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British fracking plans delayed by county council

British fracking plans delayedPlanners in the British county of Lancashire said they needed more time to consider drilling plans from shale pioneer Cuadrilla Resources.

Cuadrilla in June deposited 21 chapters of environmental studies with the Lancashire County Council associated with plans for up to four shale gas exploration wells.  The council said initially it would make a determination by early November, but said they now needed more time to make a decision.

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Orca Whale Calf Born to Endangered Pod May Have Died in Open Ocean

baby oca deadThe largest members of the dolphin family, orcas are highly social and intelligent marine mammals that communicate using whistles and pulsed calls and maintain group cohesion or 'pods' through their lifetime, according to Daily Press.

Howard Garrett, the co-director of the Washington based Orca Network, said the mother orca was seen for 3 straight days swimming in Washington state waters without her calf at her side, a troubling sign that it passed away.

The orca calf was born in early September, the first such one since 2012, and was soon photographed by a whale watching company.

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Green groups say EPA underestimates methane leaks from fracking

Fracking report undrestimates methaneThe EPA has become increasingly concerned with reducing the methane emissions inherent in the oil and gas production and distribution process. In 2012 the agency announced that by 2015, drillers would be required to use green completion technology to capture methane during the drilling completion process — the stage after drilling, when oil and gas starts to flow out of the well. Vapor recovery systems turn methane into liquid that can be sold, providing an economic incentive.

On Sept. 30 the EPA announced that its new requirements appeared to be making a difference even before they become law on Jan 1. Through its greenhouse gas reporting program, which keeps track of the self-reported emissions of the country’s biggest emitters — mainly factories and oil and gas production infrastructure — the agency found that greenhouse gas emissions from petroleum and natural gas facilities fell 12 percent from 2011 to 2013. The most significant reductions came from hydraulically fractured wells, which saw a 73 percent reduction in methane emissions in that period.

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Another Month, Another Global Heat Record Broken

Global warmingIt sounds like a broken record: Last month again set a new mark for global heat. And meteorologists say Earth is now on pace to tie the hottest year ever recorded, or more likely, to break it.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Monday that last month the globe averaged 60.3 degrees Fahrenheit (15.72 degrees Celsius). That was the hottest September in 135 years of record keeping.

It was the fourth monthly record set this year, along with May, June and August.

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UK fracking faces bust amid Opec oil price war

UK FrackingExperts have warned that a rush to start fracking for oil across Britain may already be over before it has even begun as the slump in global crude oil prices makes the controversial method of drilling look increasingly uneconomic.

Bids from oil companies for licences to search and potentially drill for oil onshore in the UK are due on October 28. The auction of mineral exploration rights across vast swathes of the country will, it is hoped, spur a shale oil and gas “revolution” similar to that which has helped transform the US economy.

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Simushir, fuel-laden Russian cargo ship, adrift off Canadian coast after tow lines part

Russian container ship driftingA Russian cargo ship carrying hundreds of tons of fuel is once again adrift off the west coast of Haida Gwaii after a Canadian Coast Guard vessel lost three tow lines.

A spokesman with the Canadian Forces' Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Victoria told CBC News at 11:30 a.m. PT that the Canadian Coast Guard vessel Gordon Reid had tried three times to attach lines to the incapacitated ship, but that all three lines had "parted."

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Pacific islanders on canoes blockade Australia coal export terminal

Pacific islanders bar coalEnvironmental activists teamed up with Pacific islanders in eastern Australia on Friday in an attempt to block the world's largest coal export terminal by forming a blockade of canoes, surfboards and kayaks.

The burning of coal and other fossil fuels has contributed to climate change, they said, which causes sea level rise. That, environmentalists added, poses an existential threat to residents of low-lying areas around the world, especially in the Pacific, where entire island countries could disappear.

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