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Maine Victory: City Council Prevents Tar Sands Oil Exports

maine tar sands victoryThe fight against extreme energy extraction, now ongoing in hundreds of communities across the United States and the world, expanded to include another significant victory on Monday night in the town of South Portland, Maine.  Townspeople and Maine environmental groups organized a “relentless 18-month campaign,” as the Los Angeles Times put it, resulting in a near-unanimous City Council vote (6-1) passing a Clear Skies Ordinance preventing the export of crude oil from South Portland’s waterfront.

The new Maine victory follows upon the use of tactics as diverse as tree-sits, nonviolent direct action blockades, massive marches on Washington, and even a blockade of the Douglas Channel in British Columbia made of yarn knit by members of the indigenous Gitga’at Nation. In particular, activists from Texas to Maine, from Nebraska to British Columbia, are expanding their tactical toolkit — now including this old-fashioned community organizing win — in campaigns to stop pipelines from exporting dirty, climate-destroying oil from the tar sands of Alberta, Canada.

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Fire at fracking fluid storage site in North Dakota sparks concerns

Fracking fluid fire ND-North Dakota's Health Department said it's surveying air quality near the site of a fire at an industrial park in Williston, the heart of the state's oil patch.

Chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing caught fire at an industrial warehouse in Williston. Officials said they're going to let the fire burn out on its own because pouring water on the blaze would create a secondary problem for nearby waterways.

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Scientist: "We Are Living in the Steroid Era of the Climate System"

Climate changeJune 2014 has become the second consecutive record-setting month for heat, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Monday. The averge global temperature last month was 61.2°F (16.2°C), which is 0.2°F than 2010, the previously hottest June, and 1.3° degrees higher than the 20th century average. It is the 352nd hotter than average month in a row.

Derek Arndt, NOAA's climate monitoring chief, said unusually hot oceans — especially the Pacific and Indian oceans — were the driving force behind June's heat.

"We are living in the steroid era of the climate system," Arndt said.

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Sierra Club irked by U.S. liquefied natural gas export stance

Sieerra Club opposes LNG exportsU.S. policies on the export of liquefied natural gas are out of step with renewable and climate protection goals, the Sierra Club said.

The Sierra Club announced it filed comments with the Department of Energy on the impacts of LNG. The advocacy group said LNG exports would lead to more domestic gas production, which may cause an increase in greenhouse gas emissions and inhibit the development of renewable energy projects.

Sierra Club attorney Nathan Matthews said Monday the analysis from the Department of Energy falls short.

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California Halts Injection of Fracking Waste, Warning It May Be Contaminating Aquifers

California halts fracking injectionsCalifornia officials have ordered an emergency shut-down of 11 oil and gas waste injection sites and a review more than 100 others in the state's drought-wracked Central Valley out of fear that companies may have been pumping fracking fluids and other toxic waste into drinking water aquifers there.

The state's Division of Oil and Gas and Geothermal Resources on July 7 issued cease and desist orders to seven energy companies warning that they may be injecting their waste into aquifers that could be a source of drinking water, and stating that their waste disposal "poses danger to life, health, property, and natural resources." The orders were first reported by the Bakersfield Californian, and the state has confirmed with ProPublica that its investigation is expanding to look at additional wells.

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5,000 gallons of diesel fuel spilled in Wisconsin railway collision

Slinger train collisionTwo trains collided late Sunday night in southeastern Wisconsin, causing several cars to derail. A conductor and engineer suffered non-life-threatening injuries in the crash.

As a result of the collision, some 5,000 gallons of diesel fuel spewed from one of the engines. None of the oil was ignited but fire officials established a danger zone with a half-mile radius of the crash and evacuated more than 100 homes. The Red Cross has been attending to evacuees at a nearby middle school.

The crash occurred near Slinger, Wisconsin, roughly 35 miles northwest of Milwaukee.

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GOP love for fracking in Colorado could flip Senate seat

fracking problem in ColoradoRepublicans love fracking in Colorado — and it could help them flip a critical Senate seat this fall.

The onslaught against Democratic Sen. Mark Udall (Colo.) reached a fever pitch this week when Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) had to cancel a special legislative session meant to keep two hydraulic fracturing initiatives backed by Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) off the November ballot.

Udall, who had stayed out of the fray on the two measures, was forced to take a side much to the GOP's glee.

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