No one knows for sure how much oil is still sitting in the Gulf of Mexico. But oceanographer Ian MacDonald sure isn’t buying the Obama administration’s sunny spin that 75 percent of it is gone. He suspects it’s still pretty gooey out there under the sea.
Crude swings: Yesterday, MacDonald, a Florida State University professor, told the presidential commission investigating the BP spill that most of what’s left is “a highly durable material that resists further dissipation.” And he added:
Much of it is now buried in marine and coastal sediments … with scant evidence for bacterial degradation of this material prior to burial.
In another highlight of the commission’s hearing in Washington, Michael Bromwich, head of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, raised speculation that the deepwater drilling moratorium in the Gulf will be lifted before its November 30 end date. Bromwich said he will be sending his recommendations on the moratorium to Interior Chief Ken Salazar later this week. But Bromwich added that new regulations will make it unlikely that rigs will be up and running soon after the ban ends. [Houston Chronicle]
And then there was this comment on the federal government’s early lowball estimates on the spill from Bob Graham, co-chair of the commission and former governor and senator of Florida:
It’s a bit like Custer. He underestimated the number of Indians that were going to be on the other side of the hill and he paid the ultimate price.
Between Barack and a hard place: Some enviro leaders are so down on President Obama that they’re making noises about finding a serious candidate — no Ralph Nader, please — to challenge Obama in the 2012 primaries. [Politico]
Military intelligence: Several retired military officers are urging Congress not to support Sen. Jay Rockefeller’s (D-W.Va.) proposal that would stop the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases for another two years. Here’s a piece of what Air Force Lt. General Norman Seip and U.S. Army Captain Jonathan Powers are saying: [The Hill]:
In light of the Department of Defense’s decision to identify climate change as a strategic threat to our national security, veterans will address the serious security threats posed by any proposal that would allow carbon pollution and climate change to continue unchecked.
Mountaintop (protester) removal: About 100 mountaintop removal mining protesters were arrested Monday outside the White House. [AP]
Tool on the Hill: Another day, another chum of Big Oil in the Senate threatening to block confirmation of an Obama appointee unless he gets his way. This time it’s Democrat Mark Begich (Alaska) and he says he wants the White House to tell him when it’s going to allow Shell to start drilling off-shore in the Arctic. [The Hill]
Brevity is the soul of twits: To truly appreciate how seriously Republicans are taking climate and energy issues, consider this one-sentence position laid out in their “Pledge to America” manifesto. Here it is: [Ecopolitology]
We will fight to increase access to domestic energy sources and oppose attempts to impose a national “cap and trade” energy tax.
The best of Times: The Los Angeles Times has taken a stand against Prop 23, the proposal that would suspend California’s landmark greenhouse gas emissions law. Here’s an excerpt from today’s editorial:
Since the late 1960s, California has led the nation in environmental regulation — and where California leads, other states and Congress almost invariably follow. That’s the real reason the likes of Valero and Tesoro are so afraid of AB 32: They know it will spread. And it’s why Californians must not let them succeed. With Congress currently paralyzed on climate legislation, California is the best hope for a cleaner future in the United States. Vote no on Proposition 23.
Do the math: Do you sometimes find yourself wondering how the Senate can do absolutely nothing about climate and energy after last summer’s record oil spill and extreme weather? Here’s a little reminder: From the beginning of 2009 to the middle of this year, oil, gas, and coal industries have spent $543 million on lobbying. Renewable energy companies have spent one-tenth as much. [Climate Progress]
Spanish requisition: The head of a Spanish energy company that’s investing $10 billion in wind and other renewable energy projects in America says he’s not sure how long his firm can keep it up without a clear commitment from the U.S. government to clean energy. [AP]
Looks aren’t everything: One reason American homes are such energy hogs and sources of so much greenhouse gas pollution is that architects still know a lot more about design than they do about the physics of energy. [The New York Times]
Precious pedals: With an estimated 2,000 cars a day being added to Beijing’s infamous traffic jams, Damien Ma asks: Can electric bikes save this city? [The Atlantic]