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Friday, Apr 18th

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Drought in California may impact food prices

California droughttProduce and dairy prices may be rising this summer because of the severe drought in California.

Purdue Agriculture Economist Corinne Alexander said California depends on snow during the winter months for water supply in the summer. The drought limited the amount of snow, which may bring problems to California farmers.

“In areas where farmers don’t have anywhere near as much access to water, they’re having to make really hard decisions about what to not plant. We’re seeing lots of farmers in California choosing to leave fields fallow where they’re not planting anything at all,” Alexander explained.

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Here's What Fracking Can Do to Your Health

fracking dangersIf you know one thing about fracking, it might be that the wells have been linked to explosive tap water. Of course, a tendency toward combustion isn't the biggest problem with gas-infused water; it's what could happen to you when you drink it.

Although the natural gas industry is notoriously tight-lipped about the ingredients of the chemical cocktails that get pumped down into wells, by now it's widely known that the list often includes some pretty scary, dangerous stuff, including hydrochloric acid and ethylene glycol (a.k.a. antifreeze). It's also no secret that well sites release hazardous gases like methane and benzene (a carcinogen) into the atmosphere.

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10 Nobel winners to White House: Reject Keystone XL

keystone xl pipeline10 recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize called on President Obama's administration to reject an application for the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada.

Pipeline company TransCanada submitted an application to build the cross-border pipeline more than five years ago. President Obama said he'd weigh the project against its environmental footprint, and a State Department report this year said the pipeline would have few net issues.

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Appeals court upholds EPA limits on air toxicity

EPAA federal appeals court Tuesday upheld the Environmental Protection Agency's first-ever limits on air toxics, including emissions of mercury, arsenic and acid gases, preserving a far-reaching rule the White House had touted as central to President Barack Obama's environmental agenda.

In a 2-1 decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit found that the rule "was substantively and procedurally valid," turning aside challenges brought by Republican-led states that had argued it was onerous and environmental groups that had contended it did not go far enough.

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Life in the shadow of an oil refinery

shreveport oil refineryOn the blocks surrounding Calumet Specialty Products’ Shreveport Refinery the stench of rotten eggs is nearly constant. It’s a sign that hydrogen sulfide is in the air, and residents say the chemicals they’ve come to associate with that smell are responsible for a host of health issues — from cancers to lung disease to nerve damage — that plague families in the area.

Still, hundreds of little wooden houses on small plots of grass dot the blocks surrounding the plant, in the Ingleside neighborhood of Louisiana’s third largest city.

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IPCC climate change report: averting catastrophe is eminently affordable

Climate change affordableCatastrophic climate change can be averted without sacrificing living standards according to a UN report, which concludes that the transformation required to a world of clean energy is eminently affordable.
“It doesn’t cost the world to save the planet,” said economist Professor Ottmar Edenhofer, who led the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) team.

The cheapest and least risky route to dealing with global warming is to abandon all dirty fossil fuels in coming decades, the report found. Gas – including that from the global fracking boom – could be important during the transition, Edenhofer said, but only if it replaced coal burning.

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Magnitude 7.5 quake strikes off Solomons, sparks tsunami warning

7.5 earthquake solomon islandsA powerful magnitude-7.6 earthquake triggered large waves in the Solomon Islands on Sunday, and authorities were trying to determine if there was any serious damage or injuries.

Government spokesman George Herming said people throughout the Pacific island chain awoke to the strong quake at 7:14am. He said that people on Makira and nearby islands southeast of the capital, Honiara, reported seeing three large waves after the quake.  He said there were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

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