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The Sage Grouse is NOT getting Endangered Species Act protection

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today abandoned its plan to give Endangered Species Act protection to Mono Basin sage grouse, a small and isolated population of prairie birds in Nevada and California that remain under threat from grazing, habitat loss and mining development. The agency’s decision ignores scientific recommendations for reversing the birds’ steep decline and relies on unproven conservation agreements with state and local communities.

The Mono Basin greater sage grouse population, located in eastern California and western Nevada and also known as the “bi-state” population, is fragmented and geographically isolated from all other greater sage grouse populations. 

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US leads the world in EV adoption

The United States currently leads the world in the number of plug-in electric vehicles on the road, capturing 41% of the global market. Though the market can be traced back to the early-to-mid 1990s with the release of the Chrysler TEVan and the General Motors EV1, it wasn’t until the second wave of vehicles such as the Nissan Leaf and the Chevrolet Volt, both introduced in 2010, that plug-in electric cars started to become a success in the US.

It was Tesla Motors with its Roadster series which first entered production in 2008 that reignited this interest in the market though. The small company was founded by Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning in 2003 before current CEO Elon Musk joined the company the following year and led the business to new heights with links to new battery technologies that made plug-in electrical vehicles a more viable option for everyday journeys.

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Fishing impacts on the Great Barrier Reef

New research shows that fishing is having a significant impact on the make-up of fish populations of the Great Barrier Reef. It’s long been known that environmental impacts such as climate change and pollution are amongst the drivers of change on the Great Barrier Reef. Now researchers from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (Coral CoE) at James Cook University have found that removing predator fish such as coral trout and snapper, through fishing, causes significant changes to the make-up of the reef’s fish populations.

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Limited nutrients may keep plants from growing as fast as scientists thought

Plants are one of the last bulwarks against climate change. They feed on carbon dioxide, growing faster and absorbing more of the greenhouse gas as humans produce it. But a new study finds that limited nutrients may keep plants from growing as fast as scientists thought, leading to more global warming than some climate models had predicted by 2100.

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Side effects of Statin drugs may be underestimated in elderly patients

A new study by UC San Francisco has found that statins can help prevent disease in older adults but must be weighed against potentially serious side effects.

Amid a projected cost of almost $900 billion for cardiovascular disease over the next decade in the U.S., statins are used by nearly half the elderly population in the nation. But in spite of the widespread use, there has been little systematic scrutiny of the potential risks of the drugs in older adults and whether those side effects could offset cardiovascular and other health benefits.

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Decreasing biodiversity affects productivity of remaining plants

When plant biodiversity declines, the remaining plants face diminishing productivity, say scientists in study published April 20 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. "The loss of biodiversity is threatening ecosystem productivity and services worldwide, spurring efforts to quantify its effects on the functioning of natural ecosystems," said lead author Jingjing Liang, a forest ecologist from West Virginia University.

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US energy-related CO2 emissions increase for second year in a row

For the second year in a row, energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the United States have increased, according to the latest official figures. However, unlike 2013, when emissions and gross domestic product (GDP) grew at similar rates (2.5% and 2.2%, respectively), 2014's CO2 emissions growth rate of 0.7% was much smaller than the 2014 GDP growth rate of 2.4%.

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Electric vehicle sales booming in France, Germany, UK

France is leading Europe’s electric vehicle revolution with the nation now accounting for more than a quarter of EV sales across the EU, new figures reveal.

Data released by the European Environment Agency shows around 38 000 electric vehicles were registered in 2014, up by 57 % compared to 2013. 

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Lake Mead water levels continuing to drop

The historic four-year drought in California has been grabbing the headlines lately, but there's a much bigger problem facing the West: the now 14-year drought gripping the Colorado River basin.

One of the most stunning places to see its impact is at the nation's largest reservoir, Lake Mead, near Las Vegas. At about 40 percent of capacity, it's the lowest it's been since it was built in the 1930s.

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Solar power and Native American rights clash in the Mojave Desert

In a remote corner of the Mojave Desert, 15 miles from Las Vegas, stands the expansive Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System. Occupying 5 square miles, the facility seems to swallow up a stunning expanse of desert including animals, plants and now, spiritual and cultural resources.

Native elders filed a suit against the Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, and the Department of Energy in 2010, for failure to properly consult with the tribes in regard to the development of six renewable projects.

Litigants Alfredo Figueroa (Yaqui/Chemehuevi), Phillip Smith (Chemehuevi), and Reverend Ron Van Fleet (Mojave) complain that the government and the companies involved have lent a deaf ear to their concerns, which has brought a new level of anxiety and spiritual pain to people who have long felt their voices muffled in the face of commercial development by others.

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