Enviro News Round-Up: Barton Keeps His Seat, BP Ruins Weddings, and More

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Today in oil disaster news:

After a federal judge threw out the Obama administration’s 6-month moratorium on new offshore drilling and exploration yesterday, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar says he will issue a new one.

The much-maligned Minerals Management Service got a new boss, Michael Bromwich, and a new, more wordy name: the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement. Apparently they’re going to call it the “Bureau of Ocean Energy” or BOE, for short.

The oil disaster is upending plans for beach weddings along the Gulf Coast, as brides and grooms decide to relocate to places where they won’t have to leap tar balls as they say “I do.” It’s inconvenient for couples, but a major problem for the wedding planners, DJs, caterers, photographers, and hotel owners in the region.

Republicans have been busy bashing President Obama’s spill response, but as The Hill reports, very few have actually visited the region most affected by the oil disaster.

BP says it will donate the money from the sales of oil siphoned off the Gulf gusher to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, with an initial donation of $5 million. How charitable!

Speaking of collecting oil, BP now says it’s now collecting more than 23,000 barrels of oil per day.

BP’s shares hit a 13-year low yesterday.

The House is expected to vote today on a bill to grant the power of subpoena to the presidential oil spill commission.

Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) is expected to keep his post as Ranking Member on the Energy and Commerce Committee despite his apology to BP last week, which rankled a number of his colleagues.

And in climate news:

A bipartisan group of senators is meeting with President Obama at the White House this morning at 9:30. On the invite list: Democrats: Maria Cantwell (Wash.), Harry Reid (D-Nev.), John Kerry (Mass.), Jeff Bingaman (N.M.), Barbara Boxer (Calif.), Sherrod Brown (Ohio), Debbie Stabenow (Mich.), and Joe Lieberman (Conn.). Republicans: George Voinovich (Ohio), Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Richard Lugar (Ind.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), and Susan Collins (Maine). UPDATE: This morning’s meeting has been canceled due to the president’s meeting with General Stanley McChrystal, and willl likely be rescheduled for next week.

A reporter for The Sunday Times in London who in February alledged that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published “bogus” data about the impact of climate change on rainforests has apologized to the scientist he maligned. A win for science, but not so much for rainforests: the scientist, Simon Lewis of the University of Leeds, was validated in his estimation that 40 percent of the Amazonian rainforest could die as temperatures rise.

More Mother Jones reporting on Climate Desk

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And the truth is, going into the final 4 days of the year we still needed to raise $TK to hit our $350,000 goal and start 2021 on track. It's nerve-wracking, wondering if the big spike we normally see at the end of December is going to be another thing that doesn't go as planned in 2020, or worse, if, now that Donald Trump is set to leave the White House (for longer than a taxpayer-funded golf trip to a property he owns), folks might be pulling back from fighting for the truth and a democracy and think the hard work is done.

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