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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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Former Health Secretary: Pennsylvania Didn't Seriously Study Fracking Health Impacts

Eli AvilaPennsylvania's former health secretary says the state has failed to seriously study the potential health impacts of one of the nation's biggest natural gas drilling booms.

Dr. Eli Avila also says the state's current strategy is a disservice to people and even to the industry itself because health officials need to be proactive in protecting the public.

"The lack of any action speaks volumes," said Avila, who is now the public health commissioner for Orange County, New York. "Don't BS the public. Their health comes first."

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The Giant Methane Monster That Can Wipe Out the Human Race

Methane monsterThere's something lurking deep under the frozen Arctic Ocean, and if it gets released, it could spell disaster for our planet.  That something is methane.

Methane is one of the strongest of the natural greenhouse gases, about 80 times more potent than CO2, and while it may not get as much attention as its cousin CO2, it certainly can do as much, if not more, damage to our planet.

That's because methane is a far more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, and there are trillions of tons of it embedded in a kind of ice slurry called methane hydrate or methane clathrate crystals in the Arctic and in the seas around the continental shelves all around the world.

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California severe drought intensifying as Napa wildfire rages on

California drought continuesCalifornia's drought is intensifying, turning more farms to dust, fanning fires, draining fountains and driving “unbelievable” prices at water auctions.

A map released by the US Drought Monitor on Thursday classified nearly 80% of California as in “extreme” drought, the second highest of five categories. Within that area an estimated 36% is “exceptional” drought, the highest category.

After another week of “little if any precipitation” exceptional dryness spread south to afflict Ventura, Los Angeles and Orange counties, according to the monitor report.

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Rupture-Prone Oil Trains Keep Rolling After Quebec Crash

oil trains keep rollingWhen Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner sees rail cars full of crude oil rumble down the tracks that criss-cross his Chicago-area town, he often thinks about the derailment that killed 47 people almost a year ago in Canada.

The disaster focused attention on the design of the oil tankers, yet two-thirds of the tank cars in use today are still older models that safety experts say are vulnerable to puncture. The July 6 derailment last year in Quebec and seven other major ones in the U.S. and Canada since then have spilled more than 3 million gallons of oil, with some cars catching fire or exploding.

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Fracking Company Tries To Buy Off Pennsylvania Residents

Fracking bribesFor the last eight years, Pennsylvania has been riding the natural gas boom, with companies drilling and fracking thousands of wells across the state. And in a little corner of Washington County, some 20 miles outside of Pittsburgh, EQT Corporation has been busy – drilling close to a dozen new wells on one site.

It didn't take long for the residents of Finleyville who lived near the fracking operations to complain – about the noise and air quality, and what they regarded as threats to their health and quality of life. Initially, EQT, one of the largest producers of natural gas in Pennsylvania, tried to allay concerns with promises of noise studies and offers of vouchers so residents could stay in hotels to avoid the noise and fumes.

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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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