Clean Start: January 26, 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?

A tornado hit Austin, Texas, and thunderstorms pounded San Antonio, Dallas and Houston on Wednesday, bringing the parched Lone Star State drenching rains and destructive winds that knocked out power, flooded streets and kept emergency workers busy rescuing drivers stranded in high water. [Reuters]

Fiji declared flood-hit areas of the main island Viti Levu a disaster zone Thursday, as the death toll from the deluge lashing the Pacific nation rose to six. [AFP]

Stakeholders concerned about the economic and environmental impact of gas and oil drilling in state waters met at Ship Island Excursions in Gulfport, MS on Wednesday to discuss their thoughts and a study they commissioned. [Biloxi Sun-Herald]


Flooding will be Britain’s biggest climate risk this century, with damage set to cost as much as 12 billion pounds ($18 billion) a year by the 2080s if nothing is done to adapt to extreme weather, a report said on Thursday. [Reuters]

Kinder Morgan, the largest independent transporter of petroleum products in the U.S., is planning its pipeline growth around an inevitable shift to natural gas in the U.S., CEO Richard Kinder said Wednesday. [Houston Chronicle]

A Republican proposal in the House of Representatives to strip President Barack Obama’s authority to rule on the permit for the Keystone XL Canada-to-Texas tar sands pipeline raises serious legal issues, a top State Department official said on Wednesday. [Reuters]

There is a growing list of individuals and businesses turning to the solar energy industry as a source of employment in a job market that’s recently seen double-digit unemployment rates, and as a hedge against future energy inflation costs. [Tennessean]

Residents of a town in southern China have been rushing to buy bottled water after excessive levels of carcinogenic cadmium were found in a river source of drinking water, state media said on Thursday in the latest health scare to hit the country. [Reuters]


Sand baskets that the Tennessee Valley Authority installed at dams to protect its nuclear plants from a worst-case flood could fail, according to a federal nuclear oversight group. [Tennessean]

Climate change and rapid urbanization play an ever-greater role in shaping humanitarian crises, according to an AlertNet poll of the world’s biggest aid organizations. [Reuters]

TransCanada Corp., the Calgary-based company pushing a $7 billion pipeline from Alberta’s tar sands to refineries along the U.S. Gulf Coast, spent $1.33 million on Washington lobbyists last year. [Businessweek]

The Environmental Protection Agency is continuing to prioritize the enforcement of its new source review permitting program at coal-fired power plants, an agency official said. [BNA]

Chinese solar panel makers flooded the U.S. market with their products at the end of last year in anticipation of potential duties on those products, a coalition of domestic solar manufacturers said on Wednesday. [Reuters]

As sales of electric cars begin to pick up, retailers nationwide are installing electric vehicle charging stations in their parking lots so customers can plug in and juice up their vehicles while browsing inside. [LA Times]


House Republicans are threatening to subpoena the Interior Department for documents related to a 2010 report that incorrectly implied that outside experts had endorsed a temporary ban on deepwater drilling in the wake of the BP spill. [The Hill]

The National Energy Board (NEB), the federal body tasked with overseeing the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline hearing, issued a general directive one year ago designed to exclude input from prominent environmental groups critical of the astonishingly rapid expansion of the tar sands. [DeSmogBlog]

Enbridge Inc’s controversial plan to build a pipeline to the Pacific Coast from tar-sands-rich Alberta requires the consent of aboriginal bands, some of whom staunchly oppose the project, Canada’s top native leader said on Wednesday. [Reuters]