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Wednesday, Jul 01st

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What's causing Texas earthquakes? Fracking 'most likely,' report says

Texas earthquakes caused by frackingAccording to the U.S. Geological Survey, the Dallas area has suffered almost 40 small earthquakes (magnitude 2.0 or higher) since the beginning of this year, the latest a magnitude-2.7 quake near Farmers Branch on Monday. Many of the epicenters were recorded in Farmers Branch and Irving, with a couple to the south in Venus.

"The quakes don't sound like much to somebody from California," Jim Wells told CNN. "But when you are sitting right on top of them, they are more than noticeable. They will shake the entire house, and you have no doubt about it when you have gone through it. We have in my home perhaps 100 or more wall hangings, pieces of art -- prints, etchings, oil originals -- and none of them are hanging straight."

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Texas Republicans Aim to Preempt Local Democracy, Target Fracking Bans

Denton drilling awareness groupThe Texas Senate - in lockstep with the oil and gas industry, despite the continued protests of their own constituents - approved legislation this week that would make the city of Denton's fracking ban unenforceable and preempt the ability of local communities to regulate oil and gas operations within their city limits.

Last fall, Denton passed Texas' first outright ban on hydraulic fracturing (fracking) within city limits, in a landslide victory in which 59 percent of Dentonites voted for the ban. Since then, state lawmakers connected to the oil and gas industry and to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) have introduced a number of bills aimed at undermining local democracy, ostensibly to prevent other cities from following Denton's lead.

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How America’s biggest swamp could become fracking wasteland

fracking wastelandOne hundred miles west of New Orleans, Belle River is considered the gateway to the Atchafalaya Basin, the largest wetland in the U.S. The area is famous for its plentiful seafood and cypress-tupelo swamps. "This is no place to dispose of toxic chemicals," said Dean Wilson, the head of the Atchafalaya Basinkeeper grassroots environmental group.

But that is precisely what FAS Environmental Services has done since the mid-1980s. The company receives industrial waste from processes ranging from conventional oil drilling to hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking. The waste can often contain high concentrations of methanol, chloride, sulfates and other substances. “Produced water,” the industry’s name for waste from fracking sites, can also contain toxins like benzene and xylene.

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Global Carbon Dioxide Levels Topped 400 PPM Throughout March In Unprecedented Milestone

C)2 levels at historic highAverage global levels of carbon dioxide stayed above 400 parts per million, or ppm, through all of March 2015 -- the first time that has happened for an entire month since record keeping first began, according to data released this week by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Scientists with NOAA's Earth System Research Laboratory have called the news a "significant milestone" in the growing scourge of man-made climate change.

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Crude oil train derails in North Dakota

North Dakota oil trai exxplodesFederal regulators said Wednesday a North Dakota town was evacuated after several tank cars carrying crude oil derailed and caught fire.

Ten responders from the Federal Railroad Administration were dispatched to Heimdal, N.D., to investigate the cause of the incident. The small town of less than 50 residents in central North Dakota was evacuated as a security precaution.

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Two dead in Mexican oil rig accident

Mexico oil rig accidentIn the second such incident in less than a month, a Mexican energy company said two workers died after an accident on an offshore oil rig.

Petroleos Mexicanos, known also as Pemex, said the accident at its Troll Solution field was tied to a leg malfunction on a rig provided by services company Typhoon Offshore. Two workers from an undisclosed company died as a result of the accident and one other was injured.

Nearly 100 contractors and three Pemex workers were evacuated from the rig.

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Probe takes aim at US methane plume mystery

Methane investigationConley is part of a team of top atmospheric scientists taking part in a high-stakes hunt for the sources of a vast methane plume billowing over the hydrocarbon-soaked San Juan Basin, more commonly known as the Four Corners area of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah.

The cloud was brought to public attention by NASA and University of Michigan scientists last year in a headline-grabbing study that drew on data gathered by a European Space Agency satellite from 2003 to 2009.

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