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newsclips -- Newsclips for March 17, 2011. Posted: 17 Mar 2011 11:41:58
California Air Resources Board News Clips for March 17, 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 Small Amounts Of Radiation Headed For California, But No Health Risk Seen. Very low levels of radioactive isotopes from the damaged Japanese nuclear plant are expected to reach California as soon as Friday, but experts say the amount will be well within safe limits. A network of radiation monitors is keeping close watch. Small amounts of radioactive isotopes from the crippled Japanese nuclear power plant are being blown toward North America high in the atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean and will reach California as soon as Friday, according to experts. A network of sensors in the U.S. and around the world is watching for the first signs of that fallout, though experts said they were confident that the amount of radiation would be well within safe limits. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/news/la-sci-japan-nuclear-usa-20110317,0,3148195,print.story EPA Proposal Aims At Pollutants From Coal-Fired Plants. Washington – Toxic air pollutants such as mercury, which can lower the IQ of children who get high doses early in life, would be reduced from coal-fired power plants under a major air pollution regulation that the Environmental Protection Agency announced Wednesday. The proposed rule also would reduce other forms of air pollution that cause heart attacks, asthma attacks and other serious health conditions. The EPA estimates that 17,000 lives would be saved by the new rule every year, and thousands of people would avoid missing work and visiting an emergency room. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2011/03/17/v-print/3481819/epa-proposal-aims-at-pollutants.html CLIMATE CHANGE Driving Climate Change. The fate of the planet rests to some small extent on whether Sacramento County supervisors decide to approve more sprawl. It depends, too, on how close office buildings are to light-rail stations, and how many bike lanes are built in new subdivisions. These don’t seem like such big choices when it comes to climate change. But it all adds up. Posted. http://www.newsreview.com/sacramento/content?oid=1939271 Scripps Study: 50 Million Years Ago, A Warming Planet. Intense bouts of global warming lasting tens of thousands of years gripped the planet some 50 million years ago, a new study shows, offering insights into the potential environmental effects of the present warming episode. The most powerful of these bouts, called the "thermal maximum," was already known to scientists. But the new findings by researchers at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography show it was just the biggest in a chain of temperature spikes. Posted. http://www.ocregister.com/news/warming-292420-years-million.html Senate Dems Push Back Vote On EPA Amendments Again. Efforts to pre-empt U.S. EPA's authorities to regulate greenhouse gas emissions were always expected to be an easier sell in the Republican-controlled House than in the Democratic Senate, but they are causing plenty of havoc in the upper chamber too. Senate Democratic leaders have been delaying a vote since Tuesday on a measure that would pre-empt EPA's climate change rules, but they have now acknowledged that it is unlikely to receive a vote until after next week's recess. "We don't have any comment about why this is being moved back," said Adam Jentleson, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). Posted. http://www.eenews.net/Greenwire/print/2011/03/17/13 Congress Emits Half-Truths In Spin War Over Mass. V. EPA. In the continuing political battle over the Obama administration's efforts to regulate greenhouse gases, Democrats and Republicans rarely take aim at the most deserving target: the Supreme Court. As Democrats are fond of noting, it wasn't the Obama administration but the Supreme Court that decided in its 2007 Massachusetts v. EPA ruling that greenhouse gases could be regulated under the Clean Air Act. The court told U.S. EPA to conduct the analysis that led to the so-called endangerment finding -- in which EPA concluded that greenhouse gases were harmful -- that triggered rules that Republicans in particular are now railing against. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/Greenwire/print/2011/03/17/1 DIESEL EMISSIONS EPA Toxics Report Sparks Fight Over Diesel Emissions. A U.S. EPA report suggesting that Americans have significantly higher cancer risks because of toxic emissions from motor vehicles has reopened the debate over dangers posed by outdated diesel engines. At issue is the National Air Toxics Assessment (NATA). Released Friday, the report draws on 2005 data to examine potential health risks from airborne toxics (Greenwire, March 11) and concludes that vehicle emissions -- including diesel exhaust -- pose significant health risks. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/Greenwire/print/2011/03/17/15 FUELS As GOP Ratchets Up Attacks On EPA, Dems Blast Oil Speculators. As Republicans aim to unite two incendiary energy issues by warning that U.S. EPA could drive up gas prices, Democrats are turning to their own dual argument -- one that links oil-futures markets to fuel costs and attacks the GOP for proposing to cut the regulation of "speculators." Pinning an increase in gas prices on oil speculation is not a new maneuver for Democrats, who made similar calls for stricter regulation by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) when gasoline hit $4 per gallon in the summer of 2008. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/EEDaily/print/2011/03/17/3 Governors Urge Change in Corn for Ethanol Reporting. U.S. governors from Washington to New York to Texas are asking Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to change the way USDA reports the use of corn for ethanol production. In a letter sent to Vilsack this week, the Governors’ Biofuels Coalition urged the change to reflect the fact that corn for ethanol usage produces livestock feed in the form of distillers grains in addition to ethanol. They argue that USDA’s current reporting methods distort the actual picture and provide ammunition for food versus fuel attacks on ethanol. Posted. http://domesticfuel.com/2011/03/17/governors-urge-change-in-corn-for-ethanol-reporting/ GREEN ENERGY Dublin Considers, Puts Off, Mandatory Recycling For Businesses. Dublin -- City leaders briefly considered making Dublin the first city in Alameda County with mandatory business recycling, but has opted to wait for a new state law. The City Council spent more than an hour Tuesday discussing whether to develop a mandatory recycling program for businesses and multifamily housing complexes or to continue to have its solid waste contractor, Amador Valley Industries, work with businesses to recycle voluntarily. Council members opted to have city staff members develop an ordinance to require multifamily complexes without recycling to begin providing it, and to wait for state lawmakers' proposal for a commercial recycling lawPosted. http://www.mercurynews.com/breaking-news/ci_17628895?nclick_check=1 Report Says Green Economy Producing Jobs, But Urges Work Quality Improvement. Berkeley — To achieve the state’s energy efficiency goals and provide better career opportunities for Californians, the state should modify its clean energy programs and its extensive but fragmented training and education programs, according to a report led by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, released today (Thursday, March 17). Posted. http://newscenter.berkeley.edu/2011/03/17/report-on-green-economy-jobs/ VEHICLES Google Maps Adds Electric Vehicle Charging Stations. If electric cars are going to ever capture anything more than a tiny sliver of the U.S. auto market, not only does a robust EV charging infrastructure need to be developed, there has to be an easy way to find those stations. Until recently, there has only been a fragmented collection of maps, usually based on charging networks or business and association partnerships. But as of last week, you can now get the location of EV charging stations on the Google Maps platform. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/assets/print?aid=US249289118020110317 Honda Recalling New Models Of Civics To Prevent Fuel From Leaking From Car’s Fuel Tank. Washington — Honda Motor Co. is recalling new models of the Honda Civic to prevent fuel from leaking from the car’s fuel tank. The recall covers about 18,000 Civics from the 2011 model year. Honda says a plastic case that covers a valve in the fuel pump module could break or crack. That, in turn, could lead to a fuel leak in a roll-over crash, and the leaking fuel could lead to a fire. Honda dealers will inspect the fuel pump module and replace it if necessary at no cost to the owner. Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/honda-recalling-new-models-of-civics-to-prevent-fuel-from-leaking-from-cars-fuel-tank/2011/03/17/ABCcVLk_story.html http://www.modbee.com/2011/03/17/1602942/honda-recalling-new-civics-due.html http://www.nctimes.com/news/national/article_4ae78b94-2c52-54e1-a5dc-3975d6231c4e.html http://www.vcstar.com/news/2011/mar/17/honda-recalling-new-civics-due-to-fuel-leakage/ Prices Of Vehicles From Japan Likely To Climb. Earthquake-related production shutdowns in Japan are reducing the supply of popular hybrid and fuel-efficient cars amid rising demand for the imports. New-car shoppers could see prices for some of the more popular hybrid and fuel-efficient vehicles such as the Toyota Prius and the Honda Fit rise in the coming weeks. The cost of the imports is likely to go up because earthquake-related production shutdowns in Japan are reducing supply of the autos at a time when consumers are increasingly shopping for gas-sipping models Posted. http://www.latimes.com/news/science/environment/la-fi-quake-autos-20110317,0,5791536,print.story Infrastructure is Challenge for Electric Vehicle Owners. Auto experts say electric vehicles are a practical alternative to gasoline-powered cars, at least for some drivers. The biggest challenge for the auto industry is expanding the infrastructure for recharging the vehicles. With last year's release of the Chevy Volt and the Nissan Leaf, some say the day of the electric vehicle has arrived. The Volt uses a rechargeable battery, and for additional range, can switch to a small gasoline engine to recharge the battery. The Leaf is an all-electric vehicle that is designed for short commutes. Posted. http://www.voanews.com/english/news/science-technology/Infrastructure-is-Challenge-for-Electric-Vehicle-Owners-118107949.html MISCELLANEOUS NYC Charity Auction Pledges To Benefit Environment. New York -- A day of golfing and lunch with former president Bill Clinton, flying with Harrison Ford on his private aircraft and sailing off the coast of Maine with the Rockefellers are just a few of the celebrity and luxury items being offered at an auction to benefit four leading environmental organizations. Posted. http://www.fresnobee.com/2011/03/16/2313013/nyc-charity-auction-pledges-to.html#storylink=misearch http://www.vcstar.com/news/2011/mar/16/nyc-charity-auction-pledges-to-benefit/ OPINION FORUM: There's an Encinitas Environmental Commission? On Feb. 16, the Encinitas City Council failed to agree on the Environmental Action Plan presented by the city's Environmental Commission. It instead voted to shelve the plan and revisit it in small doses in the coming months. Council members blamed the plan's lack of focus and attainability, but if we are to point fingers, a lack of public awareness, and consequently, support, were the real perpetrators. Posted. http://www.nctimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/article_bb28e17c-2088-50d2-a939-b0ab81e29d8d.html BLOGS U.S. Official Affirms Nuclear Loan Guarantees. European Pressphoto Agency Construction vehicles and workers excavate a site for a nuclear reactor at Plant Vogtle in Waynesboro, Ga., that is to be built with help from a federal loan guarantee. With many riveted on Japan’s reactor crisis, the head of the Department of Energy’s loan guarantee program has affirmed that it will continue to finance nuclear projects in the United States. “Assuming there is a desire in the Capitol to move forward, nuclear remains an important part of the energy mix,” Jonathan Silver, executive director of the Energy Department’s loan programs office, said on Wednesday in a presentation at the Cleantech Forum conference in San Francisco. Posted. http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/03/17/u-s-official-affirms-nuclear-loan-guarantees/?pagemode=print U.K. Ponders Nuclear Option in Carbon Price Floor Move. The U.K. government could be asking for trouble in next Wednesday’s budget if it goes ahead with plans to set a carbon price floor, which could result in a £3.4 billion windfall for the country’s nuclear industry. As footage from Japan depicts helicopters dousing reactors at the Fukushima complex in a last ditch attempt to prevent a full meltdown and large release of radioactivity, it’s hardly the time to be seen to be rewarding existing nuclear generators for simply producing power. The Treasury wants to put a floor under the carbon price to stimulate investment in low-carbon electricity such as new nuclear power stations and offshore wind farms. Posted. http://blogs.wsj.com/source/2011/03/17/u-k-ponders-nuclear-option-in-carbon-price-floor-move/?mod=google_news_blog Audi Rolls Out 333 Limited-Edition R8 GTs (Slideshow). Audi of America released details about its coming 2012 R8 GT, which has 560 horsepower and a starting price of $196,800. That’s a big premium over the basic R8′s $114,200 sticker, but well below the cost of other carbon-heavy exotic cars like the $379,700 Lamborghini Aventador and $1.6 million Pagani Huayra. Audi, a luxury unit of German auto giant Volkswagen AG, says it will build 333 R8 GTs, including 90 for the U.S. market. The 2012 R8 GT’s lightweight structure includes a lot of carbon fiber that helps cut the car’s weight by about 180 pounds compared with the Audi R8 Coupe 5.2 quattro. Posted. http://blogs.wsj.com/drivers-seat/2011/03/17/audi-rolls-out-333-limited-edition-r8-gts-slideshow/ What Would You Ask California Air Resources Board Chair Mary Nichols? On Friday, Climate Watch Senior Editor Craig Miller will sit down with Mary Nichols for a one-on-one interview, which will later be broadcast on This Week in Northern California. As chair of the California Air Resources Board under both Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jerry Brown, Nichols has presided over the nation’s most ambitious assault on the greenhouse gases that cause climate change. She’s charged with implementation of the state’s 2006 Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32), which has survived well-funded attacks from industry and is now fending off a lawsuit from environmentalists. Posted. http://blogs.kqed.org/newsfix/2011/03/16/what-would-you-ask-california-air-resources-board-chair-mary-nichols/ Hydrogen Is Down, But Not Out. For all the love battery-electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids get these days, you’d think hydrogen is dead. It isn’t. Oh sure, the Obama administration, smitten by cars with cords, wants to cut funding for hydrogen by 40 percent. California’s hydrogen highway has gone nowhere. We have no fueling infrastructure to speak of. And critics argue it could take decades for hydrogen to have an appreciable impact on gasoline consumption or CO2 emissions. Posted. http://www.wired.com/autopia/2011/03/hydrogen/