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Former oil exec calls Exxon CEO out on his hypocritical anti-fracking lawsuit

Allstadt letter to TillersonThe news, reported last week by the Wall Street Journal, that Rex Tillerson — the CEO of the world’s largest publicly traded international oil and gas company — was involved in an anti-fracking lawsuit because the drilling was happening where he lives was rightly met with cries of outrage and incredulity.

But as a former Big Oil executive himself, Louis W. Allstadt is in a better place than many to call Tillerson out on his hypocrisy.

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Alaskan rocks shielding still-fresh oil from 1989 Valdez Exxon spill

Oil from Valdez spill whos upTwenty-three years after the Exxon Valdez spill, hidden pockets of surprisingly unchanged oil are found on Alaska beaches far from the incident, scientists say.

The rocky coastlines in the Shelikof Strait, hundreds of miles southwest of the 1989 spill, contain small remnants of oil which appear to be protected by a stable boulder and cobble "armor," Gail Irvine of the U.S. Geological Survey's Alaska Science Center said.

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Corporation Exploiting Major Loophole to Quickly Build 600-Mile Tar Sands Pipeline

Keystone XL loopholesIn the five years since TransCanada submitted its first application to build the Keystone XL pipeline, protesters have held marches and vigils, chained themselves to pipeline trucks, interrupted a presidential speech and gotten themselves purposefully arrested, all in the name of stopping the pipeline.

For Debra Michaud, director of Tar Sands Free Midwest, getting these activists to just take notice of the pipeline her group has been working to stop since early last year would be a victory.  “Nobody’s heard of it,” Michaud said. “People know Keystone, but nobody’s heard of Flanagan South.”

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Lack of coal-waste oversight is under fire after giant spill

coal tar spillA massive North Carolina coal waste spill into a major river is increasing pressure on the Obama administration to start policing the more than 1,000 such waste storage sites across the nation.

The federal government doesn’t regulate the disposal of “coal ash,” the dustlike material that’s left over when pulverized coal is burned to fuel electrical power plants. Pennsylvania leads the nation in coal ash production, followed by Texas, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky.

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Marcellus Energy Development Could Pave Over An Area Bigger Than The State Of Delaware

marcellus shale drillingDevelopment of natural gas and wind resources in the Marcellus shale region could cover up nearly 1.3 million acres of land, an area bigger than the state of Delaware, with cement, asphalt and other impervious surfaces, according to a paper published this month in the scientific journal PLOS One.

The study, conducted by two scientists from the conservation organization The Nature Conservancy, predicts that 106,004 new gas wells will be drilled in the Marcellus region, based on current trends in natural gas development. The region includes parts of New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio and Virginia.

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North American scientists track incoming Fukushima plume

Fukushima plumeThe likely scale of the radioactive plume of water from Fukushima due to hit the west coast of North America should be known in the next two months.  Only minute traces of pollution from the beleaguered Japanese power plant have so far been recorded in Canadian continental waters.

This will increase as contaminants disperse eastwards on Pacific currents.

But scientists stress that even the peak measurements will be well within the limits set by safety authorities.

Since the 2011 Fukushima accident, researchers from the Bedford Institute of Oceanography have been sampling waters along a line running almost 2,000km due west of Vancouver, British Columbia.

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Feds moved on tank car safety only after Quebec disastery

canada rail spillThe rail industry asked the Department of Transportation three years ago to write new regulations for railroad tank cars that were carrying the country’s nascent oil boom.  In the two years that followed, state and local officials and the National Transportation Safety Board also urged the department to take action.

But the DOT did not begin the rulemaking process until last September, two months after 47 people were killed in a violent inferno when a trainload of North Dakota crude oil left the tracks in Quebec and exploded.

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