E2 Round-up: Graham hardens position, raises profile; Massey denies mine was unsafe; 'giant' oil spill to reach shore Saturday

Both the New York Times and the Washington Post profile the "soft-spoken," "intense," "maverick"-in-training today.

“I’m in the center of a lot of important debates — I like that,” Graham told the Times in an interview on Monday. Graham describes himself as a conservative who wants to “put conservative principles in play on hard issues.”

For months that has meant working on climate legislation with Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.). Reportedly, Graham has been able to secure more support for nuclear power and offshore drilling.

But he's involved in more debates than climate change, as the Post notes in its piece:

"As the Obama administration confronts the politics around immigration, especially given a new law in Arizona, its hopes for a bipartisan compromise on the broader issue rest with Republican Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.).

But the White House also needs Graham if it wants to pass comprehensive energy legislation this year. And the West Wing's delicate negotiations over the fate of detainees at Guantanamo Bay are being quietly conducted by . . . Lindsey Graham."

* Massey Energy say no indications from miners that air was unsafe

Federal regulators, administration officials and news reports have suggested that Massey Energy hasn't been sufficiently concerned with the safety of its mines and that the inattention may have contributed to the recent blast that killed 29 miners. Massey board members and CEO Don Blankenship responded on Monday, the day before a Senate committee examines mine safety laws.

The executives said there were “no indications from miners that there were hazards shortly before the blast,” according to the Wall Street Journal

"Company officials said they didn't know what caused the explosion, but that they had no indications of high methane levels inside the mine prior to the accident.

According to Massey, mine foremen inside the Upper Big Branch mine in Montcoal, W.Va., reported no hazards, including methane readings of zero at several locations and a reading of 0.3% in one location, the company said.

Federal safety officials have said methane, which becomes explosive at concentrations of 5%, was a likely cause of the explosion,” according to the Journal.

* Giant oil spill expected to reach shore on Saturday

"We are anticipating onshore impact no matter what we do," said Ed Levine, scientific support coordinator for the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, in an interview with the Journal. "There is no way all of the oil is going to go away by Friday."

Initially government officials thought oil was not seeping into the gulf but have since said that about 1,000 barrels a day are leaking out of the well that the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig was completing when it exploded.

The rig sank last Thursday, and as of Monday afternoon remote-controlled robots had failed to activate equipment that is supposed to shut off the flow of oil from the well. 

The blast is though to have killed 11 workers.





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