Today’s Climate: April 18-19, 2009

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US Court Cancels Bush Oil Leasing Plan (Reuters)

An appeals court on Friday struck down the Bush administration’s five-year plan for offshore oil and gas leasing off the Alaskan Coast, saying it was put into effect without proper environmental review.

Salazar Reviews ‘Midnight’ Endangered Species Rule (AP)

US Interior Secretary Ken Salazar says he will make a decision in the coming weeks on whether to overturn a controversial Bush regulation that limits the reach of the Endangered Species Act.

TVA Seeks Dismissal of Coal-Ash Flood Lawsuits (Knoxville News Sentinel)

The TVA filed motions Friday in US District Court in Knoxville seeking the dismissal of all seven lawsuits brought by residents claiming damages from December’s giant coal ash spill.

Va. High Court Rejects Challenge to Dominion Plant (AP)

Green groups seeking to block construction of a $1.8 billion coal plant in Virginia lost their case in the state Supreme Court on Friday, though they still hope to overturn the plant’s air emission permits.

Energy Secretary: Islands Could Disappear (AP)

US Energy Secretary Steven Chu is warning that if countries don’t do something about climate change, "some island states will simply disappear."

Solar Down but Not Out, Report Says (Mercury News)

Solar installations this year will be down 32% from 2008, and revenue will drop by 40% to $18.2 billion, said research firm iSuppli in a report. But the decline won’t last long: The solar market is predicted to rebound in 2010, and grow 58% in 2011.

White US Evangelicals Most Skeptical on Climate Change (Reuters)

Among US religious groups, white evangelical Protestants are the least likely to believe that humans are contributing to climate change, according to a new survey by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.

NOAA Reports 8th-Warmest January-March (GreenWire)

The combined surface average temperature for land and ocean from January to March was the eighth-warmest on record since tracking began in 1880, NOAA said in a new analysis.

Lawmakers May Limit Paper Mills’ Windfall (New York Times)

Senior US lawmakers said they would look into repealing an obscure tax provision that is turning into an unintended, billion-dollar windfall for paper manufacturers. The provision was originally meant to spur the growth of alternative fuels.

New Limits to Antarctic Tourism (AFP)

US proposals for binding restrictions on Antarctic tourism have been adopted by the 28 countries with ties to the region, in a bid to protect the continent’s fragile ecosystem.

Lack of Permanent Arctic Ice Surprises Explorers (Reuters)

The head of a British team walking to the North Pole on a mission to gauge how fast Arctic ice sheets are melting said on Friday he was surprised by how little permanent ice he had found so far.

Waxman Won’t Compromise on 20% Carbon Cap in Climate Measure (Bloomberg)

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman said he won’t compromise on his proposed 20% reduction in greenhouse gases by 2020 in the face of criticism from lawmakers.

Polar Bears in Russian Far East Threatened (Ria Novosti)

The population of polar bears in Russia’s Far Eastern republic of Chukotka has dwindled to the point of being vulnerable to extinction, according to research by World Wildlife Fund experts.