Today’s Climate: June 18, 2010

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BP Chief Says He Wasn’t in Loop, Enraging Congress (AP)

Lawmakers pilloried BP’s boss in a withering day of judgment Thursday for the oil company at the center of the Gulf calamity. Unflinching, BP CEO Tony Hayward said he was out of the loop on decisions and asserted, "I’m not stonewalling."

MMS Blasted for Lax Offshore Drilling Scrutiny (McClatchy Newspapers)

The Minerals Management Service, the beleaguered regulator caught in the crosshairs over its faulty scrutiny of BP’s oil well, has been lax in its inspections of deep-sea drilling, an independent watchdog said Thursday.

Evangelical Leaders Say Spill Raises Moral Issues (AP)

Leaders of a group that encourages evangelical Christians to care for the environment say the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico raises moral challenges for the country. 

U.S. DOE Official: Oil Spill Shows Need For Clean Energy (Dow Jones)

The Gulf spill provided a very clear message "that we need to move ahead with the transition to a clean energy future," said John Elkind, principle deputy assistant secretary for policy and international affairs at the DOE, echoing comments made by Pres. Obama.

Republican Party Rejects Liability Cap Bill Again (Politico) 

Democrats attempted Thursday to create unlimited liability for oil companies, and for the fourth time since the Gulf crisis began, Republicans objected.

Expedited Mine Permitting Suspended in Appalachia (AP)

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers suspended an expedited process for obtaining surface mining permits across much of the nation’s eastern coalfields Thursday.

White House Seeks to Bolster Role in Senate Climate Talks (New York Times)

The White House is trying to assert its influence over the Senate climate debate after Pres. Obama’s nationwide energy address left some questioning how aggressively the president will push for comprehensive climate and energy legislation. 

US Senate Leader Noncommittal on Carbon Price Bill (Reuters)

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Thursday emerged from a meeting with fellow Democrats refusing to embrace energy and environment legislation that would put a price on CO2 pollution as a way of reducing greenhouse gases.

US Decision on Ethanol Blend Put Off Until Fall (AP)

The EPA says it will wait until this fall to decide whether U.S. car engines can handle higher concentrations of ethanol in gasoline. The agency had been expected to decide by this month whether to increase the blend from 10 to 15 percent.

Oceans Choking on CO2, Face Deadly Changes: Study (Reuters)

The world’s oceans are virtually choking on rising greenhouse gases, destroying marine ecosystems and breaking down the food chain — irreversible changes that have not occurred for several million years, a new study says.

Security Tops the Environment in China’s Energy Plan (New York Times)

The discussions in China around coming energy legislation have been focused almost entirely on national security issues, people inside and outside the government said, while global warming remains a secondary concern.

Solyndra IPO Canceled (Greentech Media)

Solar firm Solyndra has decided not to proceed with an IPO of shares of its common stock at this time "due to adverse market conditions" and the availability of alternative funding from existing investors. 

Sweden Gives Green Light to New Nuclear Reactors (Reuters)

Sweden’s parliament voided a 30-year-old ban on building new nuclear reactors on Thursday after a debate pitting the country’s need for low-carbon energy sources against environmental concerns over atomic energy.

Nuclear Agency Weighs a Plan to Dilute Waste (New York Times) 

A competition between nuclear waste dumps has pulled the Nuclear Regulatory Commission into an unusual reconsideration of its rules to allow moderately radioactive materials to be diluted into a milder category that is easier to bury.

LG Elec to Invest $825 Mln in Solar Cells by 2015 (Reuters) 

South Korea’s LG Electronics said on Friday it would invest $824.5 million by 2015 in its solar cell business, as it seeks new growth drivers.