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Mexico shaken by powerful earthquake

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A 7.2-magnitude earthquake hits states in south and west Mexico, shaking buildings in the capital, but there are no reports of casualties or damage.

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Here’s what fracking can do to your health

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If you know one thing about fracking, it might be that the wells have been linked to explosive tap water. Of course, a tendency toward combustion isn’t the biggest problem with gas-infused water; it’s what could happen to you when you drink it. Although the natural gas industry is notoriously tight-lipped about the ingredients of the chemical cocktails that get pumped down into wells, by now it’s widely known that the list often includes some pretty scary, dangerous stuff, including hydrochloric acid and ethylene glycol (a.k.a. antifreeze). It’s also no secret that well sites release hazardous gases like methane and benzene (a carcinogen) into the atmosphere. So just how dangerous are fracking and other natural gas extraction processes for your health (not counting, for the sake of argument, explosions and earthquakes)? Is it true, as an activist-art campaign by Yoko Ono recently posited, that “fracking kills”? The answer to that second question is probably not, especially in the short term and if you don’t work on or live across the street from a frack site (which, of course, some people in fact do). But that doesn’t mean it’s okay to start fracking away next to kindergartens and nursing homes: Gas extraction produces a range of potentially health-endangering pollutants at nearly every stage of the process, according to a new paper by the California nonprofit Physicians Scientists & Engineers for Healthy Energy, released today in Environmental Health Perspectives, a peer-reviewed journal published by the National Institutes of Health. The study compiled existing, peer-reviewed literature on the health risks of shale gas drilling and found that leaks, poor wastewater management, and air emissions have released harmful chemicals into the air and water around fracking sites nationwide. “It’s clear that the closer you are, the more elevated your risk,” said lead author Seth Shonkoff, a visiting public health scholar at the University of California-Berkeley. “We can conclude that this process has not been shown to be safe.” Shonkoff cautioned that existing research has focused on cataloging risks, rather than linking specific instances of disease to particular drilling operations — primarily because the fracking boom is so new that long-term studies of, say, cancer rates, simply haven’t been done. But as the United States and the world double down on natural gas as a cleaner alternative to coal (as this week’s U.N. climate change solutions report suggests), Shonkoff argues policymakers need to be aware of what a slew of fracked wells could mean for the health of those who live near them. Even given the risks involved in producing natural gas, it’s still a much healthier fuel source than coal; particulate pollution from coal plants killed an estimated 13,000 Americans in 2010, while a recent World Health Organization study named air pollution (to which coal burning is a chief contributor) the single deadliest environmental hazard on earth. Still, how exactly could gas drilling make you ill? Let us count the ways: Air pollution near wells: Near gas wells, studies have found both carcinogenic and other hazardous air pollutants in concentrations above EPA guidelines, with the pollution at its worst within a half-mile radius of the well. In one Colorado study, some of the airborne pollutants were endocrine disrupters, which screw with fetal and early childhood development. Several studies also found precursors to ground-level ozone, which can cause respiratory and cardiovascular disease. Silica sand, which is used to prop open underground cracks and which can cause pulmonary disease and lung cancer, was also found in the air around well sites; one study of 111 well samples found silica concentrations in excess of OSHA guidelines at 51.4 percent of them. Recycled frack water: About a third of the water/chemical/sand mixture that gets pumped into wells flows back up, bringing back not just the toxic fracking chemicals but other goodies from deep underground, including heavy metals like lead and arsenic. Some of this wastewater is treated and recycled for irrigation and agriculture or dumped back into lakes and rivers. Multiple studies found that because the menu of chemicals is so diverse, treatment is often incomplete and has the potential to pollute drinking water supplies with chemicals linked to everything from eye irritation to nervous system damage to cancer, as well as the potential to poison fish. Even if wastewater is contained, spills can be a problem: One Colorado study counted 77 fracking wastewater spills that impacted groundwater supplies, of which 90 percent were contaminated with unsafe levels of benzene. Broken wells: Drinking water supplies can also be contaminated when the cement casings around wells crack and leak, which studies estimate to happen in anywhere from 2 to 50 percent of all wells (including oil wells, offshore rigs, etc.). Methane getting into drinking water wells from leaky gas wells is the prime suspect in Pennsylvania’s flammable faucets; a study there last year found some methane in 82 percent of water wells sampled but concluded that concentrations were six times higher for water wells within one kilometer of a fracking well. A Texas study found elevated levels of arsenic at water wells within three kilometers of gas wells. (While the Texas study linked the contamination to gas extraction in general, it was unclear what specific part of the process was responsible). Many of these issues could be improved with engineering advancements, like gadgets that monitor for leaks and capture gas emissions, or hardier cement. Regulation can also play a role: Just yesterday, the EPA released a series of reports on methane emissions that could eventually inform restrictions on them as part of President Obama’s climate plan. This story was produced as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.Filed under: Business & Technology, Climate & Energy

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Fears rise of bigger quake hitting Puente Hills fault in Los Angeles

<!– google_ad_section_start –> Experts say a bigger earthquake along the lesser-known fault that gave southern California a moderate shake a few days ago could do more damage to the region than the long-dreaded “big one” from the more famous San Andreas fault. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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Kate O&#39;Mara, Dynasty Actress, Dead at 74

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Actress Kate O’Mara, of Dynasty and Doctor Who fame, died today at a nursing home in Sussex, England. She was 74 years old. Read more…

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FOX&#39;s Maria Bartiromo Debuts New Sunday Talk Show, Unfortunately

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Maria Bartiromo, CNBC’s disgruntled “Money Honey” pioneer, jumped ship from CNBC in November, ending her twenty-year reign at the business news network. Lucky for her, she landed an anchor job just across the street at FOX Business, where she’s the weekday host of “Opening Bell.” Read more…

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New Los Angeles earthquake on same fault could be deadlier than ‘Big One’

Seismologists warn of danger of Puente Hills thrust fault 4.8 earthquake hits Yellowstone National Park

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​Archaeologists Excited To Find Dead Brits In London Underground

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The London Underground network’s new Crossrail line, under construction since 2009, is the most expensive infrastructure project in Europe. Twenty-four billion dollars worth of high-speed rail spanning 73 miles and 37 stations across the city. Lots of spending and digging, obviously. An excavation crew even managed to dig up a mass grave filled with pottery and human rib cages.Read more…

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Dave Chappelle Is Back

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Nationally treasured comedian Dave Chappelle is 40-years-old and ready to give it another go. He’s headlining a stand-up show at Radio City Music Hall in New York on June 19.Read more…

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Piers Morgan Signs Off, Has Last Word About Guns

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Former CNN muckraker (haha) Piers Morgan bid farewell to his 9pm cable news time slot last night, having been ousted by the network due to flagging viewership of his Piers Morgan Live. The imported Brit dedicated his final segment to his career’s latest, greatest cause: U.S. gun control.Read more…

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More than 100 aftershocks reported in Los Angeles earthquake

Magnitude 5.1 quake 20 miles from Los Angeles Fifty people displaced but ‘no significant damage’ reportedA magnitude-5.1 earthquake centered south of Los Angeles on Friday shook residents throughout Southern California and sent bottles and cans tumbling off shelves in stores, produced a rock slide that closed a road and forced a brief shutdown of rides at Disneyland. There were no reports of major damage or injuries.In the Orange County city of Fullerton, 20 apartment units and half a dozen homes were red-tagged for possible damage, displacing 83 people, police Lieutenant Mike Chlebowski said. Southern California Edison reported power outages to about 2,000 customers following the quake.

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Aftershocks Follow an Earthquake Near Los Angeles

Seismic activity could continue for weeks, but an official said it should not be a cause for serious concern.

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Chief Keef’s neighbors spoke to reporters yesterday following the shooting at his manager’s Northfie

Chief Keef’s neighbors spoke to reporters yesterday following the shooting at his manager’s Northfield home. “We all knew that something bad was going to happen at that house,” trembled one resident, withholding her name for fear of retaliation.Read more…

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Judge Pans Killer&#39;s Performance As Lawyer

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Salvatore Perrone, a 65-year-old garment salesman from Staten Island, stands accused of executing three Brooklyn shopkeepers in 2012. In a trial tentatively scheduled for the fall, the defendant will represent himself. Perrone launches his defense just a month after medical experts declared him mentally fit for prosecution, barely, despite his repeated outbursts to declare that he murdered on behalf of a “Palestinian section of the CIA.” Read more…

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Los Angeles, Again With The Earthquakes

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A magnitude-5.1 earthquake blew Los Angeles’ high last night, striking at 9:09pm local time for about 30 seconds, with at least five aftershocks ranging 2.7-3.6. Authorities across all affected counties have confirmed gas leaks, water main breaks, and a rock slide near the earthquake epicenter around Brea in Orange County, California, just 20 miles south of L.A.Read more…

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Shallow Earthquake Rattles Los Angeles

The magnitude-5.1 quake on Friday night was followed by at least 20 aftershocks, but the Los Angeles Fire Department said there were no immediate reports of significant damage.

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States struggling to understand frackquakes

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Frackers have been triggering earthquakes across the country by injecting their wastewater at high pressure into disposal wells. That much is certain. The U.S. Geological Survey has linked the practice to a sixfold increase in earthquakes in the central U.S. from 2001 to 2011. It’s also possible that the very act of fracking has been causing some temblors. What isn’t certain, though, is what governments can do about it. Bloomberg reports on a new initiative that aims to manage some of those earth-shaking dangers: Regulators from Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma and Ohio met for the first time this month in Oklahoma City to exchange information on the man-made earthquakes and help states toughen their standards. “It was a very productive meeting, number one, because it gave the states the opportunity to get together and talk collectively about the public interest and the science,” Gerry Baker, who attended as associate executive director of the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, a group that represents energy-producing states, said in an interview. “It was a good start in coordinating efforts.” … The goal of the regulators is to develop a set of common procedures to monitor for earthquakes, investigate their cause and draft rules and regulations to prevent them, said Scott Anderson, senior policy adviser for the Environmental Defense Fund in Austin, Texas, who has been in communication with state regulators on the issue. Would we be stating the obvious if we suggested that these states protect themselves from earthquakes by simply stopping fracking — just as New York and countless local municipalities have done — while the drilling risks are better investigated by scientists?Filed under: Article, Climate & Energy

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A politics expert explains that because three Secret Service agents got drunk in Amsterdam, Presiden

A politics expert explains that because three Secret Service agents got drunk in Amsterdam, President Obama now faces “the worst thing that can happen to a president”: a negative narrative about his perceived competence. This may harm his ability to “improve his overall job approval numbers.”Read more…

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Orphan oil well warning for fracking

Plans to expand shale gas fracking in the UK must learn from leaks and poor monitoring at existing onshore wells, scientists say.

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