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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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Legal setback for Keystone pipeline

XL Keystone PipelineIn a setback for TransCanada’s effort to build the Keystone XL pipeline, a Nebraska court has found that a law giving the governor the right to approve a new route violated the state’s constitution.

The pipeline is awaiting a national interest verdict from the U.S. State Department, and it was not immediately clear whether the Nebraska court ruling would have any impact on that process.

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Toxins leaking from 2nd pipe at NC coal ash dump

NC ash dumpNorth Carolina officials say wastewater containing unsafe levels of arsenic from a Duke Energy coal ash dump is flowing into a North Carolina river already contaminated from a massive Feb. 2 spill.

The state Department of Environment and Natural Resources ordered Duke Tuesday to stop the wastewater coming from a pipe running under a coal ash dump at its Eden power plant. A nearby pipe at the dump collapsed without warning Feb. 2, coating the bottom of the Dan River with toxic ash as far as 70 miles downstream.

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Why are Oklahoma earthquakes so loud, frequent? Seismologist explains

frackingLoud, booming earthquakes continue to rattle homes and nerves across Oklahoma on an almost daily basis, according to the Oklahoma Geological Survey.

The agency tracking seismic activity in Oklahoma reported more than 20 quakes Saturday. The United States Geological Survey, the national agency that reports on the largest quakes in country and abroad, reported a 3.5-magnitude quake Saturday in the Edmond area.

Many of the quakes in the latest swarm are centered near Liberty Lake in Logan County.

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1 month after spill, W. Virginians wary of water

W.Va.water More than a month after chemicals seeped into West Virginia's biggest water supply, Jeanette Maddox would rather bundle up, drive to a shopping center parking lot and fill jugs of water from the spigot of a tanker truck than trust the tap in her kitchen.

This is Maddox's new routine three times a week, what she considers a necessary burden to feel safe drinking water, cooking with it and making coffee.

For weeks, government officials have said the running water in nine counties is suitable for all daily needs. But Maddox, like many of the 300,000 residents whose water was contaminated Jan. 9, is not convinced.

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