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newsclips -- Newsclips for September 16, 2011. Posted: 16 Sep 2011 14:53:07
California Air Resources Board News Clips for September 16, 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 SD board approves Hyperion oil refinery permit. A state environmental board voted unanimously Thursday to approve a Texas company's request to extend the deadline for starting construction of a $10 billion oil refinery planned for southeastern South Dakota. After hearing closing arguments from lawyers representing Hyperion Resources and groups opposing the project, the Board of Minerals and Environment also approved changes in the permit to reflect updated national air quality standards and new technology. Posted. http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D9PP5OFG1.htm Ruling allows CA agency to issue pollution credits. A Los Angeles judge's decision will allow the region's anti-smog agency to continue granting pollution credits to certain types of projects and to police and fire and other public facilities seeking to expand, according to officials at the South Coast Air Quality Management District. This month, Judge Ann I. Jones approved the agency's environmental review, rejecting arguments by conservation groups that the district did not adequately consider the environmental impacts of issuing pollution credits. Posted. http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D9PP5Q5O0.htm http://www.fresnobee.com/2011/09/15/2539564/ruling-allows-ca-agency-to-issue.html#storylink=misearch http://www.insidebayarea.com/ci_18902593 http://www.contracostatimes.com/ci_18902593 Lawmakers defiant over federal clean air rule. A threat by one of the state's largest energy companies to shut down generators and layoff hundreds of workers over stricter pollution standards came one day after the EPA issued a letter assuring the company a plan could be worked out to help it comply with the standards. The new rules are designed to significantly reduce smog and soot pollution by requiring 27 states, including Texas, to decrease smokestack emissions, mostly at coal-fired power plants. Posted. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/44510882 Arvin secures funding to monitor own air. Arvin residents concerned about air quality will be monitoring pollutants themselves, thanks to $130,000 in funding they will receive over two years. The money, which comes from The California Endowment, will be used to purchase air monitoring devices and train residents on how to use them. The goal of the self-collected data is to shed light on the region's pollutants, the locations most affected and their overall prevalence. Historically, Arvin air has been among the worst in the nation. Posted. http://www.bakersfield.com/news/local/x616172890/Arvin-secures-funding-to-monitor-own-air CLIMATE CHANGE More Americans believe world is warming. More Americans than last year believe the world is warming and the change is likely influenced by the Republican presidential debates, a Reuters/Ipsos poll said on Thursday. The percentage of Americans who believe the Earth has been warming rose to 83 percent from 75 percent last year in the poll conducted Sept 8-12. U.S. Republican presidential candidates, aside from Jon Huntsman, have mostly blasted the idea that emissions from burning fossil fuels and other human actions are warming the planet. Posted. http://af.reuters.com/article/energyOilNews/idAFS1E78E1TF20110915?pageNumber=1&virtualBrandChannel=0 Economists say sea level rise could be costly. Economists say erosion from rising sea levels and storm damage could cost California hundreds of millions of dollars in lost tourism and tax revenues. The Los Angeles Times (http://lat.ms/pQSYKP) says the San Francisco State study released Tuesday shows climate change and rising seas this century will diminish state beach appeal to tourists. The California Department of Boating and Waterways-commissioned study examined sea level projections at five beach communities. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2011/09/14/state/n055510D12.DTL http://www.insidebayarea.com/ci_18891727 http://www.contracostatimes.com/ci_18891727 Observations of climate change from indigenous Alaskans. Personal interviews with Alaska Natives in the Yukon River Basin provide unique insights on climate change and its impacts, helping develop adaptation strategies for these local communities. The USGS coordinated interviews with Yup'ik hunters and elders in the villages of St. Mary's and Pitka's Point, Alaska, to document their observations of climate change. They expressed concerns ranging from safety, such as unpredictable weather patterns and dangerous ice conditions, to changes in plants and animals as well as decreased availability of firewood. Posted. http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2011-09/usgs-ooc091311.php FUELS Clean fuel will save lives in port areas. The study, released online by Environmental Science & Technology, examined the air around the Margrethe Maersk as it followed California regulations requiring ships to switch to low-sulphur fuels and slow down as they approach the coast. This showed a big reduction in the emissions of several worrying pollutants: “Within regulated waters absolute emission reductions exceed 88% for almost all measured gas and particle phase species,” noted the study, led by chemist Daniel Lack of the NOAA. Posted. http://www.portstrategy.com/news101/news-extra/clean-fuel-will-save-lives-in-port-areas UMTRI study: Driving habits can cut fuel consumption. While driving a fuel-efficient vehicle is the best way to save gas, motorists can still cut fuel consumption nearly in half by driving slower and less aggressively, properly maintaining their vehicles, and avoiding congested roads, according to UMTRI researchers. "Driving a light-duty vehicle in the United States is currently more energy-intensive than using a bus or a train and even flying," said UMTRI research professor Michael Sivak. Posted. http://www.umtri.umich.edu/news.php?id=2896 VEHICLES Chrysler's U.S. green car loan bid could be in jeopardy. Republican leaders in the House of Representatives want to halve the balance of a U.S. government loan fund established to help the auto industry make more fuel efficient cars and trucks. If plans to shift some $1.5 billion from the Energy Department advanced technology fund to disaster assistance are carried out, serious questions would be raised about Chrysler's ability to fully capitalize on its bid for new financing. Posted. http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20110915/OEM05/309159784/1186 GREEN ENERGY Sacramento solar fees too high, Sierra Club says. Sacramento County and most of its cities are charging excessive fees when it comes to permits for solar power projects, according to a new study. The Sierra Club said that solar permitting fees in all but one city, Galt, well exceeded the cost of processing those permits. The city of Sacramento charges the highest fees, about $19,000, followed by Sacramento County, which charges about $15,000 per project, the Sierra Club said. Galt had the lowest fees at $1,500 per project. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2011/09/15/3913685/sacramento-solar-fees-too-high.html#mi_rss=Business Solyndra loan: White House pressed on review of solar company now under investigation. The Obama White House tried to rush federal reviewers for a decision on a nearly half-billion-dollar loan to the solar-panel manufacturer Solyndra so Vice President Biden could announce the approval at a September 2009 groundbreaking for the company’s factory, newly obtained e-mails show. The Silicon Valley company, a centerpiece in President Obama’s initiative to develop clean energy technologies, …Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/white-house-pushed-500-million-loan-to-solar-company-now-under-investigation/2011/09/13/gIQAr3WbQK_story.html Grant to help develop regional electric car charging stations. The Richmond region has received a federal grant to help develop a network of charging stations for electric vehicles. The $429,051 grant money from the U.S. Department of Energy was given to help the region to "lay educational and policy groundwork for electric vehicle adoption and charging infrastructure installation," the department said. The money was awarded to the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy and will go to fund the Richmond Electric Vehicle Initiative. Posted. http://www2.timesdispatch.com/business/2011/sep/13/tdbiz01-grant-awarded-to-help-develop-regional-ele-ar-1304530/ OPINIONS Do Individual Acts Help Save the Planet? Re “Going Green but Getting Nowhere,” by Gernot Wagner (Op-Ed, Sept. 8): Bringing your own bag to the supermarket may not do much to reduce carbon emissions, but it’s an easy act that keeps people involved in a movement that desperately needs support. Mr. Wagner writes that the changes necessary to avert climate change are so large that they are “beyond the reach of individual action.” One individual’s actions, like voting, protesting, boycotting or donating a small amount to charity, won’t solve big problems. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/15/opinion/do-individual-acts-help-save-the-planet.html?scp=3&sq=air%20pollution&st=Search Editorial: Uncle Sam play venture capitalist? See Solyndra. In March 2010, the accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers issued a standard but stern warning about Solyndra, a California solar panel manufacturer: The company wasn't making money and never had, which raised "substantial doubt about its ability to continue as a going concern." Yet when President Obama visited Solyndra's plant in Fremont two months later, he gave a rousing pep talk and declared that "the future is here." Posted. http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/editorials/story/2011-09-13/Solyndra-Obama-bankrupt-solar/50393704/1 On climate change, there is no room for partisan politics. When it comes to foreign policy, the saying goes that politics stops at the water's edge. When it comes to climate science, we say that politics should stop at the atmosphere's edge. One of us is a Republican, the other a Democrat. We hold different views on many issues. But as scientists, we share a deep conviction that leaders of both parties must speak to the reality and risks of human-caused climate change and commit themselves to finding bipartisan solutions. Posted. http://www.contracostatimes.com/opinion/ci_18902162 BY SUBSCRIPTION http://www.insidebayarea.com/opinion/ci_18902162 BLOGS EPA delays its greenhouse-gas rules. Not a big deal — or is it? Earlier today, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson announced that the agency would miss its agreed-to Sept. 30 deadline for new climate-change rules. Normally, that wouldn’t be headline-worthy. Air-pollution regulations are, after all, big and complicated. The EPA often asks for extensions so that staffers can have more time to thrash out the technical details. It’s not always a big deal. Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/post/epa-delays-its-greenhouse-gas-rules-thats-no-big-deal--or-is-it/2011/09/15/gIQAiuAKVK_blog.html Electric Cars, the Do-It-Yourself Way. Seth Walker, a communications consultant for sustainable enterprises, sent this photo yesterday from Portland, Ore., of a Volkswagen Beetle with an unusual accessory — an extension cord. Seth wrote: This is an all-electric 1974 VW bug retrofit. The car was plugged into a public charging station (about the size of a solar-powered parking meter) on the street near Portland State University. Posted. http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/09/16/electric-cars-the-do-it-yourself-way/?scp=2&sq=air%20pollution&st=Search Al Gore: ‘The message still has to be about the reality we’re facing’. The years since Al Gore released “An Inconvenient Truth” in 2006 have not been kind to climate hawks. Cap-and-trade died in the Senate, skeptics have renewed their attacks on climate science, and the front-runner for the GOP presidential nomination, Rick Perry, denies that there’s even a problem. So what has the former vice-president decided to do about it? Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/post/al-gore-the-message-still-has-to-be-about-the-reality-were-facing/2011/09/12/gIQAZjNxMK_blog.html Newest US City to Be Built Just for Testing Green Technologies. Up to 20 square miles of virgin desert in New Mexico will soon be home to the nation’s newest town, only with a twist — no one will live there. Developer Pegasus Global Holdings (a communication, technology and defense contractor) and the state of New Mexico have announced plans to create a “mid-sized” smart city that they are calling The Center for Testing, Evaluation and Innovation. Details are vague, but the concept is clear enough: design a town that mirrors real cities in order to test sustainable infrastructure and technologies to see if they would work in the actual built environment without fear of disrupting real communities. Posted. http://inhabitat.com/newest-us-city-to-be-built-just-for-testing-green-technologies/ American Green Vehicle IP Goes to China. Though we have all become accustomed to China as a major net exporter of goods to global markets in recent years, in the automotive world, China’s burgeoning domestic car market inspires all the major global auto companies to compete vigorously for a piece of the action. The size of the Chinese market is set to grow hugely in the near term, …Posted. http://www.triplepundit.com/2011/09/intellectual-property-transfer-green-vehicle-tech-chinese-companies-price-admission-chinas-domestic-car-market/ Toyota pins comeback hopes on hybrids; predicts they'll be 20% of market by 2020. Toyota has suffered some blows to its image over the last few years with a series of recalls and that whole unintended acceleration thing, and the company has taken matching hits to its bottom line. But nothing was as damaging to the company – in every sense – than the earthquake that struck on March 11. After the quake, Toyota found itself losing massive amounts of cash and sinking in worldwide rankings as damaged factories were unable produce the company's most popular vehicles. American manufacturers GM, Ford, and Chrysler picked up market share on their home turf. Posted. http://green.autoblog.com/2011/09/15/toyota-pins-comeback-hopes-on-hybrids/ Thailand to offer $3,317 credit for purchase of vehicles with up to 1.5-liter engines. Thailand's government is discussing a tax rebate of up to 100,000 baht ($3,317 U.S. at the current exchange rate) for buyers of vehicles with engines that displace 1.5-liters or less. The move could cost the government an estimated 30 billion baht ($99.5 million U.S.), with up to 500,000 buyers possibly snatching up qualified vehicles to take advantage of the rebate. Posted. http://green.autoblog.com/2011/09/16/thailand-credit-purchase-clean-vehicles/ 3,790-mile trip shows how a Chevy Volt can burn more gas than a Prius. With school back in session, it's time for some students to answer the age-old question: "How did you spend your summer vacation?" Nine-year-old Jared Paramonoff's summer tale included a Chevrolet Volt, a 3,790-mile road trip and even a border crossing or two. Immediately after Andreas Paramonoff drove his Volt from Southern California to Western Canada,…Posted. http://green.autoblog.com/2011/09/16/3-790-mile-trip-confirms-chevy-volt-burns-more-gas-than-electric/