IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: "The Nightmare Well"; Extreme storms in the Ozarks, but not a word from the climate denialists; Oil industry in the Congressional hotseat; PLUS: Will Obama finally seize the moment?... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Solar cells: Coming to a window near you?; Walmart tests plastic bag ban; UN creates 'IPCC for nature' to fight back against destruction of natural world; California gets first transmission-connected solar farm; Japan Accused of Bribing Nations to be Pro-Whaling; TVA fined $11.5 million in sludge spill; U.S. Drops Inspector of Food in China ...PLUS: Can Afghanistan escape the "resource curse" from it's "new" mineral wealth that isn't really new? ...
STORIES DISCUSSED IN TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- Extreme Weather: Flooding in AR and OK, On the Heels of Record-Breaking Winter and Spring
- Flash flooding strands dozens in Oklahoma City (AP)
- Exclusive interview: NCAR’s Trenberth on the link between global warming and extreme deluges: New England, Tennessee, Oklahoma.... Who's next? (Climate Progress)
- LATEST in the BP Oil Disaster in the Gulf:
- Oil Execs: Don't Blame Us, Blame BP! (Mother Jones)
- Did BP's Rig Pass A Key Safety Test—Or Not? (Mother Jones)
- The Seven Biggest Oil-Spill Questions Obama Faces Tonight (The New Republic)
- Exxon CEO: ‘It is unfortunate that walruses were included’ (The Hill)
- Oil CEOs criticize BP’s well, but have identical response plans (Houston Chronicle)
- White House: BP won't be responsible for claims process (The Hill)
- BP chairman summoned to Obama meeting over oil spill (AFP)
- Congressional Investigators: BP ignored warnings, proceeded with Gulf well (McClatchy DC)
- READ IT: Text of letter to BP CEO Tony Hayward outlining congressional investigators' findings (McClatchy DC)
- Documents Detail Risky Decisions Before BP Well Blowout (NY Times):
The leaders of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce cited five areas in which the company had made decisions that “increased the danger of a catastrophic well,” including the choice for the design of the well, preparations for and tests of the cement job and assurances that the well was properly sealed on the top.
- Obama: Gulf spill 'echoes 9/11': “In the same way that our view of our vulnerabilities and our foreign policy was shaped profoundly by 9/11,” the president said in an Oval Office interview on Friday, "I think this disaster is going to shape how we think about the environment and energy for many years to come.” (Politico)
- Gulf oil spill: Senate Democrats call on BP to set aside $20 billion to pay for cleanup and economic damages (LA Times)
- BP phone operator says calls from concerned citizens fall on deaf ears (KHOU-TV Houston, TX)
- Despite finding 200 violations in Gulf drilling operations over the past five years, MMS collected only 16 fines. (Think Progress)
- OP-ED: A Sand Trap in the Gulf: [T]he berms won’t work as promised, and their construction will monopolize resources that could be used more effectively elsewhere. (NY Times)
- BP unveils new oil spill plan as shares tumble: British energy giant BP unveiled a plan on Monday to vastly increase the amount of oil it is capturing from its blown-out well in the Gulf of Mexico as President Barack Obama arrived there to assert leadership in clean-up efforts. (Reuters)
- Scientists Hope BP Oil Spill Offers Clues about Global Warming: BP oil spill provides unique laboratory to study the effects of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, at the ocean floor Treehugger)
- Chastised Boehner claims he ’said from beginning’ he wants BP to pay for spill (Raw Story)
- Gulf's GOP Governors, Minus Crist, call for More Drilling:
- Barbour, Riley slam media portrayal of oil spill (The Hill)
- Crist, Barbour collide on deepwater drilling freeze (The Hill)
- The Politics of Comprehensive Climate & Clean Energy Legislation:
- The "JFK Moonshot" Speech President Obama Should Give: 'Drive Star': We can cut oil use in half by 2020 by converting old cars to new technology (Climate Progress):
If terrorists poisoned 40% of our wetlands and 25% of our fisheries, we wouldn't ask, "How much will it cost to fight back?" We'd put tens of thousands of soldiers at risk and spend any amount to take out that enemy.
- Obama's Climate Complacency: Blame Rahm?: Rahm persuaded the President to play it cool on climate legislation. But post spill, can Obama bring some heat to the game? (Climate Desk)
- FALSE: McConnell says that Kerry-Lieberman climate bill 'essentially written by BP' (Politifact)
- Energy politics in the Senate: why Merkley’s oil plan matters (David Roberts, Grist):
Merkley's proposals are all focused on oil, and for now that's probably the right strategic play. (If there's anywhere Reid will be feeling bold, it's on oil.) His plan would radically ramp up electric vehicle deployment, create ambitious 2030 fuel efficiency goals for vehicles and heavy trucks, ramp up production of advanced biofuels, and shift some heavy trucks to natural gas. Those are all, while ambitious, fairly familiar goals. Added on are some more interesting and overdue progressive initiatives: reform land use to serve people rather than cars, shift freight from trucks to rail and ship, and reduce the use of heating oil in homes through efficiency retrofits.
Perhaps most intriguingly, Merkley suggests...
- Boycott Big Oil? Prepare to give up your lifestyle (Seth Borenstein, AP)
- The Spill, The Scandal and the President: The inside story of how Obama failed to crack down on the corruption of the Bush years – and let the world's most dangerous oil company get away with murder (Rolling Stone)
- Jane Hamsher of FiredoglakeWhy The Sierra Club No Longer Deserves Your Trust (Huffington Post Green)
- And Just For Fun: President Obama Sings "Kick Some Ass" Song (Auto Tune The News)
- Solar cells: Coming to a window near you? (CNN)
- Walmart Tries Plastic Bag Ban, But Will Public Buy In? (Triple Pundit)
- UN creates 'IPCC for nature' to fight back against destruction of natural world: International body will organise global response to protect ecosystems 'that underpin all life – including economic life'. World governments voted last night to set up a major new international body to spearhead the battle against the destruction of the natural world. (Guardian UK)
- California gets first transmission-connected solar farm (Climate Progress)
- Japan Accused of Bribing Nations to be Pro-Whaling (Treehugger)
- TVA fined $11.5 million in sludge spill (CNN):
Tennessee state officials slapped the Tennessee Valley Authority with $11.5 million in fines Monday for a massive coal sludge spill in December 2008.
The state Department of Environment and Conservation imposed the penalties after determining that the billion-gallon spill violated state clean-water and solid waste disposal laws.
- U.S. Drops Inspector of Food in China, Due to Potential Conflicts of Interest (NY Times):
Now serious questions about certification in China have been raised by the United States Agriculture Department. The agency, which uses private groups to conduct most organic inspections worldwide, has banned a leading American inspector from operating in China because of a conflict of interest that strikes at the heart of the organics’ guarantee. The federal agency also plans to send an audit team to China this year to broadly review the certification process.
Federal officials say the banned inspector, the Organic Crop Improvement Association, used employees of a Chinese government agency to inspect state-controlled farms and food processing facilities.
- Say what? Afghanistan has $1 trillion in untapped mineral resources? (Foreign Policy):
But I'm (a) skeptical of that $1 trillion figure; (b) skeptical of the timing of this story, given the bad news cycle, and
(c) skeptical that Afghanistan can really figure out a way to develop these resources in a useful way. It's also worth noting, as Risen does, that it will take years to get any of this stuff out of the ground, not to mention enormous capital investment.
Moreover, before we get too excited about lithium and rare-earth metals and all that, Afghanistan could probably use some help with a much simpler resource: cement.
- Afghanistan's Dangerous New Wealth: There is a depressing precedent for unstable countries that strike it rich. Can Afghanistan beat the curse? (Newsweek)
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...