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I was offline for a day-and-a-half, with a connection upgrade. A lot has happened, so here are the major stories:

California Fracking Uses 70,000,000 Gallons of Water in 2014
Reuters reports that, while in the midst of historic drought, the oil industry in California is burning through water at a prodigious rate. While California governor Jerry Brown has mandated reduced water consumption for many sectors, the fracking industry remains untouched: http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/04/03/us-california-drought-fracking-exclusive-idUSKBN0MU01M20150403

Mediterranean Fouled With Plastics
Massive quantities of plastic wastes fouling the waters and toxifying the food webs isn’t just for oceans anymore; the Mediterranean Sea is now home to similar debris. The BBC reports: http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-32145976

Closer to home, the Oregon Legislature is looking at banning plastic microbeads, found in cosmetics and implicated as contributing to the burgeoning plastic wastes found in the world’s waters. The Oregonian has coverage, along with some other relevant environmental news: http://www.oregonlive.com/environment/index.ssf/2015/04/legislature_considers_banning.html#incart_river

Polar Bears Require Marine Diet
Researchers have found that polar bear populations cannot survive a switch to a land-based diet. The high-fat prey found in marine environments is crucial to their nutrition, and cannot be duplicated with terrestrial quarry. This is of great concern with arctic ice-loss reaching unprecedented proportions. Al Jazeera America has the story: http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2015/4/2/polar-bears-land-ice-climate.html

Endangered Puget Orcas Having Baby Boom
Finally, some good news. The J pod of Washington’s Southern Resident Killer Whales has, apparently, celebrated the birth of four new calves in recent months. The Smithsonian offers some details, along with a link to NOAA’s whale tracking data: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/after-fourth-birth-three-months-endangered-orcas-are-rise-180954842/