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Tuesday, Sep 02nd

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Obama sets first fuel standards for big trucks

Obama to toughen truck emission standardsLarge trucks in the U.S. must cut emissions as much as 20 percent by 2018 under the first standards proposed for work vehicles, the Obama administration said today.

Tractor-trailer trucks have to meet the 20 percent target, while heavy-duty pickups and vans must reduce emissions 10 percent for gas vehicles and 15 percent for diesel-powered models, the Environmental Protection Agency and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in a statement. Buses, motor homes and garbage trucks must cut emissions 10 percent.

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NOAA: Warming Arctic unlikely to return to how it was

Warming ArcticNew observations this year about snow, ice and temperatures support the conclusion that the Arctic is unlikely to return to the conditions known in the 20th century — and that's likely to affect the weather in the lower 48 United States.

That was this year's key message in the annual update of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Arctic report card, released Thursday. The key points, a video and links to scientific reports by 69 scientists from eight countries are available from NOAA online.

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Why is the world rushing headlong into Environmental Armageddon?

Is there any doubt that planet Earth has been undergoing an environmental armageddon for decades?  We are not just referring to the spate of oil spills all over the world such as the BP Gulf Oil Spill, or the many other toxic deluges which go unreported unlike the Hungary Toxic Sludge Disaster, or the ongoing destruction of the world’s rainforests like those being systematically wiped out in the Amazon Basin.  We are also alluding to the “unseen” worldwide chemical apocalypse, the global proliferation of electro-pollution (EMR), the major uptick in man-made geopathic stress events on both the micro and macro levels, as well as the relentless contamination of living environments throughout the planet with radioactivity.

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EPA faulted for not disclosing coal ash's recycling risks

EPA faulted for not disclosing coal ash's recycling risksThe Environmental Protection Agency's inspector general reported this week that the EPA had improperly used an official website to promote ways of recycling the waste that's left over when power plants burn coal, commonly known as coal ash.

The inspector general's report says the website didn't tell the public that the EPA had decided that coal ash no longer should be dumped in empty pits and that it had concerns about the safety of other uses of the material in loose form, such as fertilizer and road fill.

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Brazil eyes microchips in trees for forest management

Amazon rain forestA chainsaw buzzes, branches snap, and an Amazon tree crashes to the ground. It could be just another of the thousands of trees felled each year in Brazil's portion of the world's largest forest except for one detail: a microchip attached to its base holding data about its location, size and who cut it down.

With a hand-held device, forestry engineer Paulo Borges pulls up the tree's vital statistics from the chip -- a 14-meter-high (46-foot) tree known as a "mandiocao" cut down in Mato Grosso state, the southern edge of the Amazon where the forest has largely been cleared to create farmland.

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Bee Mystery Unsolved? Lead Investigator Had Connections to Pesticide Maker

Yesterday's New York Times featured a heartwarming ending to the years-long murder mystery of what was causing Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) among honeybees. Experts suspected pesticides or genetically modified foods, but the article reported that the University of Montana's Bee Alert Team, working alongside the Army, found the cause: the combined effects of a virus and fungus. Data sharing! Chance discoveries! Honeybees live on to sting another day! But according to Fortune, there were a couple of details left out of the front-page story. The team's lead investigator, Dr. Jerry Bromenshenk, may have previously dropped out of testifying in a class-action lawsuit after he received a significant research grant from the pharmaceutical giant Bayer. For years, beekeepers have tried to pursue legal action against Bayer Crop Science over their pesticides, in particular a type of neurotoxin that gets rids of insects by attacking their nervous systems. The beekeepers allege that the pesticides disoriented and killed their hives. One of the markers of CCD is a bee's tendency to fly off in a random direction before it dies.

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Toxic coal sludge pollutes Ky. town 10 years later

Coal sludge in KentuckyIn parts of eastern Kentucky, the pictures coming out of Hungary of the red sludge that roared from a factory's reservoir, downstream into the Danube River, are all too reminiscent of what happened a decade ago this week.

A layer of dark goo still sits under a creekbed on Glenn Cornette's land, the leftovers from when a coal company's sprawling slurry pond burst, blackening 100 miles of waterways and polluting the water supply of more than a dozen communities before the stuff reached the Ohio River.

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