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Cowboys & Indians vs. KXL, Don't Frack with Families, Follow the Snail Trail
Our top picks: today's environmental news and best #greenreads.

A fight worth fighting: An unlikely association of farmers, ranchers, and Native Americans have descended upon the capital this week in protest of the Keystone XL pipeline. They call themselves the Cowboy and Indian Alliance, and they think it’s insane that anyone would just roll over and give the oil companies their land in exchange for a pipeline and a few bucks. But their protest also reminds us that people can still be galvanized to action, that environmental issues matter, and that fighting the KXL pipeline is a tangible proxy for fighting climate change itself. Now, who wants to see what this “bold and creative action” the cowboys and Indians have planned in DC today is all about? The Nation

Sweeter dreams: After three years of court battles, a jury in a Texas county court awarded a family more than $2.9 million in damages after fracking contaminated their well water and air. Aruba Petroleum sunk 22 wells surrounding the Parrs’ ranch, which led to the family’s daughter developing nosebleeds and rashes. (The child would regularly wake up in the morning soaked in her own blood.) Parr v. Aruba Petroleum is being hailed as the first case where a jury has awarded compensation for fracking-related contamination. Most are settled out of court. Grist

Bloom trackers: To understand how climate change might affect the Wyoming prairie, scientists covered plots of land with combinations of heaters and carbon dioxide pumps. Plants on the warmer plots bloomed earlier, and the plants with extra CO2 kept growing longer into the fall. The researchers reason that because the plants were able to breathe more efficiently (they "breathe" by opening stomata on their leaves, a process also allows their internal water stores to evaporate), they didn’t have to use as much of their water supply in the spring and summer, thereby leaving the plants with more water later in the year. Great news, right? Well, not so much. Earlier springs could shuffle the prairie community and cause plants to compete with each other for pollinators. And the increased likelihood of drought that comes with a warming world will, at some point, overcome any temporary gains the plants experience from extra warmth and CO2. New York Times

Shooting the messenger: San Antonio has a serious air pollution problem. As one of America’s fastest growing cities, vehicle exhaust is one likely cause, but then so is drilling into the nearby Eagle Ford shale formation. To learn more about the sources of pollution, the local government funded a study. Good on them! But after a member of the team conducting the study posted some of its preliminary results online—results that predicted a gnarly 281 percent increase in ozone-forming chemicals by 2018 at the drilling site—the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality responded by cutting their budget by 25 percent. Inside Climate News

Trucking muck: Duke Energy, the company responsible for befouling 70 miles of the Dan River with toxic coal ash, told North Carolina lawmakers this week that sure, it could relocate its 33 other unlined coal ash dumps away from the state’s drinking water, but it’d probably have to jack up its customers’ bills to do so. Oh, and it would be a lengthy and arduous process. Duke says that relocating just one of its dumps would require removing a dump truck of coal ash every three minutes, twelve hours a day, six days a week, for the next 30 years. Sounds like you should start digging, Duke. Associated Press

Rail fail: According to a rail industry representative, every single kind of tank car currently used to ship Bakken crude oil is inadequate. But unless the federal government lays down the law with some new regulations, the rail man admits most shipping companies are just going to keep on using the old, crappy ones—despite the many recent derailments, spills, explosions, and fireballs. No word on when we can expect new regulations. McClatchy D.C.

DAILY DISTRACTION

Slow beauty: Snails don’t get a lot of love. (My guess it's the mucus trails). But this series of images from Ukrainian photographer Vyacheslav Mishchenko will make you want to carry one around in your pocket. And I have two words for you: flower umbrella. I F*cking Love Science

OTHER HEADLINES

Conservatives Celebrate Earth Day Too, Just Differently Al Jazeera America

Drones Are Becoming Energy’s New Roustabouts New York Times

MSHA Issues Final Rule on Lowering Miners’ Exposure to Respirable Coal Dust United States Department of Labor

Tips: @OnEarthMag (tag it #greenreads)

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