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Bye-Bye Microbeads, Drones Go Both Ways, Gorillas in the Drilling Fields
Our top picks: today's environmental news and best #greenreads.

Just bead it: Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has signed the nation’s first law banning the manufacture or sale of personal care products containing plastic microbeads. Studies show that the beads attack more than pimples—the plastic ends up in waterways where it can harm wildlife (see “Don’t Lather, Don’t Rinse, Don’t Repeat”). But what about my face!? No worries, natural alternatives like walnut shells can get your mug as soft and smooth as ... it's going to get. Chicago Tribune

Fireside chat: Governors from 10 western states teleconferenced with President Obama this week to discuss how we’re going to pay for the 2014 Fire Season. Estimates project that fighting wildfires will cost the United States $1.8 billion—or $470 million more than Congress currently has in the budget. This year, instead of robbing Peter (fire prevention programs and mitigation efforts) to pay Paul (active firefighting costs), the president wants to allocate money for Fire Season straight-up. Associated Press

Good, ol’ fashioned naming and shaming: There’s a hot new smartphone app available in China that has nothing to do with flinging birds at pigs or crushing candy. Instead, the app tracks real-time emissions of factories and power plants and lets its users know exactly who’s exceeding the government-set limits. That means when your neighborhood is having a bad air day—insert joke about Chinese air quality—you can look up the name and location of exactly who’s responsible and then take to social media to give ‘em hell. Tech Times

Autobots vs. Decepticons: Drones don’t have to inspire a post-apocalyptic future for the human race. They can do some good, too. For instance, wildlife managers are using the little buggers to thwart poachers in African preserves, reducing the risk for rangers and helping conserve wildlife with dwindling budgets. But a drone is only as good as the person pulling its strings (so to speak). BP just became the first company in the United States to receive a commercial permit for drone use. The company says the drone will be used to monitor drilling site safety, but let’s be honest—who wants to let an international oil conglomerate build an army of autonomous robots? OnEarth, Grist

Fossil fuel folly: Congo’s Virunga National Park is the continent’s oldest nature sanctuary, a UNESCO world heritage site, and home to nearly a quarter of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas. So of course people want to drill for oil there. Al Jazeera America

Get out your clam-diggers: According to the Vermont Climate Assessment report, the state is in for some serious precipitation. The good news: more fluffy powder for snowboarders! The bad news: that snow will eventually melt. Mix it all in with increased rainfall, and the Green Mountain State becomes a floody, muddy mountain mess. Reuters

DAILY DISTRACTION

Can I crash at your place?: Scan the satellite images of Oregon’s woods and you may find something a little odd—a Boeing 727, right there in the middle of nowhere. It's not a crash site but a home. A 64-year-old pilot and engineer converted the retired jet into a house ... with wings. And the place is pretty cool, though like most aircraft, the bathroom leaves a lot to be desired. The Blaze

OTHER HEADLINES

What Do Restaurants Do with Leftover Food? The Daily Meal

U.S. Supreme Court Refuses, for Now, to Stop BP Oil Spill Payments The Times-Picayune

Air Conditioning Turns Up City Heat The Daily Climate

Tips: @OnEarthMag (tag it #greenreads)

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