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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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Another Firm That Evaluated Keystone For State Dept. Had Ties To TransCanada

Keystone xl pipelineThe contractor that evaluated greenhouse gas emissions for the State Department's Keystone XL report is the latest company to come under fire for its ties to TransCanada, the prospective builder of the controversial pipeline.

A conflict-of-interest statement from the consulting firm ICF International, submitted to the State Department in 2012, reveals that the company had done other work for TransCanada.

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How the Kings of Fracking Double-Crossed Their Way to Riches

Chesapeake energyThanks to a series of shady deals with former subsidiaries—and massive cuts in royalties to unsuspecting landowners—the controversial shale gas firm is now awash in cash.

At the end of 2011, Chesapeake Energy, one of the nation’s biggest oil and gas companies, was teetering on the brink of failure.  Its legendary chief executive officer, Aubrey McClendon, was being pilloried for questionable deals, its stock price was getting hammered and the company needed to raise billions of dollars quickly.

The money could be borrowed, but only on onerous terms. Chesapeake, which had burned money on a lavish steel-and-glass office complex in Oklahoma City even while the selling price for its gas plummeted, already had too much debt.

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Ohio Fracking Operation Halted Following Area Earthquakes

Mahoning frackingA series of earthquakes in Ohio has led officials to order a local fracking operation to halt while state inspectors investigate whether the drilling is linked to the tremors.

Five earthquakes were felt by residents of Mahoning County in northeastern Ohio on Monday and Tuesday, bringing the total number of area earthquakes in the past several days to 11, local paper the Tribune Chronicle reports.

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