Gulf clean upGulf residents want the feds to be involved in wetland and beach restoration.Courtesy GreenpeaceRemember all the ranting about the federal government’s ineptitude in dealing with the BP oil leak? Well, now a new poll suggests that more than three out of four Gulf residents want the feds involved in restoring their wetlands and beaches. Go figure.  

We want you back: The bipartisan poll [PDF], funded by the Walton Family Foundation, also concludes that it wouldn’t be smart for candidates to take a stand against environmental rehab on economic grounds — in fact, almost 90 percent of the respondents felt that the environmental health of the region affects their state’s economy. The pollsters admitted they were surprised at the level of support for a big federal role. Here’s what one of them, Celinda Lake, had to say: 

We were making it clear that it is the federal government we’re talking about — that it’s not (Mississippi Gov.) Haley Barbour, it’s Barack Obama. The issue resonated across the board, testing so positively that it’s approaching not policy, but core values.

Apparently, Haley Barbour disagrees with public sentiment about Gulf restoration. Yesterday, Barbour said the states — not the feds — should call the shots on any recovery efforts. [The Hill]

Here’s one more surprise from the poll:

Contrary to conventional wisdom, voters in this region hold favorable opinions of the environmental players in this debate, including the EPA.

In other green news:

Chunks in his armor: Barack Obama told Rolling Stone that he’s not going to give up on climate legislation, except that it probably will have to take shape as “chunks.”  Here’s part of what he said:

One of my top priorities next year is to have an energy policy that begins to address all facets of our overreliance on fossil fuels. We may end up having to do it in chunks, as opposed to some sort of comprehensive omnibus legislation. But we’re going to stay on this because it is good for our economy, it’s good for our national security, and, ultimately, it’s good for our environment.

Obama also conceded that his Interior Department chief Ken Salazar took too long to clean up the scandal-ridden Minerals Management Services agency. [Rolling Stone]

Dim and dimmer:  Three worthy Republican candidates have been added to the League of Conservation Voters’ Dirty Dozen list. Let’s give it up for dedicated climate change deniers Ken Buck (Colorado), Sharon Angle (Nevada), and Ron Johnson (Wisconsin), the man who believes that sunspots have something to do with climate change. [The Hill]

Maybe he can rip the lid off that sunspot coverup: Most Republicans say that if they win the House, they want to deep-six Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s special global warming committee. But Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, a hardcore climate change skeptic from Wisconsin, disagrees. He not only wants to keep the committee, he wants to chair it. How better to investigate climate science and police the Obama administration’s green policies? [Politico]

He forgot to mention that it also would harm puppies: Just so you don’t forget how he feels about the EPA, Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), the now iconic climate-change denier, has issued a report saying that if the agency gets the power to regulate greenhouse-gas emissions it would result in “higher energy costs, jobs moving overseas, severe economic impacts of the poor, the elderly, minorities and those on fixed incomes.” Here’s the report. 

Mean, green fighting machine: A new study recommends that the U.S. military wean itself off petroleum by 2040. That would be a heavy lift. Right now the Department of Defense relies on oil for 77 percent of its energy needs. [Center for a New American Security]

And that’s with no burning of haggis: The first minister of Scotland likewise believes in setting the bar high. Alex Salmond said his country should be able to generate all of its electricity with renewable energy by 2025. [The Guardian]

High speed, slow going: Amtrak announced a $117 billion high-speed rail plan connecting D.C., Philadelphia, New York City, and Boston. The project will be completed by 2040. Only about 40 years after China. [Fast Company]

Go with the blow: According to fresh research by Oceana, states along the East Coast could meet close to half their current energy needs by using offshore wind turbines. The analysis found that North Carolina, South Carolina, New Jersey, and Virginia have the most potential. [Reuters]

Make it white: Using half a million dollars from BP, Florida’s Santa Rosa County brought in six travel writers and chauffeured them around to clean beaches as a way of proving that in Pensacola, everything is good to go. [Los Angeles Times]

Dirty money: The U.S. Department of Energy has committed $1 billion of stimulus money to a clean coal project in Illinois. [Huffington Post]

Look before you leak: The Japanese have started testing ways to drill for the frozen methane (aka “fire ice”) that is locked deep underwater off Japan’s coastline. But green groups worry that extracting methane could spur leaks of one of the more damaging greenhouse gases. [The Guardian]

Feeling lucky? Sure, it’s a long shot, but someday you may have the chance to pedal to work in a clear plastic pod that rides on a track like a monorail. Before you say that’s crazy talk, consider this: Google has invested $1 million in R&D for the concept. [Discovery News]