Clean Start: March 28, 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?

After months of laboratory work, scientists say they can definitively finger oil from BP’s blown-out well as the culprit for the slow death of a once brightly colored deep-sea coral community in the Gulf of Mexico that is now brown and dull. [AP]

A raging Colorado wildfire — which started burning Monday afternoon — has destroyed or damage 23 homes; two people were found dead in a burned area and a woman is still missing. [9 News]

Storms brought heavy wind and high seas to Louisiana last week, prompting Wildlife and Fisheries officials to mobilize to prevent a Montegut levee from breaching again. [Houma Today]


Joplin’s future could be guided in part by Wallace Bajjali Development Partners, a Texas development firm that has put together projects in two other tornado-torn cities and could bring up to $1 billion in private investment possibilities to the city’s tornado redevelopment. [Joplin Globe]

A national environmental group asked a federal judge in Seattle on Tuesday to temporarily stop the federal government from issuing flood-insurance policies for new development in certain flood-prone areas around Puget Sound. [Seattle Times]

Not even the flooding of 18 inches of water inside their restaurant, 3 feet of water outside and $60,000 in resulting damages and lost sales can curb the determination of Mark and Glenna Jones to reopen Clay’s Cafe, located on West Main Street in downtown Hebron, Ohio. [Newark Advocate]

Lloyd’s of London, the world’s oldest insurance market, is struggling to raise premium rates even after the worst year for natural catastrophe claims on record, with a pretax loss of 516 million pounds ($823 million) in 2011. [Bloomberg]

Record-breaking severe weather outbreaks and destruction, particularly in 2011, have changed how insurers define high-risk areas beyond Tornado Alley and measure damage from all levels of storms. [Times Record News]


More than two in three Americans disapprove of how President Barack Obama is dealing with soaring gas prices, but don’t focus their blame on him for causing the problem, according to a new poll. [Politico]

More than a year into a probe that’s extended to the Energy Department loan guarantee portfolio, Republican investigators acknowledge they’ve fallen short of substantiating their allegations that the administration helped political allies like Tulsa oilman George Kaiser secure hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidies through a loan guarantee to Solyndra. [Politico]

A federal appeals court scolded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday for rejecting a series of state pollution control projects in Texas that federal regulators said failed to satisfy requirements of the Clean Air Act. [Houston Chronicle]

Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) filed the Gas Price Relief Act as an amendment to the Democrats’ bill on Tuesday, in which he proposed Congress repeal tax breaks enjoyed by the largest oil and gas companies and put that money toward reducing the gas tax, the highway trust fund, and paying for increased oil drilling and construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline. [Las Vegas Sun]

The RESTORE Act, currently part of the federal transportation bill, makes the sensible proposal that 80 percent of the money from the Clean Water Act fines related to the Deepwater spill would go toward restoring the Gulf’s ecosystem and economy. [Houston Chronicle]