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Beefalo Trample the Grandest Canyon, Polluters Pay Up Big Time, Freaky Frog Friday!
Our top picks: today's environmental news and best #greenreads.

Book, thrown: The Justice Department is forcing Anadarko Petroleum, a company with its fingers in everything from wood treatment to rocket fuel processing, to shell out $5.15 billion to clean up the mess it’s made across the United States over the last 85 years. The environmental cash settlement is the largest in history, and it is well deserved by these ne're-do-wells. Anadarko’s rap sheet includes radioactive waste piles in Navajo Nation territory, contaminated groundwater in New Jersey, and many other violations across the country, ranging from dirtying bluffs in South Dakota to the streets of Chicago. Frankly, Anadarko may have gotten off easy. Some figure they owe the people as much as $20.8 billion. Washington Post

Money talks: When fracking companies contaminate the local water supply, it’s the job of regulators at the state’s Department of Environmental Protection agencies to issue violation notices to the public and levy fines. Well, that's what's supposed to happen anyway. But in frack-haven Pennsylvania, they have a “practice” of not notifying the public if the frackers have already reached a private settlement with well owners. So if your neighbor get’s paid off because his well is poisoned, nobody has to tell you diddly—even if you, too, might face health risks. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Stampede!: A herd of 450 rootin’, tootin’ beefalos are stirring up trouble in the Grand Canyon National Park. The hybrid bison, introduced back in the early 1900s, decimate vegetation, trample Mexican spotted owl habitat, knock over historic American Indian cliff dwellings, contaminate water sources, and leave ruts in the wetlands. The National Park Service and U.S. Forest Service say they probably won’t develop a management plan until 2016—perhaps a cull, or relocation—but it’s clear something needs to be done. Outside

Taking stock: As you know, California has had a dry couple of months (read: crippling historic drought). But droughts here at the beginning of each year usually give way to more plentiful water when the winter's snowpack begins to melt. Just one problem: California’s chief snow surveyor declared this week that the mountains only contain about one-third of the average water content for this time of the year. The snowpack reading is the lowest since 1988, portending more hardship for the farmers, families, and fish in the valleys below. National Geographic

Lost lobos: Somewhere around the last Ice Age, a group of wolves got separated from the rest of its population in what is now Alaska’s Tongass National Forest. Since then, these wolves have evolved into their own subspecies, the Alexander Archipelago wolf—of which only about 1,000 remain. Environmentalists want to preserve the population with a federal endangered listing, but the idea is rather unpopular among many Alaskans as it would restrict logging and other industries. Without some sort of management plan though, these wolves are likely to disappear entirely. High Country News

Fightin' words: Following the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report earlier this week—see “Calculated Risk”—the U.N.’s climate chief Christiana Figueres did her best Wyatt Earp impression and told the oil and gas industry that it was high time they got with the program of cutting carbon emissions. "The time for experimentation, for marginal changes and for conditional response is now over." And then she told the fossil fuel industry to start cutting methane leaks and invest in carbon capture and storage. Now, will the International Petroleum Industry Environmental Conservation Association take the hint, or just stand there and bleed? Reuters

DAILY DISTRACTION

10 legs are better than two?: Brandon Ballengee is an artist-biologist-environmental activist who takes pictures of frogs. Except his specimens are all dead and soaked in enzymes that make them transparent and cause their bones glow. Oh yeah, and his scientific specialty is deformities as a result of a chemical runoff. Behold the gorgeous and the ghastly. Fast Company

OTHER HEADLINES

5 Ways Paul Ryan’s Budget Screws the Climate and Environment Grist

California Farmers: Drill, Baby, Drill (for Water, That Is) Mother Jones

Main Study Shows Possible Link Between Arsenic in Drinking Water and Intelligence Kennebec Journal

U.N. Report Explores Bioenergy’s Potential for Pulling CO2 Out of the Air ClimateWire

Tips: @OnEarthMag (tag it #greenreads)

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