News bites: BP gets mocked at Mardi Gras, spill commission co-chair praises oil industry progress, and more

BP got mocked at Mardi Gras in New Orleans this week.

“Revelers wearing costumes that lampooned current events can be seen along Bourbon Street. The oil spill is a popular theme,” the Associated Press reports. “One man was dressed as a member of a clean-up crew. Five New Orleans women wore grass skirts along with hats with the BP logo. Their shirts contained slogans blasting the oil company.”

On Wednesday, oil was at about $105 a barrel, according to CNNMoney.

And high oil prices could mean more revenue for some U.S. states.

“As crude prices have surpassed $100 a barrel since turmoil in North Africa began toppling governments, U.S. states led by Texas, Alaska, North Dakota and Louisiana have gained from energy taxes that are tied to market prices. In Texas, that may provide relief for a deficit of as much as $27 billion. Oil futures touched $106.95 a barrel March 7 in New York,” Bloomberg reports.

“’When you see $100-a-barrel oil, it will really create some upside for Texas,’ said John Hallacy, Bank of America Merrill Lynch manager of municipal research in New York. ‘It can bring in new revenue.’”

The latest report on toxic air pollution from coal plants was released Tuesday.

USA Today reports: “Coal-fired power plants release more toxic air pollutants such as arsenic and lead than any other U.S. industrial pollution source, says a report Tuesday by the American Lung Association.”

“The report comes as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency gets ready to propose rules to address this pollution, which it's required to do by March 16. Environmental and health care groups, including the ALA, are pushing for strict limits on pollutants. The industry seeks more flexibility.”

And a NASA report says major ice sheets are shrinking more quickly than scientists previously thought.

Here’s Bloomberg
: “Greenland and Antarctica’s ice sheets are shrinking more quickly, suggesting United Nations projections for sea-level rise are too conservative, a U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration-funded study said.”