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Grizzlies Love a Good Gov’t Shutdown, Oil Spill in North Dakota, You Don’t Want to Know Where These Crabs Live
Our top picks: today's environmental news and best #greenreads.

How predictable: The magical oil-rich land of North Dakota just experienced a dose of reality as a broken pipe gushed more than 20,000 barrels of crude onto a nearby wheat field. (Alas, the wheat didn’t make it.) A spill this big hasn’t happened on U.S. soil for decades and…I kid! There was a pretty gnarly spill in Arkansas just this past March. The events in North Dakota should serve as a warning that on a long enough timeline, the days-without-an-incident counter always drops to zero. The oil industry, of course, just calls that the cost of doing business. Reuters

Fair is fair: For as long as the government shutdown goes on, you and I are expressly prohibited from entering national parks, but guess who is allowed in? Oil, gas, and timber companies! This despite the fact that the shutdown means less regulatory oversight and manpower to respond to spills and other pollution issues. Well now a new petition from CREDO's Mobilize project is making the rounds in an attempt to change that. "Fossil fuel and logging companies shouldn't have special access to our federal lands while rangers, hikers and the rest of us are locked out," the petition says. "We need to get our priorities straight.” As of this morning, the petition has 113,000 signatures, and counting. Huffington Post

Alright Foster Farms, get your $#*% together: We’ve been keeping you up to date on the ongoing salmonella outbreak that’s sickened hundreds of people across 18 states. (See “Who You Calling Chicken Little?”) Well it now seems the USDA sent Foster Farms (the company responsible for the outbreak) a strongly worded letter on Monday saying that if it doesn’t take corrective action within 72 hours, the agency will withdraw its inspectors from the company's plants. Since plants cannot legally operate without USDA inspectors present, the move would effectively shut the whole operation down. That means we should find out today if the company complied. Oh, and did I mention that the company was responsible for a salmonella outbreak earlier this year? Because that happened. McClatchy DC

Cashing in on flooding: When natural disasters strike—like the recent wrath-of-God flooding in Colorado—we try to get rid of excess water as quickly as possible. But what if we were able to harness that deluge and store it for times of drought? Houston has already designed special streets and parking lots capable of storing stormwater when flash flooding hits. With a few design tweaks, cities across the world might come to look at flooding as a resource and not merely as a threat to existence. ThinkProgress


Bear necessities: In Fairbanks, Alaska, the Bureau of Land Management had to furlough all but two rangers who are now tasked with maintaining 1,000,000 acres of the White Mountains National Recreation Area. Suffice it to say, these poor souls are having a difficult time emptying all the trashcans, and the local grizzly bears have taken it upon themselves to help. Unfortunately, I can tell you from my experience working with wildlife managers at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, that when bears learn to rely on garbage as a food source, bad things happen. They get aggressive, start challenging people for their lunches, and often end up having to be relocated or euthanized. That’s why they say “garbage kills bears,” and without fully functioning government staffs, the crap is piling up. Treehugger


Life everywhere: From the Earth’s poles to hydrothermal vents at the very bottom of the ocean, life has found a way to thrive on what seems like every square inch of this beautiful blue marble—even in sea cucumbers’ butts. It’s not as gross as it sounds, since sea cucumbers are really just living tubes with a “mouth” on one end and an “anus” on the other. Call it what you want, but if you peer into these nether regions, you might just spot the cutest lil’ crab on the planet. Isn’t nature lovely? The Echinoblog


Greenpeace Leader Offers Himself to Help Detainees New York Times

Latest Leak at Japan’s Fukushima Plant Contaminates 6 Employees PlanetArk

One National Park Remains Open—In New Jersey Washington Post

Massive Spruce Beetle Outbreak in Colorado Caused By Drought Huffington Post

Tips: @OnEarthMag (tag it #greenreads)
Mike Sisk

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