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Obama administration

Today, six months from the day the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded 42 miles off the Louisiana shore, much is still unknown about the effects of the nation's biggest oil spill, which gushed for 95 continuous days and spilled nearly 200 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. (See a visual timeline of the oil spill.)

Only days before BP's oil well blew in the Gulf of Mexico, Interior Sec. Ken Salazar was on the Gulf Coast wearing a 10-gallon cowboy hat and preaching the good news about oil drilling in the Gulf. Soon after his sermon, Salazar was eating those words, hat in hand, as millions of gallons of oil flooded coastal waters.

Today, we learned that West Virginia's Governor, Gov. Joe Manchin, is suing the EPA for its policies to strengthen watch over the state's biggest polluter, the coal mining industry and to ensure that mining does not put the people of the state and their water supplies directly in harm's way, compeletely devalue their property and turn their communities into wrecking zones for coal corporations.

<Update:  AP reports that Florida State University professor Ian MacDonald "is gratified" by today's oil spill commission report. He has been at odds with government estimates of oil spilled and had this to say to AP:

From the beginning, there was "a contradiction between discoveries and concerns by academic scientists and statements by NOAA," MacDonald said in an interview with the AP at the oil spill conference.

West Virginia is synonymous with coal mining, but a new study suggests the Mountain State is also a prime location for geothermal energy production.

A subsurface map produced by Southern Methodist University with funding from the philanthropic arm of search engine giant Google, found a large swath of geothermal hot spots in the eastern portion of the state that could be tapped to produce energy for Atlantic Seaboard communities.

You may have seen pictures of hundreds of huge fuel transport trucks stranded on the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. The border was closed by the Pakistani government following a drone attack that killed several suspected terrorists. The trucks are a handy target for marauding insurgents, who sneak in and torch them under cover of darkness.

There may be something of a silver lining, however.

What's the chance that President Obama was inspired by Tom Turner's blog item a few weeks ago, in which Tom noted that Obama's folks refused to re-install solar panels on the White House? Put up by President Jimmy Carter, the panels were promptly taken down when President Ronald Reagan took office.

Now there's news that solar power will again come to the White House roof—both passive and active. The announcement by Energy Sec. Stephen Chu included a re-statement of the administration's commitment to solar energy development:

This project reflects President Obama's strong commitment to U.S. leadership in solar energy and the jobs it will create here at home. Deploying solar energy technologies across the country will help America lead the global economy for years to come.

 

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