Enviro Links: White House Energy Huddle, Biden in the Gulf, and More

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Today in climate news:

Wondering what Sen. Robert Byrd’s death means for a climate and energy bill? Here’s a good exploration of the subject. The most important issue is who Gov. Joe Manchin (D) will appoint to finish out the rest of Byrd’s term. Manchin, who last year named coal the state rock, is likely to pick someone in line with his own politics to hold the seat, and may well make a bid himself in 2012.

The climate and energy huddle with President Obama and a bipartisan group of 23 senators has been rescheduled for this morning. Dems reportedly on the invite list: Sherrod Brown (Ohio), Jay Rockefeller (W.Va.), Max Baucus (Mont.), Tom Carper (Del.), Maria Cantwell (Wash.), Mark Begich (Alaska), Harry Reid (Nev.), John Kerry (Mass.), Joe Lieberman (Conn.), Barbara Boxer (Calif.), Blanche Lincoln (Ark.), Jeff Bingaman (N.M.), Byron Dorgan (N.D.), Jeff Merkley (Ore.); Bill Nelson (Fla.) and Debbie Stabenow (Mich.). Republicans: Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), Olympia Snow (Maine), George Voinovich (Ohio), Richard Lugar (Ind.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Judd Gregg (N.H.) and Susan Collins (Maine). Lindsey Graham (SC) was invited, but he says he’s too busy to attend.

Still, most Republicans are not planning to endorse climate legislation this year, no way, no how.

ClimateWire reports that it is looking more likely that a final vote on an energy and climate package might come in a lame-duck session after the November elections.

Brad Johnson at Wonk Room says Majority Leader Harry Reid’s plan to group climate and energy will call out the “climate peacocks”—the senators who voted to block the EPA from regulating climate change because they said they believe that it should be the job of Congress.

And in BP oil disaster news:

Tropical Storm Alex looks likely to become a hurricane. While it is not expected to hit the oil-slicked region of the Gulf, it may delay efforts to capture more oil from the gusher.

Vice President Joe Biden will travel to Louisiana and Florida today to survey oil disaster damage and response.

Oil has now hit Mississippi’s beaches.

Best quote from the TEDxOilSpill Conference yesterday, from ecologist Carl Safina: “If you put the murderer in charge of the crime scene, they will try to hide the body.”

Also at TEDx, Francis Beland, a VP at the XPrize Foundation, announced they will offer a $10 million prize for the best ideas about how to deal with the oil spill. Got a good idea? Email him: francis@xprize.org.

Not only do we need to worry about the polluted Gulf, but the level of pollutants in the air in the region is also raising red flags. Scientists aren’t yet sure whether it’s the oil, the dispersants, or a combination of the two that is causing the high levels of toxic chemicals in the air.

House Democrats bash other oil companies for their pitiful spill response planning, which looks suspiciously like BP’s.

Wildlife rescuers are taking extraordinary measures to save turtle hatchlings from the oil disaster in the Gulf, the St. Petersburg Times reports. State and federal biologists plan to move 800 nests along Florida’s Panhandle and the Alabama coast 500 miles to the east, possibly to a climate-controlled warehouse.

BP is now spending more than $100 million a day on containing and cleaning up the oil disaster.

US seafood suppliers are turning to Asian shrimpers to make up for the deficit due to the Gulf disaster.

And in other environmental news:

Old roof shingles are being used to pave roads.

Dengue fever is making a comeback in the United States.

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