News bites: Oil and the economy, the health effects of moutaintop mining, and Newt Gingrich’s energy industry ties

The International Energy Agency has trimmed its oil demand growth forecast for this year and warns that high prices could dent the economic recovery, Reuters reports.

Dow Jones reports that the Interior Department has approved a Shell Oil exploration plan for deep waters in the Gulf of Mexico.

BP is arguing in court that it’s not responsible for damage to boats that aided in the oil spill cleanup, or for losses to businesses affected by the federal deepwater drilling freeze, Bloomberg reports.

The Charleston Gazette unwraps a study on the public health impacts of mountaintop removal coal mining, and reports on EPA’s defense of its crackdown on the controversial mining practice.

The Daily Beast looks critically at Newt Gingrich’s ties to energy companies.

“The newest Republican contender for the White House says the Environmental Protection Agency should be replaced with a more business-oriented model. And it just so happens that Newt Gingrich has drawn big-time financial support from huge energy companies that would love to be liberated from EPA regulation,” their piece states.

The Washington Post reports that a Greenland meeting of Arctic nations – including the U.S. – is looking at the role of “black carbon” in climate change. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are attending.