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News from a Saturday morning:

•The New York Times has a story this morning on shale gas drilling in Pennsylvania. The paper catches up with the EPA’s “listening tour” of the area “soliciting advice from all sides on how to shape a forthcoming $1.9 million stud of hydraulic fracturing’s effect on groundwater.” The paper reviews this debate that extends to other shale gas fields across the country. 

• Philip Brasher in the Des Moines Register reports that biofuel subsidies are being held up in energy bills that are stuck in Congress. 

• The Boston Globe has an interesting report from Pittsfield, a small city in far western Massachusetts. (The old main street agove.) The city was devastated with the loss of 10,000 jobs at a GE plant. Population dropped, more than 10% in nine years. The town has made a comeback, however, by making itself a “city of art, city of funk.” The city now bills itself as a kind of more rural version of Brooklyn. The town turned its cheap, vacant buildings into an asset, finding artists to fill the spaces. 

• Who said farming was lucrative? California Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado owes the IRS more than $100,000 in taxes that should have been withheld and paid for workers on his 6,000 acre farm in Santa Barbara County. A spokesman for the Lt. Gov. says this is all about trucks. He said “the IRS claims that about a dozen Ford F-150 pickup trucks driven by company officers, including Maldonado’s father, mother and sister, are for personal use, not business purposes. The federal government wants the company to pay taxes on the vehicles as part of a compensation package, he said.” 

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