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newsclips -- Newsclips for June 23, 2011.

Posted: 23 Jun 2011 11:47:28
California Air Resources Board News Clips for June 23, 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.


Oil Drilling Approvals by EPA Expedited Under House-Passed Bill.
The Environmental Protection Agency would have to issue or deny
air permits for offshore oil drilling within six months under
legislation passed by the U.S. House. As oil prices climbed 23
percent over the past year, Republicans have pushed legislation
that would expand drilling off the Alaska coast and in the Gulf
of Mexico. The bill to tighten environmental deadlines passed the
Republican-led House yesterday on a vote of 253 to 166. Posted.

INLAND AREA: Hot Weather Kick-Starts Smog Season. People who have
been feeling a bit fatigued and headachy may be suffering from
the unhealthful levels of air pollution reported in the past
week. With the warm weather, smog season 2011 has kicked into
gear. Air quality officials expect most of the remaining summer
days to be smoggy ones, making life more difficult for people
already coping with cardiac ailments, asthma or other respiratory
conditions. Posted. 

Heat, Pollution Pose Dangers To Sensitive Groups. Heat and
pollution combined Wednesday to give Bakersfield residents an
exhausting day, as the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control
District posted its air pollution index to "unhealthy for
sensitive groups" and temperatures reached 104 degrees
Fahrenheit. The air district forecasts Thursday's air to be
moderate. The National Weather Service forecasts a high of 100
for Thursday and 95 for Friday. County health officials stressed
that while the general public is not likely to be affected by the
poor air quality, "sensitive groups," which can include children,
the elderly, and those who suffer from pulmonary diseases, should
limit their outdoor exposure. Posted.

Fresno Just Shy Of Record Heat; Air Quality Unhealthy.  It wasn't
just hot in the Valley on Wednesday – it was unhealthy.  Fresno's
air quality may have been the worst in the state Wednesday, air
officials estimated, as a stagnant weather pattern allowed
pollution to build up and cook.  The level of ozone – which forms
best in hot, sunny weather – prompted air officials to estimate
Fresno's air-quality index at 159, a figure considered unhealthy
for everyone.  Posted. 

TEMECULA: Experts Weigh In On Quarry Report. Experts hired by
interests opposed to Liberty Quarry spent all day Wednesday
attacking, point by technical point, a massive study of the
open-pit mine proposed for the hills just outside of Temecula.
Their testimony came during the Riverside County Planning
Commission's third public hearing on the quarry, proposed for a
site between Temecula and San Diego County. Posted. 

More Evidence Air Pollution May Trigger Heart Attacks. Day-to-day
spikes in air pollution seem to be followed by an uptick in
hospital admissions for heart attacks, a new study in Italy
finds. The findings, reported in the American Journal of
Epidemiology, add to evidence that high-pollution days may
trigger heart attacks in some people. And, like other studies,
the new one suggests that the elderly and people with existing
heart or lung disease are most vulnerable. Posted.

Head of County Air Pollution Control District to Retire. Terry
Dressler, who has worked for the Santa Barbara County Air
Pollution Control District (APCD) since 1987, the last seven
years as the department’s head, is retiring. Dressler, who came
to Santa Barbara from the San Luis Obispo County APCD, was in
charge of implementing strategies to control air quality
throughout the county. Posted.


A Region With Big Climate Vulnerability and Bigger Distractions.
The third in a series. Click here to read the first story and
here for the second in the series. Climate change may be the last
thing that leaders of revolution-riddled countries in the Middle
East want to deal with now. But before long, experts say, the
problems caused by rising global temperatures could disfigure the
land they are fighting over. Posted.

California Cap-and-Trade Wars. The California legislature passed
AB 32 and former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the Global
Warming Solution Act of 2006, which aims to reduce current
greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. The law
requires the Scoping Plan, which was approved on Dec. 12, 2008,
and provides a road map and timeline for actions to reduce GHGs
in California via regulations, market mechanisms and other
actions. Posted. 

House Science Panel Chairman Asserts NOAA Climate Service Move Is
Illegal. House Republicans yesterday assailed the Obama
administration's plan to reorganize the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration's climate change portfolio, accusing
the agency of disobeying an appropriations rider that prevents
NOAA from spending any money this year to make the changes. NOAA
proposed creating a new "climate service" last year, to handle
what agency officials said was an overwhelming increase in
requests for data and forecasts to help communities and
businesses adapt to climate change. Posted.


Group Of Moderate Republicans Backs Tough Fuel Efficiency
Targets. A group of more than a dozen moderate Republicans,
including four former Environmental Protection Agency
administrators, urged President Obama in a letter Wednesday to
set tough new standards to curb carbon emissions from cars and
light trucks. The letter comes as the administration is debating
what sort of greenhouse gas emission limits it should impose on
vehicles that will be sold in the United States for the model
years 2017 to 2025. Posted.

Study: Biodegradable Plastics Can Release Methane. Raleigh, N.C.
-- New plastics designed to break down naturally have been hailed
as environmentally friendly alternatives to traditional plastics.
Instead of taking decades or even centuries to decompose, they
vanish in a few years. But new research at North Carolina State
University suggests they may not be so green after all. The
study, led by NCSU doctoral student James Levis, found that
biodegradable plastics can release large amounts of methane gas
when they break down in landfills. Posted.


California's Green Car Rebate Program Runs Out Of Gas. California
runs out of rebate money for state residents who have purchased a
new green car, such as the 2011 Chevrolet Volt. If you're in
California and shopping for an environmentally-friendly car,
there's a bit of bad news. The California Air Resources Board
(CARB) said on its website that the $11.1 million in state
funding for its Clean Vehicle Rebate Program (CVRP) "has been
completely distributed." Posted.

EUROPE: Consumer Groups Voice Concerns About EV Labeling.  In May
of this year, the US government took a decisive step to overhaul
its federal fuel economy labelling system, forcing all new
passenger cars to display energy use and cost comparisons between
vehicles that use electricity and conventional fuels.  The new
labels – which must now be affixed by adhesive onto the windows
of all new cars and trucks for sale – have given Europeans pause
for thought.  Posted. 


States On Track To Meet Efficiency Goals, But Challenges Remain.
The majority of U.S. states with efficiency standards are on
track to meet their goals, but looming "barriers" could pose
challenges for the programs in years ahead, according to two new
reports from an efficiency group. In a sweeping analysis, the
American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) examined
the 19 states that have had energy efficiency resource standards
in place for more than two years. Posted.

U.N. Conference Studies How To Broaden Reach Of Low-Carbon Power.
International leaders meeting in Austria this week are calling
for universal energy access and work between the public and
private sectors to help end energy poverty. The Vienna Energy
Forum -- where former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R)
gave his first public speech since the scandal over his affair
and love child with a household maid erupted -- has brought
together more than 1,000 heads of state, ministers and energy
experts. Posted.


Los Angeles Official Opposes Easing Environmental Rules For
Downtown Stadium. Los Angeles' top policy advocate supports a
resolution to fight legislation that would subvert state law for
developer of proposed facility.  Los Angeles' top policy advocate
has recommended that the City Council oppose any attempts to bend
state environmental rules for a football stadium proposed next to
the Convention Center downtown. Posted.

Benicia Seeks Professional Opinions On Climate Website. Benicia
-- The city is seeking ideas from professional web designers to
revive Benicia's dormant environmental action website by
Thanksgiving. City officials formally issued the request last
week, asking qualified individuals and firms to respond by July 1
with proposals that don't exceed $12,000. The city says it plans
to interview project applicants in July, hire one in August and
complete the website within 12 weeks of the start date. Posted.


Long-Range Forecast Is For Relentless Heat. The second day of
summer seems about right for musing on what kind of weather we
can expect this season around the Moremstead in the Valley of the
Bears. I’ll go out on a limb and forecast that we’ll have morning
fog, burning off by late morning to partly sunny skies with highs
in the upper 60s to mid-70s and afternoon northwest winds 10 to
15 mph. (Whew, I should be charging for such oracular insights.)
As I’ve noted previously, I like weather, real weather. Posted.


Bill To Reveal What Chemicals Used In "Fracking" Process. A bill
forcing oil and gas companies to reveal what chemicals they use
when using hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," to extract
natural gas in California passed the California Senate Natural
Resources Committee earlier this month and is set to go before
the Environmental Quality Committee next week. Hydraulic
fracturing involves injecting rock formations with high-pressure
water, sand and a combination of chemicals, to release
tightly-packed hydrocarbons. Posted.

California Tells Ships To Stop Bypassing Clean Fuel Zone.
California’s Air Resources Board meets tomorrow to close a major
loophole undermining clean shipping fuel requirements adopted two
years ago.  NRDC has been to court to defend these important
rules several times (here and here), and the court agrees that
California has the right to protect its coastal residents from
major health hazards associated with ocean going vessels burning
toxics-laden bunker fuel. Posted.

What Should Ford’s New Focus EV Sound Like. Ford will now roll
out its new Focus EV, and the silent electric sedan will be
available in 14 selected markets. Before the car makes it that
far, however, Ford could be changing the “silent” part. Posted.

Life Cycle Assessment Proves Electric Vehicles are a Cleaner
Choice. A report released earlier this month took into account
the entire life cycle of hybrid, electric and gas powered cars —
analyzing everything from gathering resources to disposing of
used vehicles — and revealed definitively that hybrid and
electric vehicles are greener from a whole systems approach.

Globally Renewable Energy is Outstripping Coal and Nuclear. It's
lovely to read of sanity in a world of chaos so a new analysis of
the global power plant market launched today by Greenpeace
International is well worth sharing. It shows that since the
1990s, installations of wind and solar grew faster than any other
power plant technology [1]. In addition, renewable energy
expanded rapidly, to reach its biggest market share in 2010 and
providing enough capacity to supply electricity to the equivalent
of one third of Europe. Posted.  

Which Cities Can Best Adapt To Climate Change?  Earlier this
month, 35 mayors from major cities around the world convened for
the Resilient Cities 2011 Conference and released a declaration
[PDF] that highlighted the recent rise in natural disasters and
the imperative for cities to increase their resiliency and
ability to adapt to climate change.  But what does it mean for a
city to be "resilient" to climate change? Which cities are most
resilient -- and what makes a city vulnerable?  Posted. 

Siemens And Partners Build First Aircraft With Series Hybrid
Electric Drive.  Siemens, Diamond Aircraft and EADS have built an
aircraft equipped with a series hybrid electric drive system. The
partners are presenting the two-seater motor glider DA36 E-Star
at the Paris Air Show Le Bourget 2011 (until 26 June) in daily
flight shows. The aircraft was built to test the hybrid electric
drive concept.    Posted. 

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