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newsclips -- Newsclips for April 29, 2011.

Posted: 02 May 2011 12:05:27
California Air Resources Board News Clips for April 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.


Groups Call On BLM To Act Against Wyoming Ozone.  Cheyenne, Wyo.
-- Environmentalists are asking regulators to consider slowing
the pace of gas drilling in western Wyoming after several days of
severe ozone pollution last winter.  Ozone levels in the Upper
Green River Basin topped the highest levels in Los Angeles all
last year. The ozone results from air pollution from gas
drilling, which has picked up with the reviving economy. 

West Trumps East and Midwest! (In terms of dirty air). America’s
skies are cleaner than a few years ago, but many cities still
have polluted air — and about half of Americans live in those
places. That’s the upshot of a new report by the American Lung
Assn. called State of the Air 2011. The annual report states:
“Unhealthy air remains a threat to the lives and health of
millions of people in the United States, despite great progress.

Ads Spotlight Brown, Mccaskill Environmental Votes. The League of
Women Voters is launching ads on TV and the Internet today
highlighting votes by Sen. Scott Brown and Sen. Claire McCaskill
to block air pollution standards. Brown, R-Mass., and McCaskill,
D-Mo., are both up for re-election in 2012 in closely watched
contests that could help decide which party is in power in the
Senate. The League of Women Voters is highlighting Sen. Scott
Brown's votes to limit the EPA's ability to regulate greenhouse
gases. Posted.

Mecca Residents Want Soil-Recycler Closed. Officials with the
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency told an auditorium full of
Mecca residents that they are investigating a soil-recycling
plant for possible violations of federal hazardous waste
regulations. The meeting at Saul Martinez Elementary School drew
about 150 people, and many of them said they want the plant
closed immediately. They blame the operation for strong chemical
odors that they say have made people sick. Posted.

Officials Promise To Clear Foul Odor From Mecca Air. Residents,
frustrated by pace of probes, press for timeline for results. The
200 or so Mecca residents who packed into the Saul Martinez
Elementary School cafeteria Thursday received no new insight into
what chemicals, particles or other substances could be causing
the foul odors that have sickened scores in the community since
December. But they did get renewed assurances from state and
federal environmental health officials that the air quality tests
will continue…Posted.

Gag Reflexes Tested By Foul Stench In Mecca. A Strange Odor
Started In December, Hasn't Gone Away. MECCA, Calif. -- A foul
odor has plagued Mecca for months, forcing school evacuations,
sending students and teachers to the hospital and on Thursday the
South Coast Air Quality Management District held its second town
hall meeting at Saul Martinez Elementary school this week to
address the problem. The question-and-answer session got heated
at times. Parents, teachers and local leaders voiced their
concerns about the on-going stench. Posted.

Draft Bill Offers Rule Exemptions For Coal-Burning. Draft
legislation being circulated on Capitol Hill would exempt
utilities from a host of air pollution rules if they agree to
retire older coal-fired power plants by the end of 2020 or if
they submit an alternative plan to U.S. EPA for ratcheting down
sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and other pollutants. Sources say
the discussion draft was written by American Electric Power Co.,
a major multistate utility that has been lobbying Congress for
more industry-friendly Clean Air Act rules and a longer time
frame to comply with them. Posted.


Business Roundtable Urges EPA to Stop Greenhouse Gas Rules. The
Business Roundtable, a group of chief executives officers from
companies such as General Electric Co. (GE) and Exxon Mobil Corp.
(XOM), urged the Obama administration to abandon efforts to
regulate greenhouse gases from industrial polluters. The
Washington-based association wants President Barack Obama’s
Environmental Protection Agency to scrap the rules for power
plants and oil refineries, giving Congress time to craft
legislation, according to an e-mailed statement today. Posted.


Oakland Port to Offer a Greener Power Supply to Berthed Ships. 
The Port of Oakland is about to start the construction of shore
power connections at twelve of its berths, which will provide
power from land to a vessel that is berthed or at the dock.
Providing a land-based source of power is intended reduce the
amount of pollution from ships burning diesel fuel while they are
in port. Usually berthed ships keep auxiliary engines running in
order to provide power to core ship functions and to cool cargo.


Amyris Builds Brazil Plant to Turn Sugar Into Renewable Source of
Diesel. Amyris Inc. (AMRS), a U.S. biotechnology company, built
its first industrial-scale facility to produce from sugar-cane
syrup a compound that can be converted into a renewable fuel,
tapping Brazil’s expansive cane industry for feedstock. The plant
in Sao Paulo state on a property owned by Biomin do Brasil
Nutricao Animal Ltda. will go into production next month,
Emeryville, California-based Amyris said today in a statement. It
will make farnesene, a compound that can be processed further
into diesel or lubricants. Posted.

EPA Stance on Natural-Gas Recovery Gets Support.
Washington—Diesel fuel shouldn't be added to drilling fluids used
to recover natural gas, the head of the American Gas Association
said Thursday. The comments from Dave McCurdy, the industry
group's president and CEO, came days after the Environmental
Protection Agency said it would more closely regulate the use of
diesel fuel in hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," a process
that involves injecting drilling fluids into wells to free oil
and natural gas trapped in shale formations deep underground.

EPA Starts Work On Diesel Fracking Guidance. U.S. EPA is in
discussions with industry to issue formal guidance on how
drillers can perform hydraulic fracturing with diesel fuel,
seeking to resolve an issue that has chipped away at the
credibility of both the agency and industry. "We are in the
process of engaging the public, industry, states and
environmental groups as we develop permitting guidance for
companies that use diesel fuel," EPA said in a statement,
confirming a comment by Administrator Lisa Jackson to reporters
earlier this week. Posted.


BMW Launches Electric Car Compatibility App. Interested in buying
an electric car, but not sure if it fits your lifestyle, commute,
or needs? Auto maker BMW — which has been rather hesitant when it
comes to EVs — recently launched an iPhone app , called EVolve,
designed to help users discover if they are a good fit for owning
an EV or not. 

Chevy Volt Hate Comes On Strong; Bob Lutz Strikes Back Hard. 2011
Chevy Volt – Click above for high-res image gallery. Is there any
car out there that draws more political fire than the Chevy Volt?
Sure, people rag on the Nissan Leaf for its limited range and on
a bunch of cars – the Murano CrossCabriolet, the Acura ZDX, the
Juke – for their styling, but the Volt really seems to have a
special ability to get people's claws out. It's almost like
they've forgotten all about the Toyota Prius. The main issues are
the alternative powertrain and the political effects of the feds
bailing out General Motors and issuing plug-in vehicle rebates.


Report urges SA to invest in electricity.  SA WILL need to make
further investments if the country’s electricity transmission
networks are to cope with additional capacity from multiple
renewable energy projects, according to a report by the World
Economic Forum.  The report’s observation reinforces the view
that the commissioning of new capacity, as proposed in the
integrated resource plan for electricity (IRP2010), will need to
be accompanied by investment across the electricity chain. 

Clean Energy Finance Can Be Thwarted By A Lack Of Structure. In
nations where renewable energy policy and infrastructure are
weak, public and private investors in clean energy may be
throwing money to the wind. Renewable energy goals in emerging
markets need a firm regulatory and infrastructure framework in
order to work, says a new World Economic Forum (WEF) report.
Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2011/04/29/4

Dow, DOE Team Up To Keep Cool Roofs Clean. The Energy Department
announced this week a research partnership with Dow Chemical Co.
to resolve the issues of dirt, algae and mold accumulation on
cool roofs. Cool roofs are typically white or light-colored and
reflect incoming sunlight with the effect of reducing the need
for interior cooling. The technology is particularly useful in
asphalt-covered cities that tend to absorb and retain more heat
than their rural surroundings. Posted.


Oil Companies Are Making More Money And Less Fuel. Refiners
including Exxon Mobil are raking in profits while producing less
gasoline and diesel in the U.S. than usual for this time of year.
They're also exporting more to foreign countries. With oil prices
rising, that makes for sticker shock at the pump. Gasoline prices
are skyrocketing — and so are oil company profits. Exxon Mobil
Corp. earned nearly $11 billion in the first three months of the
year, a rollicking 69% increase over its performance for the same
period last year. That's on sales of $114 billion. Posted.


Pain at the Pump? We Need More.  GASOLINE prices are above $4 per
gallon in much of the country, a reminder that our dependence on
oil carries a great cost. President Obama has promised that the
Justice Department will be vigilant in pursuing price-gouging at
the pump, but what we really need is to address the full set of
energy-related problems, with a focus on spurring clean energy
innovation.  Posted. 

Costly Ethanol Subsidies Should Be Ended Now. With gasoline above
$4 a gallon, it's time to rethink the $6 billion Uncle Sam spends
annually on ethanol subsidies paid to corn growers and ethanol
producers. Ethanol increases the price of gasoline, pollutes the
air, and drives up food costs, as well as increasing the deficit,
which this fiscal year stands at $1.6 trillion. Ethanol, a
corn-based fuel that can be substituted for some of the gasoline
needed to operate vehicles. But the gasoline-ethanol blend,
currently 10 percent ethanol, lowers vehicles' gas mileage,
leaving motorists with higher fuel bills. Posted.

Russ Dahler: Clean Air Projects Quietly Make A Difference. Since
its inception in 2007, Measure R has funded more than $9 million
in transit, bike and environmental projects. These projects are
funded through the 14 percent clean air projects category of
Measure R, as detailed in the voter-approved expenditure plan.
The funding "pie" also allocates 35 percent of the budget for use
in the incorporated cities and the County of Tulare, for local
projects; 50 percent on major projects of regional significance;
and 1 percent on administration. Posted.


China's Energy Use & Emissions To Peak Well Before 2050. Some
good news about China's energy use coming out of Lawrence
Berkeley National Laboratory, relying on some assumptions that
may or may not actually come to pass (or even be good for the
environment defined broadly). According to the China's Energy and
Carbon Emissions Outlook to 2050, contrary to the prevailing
wisdom, China's energy use and carbon emissions will stop growing
well before 2050, as market saturation for consumer products and
in construction takes hold. Posted.

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