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Marcellus shale

Sunlight is, as they say, the best disinfectant!

The state Department of Environmental Protection has killed a controversial directive that required all its shale gas drilling inspectors to first get approval from the agency’s chief before issuing violations.

Katy Gresh, the agency’s spokeswoman, said its top staff had reaffirmed to its field inspectors that they had full power to write up polluters without getting a prior OK from DEP secretary Michael Krancer.

She said that a controversial March 23 email to agency worker – meant to be internal but leaked to the media – had been badly written in saying that Krancer would have “final clearance” over citations.

“The secretary’s intent was not clearly communicated” at the time of the memo, Gresh said Tuesday. All Krancer was seeking was to ensure he was notified of regulatory actions, Gresh said.

Jeff Schmidt, director of the Pennsylvania chapter of the Sierra Club and one among several critics of the original directive, said Tuesday that DEP was now generating a tale of “smoke and mirrors” to pretend there had been no reversal.

In the original March 23 email, a top Krancer aide wrote that “effective immediately,” all violations must first be sent to him and another senior aide – with “final clearance” from Krancer, the new agency chief as a nominee of incoming Gov. Tom Corbett. (The state Senate confirmed Krancer’s nomination last week.)

Schmidt said the original edict was “explicit” in its demands.

“I think they never intended for it to be public, therefore they never planned to deal with it if it became public,” Schmidt said. “Now they’re coming up with one story after another to change history.”


Ryan’s plan would essentially bankrupt people. It comes down to dying because you can’t afford health care.


Especially since the Quadrangle has a great reputation. (It’s very expensive, by the way.)

You’d think since there are so many abuses, facilities would have cameras everywhere.


Pass those chips, will ya?

People who ate lots of salt were not more likely to get high blood pressure, and were less likely to die of heart disease than those with a low salt intake, in a new European study.

The findings “certainly do not support the current recommendation to lower salt intake in the general population,” study author Dr. Jan Staessen, of the University of Leuven in Belgium, told Reuters Health.

Current salt guidelines, including those released by the U.S. government in January, are based on data from short-term studies of people who volunteered to be assigned to a low-salt or high-salt diet, Staessen said.

The U.S. guidelines recommend that Americans consume less than 2,300 milligrams of salt daily – 1,500 mg in certain people who are more at risk for high blood pressure or heart disease.

You may have noticed that, much like other conservatives, doctors are generally resistant to new information like this.

Get your water wings

Remember, kids: The deficit is an emergency, not global climate change! Got it?

STOCKHOLM — The ice of Greenland and the rest of the Arctic is melting faster than expected and could help raise global sea levels by as much as 5 feet this century, dramatically higher than earlier projections, an authoritative international assessment says.

The findings “emphasize the need for greater urgency” in combating global warming, says the report of the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program (AMAP), the scientific arm of the eight-nation Arctic Council.

The warning of much higher seas comes as the world’s nations remain bogged down in their two-decade-long talks on reducing emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases blamed for global warming.

Rising sea levels are expected to cause some of global warming’s worst damage — from inundated small islands to possible flooding of New York City’s subways. Oceans will not rise uniformly worldwide, because of currents, winds and other factors, but such low-lying areas as Bangladesh and Florida will likely be hard-hit.

The new report, whose executive summary was obtained by The Associated Press, is to be delivered to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and foreign ministers of the other seven member nations at an Arctic Council meeting next week in Greenland. It first will be discussed by some 400 international scientists at a conference this week in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Drawing on improved research techniques and recent scientific papers, the AMAP report updates forecasts made by the U.N.’s expert panel on climate change in its last major assessment in 2007.


Democrat flips Republican seat!

The trouble with love is

Kelly Clarkson:

Please send me someone to love

Irma Thomas:


This would be a smart move. Will it happen? We’ll see:

The Obama administration is seeking to use the killing of Osama bin Laden to accelerate a negotiated settlement with the Taliban and hasten the end of the Afghan war, according to U.S. officials involved in war policy.

Administration officials believe it could now be easier for the reclusive leader of the largest Taliban faction, Mohammad Omar, to break his group’s alliance with al-Qaeda, a key U.S. requirement for any peace deal. They also think that bin Laden’s death could make peace talks a more palatable outcome for Americans and insulate President Obama from criticism that his administration would be negotiating with terrorists.

“Bin Laden’s death is the beginning of the endgame in Afghanistan,” said a senior administration official who, like others interviewed for this article, spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal policy deliberations. “It changes everything.”

A moment like this

Kelly Clarkson is the only American Idol I’ve ever really liked — or bought their music:

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