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ew U.K. Report Marks "Beginning of the end" of Wood Pellet Boom and Harvest of Native Southern U.S. Forests for Pellets

A report released today by the chief science advisor to the United Kingdom energy agency on the carbon effects of burning wood biomass for energy will significantly change UK energy policy with significant implications for the rapidly expanding wood pellet industry in the southern United States. Already in response to the report, the U.K. Department of Environment and Climate Change (DECC) announced that beginning next year, government subsidies will not be provided to wood biomass sources that do not meet a carbon reduction target.

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Avalanche of Local ICE Detainer Limits Underscores Need for Federal Policy Reform

Across the United States, county after county continues to alter policies to limit compliance with immigration detainers because of constitutional concerns. A spate of federal rulings found that detainers were not mandatory, so local officials increasingly seem to be coming to the conclusion that honoring detainer requests from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which ask officers to hold people for 48 hours past when the person would have been released, are not worth the risk. "Very simply, it's a violation of the 4th Amendment," said Nevada attorney Jerry Stuchiner, a former immigration officer.

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House Majority Votes to Harm Millions of Citizen and Latino Children

The conservative-led U.S. House of Representatives voted Friday to deny the refundable portion of the Child Tax Credit (CTC) to as many as 5.5 million children — children who are mostly U.S. citizens and Latino — while permanently expanding the tax credit for higher income households.

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Meat Plant Previously Passing USDA Audits Now Implicated in Chinese Food Safety Scandal

In light of the recent scandal in China involving Shanghai Husi Foods Company consumer advocacy organization Food & Water Watch has sent a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack asking him to stop all activities that would pave the way for China to export their poultry products to the U.S. The company, which sold expired meat and poultry products to Chinese fast food restaurants and exported some of those products to Japan, had been audited by the USDA in 2004 and 2010—in an effort to establish equivalency status with U.S. processing plants and pave the way for imports.

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Nearly one-third of hourly workers nationwide earn less than $10.10 an hour

Among all employees nationally, 56 percent are hourly workers, and 32 percent of these, or more than 21 million, earn less than $10.10 per hour, according to University of Virginia researchers in the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service's Demographics Research Group.

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Court Decision Allowing Antibiotics in Animal Feed Puts Public Health at Risk

Today, the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals denied an appeal that would require the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to end the use of penicillin and tetracyclines in animal feed unless drug manufacturers can prove such use is safe. The decision was made despite overwhelming scientific evidence linking the continued misuse of antibiotics in food animals to rising antibiotic resistance in humans.

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Fukushima Accident Underscores Need for US to Seek Out New Information About Nuclear Plant Hazards, Says New NAS Report

A new congressionally mandated report from the National Academy of Sciences concludes that the overarching lesson learned from the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident is that nuclear plant licensees and their regulators must actively seek out and act on new information about hazards with the potential to affect the safety of nuclear plants. The committee that wrote the report examined the causes of the Japan accident and identified findings and recommendations for improving nuclear plant safety and offsite emergency responses to nuclear plant accidents in the U.S.

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Feinstein, Portman Introduce Bill to Ensure Homeless Children, Families Are Eligible for Assistance

Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) today introduced the Homeless Children and Youth Act, a bill to expand the definition of homelessness used by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), a change that would allow approximately 900,000 homeless children and families nationwide to access federal assistance programs. Reps. Steve Stivers (R-Ohio) and George Miller (D-Calif.) introduced similar legislation in the House of Representatives.

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Pay-Cut Clock Documents Billions of Dollars Lost by Minimum-Wage Workers

Today, on the fifth anniversary of the last increase in the minimum wage, the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) debuts a pay cut clock to show how much, down to the second, minimum wage workers continue to lose as long as the wage remains frozen at its current level.

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Reporter describes gruesome scene of Arizona execution
Full story: AZ Central


Thousands Outraged After Wyoming GOP Gubernatorial Candidate Taylor Haynes Proposes Drilling and Mining at Yellowstone National Park

Thousands of nature-lovers are protesting statements by Taylor Haynes, a Republican gubernatorial candidate who suggested he would open public lands in the state for mining, drilling, and grazing. That includes iconic natural areas such as Yellowstone National Park. The Care2 petition, which has nearly 20,000 signatures, asks Haynes to reconsider his stance and his campaign promises.

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As Communities Fight Back Against Tar Sands, Expansion Far From Inevitable

Last night, the City Council in South Portland, Maine approved an ordinance that would keep tar sands out of the city by prohibiting the bulk loading of crude oil, including tar sands, onto tankers, as well as new related infrastructure in the city.

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Playing with Fire (2014)

Climate change is producing hotter, drier conditions in the American West, which contribute to more large wildfires and longer wildfire seasons.

The risk to people and their homes is rising as a result, a growing danger made worse by the increasing number of homes and businesses being built in and near wildfire-prone areas. Past fire suppression and forest management practices have also led to a build-up of flammable fuel wood, which increases wildfire risks.

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Senators Press for Additional Firefighting Funds for West

As wildfires spanning nearly 600,000 acres burn across Oregon – with lightning storms predicted for the next 48 hours – Oregon's Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden led 10 other senators today in sending a letter to Senate leaders calling for swift passage of President Obama's emergency supplemental funding request, which would allocate $615 million – accessible immediately – to fight wildfires. The Senators also called for a vote on the Wildfire Disaster Funding Act, a bill sponsored by Wyden and Merkley that would fix the broken system of stealing funds from prevention to fight fires that are already burning.

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Studies by Once Top Secret Government Entity Portrayed Terrible Costs of Nuclear War

On the morning of 20 July 1961, while the Berlin Crisis was simmering, President John F. Kennedy and the members of the National Security Council heard a briefing on the consequences of nuclear war by the NSC's highly secret Net Evaluation Subcommittee. The report, published in excerpts today for the first time by the National Security Archive, depicted a Soviet surprise attack on the United States in the fall of 1963 that began with submarine-launched missile strikes against Strategic Air Command bases. An estimated 48 to 71 million Americans were "killed outright," while at its maximum casualty-producing radioactive fallout blanketed from 45 to 71 percent of the nation's residences. In the USSR and China, at the end of one month 67 and 76 million people, respectively, had been killed.

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Administration's 'factoryless goods' proposal slammed in comments to agency

More than 26,000 people nationwide have submitted comments opposing Obama administration proposals that would severely distort U.S. job and trade data by reclassifying U.S. corporations that offshore American jobs as "factoryless goods" manufacturers. Under a broad data reclassification plan, much of the value of U.S. brand-name goods assembled by foreign workers and imported here for sale would no longer be counted as imported goods, but rather as manufacturing "services" imports. This would deceptively deflate the U.S. manufacturing trade deficit.

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Mother of Man Convicted of Terrorism Wants President Obama to Watch 'The Newburgh Sting' Documentary on HBO
Full story: NY Daily News


Obama Admin. Clears Way for Dynamite-Like Blasts to Search for Oil & Gas Off East Coast

Today, the Obama administration released a decision authorizing the use of dynamite-like blasts to search for oil and gas deposits deep below the ocean floor in an area twice the size of California, stretching from Delaware to Florida. While the decision includes limited protections for species like the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale, of which there are less than 500 left worldwide, Oceana says they do not go far enough to combat the threats posed to fisheries, economies and marine mammals.

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U.S. Places 13th Out of 16 in World Cup of Energy Efficiency, Behind Australia, India and South Korea

Germany comes in first in a new energy efficiency ranking of the world's major economies, followed by Italy, the European Union as a whole, China, and France, according to the 2014 International Energy Efficiency Scorecard published today by the nonprofit American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). New to the rankings this year are four nations: India, Mexico, South Korea, and Spain.

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Judicial Vacancies Delay Cases and Create Unmanageable Workloads, Judges Say

Despite the recent uptick in judicial nominee confirmations over the last few months, judicial vacancies are causing significant case delays and creating unmanageable workloads for judges in district courts, according to a new Brennan Center for Justice study out today.

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34 Groups to President Obama: NRC Commissioner Magwood Must Go

Nearly three dozen leading national and local groups – including Friends of the Earth, Physicians for Social Responsibility, the Sierra Club Nuclear Free Campaign, and the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy – are asking President Barack Obama to request the resignation of controversial U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Commissioner William D. Magwood for federal ethics violations and conflicts of interest tied to Magwood's campaigning for and being named to an international job promoting the interests of the nuclear power industry. The 34 groups also sent a separate letter to the NRC Office of Inspector General (OIG) urging an investigation of Magwood that could lead to a referral to the U.S. Department of Justice for prosecution.

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BLM Turning Public Lands Over to Welfare Ranchers, Advocates Say

The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC), a national coalition, today assailed a plan announced yesterday by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to round up and remove nearly 1,000 wild horses from 1.2 million acres of land in what is known as the "Wyoming Checkerboard" in the southwestern part of the state beginning. AWHPC charged the agency with turning the public lands over to the Rock Springs Grazing Association, a private organization whose members profit from cheap, taxpayer-subsidized grazing on public lands in Wyoming.

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President Obama Signs Executive Order Protecting LGBT People from Workplace Discrimination

President Obama signed an executive order today to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from workplace discrimination during a ceremony at the White House.

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Terrorism Prosecutions Often An Illusion; Investigations, Trials of American Muslims Rife with Abuse

The US Justice Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have targeted American Muslims in abusive counterterrorism "sting operations" based on religious and ethnic identity, Human Rights Watch and Columbia Law School's Human Rights Institute said in a report released today. Many of the more than 500 terrorism-related cases prosecuted in US federal courts since September 11, 2001, have alienated the very communities that can help prevent terrorist crimes.h

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As shut-offs enter third month, Canadians to bring water to Detroit, demand Obama declare state of emergency

Unable to cook, bathe, or brush their teeth, thousands of Detroiters are now entering their third month without running water. To support their neighbours across the border, the Windsor chapter of the Council of Canadians will send a convoy of 1000 litres of water to Detroit with a message for President Obama.

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E-mails Reveal Feds and Rail Companies Pressured States to Keep Oil-by-Rail Information Secret
Full story: Desmogblog

Activists Gear Up for Next Phase of Net Neutrality Fight with 'Battle for the Net'

Several leading grassroots organizations and Web platforms today announced the launch of BattlefortheNet.com, a site serving as a hub of organizing in the Net Neutrality fight.

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EPA releases proposal to protect Bristol Bay, Alaska fisheries from potential impacts posed by Pebble Mine

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 10 is issuing a proposal to protect one of the world’s most valuable salmon fisheries, in Bristol Bay, Alaska, from the risks posed by large-scale mining at the Pebble deposit. Science has shown that development of this mine, which is backed by Northern Dynasty Minerals and the Pebble Limited Partnership, would be one of the largest open pit copper mines in the world and would threaten one of the world’s most productive salmon fisheries. EPA Region 10 is seeking public comments on the proposal.

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Tribes, Jewelers, Investors, Conservationists Applaud EPA for Next Major Step in Protecting Wild Salmon Fishery from Pebble Mine

An unusual group of Alaska Native leaders, commercial fishermen, investors, jewelers and conservation organizations applauded the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) release today of its Proposed Determination - a detailed plan for restricting mine waste disposal from the proposed Pebble Mine in Alaska’s Bristol Bay watershed. The EPA has authority under Section 404(c) of the Clean Water Act to restrict mine waste disposal that will harm important fisheries. Alaska’s Bristol Bay supports the largest and most productive wild salmon fishery in the world, supplying half of the world’s supply of wild sockeye salmon and generating 14,000 annual jobs and over $450 million in annual revenue.

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Conservationists File for State Director Review of Extensive Oil Drilling Program on Western Colorado's Public Lands

Conservation groups filed a request for State Director Review (SDR) this week regarding the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) approval of 108 new oil wells in western Colorado, southeast of Grand Junction, at the foot of the Grand Mesa. The wells were approved through a faulty process that lacked the required public input and the mandated rigorous analysis of environmental impacts.

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