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SHFT Sampler 11-12-10

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Weekly links: Pimped-out bikes, phone book sculptures, and a renewed push for offshore drilling in the Arctic.

Freewheelers is a series of video portraits of tricked-out bikes and the people who ride them – from self-build fixies and coveted vintage steeds to bikes as art or manifestations of style. Two bipartisan senators have proposed a sensible idea that most people are going to hate. Tom Carper (D-Del.) and George Voinovich (R-Ohio) wrote to President Obama’s National Commission on Fiscal......read more

N.Y. Declares Moratorium on Fracking

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Temporary ban will give the state time to address environmental concerns.

This week, the New York State Assembly approved a temporary moratorium on the controversial natural gas exploration technique known as "fracking." Combining hydraulic fracturing with horizontal drilling, fracking uses large quantities of water and chemicals to blast through the earth's surface and uncover natural gas reserves. The moratorium is aimed at the Marcellus Shale field,......read more

SHFT Sampler 12-3-10

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Weekly links: Obama nixes offshore plans, mercury turns birds gay, and more.

Adorbs alert! Discovery assembled an "awwww"-inspiring slide show of endangered baby animals. Are fixies over? We have no idea, but this bamboo joint from Germany's Arndt Menke-Zumbragel tells us no. Lance Armstrong is down too. The world's most famous cyclist called it a "killer wooden bike" on his Twitter. Can't disagree. Check out those rear forks! ......read more

House Votes to Expand Offshore Drilling

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Is the risk worth the payoff?

With consumers feeling the pinch of rising gas prices at the pump, the House voted last week to expedite oil lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico and off the coast of Virginia. The bill was passed by a 266 to 149 vote, largely along party lines. Memories are indeed short. The Deepwater Horizon disaster, which killed 11 people and spewed about 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico,......read more

Why Drilling in the Arctic is a Bad Idea

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The argument against pushing for fossil fuel extremes in Alaska

The Arctic Ocean is one of the wildest, most extreme places on earth. When you put the most technologically advanced, best equipped offshore drilling rig up against it, the rig loses. The grounding of a Shell Oil drilling rig in Alaska earlier this year proves it. That's the central tenet of a Natural Resources Defense Council statement, quoted by Andy Revkin at Dot Earth, arguing against any......read more

A Parched State Looks to Regulate Private Water Drilling

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Drought-stricken California passes law on drilling for groundwater

Felicity Barringer for The New York Times: FRESNO, Calif. — The small prefab office of Arthur & Orum, a well-drilling outfit hidden in the almond trees and grapevines south of Fresno, has become a magnet for scores of California farmers in desperate need of water to sustain their crops. Looking at binders of dozens of orders for yet-to-be-drilled wells, Steve Arthur, a manager, said,......read more

Geothermal Gets a Boost from Oil and Gas Drilling

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'Forgotten' clean energy industry growing with help from fossil fuel well data

Kate Galbraith for The New York Times: Geothermal energy — tapping into heat deep underground and using it to produce power — is sometimes described as a forgotten renewable. It languishes in the shadows of better-known sources like wind and the sun, and in 2011 it accounted for less than 1 percent of electric power worldwide, according to last year’s World Energy Outlook. Yet......read more

Big Win For New York Fracking Opponents

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In a case of NIMBYism doing good, a New York court rules in favor of a regional ban on gas drilling

Good news for fracking opponents in New York state this week, as an N.Y. Supreme Court judge ruled that the upstate town of Dryden is within its rights to ban a company from drilling for natural gas within its borders. Last August, Dryden's Town Board passed a drilling ban and was sued a month later by the Anschutz Exploration Corporation, whose lawyers argued that the town had no power to......read more

The Clash's Paul Simonon Arrested for Oil Rig Occupation

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Rock star went undercover with Greenpeace to protest Arctic drilling

Greenpeace has revealed that veteran rock bassist (The Clash, Gorillaz) Paul Simonon was among the activists arrested in June for occupying an Arctic oil rig. Simonon had joined the Greenpeace crew anonymously, working as an assistant cook. The oil rig, operated by Cairn Energy, one of Europe's largest oil and gas companies, was boarded on June 3 by the Greenpeacers, who demanded that the......read more

GOP Offshore Drilling Bill Rejected by Senate

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Dems block measure to to speed up oil leases off the U.S. coast

The Republican effort to expand offshore drilling in country has been turned down by the U.S. Senate. The bill would have opened up more areas to drilling and forced regulators to speed up their decisions on lease permits. The vote was 57 against and 42 for -- 18 short of the 60 "Yes" votes required to move it to the Senate floor. Democrats voted resoundingly against the bill, saying it would ......read more

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