Here Are All the Senators Who Do and Don’t Believe in Human-Caused Climate Change

United States Senators stood up for what they believed in finally—and it wasn’t pretty. During a debate over construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, intended to carry oil from Canada to the United States, the Senate voted on an amendment—just for show, really—on whether climate change “is real and not a hoax.” Easy question—everyone said yes, it’s real. (Well, not...

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Prescribed Burn Planned for Pisgah’s Grandfather Ranger District

The U.S. Forest Service plans to conduct a 255-acre prescribed burn in the Grandfather Ranger District, Pisgah National Forest, by Friday, Jan. 23, 2015. The agency will conduct the one-day burn near the Avery County-Caldwell County line, northwest of the Globe area near Anthony Creek. The Forest Service is conducting the burn as part of the Grandfather Restoration...

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Could Duke Energy’s coal ash be headed to a mine near you?

A Duke Energy contractor is seeking permission from North Carolina regulators to move millions of tons of coal ash from existing dumpsites at the utility giant’s power plants and place it in abandoned clay mines in Lee and Chatham counties. But should the plan win state approval over the objections of local governments, environmental advocates worry that it could...

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Ancient Trees: Portraits Of Time

Beth Moon, a photographer based in San Francisco, has been searching for the world’s oldest trees for the past 14 years. She has traveled all around the globe to capture the most magnificent trees that grow in remote locations and look as old as the world itself. “Standing as the earth’s largest and oldest living monuments, I believe these symbolic trees will take on a...

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Turns out the U.S. oil boom was just a fairy tale

With one quick drop in the price of oil, the shale oil boom is officially bust. In less than a week, 61 oil rigs across the United States closed up shop, according to the most recent rig count from Baker Hughes. The U.S. has 1,750 oil rigs still pumping, but that number is expected to fall by another 400 rigs by the time spring rolls around. The whole episode is a...

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Obama is cracking down on another climate villain: Methane

This morning the White House announced a new plan to crack down on the oil and gas industry’s emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas. The move is the last major piece of President Obama’s domestic climate agenda, following in the footsteps of tougher standards for vehicle emissions and a sweeping plan to curb carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. Like the...

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Senate to vote on whether climate change is happening

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said this week he will allow the Senate to vote on an amendment asking if they agree that climate change is impacting the planet. At his weekly press briefing, McConnell said “nobody is blocking any amendments” to legislation that would approve construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. The GOP leader had promised...

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World Heritage Sites in the United States

The United States is proud to preserve and protect its World Heritage Sites. There are a relatively small number of places on Earth that have been formally determined by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Committee to possess “outstanding universal value” to humanity for their exceptional cultural and...

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New Analysis Shows West Virginia’s Chemical Spill Traveled Into Kentucky

The chemical that contaminated West Virginia’s drinking water supply last year traveled father and lingered longer than had been previously recorded, according to a new study by U.S. Geological Survey researchers. Published online in the journal Chemosphere, the peer-reviewed research shows that the chemical — 4-Methylcyclohexanemethanol, also known as crude MCHM — was...

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Archaeological Heritage of Colorado’s Ute Tribe Part of National Forests’ History in Rocky Mountain Region

There are small piles of fallen wooden timbers on national forests in the Rocky Mountain Region that tell a story of the area’s past. They are part of aboriginal wooden structures known as wickiups, a conical-shaped dwelling used by native people. These relics are known to be part of the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe of southwestern Colorado and are still in use for ceremonial...

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On The Anniversary Of The Elk River Chemical Spill, West Virginians Tell Their Stories

January 9, 2015 marks the anniversary of the West Virginia chemical spill in the Elk River, in which thousands of gallons of a toxic chemical used to process coal spilled upstream from a water treatment plant serving the state capital, Charleston, and surrounding areas. Around 300,000 West Virginia residents were left without potable water as officials scrambled to purge...

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NC Youth Conservation Corps is Now Recruiting for Summer Positions

The North Carolina Youth Conservation Corps (NCYCC) is accepting applications (www.ctnc.org/ycc) from youth ages 16 to 24 for 2015 summer crews. The crews begin on June 20 and end seven weeks later on August 8. The application deadline is May 15th but APPLY NOW because applications are accepted on a rolling basis and positions are already being filled. The NCYCC is a...

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Great Smoky Mountains National Park Changes Firewood Rules To Protect Forests

In a further step to help protect the forests of Great Smoky Mountains National Park from non-native insect pests, park officials beginning in March will only allow heat-treated firewood that has been certified by the USDA or a state agriculture department, and dead and down wood collected from the park’s forests, to be used in campgrounds. Heat-treated firewood...

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Fracking’s future is in doubt as oil price plummets, bonds crash

There’s no doubt that US-based fracking – the process through which oil and gas deposits are blasted from shale deposits deep underground – has caused a revolution in worldwide energy supplies. Yet now the alarm bells are ringing about the financial health of the fracking industry, with talk of a mighty monetary bubble bursting – leading to...

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Leave most fossil fuels in the ground, or fry

For the world to meet its climate goals, a third of the world’s oil, half its gas and 80% of its coal must stay underground. The sheer scale of the fossil fuel reserves that will need to be left unexploited for decades if world leaders sign up to a radical climate agreement is revealed in a study by a team of British scientists. It shows that almost all the huge...

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Upper Dry Creek easement allows for conservation, restoration, research

Tim Breuer doesn’t ask the question unless he knows the answer will be “yes.” Sometimes, it takes awhile to get there. In the case of the most recent easement agreements between the city of Boise, Idaho, the Land Trust of the Treasure Valley and Grossman Company Properties, it took 20 years. “The first time I walked on [Upper Dry Creek] with the...

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How oil drilling is threatening Utah’s red rock recreation sites

A different kind of spire is jutting into the iconic red rock vistas of Moab, Utah. It is the scaffolding of drilling rigs, and it heralds a new chapter in Moab’s long history of energy extraction. Moab may have been comfortable with the uranium industry that put it on the map in another century. But having an oil patch in the midst of this area’s popular...

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Land acquisition for Headwaters forest passes halfway mark

Using government grants and private donations, the N.C. Forest Service and its partners have now acquired more than half of the land necessary for a new 8,000-acre state forest in Transylvania County. The Forest Service was able to purchase another 1,018 acres in the East Fork of the French Broad River from former U.S. Rep. Charles Taylor in 2014, bringing the total...

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Land trust adds to wildlife corridor in Jackson County, NC

Located less than 2 miles from Panthertown Valley in Jackson County, a new conservation easement will provide a critical wildlife corridor, connecting three other easements. The 48-acre Black Bear Trail property, now held by the Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust, becomes part of a continuous natural area of more than 1,000 acres, including habitat ranging from forest to...

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Wild buffalo now roam east of the Mississippi for the first time since the 1830s

When David Crites walked out of his apartment last month, he was greeted by a line of six or so bison standing shoulder to shoulder in the front yard. He sidled over to his truck, staring at the huge animals, slipped into the front seat, then closed the door and turned on the ignition. As the pickup slowly made its way down the driveway, the bison lumbered alongside. “It...

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Pope Francis Expected To Instruct One Billion Catholics To Act On Climate Change

At the end of 2015, the nations of the world will meet in Paris and attempt to hammer out a global deal to cut greenhouse gas emissions. And Pope Francis hopes that the world’s Catholics, as well as other major religions, will be a big part of serious climate action. This includes a series of steps next year. Francis is expected to tell the planet’s 1.2 billion Catholics...

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View of Smokies shows air quality improving in East Tennessee

Don Barger can tell from his commute to work that air quality in East Tennessee has improved in recent years. Barger, the southern regional director for the National Parks Conservation Association, said the views of the Great Smoky Mountains on his way to work from Norris to Knoxville are evidence enough without the need to consult any data. “We’ve got our...

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Montana’s Rocky Mountain Front is place of surprises

In his book “This House of Sky,” Ivan Doig described them as a “steel-blue army of mountains, drawn in battalions of peaks and reefs and gorges and crags as far along the entire rim of the earth as could be seen.” “Summit after summit bladed up thousands of feet as if charging into the air to strike first at storm and lightning, valleys and...

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Think Like a Deer: Award-Winning Video Aims to Reduce Wildlife-Vehicle Collisions

Collisions between vehicles and wildlife are a big problem on U.S. roads. Each year, on average, 1-2 million collisions with large animals, especially mule deer and white-tailed deer, end in 200 fatalities, 26,000 injuries, and costs exceeding $1 billion. About a third of the collisions reported on rural roads are wildlife-related, and two-lane highways with speed limits...

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EPA Just Saved Utilities a Lot of Money With Weak Coal Ash Regulation

When power plants burn coal, they’re left with a coal ash residue containing arsenic, mercury, lead, and selenium. Until today, there were no federal standards for utilities to dispose of it. Utilities produce more than 100 million tons of the stuff annually, and what’s not recycled into concrete is spread across the country in 1,400 dry and wet ponds. The problem,...

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America’s Second-Biggest Form Of Waste Is About To Be Federally Regulated For The First Time

The EPA has confirmed that on Friday, Dec. 19, 2014 it will release its first-ever regulations on the second-largest form of waste generation in the United States: coal ash. When it is is finalized, the rule is expected to include requirements on how coal ash should be disposed, how existing coal ash pits should be cleaned up, whether coal ash should be designated as a...

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What One Wolf’s Extraordinary Journey Means for the Future of Wildlife in America

On Feb. 5, 2014, the world’s most famous wolf woke up somewhere along the Oregon-California border, very likely in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, a landscape of Alpine forests and grassland valleys. For the better part of a year he had been making his home in this place where the Cascade, Klamath, and Siskiyou mountains converge. It was cold that day, in the...

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WNC’s National Forests at crossroads

On Oct. 21, 2014 the U.S. Forest Service unveiled draft management area boundaries that put 692,700 acres — about 69 percent — of Nantahala-Pisgah National Forest in management areas that make “timber production, for the purposeful growing and harvesting of crops of trees to be cut into logs” the “primary or secondary use of the land.” Today, the Nantahala-Pisgah is one...

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Take a Walk on a Leaky Uintah Basin Oil Well With a Whistleblowing Oil and Gas CEO

Three separate and very interesting things have happened over the past few months, and what makes them even more interesting is the timing, and the fact that they all happened within such a short period. Sequentially speaking, the second and most recent thing that happened, is that a midwife in the highly conservative oil patch community of Vernal, Utah in the Uintah...

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House Republicans Voted Against the Environment More Than 500 Times in the Past Four Years

The House of Representatives will end its legislative session this week having recorded at least 234 votes against the environment in two years. According to a December 1, 2014 count by the minority staff on the Energy and Commerce committee, the House floor held 551 anti-environment votes over the four years since Republicans took control—including votes on bills and...

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We have the technology to make invisible pollution visible

Out of sight, out of mind. This certainly applies to methane emissions from the oil and gas sector. That’s because methane, a highly potent greenhouse gas and the primary constituent of natural gas, is invisible to the naked eye. And it’s one reason methane emissions, while a significant threat to our environment, don’t get the attention they should from policymakers or...

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NC’s ongoing coal ash regulatory disaster shows urgency of EPA action

It’s been 10 months since a pipe broke beneath a coal ash waste pit at a shuttered Duke Energy power plant in North Carolina, sending 39,000 tons of toxic waste into the Dan River, a drinking water source for downstream communities in Virginia and North Carolina. One might think that 10 months would have been enough time for the company and North Carolina state...

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