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Was the Los Angeles Earthquake Caused by Fracking Techniques?

la earthquakeWas the 4.4-magnitude earthquake that rattled Los Angeles on Monday morning caused by fracking methods? It's hard to say, but what's clear from the above map, made by Kyle Ferrar of the FracTracker Alliance, is that the quake's epicenter was just eight miles from a disposal well where oil and gas wastewater is being injected underground at high pressure.

Don Drysdale, spokesman for the state agency that oversees California Geological Survey, told me that state seismologists don't think that the injection well was close enough to make a difference (and the agency has also raised the possibility that Monday's quake could have been a foreshock for a larger one). But environmental groups aren't so sure.

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Key climate-change measurement imperiled

Keeing curveOne of the planet's top dipsticks is in trouble.

The "Keeling curve," the most famous measurement of the world's rising levels of carbon dioxide for the past six decades, is in jeopardy from funding shortfalls.

The Keeling curve, run by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego, is the longest continuous record of carbon dioxide measurements on the planet. The measurements were begun in 1958 by Scripps climate scientist Charles David Keeling and are taken near the top of Mauna Loa on the Big Island of Hawaii.

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Climate change is putting world at risk of irreversible changes, scientists warn

climate changeThe world is at growing risk of “abrupt, unpredictable and potentially irreversible changes” because of a warming climate, America’s premier scientific society warned on Tuesday.

In a rare intervention into a policy debate, the American Association for the Advancement of Science urged Americans to act swiftly to reduce greenhouse gas emissions – and lower the risks of leaving a climate catastrophe for future generations.

“As scientists, it is not our role to tell people what they should do,” the AAAS said in a new report, What we know.

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Illinois county to vote on fracking ban

Illinios county vote on fracking banAn Illinois county will decide Tuesday on whether or not to ban hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, as energy companies eye the “New Albany Shale” of the Illinois Basin. The shale could hold up to 300 billion barrels of oil and sits below the county.

If passed, it would follow numerous local and statewide efforts to stop or control fracking in the United States. Los Angeles has passed a moratorium against fracking, and several cities in heavily drilled Colorado and Texas have banned the practice.

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Concerns Over Measurement of Fukushima Fallout

Fukushima falloutIn the chaotic, fearful weeks after the Fukushima nuclear crisis began, in March 2011, researchers struggled to measure the radioactive fallout unleashed on the public. Michio Aoyama’s initial findings were more startling than most.

As a senior scientist at the Japanese government’s Meteorological Research Institute, he said levels of radioactive cesium 137 in the surface water of the Pacific Ocean could be 10,000 times as high as contamination after Chernobyl, the world’s worst nuclear accident.

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Thousands rally in Sacramento to protest fracking

antis-frackingMore than 2,000 people came from across the state to gather at the Capitol Saturday afternoon to call for a ban on fracking in California. Protesters heard from speakers who talked about how fracking hurt communities.

"They can't play in the yards. They can't plant flowers in their soil. They can't even touch their soil. It's contaminated," anti-fracking activist Latrice Carter told the crowd.

Hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, is a method of energy extraction that fractures rock with pressurized liquid then removes oil and natural gas. The method has been used in California, which contains one of the largest untapped energy regions.

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NY county halts tar sands oil processing plans pending health study

Albany county halts tar sandsAlbany County has halted an oil company’s plans to install boilers for processing tar sands, the latest in a trend of residents expressing concern for their health and safety, and feeling that not enough is being done on a state and federal level to protect them from oil industry interests.

The county was able to halt the plans — which would have involved building several boilers and heaters to heat tar sands before shipping them to a refinery, according to county officials — under a New York State Public Health Law that empowers county health departments to address threats to public health or safety.

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