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Fracking in Ohio triggered an earthquake so big you could feel it
Earthquakes never used to happen in Poland Township, Ohio — or, at least, they were never identified. But then the fracking started. In March of 2014, the township saw 77 earthquakes occur, says Robert Skoumal, a seismologist at Miami University. These earthquakes were so small that most went unnoticed by the area's 15,000 inhabitants. But when the hydraulic fracturing operations stopped, so did the earthquakes, Skoumal says — and "no earthquakes in this area have been observed since."
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This is how plant biomass can be converted into biofuels more efficiently
A new study has recently revealed that plant genetic advance could lead to more efficient conversion of plant biomass to biofuels.
Plant geneticists including Sam Hazen at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and Siobhan Brady at the University of California, Davis, have sorted out the gene regulatory networks that control cell wall thickening by the synthesis of the three polymers, cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin.
Most US metro areas see gains in construction jobs
Los Angeles Times
A new building industry report found that the number of construction jobs rose in 66 percent of U.S. metropolitan areas for the year that ended Nov. 30, a sign that the economic recovery is spreading to that once hard-hit sector.
The Associated General Contractors of America, the construction industry's largest trade group, said in its report released recently that demand was so strong that some regions had begun to experience labor shortages.
EPA seeks comments on sorghum-to-biofuels GHGs
The federal government is seeking public comment on its preliminary analysis of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions due to the production of biomass sorghum feedstock to make biofuels. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) invited the comments after a recent study by the agency that showed biomass sorghum is suitable for the same conversion processes as approved cellulosic feedstocks such as switchgrass and corn stover and would qualify for cellulosic biofuel renewable identification numbers (RINs) or cellulosic diesel RINs.
Lumber markets to continue rebound in 2015
Western Wood Products Association via Building-Products.com
U.S. lumber demand continued to strengthen in 2014 as home construction experienced modest but sustainable gains over 2013, according to estimates by Western Wood Products Association.
While residential construction slowed late in 2014, residential repair and remodeling, the largest lumber market by volume, picked up the slack.
Trees and ice: Life and death in the forest
Burlington Free Press
If you live in northern New England, those words can send a chill up your spine. They portend demolition derbies on the roads, power outages and the ominous cracking sound of limbs breaking and trees falling in woods, parks and urban streets.
Snow we’re up for. Ice, not so much.
The 41 weirdest things ever used to make biofuels
If you're not new to the world of biofuels, corn, sugarcane and veggie oils are the raw materials you’ll have heard the most about — lately, perhaps more about cellulosic feedstocks from agricultural and municipal wastes.
By most counts, the number of feedstocks is well over 100 in total. The fastest-growing source? That would be waste residues from agricultural, industrial, municipal, forest and animal sources.
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US construction Slows, but economy still looks good
While the U.S. economy is on an upswing, U.S. construction still fell by about 0.3 percent in November, to reach $975 billion in the middle of an overall decline in public spending and cautious investments in non-residential projects, according to a statement made by the Commerce Department. At the same time, U.S. construction spending increased by 1.1 percent in October, so it is not like things are terrible.
NASA finds good news on forests and carbon dioxide
A new NASA-led study shows that tropical forests may be absorbing far more carbon dioxide than many scientists thought, in response to rising atmospheric levels of the greenhouse gas. The study estimates that tropical forests absorb 1.4 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide out of a total global absorption of 2.5 billion — more than is absorbed by forests in Canada, Siberia and other northern regions, called boreal forests.
Is cellulosic ethanol the next big thing in renewable fuels?
Earth Island Journal
For a long time it seemed like turning the inedible parts of plants into a commercially viable biofuel, known as cellulosic ethanol, was nothing more than a pipedream. The enzymes needed to release sugars from cellulose — the fiber that forms plant structure — to be fermented into ethanol were inefficient and expensive. And the cellulose found in virtually every plant, flower, tree, grass and bush is by its very nature evolved to withstand decay.
US construction spending unexpectedly falls in November
U.S. construction spending unexpectedly fell in November, held back by a drop in government outlays and by less money spent by businesses on projects other than homes.
Construction spending fell 0.3 percent, the first decline since June, to an annual rate of $975 billion, the Commerce Department said recently.
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