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Tuesday, Sep 01st

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Study Links Texas Earthquake Swarm to Natural Gas Drilling

Texaas fracking linked to earthquakesWith real-time monitors, scientists have linked a swarm of small earthquakes west of Fort Worth, Texas, to nearby natural gas wells and wastewater injection.

"It's what we figured all along, it's not really new news to us," said Azle Mayor Alan Brundrett, "It's just confirming our suspicious that we've had."

In 84 days from November 2013 to January 2014, the area around Azle, Texas, shook with 27 magnitude 2 or greater earthquakes, while scientists at Southern Methodist University and the U.S. Geological Survey monitored the shaking. It's an area that had no recorded quakes for 150 years on faults that "have been inactive for hundreds of millions of years," said SMU geophysicist Matthew Hornbach.

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Portland torn over $500m terminal: could fracking creep into a 'green' city?

Portland frackingPortland’s claim to lead US cities in combating climate change is under threat from plans to build a $500m terminal to export gas pumped from fracking in Canada.

Amid fears that Portland’s progressive, environmentally conscious image could be badly dented, the city is divided over whether exporting natural gas is part of the problem or the solution, in reducing carbon emissions.

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Secrecy shrouds decade-old oil spill in Gulf of Mexico

Gulf Oil SpillA blanket of fog lifts, exposing a band of rainbow sheen that stretches for miles off the coast of Louisiana. From the vantage point of an airplane, it's easy to see gas bubbles in the slick that mark the spot where an oil platform toppled during a 2004 hurricane, triggering what might be the longest-running commercial oil spill ever to pollute the Gulf of Mexico.

Yet more than a decade after crude started leaking at the site formerly operated by Taylor Energy Company, few people even know of its existence. The company has downplayed the leak's extent and environmental impact, likening it to scores of minor spills and natural seeps the Gulf routinely absorbs.

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Unlikely allies: Mexican miners and farmers unite over toxic spill

Mexico farmers and miners uniteThe pipes have gone silent. Gone is the hum of water flowing through them to the world’s second-largest copper mine, just south of the U.S. border. Instead, in the normally empty desert here, tents and buses line the highway. Dust and smoke from cooking fires fill the air while hundreds of people listen to speeches and discuss the day’s events.

This plantón, or occupation, which began on March 18, has shut down most operations at the Cananea mine, which consumes huge quantities of water pumped from 49 wells across the desert in order to extract copper concentrate from crushed ore.

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PG&E Hit With $1.6 Billion Penalty For 2010 Calif. Pipeline Explosion

PG&E finedPacific Gas & Electric Co.has been ordered to pay a $1.6 billion penalty – the largest ever levied against a public utility – for a 2010 explosion in a gas pipeline it operated that killed eight people and destroyed dozens of homes in a San Francisco suburb.

The five-member California Public Utilities Commission voted 4-0 Thursday, with the commission president, Michael Picker, abstaining, to impose the penalty. Picker, however, called for a larger review of problems at PG&E, a move that The Associated Press says "suggests the energy behemoth could be broken up."

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More than 1 million Californians don’t have reliable access to clean water

million californians no access to waterCalifornians who grumble about not being able to water their lawns everyday during the fourth year of a historic drought should swing by this small town in southern Kern County.

Drought or no drought, residents of this rural community can’t drink water from the tap and can’t even use it for cooking because high levels of arsenic — known to cause — become even more concentrated when water is boiled.

“They worry about little things,” said Salvador Partida, president of the Committee for a Better Arvin, of the rest of the state. “We’re worried about not being able to drink the water.”

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The toxic lake filled by the world’s tech lust

Toxic lake From where I'm standing, the city-sized Baogang Steel and Rare Earth complex dominates the horizon, its endless cooling towers and chimneys reaching up into grey, washed-out sky. Between it and me, stretching into the distance, lies an artificial lake filled with a black, barely-liquid, toxic sludge.

Dozens of pipes line the shore, churning out a torrent of thick, black, chemical waste from the refineries that surround the lake. The smell of sulphur and the roar of the pipes invades my senses. It feels like hell on Earth.

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