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US-ENVIRONMENT Summary

Jul 21, 2011, 10:55 p.m.

Canada to step up oil sands monitoring

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada will boost monitoring of pollution from its oil sands projects, hoping to speed up U.S. approval of a pipeline to transport crude to the Gulf Coast, Environment Minister Peter Kent said on Thursday. Green groups have long campaigned against developing the oil sands of northern Alberta -- the world's third largest petroleum reserve -- on the grounds that development produces unacceptable amounts of greenhouse gases and other toxins.

Small fish said vital to seas; lower catches urged

OSLO (Reuters) - Small fish play a big role in the oceans and catches should be cut sharply to safeguard marine food chains from plankton to blue whales, an international team of experts said on Thursday. Rising human exploitation of little fish -- including anchovy, sardine, herring, mackerel and capelin -- had had far less attention in marine research compared to big commercial species such as cod, tuna, swordfish or salmon, they said.

Chubu Elec: to build $1.3 billion tsunami wall at nuclear plant

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's Chubu Electric Power Co said on Friday it aims to complete work on strengthening tsunami defenses at its shuttered Hamaoka nuclear plant in December 2012, fulfilling a requirement for restarting its only nuclear power facility. Chubu shut the Hamaoka plant in mid-May after Prime Minister Naoto Kan called for its closure, citing research showing that the area is at particularly high risk from a major earthquake within the next few decades.

Defying climate deal like appeasing Hitler: UK minister

LONDON (Reuters) - World leaders who oppose a global agreement to tackle climate change are making a similar mistake to the one made by politicians who tried to appease Adolf Hitler before World War Two, a British government minister said on Thursday. Energy and Climate Change Minister Chris Huhne said governments must redouble efforts to find a successor to the United Nations Kyoto Protocol on emissions, although it was unlikely that a breakthrough would be made at a conference later this year in Durban in South Africa.

Bloomberg, Sierra Club make $50 million anti-coal move

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg joined with the Sierra Club on Thursday in a $50 million, four-year plan to campaign for replacing one-third of aging U.S. coal-fired power plants with clean energy. "If we are going to get serious about reducing our carbon footprint in the United States, we have to get serious about coal," Bloomberg, founder of the news service that bears his name, said in a statement.

Midwest turns dry as drought worsens in Plains

CHICAGO (Reuters) - A historic drought in the southern Plains intensified in the last week and contributed to dry conditions emerging in the heart of the Midwest crop belt, a weekly climatologists' report said Thursday. The weekly U.S. Drought Monitor, produced by a consortium of national climate experts, showed abnormally dry conditions affecting a significant area of the Midwest -- about 10 percent -- for the first time this summer.