Clean Start: October 13, 2011

Welcome to Clean Start, ThinkProgress Green’s morning round-up of the latest in climate and clean energy. Here is what we’re reading. What are you?

Oil tanks on a stricken container ship threatening to break in half off the New Zealand coast have survived a pounding by heavy seas, salvage experts said Thursday as the ship’s owners apologized for the large clumps of oil washed up on beaches. [Reuters]

A team of researchers from Canada, the U.S., Sweden and Germany has come up with a plan to double the world’s food production while reducing the environmental impacts of agriculture. [Science Daily]

Canada’s dirty tar sands oil reserves have been turned “into a public-relations nightmare” argues the Financial Times today in its eight page pull-out on Canadian energy, forcing the industry to fight back against this “toxic perception.” [Price of Oil]

Deepwater Wind is racing to build the first U.S. offshore wind farm off Rhode Island and hopes to parlay that into a string of East Coast farms that could partially replace embattled nuclear power plants. [Reuters]

The U.S. offshore drilling regulator on Wednesday formally issued sanctions against BP and the major contractors involved in the 2010 explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig that killed 11 workers and spewed more than 4 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. [Reuters]

Pelican Refining Company pleaded guilty Wednesday to felony violations of the Clean Air Act and to obstruction of justice charges, and will pay $12 million in criminal penalties, including $2 million in community service payments that will go toward various environmental projects in Louisiana, including air pollution monitoring. [EPA]

Workers and soldiers raced to finish defensive walls around inner Bangkok on Thursday as floodwater that has covered about a third of Thailand threatened the capital. [Reuters]

Governments across the Asia Pacific region are investing heavily in smart grid technologies, with total spending on advanced transmission and distribution estimated by Pike Research to reach $123 billion by 2017. [Pike Research]

The heat wave that swept into Southern California on Wednesday is expected to linger Thursday, with forecasters expecting more high temperatures before the region cools off over the weekend. [Daily Breeze]

The remnants of Hurricane Irene killed four people in Vermont, but the storm scattered dozens of sets of human remains — bodies pried from eternal rest in a mountain cemetery in the town of Rochester and swept down a raging river, where some may never be identified or even found. [AP]

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