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Future of Pennsylvania is dystopian wasteland studded with natural gas wells

Time's cover story "Could Shale Gas Power the World?" is all about how we're going to get ourselves out of our current energy crisis by turning the Marcellus shale formation into a hydrocarbon war zone pockmarked with loud, noxious natural gas wells. The reserves in question happen to be underneath some of the most densely populated portions of America, including Pennsylvania and New York. Extracting the gas beneath this land requires fracking, which has been implicated as a threat to drinking water supplies and local air quality. Things are pretty bad around fracking wells already, but full exploitation of this …

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Is Obama’s weak-sauce energy policy just savvy political Kung-Fu?

For the next couple of years, Obama is playing defense on climate change, and that could explain the fairly tame energy policy he announced yesterday, says Ezra Klein of The Washington Post. Like the Kung-Fu masters of yore, he knows that he cannot hope to defeat his opponents in a frontal assault. These are, after all, politicians who would strip the EPA of even its existing power to regulate greenhouse gases, so there's no way in hell they'd vote for strong action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Rather, he's got to bend like the reed. If he puts forth a …