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Save the Moon!, Baltimore's Clean Machine, Giant Snails Go on a Picnic
Our top picks: today's environmental news and best #greenreads.

Beetle battle: More than a century ago, people planted tamarisk trees in the American West as a way to prevent erosion. Today the invasive tamarisks are a water-sucking scourge, with a single tree drinking up to 200 gallons a day. Efforts to combat the trees' spread have included bonfires, bulldozers, and its most fearsome enemy, the tamarisk beetle. The beetles kill tamarisks like whoa, but some locals worry the insects will turn on native species when their favorite food is gone. As it has always been in the West, when it comes to water, there are no easy answers. New York Times

And it spread: What would happen if Enbridge’s 61-year-old crude oil pipeline ruptured beneath Lake Huron? Well, a new study says it would be bad (no shit!). And here's an animated video that shows us just how far the oil could travel over the course of 20 days. I’d call it mesmerizing, if it didn’t portend disaster. Huffington Post

The decapitation diet: It's a good thing that the EPA recently won an appeals court case upholding its authority to regulate mountaintop removal permits. A new study shows that the coal mining practice decreases fish biodiversity in local streams, reduces population size for some species, and made "some individual fish look a little skinny." Washington Post

Paint it black: In the 1960s and 1970s, the Ford Motor Co. stashed millions of gallons of toxic paint sludge in the iron mines, landfills, and forests of Ringwood, New Jersey. The EPA has finalized a $44.8 million superfund plan to clean up the area and cap the contaminated mines, but local members of the Ramapough Lenape Indian tribe say lead, arsenic, chromium, and benzene could still leak out of the capped mines and spoil the borough’s drinking water. Al Jazeera America

Here comes the boom: Schemes to rid the oceans of plastic garbage get a lot of press (see "Filthy-Minded Teenager"), and some practical criticism from scientists, too. Most projects are too energy intensive or potentially damaging to wildlife. But there’s a super-efficient trash removal system already at work in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. It’s called the Water Wheel, and its booms collect everything from cigarette butts to tires, using only the motion of the water and a few solar panels. Southern Fried Science

Lookout, moon!: The Russians have made their intentions clear: They want to spend $800 million to build a moon colony that would give them the lead in “a geopolitical competition for the Moon’s natural resources in the 21st century.” Cool story, bro. But in that case, any chance that means they’ll leave the Arctic alone? Slate

DAILY DISTRACTION

Escargot, anyone?: Authorities seized 67 live giant African snails this month at the Los Angeles International Airport. The invasive snails were concealed inside two picnic baskets, weighing a combined 35 pounds. Los Angeles Times

OTHER HEADLINES

Study of Organic Crops Finds Fewer Pesticides and More Antioxidants New York Times

6 Ways Climate Change Is Ruining Summer for Everyone Salon

Australia Is Drying out Thanks to Our Emissions New Scientist

Tips: @OnEarthMag (tag it #greenreads)

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