+ The skimmers, the relief well and other response efforts have stalled, but the well will remain capped (leaks notwithstanding) as tropical storm Bonnie approaches.

+ A new report commissioned by the U.S. Travel Association shows that the oil spill could cost Gulf states $22.7 billion in business over three years, but that a $500 million “emergency marketing fund” could reduce those losses by as much as one third (full report after the jump).

+ Portions of the eastern Gulf of Mexico have been reopened for fishing, and Gov. Charlie Crist has announced plans to extend Florida’s red snapper season in a bid to boost struggling fishing and tourism industries.

+ A team of federal agencies has confirmed the presence of oil-and-dispersant plumes thousands of feet below the surface, most heavily concentrated in the area immediately surrounding the well (official press release here).

+ Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has pledged to limit the revolving door between federal regulators, lobbyists and the oil industry.

+ “Mother Nature aside, the third day of the third round of hearings by a federal board meeting outside New Orleans focused on an array of human factors that may have contributed to one of the worst environmental disasters in history.”

+ One example of human error: Alarms on the Deepwater Horizon were disabled so workers could sleep.

+ Raising the limit on oil spill damages is now a key component of a scaled-down energy bill, which does next to nothing for renewable energy (more after the jump).

Report: Oil spill could cost $22.7 in tourism over three years
The full report, prepared by Oxford Economics USA, is available below:

Oxford Economics USTA Report

Prospects bleak for climate legislation
Cap-and-trade, and even a renewable energy requirement, have now been stripped from the Senate version of a federal energy bill (see discussion here), leaving the focus on oil spill response measures.

According to Politico, “the blame game has already begun.” Democrats blame environmentalists for not lobbying hard enough, environmentalists blame politicians (especially President Obama) for displaying a lack of leadership, and Republicans blame Democrats.

Primary politics sent several one-time Republican climate advocates running for cover. Back in 2003, after a losing floor vote, Sen. John McCain pledged to keep on plugging away on the climate issue just like he did campaign finance reform. But he avoided the new negotiations that included his best Senate friends, Joe Lieberman and Graham. Instead, McCain attacked Obama for packaging pieces of his climate policy in a budget request and then insisted on nuclear power provisions that he knew touched a raw nerve with Reid.

Meanwhile, China is moving ahead with its own cap and trade measure (according to the state-run press).

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