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newsclips -- Newsclips for April 20, 2011.

Posted: 20 Apr 2011 12:29:37
California Air Resources Board News Clips for April 20, 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.


Government Roundup: Bill Would Repeal $29 Million Air Pollution
Fine.  Congressman Kevin McCarthy announced Tuesday he's
introduced a bill that would repeal a controversial fine imposed
on the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District for
failing to meet a tough clean air rule.  The Commonsense Ozone
Regulation Act would rescind the $29 million fine, which the
district decided to pay by tacking an additional $12 onto the
annual cost of registering a motor vehicle in the valley. 

EPA Threatens Utah With Air Quality Sanctions. Federal officials
threatened Monday to block road money and seize control of Utah's
air quality management plan because of an exemption for excessive
pollution from oil refineries and other sources. Utah officials
have about 18 months to change the rule to ensure polluters are
cited for a violation first, instead of the state having to
investigate a breakdown... Posted.

Scientists: Soot May Be Key To Rapid Arctic Melt. Washington (AP)
— An international research team is in the land of snow and ice,
in search of soot. Though the Arctic is often pictured as a vast
white wasteland, a scientist believe a thin layer of soot —
mostly invisible — is causing it to absorb more heat. They want
to find out if that's the main reason for the recent rapid
warming of the Arctic, which could have a long-term impact on the
world's climate. Soot, or black carbon, is produced by auto and
truck engines, aircraft emissions, burning forests and the use of
wood- or coal-burning stoves. Posted.

EPA Staffers Recommend A Crackdown On Soot. The air quality
standards that U.S. EPA has put in place for chemical-laden dust
and soot aren't strong enough to protect human health, agency
staffers say in a new memo to Administrator Lisa Jackson that
could pave the way for stricter rules later this year. In the
final policy assessment, staffers express particular concern
about fine particles, which are released by diesel engines,
coal-fired power plants and the burning of wood and other plant
matter. Posted.


Justices Skeptical on Role of Courts in Setting Emissions
Standards.  Washington - A lawsuit by six states and New York
City to force major power companies to reduce greenhouse gas
emissions was met with seemingly unanimous skepticism from the
justices on Tuesday during arguments at the Supreme Court.  No
one questioned the basic premise of the suit — that greenhouse
gas emissions contribute to global warming. But there was
essentially no support for the states’ position that courts are
the proper forums in which to regulate the problem. Posted. 
Supreme Court Skeptical Of Allowing Global-Warming Case To Move
Forward.  Supreme Court justices across the ideological spectrum
signaled Tuesday that they might halt a huge global-warming
lawsuit in which states are asking the federal courts to restrict
polluting power plants outside their borders.  “Asking a court to
set standards for emissions sounds like the kind of thing that
EPA does,” said Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, referring to the
Environmental Protection Agency.  Posted. 

Court Casts Doubt On States' Global Warming Suit.  Washington
--The Supreme Court appeared deeply skeptical Tuesday about
allowing states to sue electric utilities to force cuts in
greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.  Both conservative
and liberal justices questioned whether a federal judge could
deal with the complex issue of global warming, a topic they
suggested is better left to Congress and the Environmental
Protection Agency.  Posted.  

Polls Show Wide Partisan Gap, Erroneous Beliefs On Climate. A
series of polls was conducted recently to ask about the facts of
climate change while trying to avoid the divisive political
beliefs around government policies to address it. It didn't work.
Researchers found that seemingly neutral questions about the
level of people's knowledge of climate change, their notions
about scientific consensus and their personal beliefs on warming
resulted in strong partisan responses. Posted.

Carbon Credits Could Be A Billion-Dollar Industry. Most B.C.
projects are forestry-related, says a sustainability expert.
British Columbia has a bank of carbon credits already approved
for sale that adds up to over $1 billion once a promised
cap-and-trade system is established by the Western Climate
Initiative, says the Sauder School of Business ISIS research
centre. The $1 billion credit has essentially created a new
export industry for the province, ISIS executive director James
Tansey said in an interview Monday. Posted.

B.C.'s Business Case For Cap And Trade. This week the provincial
cabinet is expected to meet to discuss British Columbia's future
role in the Western Climate Initiative, the initiative developed
by 11 provinces and U.S. states to set up a carbon cap-and-trade
system to mitigate climate change. Premier Christy Clark is at a
crossroads: Do we as a province continue advancing as a green
economy leader, using our leadership role in the WCI and growing
partnership with California? Posted.


Apply Soon For Diesel Truck Funds.  Stockton - Owners of
heavy-duty diesel trucks have through April 29 to apply for money
to replace, power or retrofit their vehicles.  The money comes
from voter-approved Proposition 1B. Owners can receive up to
$60,000 to upgrade their trucks.  Diesel trucks are a significant
source of pollution in the San Joaquin Valley, with Interstate 5
and Highway 99 serving as major shipping corridors. Posted. 


Study Emphasizes Importance of China’s Transition to Electric
Cars.  A STUDY prepared for the World Bank Transport Office in
Beijing released today makes clear the urgency of China’s
transition to electric cars. According to “The China New Vehicles
Program: Challenges and Opportunities,” prepared by PRTM, a
management consulting firm, China’s soaring consumption of
imported oil could stifle the country’s economy, while emissions
from petroleum-powered vehicles could choke its cities with air
pollution.  Posted. 


IEA Urges China to Reduce Energy Subsidies. Shanghai -The head of
the International Energy Agency called on China to more quickly
reduce subsidies on gasoline, diesel and electricity. In an
interview Wednesday with The Wall Street Journal, Nobuo Tanaka,
executive director of the industrialized world's energy watchdog,
said prices in China should reflect the fact that the age of
cheap energy is over, a reality underlined by the Japanese
nuclear crisis. He said it is obvious that the nuclear industry's
expected expansion will be curtailed in the wake of Japan's
disaster in Fukushima prefecture, though he thinks the energy
source will remain important. Posted.

Government Using Score Cards To Track Federal Agencies’ Greening
Efforts.  Using a scoring system modeled on a traffic light, the
Obama administration on Tuesday unveiled a new way to track how
the government’s largest agencies and departments are scaling
back their use of electricity, water and fuel.  In October 2009,
President Obama ordered federal agencies to hit the gas on plans
to cut the government’s greenhouse gas emissions by 28 percent by
2020.  Posted. 
Alpena Refinery To Convert Wood Waste To Chemical.  Alpena, Mich.
(AP) - Two companies have announced plans for a refinery in
Alpena that will use waste wood from a local particle board plant
to make a renewable industrial chemical called biobutanol. 
Biobutanol is used widely in paints and other chemical products
and can be converted into plastics and fuels.  Posted. 

Bay Area Program To Help Governments, Businesses Get Solar
Panels. The city of San Jose, Calif., and the Bay Area Climate
Collaborative have launched a program that allows local
governments and businesses throughout the San Francisco Bay Area
to collectively buy solar panels for their buildings. The
program, called SunShares, will hopefully lead the way for
similar initiatives throughout the state, said San Jose Mayor
Chuck Reed. "It's an opportunity to bring the cost down and
demonstrate how easy it is to get solar," said Reed. Posted.

Money For Green-Tech Academies. Brown signs bill that
Schwarzenegger vetoed. Gov. Jerry Brown this week signed
legislation that at least will protect high school green-tech
career academies from a state budget implosion and will even
expand the number over the next few years. Doing so took some
creative thinking from the bill’s sponsor, Senate President pro
Tem Darrell Steinberg. SBX 1-1 will direct $40 million over five
years from a fund for conservation and alternative energy uses
financed by a tiny surcharge ($.0003 per kilowatt-hour) on
utility bills. Posted.


Mercury Climbing In Food Chain, New Study Shows. Levels of
mercury have risen dramatically in some Pacific seabirds in the
past 120 years, suggesting that industrial emissions containing
the poisonous metal associated with fetal and brain damage may be
climbing the food chain and endangering sensitive species,
according to a new study. While the study did not specifically
address human-mercury exposure, there is rising concern among
scientists that more people are consuming the heavy metal through
tainted seafood, where the compound is known as methylmercury.


Justices Against Court-Imposed Cap-And-Trade. It appeared
yesterday during oral arguments in a case raising important
constitutional and political issues that members of the U.S.
Supreme Court doubt the wisdom of allowing federal judges the
power to regulate carbon emissions. The case was AEP v.
Connecticut in which eight states sued American Electric Power
and other electricity providers over carbon emissions. Posted.

Charlie Zender: More Dangerous Than Japan Radiation. West Coast
inhabitants have learned by now that we live downwind from the
crippled nuclear reactors in Fukushima, Japan. The plume of
radioactive material poses a real threat near the source, where
images include health workers wearing protective "moon suits,"
infants probed by Geiger counters, and contaminated smoke and
steam spewing from the damaged reactor buildings. These emissions
are carried our direction in the global wind belt called the
prevailing westerlies. Posted.

LETTERS: Hiding Their Real Motivation. Many arguments critical of
Liberty Quarry aren't based in reality. Armondo Lopez (April 12)
claims that Temecula may go the way of towns that died because of
mining operations. If he is right, the cities of Palos Verdes,
Upland, Ontario, Claremont, Pasadena, Riverside, San Juan
Capistrano, Orange and countless others would be ghost towns. The
mines Lopez is talking about are coal mines, gold mines and
copper mines, not rock quarries. Posted.

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