REVOLTIN' DEVELOPMENT: A real-estate developer is suing the Tennessee Valley Authority for $165 million over last week's billion-gallon coal-ash flood in East Tennessee, claiming damages from the public utility for land the spill inundated and likely contaminated. He says it already cost him two home sales, and CNN reports that other plaintiffs are expected to join the suit by Monday. In a potential boost to claims against the TVA, a Nashville TV station is reporting that concerns about the earthen dam holding the slurry surfaced five years ago. It's even leaked before, although it isn't clear if previous leaks were related to the recent breach. (Sources: CNNThe Associated Press, WSMV-TV)

SKINNY BEACH: As Malibu's increasingly misnomered Broad Beach erodes down to a stub of its former self, scientists are pointing fingers at rising sea levels, which global warming is expected to hasten over the next century. Depending on a beach's slope, every inch of sea-level rise overtakes 50 inches of land.  (Source: The Los Angeles Times)

GUM RUNNERS: Long marginalized by makers of synthetic gums, the Mexican chicleros — the people who ascend into Yucatan jungle canopies to extract natural chicle — are staging a comeback, The Guardian reports. They're about to launch their own brand of certified organic chewing gum, which in addition to being more environmentally friendly is also biodegradable, meaning less of this. (Source: The Guardian)

JATROPHA: Air New Zealand successfully tested a 747 flight Tuesday using a 50-50 blend of regular jet fuel and jatropha oil, the first such test by a commercial airline. The jatropha plant needs little water or fertilizer compared with other biofuel crops like corn and soybeans, its seeds are up to 40 percent oil, and it's hardy enough to grow nearly anywhere, even in sandy, salty or otherwise poor soil. (Source: The New York Times)

HONEYTRAP: Despite widespread labeling of honey as "organic" in the United States, such a distinction is generally meaningless, The San Francisco Chronicle reports. Beekeepers can keep their apiaries as organic as they want, but their bees are out pollinating a panoply of plants, many of which are treated with pesticides or other chemicals. (Source: SF Chronicle)

GREEN-CHIP STOCKS: Seeking Alpha has compiled a list of 10 promising renewable-energy and energy-efficiency stocks for 2009. (Source: Seeking Alpha)

Russell McLendon

The Morning Briefing: 12/31
TN P.O.'d at TVA, another skinny beach wastes away in Malibu, Mexico's chicleros chew wisely, jet-setting with jatropha oil, taking a fine-tooth honeycomb to or