Today’s Climate: January 16, 2009

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Interior Department Nominee Pledges Reform (New York Times)

Sen. Ken Salazar pledged yesterday to "clean up the mess" at the Interior Department if he is confirmed as the next chief of the department, which has been plagued by ethics scandals.

Susan Tierney to Become Energy Dept. Number Two (Washington Post)

Susan F. Tierney, assistant secretary of energy for policy in the Clinton administration and more recently an energy and economics consultant with Boston-based Analysis Group, is expected to be named deputy secretary of energy, according to sources.

‘Green’ Energy Plan in Obama Stimulus May Be Losing Steam (Los Angeles Times)

Obama’s stimulus package increasingly appears unlikely to include major investments in "green infrastructure" — smart-grid technologies and mass transit initiatives — according to advocates who are in discussions with the Obama team.

Groups Sue BLM over Oil and Gas leases (AP)

A coalition of green groups filed a lawsuit against the Bureau of Land Management this week, claiming the agency violated several federal laws and policies in granting oil and gas leases on more than 68,000 acres of public land in New Mexico.

Report Calls for Ban on Coal-Waste Storage in Mines (McClatchy Newspapers)

A report by environmental law firm Earthjustice has found that 25 million tons of waste from coal plants are placed in mines each year. It argues that toxic metals in the waste, including arsenic and lead, could leak from the mines into groundwater, and must be regulated.

First Solar Strikes Middle East Supply Deal (AP)

US-based solar power company First Solar Inc. has announced it struck a supply deal with Masdar Abu Dhabi Future Energy Co. to be part of the largest grid-connected photovoltaic system in the Middle East.

Dutch Government Okays New Offshore Wind Turbines (AP)

The Netherlands’ Transportation Ministry has granted a construction permit for a new 260-megawatt wind turbine farm in the North Sea — enough to power 320,000 homes. It would be the largest so far in Dutch waters.

Transport Ministers Plot Climate Action in Japan (AFP via Grist)

Officials from 20 nations met yesterday in Japan to find ways to tackle global warming related to transport, which causes nearly 25% of carbon emissions but has partly evaded strict regulation.