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newsclips -- Newsclips for March 29, 2011.

Posted: 29 Mar 2011 13:16:22
California Air Resources Board News Clips for March 29, 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.


Radiation Detected in U.S. Traces of radiation from the crippled
nuclear plant in Japan are being detected in states from
California to Massachusetts, carried across the Pacific on broad
rivers of wind. But state officials say there is no public health
risk. “The levels that we're detecting are extremely, extremely
low—we're talking about many orders of magnitude below what we
would consider a risk," said Eric Matus, a radiation physicist
for the Nevada State Health Division. Radiation has been detected
at two monitoring sites in the state. Posted.

Court Oks Air-Pollution Restrictions For Ships. A federal appeals
court rejected a shipping industry challenge Monday to
California's offshore air pollution rules requiring vessels to
use low-sulfur fuel within 24 miles of the coast, standards that
the court said would save about 3,500 lives over six years while
modestly increasing shipping costs. The ruling by the Ninth U.S.
Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco is a milestone in
California's efforts to curb a significant source of hazardous
emissions. Posted.

Scientists At UC-Berkeley Keep Watch On Japan Radiation Levels
From A Campus Rooftop. Five thousand miles from Japan, UC
Berkeley scientists don't have to read the headlines to know what
is happening at a crippled nuclear power plant. They just need to
glimpse at their computer screens. There, a steady stream of data
from Berkeley's air, rain and creekwater samples shows peaks and
troughs of radioactive contamination -- posing no threat to
Californians' health, but telling a tragic tale of Japan's
struggle to contain the threat. Posted.

Closings Start In Merced Plant Contamination Case.  Fresno,
Calif. -- Closing arguments are set for Tuesday morning in a
trial involving a former subsidiary of the pharmaceutical giant
Merck accused of polluting groundwater, air and soil in a Merced
subdivision for years.  Posted. 


Drafter Of California Cap And Trade Stands By Analysis. An
architect of California's cap-and-trade program for greenhouse
gases defended his analysis of the regulatory plan in an
interview yesterday and offered a peek at how the state might
defend its regulations in upcoming court battles. Kevin Kennedy,
assistant executive officer of the California Air Resources
Board, argued that his examination of the program's potential
impacts complied fully with the California Environmental Quality
Act (CEQA) -- an assertion that runs counter to a recent court
ruling (Greenwire, March 24). Posted.


Diesel Emissions Researcher Resumes Fight For Job Next Week. A
longtime professor who has said his criticisms of the California
Air Resources Board may have made him enemies will resume a fight
to keep his job next week. James Enstrom has spent 36 years at
UCLA, the last 34 as associate research professor. His career
studying epidemiology was a springboard to his current expertise
into the effects of diesel emissions on the human body. Last
August, Enstrom’s contract was not renewed after a secret vote of
faculty members in his department. Posted.


GE To Buy Converteam In $3.2-Billion Deal. General Electric Co.
said Tuesday it will spend $3.2 billion for a controlling stake
in French equipment developer Converteam as it continues to
position itself as a major player in what's expected to be a
20-year boom in oil and natural gas demand. Converteam, which
serves a variety of industries including oil and gas companies,
is the latest of $11 billion in acquisitions by GE's energy
business. GE also has acquired Dresser Inc., Wellstream Holdings,
Lineage Power Holdings and Well Support in the past six months.

$5-A-Gallon Gasoline May Be On The Horizon. If you think $4 gas
has put a dent in your wallet, prepare for a pothole in your
purse this summer, fuel analysts say. As the average price of a
gallon of self-serve regular rose Monday for the sixth
consecutive day, some say it could hit $5 before the worst is
over. "We're talking about five bucks by the end of August,
because of the hurricane season. Then it may drop to $3 by the
end of the year," said Bob van der Valk, a pricing analyst for
4Refuel, a fuel management company. Posted.


Transport 2050 Challenges: Innovating For The Future.  The
document “Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area – Towards a
competitive and resource efficient transport system” sets “very
challenging goals”, said EU Commissioner for Transport, Siim
Kallas. These goals “will have to be met by 2050 to achieve the
global vision described in the White Paper.”  Posted. 
Volvo Cars To Hire Up To 1,200 Workers.  Stockholm -- Volvo Cars
said Tuesday it will embark on a major recruitment program,
hiring up to 1,200 workers within a 12-month period as it makes a
major push to develop fuel-efficient vehicles.  Most of the
recruits will be research and development engineers working on
improving fuel efficiency, including the electrification of cars,
the Sweden-based company said.  Posted. 


Colo. Auto Group Aims To Get Clunkers Off The Road.  Denver — The
Colorado Automobile Dealers Association says it hopes to remove
1,000 high-polluting cars from roads this year through a program
with car recyclers.  The association's Clear the Air Foundation
is accepting old or poorly maintained cars from car dealers and
the public that it would sell to recyclers. The car donors could
get tax breaks.  Posted. 


Clean-Tech Developers Fret Over Witching Hour for DOE Grants. New
York -- Two-and-a-half years since the bankruptcy of Lehman
Brothers Holdings Inc. sent Wall Street into a tailspin,
financing for wind, solar and other clean energy projects is
still hard to come by, experts say. Deals are getting done, but
not at the rate that the industry would call robust, and many
project developers are still dependent on temporary government
support measures. Posted.

Obama To Turn Attention To Energy Issues – Barring Disaster Or
Global Crisis. President Obama is expected to outline his plan
for energy security in a speech this week, followed by visits to
companies operating energy-efficient vehicles. Japan's earthquake
and tsunami, and Middle East turmoil, have overshadowed his
earlier efforts to discuss energy. After a speech meant to bring
clarity to U.S. engagement in crises abroad, President Obama will
turn his attention to what aides say will be a sustained focused
on energy issues in the coming weeks. Posted.

60 Percent Of U.S. Homes Use Some Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs –
Study. American homes have become more energy efficient over
time, but they also hold more energy-using devices than ever
before, the Energy Department's statistical agency said
yesterday. In 1978, one television was normal for a home, but by
2009, the average household had two and a half, the Energy
Information Administration said. Similarly, in 1978, almost no
homes had personal computers, but by 2009, three-quarters of
homes did; about a third of homes had more than one.


Disease Clusters Found In Some Calif. Communities. Environmental
groups say disease clusters are on the rise and the government
needs to do more about it. In a report released Monday, the
Natural Resources Defense Council and the National Disease
Cluster Alliance highlighted 44 communities in 13 states with
higher than ordinary numbers of birth defects, cancer and other
illnesses. They cited eight communities in California [PDF],
including Kettleman City, where residents have expressed concern
over high levels of birth defects. Posted.


Fuel Inefficient. Re "Gas tops $4 in L.A. region," Business,
March 26. I've been experiencing the shenanigans of gas prices
since the gouging started around 1973. My way of life has been
affected by how it has increased my cost of living. It also
affects my mind, which runs riot over the fact we have done
almost nothing to tackle the problem. We have a politically
charged government that goes back and forth after every election,
undoing any gains made toward improving our energy use. Why not
lower the speed limit and find alternatives to driving? Oops,
President Carter tried that. Posted

Nuclear Power. As we all know, Chernobyl was the worst nuclear
accident ever. So far, research places the number of deaths at
50. Now this does not mean more folks have not died because of
the event, but it suggest that the total number is relatively
small. One should be asking how many folks died early due to
pollution due to coal fired electrical plants and smog. Not to
mention deaths from cancers caused by pollution. I am sure the
number would be exponentially higher than the 50 from Chernobyl.


Weighing the China Model? Take a Deep Breath in Beijing.
Developed-world proponents of the “China Model” often point to
environmental degradation as an example of the intractable sort
of problem authoritarian governments, free of the need for
grinding public debate, are good at addressing. But in new study
examining one of the country’s highest profile environmental
problems, a team of Chinese and U.S.-based economists casts some
doubt on that thesis. Posted.

Clean Energy Investment Is Up, but U.S. Lags. A study released
Tuesday by the Pew Environment Group suggests that investment in
clean energy among the world’s 20 leading economies, a k a the
G-20, is generally on the rebound after a grinding global
recession. It also suggests that the narrative in the United
States, which has been marked by partisan bickering and general
paralysis over energy and climate policy, continues to weaken its
position as a locus for investment. Posted.

Spoiler Alert: Downforce Accessories May Concentrate Pollution. 
Like the tail fins of yore, rear spoilers on the majority of
today’s passenger cars are primarily appearance enhancers, not
downforce tools, because the benefits of downforce are only
apparent at high speeds. A new study suggests that rear spoilers
do serve a dynamic purpose — one that might induce coughing fits
in transportation-design classrooms.  Posted. 

Americans Less Worried About Global Warming Than Drinking Water,
Rainforests Or Sprawl.  I think you could divide this table into
two parts: the top five, which concern more than 70 percent of
Amerricans, are “things that could kill my child now.” The bottom
four are “things that could harm my child, or maybe my
grandchildren, later.”  Posted. 

Cash for Clunkers 2: The Return of Government Motors.  Ready for
another cash for clunkers program? It looks like General Motors
is attempting to replace it's own consumer incentives with tax
payer money. The car company, bailed out of bankruptcy in 2009 by
the American tax payer, appears to be turning the government into
an automatic rebate provider.  Posted. 

Airplanes' Contrails Cause Far More Warming Than Their Carbon
Emissions, But... Radiative forcing has been on TreeHugger's
radar for a while, and after finding out about this next study
it'll be on your's too: According to research by the DLR German
Aerospace Center, airplane contrails have a much, much greater
impact on global warming than do the carbon emissions caused by
planes' engines. I can't emphasize the 'much, much' part of that
enough. Posted.

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