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Dung Beetles = Climate Change Rockstars, Australia’s Giant Cat-astrophe, Laser Tag at the Nuclear Plant?
Our top picks: the best environmental news and #greenreads from around the web.

Frack attack: The U.S. Geological Survey and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released a joint study this week concluding that a Kentucky fracking fluid spill in 2007 did, in fact, cause widespread fish die-offs, which killed threatened species such as the blackside dace. Hydrochloric acid and heavy metals caused liver and spleen damage and gill lesions in the fish. Huffington Post

Put me in, Coach: Sources indicate President Obama will soon nominate Janet McCabe to lead the Environmental Protection Agency’s clean-air office, where she currently works as a deputy administrator. The promotion would charge McCabe with developing massive new pollution rules regarding coal-fired power plants and elevate her to Avenger-level superhero status on the president’s climate change team. National Journal

Don't stop dreaming: Yesterday marked the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, an iconic moment in this nation’s struggle toward civil rights. We don’t tend to think of King’s legacy as a green one, but there’s more overlap than you may realize. Pollution and waste are often shrugged off onto America’s poorest. Similarly, research shows that these same folks will bear the brunt of climate change and its effects in the future. It’s true that America looks very different from the one King addressed 50 years ago; still, the fight for equality goes on. OnEarth

What, no paintball?: Apparently, it’s common practice for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to conduct faux assaults on power plants ... with laser tag guns! The drills test how the plant’s security forces address certain security breaches. Unfortunately, in the case of the Beaver Valley nuclear power plant near Pittsburgh, the results are not reassuring. The force-on-force test revealed seven violations, a report card deemed “embarrassing” by Dave Lochbaum of the Nuclear Safety Project. I guess Beaver Valley won’t be getting that pizza party. Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

"That's nawt a cat. Now, that's a cat": You know how it goes in Australia—everything down there’s all huge and venomous and bitey. But the invasive species du jour involves thousands of feral cats that weigh up to 45 pounds. The cats eat everything and are too clever for most traps. Obviously, there’s only one way to combat giant cats … giant dogs? Giant balls of yarn? Vice

Save the dung beetles!: It’s time we give the dung beetle a little respect. Yes, the creature spends most, if not all, of its wretched little life burrowing through cow crap, but those tunnels are more important than you can probably imagine. A new paper indicates that the way these insects aerate cow patties can actually prevent the release of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. Unfortunately, many dung beetle species are in decline and the population of cow patties is only going up. Anyone want “Save the Dung Beetles!” T-shirt? Bumper sticker? Anyone? Entomology Today

DAILY DISTRACTION

Light ‘em up: Researchers in the United Kingdom are trying to figure out how lungworms are transmitted from snails to dogs, where the parasites can be fatal. To do this, they released hundreds of snails into the night—each equipped with GPS, LEDs, and UV paint—to see how far an average garden snail can travel. The result? Probably the coolest experiment gifs ever. Colossal

OTHER HEADLINES

Al Jazeera America Got Off to a Good Start With Climate Change Coverage Climate Science Watch

Vermont Yankee Plant to Close Next Year as the Nuclear Industry Retrenches New York Times

'That Is Unreal': Yosemite's Massive Rim Fire OnEarth

Measles-Like Virus May Be Cause of Dolphin Deaths on U.S. Coast PlanetArk

Tips: @OnEarthMag (tag it #greenreads)
Image:
Andi Gentsch

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