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Fighting Fire with Convicts, KXL Clash in the Senate, Shrimper Catches a Goblin
Our top picks: today's environmental news and best #greenreads.

No detours: Senators Mary Landrieu (D-Louisiana) and John Hoeven (R-North Dakota) introduced a bill last week that would attempt to bypass the president's decision on the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. The bill supposedly has support from all 45 Republican senators and 11 Democrats, though they need at least 60 votes for the Senate to even consider the bill. (And that would still leave them a few votes shy of the 67 necessary to override a veto from the Prez.) It’s worth noting that 6 of the 11 Democrats are up for re-election and facing tough battles in mostly conservative, oil-producing states. Guardian

Hose gang: California has already seen three times as many wildfires this year than is typical for this time of the season. With more flames and fewer resources, the state has turned to one labor source it has in spades: convicts. So if you’re a California inmate doing time for a non-violent offense, you can earn both time (off your sentence) and money as part of the Conservation Camp Program. It’s a win-win for the cash-strapped and fire-ravaged state and its over-burdened prisons. Just one thing, no arsonists allowed. Huffington Post

Sour times: Joining its cousins the limes and orange (see “End of the Lime”), grapefruits are now also in great peril. Florida’s groves have been hit with extreme weather, urban development, and various plant diseases like canker and citrus greening. The citrus industry now sits at its lowest point in 75 years (except for 2004 when two hurricanes ripped through the state). New York Times

There goes the neighborhood: About 134 million Americans live dangerously close to chemical plants, wastewater treatment facilities, power plants, bleach production facilities, petroleum refineries, and paper mills. And according to a new report, minority communities and the poor are disproportionately more at risk from these industries. And guess what else is probably not so surprising: these same demographics are hardest hit when it comes to pollution and climate change, too. Al Jazeera America

In deep with Veep: It’s not your imagination—Al Gore has receded from the limelight over the last few years. But it's a calculated decision. Gore has become a polarizing figure in the climate change conversation, and while he’s still very, very dedicated to the cause, he’s decided to work his magic behind the scenes. Check out this excellent interview with the former Vice President and other environmental longreads about KXL, futuristic chicken farms, and the meat industry’s secrets. OnEarth

Catch 22: As a way to fight overfishing and keep the fate of the ocean out of the hands of faceless corporations, conservationists teamed up with the government to create “catch shares.” A catch share is basically a right to fish, and the hope was that fisherman would pass these shares down to their children, thereby creating a tradition of stewardship and responsibility. Unfortunately, huge, foreign corporations are gobbling up all the catch shares, which means we’re both forfeiting a say in the ocean’s health and losing control of our food supply. Slate


Finned and fugly: A Florida shrimper accidentally caught an 18-foot Goblin shark, the rarest (and scariest-looking) of all the sharks. Let's just say it's no surprise the fisherman released the fish back into the sea (and off his boat and hopefully, out of his nightmares). Business Insider


EWG’s Dirty Dozen Report Lists the Most Pesticide-Heavy Fruits and Veggies of 2014 Huffington Post

For Obama, a Renewed Focus on Climate Washington Post

New Ideas in Lighting Get Closer to Market New York Times

Winter Won’t Let Go: Great Lakes Still on Ice Climate Central

Tips: @OnEarthMag (tag it #greenreads)

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