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newsclips -- Newsclips for October 12, 2011. Posted: 12 Oct 2011 12:13:33
California Air Resources Board News Clips for October 12, 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 POLUTION Groups Sue After E.P.A. Fails to Shift Ozone Rules. Five health and environmental groups sued the Obama administration on Tuesday over its rejection of a proposed stricter new standard for ozone pollution, saying the decision was driven by politics and ignored public health concerns. The groups said that President Obama’s refusal to adopt the new standard was illegal and left in place an inadequate air quality rule from the Bush administration. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/12/science/earth/12epa.html?_r=1&scp=3&sq=air%20pollution&st=cse Before Obama Retreat on Ozone, EPA Chief Warned of Illnesses and Deaths. When President Obama retreated from a tougher stance on smog last month, his Environmental Protection Agency chief had formally concluded that the existing standard endangered thousands of Americans, including children and people with respiratory ailments. The Bush-era limit on ozone was "not adequate to protect public health," and failed to take into account "newly available evidence," EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson concluded, according to recently released documents detailing the agency's justification for a tougher standard. Posted. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/corbin-hiar/before-obama-retreat-on-o_b_1006926.html Primitive ferns fierce in fighting pollution. Phytoremediation is the science of using plants to help clean up pollution. After all, plants are experts at selectively extracting nutrients and minerals from the soil through their roots. So why can't they be used to remove toxins, too? Scientists have tested many species for their ability to reduce toxicity in soils, air and water. Among the most important phytoremediation plants are ferns. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/10/12/DDHG1LFORB.DTL Private burning suspension lifted for valley counties. As of today, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection has lifted the suspension of burning on private land in its Tuolumne-Calaveras Unit. This includes Calaveras and Tuolumne counties and eastern portions of San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties. Burning is allowed, with a valid permit, during open hours on permissive burn days or nights, as established by each county's air district. Posted. http://www.modbee.com/2011/10/11/1900498/private-burning-suspension-lifted.html Feds asked to ignore some Valley air violations. The Valley air district is asking the federal government to ignore a series of high air-pollution readings they attribute to this summer's Lion fire in Sequoia National Forest. In a letter Tuesday to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District said the fire led to high ozone readings at two monitors in neighboring Sequoia National Park. On 16 days, the only violations of the eight-hour ozone standard …Posted. http://www.fresnobee.com/2011/10/11/2573411/feds-asked-to-drop-air-violations.html#ixzz1aao75tpZ San Jose's Clean Energy Showcase brings latest energy innovations to life. In a downtown San Jose parking lot, Tammy Schultheis' third-grade class from Washington Open Elementary School learned how to bake chocolate chip cookies with solar power, using only aluminum reflectors. Students from the Santa Clara school also played with a "solar fountain" that turned a water pump on with the help of small solar panels, only to be shut off when anyone's shadow covered the panels. And inside a tiny demonstration home, they saw how recycled blue jeans can be used for insulation. Posted. http://www.insidebayarea.com/education/ci_19091442 http://www.contracostatimes.com/education/ci_19091442 EPA Cement Factory Rules Are Flawed, Industry Tells U.S. Court. U.S. rules meant to cut mercury emissions and other air pollutants at cement plants are too restrictive and based on flawed data, a lawyer for the industry told a federal appeals court. A three-judge panel in Washington heard arguments today in challenges to Environmental Protection Agency regulations set to be enforced in 2013. The cement industry predicts the rules may cost $3.4 billion and shutter 18 of 100 plants. Posted. http://www.businessweek.com/news/2011-10-11/epa-cement-factory-rules-are-flawed-industry-tells-u-s-court.html U.S. Neighborhoods Struggle with Health Threats from Traffic Pollution. On a sunny afternoon, more than 1,000 children poured out of Hudson K-8 School, eager to play in their neighborhood. The flag football team was gearing up for practice, working out with their coach on the school’s grassy field. Just beyond the playground fence, a line of diesel trucks was idling, stuck in traffic as they made their way from a massive port complex to a congested freeway. Posted. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=us-neighborhoods-struggle-with-health-threats-from-traffic-pollution Even Republicans favor the EPA rules that Republicans are trying to block. The debate over upcoming EPA regulations is a perfect microcosm of contemporary U.S. politics, in all its unreality and venality. Two rules in particular are in the hot seat at the moment: the Clean Air Transport Rule, which would address smog and particulate pollution across state lines, and Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MACT) for utilities, which would address, yes, mercury and acid gases from power plants. Posted. http://www.grist.org/clean-air/2011-10-12-even-republicans-favor-epa-rules FUELS EPA: Fuel rules create jobs. EPA air chief Gina McCarthy plans to defend the agency against its “job-killing” reputation Wednesday in front of a House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee, arguing that the agency’s fuel economy rules create jobs and support small businesses. McCarthy will be in the House to face an investigation that committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) launched last month, alleging that the EPA and the Transportation Department are strong-arming auto companies in backroom deals to carry out the agency’s climate change agenda in upcoming fuel standards. Posted. http://dyn.politico.com/printstory.cfm?uuid=98203A9D-622B-4CD0-AB99-8BCCD598EE9A GREEN ENERGY Ignorance Stifles Innovation in Solving Energy Problems. In many countries today, not least the United States, clean-burning natural gas offers tantalizing prospects for energy security, reliability and diversity; economic development; and, in most cases, improved local and state budgets through the combination of local energy production and associated economic benefits. Yet strong differences of opinion about acceptable risk threaten to undermine or preclude achievement of the benefits that a great number of diverse interests should want. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/12/business/energy-environment/ignorance-stifles-innovation-in-solving-energy-problems.html?scp=4&sq=diesel%20emissions&st=cse OPINIONS ARNOLD: City's solar projects on target. Solar power is getting a bad rap these days, with the Solyndra bankruptcy scandal that's reaching all the way up to the White House. And those on the right who scoff at global warming and maintain anything other than fossil or nuclear fuel is far too expensive to make much of an impact are overcome with delight, using the Solyndra scandal to indict the entire green movement. But let's hold on here. Regardless of whether you believe man is causing the earth to grow warmer, I suggest we can all agree that taking care of the planet makes sense. Posted. http://www.nctimes.com/news/opinion/columnists/arnold/article_5b45add7-ec02-56b2-ada7-974a1dc88f63.html A GOP assault on environmental regulations. The following editorial appeared in the Los Angeles Times on Monday, Oct. 10: Republicans in the House are best known for their inflexible opposition to tax hikes and government spending, but that's nothing new for the GOP; what marks this group as different is that it is perhaps the most anti-environment Congress in history. So far, that hasn't had much impact because Republicans control only one house, and Democrats in the Senate have blocked their most extreme attempts to gut the Clean Air and Clean Water acts. Posted. http://www.modbee.com/2011/10/12/1900876/a-gop-assault-on-environmental.html BY SUBSCRIPTION BLOGS German Automakers Endorse a Unified Standard for D.C. Fast-Charging. Daimler announced Tuesday that it would show a prototype combination plug and port design intended for use on plug-in hybrids and purely electric vehicles. The system, a joint effort with Audi, BMW, Porsche and Volkswagen, will be on view at a technology conference in Baden-Baden, Germany, on Wednesday and Thursday. Posted. http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/10/12/german-automakers-plug-a-unified-standard-for-d-c-fast-charging/?scp=6&sq=vehicles&st=cse Ban Hybrids From the Fast Lane, and Everyone Slows Down. Last spring I wrote about the indignation of hybrid car owners in California who were about to lose their rights to drive in the carpool lane. The state lawmakers who approved the July 1 cutoff seemed to take the position that virtue was its own reward. But two researchers have found that denying the hybrids access to high-occupancy lanes seems to slow down traffic on the freeway over all — the carpool lane included. Posted. http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/10/11/ban-hybrids-from-the-fast-lane-and-everyone-slows-down/?scp=4&sq=environment&st=cse Australia moves closer to law establishing carbon tax. The Australian government's goal of implementing a carbon tax passed its toughest test today as the lower house of Parliament overwhelmingly approved a package of bills that institutes a phased-in carbon tax, to be followed by a carbon-trading system. The 18 bills now go to the Senate, where the law is all but assured of passage in mid-November. According to Prime Minister Julia Gillard, the system will reduce Australia's carbon emissions by 159 million tons by 2020. Posted. http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/greenspace/2011/10/australia-climate-change-carbon-tax-cap-and-trade.html Climate change could shrink chocolate production: report. Scientists say climate change will eventually claim many victims -– including, according to a new report, chocolate. As temperatures increase and weather trends change, the main growing regions for cocoa could shrink drastically, according to new research from the International Center for Tropical Agriculture. Ghana and the Ivory Coast –- which produce more than half of the global cocoa supply –- could take a major hit by 2050. Posted. http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/money_co/2011/10/climate-change-could-shrink-chocolate-production-report.html Climate Change Could Mean Cloudy Future for Lake Tahoe. New threats to lake’s clarity are emerging just as restoration funding is drying up. Over the last 15 years, more than a billion dollars has been spent to protect Lake Tahoe’s clear waters from runoff and erosion. Now, new threats to lake’s clarity are emerging, just as restoration funding is drying up. Researchers from UC Davis are hot on the trail of one of those threats. Posted. http://blogs.kqed.org/climatewatch/2011/10/11/climate-change-could-mean-cloudy-future-for-lake-tahoe/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+kqed%2FClimateWatchBlog+%28KQED%27s+Climate+Watch+Blog%29 Issa looks to shine light on more solar loan guarantees. Late last month, the U.S. Energy Department approved billions of dollars of federal loan guarantees as part of a sun-setting stimulus program meant to boost solar development around the country. The program is the same one that provided more than half a billion to Solyndra, which promptly went bankrupt and left taxpayers with the bill. It's also the same program that has steered more than $5 billion to solar projects in Riverside and San Bernardino counties. Posted. http://blogs.pe.com/politics/2011/10/issa-looks-to-shine-light-on-m.html