Today’s Climate: July 31 – Aug. 1, 2010

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Feds Warned Company in Mich. Spill About Pipeline (AP)

U.S. regulators earlier this year demanded improvements to the pipeline network that includes a segment that ruptured in southern Michigan, spilling hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil into the Kalamazoo River, according to a document released Saturday.

EPA Rejects Cleanup Plan, Seeks New One (Detroit Free Press)

The EPA issued a notice of disapproval to Enbridge Energy Partners for "deficient" long-term work plans regarding the cleanup of possibly 1 million gallons of oil spilled into a tributary of the Kalamazoo River last week.

U.S.Expert: China Oil Spill Far Bigger than Stated (AP)

China’s worst known oil spill is dozens of times larger than the government has reported — bigger than the famous Exxon Valdez spill two decades ago — and some of the oil was dumped deliberately to avoid further disaster, an American expert said.

House Approves Oil Spill Reform Bill (Reuters)

The U.S. House on Friday approved the toughest reforms ever to offshore energy drilling practices, as Democrats narrowly pushed through an election-year response to BP’s oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Coast Guard Allows Toxic Dispersant on Gulf Oil (AP)

The U.S. Coast Guard has routinely approved BP requests to use thousands of gallons of toxic chemical a day to break up oil slicks in the Gulf despite a federal directive that the chemicals be used only rarely on surface waters, congressional investigators said.

BP to Try Well Kill Tuesday (Reuters)

BP said on Friday it could seal its ruptured Gulf of Mexico oil well by next week as the House of Representatives voted to toughen regulation of offshore energy drilling.

By Hiring Gulf Scientists, BP May Be Buying Silence (NPR)

For months now, local scientists have been out on Gulf waters, advising the cleanup and measuring the damage. But there is growing concern that some of the best minds are being sidelined, since they’ve signed on as paid consultants to BP.

Oil-Damaged Wetlands May Just Have to Wait It Out (Los Angeles Times)

Although thick, sprawling oil slicks have vanished from much of the surface of the Gulf of Mexico, pockets of goo still menace delicate wetlands and there is no effective way to clean them up, experts said.

U.S. Gulf Coast States Push for Offshore Oil Revenues (Reuters)

BP’s massive oil spill has given Gulf Coast lawmakers leverage to push for a larger share of the billions of dollars in royalties that oil companies pay to drill in U.S. waters.

Coal Firm ‘Grandstanding,’ Judge Says (Charleston Gazette)

Massey Energy’s Performance Coal Co. is "grandstanding" in its lawsuit challenging the government’s procedures for investigating the deaths of 29 workers at the company’s Upper Big Branch Mine, a federal administrative law judge has ruled.

AG Wrests Price Cut from Cape Wind (Boston Globe)

The developers of the Cape Wind energy project in Nantucket Sound have agreed to reduce the price of its electricity by 10%, saving consumers at least $456 million over the 15-year span of a proposed contract with National Grid.

North Dakota Group Worries about Pipeline Steel (AP)

A North Dakota environmental group wants government regulators to investigate whether a Canadian company used faulty steel in the construction of a pipeline that moves crude oil from Canada through six states.

Wildfires Sweeping Russia Kill at Least 25 (Reuters)

Wildfires sweeping across European Russia killed at least 25 people on Friday and forced the evacuation of thousands in the hottest weather since records began 130 years ago.

Australia: Temperatures Soaring to New Highs (Sydney Morning Herald)

New South Wales had its hottest year last year and Australia its second warmest after 2005, according to the most comprehensive international report into global warming assembled.

Global Solar Sector Faces Fresh Cell Glut (Reuters)

The global solar industry is likely to face a fresh sector trough if the recent European demand feast ahead of subsidy cuts turns into a famine next year.