E2 Round-up: Feds to investigate worst mine disaster in two decades, energy industry fights Calif. carbon cap, and poll shows energy beats environment

The New York Times notes that the blast occurred “just four years after federal regulators enacted a sweeping overhaul in mine safety laws. That overhaul, the first in over three decades, came after 19 miners died in a series of mine accidents in West Virginia and Kentucky — including one that brought criminal charges against a Massey subsidiary.”

“This is the second major disaster at a Massey site in recent years, and something needs to be done,” Rep. Nick Rahall, a West Virginia Democrat, said as he arrived at the mine site, according to theTimes.

In California, the energy industry is lobbying against efforts to cap carbon dioxide emissions. A ballot measure the companies are pushing would “bar the state from implementing the law until its jobless rate stabilized at or below 5.5% for a year, which supporters say would signal the return of a strong economy. The state's jobless rate topped 5.5% in October 2007 and now stands at 12.5%,” in the Wall Street Journal.

Gallup has a new poll out: “Americans are more likely to say the U.S. should prioritize development of energy supplies than to say it should prioritize protecting the environment, the first time more have favored energy production over environmental protection in this question's 10-year history.”

The poll was conducted before President Barack Obama announced his administration would make more areas offshore available to oil and gas drilling but seems to validate the decision, at least from a political standpoint.

The poll also found, however, that Americans still favor greater conservation over greater energy production.