Clean Start: December 14, 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-lease auctions for the Gulf of Mexico should be halted because regulators failed to fully consider the risks revealed in the Deepwater Horizon disaster, according to a lawsuit filed by environmental activist groups. [Bloomberg]

Blowout preventer maker Cameron International Corp. asked a federal appeals court to derail a trial set for February to determine which companies should be blamed for the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. [BusinessWeek]

Republican attacks on the Environmental Protection Agency constitute the most pressing development in environmental law and policy facing the United States, according to Vermont Law School’s 2011-’12 Environmental Watch List. []

A surge in mega-hydropower projects across the world in the coming decade will only be affected marginally by last week’s decision to delay building a large dam across the Mekong, Southeast Asia’s longest river. [Reuters]

A new study released by the American Wind Energy Assn. today said 54,000 jobs can be created and maintained if Congress acts to extend the Production Tax Credit, which is set to expire in 2012. [LA Times]

Researchers are using wind tunnel tests to quantify the characteristics of surface winds over hilly terrains, determine the best placement of wind turbines on hilly terrains and find the best design for large wind farms on hilly terrains. [ScienceDaily]

According to a recent study, cap and trade has created 3,800 jobs and nearly $500 million in economic activity for Massachusetts since 2008. [Inside Climate]

Canada still has a legal obligation under United Nations rules to cut its emissions despite the country’s pullout from the Kyoto Protocol, the U.N. climate chief said on Tuesday. [Reuters]

A winter storm brought more than two feet of snow to parts of northern Arizona by Tuesday morning. [Prescott Daily Courier]

Adding a charred biomass material called biochar to glacial soils can help reduce emissions of the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists. [ScienceDaily]

Meteorologists and officials from across the country gathered Tuesday at the National Weather Center in Norman for the first Weather-Ready Nation workshop, discussing weather events and natural disasters in 2011. [Oklahoman]

Irene’s flood waters tore up the parking lot at the Schoharie Crossing State Historic Site, uncovering remnants of an 18th century fort. [Fox 23]

Midwestern farmers who saw their land swamped by summer flooding may be socked again with steep increases in their crop insurance premiums, the expensive result of the failure to fix broken levees before the winter snow and next spring’s rains. [AP]

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