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Thursday, Dec 18th

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Why There's a Real Chance My Texas Town Might Ban Fracking

Banning frackingI live on Denton Street, in Denton, Texas, in Denton County, so I know a thing or two about the city of Denton - and its ongoing struggle with the gas drilling technique of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) within city limits.

I live a little more than a mile from McKenna Park, where, in 2009, Range Resources sparked the city's anti-fracking movement when the company announced plans to erect five gas wells on Denton's Rayzor Ranch development, one of which would be across the street from the park, residential neighborhood and hospital.

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Loaded with Lead: Washington state shooting range poisoned dozens

shooting rangeIn a cramped hotel room on Christmas Eve, a pale and hollow-eyed man embraced his two children and whispered they'd be OK.  Despite his assurances, Manny Romo, a 34-year-old ironworker, wasn't so certain about the future. Will I die? he wondered. Who will take care of my family?

An invisible assailant had invaded the bodies of Romo and his two kids, attacking their bones, brains and nerves.  They were contaminated with lead. And it came from an unexpected place.

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British fracking plans delayed by county council

British fracking plans delayedPlanners in the British county of Lancashire said they needed more time to consider drilling plans from shale pioneer Cuadrilla Resources.

Cuadrilla in June deposited 21 chapters of environmental studies with the Lancashire County Council associated with plans for up to four shale gas exploration wells.  The council said initially it would make a determination by early November, but said they now needed more time to make a decision.

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Orca Whale Calf Born to Endangered Pod May Have Died in Open Ocean

baby oca deadThe largest members of the dolphin family, orcas are highly social and intelligent marine mammals that communicate using whistles and pulsed calls and maintain group cohesion or 'pods' through their lifetime, according to Daily Press.

Howard Garrett, the co-director of the Washington based Orca Network, said the mother orca was seen for 3 straight days swimming in Washington state waters without her calf at her side, a troubling sign that it passed away.

The orca calf was born in early September, the first such one since 2012, and was soon photographed by a whale watching company.

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Green groups say EPA underestimates methane leaks from fracking

Fracking report undrestimates methaneThe EPA has become increasingly concerned with reducing the methane emissions inherent in the oil and gas production and distribution process. In 2012 the agency announced that by 2015, drillers would be required to use green completion technology to capture methane during the drilling completion process — the stage after drilling, when oil and gas starts to flow out of the well. Vapor recovery systems turn methane into liquid that can be sold, providing an economic incentive.

On Sept. 30 the EPA announced that its new requirements appeared to be making a difference even before they become law on Jan 1. Through its greenhouse gas reporting program, which keeps track of the self-reported emissions of the country’s biggest emitters — mainly factories and oil and gas production infrastructure — the agency found that greenhouse gas emissions from petroleum and natural gas facilities fell 12 percent from 2011 to 2013. The most significant reductions came from hydraulically fractured wells, which saw a 73 percent reduction in methane emissions in that period.

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Another Month, Another Global Heat Record Broken

Global warmingIt sounds like a broken record: Last month again set a new mark for global heat. And meteorologists say Earth is now on pace to tie the hottest year ever recorded, or more likely, to break it.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Monday that last month the globe averaged 60.3 degrees Fahrenheit (15.72 degrees Celsius). That was the hottest September in 135 years of record keeping.

It was the fourth monthly record set this year, along with May, June and August.

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UK fracking faces bust amid Opec oil price war

UK FrackingExperts have warned that a rush to start fracking for oil across Britain may already be over before it has even begun as the slump in global crude oil prices makes the controversial method of drilling look increasingly uneconomic.

Bids from oil companies for licences to search and potentially drill for oil onshore in the UK are due on October 28. The auction of mineral exploration rights across vast swathes of the country will, it is hoped, spur a shale oil and gas “revolution” similar to that which has helped transform the US economy.

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