Clean Start: February 6, 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?

Five people drowned as torrential rains flooded southern Bulgaria on Monday, breaking a dam wall and submerging a whole village under 8 feet of icy water, officials and rescuers said. [IOL News]

U.S. officials, including North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple, are now talking with Canadians about changing the operational plan for the dams that protect Minot, ND, that both sides agreed to in 1989 to account for increasingly torrential rain. [Jamestown Sun]

Major flood warnings have been issued for rivers across northern New South Wales, Australia as thousands remain isolated and residents begin the “soul destroying” task of cleaning up in broiling heat. [Sydney Morning Herald]

Legislation designed to help state-backed Citizens Property Insurance Co. spin off customers to reduce its hurricane risk cleared the Florida House after a heated debate Friday. The bill (HB 245) would let surplus lines companies, which have unregulated rates, take customers from Citizens if the firms meet certain financial requirements. [Claims Journal]

Despite several major setbacks last year, Massachusetts’ clean energy industry is alive and thriving, according to Gov. Deval Patrick’s top environmental official. [MetroWest Daily News]

Solar power in Boulder City, the home of the Hoover Dam, generates so much revenue that Mayor Roger Tobler in his recent State of the City address said the solar projects have the potential to eliminate the city’s debt and stabilize its revenue stream far into the future. [Las Vegas Review-Journal]

The United States Department of the Interior said opening up the mid-Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf area for renewable energy projects will not have significant negative impacts – a finding allowing the agency to move forward with issuing leases for the said resource-rich areas. [EcoSeed]

China announced Monday it will prohibit its airlines from paying European Union charges on carbon emissions, ratcheting up a global dispute over the cost of combatting climate change. [Washington Post]

As the China-built, Cuba-operated Scarabeo 9 water oil rig has started drilling for oil off the coast of Cuba, experts based in two Florida universities and others are concerned an oil spill could cause catastrophic damage to the coast from South Florida to the Carolinas. [EpochTimes]

By May, gas prices could spike another 60 cents to an average of $4.05, which is much higher prices in some states. [USA Today]

Some leading analysts and legal observers believe the highly anticipated “trial of the century” over the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, set to begin in three weeks, will end before it starts with a “global settlement.” []

A small group of leading climate scientists, financially supported by billionaires including Bill Gates, are lobbying governments and international bodies to back experiments into manipulating the climate on a global scale to avoid catastrophic climate change. [Guardian]

In the Lagos, Nigeria, delta, the burning inferno of what used to be a Chevron Corp. natural gas rig still stains the night’s sky orange more than two weeks after the rig caught fire, and no one can say when it will end as swarms of dead fish surface. [AP]

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