July 24 News: Offshore Natural Gas Rig Ablaze After Blowout In Gulf Of Mexico

A natural gas blowout aboard an offshore rig in the Gulf of Mexico caused a fire and forced the evacuation of 44 workers. [NBC News]

A fire erupted on a drilling rig off the Louisiana coast that was surrounded by a “major cloud of gas” after it experienced a blowout, officials said late Tuesday.

The blaze began about 10:50 p.m. local time (11:50 p.m. ET) on the Hercules 265 natural gas platform, which is located around 55 miles off the Louisiana coast in the Gulf of Mexico.

Eileen Angelico, a spokeswoman for the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, said no one was on board when the fire started. The cause of the blaze was unknown early Wednesday.

She added that personnel from Wild Well Inc had been brought in to try and get the well under control, but when they’d approached the blaze Tuesday night they’d determined it was unsafe to get any closer when they were 200ft away from it. …

Earlier on Tuesday, 44 workers were evacuated on two lifeboats after the gas began spewing to the surface. None of them were injured, NBC station WDSU reported.

Coal CEO Robert Murray attacked President Obama’s “campaign to place ‘climate change’ controls on so-called ‘greenhouse gas’ emissions from electric power plants” in a speech to a group including Speaker John Boehner and 10 other members of the Ohio congressional delegation. [Wheeling News-Register]

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The world’s largest public financial institution, the European Investment Bank, said it would stop funding coal plants in an effort to slash carbon emissions. [Business Green]

A federal appeals court ruled that an ozone standard for public health was fine as-is, meaning that the Obama administration’s eventual decision to not strengthen it was confirmed on legal grounds. [AP, E&E; News]

French oil company Total SA wants to drill off the coast of Sri Lanka. [Bloomberg]

House amendments attempt to limit economic cost of using social cost of carbon tool that would measure carbon-intensive regulations’ economic costs. [The Hill]

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As evidence mounts that heavy industrial pollution is taking a toll on its citizens’ health, China is rethinking how it manages its economy. [Wall Street Journal]

The study on fracking’s effects on Wyoming’s water supply that the EPA backed out of last month will now be funded by the very drilling company whose fracking may have caused the water contamination. [ProPublica]

Hamburg, Germany is building a coal-fired power plant, an odd move for a green city in a country aggressively trying to transition to renewable energy. [InsideClimate News]

Louisiana is suing dozens of energy companies, including BP and Exxon Mobil, for decades of damage done to coastal wetlands. [New York Times]

The North Pole, after weeks of higher-than-average temperatures, is now a foot-deep lake. [Live Science]

Climate change is causing the Maine lobster population to spike, but with strained food resources, the lobsters are turning to eating one another. [Mother Jones]

Melting sea ice has caused Arctic shipping to quadruple in the past four years. [Slate]

The U.K. can expect more extreme flooding as climate warms, due to “atmospheric rivers” that carry vast amounts of water vapor, scientists say. [Guardian]

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Five million years ago, global warming caused a massive East Antarctic ice sheet to melt and sea levels to rise by about 70 feet. [National Geographic]

Wouldn’t it be great to be able to blame fossil fuels for the bust of the Spanish feed-in tariff system? Turns out you can — Spain had already placed a ceiling on energy prices before renewables started growing as fast as they did, so rising fossil fuel energy prices seem to be what caused the “energy deficit.” [Renewables International]

Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley wants to strengthen his state’s renewable energy standard by 5 percent — 25 renewables statewide in 7 years. [Washington Post]