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newsclips -- Newsclips for September 6, 2011. Posted: 06 Sep 2011 16:02:21
California Air Resources Board News Clips for September 6, 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 Stung by the President on Air Quality, Environmentalists Weigh Their Options. For environmental groups, it was the final hard slap that brought a long-troubled relationship to the brink. In late August, the State Department gave a crucial go-ahead on a controversial pipeline to bring tar sands oil from Canada to the Gulf Coast. Then on Friday, leading into the holiday weekend, the Obama administration announced without warning that it was walking away from stricter ozone pollution standards that it had been promising for three years and instead sticking with Bush-era standards. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/04/science/earth/04air.html?scp=3&sq=air%20pollution&st=cse Divisive Pollution Rule Remains on Schedule. As the Obama administration pulls back on a broad rule to combat ozone pollution, a different rule that would also reduce smog-forming chemicals in Texas remains on track. The White House announced on Friday that ground-level ozone levels would be reviewed in 2013 rather than tightened immediately, a move welcomed by conservatives in Texas and elsewhere. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/04/us/04ttpollution.html?scp=4&sq=air%20pollution&st=cse Leaked Cables Offer Glimpses Into Relations of U.S. and China. This capital city’s skies were clogged with pollution, as is often the case, and China’s government was concerned. So it summoned officials of the American Embassy here to a meeting. But the session had nothing to do with hazy skies. Rather, Chinese officials were peeved that the Americans were monitoring pollution themselves, and posting on Twitter for anyone to read, their more precise findings, which usually judged the smog far worse than official Chinese readings. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/05/world/asia/05china.html?scp=6&sq=air%20pollution&st=cse Obama flip on smog rules stuns environmentalists. For environmental groups, it was the final hard slap that brought a long-troubled relationship to the brink. In late August, the State Department gave a crucial go-ahead on a controversial pipeline to bring tar sands oil from Canada to the Gulf Coast. Then on Friday, leading into the holiday weekend, the Obama administration announced without warning that it was walking away from stricter ozone pollution standards that it had been promising for three years and instead sticking with Bush-era standards. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2011/09/04/v-print/3883369/obama-flop-on-smog-rules-stuns.html Administration retreats from tougher smog rules. Washington – The Obama administration is abandoning its plan to immediately tighten air-quality rules nationwide to reduce emissions of smog-causing chemicals after an intense lobbying campaign by industry, which said the new rule would cost billions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of jobs, officials said Friday. The White House announcement that it was overruling the Environmental Protection Agency's plan to adopt a stricter standard for ground-level ozone…Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2011/09/03/v-print/3882039/administration-retreats-from-tougher.html Shell pays $500,000 to Harris County for pollution. Shell Chemical L.P. has agreed to pay $500,000 to Harris County over five different air pollution events at its Deer Park refinery. The settlement was reached after the county accused Shell of failing to notify officials about the toxic releases. There are two schools and many homes close to the Shell refinery in Deer Park, about 18 miles southeast of Houston. Posted. http://www.insidebayarea.com/ci_18834615 http://www.contracostatimes.com/ci_18834615?nclick_check=1 Air alert in Valley; restricted driving urged. Air officials are calling on Valley residents to cut back on driving and idling while an air alert is in effect this week. The alert -- called when the area is in danger of exceeding a federal standard for ozone -- started Monday and will run through Thursday or possibly Friday, according to the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District. It's the second air alert of the season. The first, in late August, successfully avoided an ozone violation. Posted. http://www.fresnobee.com/2011/09/05/2526235/second-air-alert-under-way-in.html Air Pollution Documentary Premiers in Santa Monica. The South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) premiered “The Right To Breathe,” a documentary film about the hazards of air pollution in Los Angeles, at the Women in Green Forum at the Sheraton in Santa Monica Tuesday. “I think a lot of people forget how bad [the air pollution] is,” the film's director Alexandre Phillipe told The Lookout. Posted. http://www.surfsantamonica.com/ssm_site/the_lookout/news/News-2011/September-2011/09_01_2011_Air_Pollution_Documentary_Premiers_in_Santa_Monica.html Obama’s Continued Failures on the Environment and Jobs. On Friday September 2, President Obama directed Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator, Lisa Jackson, to withdraw proposed regulations on ground level ozone. Ground level ozone is the main component of smog. Obama’s decision overruled the position of the EPA and the unanimous opinion of its panel of scientific advisors in the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC). Posted. http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2011/09/05/18689538.php CLIMATE CHANGE Carbon Cap Revival Led by Gillard Called Stupid by Xstrata. Julia Gillard, determined to join efforts to reduce global warming, intends to revive cap and trade as Europe puts curbs on the United Nations-run emissions credit market and the U.S. opts out entirely. The Australian prime minister’s plan to make factories and utilities either cut the nation’s greenhouse gases or pay for pollution-curbing programs abroad may force companies to buy an average 66 million metric tons of credits a year starting in 2015,… Posted. http://www.businessweek.com/news/2011-09-06/carbon-cap-revival-led-by-gillard-called-stupid-by-xstrata.html Climate, evolution thorny issues for GOP hopefuls. GOP presidential candidates gathering at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley on Wednesday will spar over jobs, the economy and foreign policy - but the televised matchup will become especially tricky if it wanders into two topics related to science: climate change and evolution. Both inspire fiery debate, pitting science and research against deeply held personal beliefs. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/09/06/MNCO1KV7MR.DTL&type=printable San Francisco Bay developers, enviros spar over sea-level regs. San Francisco Bay planners are in the home stretch of a two-year effort to address sea-level rise. The San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission's (BCDC) development plan for the coastline is up for a vote early next month. If it passes, the agency could use it as justification to deny permits for development in coastal areas susceptible to flooding. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2011/09/06/3 BY PAID SUBSCRIPTTION ONLY GAO finds geoengineering methods too 'immature' to fight climate change. No geoengineering methods are ready for use to combat climate change, the Government Accountability Office said in a report released late last month, citing concerns about cost, effectiveness and adverse consequences. "Climate engineering technologies do not now offer a viable response to global climate change," GAO said in the report commissioned by former House Science, Space and Technology Committee Chairman Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.). Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2011/09/06/5 BY PAID SUBSCRIPTION ONLY DIESEL EMISSIONS Mass. steps up efforts to cut school bus pollution. State environmental officials are set to mark the start of the school year by celebrating the successful completion of a program that fitted more than 2,100 school buses with devices designed to cut air pollution from diesel engines. Buses serving at least 300,000 students in 300 communities benefited from the MassCleanDiesel School Bus Retrofit Program. The initiative seeks to reduce children's exposure to diesel exhaust swirling inside the buses as they ride to and from school. Posted. http://www.vcstar.com/news/2011/sep/05/mass-steps-up-efforts-to-cut-school-bus/ FUELS China Challenges U.S. Supremacy in Shale Gas. China has a chance of challenging the United States for shale supremacy. So far, only the United States has significantly exploited domestic reserves of shale gas. But Sinopec, China’s major state-run oil company, is now taking shale seriously and lacks many of the roadblocks that have held back developers in other countries. Many nations have energy trapped in their rocks, but shale gas extraction, born in the U.S.A., has all but stayed here. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/05/business/china-challenges-us-supremacy-in-shale-gas-breakingviews.html?scp=7&sq=air%20pollution&st=cse VEHICLES Daimler to Test Smart Electric Cars in Hong Kong as Smog Worsens. Daimler AG (DAI), the world’s second- largest manufacturer of luxury cars, will provide a trial version of its Smart electric car to partners in Hong Kong as the city battles record pollution. Daimler’s partners in the trial, which include the Hong Kong Jockey Club and Swire Coca-Cola HK, will use the two-seater car for six to 12 months, the carmaker said in a statement today. Stuttgart-based Daimler’s Mercedes Benz unit will offer a service center with technicians and mechanics. Posted. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-09-06/daimler-to-test-smart-electric-cars-in-hong-kong-as-smog-worsens.html China Aims to Rein In Car Sales. After a decade of nurturing China’s auto industry to become the largest in the world, this country’s leaders are having second thoughts. A succession of government officials at a weekend conference called for China’s automakers to shift their focus from making ever more cars and toward producing more fuel-efficient and more advanced models, including gasoline-electric hybrids and all-electric cars. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/05/business/global/china-changes-direction-on-car-sales.html?scp=5&sq=air%20pollution&st=cse Bills To Shift Oversight Of High-Speed Rail Faltering. The California High-Speed Rail Authority is facing increased scrutiny from lawmakers as the legislative session draws to a close. Lawmakers proposed several reforms meant to strengthen state oversight of the autonomous rail agency, but with just a week before the end of the 2011 session, the toughest looked unlikely to reach a floor vote, Capitol sources said. Posted. http://californiawatch.org/dailyreport/bills-shift-oversight-high-speed-rail-faltering-12428 Bill pushes gas levy for congestion relief projects. Sacramento lawmakers have a plan to raise money to improve freeways and bolster public transit and bicycle amenities: Let local officials charge more for gas. But Inland area officials don't think Riverside or San Bernardino counties will take lawmakers up on the offer. A bill in the state Assembly, if approved, would allow planning agencies such as San Bernardino Associated Governments and the Riverside County Transportation Commission to ask voters to approve a gas levy. Posted. http://www.pe.com/localnews/politics/stories/PE_News_Local_D_gaslevy06.3f4a63b.html The Coalition's vision for renewable transport. During its first fifteen months, the Coalition Government has been grappling with a series of tough challenges: restoring sustainability to the public finances, rebuilding our economy and delivering our climate change commitments. Conventional wisdom dictates that supporting economic growth is incompatible with cutting carbon. Like most conventional wisdom, this is way off the mark. Posted. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sponsored/earth/the-age-of-energy/8741602/The-Coalitions-vision-for-renewable-transport.html GREEN ENERGY Businesses put wind to work. When Brad Crandall Jr. opened the electric bill for his fertilizer manufacturing company in June, it was as if the weight of high energy costs were swept away by a cool breeze. The Pacific Gas and Electric Co. bill was $11.52, down from almost $5,000 a month previously to run the factory in Suisun City. "It was so wonderful," Crandall said. "We all dream of not having a PG&E bill." Crandall's company is saving money by taking advantage of a fast-growing, clean technology. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2011/09/04/v-print/3881463/businesses-put-wind-to-work.html Solyndra files for bankruptcy, listing nearly $784 million in debt. Solyndra filed for bankruptcy on Tuesday, listing $783.8 million in secured debts that included $527.8 million that it owes to the U.S. government, court papers show. The Fremont-based solar manufacturer listed assets valued at $859 million, according to U.S. Bankruptcy Court records in Delaware. The filing included Solyndra and its principal owner, 360 Degree Solar Holdings. Posted. http://www.mercurynews.com/green-energy/ci_18834925 SUBSCRIPTION ONLY OPINIONS Where the Jobs Aren’t. With the economy stagnating and unemployment high, where are the jobs of the future going to come from? A few years ago, it seemed as though the Green Economy could be a big part of the answer. New clean-energy sources could address environmental, economic and national security problems all at once. In his 2008 convention speech, Barack Obama promised to create five million green economy jobs. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/06/opinion/brooks-where-the-jobs-arent.html?scp=2&sq=green%20energy&st=cse Obama's tie to (bankrupt) Solyndra [Most commented]. You may not know about Solyndra, an industrial solar panel company based in Fremont, Calif., but that doesn't mean you shouldn't. It was the first company to receive federal stimulus funds, totaling $535 million. Yet the company just filed for bankruptcy protection. And, it should be noted, House Republicans are investigating because one of Solyndra's main investors was a bundler for President Obama's 2008 presidential campaign. Here's what it means for all of us: Posted. http://opinion.latimes.com/opinionla/2011/09/obamas-tie-to-bankrupt-solyndra-most-commented.html California leaders are killing jobs. California’s “jobs gap” with the rest of America jumped to a record high, according to new calculations. In 2010, I devised the “jobs gap” to measure how much worse unemployment is in California than in the rest of America. The jobs gap is calculated by subtracting the national unemployment level from California’s. Of course, the major factor affecting California’s economy is national economic policy. Posted. http://www.sfexaminer.com/opinion/op-eds/2011/09/california-leaders-are-killing-jobs Solyndra collapse raises tough policy questions. The bankruptcy of an Obama pet project - solar panel maker Solyndra, based in Fremont - is a political embarrassment for the White House. It went from showcase to basket case, laying off 1,100 workers and eating up $535 million in stimulus-program money. The episode deserves a serious look - which Republicans in Congress are only too happy to supply - to see if financial warning signs were ignored or whether the firm won special treatment because a prime investor was a White House donor. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/09/05/EDMJ1KVGQG.DTL&type=printable Thomas Elias: State air board credibility hit through lack of change. The departed administration of ex-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has been thoroughly discredited, its record of bending public policy to the whims of campaign donors often demonstrated and his own lack of trustworthiness amply proven. But pockets of Schwarzenegger's influence and the lack of integrity he epitomized remain in place fully eight months after his departure from office, one of the most notable at the California Air Resources Board. Posted. http://www.sgvtribune.com/opinions/ci_18831550 Steve Scauzillo: Some companies make green jobs out of regulations. There were no new jobs created in the United States this past August. Unemployment stayed at 9.1 percent but we all know that California is worse at 12 percent unemployment. You will hear President Obama talk about employment Thursday when he presents his plan for job creation to the American people. That is, if you are not watching the football game. Posted. http://www.whittierdailynews.com/news/ci_18820616 ‘Houston, San Joaquin Valley Has A Problem": Cars Causing Smog. In California, or more precisely the San Joaquin Valley, our problem isn’t droughts, hurricanes or floods; it’s smog – at least right now it is. Beginning this year assessed will be an annual $29 million penalty, the money presumably going to help clean this smog up. San Joaquin Valley motorists will have to pay an extra $12 added to what would be our usual registration fees. Is this fair? The penalty may be justified, but the fact that Valley motorists are on the hook for this expense may not be. Posted. http://www.californiaprogressreport.com/site/print/9332 BLOGS Getting a Grip on the Grid. One of the crucial factors that limits the capacity of the electricity grid is the temperature of the lines; as their metal is heated by the current flowing through them, the lines get longer, and they sag, and can contact trees or other objects. That development helped set off the great Northeast blackout of August 2003. But the utility companies have never had a precise idea of what the temperatures are, or where their lines are in relation to obstructions below. Posted. http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/09/05/getting-a-grip-on-the-grid/?ref=earth Hot air and fading hope in Washington’s climate fix. It has been a brutal summer for climate change ‘deniers’ and, perhaps, an even nastier one for greens. Washington is a long way from the North Pole but the hot air is everywhere. The planet’s vital white skullcap – the reflective dome of Arctic ice – is thinning, scattered and melting towards new record lows. Icebreakers are crunching easily through weak ice close to the pole, shipping lanes are wide open north of Russia and Canada and there’s a new resource rush. Posted. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/americas/hot-air-and-fading-hope-in-washingtons-climate-fix/article2154430/ Germany Sets New Renewable Energy Record. While the latest green headlines in the U.S. are mostly depressing with growing signs that the Obama administration will approve the proposed Keystone Pipeline and the bankruptcy of Solyndra, at least we have some good news coming from across the ocean. According to a new report by the German Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW), the German renewable energy sector broke a new record in the first half of 2011, generating 20.8 percent of the country’s power production. Posted. http://www.triplepundit.com/2011/09/generating-gloomy-news-germany-setting-new-record-renewable-energy-usage/ The Dark Side of Apple’s Supply Chain. As surprising as it may seem (or not) there are problems with Apple’s suppliers in China, namely that many are not exactly environmentally friendly citizens. A coalition of environmental organizations cited “pollution and poisoning” problems in Apple’s China supply chain in two reports on the “Other Side of Apple.” Posted. http://www.triplepundit.com/2011/09/dark-side-apples-supply-chain-core/ Biofuels Propel Blue Angels Over Labor Day Weekend. Labor Day weekend often means that very last summer barbecue, final road trip, baseball pennant race showdowns, and for some lucky communities, the chance to watch the Blue Angels soar above crowds in their awesome aerial formations. This year, the U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, the long-form name for the Blue Angels, wowed visitors with their pilots’ stunts at the Patuxent Naval Air Station in southern Maryland over the weekend. Posted. http://www.triplepundit.com/2011/09/biofuels-propel-blue-angels-labor-day-weekend/ One-step hydrotreatment process for conversion of vegetable oils to renewable diesel and LPG. Researchers from Japan and Mexico have developed a one-step hydrotreatment process over catalysts containing Ni-Mo and solid acids for the conversion of vegetable oils (Jatropha, palm and canola) to renewable diesel and LPG fuels. A paper on their work appears in the ACS journal Energy & Fuels. Jatropha oil produced the highest yield (wt %) of renewable diesel (83.5%), with 4.9% LPG. Posted. http://www.greencarcongress.com/2011/09/liu-20110906.html