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Thursday, Nov 27th

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Elections a 'bloodbath' for environmental policy, advocates say

pollutionJust days after a United Nations panel warned that failure to dramatically and quickly curb the burning of fossil fuels would do "irreversible damage" to the planet, the U.S. electorate on Tuesday voted in a Congress even more committed to the carbon status quo.

Controversial projects such as the Keystone XL pipeline enjoy strong backing by the Republican House and Senate leadership. Some newly elected politicians want gas and oil production boosted to turn America into "the next Saudi Arabia," and have questioned the existence of climate change.

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Texas oil town makes history as residents say no to fracking

Denton bans frackingThe Texas town where America’s oil and natural gas boom began has voted to ban fracking, in a stunning rebuke to the industry.

Denton, a college town on the edge of the Barnett Shale, voted by 59% to ban fracking inside the city limits, a first for any locality in Texas.

Organisers said they hoped it would give a boost to anti-fracking activists in other states. More than 15 million Americans now live within a mile of an oil or gas well.

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Senate Now Has Enough Votes To Pass Keystone XL Pipeline Approval Bill

XL Keystone PipelineThe new Senate Republican majority creates an opportunity for likely Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to force a vote on the proposed Keystone XL pipeline he's been waiting years to hold.

By The Huffington Post's count, the new Senate will have at least 61 votes in favor of a measure forcing the pipeline's approval -- a filibuster-proof majority.

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said Tuesday in an appearance on MSNBC that passing a Keystone approval bill would be the second item on the Republican agenda, after a budget. "I actually think the president will sign the bill on the Keystone pipeline because I think the pressure -- he’s going to be boxed in on that, and I think it's going to happen," Priebus said.

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What New York can learn from North Dakota: the dark side of fracking

ND frackingAs children we are often taught basic life lessons about survival, such as not to make deals with strangers that involve getting in their cars or not to accept large amounts of money or gifts from a stranger without expecting they'll want something in return. Yet that's exactly the deal that proponents of fracking are putting forward: We'll give you unlimited energy, money and high paying jobs, they say, with no downside.

Tapping into concerns about climate change, energy companies are even encouraging the ridiculous notion of fracking as a solution to global warming and a bridge to cleaner energy. Day by day, though, we're learning that the upsides of fracking are far less than what producers advertise, and the downsides are numerous and often devastating.

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Communities find little success in resisting fracking infrastructure

Anti frackingAmy Nassif thought petitioning her Pennsylvania school board to vote against drilling near her two children’s school would be enough — but even without the board’s approval, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection approved the permits.

“I was completely shocked at the total disregard for the safety of the community,” she said. “They have active-shooter drills at the school, they have drug free zones, but we can’t protect our kids from this.”

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The Climate-Change Solution No One Will Talk About

Climate control solutionThe equation seems fairly simple: The more the world's population rises, the greater the strain on dwindling resources and the greater the impact on the environment.

The solution? Well, that's a little trickier to talk about.

Public-health discussions will regularly include mentions of voluntary family planning as a way to reduce unwanted pregnancies and births. But, said Jason Bremner of the Population Reference Bureau, those policies can also pay dividends for the environment.

"And yet the climate-change benefits of family planning have been largely absent from any climate-change or family-planning policy discussions," he said.

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Given Scant Information, Activists Struggle to Fight New Pipeline in Iowa

Iowa frackingApparently - supposedly - it caught everyone by surprise. Without any previous announcement or public consultation, Iowa media reported in July that a Texas company, Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) plans to build a $5 billion, 1,100-mile pipeline to go through 17 Iowa counties.

It would bring at least 320,000 barrels of crude per day from the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota through South Dakota and Iowa and to refineries in Illinois before it's finally shipped to the Gulf Coast, primarily for export.

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