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Scientists: 2,500 Earthquakes in Oklahoma Linked to Fracking

Oklahoma earthquakesIn this Nov, 6, 2011 photo, Chad Devereaux examines bricks that fell from three sides of his in-laws home in Sparks, Okla., following two earthquakes that hit the area in less than 24 hours. A study published Thursday by the journal Science explains how just four wells forcing massive amounts of drilling wastewater into the ground are probably causing quakes in Oklahoma.

Suddenly, the good old days — you know, when Arkansas had only had about 900 earthquakes linked to the re-injection of fracking wastewater — seem almost nostalgic, as the number of quakes, the amount of damage, the number of states impacted, and the scientific studies keep growing.

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Mining companies face lawsuits as US government rallies to their defense

Mining companiesCoal industry representatives say lawsuits against mines in three western states could have consequences across the US as environmentalists seek changes in how mining is approved on federally owned reserves.

In civil cases unfolding in Colorado, New Mexico and Montana, the group WildEarth Guardians asserts coal companies benefited from lax oversight by federal regulators.

The group says the US Department of Interior approved mining plans without enough public involvement, and gave little heed to the pollution caused by digging, shipping and burning coal. The group asked the courts to stop mining until the plans are re-done.

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A Fracking Fortune Gets Political

wilkes brothersBrothers Farris and Dan Wilks, who reaped a fortune off the fracking gold rush and cashed in their Texas-based company a few years ago for more than $3 billion. In addition to buying up vast swaths of land in the West, they’re “using the riches that the Lord has blessed them with to back specific goals,” as Christian Broadcasting Network’s David Brody puts it.

What are those goals? They’ve embraced both the anti-government politics of the Koch brothers and the religious right’s anti-gay, anti-choice cultural warfare. The Wilks brothers belong to Pastors and Pews, an organization connected to Christian-nation extremist David Lane, who wants to make the Bible a primary public school textbook.

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The Giant Methane Monster That Can Wipe Out the Human Race

Methane monsterThere's something lurking deep under the frozen Arctic Ocean, and if it gets released, it could spell disaster for our planet.  That something is methane.

Methane is one of the strongest of the natural greenhouse gases, about 80 times more potent than CO2, and while it may not get as much attention as its cousin CO2, it certainly can do as much, if not more, damage to our planet.

That's because methane is a far more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, and there are trillions of tons of it embedded in a kind of ice slurry called methane hydrate or methane clathrate crystals in the Arctic and in the seas around the continental shelves all around the world.

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TransCanada’s Donation to Town Means Silence on Pipeline

TransCanadaTransCanada Corp. (TRP) provided an Ontario town along the proposed Energy East pipeline route with cash to buy a rescue truck on conditions that include the municipality not comment on the company’s operations.

TransCanada gave Mattawa C$30,000 ($28,200) under its community engagement program, according to an agreement appended to the agenda of the town council’s June 23 meeting. The city agreed to “not publicly comment on TransCanada’s operations or business projects” for five years as part of the agreement, the document showed.

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California severe drought intensifying as Napa wildfire rages on

California drought continuesCalifornia's drought is intensifying, turning more farms to dust, fanning fires, draining fountains and driving “unbelievable” prices at water auctions.

A map released by the US Drought Monitor on Thursday classified nearly 80% of California as in “extreme” drought, the second highest of five categories. Within that area an estimated 36% is “exceptional” drought, the highest category.

After another week of “little if any precipitation” exceptional dryness spread south to afflict Ventura, Los Angeles and Orange counties, according to the monitor report.

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Rupture-Prone Oil Trains Keep Rolling After Quebec Crash

oil trains keep rollingWhen Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner sees rail cars full of crude oil rumble down the tracks that criss-cross his Chicago-area town, he often thinks about the derailment that killed 47 people almost a year ago in Canada.

The disaster focused attention on the design of the oil tankers, yet two-thirds of the tank cars in use today are still older models that safety experts say are vulnerable to puncture. The July 6 derailment last year in Quebec and seven other major ones in the U.S. and Canada since then have spilled more than 3 million gallons of oil, with some cars catching fire or exploding.

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