Environment

Of all the things that have come up during this election cycle — from immigration to the size of one candidate's hands — one issue that didn't get much air time was climate change.

There were snowy, icy balls everywhere.

A magnitude 5.0 earthquake shook central Oklahoma on Sunday evening, damaging several buildings. Multiple aftershocks also hit the area, the U.S. Geological Survey says.

The quake epicenter was about a mile west of the town of Cushing, the largest commercial crude oil storage center in North America and the southern terminus of the Keystone pipeline.

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Are the many hog and poultry farms of eastern North Carolina creating "fields of filth," as two groups of environmental activists put it last summer? And if they are, what happens when a hurricane comes along and dumps a foot and a half of water on them?

The surprise acquittal of Ammon Bundy and six other militants who occupied a bird sanctuary in Oregon last January has emboldened the movement's militia followers, who claim the federal government has no right to own public land.

"We're fighting for our freedoms, for our rights to keep our Constitution," said defendant Shawna Cox, outside a federal court in Portland last week.

There's a seductive idea, currently being road-tested, for how to stop the world's forests from disappearing. It relies on big food companies.

That's because most forests are being cleared in order to grow crops or graze cattle. And the resulting palm oil, soybeans or beef find their way into foods being sold by a relatively small number of global companies.

So here's the strategy: Get those companies to boycott products from deforested land, and much of the economic incentive to clear more forests will disappear. This should slow down or even stop the loss of forests.

Police used pepper spray and what they called nonlethal ammunition to remove Dakota Access Pipeline protesters from federal land Wednesday. Demonstrators say they were trying to occupy land just north of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation where construction of the controversial pipeline is scheduled.

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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

President Obama said Tuesday that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is examining possible alternate routes for the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Near the entrance to Santa Monica pier stood a circle of Volkswagen Golfs, each with a driver. The purpose was to ferry attendees of a weeknight car unveiling to their own vehicles somewhere in the vast oceanfront parking lot. Perfectly framed by the pier's roller coaster in the background is the Volkswagen Atlas. If you want the company's answer to a year of scandal, this is it: what VW calls a mid-size SUV that has three rows that seat seven passengers.

Beaches in the Southeastern U.S. took a tremendous beating last month from Hurricane Matthew. The U.S. Geological Survey has found that the storm washed over and damaged 15 percent of sand dunes on Florida's Atlantic Coast, 30 percent along Georgia's coastline and 42 percent of the dunes on South Carolina beaches.

More than 1 million people have "checked in" on Facebook to the Standing Rock Indian Reservation page, in a show of support for the tribe that has been rallying against construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

For years, New Jersey drivers enjoyed relatively cheap gas — thanks to one of the lowest state gasoline taxes in the country. The state's gas tax hasn't gone up since 1988. But that all changed Tuesday, when it jumped by 23 cents a gallon.

Across the state on Monday, drivers raced to fill up their tanks before a tax hike took effect.

A federal judge has tentatively signed off on a $151 million settlement between residents of Charleston, W.Va., and two companies implicated in a 2014 chemical spill that poisoned drinking water for hundreds of thousands of people.

A new study suggests some Los Angeles-area earthquakes in the 1920s and 1930s could have been caused by the oil boom at the time.

The paper, scheduled to be published online Tuesday in the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, presents evidence that drilling around Los Angeles between 1915 and 1932 could have been associated with damaging earthquakes in the area, including the magnitude 6.4 Long Beach quake in 1933 that killed 120 people.

Some 300 million children around the world are breathing highly toxic air, according to a new report from UNICEF.

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After years of negotiations, nations have reached an agreement to establish the world's largest marine sanctuary in Antarctica's Ross Sea.

Twenty-four countries and the European Union reached the unanimous deal at an international meeting of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources in Hobart, Australia on Friday.

A police operation is underway in North Dakota to remove protesters from land owned by pipeline company Energy Transfer Partners.

The Associated Press reports several people have been arrested.

It's been a brutal forest fire season in California. But there's actually a greater threat to California's trees — the state's record-setting drought. The lack of water has killed at least 60 million trees in the past four years.

Scientists are struggling to understand which trees are most vulnerable to drought and how to keep the survivors alive. To that end, they're sending human climbers and flying drones into the treetops, in a novel biological experiment.

A new report by the World Wildlife Fund warns that global wildlife populations are in steep decline worldwide.

Protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline have been raging for months, but tensions have been escalating. Recently, tribal leaders — led by Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Chairman Dave Archambault II — called on the Department of Justice to look into what they describe as unnecessary use of force by state and local law enforcement.

If you want to feel virtuous the next time you chug a brewski, consider the Long Root Ale. This new beer, mildly fragrant and with a rye-like spiciness, is the first to use Kernza, a kind of wheat that could make agriculture more sustainable, especially in the face of climate change.

West Virginia residents have settled part of a civil lawsuit over a chemical spill that contaminated drinking water for thousands of people in 2014, according to The Associated Press.

Updated at 2:30 p.m. ET

The jury hearing the federal trial of seven people who occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon entered a fourth day of deliberations Wednesday — a day after jurors' ability to reach a verdict came into question.

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Antarctica's ice has been melting, most likely because of a warming climate. Now, newly published research shows the rate of melting appears to be accelerating.

Antarctica is bigger than the U.S. and Mexico combined, and it's covered in deep ice — more than a mile deep in some places. Most of the ice sits on bedrock, but it slowly flows off the continent's edges. Along the western edge, giant glaciers creep down toward the sea. Where they meet the ocean, they form ice shelves.

A drive 30 minutes north of Omaha, Neb., leads to the Fort Calhoun nuclear power plant. It's full of new equipment. There's a white concrete box building that's still under construction. It's licensed until 2033. But the plant is closing Monday.

Nuclear power is expensive, especially when compared to some of the alternatives, so the U.S. nuclear power industry is shrinking. As more plants go offline, industry leaders are forced to reckon with what critics call a "broken system" for taking plants out of service and storing radioactive waste.

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