Clean Start: March 14, 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?

Despite last year’s bankruptcies of several solar manufacturers, the U.S. solar and wind industries continue to expand in the face of obstacles this year. [USA Today]

China’s groundwater irrigation system is responsible for polluting the atmosphere with more than 30 million tons of CO2 per year – according to research from the University of East Anglia. [Science Daily]

Global warming-fueled sea level rise over the next century could flood 3.7 million people in 544 U.S. cities temporarily, according to a new method of looking at risking of rising seas published in two scientific papers. [AP]

People and farm animals were evacuated from several properties northeast of Fort Collins as a 200-plus-acre wildfire torched trees and scorched earth. [Coloradoan]

Tropical cyclone Lua churning off the northwest coast of Australia has forced energy companies Woodside Petroleum Ltd., Santos Ltd. (STO) and Apache Corp. (APA) to suspend more than a quarter of the country’s daily crude oil production. [Businessweek]

The U.S. Senate on Tuesday resoundingly rejected a sweeping measure to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and other protected areas to drilling as well as approve construction of the Keystone pipeline project. [News Tribune]

Chevron could win back its suspended offshore oil drilling rights in Brazil “within months” if it can convince the country’s oil regulator that it understands why a November spill happened, Magda Chambriard, the regulator’s chief, told reporters on Tuesday. [Reuters]

The U.S. Energy Department is mismanaging oversight of $34 billion in taxpayer-backed loans for green energy and other projects, congressional auditors said in a report this week. [Denver Post]

Canadian Solar, one of the world’s largest solar companies, today announced that it has been working with leading solar project developer, Lightsource Renewable Energy Limited, in the completion of four solar power plants throughout England. [MarketWatch]

Two projects — one in the books, one on the boards — point to Central Washington’s increasing role in clean power generation. [Yakima Herald]

Gasoline prices up and down California increased by about a half-dollar over the past month, according to AAA’s monthly California gas price survey released today. [Sacramento Bee]

Pain at the pump is being partly offset by the freakishly warm winter and natural gas, the price of which is buried in the fine print of heating bills. [WSJ]

Energy Secretary Steven Chu reversed his stance on high gasoline prices, telling a Senate committee Tuesday, “Of course we don’t want the price of gasoline to go up. We want it to go down.” [San Francisco Chronicle]

Refiners are pushing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to delay tighter pollution rules for gasoline, while automakers say they need the cleaner fuel. [Businessweek]

With gas prices topping $4 a gallon in Reno-Sparks this week, U.S. Rep. Shelley Berkley highlighted the controversial Keystone XL pipeline during a campaign stop in Reno on Tuesday, slamming her Republican U.S. Senate opponent as an oil company lackey. [Montgomery Advertiser]

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