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Air Is Public Enemy #1?, Exxon Opens Up (a Little), Moose Worm Goes Off-Off-Broadway
Our top picks: today's environmental news and best #greenreads.

Breathe, breathe in the air: A new report from the World Health Organization says air pollution contributes to one in eight deaths worldwide and is today’s single greatest environmental health risk. The death rate is more than double than previous WHO estimates, because we can now scientifically link air pollution to stroke, heart disease, and cancer. But remember, air gets dirty in all sorts of ways. There’s the smog hanging over cities, the billowing smokestacks of coal-fired plants, and the particle-packed indoor environments, which apparently are the biggest killers of all. The WHO reports that 4.3 million people died last year as a result of pollution created by coal, wood, and biomass cook-stoves. The Atlantic Wire

Making headwater: The Obama administration proposed new rules yesterday that would close loopholes within the Clean Water Act. The move was highly lauded by diverse factions, including environmentalists, politicians, brewers, and sportsmen, and should go a long way toward preventing industrial polluters from dumping toxins in the nation’s waterways, even the small ones. OnEarth

Top of the lake: An Indiana refinery owned by BP is in the news for spilling around 500 gallons of crude oil into Lake Michigan on Monday afternoon. Crews seem to have the spill contained and the company reports no injuries or threat to local wildlife. Hopefully it’s true (but we’ve heard that one before). Reuters

A resource reckoning: I’m happy to report that after days of Exxon Valdez remembrance (see “After the Whitewash: Facing the Exxon Valdez Disaster 25 Years Later”) and a handful of brand new spills, the oil industry has actually done something positive. ExxonMobil has agreed to disclose its carbon asset exposure, or the amount of fossil fuel reserves it stands to lose if the world switches over to a low-carbon economy. Experts agree that globally we need to commit to releasing no more than 570 gigatonnes of CO2, but most estimates suggest there’s still the equivalent of about five times as much CO2 waiting to be unlocked from fossil fuel reserves. Knowing exactly how much Exxon Mobil still has in the tank can help us better assess the future risk to the climate—likewise, it may prevent shareholders from getting gobsmacked by a carbon bubble. New Scientist

In the thick of it: As you probably have heard, a mudslide ripped through Oso, Washington, last weekend leveling entire neighborhoods and killing at least 24 (with 176 people are still counted as missing). It’s nothing short of a disaster. Worst of all, because climate change contributes to more moisture in the atmosphere, intense rainstorms like the one that caused the mudslide could be more likely in the future. Slate

Are these guys for real?: First, Congress goes five years without protecting a single acre of public land—the longest in the history of this nation. And now the Republican-controlled House has proposed a bill that would limit President Obama’s ability to designate national monuments. The House will vote on the “No New National Parks” bill today. Huffington Post

DAILY DISTRACTION

A tragedy of moose and worm: As you've read on this esteemed website, northern moose populations are rapidly disappearing (see “What’s Killing Minnesota’s Moose?”). And while it’s easy to sympathize with the loss of a majestic animal that stands seven feet tall at the shoulder, nobody has talked very much about the parasites accused of laying the moose low. So, I wrote a six-act play about the ordeal from the perspective of the brainworms. Because I’m weird like that. The Week

OTHER HEADLINES

The Evil of the Outdoor Cat New York Times

Willie Nelson’s ‘America the Beautiful’ Takes Aim at Mountaintop Removal (VIDEO) Huffington Post

Supreme Court Declines to Hear Arch Coal Mining Permit Case Reuters

Lawyer Hired by NC in Spill Probe Represented Duke Associated Press

Tips: @OnEarthMag (tag it #greenreads)

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