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Friday, Apr 18th

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Exxon Mobil CEO: No fracking near my backyard

Rex TillersonExxon Mobil's CEO has joined a lawsuit to stop construction of a water tower near his home that would be used to in the fracking process to drill for oil.

While fracking -- hydraulic fracturing of rock to release pockets of oil -- has raised complaints from environmentalists around the country, Chairman and CEO Rex Tillerson's opposition to a project in his own neighborhood is interesting, given how deeply Exxon Mobil is involved in the process.

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Supreme Court Climate Case Looks At EPA's Power

supreme courtIndustry groups and Republican-led states are heading an attack at the Supreme Court against the Obama administration's sole means of trying to limit power-plant and factory emissions of gases blamed for global warming.

As President Barack Obama pledges to act on environmental and other matters when Congress doesn't, or won't, opponents of regulating carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases cast the rule as a power grab of historic proportions.

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Plutonium detected half-mile outside New Mexico nuclear waste facility

plutonium detectedFour days after a radiation alert shut the nation’s only underground nuclear waste facility, an independent monitoring center said Wednesday it found radioactive isotopes in an air sensor about a half mile from the southeastern New Mexico plant.

A filter from a monitor northwest of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in Carlsbad had trace amounts of plutonium and americium, said Russell Hardy, director of the Carlsbad Environmental Monitoring and Research Center.

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Law allowing Keystone pipeline in Nebraska struck down

Nebraska pipeline lawThe controversial Keystone XL pipeline hit another obstacle Wednesday when a judge struck down a Nebraska law that allowed the oil pipeline to cross the state.

Lancaster County Judge Stephanie Stacy issued a ruling that invalidated Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman's approval of the route. Stacy said the law unconstitutionally gave the governor authority to approve the route and to allow the oil pipeline company to seize land via eminent domain from Nebraska landowners.

Stacy, siding with three landowner plaintiffs, said authority rests with the Nebraska Public Service Commission, which regulates pipelines and other utilities. His ruling bars Heineman from using the law to advance the pipeline.

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Supreme Court asked to clear the air about greenhouse gas rules

SC greenhouse gas caseThe Supreme Court’s hottest environmental case of the year pits Texas against California on Monday, and that’s just for starters.

More than half of the nation’s states have taken sides in a dispute over federal authority to regulate stationary greenhouse gas emissions. Conservative lawmakers such as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., hold one position. Southern California air pollution managers defend another.

Miners and frozen food industry leaders serve up their arguments; respiratory health care experts counter them.

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Investigation Into NC Coal Ash Spill Widens

nc coal ash Federal prosecutors widened their investigation triggered by a massive coal ash spill in North Carolina, demanding reams of documents and ordering nearly 20 state environmental agency employees to testify before a grand jury.

The subpoenas were made public by the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources on Wednesday. They also ordered state officials to hand over any records pertaining to investments, cash or other items of value they might have received from Duke Energy or its employees.

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Fracking the Eagle Ford Shale: Big Oil & Bad Air on the Texas Prairie

Texas frackingWhen Lynn Buehring leaves her doctor’s office in San Antonio she makes sure her inhaler is on the seat beside her, then steers her red GMC pickup truck southeast on U.S. 181, toward her home on the South Texas prairie.

About 40 miles down the road, between Poth and Falls City, drilling rigs, crude oil storage tanks and flares trailing black smoke appear amid the mesquite, live oak and pecan trees. Depending on the speed and direction of the wind, a yellow-brown haze might stretch across the horizon, filling the car with pungent odors. Sometimes Buehring’s eyes burn, her chest tightens and pain stabs at her temples. On those days, she touches her inhaler for reassurance.

In another five miles Buehring, 58, passes into Karnes County, where she was born and once figured on living out her retirement, surrounded by a calm broken only by an occasional thunderstorm.

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