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Saturday, Sep 20th

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New wildfire in Washington State prompts evacuation

Washington State wildfires-A new wildfire in Washington State prompted hundreds of evacuations and closed a highway as the Oregon governor declared a state of emergency.

The Chiwaukum Creek fire east of Stevens Pass grew from 500 acres to 2,000 on Wednesday. Smoke from the blaze could be seen in Seattle, 100 miles away.

Fire officials ordered about 800 people to leave the fire area, including campers. A section of Highway 2, which runs through Stevens Pass, connecting it to Leavenworth and Wenatchee, was closed.

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Arctic Warming and Increased Weather Extremes: The National Research Council Speaks

Arctic warmingArctic warming is happening at twice the average level of global warming in a process called arctic amplification, where more warming occurs as ice is lost because less of the sun’s energy is reflected back into space.

A new report from the National Research Council (NRC) details the findings of recent Arctic research: Arctic sea ice in all seasons is declining and the rate of loss is increasing. Multiple lines of study show this is impacting weather outside of the Arctic. Increased energy (heat) in the Arctic is slowing the progress of the jet stream around globe, allowing weather systems to linger, increasing the risk of severe weather happening more often in any one place. Increased warmth also means increased moisture in the Arctic - which increases the amount of snow, which in turn causes the jet stream to concentrate winter weather in North America and Eurasia.

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States With Fracking See Surge In Earthquake Activity

frackingStates where hydraulic fracturing is taking place have seen a surge in earthquake activity, raising suspicions that the unconventional drilling method could be to blame, especially the wells where the industry disposes of its wastewater.

Fracking generates vast amounts of wastewater, far more than traditional drilling methods. The water is pumped into injection wells, which send the waste thousands of feet underground. No one knows for certain exactly what happens to the liquids after that. Scientists wonder whether they could trigger quakes by increasing underground pressures and lubricating faults.

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7 Earthquakes Shake Central Oklahoma in 14 Hours

frackingThe U.S. Geological Survey has recorded seven small earthquakes shaking central Oklahoma in a span of just about 14 hours.

They ranged from magnitude 2.6 to 2.9 and were centered in the Guthrie, Jones and Langston areas, 15 miles to 30 miles northeast of Oklahoma City. The USGS said the quakes were recorded between 7:57 p.m. Saturday and 9:51 a.m. Sunday. No injuries or damage were reported.

Those follow four other quakes, including a 4.3-magnitude temblor near Langston recorded shortly after noon Saturday. The other Saturday morning quakes ranged in magnitude from 2.9 to 3.2.

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Former Health Secretary: Pennsylvania Didn't Seriously Study Fracking Health Impacts

Eli AvilaPennsylvania's former health secretary says the state has failed to seriously study the potential health impacts of one of the nation's biggest natural gas drilling booms.

Dr. Eli Avila also says the state's current strategy is a disservice to people and even to the industry itself because health officials need to be proactive in protecting the public.

"The lack of any action speaks volumes," said Avila, who is now the public health commissioner for Orange County, New York. "Don't BS the public. Their health comes first."

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Hundreds protest US plans to export fracked gas

Stop fracked gas exportsHundreds of protesters marched Sunday in Washington, D.C., to show their opposition to a planned natural gas export terminal in Maryland that would ship gas fracked in the United States overseas to Asia.

The Stop Fracked Gas Exports rally, backed by more than 40 environmental groups, called on the U.S. Department of Energy and the Federal Energy Regulations Committee (FERC) to halt final approval of a port they say will endanger local health and safety.

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World Council of Churches pulls fossil fuel investments

World Council of ChurchesAn umbrella group of churches, which represents over half a billion Christians worldwide, has decided to pull its investments out of fossil fuel companies.

The move by the World Council of Churches, which has 345 member churches including the Church of England but not the Catholic church, was welcomed as a "major victory" by climate campaigners who have been calling on companies and institutions such as pension funds, universities and local governments to divest from coal, oil and gas.

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