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Wednesday, Sep 17th

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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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Why 28 years have passed since the EPA’s last chemical risk review

epaThis week, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hit a major milestone that some people, including leaders at the agency itself, think shouldn’t be celebrated.

On Wednesday, the agency released a final risk assessment for trichloroethylene (TCE), an industrial solvent used by artists, car mechanics, dry cleaners and others. The EPA’s in-depth report, released after a two-year analysis, shows that long-term exposure to TCE can cause cancer and other health issues, and recommends that workers take serious precautions if they must use TCE.

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Rain Storms Pummel Upper Midwest, Drowning Resources

Rain storms in upper midwestHeavy rains over the past couple of weeks have rivers rising all across the Upper Midwest, flooding homes, swamping fields and washing out roads.

Fans hum 24/7 as Laura Westra tries to dry out her sopping-wet basement in the small town of Rock Valley, Iowa.  The nearby Rock River, in the northwest corner of the state, swelled last week wider and deeper than anyone can remember.

"We've lived here 45 years, and this is the first time we had water in the basement," Westra says.

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Oklahoma residents seek answers on quakes

Oklahoma eaarthquakesOklahoma residents whose homes and nerves have been shaken by an upsurge in earthquakes want to know what's causing the temblors — and what can be done to stop them.

Hundreds of people are expected to turn out in Edmond, Oklahoma, on Thursday night for a town hall meeting on the issue.

Earthquakes used to be almost unheard of on the vast stretches of prairie that unfold across Texas, Kansas and Oklahoma, but they've become common in recent years.

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1 in 10 U.S. beaches are polluted, researchers say

US beaches pollutedA day at the beach can be hazardous to your health, researchers say. About 10% of America's beaches failed a new federal benchmark for what constitutes safe swimming water in the past year, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council's 24th annual beach report.

Nearly 3,500 water quality samples were collected from beaches along the East and West Coast as well as the Great Lakes, and only one in 10 passed the new Environmental Protection Agency water safety standard, which the NRDC used to evaluate beaches for the first time in 2013. Even with the new standard, the portion of polluted U.S. beaches is about the same as in 2012 when the old standard was in place.

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UN rebukes Australia over concerns about Tasmanian World Heritage Areas and Great Barrier Reef

UN shuts down AustraliaA UNITED Nations body has delivered two stinging rebukes to the Abbott Government in the space of a week over the way Australia is treating some of its environmental landmarks.

In a decision that lasted just 10 minutes, the UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee in Qatar last night denied the government’s request to open up Tasmania’s World Heritage Area to logging.

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