Today’s Climate: October 1, 2009

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Obama Says He’s Deeply Committed to Passing Climate Bill (Reuters)

President Barack Obama welcomed a Senate bill to cut carbon emissions and said he was "deeply committed" to getting it passed, even as the White House played down chances that it would happen this year.

Climate Talks Opening Up in Bangkok (COP15)

UN-led climate talks in Bangkok seem to be slowly opening up and showing progress after months of political stalemate: ”People are getting more into the text, it’s not procedural.”

EPA Finds Water Issues With All 79 Mountaintop Mine Proposals (WVPB)

The EPA says it will hold up approval of all 79 permits for mountaintop mining proposals that it was reviewing, saying “each of them, as currently proposed, is likely to result in significant harm to water quality and the environment.”

Biggest California Forest Owner Enters Carbon Trade (Reuters)

The largest private forest owner in California, Sierra Pacific Industries, is entering carbon markets with a deal to preserve redwoods and other trees and sell credits for soaking up greenhouse gases.

Interior to Approve 7 Transmission Projects in West (Wall Street Journal)

The Interior Department expects to approve seven big renewable-energy transmission projects on western federal lands by the end of next year, part of the administration’s effort to step up wind and solar power.

NY Issues Rules on Natural Gas Drilling Near Watersheds (New York Times)

New York regulators released long-awaited rules governing natural gas production in New York. They don’t ban drilling near watersheds, but they do set strict rules on where wells can be drilled and require companies to disclose the chemicals they use.

31 Pennsylvania Lawmakers Oppose Expanded Gas Drilling (Post-Gazette)

In Pennsylvania, a group of 31 state House Democrats signed a letter opposing the leasing of additional state forest land for natural gas drilling, one of the key areas to generate revenue for the proposed $27.9 billion compromise state budget.

Close to 1,000 U.S. Mayors Have Signed Climate Pledge (ENS)

U.S. Conference of Mayors President and Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels says 1,000 mayors, representing 85 million, will have signed the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ Climate Protection Agreement by Friday.

Tribes at Odds with Environmental Groups Over Coal Plants (USA Today)

Native American leaders assailed environmentalists who have sought to block or shut down coal-fired power plants that provide vital jobs and revenue to tribes in northern Arizona.

Navajo Leader Seeks Grant for CCS (AP)

The president of the Navajo Nation is seeking a federal grant to pay for equipment that would be designed to capture carbon emissions from a proposed coal-fueled power plant on tribal land.

Georgia Supreme Court Refuses Hearing on Coal Plant (Albany Herald)

The Georgia Supreme court voted to not hear the controversial case of a proposed coal plant, a decision that shocked the community and environmental groups that have continually opposed the plant.

World Biofuel Use Expected to Double by 2015 (CNet)

Global biofuel use is expected to increase twofold by 2015, with Brazil remaining the world’s top biofuels exporter, according to a report by Hart Energy Consulting.

Geothermal Power, Lithium Mining 2-in-1 in California (Greentech)

Geothermal power plants could extract lithium from underground brine and sell it to battery makers. One geothermal project is turning to startup Simbol Mining to try it out.

Beijing’s Charm Offensive in Climate Talks (Financial Times)

China wants at all costs to resist commitments that might slow its growth. But it also wants to avoid becoming the villain, especially if the Copenhagen talks collapse.

Senate Climate Bill Drops Phrase ‘Cap-and-Trade’ (AP)

Democrats in the Senate tried a new catch phrase in their global warming bill: Rather than cap-and-trade, pollution reduction and investment, or PRI.

Kerry Takes Marquee on Climate Bill (Politico)

The first surprise in the Senate climate bill draft was the lead sponsor. One insider explained, “Boxer may own the largest jurisdiction on this issue, but the thought is that Kerry will have more jurisprudence when sitting at the negotiating table.”

Sen. Kerry: Taking Control of Our Energy Future (Huffington Post)

In the last few months, we’ve seen that the forces resisting change will say nearly anything and will spread the most obvious and egregious lies to try to derail progress, Kerry writes. Please be ready to join with us to rebut the fears and smears we know all too well will be heading in our direction.