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Monday, May 30th

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Natural gas explosion in Salem Township: Injuries reported, evacuations underway

gas explosion in SalemCrews are responding to a natural gas explosion Friday in Salem Township, Westmoreland County, where at least one injury has been reported and evacuations are underway in the immediate area.

The blast and resulting fire happened around 8:30 a.m. in the area of Route 22 at Route 819. The total number of people injured and the severity of the injuries is unknown.

The explosion involved a pipeline owned by Texas Eastern, which has shut off the gas and sent personnel to the site, according to Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection spokesman John Poister.

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Russia's nuclear nightmare flows down radioactive river

ChernobylAt first glance, Gilani Dambaev looks like a healthy 60-year-old man and the river flowing past his rural family home appears pristine. But Dambaev is riddled with diseases that his doctors link to a lifetime's exposure to excessive radiation, and the Geiger counter beeps loudly as a reporter strolls down to the muddy riverbank.

Some 50 kilometers (30 miles) upstream from Dambaev's crumbling village lies Mayak, a nuclear complex that has been responsible for at least two of the country's biggest radioactive accidents. Worse, environmentalists say, is the facility's decades-old record of using the Arctic-bound waters of the Techa River to dump waste from reprocessing spent nuclear fuel, hundreds of tons of which is imported annually from neighboring nations.

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Study: Oxygen drain will be apparent in oceans by 2030s

Oxygen drain on oceansClimate models suggest climate change is slowly sapping oxygen from the world's oceans. In some places, declining oxygen levels are already discernible, but in most oceanic regions, scientists struggle to differentiate between climate change-related losses and natural fluctuations.

A new model, developed by researchers at the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, suggests scientists' differentiation difficulties won't last much longer. By the 2030s, oxygen losses caused by climate change will be widespread and readily apparent.

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Michigan ‘Covered Up Lead’ in 2nd City

Second City in MichiganA Michigan environmental official suggested a technician collecting samples for a suburban Detroit private water system “bump ... out” a test result that found very high levels of lead by testing more homes, according to a 2008 email reviewed by the Guardian. Doing so could avert a “lead public notice”, the email reasoned, which would alert residents of dangerously high levels in their water.

“Oh my gosh, I’ve never heard [it] more black and white,” said Marc Edwards, a Virginia Tech professor and lead expert who helped uncover the Flint water crisis. “In the Flint emails, if you recall, it was a little bit implied … this is like telling the strategy, which is: ‘You failed, but if you go out and get a whole bunch more samples that are low, then you can game it lower.’

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Billionaire green donor launches U.S. millennial voter drive

Tom SteyerBillionaire environmental activist Tom Steyer's super PAC launched a $25 million youth voter drive on Monday in seven political battleground states to help elect candidates that champion climate change policies in November's general election.

Steyer's NextGen Climate super PAC, a political group that raises funds to boost candidates with strong environmental platforms, said the campaign aims to boost turnout of millennials, who have become one of the largest potential voter groups.

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Violent, destructive tornadoes target central U.S. Tuesday

Violent weather for TuesdayThe central U.S. is bracing for a big severe weather outbreak on Tuesday, with violent, destructive tornadoes possible in and around cities such as Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Dallas and Wichita, Kan.

The Storm Prediction Center (SPC) has placed a swath from southern Nebraska to central Kansas and central Oklahoma in a "moderate risk" for severe storms Tuesday.

A moderate risk is the second highest of the five categories SPC uses to outlook areas of possible severe weather, according to weather.com.

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Ice melt forces polar bears into paths of Alaska schoolchildren

Melting ice in AlaskaThe problem is a lack of ice. Each winter, the narrow strait between Russia and the United States melts faster.The ice that does form seems weaker, more susceptible to breaking up.

While that's opened up new areas for oil exploration and opportunities for shipping through the Northwest Passage, it's also destroying the habitat of the polar bears who hunt seal from that ice.

“The weather has changed a lot, and it has made the animals change their behavior,” said Oxereok, a ninth-generation resident of Wales.

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