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Monday, Sep 01st

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Rupture-Prone Oil Trains Keep Rolling After Quebec Crash

oil trains keep rollingWhen Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner sees rail cars full of crude oil rumble down the tracks that criss-cross his Chicago-area town, he often thinks about the derailment that killed 47 people almost a year ago in Canada.

The disaster focused attention on the design of the oil tankers, yet two-thirds of the tank cars in use today are still older models that safety experts say are vulnerable to puncture. The July 6 derailment last year in Quebec and seven other major ones in the U.S. and Canada since then have spilled more than 3 million gallons of oil, with some cars catching fire or exploding.

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Fracking Company Tries To Buy Off Pennsylvania Residents

Fracking bribesFor the last eight years, Pennsylvania has been riding the natural gas boom, with companies drilling and fracking thousands of wells across the state. And in a little corner of Washington County, some 20 miles outside of Pittsburgh, EQT Corporation has been busy – drilling close to a dozen new wells on one site.

It didn't take long for the residents of Finleyville who lived near the fracking operations to complain – about the noise and air quality, and what they regarded as threats to their health and quality of life. Initially, EQT, one of the largest producers of natural gas in Pennsylvania, tried to allay concerns with promises of noise studies and offers of vouchers so residents could stay in hotels to avoid the noise and fumes.

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Geologists link Oklahoma's increase in earthquakes to fracking

Oklahoma earthquakesThe T-shirts say it all: Keep calm and polka on.

It has been almost three years since a 5.6-magnitude earthquake struck Prague, Oklahoma, buckling a highway, cracking structures and rattling nerves. It was the largest earthquake ever recorded in the state.

City workers in Prague, a community of 2,400 people about 45 miles from Oklahoma City, wore the “Keep calm” T-shirts in May ahead of the heavily Czech-American community’s annual heritage festival.

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Millions of tons of ocean plastic have gone missing

Ocean plasticFor a decade or more, scientists have assumed our seas carry millions of tons of plastic, much of which should be floating in open water, forming vast midocean "gyres" — islands of man-made mess such as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. But according to a new study, something more worrying is happening to 99 percent of the ocean's plastic: it's disappearing.

The study outlines the findings of scientists who trawled the waters around five large ocean gyres in 2010 and 2011. The data they obtained put them far short of the expected amount of plastic in the ocean — rather than millions of tons, the global load of ocean plastic was calculated at 40,000 tons at most. Carlos Duarte, an oceanographer at the University of Western Australia and co-author of the study, said that the findings mean we "can't account for 99 percent of the plastic that we have in the ocean."

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Greenpeace critical of LEGO ties to Shell

LegoAdvocacy group Greenpeace International took a swipe Tuesday at LEGO for putting the logo of Royal Dutch Shell on its children's toys.

Greenpeace published a 15-page pamphlet expressing concern over a decision by LEGO to put Shell images on toys available at service stations operated by the energy company.
The advocacy group said Shell is building brand loyalty with the next generation of consumers, business leaders and politicians.

"This co-promotion is extremely worrying," Greenpeace said in a statement. "Shell has launched an insidious invasion of children's playrooms in order to prop up its public image."

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New York Towns Can Ban Fracking, State’s Top Court Rules

FRACKING CAN BE BLOCKEDNew York’s cities and towns can block hydraulic fracturing within their borders, the state’s highest court ruled, dealing a blow to an industry awaiting Governor Andrew Cuomo’s decision on whether to uphold a six-year-old statewide moratorium.

The Court of Appeals in Albany today upheld rulings dismissing lawsuits that challenged bans enacted in the upstate towns of Dryden and Middlefield.

The ruling may lead the oil and gas industry to abandon fracking in New York as Cuomo considers whether to lift a statewide moratorium instituted in 2008 that he inherited when he took office.

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Wind sends Arizona wildfire past containment lines

Arizona wildfiresFire crews are hoping that lighter winds on Saturday will spur progress against a wildfire that has charred more than 8 square miles in eastern Arizona's White Mountains and prompted some evacuations.

The wind-whipped San Juan Fire grew to an estimated 5,000 acres by late Friday afternoon, forcing the evacuation of some nearby mountain communities and threatening about 90 homes and sheds.

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