Clean Start: Friday, December 9, 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?

Don Blankenship, the infamous CEO of the coal company whose unsafe practices led to 29 miners deaths last year, has formed a new Kentucky coal company. [AP]

Goldman downgraded coal giant Peabody Energy Corp, while lowering its view on the coal sector from “attractive” to “neutral.” [CBS News]

Exxon’s energy outlook report found that coal is on its way out, to be replaced by natural gas. [WSJ]

Yesterday, the EPA confirmed that fracking chemicals used to extract shale gas can contaminate drinking water. [USA Today]

Safe Sushi is an app created by the Sierra Club about which fish have high levels of mercury, now available for the Android market and available on iTurnes on December 16. [Sierra Club]

Taken together, extreme climate disasters have cost our country at least $53 billion this year. [NRDC]

House Republicans have proposed expanding domestic fossil-fuel extraction on federal lands and in offshore areas, and depositing much of the royalty revenue into the federal Highway Trust Fund. [National Review]

The Coast Guard officer that took charge of the federal response to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill off the Texas coast is now overseeing offshore drilling as the new director of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement. [Houston Chronicle]

The Republican-run House on Thursday voted to to approve the “mother of all anti-regulation bills” — covering everything from health care to dangerous children’s toys. [AP]

The House on Thursday approved legislation Republicans said was aimed at ensuring the EPA cannot regulate so-called “farm dust,” but which actually exempts toxic mining pollution. [The Hill]

An ongoing reassessment of damage done to streets and sidewalks by Hurricane Katrina’s floodwaters has yielded $52 million in new FEMA financing for repairs in several New Orleans neighborhoods, Mayor Mitch Landrieu announced Thursday. [Times-Picauyne]

Gov. Andrew Cuomo will be in the Binghamton area to sign flood relief legislation for communities still recovering from tropical storms Irene and Lee. [AP]

House of Representatives will include approval of the Keystone XL tar pipeline in a payroll tax cut bill, House Speaker John Boehner said on Thursday, raising the political stakes on the issue. [Reuters]

Scientists have used satellite data from NASA-built Landsat missions to confirm that more than 20 years of warming temperatures in northern Quebec, Canada, have resulted in an increase in the amount and extent of shrubs and grasses. [Science Daily]

New research into Earth’s paleoclimate history by NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies director James E. Hansen suggests the potential for rapid climate changes this century, including multiple meters of sea level rise, if global warming is not abated. [Science Daily]

A new study suggests that earthquakes, including the big temblors in Haiti and Taiwan in 2010, might have been triggered by tropical cyclones. [Mother Jones]

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