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Wednesday, Apr 23rd

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Severe Drought Has U.S. West Fearing Worst

California droughtThe punishing drought that has swept California is now threatening the state’s drinking water supply.

With no sign of rain, 17 rural communities providing water to 40,000 people are in danger of running out within 60 to 120 days. State officials said that the number was likely to rise in the months ahead after the State Water Project, the main municipal water distribution system, announced on Friday that it did not have enough water to supplement the dwindling supplies of local agencies that provide water to an additional 25 million people. It is first time the project has turned off its spigot in its 54-year history.

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Approving Keystone XL could be the biggest mistake of Obama's presidency

XL Keystone I have made my position on the Keystone XL pipeline quite clear. Approving this hotly debated pipeline would send America down the wrong path. The science tells us now is the time that we should be throwing everything we have into creating a clean 21st century energy economy, not doubling down on the dirty energy that is imperiling our planet.

Now that the State Department has just released a final environmental impact report on Keystone XL, which appears to downplay the threat, and greatly increases the odds that the Obama administration will approve the project, I feel I must weigh in once again.

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Ex-NY mayor Bloomberg named UN climate envoy

Michael BloombergFormer New York mayor Michael Bloomberg was appointed Friday to be the U.N. special envoy for cities and climate change, a position that will give the billionaire businessman and philanthropist an international stage to press for action to combat global warming.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon chose Bloomberg, who made combating climate change a major focus of his 12 years as mayor and was very outspoken on how cities should be run to cope with ever increasing populations without harming the environment.

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Gas continues to flow from rig off Gulf Coast

gulf of mexico oil rigCrews continued to work Friday to stop natural gas flowing from a drilling rig off the Louisiana coast, and the Coast Guard said workers had managed to cut the flow in half.
Officials lost control of the rig Thursday, according to the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement. No injuries or pollution have been reported.

BSEE said most crew members were evacuated from the rig, which was drilling in 262 feet of water about 108 miles southwest of Lafayette.

The rig operator is EnVen Energy Ventures of Metairie, La.

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Report: Keystone XL pipeline 'won't boost oil sands use'

xl keystone reportThe US state department has raised no major environmental objections to the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada, according to a new report.

Crucially, it found the proposed pipeline was unlikely to accelerate the pace of Canadian oil sands development. But environmentalists say the pipeline would lead to increased carbon emissions, contribute to global warming, and risk spills on its route.  President Barack Obama has yet to decide whether he will permit it.

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Australia approves Barrier Reef dumping plan

barrier reefAustralia has approved a plan to dump millions of tons of sediment near the Great Barrier Reef as part of a major coal port expansion — a decision that environmentalists say will endanger one of the world's most fragile ecosystems.

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority rubber-stamped the federal government's approval of the expansion of the Abbot Point coal port in northern Queensland, which requires a massive dredging operation to expanded access.

Almost 3 million cubic meters of dredged mud will be dumped within the marine park under the plan.

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New study links fracking to birth defects in heavily drilled Colorado

Fracking cuases birth defectsLiving near hydraulic fracturing — or fracking — sites may increase the risk of some birth defects by as much as 30 percent, a new study suggests. In the U.S., more than 15 million people now live within a mile of a well.

The use of fracking, a gas-extraction process through which sand, water and chemicals are pumped into the ground to release trapped fuel deposits, has increased significantly in the U.S. over the past decade. Five years ago, the U.S. produced 5 million barrels of oil per day; today, it's 7.4 million, thanks largely to fracking.

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