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newsclips -- Newsclips for June 1, 2011 Posted: 01 Jun 2011 11:16:31
California Air Resources Board News Clips for June 1, 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 Texas Legislature has mixed environmental results. HOUSTON -- The Texas Legislature ended its regular session with a mixed bag of environmental rules, passing some bills that put it ahead of the nation and others that are bound to infuriate the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Texas, an oil and gas powerhouse as well as one of the largest polluters in the nation, can only change and pass new laws once every two years, so the legislative session is meaningful. Federal agencies and other states often watch closely to see what energy and environmental rules are passed or changed in Texas, a state that has often set precedent in these areas - for good and bad. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2011/05/31/national/a110045D76.DTL http://www.modbee.com/2011/05/31/1712009/texas-legislature-has-mixed-environmental.html http://www.vcstar.com/news/2011/may/31/texas-legislature-has-mixed-02/ http://www.nctimes.com/news/national/article_3f43309e-37a7-5a54-ab0b-b1a759bb0e2d.html http://www.fresnobee.com/2011/05/31/2408951/texas-legislature-has-mixed-environmental.html#storylink=misearch Hearings to begin on NM pollution controls. ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.—The state was scheduled for hearings Wednesday on a plan to reduce the rate hikes New Mexico electric customers will face for federally mandated pollution controls at a coal-fired plant near Farmington. The state Environmental Improvement Board has proposed a $77 million plan for improvements to meet new Environmental Protection Agency directives, which it estimates will cost the Public Service Company of New Mexico customers about $11 a year, according to the Albuquerque Journal. Posted. http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_18176698 http://www.insidebayarea.com/ci_18176698 http://www.contracostatimes.com/ci_18176698?nclick_check=1 First ship ‘plugs-in’ at Port of Oakland. APL flipped the switch last week on a clean-air effort that’s part of California’s maritime future. The Singapore-based container shipping line became the first to shut down, or, “cold-iron,” a vessel’s engines to eliminate exhaust emissions at the Port of Oakland. As others follow suit – and regulators say they must – cold-ironing will become a staple on California’s coast. “We have brought cold-ironing to the port,” proclaimed APL Americas President Gene Seroka. “When others do as well, we can further reduce vessel emissions and re-enforce that global trade growth is sustainable.” Posted. http://gcaptain.com/ship-plugs-in-port-oakland?26199 Redding air gets quality marks. While Shasta County again fared poorly on air grades handed out by the American Lung Association, Redding was in the top 10 when it came to cities with the cleanest air. The seemingly contradictory results show that although Redding and Shasta County generally have good air, there are days when pollution levels spike and make for poor air quality, said Will Barrett, air quality and global warming policy coordinator for the American Lung Association in Sacramento. Posted. http://www.redding.com/news/2011/may/31/redding-air-gets-quality-marks/ CLIMATE CHANGE Tackling Climate Change: New Reports Underscore Role Of Local Leaders. WASHINGTON -- More than 40 of the world's largest cities have reported their greenhouse gas emissions along with a comprehensive analysis of any climate change-related reforms in studies released Tuesday night. Gathered from areas representing 300 million people and ten percent of global CO2 emissions, the reports show the impact participating cities have on climate change and outline the role local leaders could play in reducing their cities’ carbon emissions. Posted. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/31/local-leaders-fighting-climate-change_n_869449.html Carbon Market Shrinks for First Time in Hottest Year on Record. June 1 (Bloomberg) -- The global carbon market shrank for the first time in 2010, snapping five years of growth as a lack of clarity about the future climate framework hurt investment in the hottest year on record, a World Bank report showed. The value of the market for greenhouse-gas permits and credits for cutting pollution fell to $141.9 billion last year from $143.7 billion in 2009, also because of fading prospects for the introduction of emissions-trading programs in countries including the U.S., according to the report published today during the Carbon Expo conference in Barcelona, Spain. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2011/06/01/bloomberg1376-LM3S2B07SXKX01-0N8THF6A7OHC257GQFE9VCT1SD.DTL Airline maneuvers intensify as E.U. cap on jet emissions looms. While American airlines are heading to a court battle with the European Union over including their European flights in the European Union's carbon dioxide emissions cap-and-trade program, their Chinese competitors are trying to fly under the regulatory radar by pushing for an exemption. The European Union is examining China's plan to cut domestic aviation carbon emissions to see if it qualifies Chinese airlines for an exemption from the E.U. Emissions Trading System (ETS). Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/2011/05/31/1/ GREEN ENERGY Obama Draws on Business Expertise in Picking Bryson for Commerce Agency. President Barack Obama named former Edison International (EIX) Chief Executive Officer John Bryson as his choice for commerce secretary, drawing on business expertise for a job central to his goal of doubling U.S. exports. The choice of a private sector executive for the commerce post is the latest move by Obama to repair relations between the White House and the business community that were frayed by disagreements over the administration’s overhaul of health-care and financial regulations. Posted. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-05-31/obama-to-nominate-energy-executive-john-bryson-to-lead-commerce-department.html President Obama nominates John Bryson as commerce secretary. President Barack Obama on Tuesday nominated businessman John Bryson as the next commerce secretary, touting his expertise that “will help us create more jobs and make America more competitive.” Bryson, 67, is the former chairman and CEO of Edison International, a California-based utility company. He also co-founded the Natural Resources Defense Council and serves on the boards of several large companies and institutions, including Boeing, Walt Disney and the California Institute of Technology. Posted. http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0511/55926.html GOP plan slashes renewable energy. House Republicans unveiled a scaled-back $30.6 billion energy and water budget Wednesday that makes deep cuts from energy efficiency and renewable energy programs while trying to stabilize science and defense investments within tighter spending caps. Total energy and water appropriations would drop another $1.06 billion on top of the more than $2 billion in reductions already enacted in April. And the cumulative effect is to push back annual spending –measured in real dollars— to levels not seen since early in President George W. Bush’s first term. Posted. http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0611/56020.html US builds electric vehicle charging stations. In electric vehicle research, the US Government is to build 125 solar-assisted charging stations from Knoxville to Memphis in Tennessee. 25 have been completed in the state so far. "These join six Electric Power Research Institute stations that were completed in Knoxville earlier this year. The remaining 94 stations are scheduled to be finished by the spring of 2012," said the US Department of Energy (DoE). "As a demonstration project, these charging stations will provide information about station performance, customer charging preferences, component reliability and the impact on the electric grid." Posted. http://www.electronicsweekly.com/Articles/2011/05/31/51151/US-builds-electric-vehicle-charging-stations.htm Dustup over Florida wind farm. Florida is the latest battleground for greens anguished about the ecological costs of green power. This time, a proposal for a sprawling wind farm just north of the Everglades is facing blowback from environmental groups that worry it could become an avian Cuisinart for the wading birds, raptors and waterfowl that teem in the sprawling marshes nearby. At least one statewide conservation organization has come out against the project by the St. Louis-based Wind Capital Group, which would feature as many as 100 turbines as tall as the Statue of Liberty stretched across a 20,000-acre swath of sugar cane and vegetable farms in western Palm Beach County. Posted. http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0511/55947.html VEHICLES Hybrids' yellow stickers program expires July 1. For the past six years, those mustard-yellow stickers affixed to the haunches of 85,000 California hybrid vehicles have been golden. Not only have they granted solo drivers free admission to the carpool lane, they have also boosted the resale value of the vehicles by thousands of dollars. But in little more than a month, the stickers will lose their luster. On July 1, with hybrid cars no longer an unusual sight in the Golden State, the decals will expire, becoming worth no more than a fading, peeling bumper sticker. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/05/29/MNLT1JMBO0.DTL MISCELLANEOUS Car-free commute day at Lake Tahoe. STATELINE, Nev. — Friday will be car-free commute day at Lake Tahoe. More than 60 staff members of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and neighboring offices are biking, walking or using alternative transportation to get to work that day. The event originally was scheduled for Wednesday, but TRPA officials pushed it back two days to coincide with the end of the Tahoe Bike Challenge. Posted. http://web.signonsandiego.com/news/2011/jun/01/car-free-commute-day-at-lake-tahoe/ OPINION New Energy Policy is the Key to Economic Renewal. Creative destruction is the term the economist Joseph Schumpeter used to describe how capitalism stays vital and strong through constant evolution. Innovation allows for the replacement of old industries with new one, creating new markets and employment opportunities. There is actually a revolution within the system where new technologies and sectors replace old ones. Schumpeter writes in Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy, “The fundamental impulse that sets and keeps the capitalist engine in motion comes from the new consumers, goods, the new methods of production or transportation, the new markets, the new forms of industrial organization that capitalist enterprise creates.” Posted. http://www.triplepundit.com/2011/06/energy-economy-renewables-efficiency/ McCarthy bill a bad idea for valley air. When the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District governing board meets, it is incumbent upon the members to base their decisions on accurate information as it is their duty to protect public health. In that light, it was extremely irritating to attend the air district board meeting on May 19. A little background is necessary. Most people know we have a serious ozone (or smog) problem in the valley, especially from Fresno down to Kern County. Exposure to ozone damages the lungs and reduces breathing capacity. Posted. http://www.bakersfield.com/opinion/community/x504581517/McCarthy-bill-a-bad-idea-for-valley-air Alternative energy. I applaud Das Williams and our representatives for their wise direction to convert at least one-third of our electricity to renewable sources. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recently reported that renewable sources can provide up to 80 percent of electricity supply required by the year 2050. Advantages include mitigating greenhouse gases, climate benefits, plus bringing about more security in our nation's energy supply, improving public health and creating new jobs. Posted. http://www.vcstar.com/news/2011/may/31/alternative-energy/ BLOGS Did Chris Christie just doom U.S. climate policy? Maybe that title’s a tad hyperbolic, but hear me out. Over the past five years, covering the climate debate in Washington, my working assumption (or delusion, if you’d prefer) has always been that some big shift in U.S. energy policy was inevitable — and soon. Maybe Democrats would use their big congressional majorities to pass a cap-and-trade bill or, at the very least, a renewable-energy standard. If not that, then Obama’s EPA could use its Clean Air Act authority to start cracking down on greenhouse-gas emissions. And if not that, well, circa 2008, a whole bunch of states were undertaking all sorts of notable climate initiatives — surely that would get things started, no? Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/post/did-chris-christie-just-doom-us-climate-policy/2011/05/31/AGQicWFH_blog.html Cargo ship plugs in at the Port of Oakland to reduce diesel emissions. Gigantic 10-story tall ships that stretch three football fields long line the wharf at the Port of Oakland. There's constant movement as big white cranes load and unload colorful shipping containers on and off the boats. Most of the ships look pretty much the same, equipped with lifeboats, pulley systems and flags hoisted on the decks. But one vessel has something different: two thick cables, which look like over-sized extension cords, that hang off the side of the boat and connect to the dock. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/inoakland/detail?entry_id=90067 Turning Garbage Into Car Fuel? Venture Gains Momentum. The most challenging yet potentially most profitable part of alternative energy –- making fuel for cars and trucks -– is attracting attention from a mainstream fuel supplier and a trash hauler. Enerkem, a Montreal company that makes ethanol from old utility poles and household garbage, will announce Wednesday that a major independent oil refiner, Valero, is raising its investment in the company, along with Waste Management, a trash-hauling company. With $60 million in new financing, total investment in Enerkem will reach $130 million. Posted. http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/06/01/garbage-to-energy-venture-gains-momentum/