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Feds allow Shell to drill for oil in Arctic Ocean off Alaska

Shell Allowed to Drill off AlaskaThe federal government on Monday gave Royal Dutch Shell the final permit it needs to drill for oil in the Arctic Ocean off Alaska’s northwest coast for the first time in more than two decades.

The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement announced that it approved the permit to drill below the ocean floor after the oil giant brought in a required piece of equipment to stop a possible well blowout.


Air pollution increases allergenicity of ragweed pollen

Pollution increases allergensExposure to nitrous oxide exhaust gases in the environment makes the common ragweed pollen more allergenic, according to new research.

Pollen allergies affect about 50 million people in the United States, and are the main cause of hay fever and other allergies.

"After studies have already shown that Ambrosia growing along highways is clearly more allergenic than Ambrosia plants growing away from road traffic, we could provide a reason for this," said Dr. Ulrike Frank, a researcher at the German Research Center for Environmental Health at Helmholtz Zentrum München, in a press release. "Since in nature and along roads hundreds of parameters could play a role, until now the situation was not entirely clear."


Massive Mine Waste Spill Reaches New Mexico

Mine spillJust days after workers with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) accidentally spilled a million gallons of toxic mine waste into a Colorado waterway, the free-flowing sludge that turned portions of the state’s Animas River orange reached New Mexico, where health and wildlife officials say they were not alerted to any impending contamination.

As the cities of Aztec and Bloomfield scrambled to cut off the river’s access to water treatment plants, they criticized the EPA for what they said was a lackluster effort in providing warnings or answers about the spill. The contaminants seeping into the river—at a rate of 548 gallons per minute—include arsenic, copper, zinc, lead, aluminum and cadmium.


Climate fight shifts to courts

Climate changeStates, energy companies and business groups are preparing to sue the Obama administration over its new climate rule, viewing it as their bet shot at stopping the regulations while President Obama is still in office.

With Congress largely powerless to stop the rule, opponents of Obama’s push say the court system is their only hope at beating back the carbon limits until a new president takes over the Oval Office in 2017.


Animas River fouled by 1 million gallons of contaminated mine water

Animas RiverA spill that sent 1 million gallons of wastewater from an abandoned mine into the Animas River, turning the river orange, set off warnings Thursday that contaminants threaten water quality for those downstream.

The Environmental Protection Agency confirmed it triggered the spill while using heavy machinery to investigate pollutants at the Gold King Mine, north of Silverton.


World's Glaciers Melting At Fastest Rate Since Record-Keeping Began

melting glaciersThe world's glaciers have melted to the lowest levels since record-keeping began more than 120 years ago, according to a study conducted by the World Glacier Monitoring Service that was released on Monday.

The research, published in the Journal of Glaciology, provides new evidence that climate change has spurred the rapid decline of thousands of the world's ice shelves over the past century. The first decade of the 21st century saw the fastest loss of ice since scientists began tracking it in 1894 -- and perhaps in recorded history, WGMS reported.


‘I drank the water and ate the fish. We all did. The acid has damaged me permanently’

I drank the water, ate the fish....You can’t see the old Chingola copper mine, with its smelter and refinery, from the village of Shimulala. It’s miles away, beyond 300ft-high hills of waste tailings, the leach plant, the main pollution control dam and the 1,600ft-deep open pit that is one of Africa’s largest holes.

But you can smell and taste the pollution from the biggest copper mine in Africa. If you pump a glass of water from the borehole outside the little church in Shimulala, you will see it is bright yellow, smells of sulphur and tastes vile.


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