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Friday, May 22nd

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Seattle 'Kayaktivists' Protest Shell's Arctic Drilling Endeavor

kayactivistsHundreds of activists in kayaks and small boats fanned out on a Seattle bay on Saturday to protest plans by Royal Dutch Shell to resume oil exploration in the Arctic and keep two of its drilling rigs stored in the city's port.

Environmental groups have vowed to disrupt the Anglo-Dutch oil company's efforts to use the Seattle as a home base as it outfits the rigs to return to the Chukchi Sea off Alaska, saying drilling in the remote Arctic waters could lead to an ecological catastrophe.

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2015 Is the Hottest Year On Record

2015 hottest yearHere’s the climate crisis in two hunks of ice: the snowball that Climate Change denier James Inhofe tossed on the floor of the Senate, and Antarctica’s 618-square-mile Larson B Ice Shelf, which will disintegrate by the end of the decade, according to a report released today by NASA.

Earlier this week, Larson B’s much bigger brother, Larson C, was also declared to be at “imminent risk” with huge cracks appearing on its surface.

Not only are these developments yet more canaries in the coalmine of global climate disruption, they have nasty effects. When massive ice shelves fall apart, glaciers melt into the ocean, accelerating the rise in global sea levels.

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Washington State Declares Drought Emergency

washington drought emergencyDrought isn't just a California problem, folks. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee declared a statewide drought emergency on Friday, with snowpack and stream flows dramatically below normal.

“We’re really starting to feel the pain from this snowpack drought," Inslee said at a press conference. "Impacts are already severe in several areas of the state. Difficult decisions are being made about what crops get priority water and how best to save fish. ... We have some tough, challenging months ahead of us. We’re ready to bring support and relief to the hardest hit areas of the state. We’re going to do everything we can to get through this."

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Duke Energy fined $102 million in coal ash spill

Duke EnergyDuke Energy pleaded guilty Thursday to nine violations of the federal Clean Water Act and will pay $102 million in fines and restitution for illegally discharging pollution from coal-ash dumps at five North Carolina power plants.

The plea by the nation's largest electricity company, part of a negotiated settlement with federal prosecutors, is the result of an investigation that began in February after a pipe collapsed under a coal ash dump, coating 70 miles of the Dan River in gray sludge.

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Antarctic Ice Shelf Is A Few Years From Disintegration: NASA

Antarctic ice shelf near disappearingThe last intact section of one of Antarctica's mammoth ice shelves is weakening fast and will likely disintegrate completely in the next few years, contributing further to rising sea levels, according to a NASA study released on Thursday.

The research focused on a remnant of the so-called Larsen B Ice Shelf, which has existed for at least 10,000 years but partially collapsed in 2002. What is left covers about 625 square miles (1,600 square km), about half the size of Rhode Island.

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40% of Honeybee Hives Died Last Year

honey bee deathsMore than two out of five American honeybee colonies died in the past year, and surprisingly the worst die-off was in the summer, according to a federal survey.

Since April 2014, beekeepers lost 42.1 percent of their colonies, the second highest loss rate in nine years, according to an annual survey conducted by a bee partnership that includes the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

"What we're seeing with this bee problem is just a loud signal that there's some bad things happening with our agro-ecosystems," said study co-author Keith Delaplane at the University of Georgia. "We just happen to notice it with the honeybee because they are so easy to count."

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Enbridge, Michigan settle over 2010 Kalamazoo River oil spill

Kalamazoo spillOil giant Enbridge Energy will pay Michigan $75 million to restore a waterway contaminated in 2010 by 800,000 gallons of oil — one of the largest inland spills in U.S. history — state officials said on Wednesday.

The settlement comes a week after the company settled in a separate class action lawsuit over damages to local residents as a result of the spill, with compensation including pre-paid gift cards and additional payments for some living near the contaminated area.

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