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Wednesday, Aug 05th

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Shell Arctic oil drilling to commence within weeks

Shell to star Arctic oil drillingOil and gas giant Shell is expected to begin drilling for oil in the Arctic within the next two weeks.

Thirty ships left Dutch Harbor in Alaska on Thursday for the Arctic to support two initial exploratory wells.

The company has already committed about $7bn (£4.5bn) to the controversial project, and is confident it will find huge quantities of oil in the region.

But if the initial wells do not find oil, Shell will contemplate walking away from the region entirely.

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US Gulf states reach $18.7B settlement with BP

BPOfficials in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana announced an $18.7 billion settlement with BP on Thursday that resolves years of litigation over the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

The settlement announcement comes as a federal judge was preparing to rule on how much BP owed in federal Clean Water Act penalties after millions of gallons of oil spewed into the Gulf. Individual states also were pursuing litigation. Most of those penalties were to be distributed among the states for environmental and economic restoration projects along the Gulf Coast.

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Europe hit by soaring temperatures of over 40C

Europe heat waveParts of Europe have been hit by temperatures reaching above 40C, leading to concerns for the welfare of the young, the elderly and vulnerable.

Spain and Portugal are already on alert after temperatures reached as high as 44C in the Spanish city of Cordoba earlier in the week.

The hot weather has now reached France, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands. It was the UK's hottest day since 2006.

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New York state officially bans fracking

Fracking banned in NYIt's official: New York has banned fracking.

After more than seven years of study, the state Department of Environmental Conservation today issued the final document needed to ban the controversial drilling practice, known formally as high-volume hydraulic fracturing.

"Prohibiting high-volume hydraulic fracturing is the only reasonable alternative," said DEC Commissioner Joe Martens in a prepared statement. "High-volume hydraulic fracturing poses significant adverse impacts to land, air, water, natural resources and potential significant public health impacts that cannot be adequately mitigated. This decision is consistent with DEC's mission to conserve, improve and protect our state's natural resources, and to enhance the health, safety and welfare of the people of the state."

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Scottish Council blocks Little Plumpton fracking application

Scottish town rejects frackingAn application to start fracking at a site on the Fylde coast in Lancashire has been rejected by councillors.

Energy firm Cuadrilla wanted to extract shale gas at the Little Plumpton site between Preston and Blackpool.

Lancashire County Council rejected the bid on the grounds of "unacceptable noise impact" and the "adverse urbanising effect on the landscape".

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Supreme Court overturns landmark EPA air pollution rule

SCOTUS overturns EPA rulingThe Supreme Court overturned the Obama administration’s landmark air quality rule on Monday, ruling the Environmental Protection Agency did not properly consider the costs of the regulation.

In a 5-4 ruling, the justices ruled that the EPA should have taken into account the costs to utilities and others in the power sector before even deciding whether to set limits for the toxic air pollutants it regulated in 2011.

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Oil companies played hardball in bid to defeat climate outsiders

ChevronPetty legal filings. Diversionary ballot measures. Counting abstentions as no votes. These are just some of the tactics U.S. oil companies used this spring to quash efforts by investors to win the right to nominate climate experts for board seats.

Led by New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer and proposed at 75 U.S. companies in various industries this year, the so-called proxy access measure would give investor groups who own 3 percent of a company for more than three years the right to nominate directors. At the 19 oil and gas companies targeted, the aim was to demand more accountability on global warming.

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