Kubrick Would’ve BeenPerfect for This: EPA’s Lisa Jackson Asks Avatar Director James Cameronto Advise Her on How to Stop Leak in the Gulf – No Joke. Associated Press(6/2) reports, “Top kill" didn’t stop the Gulf oil spill. How aboutsomething "titanic"? Federal officials are hoping film director JamesCameron can help them come up with ideas on how to stop the disastrousoil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The "Avatar" and "Titanic" directorwas among a group of scientists and other experts who met Tuesday withofficials from the Environmental Protection Agency and other federalagencies for a brainstorming session on stopping the massive oil leak.The Canadian-born Cameron is considered an expert on underwater filmingand remote vehicle technologies. More than 20 scientists, engineers andtechnical experts attended the meeting, which also includedrepresentatives of the Energy Department, Coast Guard and NationalOceanographic and Atmospheric Administration. Other organizationsrepresented at the gathering included the Woods Hole OceanographicInstitute; Oceanographic Institute at Harbor Branch, Florida AtlanticUniversity; University of California at Santa Barbara; Nuytco ResearchLimited; World Wildlife Fund; and the University of California atBerkeley.

Back-of-the-PhonebookLawyers from All over the Country Rush Down to Gulf Coast to FileLawsuits – Some Even Suing from Areas Where No Oil Can Be Found. Wall Street Journal(6/2) reports, “Just as the Deepwater Horizon oil spill has surpassedthe scope of the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill, it appears the torrent ofrelated litigation has, too. Lawyers here are busy trying to increasethe size and scope of the lawsuits they have filed on behalf of peoplewho contend they were harmed in some way by the disaster spreadingalong the Gulf of Mexico coast. The opening of criminal and civilinvestigations by the government, announced Tuesday, will likely fuelefforts by plaintiffs’ attorneys. Hoping to reel in more clients,attorneys have snapped up domain names such as bigoilspills.comand put up billboards along highways saying "Oil spill hurt yourbusiness?" and advertising their services. Some attorneys have sentrepresentatives to Key West, Fla., to sign up clients even though oilhas yet to wash ashore there—and may never. Others are casting a widernet for defendants, including the Republic of the Marshall Islands,under whose flag the rig is registered. Last week they held a symposiumto trade tips on how to most effectively sue big oil companies, basedin part on their experience with Exxon after its Alaska spill. Aspokesman for BP declined to comment.

Remember When NRELTeamed Up with Big Wind to Attack Whistle-Blowing Professor from Spainon Green Jobs? Well, NREL’s Back – Shilling for Denise Bode Once Again.NY Times(6/2) reports, “Wind energy has plenty going for it: it is clean,unlimited in supply and the most economical source of renewable power.Its clearest drawback is unreliability: sometimes the wind just doesnot blow. But that intermittency – long considered a major shortcoming– may have little impact on the potential for wind to power much of theelectric grid in the western United States, according to a new study bythe Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Lab. The study,released in late May, found that the power grid for five western states– Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Wyoming – could operate onas much as 30 percent wind and 5 percent solar without the constructionof extensive new infrastructure. “If key changes can be made tostandard operating procedures, our research shows that large amounts ofwind and solar can be incorporated onto the grid without a lot ofbackup generation,” Dr. Debra Lew, project manager for the study, saidin a statement. The authors of the N.R.E.L. study tackled thissupposition head on and found it largely baseless. It concluded that inthe West, the broad distribution of wind turbines and solar generationwould essentially smooth out the supply of renewable power.

Enviros Incensed overCourt Ruling that Those Who Actually Make Things in This World CannotBe Sued Simply for Doing So — At Least Under “Public Nuisance”Statutes. Greenwire(6/1, subs. req’d) reports, “After an unusual about-face prompted by alate recusal, a federal appeals court has scrapped a ruling that saidthe nation’s largest producers of greenhouse gas emissions could besued for the damage caused by global warming. The Comer case is one ofseveral pioneering climate change cases based on claims of publicnuisance, a centuries-old mainstay of common law that allows people tosue their neighbors for nuisances such as foul smells, loud noises orovergrown trees. A three-judge panel ruled last year that theplaintiffs could proceed, but that ruling is now out of play unless theplaintiffs appeal to the Supreme Court. After reviewing briefs from theplaintiffs and defendants, the remaining eight judges ruled last Fridayafternoon that they lacked a quorum, meaning they could not review orreinstate the panel’s decision. "This court, lacking a quorum,certainly has no authority to disregard or to rewrite the establishedrules of this court," said Friday’s order, which was signed by five ofthe eight remaining judges. "There is no rule that gives this courtauthority to reinstate the panel opinion, which has been vacated."

NRDC Front GroupAnnounces $3 Million Ad Buy Touting “All of the Above” Approach toEnergy Security – “All” Except for Oil, Gas, Coal, Nuclear and Hydro. E&E News(6/1, subs. req’d) reports, “A “Republican” environmental organizationand a left-leaning think tank today joined forces to launch one of thebiggest advertising campaigns to date on behalf of the climate andenergy bill sponsored by Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Joe Lieberman(I-Conn.).The $3 million effort from Republicans for EnvironmentalProtection and the Truman National Security Project will target 16states — and key lawmakers — through a combination of televisionadvertising, online advertising, direct mail efforts and other voteroutreach activities. The groups will go on the air this week with theirfirst ad, which calls on Congress to stop fighting about the specificsof the energy bill and embrace an "all of the above" approach. The adthen lists divisive policy issues and closes: "Let’s do it all. We needclean, American power now." The ad appears to mesh the approaches usedby both parties, embracing both the Kerry-Lieberman climate bill andthe "all of the above" message that has been particularly popular withHouse Republicans.

Here’s a Question: IsNY Prepared to Shell Out Billions in “Takings” Compensation to LocalLandowners to Whom It Continues to Deny Property Rights? Mike Slezak writes (6/2) in the Binghamton Press & Sun Bulletin,“I am opposed to Bill S.7592/A.10490. This bill is a redundancy ofprevious studies performed by the Environmental Protection Agency thatconcluded hydraulic fracturing is safe and does not present a threat togroundwater sources. This bill originated in Queens and Suffolkcounties. Is there Marcellus to be drilled there? What really irks meand many other landowners is people trying to tell me what I can andcannot do with my land. If I want to cut down every tree on my propertyfor whatever reason, I can. And if I want to allow drilling for naturalgas on my land, I should be allowed. As a landowner, I own the mineralrights contained within my property’s boundaries, the same as thetrees. It seems that my mineral rights are being taken away from me.Most landowners have their own water wells, so don’t you think we havethought about the possible effects drilling may have? I know I have,and I say let’s drill.

Funny Thing AboutSolar Panels – They’ve Got Tons of Cadmium in ‘Em; Apparently That’sToxic, Which Is Putting Solar-Backers in Europe in a Real Tough Spot. Bloomberg(6/2) reports, “The solar-power industry may win exemption fromEuropean Union changes to rules governing the use of hazardoussubstances in electrical goods, offering a reprieve to panel makerssuch as First Solar Inc., lawmakers said. The rule changes, to be putto a parliamentary committee vote in Brussels today, propose giving theEU more scope to restrict substances such as cadmium in electricalgoods. Panels made by U.S.-based First Solar, the world’s largest makerof thin-film solar power modules, are based on cadmium tellurite. Mostlawmakers in parliament’s 64-seat environment group are now seeking acompromise, increasing the EU’s powers to restrict dangerous materialswhile excluding renewable energy products, according to German EUlawmaker Karl-Heinz Florenz. The European People’s Party, whichcontrols 23 votes, has the support of the Greens and a majority ofSocial Democrats for the move, he said. “In all probability, we’ll gainbacking for an exemption,” Florenz, a member of Chancellor AngelaMerkel’s Christian Democratic Union, said in a phone interview. Thecompromise would exempt cadmium tellurite used in any large, fixedrenewable energy facility, subject to a review in 2014, he said.

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