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newsclips -- Newsclips for March 30, 2011. Posted: 30 Mar 2011 12:49:13
California Air Resources Board News Clips for March 30, 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 Lawyers Say Plant Leaked Toxic Chemical For Years. FRESNO, Calif. -- Company officials failed to alert residents and collect data about groundwater, air and soil contaminated with cancer-causing chemicals from a Central California manufacturing plant owned by a former subsidiary of drug maker Merck & Co., lawyers for nearby residents told jurors Tuesday in closing arguments of a lawsuit. Posted. http://www.modbee.com/2011/03/29/1620350/closings-start-in-merced-plant.html http://www.nctimes.com/news/state-and-regional/article_e8e6195a-d04e-5b33-bcad-490a448e7b3b.html http://www.fresnobee.com/2011/03/29/2328641/closings-start-in-merced-plant.html#storylink=misearch Web Page Tracks Radiation From Japan. Chico — If you're worried about how much radiation is making it to California from the earthquake- and tsunami-stricken Japanese reactors, the Internet provides direct access to West Coast monitors watching for the stuff. The Butte County Air Quality Management District has placed a link on its homepage — www.bcaqmd.org/ — to the state Air Resources Board Web pages where two kinds of data can be assessed. Posted. http://www.chicoer.com/news/ci_17730822 Study Finds Curbing Auto Pollution In Developing Countries Could Have Short-Term Climate Impact. Enacting tough air pollution limits for motor vehicles in developing countries could help blunt the short-term effects of climate change, a new study finds. The study, published yesterday in the journal Nature Climate Change, concludes that reducing the amount of non-carbon dioxide greenhouse warmers produced by vehicles would also improve air quality, health and agricultural yields in developing nations. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2011/03/30/8 CLIMATE CHANGE Senate Vote Could Curb EPA's Climate-Change Powers. Washington (AP) — Environmentalists are trying to defeat a Senate measure that would bar the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gases. The Senate is scheduled to vote Wednesday on the Republican-backed plan. Many businesses support it, saying regulations of heat-trapping gases would drive up their costs and make it harder to hire workers. Environmental groups and many Democrats oppose the measure. They say the government must curb gases that contribute to global warming. Posted. http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jXh4wfRC1Mret7Yqw9hL0r3fJvNg?docId=9caeff4e5d5b4eabbf46a933c0461932 http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-03-29/senators-set-to-vote-on-epa-over-regulation-mcconnell-says.html http://www.modbee.com/2011/03/30/1621517/senate-vote-could-curb-epas-climate.html http://www.vcstar.com/news/2011/mar/30/senate-vote-could-curb-epas-climate-change/ http://www.nctimes.com/news/national/article_6198e169-80de-5254-a6d9-ecc5747763b7.html Obama to Set Goal of One-Third Cut in Oil Imports. Washington — With gasoline prices rising, oil supplies from the Middle East pinched by political upheaval and growing calls in Congress for expanded domestic oil and gas production, President Obama on Wednesday will set a goal of a one-third reduction in oil imports over the next decade, aides said Tuesday. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/31/science/earth/31energy.html?_r=1&hp http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/president-obama-to-call-for-one-third-cut-to-oil-imports/2011/03/29/AFFy3O1B_story.html Aircraft Contrails Stoke Warming, Cloud Formation. OSLO (Reuters) - Aircraft condensation trails criss-crossing the sky may be warming the planet on a normal day more than the carbon dioxide emitted by all planes since the Wright Brothers' first flight in 1903, a study said on Tuesday. It indicated that contrails -- white lines of Vapor left by jet engines -- also have big knock-on effects by adding to the formation of high-altitude, heat-trapping cirrus clouds as the lines break up. The findings may help governments fix penalties on planes' greenhouse gas emissions in a U.N.-led assault on climate change. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/03/29/us-climate-contrails-idUSTRE72S47O20110329 Urban Areas Are Causing 70 Percent Of World's GHG Emissions, Says U.N. Although they only occupy 2 percent of Earth's land cover, the world's cities are responsible for 70 percent of its greenhouse gas emissions, according to a U.N. assessment. But the study, titled "The Global Report on Human Settlements 2011, Cities and Climate Change: Policy Directions," also contended that effective urban planning could bring about huge savings. If no action is taken, the authors warned of a "deadly collision between climate change and urbanization." Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2011/03/30/11 FUELS Alternative Fuels. The majority of school buses in America run on diesel fuel, but those engines are far different today than the ones decades ago that spewed forth dark, black clouds of soot from the exhaust. Estimates are that about 95 percent of the national fleet of 480,000 school buses run on diesel, but there is a growing interest in alternative fuels. Informal surveys conducted by School Transportation News indicate that the most widely-used alternative fuel is biodiesel, which commonly range in regular diesel-blend amounts from 2 percent to 20 percent. Posted. http://www.stnonline.com/resources/12-clean-school-bus/3236-alternative-fuels Can Changing Feed Reduce Cattle Methane Emissions? The UK government has funded research aimed at finding ways for farmers to reduce methane emissions from ruminants by altering their feedstock. When dairy farmers added crushed rapeseed to the feedstock, cows released 20% less methane for every liter of milk produced, Researchers at Reading University and the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences found. Farming and ranching account for about 43% of the UK’s methane emissions. Posted. http://www.redorbit.com/news/science/2020960/can_changing_feed_reduce_cattle_methane_emissions/ VEHICLES California Expected To Seek High-Speed Rail Funds Rejected By Florida. Money from Florida could put Merced and Bakersfield on track to be included in construction of California's first section of high-speed rail. The California High-Speed Rail Authority, at a meeting today in Sacramento, is expected to apply to the Federal Railroad Administration for some of the $2.4 billion spurned last month by Florida's Republican governor, Rick Scott. Officials from Merced and Bakersfield complained long and loud about being left off the initial construction route when it was unveiled in late 2010. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2011/03/30/v-print/3513407/california-expected-to-seek-high.html Queen Of The Road: Solo Hybrid Drivers Banned From The Carpool Lane. COMMUTER: Is it true that in July, all 85,000 hybrid carpool stickers are void? Is there any way to protest? Tena Gallagher, Danville. QUEEN: Tena, the Queen is sorry to say that the answer is yes. Throughout the state, already congested non-carpool lanes will have to absorb 85,000 more vehicles at rush hour as of July 1. Ugh. The only recourse the Queen can suggest is contacting your state legislator. Alas, Her Majesty does not get the feeling an extension is likely. For more information, go to www.dmv.ca.gov/vr/decal.htm. Posted. http://www.contracostatimes.com/traffic/ci_17719831 Neb. Grant Will Help Firm's Hybrid Truck Business. LA VISTA, Neb. (AP) - A Nebraska company that plans to convert semitrailer trucks to hybrid power will receive help with start-up costs through a $505,000 grant. Gov. Dave Heineman awarded the grant to the city of La Vista on Tuesday. The money will be used to help ePower Engine Systems get started. Posted. http://www.vcstar.com/news/2011/mar/30/neb-grant-will-help-firms-hybrid-truck-business/ European Commission Proposes To Push Gasoline- And Diesel-Powered Cars Out Of Cities. An E.U. body has outlined a plan to phase out most fossil-fueled cars by 2050. Europe already has among the highest fuel taxes in the world, and Europeans are already used to smaller cars, more transit and more walking than elsewhere in the developed world. Yet in a white paper released Monday, the European Commission said that to meet climate goals by midcentury, gasoline- and diesel-run cars must disappear from cities. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/2011/03/30/3/ Study Finds Curbing Auto Pollution In Developing Countries Could Have Short-Term Climate Impact. Enacting tough air pollution limits for motor vehicles in developing countries could help blunt the short-term effects of climate change, a new study finds. The study, published yesterday in the journal Nature Climate Change, concludes that reducing the amount of non-carbon dioxide greenhouse warmers produced by vehicles would also improve air quality, health and agricultural yields in developing nations. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2011/03/30/8 Tesla Sues BBC Over Alleged Fake 'Top Gear' Scene. Electric sports car maker Tesla Motors Inc. has filed suit against the British TV program "Top Gear," alleging that the show faked a scene in which the company's Roadster car runs out of electricity during a race. Tesla and the BBC have been feuding ever since the episode in question was first broadcast in 2008. On the BBC show, the Roadster was shown having to stop for a recharge in a race against the gas-powered Lotus Elise. But Tesla says that neither of the two Roadsters it lent to the show had gone below 20 percent of the charge. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/Greenwire/print/2011/03/30/22 EU To Ban Cars From Cities By 2050. Cars will be banned from London and all other cities across Europe under a draconian EU masterplan to cut CO2 emissions by 60 per cent over the next 40 years. The European Commission on Monday unveiled a "single European transport area" aimed at enforcing "a profound shift in transport patterns for passengers" by 2050. The plan also envisages an end to cheap holiday flights from Britain to southern Europe with a target that over 50 per cent of all journeys above 186 miles should be by rail. Posted. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/eu/8411336/EU-to-ban-cars-from-cities-by-2050.html GREEN ENERGY Green-Energy Legislation Means Higher Rates In California, Utilities Warn. Local consumers could see sharp electricity rate increases under sweeping new legislation that would require them to ramp up their energy supplies from wind, solar and other green sources, local utilities said. On Thursday, the state Assembly voted 55-19 to approve a measure requiring power companies to obtain up to 33 percent of their energy supplies from green sources, up sharply from the current 20 percent. The state Senate already has passed the bill. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2011/03/30/v-print/3513321/green-energy-legislation-means.html http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-energy-20110330,0,818402.story http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/03/30/MN4L1IM38G.DTL&type=printable http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704471904576231611388263814.html http://www.mercurynews.com/business/ci_17727487?nclick_check=1 http://www.platts.com/RSSFeedDetailedNews/RSSFeed/ElectricPower/6951980 http://www.bizjournals.com/sanjose/news/2011/03/30/state-nears-new-renewable-energy-rules.html http://www.environmentalleader.com/2011/03/30/california-assembly-approves-33-renewable-mandate/ San Onofre Wave Farm Idea Churns Up Concerns. An Orange County firm has federal approval to study putting thousands of generators off San Onofre. Surfers, conservationists and fishing groups worry about potential negative effects. The waves off San Onofre have for generations beckoned surfers and sport fishermen to a wild stretch of coastline in the shadow of domed nuclear reactors. Now, an Orange County entrepreneur wants to tap the power of that legendary surf in a novel but highly controversial plan to build one of the nation's first hydrokinetic wave farms. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-wave-farm-20110330,0,5614333,print.story Obama Talking Energy Policy As Gas Prices Climb. Facing pressure to curb rising gasoline prices, President Barack Obama is calling for the U.S. to reduce its oil imports by one third by 2025, a lofty goal likely to run into significant obstacles. The White House said Obama will seek to reduce the U.S. dependence on foreign oil by boosting domestic energy production, increasing the use of biofuels and natural gas, and making cars and trucks more fuel-efficient. Posted. http://www.nctimes.com/news/national/govt-and-politics/article_15c12ac1-ddd9-52d1-812a-18a56d43409d.html Legislature Sends Renewable Energy Bill To Jerry Brown. California would vastly increase its commitment to wind, solar, geothermal and other renewable energy under legislation that cleared the Legislature on Tuesday and was sent to Gov. Jerry Brown. The measure would require public and private utilities to obtain 33 percent of their electricity from renewable energy sources by 2020, a sizable increase over the 20 percent required now. Posted. http://www.modbee.com/2011/03/29/1620855/capitol-alert-legislature-sends.html SC Lawmakers Take A Dim View Of New Light Bulbs. Columbia, S.C.—South Carolina lawmakers are taking a stand in favor of states' lights. With incandescent bulbs being phased out under federal law in favor of energy-efficient compact fluorescents, legislators want to exempt South Carolina from the measure, saying Washington has no business telling the state how to light its closets and countertops. Posted. http://www.dailybulletin.com/ci_17724454 Obama To Focus On Clean Energy, Daring Republicans To Call It 'Froufrou' The White House is collecting options for a clean energy standard from outside groups, sharpening the president's effort to make low-carbon electricity a key piece of his re-election campaign, if not a passable piece of legislation in the current Congress. The meetings have solicited input on some of the thorniest elements of President Obama's goal to impose national fuel requirements on electricity providers. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2011/03/30/1 Calif. Assembly Sends 33% RPS To Governor. The California Legislature delivered a 33 percent renewable power mandate today to Gov. Jerry Brown (D), clearing the way for enactment. The renewable portfolio standard, or RPS, coasted this afternoon through the state Assembly, 55-19. The same bill passed the Senate 26-11 last month. The bill, which calls on utilities to get 33 percent of their power from renewables by 2020, differs significantly from a sister version of the standard that went into effect in 2008 under an executive order signed by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R). Posted. http://www.eenews.net/eenewspm/print/2011/03/29/1 Provisions To Shackle EPA Back On The Agenda. As budgetary jostling intensifies this week ahead of yet another deadline to keep the government funded, one thing is clear: Environmental and energy policy riders remain very much on the table. The resurgent riders, added to House Republicans' spending plan for the rest of fiscal 2011, would constrain more than a dozen White House initiatives, from U.S. EPA emissions rules to Interior Department lands policy. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/EEDaily/2011/03/30/3/ N.J. Chases Calif. In Race To Develop Solar Energy. New York -- U.S. clean energy enthusiasts looking for explosive growth in solar energy deployments should keep a close eye on New Jersey, investors and analysts were advised yesterday. Though California is still the dominant player in photovoltaic solar power in terms of total installed capacity, New Jersey is already No. 2, thanks to a state law that lends generous support to the industry. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2011/03/30/9 MISCELLANEOUS Congress Urged To Set Up System To Track Cancer Cases. Washington – Activists urged the government Tuesday to let people post and track cancer cases across communities, a public health effort that they say could lead to discoveries of new chemical-related cancer clusters throughout the United States as well as insights into disease management. A doctor, a cancer survivor and high-wattage environmental advocate Erin Brockovich told a Senate panel that no federal agency effectively tracks cancers now in a way that easily allows scientists to determine the existence of cancer clusters. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2011/03/30/v-print/3513109/congress-urged-to-set-up-system.html OPINION Nuclear or Coal? Hong Kong — Twenty five years ago a million people here signed a petition opposing a plan to build a nuclear power station with two reactors a few miles across the China border to provide power for Hong Kong and Guangdong Province. Some eminent citizens promised to emigrate if the plant was built. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/30/opinion/30iht-edbowring30.html?_r=1&scp=2&sq=air%20pollution&st=cse Tim Rutten: Villaraigosa's Transportation Innovation. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa goes national with his 30/10 transportation initiative, which would speed up projects that would help the environment while putting people to work at little cost. In politics, as in commerce, there are times when you have to grow to survive. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa believes that's the case with his 30/10 transportation initiative, which is why he's in Washington on Wednesday arguing for a national version of the plan that its improbably bipartisan backers are calling America Fast Forward. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/news/science/environment/la-oe-0330-rutten-20110330,0,6377775,print.column It's Not Easy Being Green Anymore. Big votes are coming on the Obama administration’s environmental agenda, and green groups are being forced to play defense in a world where D.C. pols aren’t scared of them. Environmentalists are being pummeled by Republican- and Democratic-minded competitors in advertisements and lawmaker donations, and they are finding it difficult to convince members that voting against their issues could hurt them at the ballot box. Posted. http://dyn.politico.com/printstory.cfm?uuid=AD612FFC-BE97-48FA-B462-28E372DA34F7 BLOGS Court Affirms California’s Marine Emissions Rules. Ships from China unloading their cargo in the Port of Los Angeles. On Tuesday, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld California’s right to enforce its own limits on marine emissions. To hear T.L. Garrett, the vice president of the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association tell it, the point of challenging California rules requiring ships to use cleaner-burning fuel near the state’s shores was not to defend the burning of some of the dirtiest, most unhealthy motor fuel around today. Posted. http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/03/30/court-affirms-californias-marine-emissions-rules/?pagemode=print Less than 50 Years of Oil Left, HSBC Warns. The world may have no more than half a century of oil left at current rates of consumption, while surging demand from the developing world threatens to create “very significant price rises” before substitutes like biofuels can serve as viable alternatives, the British bank HSBC warns in a new report. Posted. http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/03/30/less-than-50-years-of-oil-left-hsbc-warns/ CA Moves Forward with Renewable Goals. After two failed attempts, California is moving ahead with the most aggressive renewable energy goal in the country. Today the State Assembly passed SB 2x, a bill that requires utilities to get 33% of their electricity from renewable sources like solar and wind, by 2020. Posted. http://blogs.kqed.org/climatewatch/2011/03/29/ca-moves-forward-with-renewable-goals/ California Passes Aggressive Renewable Energy Standard. The Senate passed the legislation in February, and Governor Brown is expected to sign the bill. How big a deal is it? Well, according to Peter Miller, a senior scientist at NRDC, "As a result of the RPS program, renewable energy generation in California in 2020 will be roughly equal to total current U.S. renewable generation, and supply enough clean energy to power nearly 9 million homes" or, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists, drive 3 million cars. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/green/detail?entry_id=85965 Want To Reduce BPA Exposure? Cut Canned Foods From Your Diet, Report Says. Exposure to the chemical Bisphenol A, or BPA, through canned foods and other food packaging can be significantly reduced with simple dietary changes, according to a report released Wednesday by the nonprofit Breast Cancer Fund and the Silent Spring Institute, a breast cancer research group. BPA is a chemical that is often used in clear, shatterproof plastics, such as baby bottles and food-storage containers, as well as the liners of metal food cans. Posted. http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/greenspace/2011/03/bpa-canned-food.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+GreenspaceEnvironmentBlog+%28Greenspace%29 Gas Prices Spur Move To Open Offshore Drilling In California, Alaska, East Coast [Updated]. With high gas prices once again becoming a high-octane political issue, House Republicans on Tuesday launched a drive to open up more coastal areas to oil drilling, including a stretch off Southern California. The pro-production legislation comes a day before President Obama is due to speak on energy security and amid heightened political anxiety among both parties over rising fuel prices. Posted. http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/greenspace/2011/03/high-gas-prices-spur-move-to-open-offshore-drilling-in-california-alaska-east-coast.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+GreenspaceEnvironmentBlog+%28Greenspace%29 CA Moves Forward with Renewable Goals. After two failed attempts, California is moving ahead with the most aggressive renewable energy goal in the country. Today the State Assembly passed SB 2x, a bill that requires utilities to get 33% of their electricity from renewable sources like solar and wind, by 2020. By all accounts, utilities will need to add an unprecedented amount of renewable energy to meet the goal. Posted. http://blogs.kqed.org/climatewatch/2011/03/29/ca-moves-forward-with-renewable-goals/ Got Problems? Blame Global Warming. It took virtually no time at all for some to attribute the tragic earthquake and tsunami that devastated lives and property in Japan to global warming. Only hours later the president of the European and Social Committee, Staffan Nilsson, issued a statement that “Some islands affected by climate change have been hit. Has not the time come to demonstrate on solidarity — not least solidarity in combating and adapting to climate change and global warming? Posted. http://blogs.forbes.com/larrybell/2011/03/29/got-problems-blame-global-warming/ California Set to Enact Nation’s Most Aggressive RPS. The 33% Renewable Portfolio Standard awaits the signature of Governor Jerry Brown. California's state legislature set the most aggressive renewables portfolio standard in the United States at 33 percent by 2020 in passing S.B. 2 on Tuesday. The bill now moves onto Governor Jerry Brown's desk -- he's already announced his intention to sign it. According to Adam Browning of Vote Solar, "Long-term market security is key to stimulating investment. Posted. http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/ca-33-rps/