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Thursday, Dec 18th

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Greenpeace boat rammed by Spanish navy

Greenpeace rammedEnvironmental advocacy group Greenpeace said one of its protesters suffered a broken leg after its boat was rammed by a Spanish navy boat.

Greenpeace is in waters off the coast of Morocco protesting against Spanish energy company Repsol. The advocacy group said the company has a permit to operate in Spanish waters near the Canary Islands despite risks to the ecology and tourist economy.

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Upstate New Yorkers fear fracking gas caves could blow wine, tourism industries

NYers fear fracking gasIn Watkins Glenn — an idyllic part of upstate New York best known for its Finger Lakes, fall foliage and wine — activists worry it could soon be known for something less appealing: industrial disaster.

Protesters in the area are engaging in civil disobedience to stop the expansion of a gas storage facility that stores fracked gas from Pennsylvania in old mined-out salt caves, claiming it presents a safety risk to local residents, an environmental danger to the Finger Lakes region and an economic threat to the area’s wine and tourism industries.

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Obscure Nebraska panel may hold sway over pipeline

XL pipeline snagCongress is suddenly scrambling to vote on the Keystone XL oil pipeline, but the fate of the oft-delayed $5.4 billion project could still wind up in the hands of an obscure commission in Nebraska that regulates telephones, taxi cabs and grain bins.

The Nebraska Supreme Court is expected to rule within weeks on whether the Nebraska Public Service Commission must review the pipeline before it can cross the state, one of six on the pipeline's route. Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman gave the green light in January 2013 without the panel's involvement.

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Fracking: Could Philly be the next Houston? The oil industry hopes so

Philly the next Houston?Philadelphia’s City Council will hold hearings this month to explore opportunities to help establish the city as an energy hub — a boon for an increasingly influential coalition of public and private players who want to transform it into the Houston of the Northeast.

“Philly has the best ports, the best workforce, the best transportation and roads, great educational institutions and two very healthy refineries,” said Michael Krancer, a former secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, now a lawyer working with some of the energy companies involved in pushing for the city to become an energy center.

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Climate Change to Cause More Lightning

lightning to increaseBy now we're familiar with some of the scarier potential impacts of climate change: Floods, fires, stronger hurricanes, violent conflicts. Well, here's a new one to add to your nightmares.

Lightning strikes in the continental United States will increase roughly 12 percent for every degree Celsius of global warming, a study published today in Science finds. If warming continues unchecked, that could translate into a 50 percent increase in lightning by the end of the century—three strikes then for every two strikes now. (On average, there are currently about 25 million strikes per year.)

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Trace amounts of Fukushima radiation detected along U.S. West Coast

radiation from FukushimaAs scientists have been predicting for months, trace amounts of radiation from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster have finally arrived on the shores of the United States.

"Scientists at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) found the trace amounts of telltale radioactive compounds as part of their ongoing monitoring of natural and human sources of radioactivity in the ocean," the research organization confirmed in a press release.

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As controversial EPA water rule looms, GOP prepares an assault

Clean Water ActWhile the politics of climate change were at the top of the president’s agenda this week, a different environmental proposal is heading to a showdown between Republicans and the White House, in part due to strong pressure from Kentucky farm interests and lawmakers.

The issue is the proposed “ Waters of the United States” rule, which was announced earlier this year in an attempt to simplify and clarify which waterways are covered by the Clean Water Act and which ones aren’t.

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