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Environmental groups hail stronger fracking regulations in Pennsylvania to fix problems

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New regulations governing the extraction of natural gas through fracking will go into effect on Saturday in Pennsylvania, the first overhaul since the industry took off in the state more than 10 years ago.

The new rules allow the state’s department of environmental protection to require additional measures if fracking is taking place near public resources, and requires drillers to restore water supply that is degraded or damaged through fracking, according to the statement.

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Environmental groups hailed the new rules. An oil and gas industry group blasted the regulations, with a spokesman saying he expected legal challenges.

The rules have been in development since 2011, and faced opposition from the oil and gas industry and their allies in the state legislature, where the regulations were rejected earlier this year.

Since then, Democratic Governor Tom Wolf has reached a compromise that gave traditional oil and gas wells different rules than “unconventional” wells developed through fracking.

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, involves injecting water, sand and chemicals at high pressure into rock to extract natural gas or other products. Opposition has mounted as the run-off from fracking has been blamed for polluting water supplies in parts of the United States.

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In March, residents near Dimock in the northeast corner of the state won $4.2 million in damages from Cabot Oil & Gas for the contamination of well water. The verdict is being appealed.

Thomas Au of the Sierra Club in Harrisburg said one of the biggest changes in the new regulations involves industry reporting of spills and contamination. “It’s much more thorough,” he said.

Pennsylvania Independent Oil & Gas Association president Daniel Weaver blasted the new regulations in a statement, saying they grew out of a “flawed, pre-determined and antagonistic development process.” 

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Industries cannot challenge state regulations in court until they go into effect. Au said he expects there will be litigation over some of the new rules.

(Reporting By David DeKok in Harrisburg; Editing by David Gregorio)


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‘Possible war in the Middle East’: Editor explains why Trump’s visa attack on Iran is ‘lame’ response to oil field bombing

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As the United States is searching for ways to draw down on decades-long wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, serious conflicts might be afoot, one Daily Beast reporter told MSNBC Sunday.

World News editor Christopher Dickey told host Kendis Gibson he doesn't understand the point of barring Iranian diplomats from being able to come to the United Nations General Assembly meeting this fall. During a "Meet the Press" interview Sunday morning, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) said that the U.S. should deny the visas. The statement prompted Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) to call her out for "warmongering," and said she was out of touch with Americans who don't want to get into another costly Middle East war.

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Why you should sell your house now — and not wait for the climate to change

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Cities across the United States are already seeing the impacts of climate change. Sea levels are on the rise in Miami, Florida, where ocean waters creep into the streets, even when it isn't raining. Massive wildfires have taken out whole neighborhoods in California and in Alaska, about 2.5 million acres have burned since July 3. Wildfires there are getting worse, according to experts.

The problem of climate change has reached a dangerous level for some homeowners in areas that are no longer insurable. In Miami, for example, the "street-level" is now considered the basement and insurers are dropping coverage for basements. According to the Daily Beast, at least 340,000 California homeowners lost their property insurance coverage between 2015 and 2018 because the wildfires are getting worse and companies don't want to pay out when homes are destroyed.

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‘Please give me the audacity of a mediocre white man’: Editor unleashes on Justice Brett Kavanaugh

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Managing Editor Tiffany Cross, who co-founded The Beat DC, unleashed on the most recent Supreme Court Justice to be outed for sexual misconduct.

Max Stier, a classmate of Justice Brett Kavanaugh came out with another story of the justice forcing his naked penis into the hand of a woman. The FBI was supposed to do a full investigation into Kavanaugh, and Stier gave them the information. Somehow, however, the investigation either wasn't completed, wasn't revealed or was ignored, because none of the information revealed was released.

Cross said that there are some who normally would have said, "man if only we knew about these allegations during the confirmation hearing." The problem, of course, is that it was known, Cross explained. It was simply ignored by Republicans in the majority. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) is an excellent example of a pro-choice, pro-woman senator who claimed she trusted Kavanaugh. She's suffered the consequences from her home-state in wake of the vote. In the past four years, she has dropped from being the most favored senator in the country to among the least.

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