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Alarming ‘dead zone’ grows in the Chesapeake

Dead zone in the ChesapeakeA giant underwater “dead zone” in the Chesapeake Bay is growing at an alarming rate because of unusually high nutrient pollution levels this year, according to Virginia and Maryland officials. They said the expanding area of oxygen-starved water is on track to become the bay’s largest ever.

This year’s Chesapeake Bay dead zone covers a third of the bay, stretching from the Baltimore Harbor to the bay’s mid-channel region in the Potomac River, about 83 miles, when it was last measured in late June. It has since expanded beyond the Potomac into Virginia, officials said.

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Environmental groups release top 10 list of fracking concerns

Top ten fracking concernsTaking a page straight from David Letterman’s book, a coalition of environmental groups released today a top 10 list of its most pressing concerns with the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s latest proposed regulations for mitigating the environmental impacts of hydraulic fracturing for natural gas.

Five groups—Environmental Advocates of New York, Earthworks, Earthjustice, Citizens Campaign for the Environment, and Riverkeeper—were part of the list, ranking the issues while calling on the DEC to triple the public comment period on the document, which is scheduled to start in August, from 60 days to 180 days.

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Loss of predators in the food chain can alter the ecosystem

predators at top of food chainTake away the predators at the top of the food chain — the lions, tigers, wolves and cougars — and entire ecosystems start to change. A paper in today's edition of the journal Science suggests that humans' destruction of these top predators is causing reverberations worldwide in ways not apparent even a decade ago, including changes in the landscape and even increases in wildfires.

Although the idea that there are serious ecosystem consequences to the removal of top predators isn't new, with this paper, "it's come of age," says Aaron Wirsing, a professor of wildlife ecology at the University of Washington in Seattle.

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W.Va. study raises questions about fracking fluid

Fracking fluids harm forestsA gas company that legally doused a patch of West Virginia forest with salty wastewater from a drilling operation killed ground vegetation within days and more than half the trees within two years, a new report from the U.S. Forest Service says.

Lead researcher Mary Beth Adams says that the damage to the quarter-acre, detailed in a case study published in the Journal of Environmental Quality, shows the need for more research into industry practices.

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10 homemade weed killers

Try organic gardening and lawn care with cheap homemade herbicides that are easy on the environment. See how vinegar, boiling water, salt and other simple ingredients and techniques can tackle any weed problem.

Here are 10 ways you can win the battle against weeds this summer without doing irreparable damage to either your wallet or the environment:

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Oil and gas spills in North Sea every week, papers reveal

Serious spills of oil and gas from North Sea platforms are occurring at the rate of one a week, undermining oil companies' claims to be doing everything possible to improve the safety of rigs.

Shell has emerged as one of the top offenders despite promising to clean up its act five years ago after a large accident in which two oil workers died.

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Warming ocean could melt ice faster than thought

Ocean warmingWarming air from climate change isn't the only thing that will speed ice melting near the poles - so will the warming water beneath the ice, a new study points out.

Increased melting of ice in Greenland and parts of Antarctica has been reported as a consequence of global warming, potentially raising sea levels. But little attention has been paid to the impact of warmer water beneath the ice.

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