Today’s Climate: December 31, 2008

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Calif. Sues Federal Government over Changes in Endangered Species Act (Los Angeles Times)

California has filed a lawsuit against the federal government, charging that a recent rule change by the Bush administration illegally gutted provisions of the Endangered Species Act, essentially quashing the role of science in decisions made by federal agencies.

Developer Sues TVA for $165 Million in Tennessee Sludge Spill (CNN)

A real estate developer has filed a $165 million lawsuit against TVA, the nation’s largest public utility, claiming damages from a massive coal sludge spill that dumped more than a billion gallons of waste into central Tennessee.

2009 To Be One of Warmest Years on Record (Reuters)

The average global temperature for 2009 is expected to be more than 0.4 degrees celsius above the long-term average. This would make it one of the top-five warmest years on record, British climate scientists have said.

In San Francisco, ‘Congestion Pricing’ is Something They’re Sneezing At (Los Angeles Times)

San Francisco is considering a congestion pricing scheme that would charge motorists $3 to drive into downtown during peak commute hours and another $3 to leave. The reaction has ranged from lukewarm to downright hostile.

Feds Approve Gas Drilling Plan for Montana (AP)

The Bush administration has approved a plan that could allow more than 18,000 natural gas wells to be drilled on 1.5 million acres of federal land in Montana’s remote Powder River Basin over the next two decades.

More Polar Bears Going Hungry (New Scientist)

Warmer temperatures and earlier melting of sea ice in the Arctic are affecting hunting opportunities and causing polar bears to go hungry. The number of undernourished bears has tripled in a 20-year period, according to new research.

Wind Turbine of the Future Installed on Historic Oilfield (Environment News Service)

The installation of a six kilowatt wind turbine on a historic oil field in Wyoming showcases a new type of smaller wind turbine that is growing in popularity for home, farm or business use.