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Obama administration moves to protect polar bear

Obama moves to protect polar bearsThe Obama administration is setting aside 187,000 square miles in Alaska as a "critical habitat" for polar bears, an action that could restrict future offshore drilling for oil and gas. The total, which includes large areas of sea ice off the Alaska coast, is about 13,000 square miles, or 8.3 million acres, less than in a preliminary plan released last year.

Tom Strickland, assistant secretary for fish, wildlife and parks at the Interior Department, said the designation would help polar bears stave off extinction, recognizing that the greatest threat is the melting of Arctic sea ice caused by climate change.

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“The oil is still there”: Up to “79 percent of it sank to the ocean floor, where it remains” says FSU professor

Deepwater HorizonThe oil is still there, sitting at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico and causing damage to the environment, a Florida State University professor who studies greenhouse gases, oceans and energy said Tuesday.

Professor Jeff Chanton compared natural oil seepage in the Gulf of Mexico to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. About 1,000 natural ocean-floor leaks combine to trickle about 400,000 barrels of oil into the Gulf each year, Chanton said, but scientists estimate as many as 60,000 barrels of oil poured into the Gulf each day of the spill.

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Russia and China pledge to save the tiger

Russia and China vow to save tigersRussian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on Tuesday agreed with other Asian nations to try to double the world's wild tiger population by 2022 and save it from extinction.

Just 3,200 tigers now live in the wild, down from 100,000 a century ago, and those that remain face a losing battle with poachers who supply traders in India and China with tiger parts for traditional medicines and purported aphrodisiacs.

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GM mosquito wild release takes campaigners by surprise

Experts in the safety of genetically modified (GM) organisms have expressed concern over the release of GM mosquitoes into the wild on the Cayman Islands, which was publicised internationally only last month — a year after their initial release.

The trial of the OX513A strain of the dengue-carrying Aedes aegypti mosquito, developed by UK biotechnology company Oxitec, was carried out on Grand Cayman island by the Cayman Islands' Mosquito Research and Control Unit (MRCU) in 2009, followed by a bigger release between May and October this year. Together they represent the first known release of GM mosquitoes anywhere in the world.

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Peru Amazon's rare species, uncontacted tribes face risks from logging

Alto Purus National Park, PeruHere in the vast wilderness surrounding Peru's Alto Purús National Park, the locations of such trees, worth tens of thousands of dollars in the United States, have become closely guarded secrets among members of indigenous tribes.

Industrial logging is pushing ever deeper into the area, making mahogany the leading front in the ever-growing battle for control of the resource-rich Peruvian Amazon. But the threat goes far beyond any single species, said Chris Fagan, director of the Upper Amazon Conservancy.

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Disappeared Gulf 'Swan Doctor'

SwansWorld-renown doctor who owned Lakeland Veterinary Hospital and conducted research on paralyzed swans and dead birds since onset of the Gulf of Mexico operation has disappeared, just before due to release his research. Citizen reporters trying to locate him continue to be stonewalled, even someone who has known him for years who says his sudden absence is out of character.

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E.P.A. Issues Guidance on New Emissions Rules; Texas says 'no way'

EPA sets emission rulesSeeking to reassure major power plant and factory owners that impending regulation of climate-altering gases will not be too burdensome, the Environmental Protection Agency emphasized on Wednesday that future permitting decisions would take cost and technical feasibility into account.

Under the Obama administration, the E.P.A. declared that gases that contribute to global warming are a danger to human health and the environment and thus must be regulated under the Clean Air Act. The agency is starting with the largest sources of such emissions — coal-burning power plants, cement factories, steel mills and oil refineries — and then will extend the regulations to smaller facilities.

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