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Friday, Apr 18th

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Toxic coal ash poses persistent threat to US waters

Toxic coal ash"This place was where I first knew God was real," Mr. Adkins drawls, gazing down at a narrow segment of the river known as Draper Landing. That's where he learned to fish and swim as a boy, where he first felt a spiritual connection to nature, he says. Gesturing toward his 2-year-old son, Benson, he adds, "I was planning on teaching him how to fish and swim right here, too.

"Now, I wouldn't let my dog come in here," Adkins adds.

Less than two months earlier, a storm pipe underneath an unlined coal ash basin two miles upstream from Draper Landing ruptured and spewed more than 30,000 tons of coal ash into the Dan. The plume of gray sludge spread 70 miles downstream, depositing toxins along the way.

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Oklahoma Earthquakes: Overnight Swarm Produces State's Strongest Quakes of 2014

oklahoma earthquake swarmA swarm of earthquakes struck central Oklahoma Saturday and early Sunday, producing the state's strongest quakes so far in 2014, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The primary swarm of earthquakes was centered in northwestern Logan County and northeastern Kingfisher County, about 12 miles north of Crescent.

In that cluster, the USGS recorded nine earthquakes ranging in magnitude from 2.6 to 4.3 between 10 p.m. CDT Saturday and 7 a.m. Sunday. The two earthquakes measuring 4.3 on the moment magnitude scale were the strongest earthquakes so far in 2014 in Oklahoma, eclipsing a 4.1 jolt centered near Langston on Feb. 8.

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Earth Hour 2014: World To Turn Off The Lights For 60 Minutes In Honor Of The Environment

earth hour 2014The Great Wall. Times Square. The Eiffel Tower.

Many of the worlds greatest, and most illuminated, monuments will go dark for an hour on Saturday for the eightth annual Earth Hour. More than 150 countries and millions of people will engage in a crowd-sourced conservation effort from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. local time, highlighting a growing need to protect the environment, while encouraging global action.

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UN science report: Warming worsens security woes

warming globeIn an authoritative report due out Monday a United Nations climate panel for the first time is connecting hotter global temperatures to hotter global tempers. Top scientists are saying that climate change will complicate and worsen existing global security problems, such as civil wars, strife between nations and refugees.

They're not saying it will cause violence, but will be an added factor making things even more dangerous. Fights over resources, like water and energy, hunger and extreme weather will all go into the mix to destabilize the world a bit more, says the report by the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The summary of the report is being finalized this weekend by the panel in Yokohama.

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Pa. court loosens limits on anti-fracking activist's movements

Vera ScrogginsA Pennsylvania judge on Friday loosened a court injunction restricting the movements of Vera Scroggins, who was banned from setting foot on property owned by or leased to Cabot Oil & Gas Co. in Susquehanna County — and therefore unable to shop at her favorite grocery store, go to the nearby hospital, or visit some of her friends.

Scroggins has been lauded by environmentalists — and has become notorious among oil and gas operators — after years of giving fellow activists, local residents and even celebrities tours of local hydraulic fracturing operations.

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White House unveils methane-cutting plan

Obama to cut methane emissionsThe White House said on Friday it will take a hard look at whether new regulations are needed to cut emissions of methane from the oil and gas industry, part of President Barack Obama's plan to address climate change.

Regulators will start by proposing new rules later this year to reduce venting and flaring from oil and gas wells on public lands, one way to begin slashing emissions of the potent greenhouse gas, said Dan Utech, Obama's top energy and climate aide.

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Methane emissions expected to soar as Earth warms

methaneCarbon dioxide is the gas most discussed in relation to manmade climate change. But there are other gases responsible for the greenhouse effect that climate scientists blame for global warming.

Scientists say the presence of one of those gases, methane, can be expected to rise rapidly, should the planet continue to warm. That's bad news, since methane -- already the third most abundant greenhouse gas -- has roughly 30 times the heat-trapping potency of CO2.

Scientists have known for some time that methane is a byproduct of biological activity in the world's freshwater ecosystems. Microorganisms in freshwater lakes, rivers, ponds, and streams produce methane as they digest organic materials.

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