Enviro Links: Abandoned Gulf Wells, Greens Sue Exxon, and More

In Gulf disaster news:

There are more than 27,000 abandoned oil and gas wells in the Gulf of Mexico, many of them closed off decades ago, and no one has been keeping track of whether or not they’re leaking, reports the Associated Press. Many are classified as “temporarily abandoned,” and may have failing cement jobs because the rules for capping those wells are not as stringent they are for permanent closures.

The Obama administration has asked a federal appeals court to reinstate the moratorium on new offshore drilling.

More tar balls have been found in Galveston, Texas.

The Navy is sending a blimp to help monitor cleanup efforts in the Gulf.

Oil is now making its way into Lake Pontchartrain, a lake that borders New Orleans. More than 1,000 pounds of tar balls and waste have been removed from the lake.

At least the Gulf spill is benefiting someone: Atlantic Coast vacation destinations.

And in other environmental news:

Environment Texas and the Sierra Club are suing the nation’s largest oil refinery in Baytown, Texas, owned by ExxonMobil Corp, for illegally releasing at least 5.9 million pounds of hazardous air pollutants over five years.

The EPA announced new, tougher standards for dangerous sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions yesterday. By 2012, the plan will cut SO2 emissions 71 percent from 2005 levels and nitrogen oxide emissions by 52 percent, the EPA said.

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) is pressuring the Obama administration to oppose a massive pipleline that would bring oil into the US from Canada’s tar sands.