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Sunday, Mar 29th

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Warm weather puts Alaska on thin ice

War weather in AlaskaA few weeks ago, as champion musher Martin Buser prepped for the 1,000-mile Iditarod Sled Dog Race across Alaska, ugly images from last year’s trail kept flashing in his head. In the old days, a bad trail meant lots of drifting snow. But last year was just the opposite: miles of open, snowless ground, fraught with hazards. It was the worst he has seen in decades of running dogs.

“Glare ice, stumps, roots, rocks and tussocks,” Buser said. “There was so much carnage out there, musher- and sledwise.”

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Why Shale Producers Still 'Pump and Pray'

shale drillingAs the price of oil continues to fall, the U.S. shale oil industry is showing remarkable resilience. Output is at a 30-year high and stockpiles are the largest since tracking started in 2004. Speculators who push down the price of crude see this as evidence of a glut, but it could actually signal desperation on the part of over-leveraged producers.

It seems counterintuitive: Why would shale operators want to oversupply the market and make their product even cheaper? Two analytical papers out this month suggest it's because otherwise they couldn't service their debts.

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Oil lobby wants ozone rule scrapped

Oil lobbyists want to scrap ozone limitsThe oil industry says it’s inappropriate for the Obama administration to try restricting ozone standards when the country is still working toward the current requirements.

The American Petroleum Institute (API) says the current standard, set in 2008, would be sufficient to protect health and the environment if states were actually given time to achieve it.

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Warm ocean water is making Antarctic glacier vulnerable to significant melting

warm ocean water increasing Antarctic meltingThe intrusion of warm ocean water is accelerating melting and thinning of Totten Glacier, which at 65 kilometres long and 30 kilometres wide contains enough ice to raise global sea levels by 3.5 metres. The glacier is one of the major outlets for the East Antarctic Ice Sheet, which is the largest mass of ice on Earth and covers 98 percent of the continent.

Climate change is raising the temperature of the oceans, and sea levels are predicted to rise about one metre per century. Totten Glacier could represent a major component of this change.

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Hundreds Of Starving Sea Lion Pups Stranding On California Beaches

sea lion pupsThe starving sea lion pup was so tiny that it looked like a rock at the base of the seaside cliff until it struggled to raise its head as humans approached.

It bleated weakly as volunteer Brennan Slavik eased it into a crate for transport to a rescue center, where it peered from a child's playpen with woeful eyes made enormous by an emaciated frame.

At almost a year, the pup weighed just 23 pounds — a third of what it should — and staff quietly took it to a private room, euthanized it and moved on.

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Fight over Keystone XL project doesn't stall pipeline boom

pipeline boomIn a far corner of North Dakota, just a few hundred miles from the proposed path of the Keystone XL pipeline, 84,000 barrels of crude oil per day recently began flowing through a new line that connects the state's sprawling oilfields to an oil hub in Wyoming.

In West Texas, engineers activated a new pipeline that cuts diagonally across the state to deliver crude from the oil-rich Permian Basin to refineries near Houston. And in a string of towns in Kansas, Iowa and South Dakota, local government officials are scrutinizing the path of pipeline extensions that would pass nearby.

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U.S. appeals ruling on size of BP oil spill

BP oil spillThe U.S. government is appealing a federal court ruling that reduced the potential penalty BP Plc must pay for the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill by almost $4 billion.

The appeal, which was filed on Friday in U.S. District Court in New Orleans, challenges a January decision by U.S. District Court Judge Carl Barbier that set the size of the spill at 3.19 million barrels. The appeal did not detail what aspects of Barbier's ruling it was challenging.

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