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newsclips -- Newsclips for March 16, 2011. Posted: 16 Mar 2011 12:54:00
California Air Resources Board News Clips for March 16, 2011. This is a service of the California Air Resources Board’s Office of Communications. You may need to sign in or register with individual websites to view some of the following news articles. AIR POLLUTION EPA Issues New Proposal To Regulate Mercury, Other Air Emissions From Coal-Fired Power Plants. HOUSTON — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced a proposal to regulate emissions from coal-fired power plants, including rules limiting mercury pollution for the first time. The proposal is being praised by environmental and medical groups who say it will clean the air and preserve health. Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/epa-issues-new-proposal-to-regulate-mercury-other-air-emissions-from-coal-fired-power-plants/2011/03/16/ABX0pMe_story.html http://www.eenews.net/Greenwire/print/2011/03/16/1 http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-03-16/epa-proposes-first-u-s-standard-for-coal-plant-mercury-1-.html Japan Radiation Risk To California Is Downplayed. Health officials say there is no threat at this time because of the distance nuclear radiation would have to travel. But that is not stopping some from taking their own precautions. Within days, nuclear radiation released from Japan's damaged Fukushima reactors could reach California, but experts say the amount that makes its way across the ocean should pose no danger. "What we're being told is that there is no threat to California at this time," said Mike Sicilia, a spokesman for the California Department of Public Health. "It's a matter of distance. Dangerous radioactivity could not cross the 5,000 miles of the Pacific without petering out." Posted. http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-0316-california-radiation-20110316,0,3363153,print.story Q&A Radiation Exposure And The Effects On Human Health. A look at what could happen to people who are exposed to radiation in the Japanese nuclear crisis. As engineers have fought to avert a meltdown at the earthquake- and tsunami-crippled Fukushima No. 1 (Daiichi) power plant, nuclear authorities have reported that spikes of radiation have escaped from the facility at levels that can be dangerous to human health. Authorities have evacuated more than 170,000 people within 12 miles of the plant and have warned those within 20 miles to stay indoors and close off ventilation systems. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-he-japan-quake-radiation-20110316,0,4993430,print.story EPA Deploys More Radiation Monitors To The West Coast. As public concern grows about radiation from Japan possibly drifting to the West Coast of the United States, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday announced that it will deploy more electronic monitors that measure radiation levels in the air. The monitors, which detect gamma radiation and radioactive particles, will be set up in "parts of the Western U.S. and U.S. territories," the agency said in a statement. EPA officials, however, refused to answer questions or make staff members available to explain the exact location and number of monitors, or the levels of radiation, if any, being recorded at existing monitors in California. Posted. http://www.mercurynews.com/science/ci_17621522?source=rss Tuolumne County Leaders Delay Action On Open-Pit Mining. Sonora — The Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors had out-of-town visitors Tuesday — about a dozen Stanislaus County, Riverbank and Oakdale officials who have objections to a proposed open-pit mine that would border Stanislaus County. Posted. http://www.modbee.com/2011/03/15/v-print/1601007/county-leaders-delay-action-on.html Cement Industry Is Set Against EPA Climate Rule. The cement industry warned yesterday that U.S. EPA regulations will cripple its business and send shocks through the economy. The Portland Cement Association (PCA), the Illinois-based group representing cement makers in the United States, detailed in a report yesterday how seven EPA policies would squander up to 4,000 jobs in the industry, stifle the construction sector that depends on it, and fail to cut emissions as production goes to countries such as China. Of the seven policies, only two directly deal with climate; several of the policies haven't been approved or effected yet. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2011/03/16/7 CLIMATE CHANGE GOP Lawmakers Threaten To Withhold Votes Unless Environmental Rules Are Rewritten. Five Republicans whose votes are crucial to passage of Gov. Jerry Brown's spending proposal demand sweeping changes in the California Environmental Quality Act. Environmentalists are outraged. The handful of Republican lawmakers most likely to provide crucial votes for Gov. Jerry Brown's budget plan are threatening to withhold their support without a dramatic rewriting of state environmental law. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-budget-environment-20110316,0,4929214,print.story http://www.sacbee.com/2011/03/16/3478753/gop-lawmakers-threaten-to-withhold.html Panel Oks Bill Blocking EPA Greenhouse Gas Rules. Washington -- The House Energy and Commerce Committee voted 34-19 Tuesday to approve legislation that would block the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gases and gut California's landmark limits on those emissions from cars. The legislation is a broadside against the EPA, which has become a lightning rod for anti-regulation Republicans now in charge of the House. The House is set to consider the EPA-blocking bill before its Easter recess next month. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/03/16/MNVA1IC4EB.DTL&type=printable House Committee Votes To Strip EPA Of CO2 Regulatory Authority. A bill designed to revoke U.S. EPA's authority to regulate greenhouse gases from smokestacks and the tailpipes of future vehicles passed a key House committee yesterday, remaining largely unchanged despite efforts by House Democrats to offer a bevy of amendments. The "Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011" passed the House Energy and Commerce Committee 34-19. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2011/03/16/4 Regulators Embrace Voluntary Carbon. The global carbon markets began quietly in the late 1980s as part of a voluntary effort to save rainforests, but these small, voluntary efforts were quickly eclipsed – and often dismissed – when the Kyoto Protocol ushered in compliance markets a decade later. Now, however, it’s the compliance markets that are turning to the voluntary markets for guidance as regulators and voluntary market players rush to meet halfway. Posted. http://www.ecosystemmarketplace.com/pages/dynamic/article.page.php?page_id=8100§ion=news_articles&eod=1 DIESEL EMISSIONS City of Compton Fined $48,000 for Fleet Violations. The California Air Resources Board has fined the City of Compton $48,800 for a variety of infractions pertaining to its diesel fleet vehicles, including failing to properly maintain and self-inspect its diesel trucks and register construction equipment, as required by state law. ARB investigators cited the city for failing to test and maintain records of smoke levels from its fleet of heavy-duty diesel vehicles for 2008 and 2009. The city was also faulted for not updating its trash trucks with diesel particulate filters and affixing proper labels according to a pre-set schedule. Posted. http://www.constructionequipment.com/print/89420 FUELS Ethanol Output in U.S. Increases 1.4%, Energy Department Says. U.S. ethanol production jumped 1.4 percent to 895,000 barrels a day last week, the biggest advance in two months, according to the Energy Department. Output rose to the highest level since the week ended Feb. 4 and the gain was the largest since Jan. 14, the department said in a report released in Washington. Stockpiles grew to 19.91 million barrels, the highest level since July 2. Production of conventional gasoline blended with ethanol climbed 0.9 percent to 4.91 million barrels a day. Refiners receive a 45-cent tax credit for every gallon of ethanol blended into the motor fuel. Denatured ethanol for March delivery advanced 3 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $2.375 a gallon at 10:45 a.m. New York time on the Chicago Board of Trade. Futures have climbed 54 percent in the past year. Posted. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/print/2011-03-16/ethanol-output-in-u-s-increases-1-4-energy-department-says.html E.U. Taxes Will Penalize Carbon-Heavy Energy Sources. A proposed overhaul of European fuel taxes will narrow the price gap between gasoline and diesel and make biofuels and biomass more competitive with traditional energy sources. The continent's €240 billion ($334.4 billion) annual taxation of energy offers the lowest taxes to the most polluting sources, countering the European Union's goal of lowering carbon emissions by 20 percent by 2020. Taxation commissioner Algirdas Semeta has proposed a carbon tax of €20 per tonne of CO2 and a minimum energy tax on motor fuels and heating fuels, according to a draft document. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2011/03/16/8 GREEN ENERGY Climate Corps Interns Help Businesses Save Energy. Cisco Systems is installing energy-saving devices throughout its R&D labs. EBay upgraded its lights to LED, installed power-management software and replaced most of its desktop computers with laptops. Shorenstein Properties adjusted the heating and cooling systems for its buildings. Now it plans a road show to educate its thousands of tenants about sustainability. The three companies are among 50 firms participating in Climate Corps, a project of the Environmental Defense Fund. Climate Corps (www.edfclimatecorps.org) "embeds" MBA students as summer interns at corporations nationwide to develop action plans to cut their energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/03/16/BUS91I3IJD.DTL&type=printable Renewable Energy Is Now An Economic Gold Mine. In the past decade, renewables have jumped from being a niche industry to a mainstream economic powerhouse, states a recent report. The report, published by Clean Edge Inc., says that the number of hybrid vehicles has increased more than a hundredfold, and that the solar energy market has grown by 40 percent per year from 2000 to 2010. Wind saw a comparable increase, growing 30 percent each year, from $4.5 billion to $60.5 billion. Almost one-quarter of venture capital in the United States goes to clean-tech projects -- the amount was less than 1 percent in 2000. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2011/03/16/10 OPINION 5 Myths About Nuclear Energy. Explosions. Radiation. Evacuations. More than 30 years after Three Mile Island, the unfolding crisis in Japan has brought back some of the worst nightmares surrounding nuclear power — and restarted a major debate about the merits and the drawbacks of this energy source. Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/5-myths-about-nuclear-energy/2011/03/15/AB9P3Oe_story.html Scripps: Global Warming More Common That Scientists Thought. Earth has undergone periods of rapid and intense global warming far more often than scientists once believed, possibly with limited biological impact, says a new study from a team led by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla. The findings are based on an analysis of sea floor sediments that are being used to figure out how such change affected marine ecosystems in the past and what could happen when the planet warms in the future, says the study, to be published March 17 in the journal Nature. Posted. http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2011/mar/16/scripps-earth-use-dealing-abrupt-climate-change/ New Republic: Japan Holds A Lesson For US Politics. The earthquake and potential nuclear catastrophe in Japan have brought home a set of questions that have haunted philosophers for hundreds of years — and have played an important role in American politics for over a century. They have to do with the relationship between humanity and nature — not nature as "the outdoors," but as the obdurate bio-geo-physiochemical reality in which human beings and other animals dwell. To what extent does nature set limits on human possibilities? And to what extent can human beings overcome these limits? Posted. http://www.npr.org/2011/03/16/134590970/new-republic-japan-holds-a-lesson-for-us-politics BLOGS House Panel to Question Nuclear Regulatory and Energy Chiefs. The House Energy and Commerce committee opens a hearing at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday in which it will hear from two witnesses who are suddenly much more prominent because of events in Japan: Steven Chu, the secretary of energy, the chief administration official addressing the crisis involving the Japanese reactors, and Gregory B. Jaczko, the chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which has sent personnel to Japan and is charged with preventing accidents here in the United States. Posted. http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/03/16/house-panel-to-question-nuclear-regulatory-and-energy-chiefs-face/?scp=7&sq=fuels&st=cse On Climate Change, It Didn’t Have To Be This Way. As a follow-up to my comments in today’s Wonkbook, it’s easy to forget that as recently as three years ago, the Republican presidential nominee was an avowed believer in not just global warming, but efforts to combat it. “We stand warned by serious and credible scientists across the world that time is short and the dangers are great,” John McCain said in May of 2008. “The most relevant question now is whether our own government is equal to the challenge.” Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/post/on-climate-change-it-didnt-have-to-be-this-way/2011/03/10/ABrgond_blog.html Global Warming Alarmism Continues To Backfire. A new Gallup poll is delivering bad news to global warming alarmists, showing Americans are becoming more and more skeptical of hysterical global warming claims. The alarmists are bemoaning these results and saying they need to be more forceful and creative in delivering their message of doom and gloom. But the global-warming religionists are losing credibility with the American public precisely because they are too forceful and creative in delivering speculative global warming claims, not because they are too conservative and demure. Posted. http://blogs.forbes.com/jamestaylor/2011/03/16/global-warming-alarmism-continues-to-backfire/ New Study Sheds Light on Air Quality Impacts of the BP Oil Spill. According to a new study, the chemicals that spewed into the Gulf of Mexico from the BP Oil Spill set off a complex chain of chemical reactions forming air pollution aerosols. Unfortunately these aerosols weren’t adequately monitored for at the time of the spill. While this study did not look at the impacts of this pollution on the clean-up workers or onshore communities, it raises important questions about what Gulf communities were exposed to during the oil spill and shows the need for improved air quality monitoring. During the oil spill, clean-up workers and coastal communities reported odors and respiratory symptoms linked to winds coming off the oil slick. Posted. http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/mrotkinellman/new_study_sheds_light_on_air_q.html Removing Mercury and Other Toxics From the Air We Breathe. This week, the EPA proposed Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, a Clean Air Act protection that sets the first-ever national safeguards to limit power plant releases of mercury, arsenic, chromium, nickel and acid gases into the air we breathe. America’s power plants are the source of half of the mercury emissions, half of the acid gases, and a quarter of all toxic metal pollution in the U.S, and almost half of America’s coal plants lack advanced pollution controls. Posted. http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/03/16/removing-mercury-and-other-toxics-air-we-breathe