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The Mayan Warning We Should Heed

While everyone has been distracted by mystical messages hidden in an ancient calendar, we’ve neglected a different Mayan warning that’s actually very real."

 

As Brown puts it, “they moved onto an agricultural path that was environmentally unsustainable.” He goes on to connect the dots to contemporary humankind, and—you guessed it—clearly shows that we’re headed down the same environmentally unsustainable path as the Mayans.

 
pdeppisch's insight:

Ronald Wright made the same argument in his 2004 Massey Lectures.  We spoil our nest and then starve! 

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Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added)
If no farmland and no forests and no water and no fish - then what?
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The Alarming Environmental Costs of Beef

The Alarming Environmental Costs of Beef | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
Most of us are aware that our cars, our coal- or gas-generated electric power and even our cement factories adversely affect the environment. Until recently, however, the foods we eat had gotten a pass in the discussion. Yet according to a 2013 report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the livestock supply chain that produces meat and milk for our diets causes more greenhouse gases—carbon dioxide (CO2), methane, nitrous oxide and the like—to spew into the atmosphere than does either transportation or industry. (Greenhouse gases trap solar energy, thereby warming the earth's surface. Because gases vary in greenhouse potency, scientists tally them according to the amount of CO2 that would have the same warming effect over decades.)
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West Coast Region: Marine Debris Removal

West Coast Region: Marine Debris Removal | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
By: Asma Mahdi Marine debris removal efforts are crucial to help protect habitat, prevent entanglements and ghostfishing of marine life, and improve navigation safety. For more than a decade, the N...

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Alarm over 'timber grab' from Cambodia's protected forests - BBC News

Alarm over 'timber grab' from Cambodia's protected forests - BBC News | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
Ancient, highly valuable forests are being lost at an "unprecedented" rate from protected lands in Cambodia, according to a new report.
The analysis, from campaign group Forest Trends, says that large corporations are using legitimate development permits to illegally clear land.
Around 2,000 sq km of forests are being lost every year, they say.
Effective governance of the forests in Cambodia has broken down, they argue.
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It's no fracking fun: life on the Bakken Shale

It's no fracking fun: life on the Bakken Shale | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
An oil field boom in North Dakota has turned a quiet agricultural region into an industrial zone, where farmers and ranchers report over 100 oil spills per month.

In a July 23 webinar, members of North Dakota’s environmental community spoke about the impacts of the second-largest fracking oil field in the United States, the Bakken Shale.

Earthworks, a non-profit American environmental agency, presented the webinar entitled "Inside the Bakken: National Impacts and How You Can Help."

One of the largest oil developments in the U.S. in the last 40 years, the Bakken Shale extends over eastern Montana, western North Dakota and into parts of Saskatchewan and Manitoba. While the oil was initially discovered in 1951, hydraulic fracking made it economical to put the field into production.

“Bakken oil is transported by oil and the vast majority of oil trains travel from North Dakota,” said Deborah Thomas, a board member with the non-profit group ShaleTest Environmental Testing, while introducing the speakers.

“These trains with their payloads of extremely explosive, fracked crude travel through communities across North America, putting millions of Americans and Canadians at risk.”

Just over two years ago, the air and hand brakes failed on one such train filled with Bakken crude. It careened at 104 kilometres per hour into the small Quebec town of Lac-Megantic, derailing near the town’s centre at 1:15 a.m. and spilling six million litres of crude oil.

The extremely volatile oil burst into flames and, with the subsequent explosions, killed 47 people, forced another 2,000 from their homes, and destroyed much of the downtown core.
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Disastrous Sea Level Rise Is an Issue for Today's Public -- Not Next Millennium's

Disastrous Sea Level Rise Is an Issue for Today's Public -- Not Next Millennium's | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
In 2005, I argued that ice sheets may be more vulnerable than the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimated, mainly because of effects of a warming ocean in speeding ice melt. In 2007, I wrote "Scientific Reticence and Sea Level Rise," describing and documenting a phenomenon that pressures scientists to minimize the danger of imminent sea level rise.

About then I became acquainted with remarkable studies of geologist Paul Hearty. Hearty found strong evidence for sea level rise late in the Eemian to +6-9 m (20-30 feet) relative to today. The Eemian is the prior interglacial period (~120,000 years ago), which was slightly warmer than the present interglacial period (the Holocene) in which civilization developed. Hearty also found evidence for powerful storms in the North Atlantic near the end of the Eemian period.

It seemed that an understanding of the late Eemian climate events might be helpful in assessing the climate effects of human-made global warming, as Earth is now approaching the warmth that existed then. Thus several colleagues and I initiated global climate simulations aimed at trying to understand what happened at the end of the Eemian and its relevance to climate change today.
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We’re exposed to hormone-disrupting BPA just by breathing

We’re exposed to hormone-disrupting BPA just by breathing | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
Manufacturing and wastewater treatment sites are releasing bisphenol A into the air, exposing people to high levels of the chemical, according to a study Researchers have long known people can be exposed to bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical commonly...

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Bees and Pesticides: 70% Contamination in Massachusetts

Bees and Pesticides: 70% Contamination in Massachusetts | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
The pesticide class associated with bee colony collapse is in 70% of pollen and honey samples in Massachusetts. How are the rest of our 49 states doing?

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L'Amazonie grignotée par la ruée vers l'or clandestine

L'Amazonie grignotée par la ruée vers l'or clandestine | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
Vue du ciel, l'Amazonie ressemble à une immense table de billard, d'un vert intense mité de taches couleur café: ce sont des sites miniers illégaux, reflet d'une ruée vers l'or qui menace le poumon de la planète. «La perte pour nos ressources naturelles est incalculable», explique à l'AFP le haut commissaire du Pérou contre les mines illégales, Antonio Fernandez Jeri. «Chaque hectare perdu représente des espèces uniques de flore et de faune», déplore-t-il.

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Christian Allié's curator insight, July 25, 10:54 AM

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«Comme le narcotrafic, l'activité minière illégale est d'une grande envergure», souligne Antonio Fernandez Jeri. «C'est pourquoi il nous fallait chercher des alliés stratégiques et nous l'avons fait. Nous avons une commission technique de travail avec l'Equateur et aussi avec la Bolivie et la Colombie. Il nous reste à régler la question avec le Brésil», raconte-t-il.

Pollution au mercure

Le Brésil, où l'activité minière illégale a été constatée dans neuf des 26 États du pays, la présidente Dilma Rousseff s'est récemment engagée à parvenir d'ici 15 ans à zéro déforestation.

 

En Colombie, un survol de la réserve de Puinawai, près de la frontière brésilienne, montre l'ampleur des dégâts, avec des arbres taillés et de la végétation arrachée afin de creuser et d'extraire le précieux métal. Pour obtenir un gramme d'or, il faut utiliser deux ou trois grammes de mercure, un métal qui vient polluer les terres et rivières alentour, mettant en péril la vie des habitants, avec «des cas prouvés d'infertilité, de problèmes de peau, d'estomac», selon M. Fernandez Jeri.

 

Au Pérou, cette activité a détruit une partie de l'habitat de tribus indigènes isolées, comme les Mashco Piro, qui ont dû sortir de leur isolement pour aller chercher de la nourriture, affrontant d'autres tribus avec leurs arcs et leurs flèches.

 

En Bolivie, de plus en plus de coopératives opèrent des sites miniers, avec certes des papiers en règle vis-à-vis de la législation du travail, mais sans autorisation environnementale, selon un rapport régional de la Société péruvienne de droit de l'environnement.

«L'activité minière, qu'elle soit illégale ou légale, génère un impact sur l'environnement», souligne Alvaro Pardo, directeur du centre d'études minières Colombia Puntomedio. «Le problème est que l'activité minière illégale finit d'exploiter une zone et s'en va tout simplement, en laissant derrière elle de grosses pertes que nous les Colombiens devrons ensuite tous payer», soupire-t-il.

 

La mine est pourtant un secteur crucial pour l'économie sud-américaine, alors que la région est un des grands fournisseurs mondiaux de matières premières, dont les cours ont explosé ces dernières années. «L'activité minière à moindre échelle, comme l'appelle la Banque mondiale, ou artisanale, doit continuer à exister, elle ne peut pas s'arrêter», concède M. Pardo, «mais elle doit être une activité économique avec un développement durable, sans affecter l'environnement».

 

En Pérou, 60.000 demandes de légalisation de sites miniers ont d'ores et déjà été déposées mais, selon les estimations officielles, il reste encore 100.000 mineurs clandestins dans le pays, détruisant chaque jour un peu plus l'écosystème de la forêt.

Anne-Marie Vaillant's curator insight, July 27, 4:12 AM

Sans compter les ravages sur la faune, et l'empoisonnement massif de population indigène avec l'utilisation du mercure et sa généralisation dans la chaine alimentaire (rejet en rivière, poissons, produit de la pêche...)

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Success story: Cleaner bluefish show effectiveness of US coal regulations, study says — Environmental Health News

Success story: Cleaner bluefish show effectiveness of US coal regulations, study says — Environmental Health News | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it

"Mercury levels in bluefish caught off the U.S. Atlantic coast dropped more than 40 percent over the past four decades thanks to federal restrictions on coal emissions, according to a new study.

This is good news not only for bluefish but for the entire predator fish population in the Mid-Atlantic. And it's better news for people fond of eating the tasty fish, often served broiled or baked, as it suggests that mercury reductions due to coal-fired plant emissions crackdowns in North America have quickly led to less contamination in marine life.

“This is an important study … this is the type of work that we need to encourage policy makers to support clean-coal technology,” said Katlin Bowman, a postdoctoral scholar at the University of California’s Department of Ocean Sciences who was not involved in the study.

Coal-fired plants are big mercury contributors to the atmosphere – where most emission pollution gets dumped – and the ocean, where those pollutants eventually settle."

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Utah coyote hunter who shot wolf won't face charges

Utah coyote hunter who shot wolf won't face charges | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
FRISCO — The coyote hunter who shot a protected gray wolf in Utah last year won’t face any criminal charges for killing an endangered species.
Investigators with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources and the U.S. Department of Justice found that the Utah resident was legally hunting coyotes near Beaver in late December when he mistook the collared female gray wolf for a coyote.
The female wolf had gained some notoriety after wandering from the northern Rocky Mountains all the way down to the Grand Canyon, where wildlife advocates one day hope to see a restored wolf population.
Another wandering wolf was similarly killed near Kremmling, Colorado in late April, in an incident that’s also being investigated by various agencies.
Wolves from the Yellowstone area have been dispersing quite widely around the West in search of good habitat and conservation advocates say they should be allowed to re-establish populations in suitable areas, including western Colorado and northern Arizona.
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For Illinois farmers, damage from coal mines can span decades

For Illinois farmers, damage from coal mines can span decades | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
Larry Skinner finished planting corn and soybeans by Memorial Day. In midsummer, the pace slows down on his farm near the town of Newman in Central Illinois. He walks his fields monitoring moisture levels, watching for insects and looking for sprout growth.

In a profession facing constant uncertainty from the weather, Skinner has one more variable to consider: how to repair uneven farmland sunken by coal mining more than 20 years ago.

The coal mine near his farm closed in the 1980s, but he and his neighbors are still cleaning up the mess. Mining caused land to subside – or sink – unevenly, resulting in marshy areas that can reduce crop yields.

“This shows what greed does to the American farmland,” said Skinner, shaking his head as he pointed to a subsided area, an extensive brown spot in a field of green.

Some of the best farmland in the world can be found on the Illinois prairie. Rich soil mixed with plenty of precipitation produces high yields of corn and soybeans year after year. Underneath much of this same land are coal reserves deposited roughly 300 million years ago. That has created friction between two of the state’s biggest industries.
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Kuterra aquaculture by ‘Namgis First Nation raises hope for wild salmon— and some hackles

Kuterra aquaculture by ‘Namgis First Nation raises hope for wild salmon— and some hackles | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
The recent offer by Norwegian salmon-farming corporation Grieg to pay off B.C. shrimp fishermen—as part of an industry-wide intention to massively expand salmon aquaculture production in B.C. in the next five years— is only the latest imbroglio in the long and bitter controversy over net-pen salmon farming.

The debate has raged for over 25 years in British Columbia. Along the way it has embroiled conservationists, fishermen, scientists, federal and provincial governments and the aquaculture industry itself— sparking multiple lawsuits and protest marches in Vancouver, Victoria and coastal communities.

But there’s a new X factor at play in the long-running controversy.

The ’Namgis First Nation, with advice and support from a large number of groups, including Tides Canada, conservation groups, and funding agencies, has launched Kuterra, a land-based, “closed-containment” aquaculture project that keeps their Atlantic salmon out of contact with the larger marine ecosystem.

The company launched in the summer of 2014. Initially sold only in Safeway Sobey’s stores in BC and Alberta, their fish are now available as far east as Manitoba.

“Individual 'Namgis members and the Nation as a whole have long been concerned about the effects of open net-pen aquaculture on the marine environment and the life in and around it, especially wild salmon,” says ‘Namgis Chief Debra Hanuse.

“Our primary motive for pursuing land-based closed containment aquaculture and founding Kuterra is environmental. We feel the most effective way to act on those concerns is to propose an alternative that we see as being more sustainable.”
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Last-Ditch Plan Aims to Prevent First Drought Extinction of Native Fish

Last-Ditch Plan Aims to Prevent First Drought Extinction of Native Fish | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
Noah’s Ark supposedly provided shelter to animals from the rising floodwaters. But at a federal breeding site near Shasta Lake, Calif., the opposite is occurring: The tanks of Livingston Stone National Fish Hatchery are providing refuge this summer for salmon nearly out of water. There, staffers are rearing the only insurance policy that the Sacramento River’s winter-run Chinook have against extinction: a living genetic bank of 1,035 baby fish, selected to reseed the population should it extinguish in the wild. Unique coloring, genetics and size distinguish this subspecies, which is protected under the Endangered Species Act.

The Golden State’s extreme drought, now well into its fourth year and said by climate scientists at the University of Minnesota and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution to be the state’s worst in more than 1,200 years, has been accelerating the anticipated demise of several of California’s endangered fishes, including its salmon.
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Winemakers eye native American grape species as a way to reduce pesticide use

Winemakers eye native American grape species as a way to reduce pesticide use | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
Chemical analysis informs potential hybridization efforts
Staff Report
FRISCO — As the widespread and disastrous consequences of heavy pesticide use become ever-more apparent, wine-makers and grape growers are trying to figure out ways to make their grapes more resistant to bugs and fungi without using toxic chemicals.
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AP Investigation: Filthy Rio water a threat at 2016 Olympics

AP Investigation: Filthy Rio water a threat at 2016 Olympics | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — The waters where Olympians will compete in swimming and boating events next summer in South America's first games are rife with human sewage and present a serious health risk for athletes, an Associated…

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We Are Literally Farming Ourselves Out of Food

We Are Literally Farming Ourselves Out of Food | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
The other item was more sobering -- an article in London's Independent newspaper headlined, "Society will collapse by 2040 due to catastrophic food shortages, says study." The study, based on a model created at Anglia Ruskin University's Global Sustainability Institute, forecasts that if global emissions continue unabated, plausible climate trends will lead to catastrophic crop failures and food riots around the globe. "In this scenario, global society essentially collapses as food production falls permanently short of consumption," Aled Jones, director of the Institute, told reporters. The study echoes a similar, peer-reviewed report from Lloyds of London, which found the probability of a major food crisis "significantly higher" than the insurance industry's benchmark return period of 1:200 years.
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India conducts first official survey of Ganges dolphins

India conducts first official survey of Ganges dolphins | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
The Straits Times: Conservation programme aims to protect the endangered species and restore biodiversity of the polluted river

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CITING RELIGIOUS FREEDOM, NATIVE AMERICANS FIGHT TO TAKE BACK SACRED LAND FROM MINING COMPANIES

CITING RELIGIOUS FREEDOM, NATIVE AMERICANS FIGHT TO TAKE BACK SACRED LAND FROM MINING COMPANIES | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
by Jack Jenkins THINK PROGRESS
CREDIT: ThinkProgress/Jack Jenkins
Advocates for the protection of Oak Flat protest outside the U.S. Capitol on July 22, 2015.

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Global warming is causing rain to melt the Greenland ice sheet | John Abraham

Global warming is causing rain to melt the Greenland ice sheet | John Abraham | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
Higher temperatures are melting Greenland ice directly, but also indirectly via increased rainfall
Greenland, one of the largest ice sheets in the world, is melting. In fact, it is melting ahead of schedule as the world warms.

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Salt Is Slowly Crippling California's Almond Industry

Salt Is Slowly Crippling California's Almond Industry | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
California's ongoing drought has forced many almond growers to use groundwater on the thirsty crop. The problem: That water is high in salt, and it's killing almond trees.

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Feds seek near-total ban on ivory trade to protect elephants

Feds seek near-total ban on ivory trade to protect elephants | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
Booming Asian economies fuel huge poaching and wildlife trafficking issues
Staff Report
FRISCO —Federal wildlife managers hope that a near-total ban on the U.S. ivory trade will help slow the slaughter of elephants poached for their tusks.
By some estimates, as many as 100,000 elephants were killed for their ivory between 2010 and 2012 — about one every 15 minutes. Elephants are threatened in formerly safe areas, and some of Africa’s most famous wildlife parks are littered with carcasses.
Last week, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed new regulations that would prohibit most interstate commerce in African elephant ivory and further restrict commercial exports. The proposed rule builds upon restrictions put in place last year following President Obama’s Executive Order on combating wildlife trafficking.
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The $50 billion plan to save Louisiana's wetlands

The $50 billion plan to save Louisiana's wetlands | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
Louisiana is in trouble. The Mississippi River Delta is disappearing into the Gulf of Mexico at the rate of 16 square miles a year, some of the fastest land loss on the planet.

The bayou lands are crucial to the nation's fisheries, as well as regional oil and gas supplies. Perhaps ironically, activity by the energy industry is helping to destroy its own infrastructure.
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Climate: Not a lot of options for polar bears

Climate: Not a lot of options for polar bears | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
New study shows food shortages will catch up to the Arctic predators
Staff Report
FRISCO — When it comes to finding food as Arctic sea ice melts, polar bears don’t exactly have a lot of options.
That’s one of the main reasons the Arctic predators are under the global warming gun, and a new study of how the bears respond metabolically during lean times underscores the existing science.
Researchers with the University of Wyoming set out to learn as much as they could by using satellite collars and surgically implanted monitors to track polar bear’s summertime movements and core body temperatures on ice and shore.
They found the animals are able to reduce their energy expenditure a little, but not enough to make up for the associated food shortages. Their findings suggest that increasing sea ice loss represents a significant threat to these carnivorous bears.
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Study documents ubiquity of bee-killing pesticides

Study documents ubiquity of bee-killing pesticides | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
indings suggest human health risks from inhaling pollen laced with neonicotinoids
Staff Report
FRISCO — Scientists with Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health say their new study examining pollen and honey shows there’s a need to develop public policies that aims to reduce neonicotinoid exposure.
After working 62 Massachusetts beekeepers who volunteered to collect monthly samples of pollen and honey from foraging bees, the researchers found more that 70 percent of the samples contained at least one neonicotinoid, a class of pesticide that has been implicated the steep decline of honeybee populations, specifically colony collapse disorder, when adult bees abandon their hives during winter.
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Five years on, we’ve learned nothing from the largest onshore oil spill in U.S. history

Five years on, we’ve learned nothing from the largest onshore oil spill in U.S. history | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
Five years ago, in the middle of the night, an oil pipeline operated by Enbridge ruptured outside of Marshall, Michigan. It took more than 17 hours before the Canadian company finally cut off the flow, but by then, more than a million gallons of tar sands crude had oozed into Talmadge Creek. The oil quickly flowed into the Kalamazoo River, forcing dozens of families to evacuate their homes. Oil spills of that magnitude are always disastrous, but the Kalamazoo event was historically damaging.

The first challenge was the composition of the oil. Fresh tar sands crude looks more like dirt than conventional crude—it’s far too thick to travel through a pipeline. 
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