News bites: Ancient coal ash spill caused mass extinction, Saudi Arabia eyeing wind, and more

The United State may be the Saudi Arabia of wind, as the cliché goes. But now Saudi Arabia is hoping to get in on the action, replacing some of its massive oil reserves with renewables.

“Saudi Arabia will be burning most of its oil production domestically in less than 20 years if current consumption patterns persist, a senior official has warned,” the Financial Times reports.

“In response, the authorities plan to cut reliance on fossil fuel and develop an alternative energy mix, including atomic and solar sources, as rising local demand could dramatically curtail the kingdom’s ability to export oil.”

The Justice Department has warned Gulf residents to beware of schemes to swindle them out of their oil spill compensation payments. Now we’re seeing some of the first fraud charges.

“Federal authorities say a Jackson man has pleaded guilty to mail fraud related to a scheme to collect $90,000 in claims related to the massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill,” the Associated Press reports.

“The U.S. attorney's office in Jackson said 39-year-old Dennis L. Moore pleaded guilty in federal court Friday to defrauding BP PLC and the Gulf Coast Claims Facility, which administers claims related to the spill.”

And volunteers are working to replace oyster beds damaged as a result of the Gulf oil spill.

“Volunteers from across the country are rebuilding oyster reefs along the Gulf of Mexico's delicate shoreline, hoping to revive oyster beds under assault for decades from overharvesting, coastal development, pollution, and most recently the BP oil spill,” AP says.