Today’s Climate: May 22-23, 2010

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U.S. Could Fall Behind China in Clean Energy: Locke (Reuters)

The U.S. could fall behind China and other countries in clean energy technology unless Congress passes energy legislation, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said on Saturday.

Michigan Rejects Permit for Proposed Coal Plant (AP)

Michigan regulators denied an air quality permit Friday for a proposed 600-MW coal plant in Rogers City, saying the project would damage the environment and hit customers with big rate increases.

Obama Seeks Fuel Efficiency Standards for Large Trucks
(Detroit News)

Pres. Obama on Friday ordered work to begin on setting first-ever fuel-efficiency standards for heavy-duty trucks. He also called for progress toward establishing higher standards for cars and light trucks in model years 2017 through 2025.

Former Senator, Ex-EPA Chief to Head Oil Spill Panel (AP)

William Reilly, the EPA chief on the job during the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska in 1989 and a former Florida senator, will lead the presidential commission investigating the Gulf of Mexico disaster.

Obama: Gulf Drilling Only if Ensure No More Spills (Reuters)

Pres. Obama said on Saturday that offshore oil drilling could only go forward if there were assurances that a disaster like the massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill would not happen again.

Cleaning Oil-Soaked Wetlands May Be Impossible (AP)

The gooey oil washing into the maze of marshes along the Gulf Coast could prove impossible to remove, leaving a toxic stew lethal to fish and wildlife, government officials and independent scientists said.

Obama Blames Gulf Oil Disaster on "Breakdown" at BP (Reuters)

Pres. Obama on Saturday blamed the massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill on "a breakdown of responsibility" at energy giant BP as he officially unveiled a commission to investigate the disaster.

Utility NStar, Cape Wind to Talk Energy (Boston Globe)

Representatives of NStar, a Mass. utility company, will meet with developers of the Cape Wind energy project Monday. But whether it will commit to buy electricity from the proposed wind farm is an open question.

Mining Industry Says Study Shows EPA Hurting Jobs (AP)

A new congressional report says the EPA’s decision to give permit applications for Appalachian surface mines extra scrutiny is threatening nearly 18,000 jobs in the region.

First Solar Awaiting China Decision on Subsidy (Reuters)

U.S. company First Solar, which plans to build the world’s largest solar power plant in Inner Mongolia, could hear from China in coming months on the amount of subsidy it will get, the company’s president said.

UN Says Case for Saving Species ‘More Powerful than Climate Change’ (Guardian)

The economic case for global action to stop the destruction of the natural world is even more powerful than the argument for tackling climate change, a major report for the UN will declare this summer.

Canada Plans New Emission Rules for Heavy Trucks (Reuters)

Canada is on schedule for developing new emissions standards for heavy trucks, although the draft regulations will not be ready until later this year, the environment minister said.

Brazil Environment Officials Arrested for Logging (BBC News)

Police in Brazil have arrested at least 70 people suspected of illegal logging in the Amazon — including officials employed to protect the rainforest.

Green Report Card on Cruise Ships Sets Off Storm of Controversy (GreenBiz)

Despite efforts to improve operations, U.S. cruise ships must go a lot further to become environmentally responsible, said Friends of the Earth, whose latest report card on the industry gives 11 major cruise lines green grades ranging from B- to F.