Pennsylvania to start fracking sensitive state forestland


Pennsylvania has already leased out to frackers nearly half of the state forestland that sits above Marcellus shale natural-gas reserves. The rest is considered environmentally sensitive or difficult to access, and it has been protected from fracking since a Democratic governor imposed a limited forest-fracking moratorium in 2010.

But Gov. Tom Corbett (R), who took office in early 2011, thinks it’s time to frack the whole damn lot. He proposes opening up those lands to leasing, which his administration says could raise $75 million a year. The first year the money would go toward the general fund, but they say in subsequent years it would go to state parks and forests. 

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British weather makes penguins so sad they need antidepressants


The weather in England is famously dreary, and this winter it’s been worse, not only dismal but windy and stormy. Humans have developed ways to cope with this — pajamas, whiskey, Law & Order marathons — but penguins, even ones living in relative comfort in captivity, aren’t so lucky. And the ones at the Sea Life Center in Scarborough are getting downright depressed.

Scarborough’s Humboldt penguins really ought to be able to tough out winter weather; their native habitat in coastal Peru and Chile does get extreme weather events. But the British winter has been relentless and the penguins are having none of it:

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Russia locks up enviros who criticized Olympic construction


Yevgeny Vitishko is missing today’s Winter Olympics opening ceremony. Olympics ceremonies are stunningly dull, so that part of the story doesn’t matter too much. What does matter is that Vitishko is an ecologist and activist who planned to publish a report detailing environmental damage caused by Olympic construction — but that won’t be possible any more, because he’s sitting in a Russian jail cell.

His alleged crime? Swearing in public. Here’s The New York Times:

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