AP: Rough Seas From Hurricane Alex 2010 Pushing Oil Closer To Gulf Coast Beaches

800px-Booms_at_Long_Beach_Mississippi
800px-Booms_at_Long_Beach_Mississippi
Rough seas generated by Hurricane Alex pushed more oil from the massive spill onto Gulf coast beaches as cleanup vessels were sidelined by the far-away storm’s ripple effects.

In Louisiana, the storm pushed an oil patch toward Grand Isle and uninhabited Elmer’s Island, dumping tar balls as big as apples on the beach. In Alabama, the normally white sand was streaked with long lines of oil.

Dozens of vessels that would normally be out skimming for oil were tied to docks Tuesday as Alex, more than 500 miles away, approached the Texas-Mexico coast. The vessels will likely be off duty for days.

“The sad thing is that it’s been about three weeks since we had any big oil come in here,” marine science technician Michael Malone said. “With this weather, we lost all the progress we made.”

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AFP: US attorney general in Kabul for corruption talks

US Attorney General Eric Holder was in Kabul Wednesday to discuss efforts to battle corruption and enforce the rule of law in Afghanistan, just days after billions of dollars in US aid was blocked because of graft concerns.

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North County Times: Freight truck traffic in the San Diego region expected to quadruple

A new study estimates that the amount of freight truck traffic crossing through the San Diego region into and out of Mexico will almost quadruple – from about 1.2 million in 2007 to 4.4 million by 2050.

The study was prepared by consulting firm HDR Decision Economics and was presented to the San Diego Association of Governments board of directors last week.

The number of freight truck border crossings in the region has been increasing by 2.4 percent every year.

There are concerns about the impact the increase in truck traffic will have on the heavily congested Interstate 5 and on air quality.

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AP: Natural Gas Drilling: 80 Chemicals Possibly Contaminating Water Systems

Photo: Hey Paul
Photo: Hey Paul
More than two years after the start of a natural gas drilling boom, Pennsylvania is making public a complete list of the chemicals used to extract the gas from deep underground amid rising public fears of potential water contamination and increased scrutiny of the fast-growing industry.

It counts more than 80 chemicals being used by the industry in a process called hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” as it pursues the gas in the mile-deep shale. The mixture of chemicals breaks up the shale some 5,000 to 8,000 feet down and props open the cracks to allow the gas trapped inside to flow up the well to the surface.

Some of the chemicals being used are associated with neurological problems, cancer and other serious health effects, although state and industry officials say there is no evidence that the activity is polluting drinking water.

Environmental advocates, however, worry the chemicals are poisoning underground drinking water sources.

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Continue reading AP: Natural Gas Drilling: 80 Chemicals Possibly Contaminating Water Systems