Clean Start: March 8, 2012

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?

The stats are in on the winter that wasn’t, and the December through February period stacks up as the fourth-warmest winter on record for the Lower 48 states, according to newly released numbers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). [Climate Central]

Speaking at the IHS CERAWeek energy conference in Houston, chief executives of Anadarko Petroleum, Royal Dutch Shell and other energy giants appealed to global industry leaders to improve their transparency and better address criticisms of hydraulic fracturing and other oil field operations. [Fuel Fix]

Opponents of using new hydraulic fracturing drilling techniques in western Maryland joined state officials Tuesday in asking lawmaker to support a fee to fund a study of potential environmental impacts. Industry officials, meanwhile, turned out in Annapolis to warn members of a Senate committee not to turn away what could be an economic boon for two western counties. [Washington Post]

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) offered a proposal to ban exports of oil from the Keystone XL crude pipeline from Canada and require American iron and steel be used to build it, part of an effort to derail a Republican plan that would fast-track the project. [Reuters]

President Barack Obama is intervening in a Senate fight over the Keystone XL oil pipeline and personally lobbying Democrats to reject an amendment calling for its construction, according to several sources familiar with the talks. [Politico]

The federal government spent $24 billion on energy subsidies in 2011, with the vast majority going to renewable energy sources, according to a government report. [CNN]

The massive avalanche that crushed a village in the far reaches of northern Afghanistan this week, killing at least 50 people, was part of a pattern of extreme temperatures and heavier snowfall that has spread suffering and underscored the government’s continued failings despite a decade of outside assistance and billions of dollars in aid. [NY Times]

Ohio Governor John Kasich said he will introduce a tax for oil and natural-gas producers and is trying to avoid a drain on the state’s services as the Utica basin is developed. [Fuel Fix]

While power plants that burn natural gas produce about half as many carbon emissions as those that burn coal—the dirtiest but still dominant source of U.S. electricity—there is little data on the amount of methane being produced by the boom in natural-gas drilling across the country. [National Journal]

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