Clean Start: March 21, 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?

Less than a year after a tornado swept through central Alabama, killing scores of people, a debris field created by that tornado caught fire Tuesday, threatening more than a dozen houses in the town of Brookwood, an official said. [CNN]

The historic March heat wave has re-written the National Weather Service’s record book. [Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel]

Shiny solar panels, sprawling gas fields and the site of a future oil pipeline will give President Barack Obama a set of convenient photo backdrops this week as he launches a campaign-like tour to tout his energy policies to Americans. [Reuters]


A severe thunderstorm ripped through Morrilton, Arkansas Tuesday afternoon, causing damage to dozens of homes and injuring one person. [KATV]

Transocean Ltd., owner of the oil rig leased to BP Plc that exploded and spewed millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, won dismissal of investor claims that the company failed to disclose repeated safety failures. [Businessweek]

The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood watch for southeast Louisiana and southwest Mississippi through Thursday morning, as a slow moving weather system is expected to produce heavy rains and embedded thunderstorms on Wednesday and Thursday. [New Orleans Times-Picayune]

Activists plan to hold a demonstration calling for “Clean Energy and Peace” when President Obama visits Oklahoma. [The Republic]

Smokey Bear fire danger signs have already been dialed to “high” and “very high” as a mild winter and unseasonably hot temperatures turn grass and brush into fire kindling in what has become a very early and deadly start of the annual wildfire season in Wisconsin, with two people killed in grass fires in the last week. [Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel]

Seventeen oil company executives face criminal charges Wednesday for an oil leak in the Atlantic. [Washington Post]

Townsville, Australia has been declared a natural disaster area after a “mini-tornado” descended on the city without warning and devastated 60 homes and businesses. [The Australian]


Hawaii could be the first state in the nation to establish a “clean economy bank” for renewable energy projects. [CivilBeat]

Heavy rain, hail and at least one tornado struck the central U.S. overnight and the forecast on the first day of spring was for more of the same. [MSNBC]

A statistical analysis of 36 years of monthly, inflation-adjusted gasoline prices and U.S. domestic oil production by The Associated Press shows no statistical correlation between how much oil comes out of U.S. wells and the price at the pump. [AP]

The Commerce Department is imposing new import fees on solar panels made in China, finding that the Chinese government is improperly giving subsidies to manufacturers of the panels there. [Businessweek]

Australia Foreign Affairs Minister Bob Carr has focused on climate change in his first speech to that nation’s Senate. [Australia Broadcast Channel]

Residents on Colorado’s eastern plains are trying to determine the extent of damage and the number of farm animals killed following a wildfire that charred more than 37 square miles. [Washington Post]


The Environmental Protection Agency’s silence on a slew of pending rulemakings is worrying some supporters, who fear the regulations will remain trapped in the White House when an election-year window for new announcements slams shut. [Politico]

Boston-based First Wind announced that it has obtained $236 million in financing for its 69 megawatt Kawailoa Wind project, which, when completed, will be the largest wind energy facility in Hawaii. [Mass High Tech]

A new study mapping out habitats in and around the waters off New York was released on Tuesday, bringing the state a step closer to determining the potential for wind energy projects offshore. [New York Times]