is restored after last week's oil spill.

As much as 2,500 barrels of oil was released from Line 901 in Santa Barbara last week, a pipeline owned and operated by Plains All American. About 500 barrels may have reached the waters off the coast of Refugio State Beach in a release the Environmental Protection Agency said was the worst spill in California in the last 25 years.

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Texas eased pollution rules on coal plants, environmentalists say

Texas coal plantThe State of Texas conspired with the coal industry to illegally exempt 19 coal-fired power plants from federal air quality standards. That’s according to a coalition of Texas citizen groups who on Wednesday filed a petition with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The coalition of community and public interest groups, represented by the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP), a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group, has called on the EPA to overturn the state’s decision to exempt those power plants from federal limits under the Clean Air Act, a press release by EIP said.

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EPA full steam with 'Waters' protection rule, but trouble ahead

drinking waterThe Obama administration on Wednesday launched a sweeping measure to protect the nation’s waterways and wetlands — an initiative that faces a fierce counterattack from powerhouse industries like agriculture, oil and home-building.

On its face, the final “Waters of the United States” rule is largely a technical document, defining which rivers, streams, lakes and marshes fall under the jurisdiction of the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers. But the industries and their allies in Congress condemn it as a massive power grab by Washington, saying it will give bureaucrats carte blanche to swoop in and penalize landowners every time a cow walks through a ditch.

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Historic flooding hits Houston as storm system moves on; 7 states affected

Storms hit texasA storm system has triggered flash-flood watches and warnings across seven states Tuesday, and brought historic flooding to Houston.

Up to eight inches of rain fell on Houston in less than 24 hours, according to the city's emergency management coordinator, Rick Flanagan. More than 80,000 people were without power and schools were closed.

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Oil company bosses' bonuses linked to $1tn spending on extracting fossil fuels

Oil company bonusesBosses at the world’s big five oil companies have been showered with bonus payouts linked to a $1tn (£650bn) crescendo of spending on fossil fuel exploration and extraction over nine years, according to Guardian analysis of company reports.

The unprecedented push to bring untapped reserves into production, and to exploit new and undiscovered fields, involves some of the most complex feats of engineering ever attempted. It also reflects how confident Exxon Mobil, Shell, Chevron, Total and BP are that demand will remain high for decades to come.

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12 people missing in Texas floods, authorities say

Texas floodsAuthorities say a dozen people are missing after flash flooding along the Blanco River in Central Texas that damaged hundreds of homes.

Kristi Wyatt, a spokeswoman for the city of San Marcos, said Monday that 12 people are now missing after the flooding Sunday, when three people were reported missing. Wyatt says she didn’t immediately have more information.

Former Nueces County Commissioner Joe McComb says his son’s wife and their two children are among the missing.

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Woman chains herself to Shell ship in protest at Arctic oil exploration

Portesting shell oil rigThe coast guard says it has no plans to remove a woman who has chained herself to the Arctic Challenger, a support ship for Royal Dutch Shell’s exploratory oil drilling plans.

The activist attached herself to the ship anchored in Bellingham Bay, north of Seattle, on Friday evening.

The coast guard cutter Osprey spent the night monitoring the protester but took no action, Petty Officer Third Class Katelyn Shearer said Saturday morning. “We’re really most concerned for her safety and the safety of everyone involved,” Shearer said.

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