E2 Round-up: Gulf of Mexico spill grows, Cape Wind foes ready lawsuits, and Senate climate delay harms carbon markets.

“The explosion and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig about 130 miles (210 kilometers) southeast of New Orleans last week caused a slick that had drifted within 16 miles of the coast, according to a Coast Guard map released after a press conference yesterday. The spill is about 600 miles in circumference, the Coast Guard said. That’s about twice the land area of Maryland,” Bloomberg notes.

Cleanup crews began an effort to burn off parts of the huge slick yesterday on a test basis.

Coast Guard Rear Adm. Mary Landry said a controlled, test burn late Wednesday afternoon was successful, AP reports.


The burns are “the latest in a series of high- and low-tech efforts to stop the oil leak, reel in as much of the oil as possible to prevent it from washing ashore and harming the fragile wildlife and plant life that dot the coast,” their story states.

* Foes of the Cape Wind project are preparing lawsuits to block the wind farm’s construction

The fight over the controversial Masachusetts offshore wind project is headed for the courts after Interior Secretary Ken Salazar gave Cape Wind a green light Wednesday.

“Two Native American tribes oppose the project too, saying it is being built in a culturally significant area. The town of Barnstable has already filed a notice of intent to file a lawsuit, and the Wampanoag tribe is preparing to mount a legal challenge to the project for violations of tribal rights,” the Boston Herald reports.

But this Boston Globe story says opponents of the wind farm face an uphill legal battle.

“Legal specialists say that it is highly unlikely that legal challenges would ultimately succeed, given precedents set by previous federal court rulings and the extraordinary regulatory hurdles that the project has cleared over the past decade,” the Globe notes.

“At most, litigation could delay completion of the 130 turbines in Nantucket Sound for a couple of years, said Patrick A. Parenteau, a professor of environmental law at Vermont Law School. But the chances of getting a federal court order to prevent construction from even starting are almost nil, he said.”

* The delay of Senate climate change legislation is bad for voluntary carbon trading markets

This Reuters piece says that “many investors are looking for any positive steps toward a U.S. climate bill before committing themselves to the voluntary market.”

The plan crafted by Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Joe Liebeman (I-Conn.) is caught up in a partisan fight over immigration reform.

“The bill was expected to indicate how many offsets could be imported under a U.S. emissions trading scheme,” Reuters reports.

“Factors such as sector, size, start date, auctioning limits and fungible credits were expected by many to be revealed with explicit information possibly jump-starting the moribund U.S. carbon market,” said Grattan MacGiffin, head of voluntary carbon markets at brokers MF Global, in their story.