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Ranchers Behaving Badly, Hippie Hockey Players, 'Fartpacks' for Cows—Wait, What?!
Our top picks: today's environmental news and best #greenreads.

Tasing saddles: In exchange for a fee, ranchers in Nevada are allowed to graze their cattle on public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management. But one rancher, Cliven Bundy, stopped paying that fee 21 years ago, saying he doesn’t recognize the federal government as even existing. And because Bundy refuses to pay the more than $1 million buckaroos he owes the BLM, the government confiscated the cows on its land. In reply Bundy has rallied protesters and armed militiamen at a camp in a desert northeast of Las Vegas. So far, the BLM is trying to avoid spilling blood over grazing rights, but it has had to use tasers and German shepherds to restrain the mob. NPR, The Atlantic

Go check yourself: Here's an item to kick off the NHL playoffs tonight—go Penguins!! One hockey player is going above and beyond to be green. Andrew Ference of the Edmonton Oilers (irony!) started a program where players can pay to offset their considerable carbon emissions (plane trips to away games and whatnot), but doing so has drawn some unwelcomed attention from opposing teams. After one on-ice altercation, Ference said an opponent told him to “go save the [BLEEEEP]ing world.” That player then called the next day to apologize and find out if he could still sign up for the offsetting program. Aw, sportsmanship! The Natural Resources Defense Council (which publishes OnEarth) has also partnered up with the NHL to promote various teams’ energy conservation strategies via the NHL Green program. Wall Street Journal

Party like it’s 1994: Statistics released by the government yesterday show that the United States emitted 3.4 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions in 2012—the lowest level since 1994. Experts attribute the drop to power plants switching from coal to natural gas, improvements in fuel efficiency, and a warm winter that didn’t require as much energy for heat. This is a good sign, but we've got a long way to go to stall climate change. For instance, the energy sector actually burned up 2 percent more carbon dioxide in 2013, thanks to a slight shift back to coal. Doh! Los Angeles Times

Something stinks: A new study says the Environmental Protection Agency has drastically underestimated the amount of methane released by fracking operations. Using a plane rigged to measure greenhouse gas, scientists found that natural gas wells emitted methane at rates 100 to 1,000(!) times more than the EPA originally estimated. In other methane news, the White House has vowed to cut down on methane emissions from the dairy industry by 2020. FYI: cows are responsible for 25 percent of the methane produced on earth. In fact, scientists in Argentina have developed a “fartpack” that farmers could put on their cows to extract methane straight from the animal’s stomach. Seriously, this is a thing. McClatchy D.C., Outside

It’s my party and I’ll whale if I want to: Remember how the International Court of Justice declared Japan’s “scientific whaling” program decidedly unscientific, and environmentalists the world over jumped up and clicked their heels? Well, the group that actually does the whaling says it fully anticipates being back in business soon with a modified program. (Shocker!) The Japanese government is still analyzing the language of the ruling and has yet to set a policy course. Reuters

DAILY DISTRACTION

A-rockin’ borealis: You guys know I’m a sucker for time-lapse video, but this short film of the aurora borealis over Iceland is some of the best I’ve seen in a while. Photographer Oli Haukur Myradi even sets his shots against a sweet psychedelic soundtrack that reminds you that Pink Floyd’s laser light show’s got nothing on Mother Nature. Huffington Post

OTHER HEADLINES

March Was 4th Warmest on Record Globally Climate Central

Planned Nuclear Waste Facility Raises Fears for Great Lakes Detroit Free Press

This Guy Is Taking the World’s Longest Road Trip in an Electric Car Grist

Ocean Acidification Could Make Fish Lose Their Fear of Predators, Study Finds ThinkProgress

Tips: @OnEarthMag (tag it #greenreads)

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