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Sarah Laskow's Posts

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Red color in Texas river turns out to be pig blood

Apologies for starting off y'all's Monday mornings on the grossest note possible, but this story was too appalling not to share. In Texas, near Dallas, an amateur drone pilot snapped a pic of a suspiciously red creek. (Weird, we know! But just get past that bit.) The drone pilot decided it was suspicious enough to let the powers-that-be know about it.

The authorities checked the creek out and traced the red color to a meatpacking plant. The red color was raw pig blood. And pig guts, apparently. A pipe was leaking the stuff into the creek.

Read more: Pollution, Scary Food

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Critical List: Republicans still pushing Keystone; Yosemite to limit Half Dome hikes

House Republicans just can't let go of the Keystone XL pipeline. Speaker Boehner now says it could be part of a bill expanding domestic energy production.

The value of renewable energy deals grew by two-fifths last year, which means, according to analysts, that businesses like wind and solar are "maturing."

Yosemite could limit the number of hikers who ascend to the top of Half Dome each day.

California is requiring cars to give off fewer greenhouse gas emissions.

A toxic spill in China could impact more than 1 million people.

Read more: Uncategorized

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New York City could open up 1,200 acres of rooftops for farming

Given how valuable space is in New York City, the city's rooftops are strangely empty. But a proposal from the city's planning department could change that by making 1,200 acres of commercial rooftops available for urban farmers to open greenhouses across the city.

City law imposes restrictions on how tall buildings are allowed to be in different areas, which is one reasons why rooftops stay empty -- developers often build to the maximum height possible. The planning department's proposal would allow buildings to add rooftop greenhouses above regular height restrictions. And according to a study from the Urban Design Lab, that would mean 1,200 acres of empty, flat rooftops would be eligible for green penthouses.

Read more: Cities, Infrastructure

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Critical List: Finding a town to host nuclear waste; 3-D Amazon map

Now that the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste storage plan has been scrapped, a nuclear commission needs to find a town that wants to host the repository.

Transocean isn't legally responsible for some of the pollution from the Deepwater Horizon spill.

Scientists mapped the Amazon in 3-D.

The plan for protecting New Orleans from hurricanes requires restoring wetlands.

Read more: Uncategorized

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Study: News coverage of Keystone XL slanted toward pipeline proponents

During the debate so far over Keystone XL, the media have favored pipeline proponents, according to a new study from Media Matters. Broadcast, cable, and print news stories all featured more people who supported the pipeline than who opposed it. Of guests on broadcast outlets, 79 percent supported Keystone XL; only 7 percent opposed it.

Read more: Oil

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Critical List: Big trees suffer more from deforestation; Japan’s version of Al Gore

Deforestation is disproportionately killing off the world's largest trees.

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif., a.k.a. the Mustache of Justice) wants to subpoena Koch Industries executives to force them to testify about the company's connection to Keystone XL.

The National Academy of Sciences wants to find out more about nanomaterials and their effects on humans, since the tiny particles are everywhere now.

In West Virginia, kids living near a DuPont plant had 44 percent more perfluorooctanoate (the stuff that's in Teflon and waterproof clothing) in their blood than their mothers did.

The Wall Street Journal thinks it's found Japan's version of Al Gore.

Read more: Uncategorized

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Ex-employee says BP fired him for trying to clean up oil

In November 2011, BP fired an employee named August Walter, who had been working on clean-up of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Now, Wilson says the company fired him because he wouldn't help gloss over its clean-up shortcuts. He’s suing BP in federal court.

BP and the Coast Guard are working on the clean-up together, and there's a plan they're supposed to follow. Walter says BP was not following the plan correctly and also hadn't made enough progress to meet scheduled deadlines.

Read more: Oil

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What did Obama say about energy last night?

We at Grist List know more or less how your State of the Union experience went last night: You intended to watch it, but oooooh, you forgot there was a new Downton Abbey episode you hadn't watched yet. You started watching the speech, but booooooring! You changed the channel/zoned out/got distracted by YouTube. Or you watched the speech but your drinking game involved a word that no one thought would come up. But then it did! Like a million times! Ugh, now you are hungover.

To help y'all out, we have condensed here the most important energy-related bits of the speech:

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Critical List: Obama boosts clean energy; Bingaman energy standard coming soon

"I will not walk away from the promise of clean energy," President Obama said in his State of the Union.

He didn't talk about fighting climate change, though. The state of the union is: unsurprised.

Sen. Jeff Bingaman says he'll release his proposal for a clean energy standard in the next few weeks.

Durban could actually turn out to be the most successful climate conference yet.

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Earth Liberation Front documentary gets Oscar nomination

The list of Oscar nominees was released this morning, and among the five films up for best documentary feature is If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front. The doc follows the story of so-called “eco-terrorists” who torched timber operations, meat packing plants, and other environmental horror shows in the 1990s.

The film focuses on one mild-mannered ELF member, Daniel McGowan, as he hangs out under house arrest, after the federal government went after his ELF cell in 2005. Here's the trailer, which features lines like "You don't have to be al-Qaeda to be a terrorist" and "one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter":

Read more: Living, Politics