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June 6 News: Tropical Storm Andrea Kicks Off The 2013 Hurricane Season

Andrea, the first tropical storm of what is expected to be a busy 2013 hurricane season, headed toward Florida’s coast this morning with rain and sustained winds near 60 mph. [USA Today]

The first tropical storm of the Atlantic hurricane season got a little stronger early Thursday as it headed toward Florida’s western coast, bringing drenching rain to much of the state. A new tropical storm warning was also issued for a swath of the U.S. East Coast.

As of 8 a.m. ET, Tropical Storm Andrea had winds of 60 mph and was moving to the north-northeast at 14 mph. The center of the storm was located about 160 miles west of Tampa.

“The rain covers a good portion of the Florida peninsula even though the center is a couple of hundred miles offshore,” said Eric Blake, a hurricane specialist at the National Hurricane Center in Miami..

Tropical storm warnings were in effect for a large section of Florida’s west coast from Boca Grande to Indian Pass and for the East Coast from Flagler Beach, Fla., all the way to Cape Charles Light in Virginia.

The U.S. is importing a lot less oil, which is helping close the trade deficit. [Daily Beast]

The Koch-funded conservative group Americans for Prosperity is up with a new online ad campaign targeting vulnerable Democrats over the idea of a carbon tax. [The Hill]

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The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee has passed 32 bills in a bipartisan fashion, yet none has received a vote in the full Senate . [National Journal]

Tom Vilsack announced new Agriculture Department programs that would tailor climate-change relief for farmers by region, providing resources and research on how to plant in the face of a changing climate. [Bloomberg]

The House Energy and Commerce Committee is marking up a bill that would prevent EPA from regulating toxic coal ash. [Committee Markup Notice]

GOP lawmakers took aim yesterday at standards requiring an increased blend of biofuel in the nation’s gasoline supplies. [The Hill]

A new carbon nanotube and nitrogen catalyst could lead to a new generation of low cost batteries for electric vehicles. [Clean Technica]

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The House just passed a bill to prevent FEMA from ending flood insurance subsidies to homes in newly remapped “below base flood elevation” areas. [Times-Picayune]

A large flood wall has been constructed on the National Mall to protect downtown Washington, D.C. from catastrophic flooding. No really, it has. [Politico]

Conservative billionaire Charles Koch confirmed his interest in buying newspapers, saying an editorial page “would be a marketplace of ideas where all sorts of approaches to public-policy issues are vetted and contrasted, and there could be ongoing debate.” [Wall Street Journal]

As previously reported, following concerns raised by local landowners, TransCanada is having to fix “anomalies” and “imperfections” in already-completed sections of the Keystone tar sands pipeline. [[Inside Climate News]

74 percent of Americans agree that their tax dollars should be spent on growing an improving public transportation — up from 69 percent in 2012. [Clean Technica]

New Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz calls the reaction to his hairdo “absolutely excellent.” [The Hill]