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newsclips -- Newsclips for December 14, 2011 Posted: 14 Dec 2011 13:19:06
California Air Resources Board Newsclips for December 14, 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 Spare the Air alert as stagnant weather returns. Air quality officials have issued a Spare the Air alert for today, the fifth in less than two weeks. A return of last week's cold, stagnant weather pattern is to blame for conditions in which air pollution is trapped near the surface, said Kristine Roselius, spokeswoman for the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. A weak weather system expected to brush the Bay Area on Thursday is likely to make this Spare the Air a one-day alert. Last week, the air quality district issued alerts four days in a row. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/12/14/BA9U1MC1FN.DTL&type=printable With eye on Lehigh Cement, air management district proposes new regulations on cement manufacturing. The New Year could bring some new regulations for the Lehigh Southwest Cement facility near Cupertino. The Bay Area Air Quality Management District is working on a set of rules for the Portland cement facility that would align with new federal regulations for newer facilities. The proposed rules could bring new emission reduction levels for nitrogen oxides, particulate matter and toxic air contaminates emitted from the Lehigh facility. Posted. http://www.mercurynews.com/cupertino/ci_19539216 http://www.insidebayarea.com/ci_19539216?IADID=Search-www.insidebayarea.com-www.insidebayarea.com NM reaches settlement over air quality violations. A subsidiary of Xcel Energy Inc. has reached an $800,000 settlement with the New Mexico Environment Department over air quality violations at a natural gas-fired power plant in southeastern New Mexico. The settlement, the largest reached by the department this year, will result in Southwestern Public Service Co. investing $500,000 in a solar photovoltaic array at Eastern New Mexico University's Roswell campus. The money will also fund an adjunct professor position in the university's renewable energy degree and certification program. Posted. http://www.contracostatimes.com/ci_19544313?IADID=Search-www.contracostatimes.com-www.contracostatimes.com http://www.insidebayarea.com/ci_19544313?IADID=Search-www.insidebayarea.com-www.insidebayarea.com CLIMATE CHANGE Shock as retreat of Arctic sea ice releases deadly greenhouse gas. Russian research team astonished after finding 'fountains' of methane bubbling to surface. Dramatic and unprecedented plumes of methane – a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide – have been seen bubbling to the surface of the Arctic Ocean by scientists undertaking an extensive survey of the region. The scale and volume of the methane release has astonished the head of the Russian research team who has been surveying the seabed of the East Siberian Arctic Shelf off northern Russia for nearly 20 years. Posted. http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/shock-as-retreat-of-arctic-sea-ice-releases-deadly-greenhouse-gas-6276134.html http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2011/12/14 DIESEL EMISSIONS Union Pacific spent $1.26 million on 3Q lobbying. Omaha, Neb.—Union Pacific Corp. spent $1.26 million during the third quarter to influence proposed railroad regulations and pollution restrictions. That's more than the $1.22 million the Omaha-based railroad spent during last year's third quarter, but less than the $1.49 million it spent during this year's second quarter. Union Pacific said in a report filed Oct. 17 that it continued to oppose new railroad antitrust restrictions and efforts to regulate greenhouse gas emissions because coal-burning utilities are big railroad customers. Posted. http://www.mercurynews.com/business/ci_19546076 FUELS Colo. will require energy companies to publicly disclose concentrations of fracking chemicals. Environmentalists and regulators in Colorado will have more information than any state about what chemicals energy companies are pumping into the earth as they try to extract gas from rock formations deep underground. Starting in April, energy companies will have to disclose the concentrations of the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing, which some environmentalists and residents fear is contaminating groundwater and tainting the air. Posted. Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/colo-will-require-energy-companies-to-publicly-disclose-concentrations-of-fracking-chemicals/2011/12/13/gIQAzSZ7rO_story.html http://www.vcstar.com/news/2011/dec/13/colo-regulators-to-vote-on-fracking-rules/#ixzz1gWlugfXH Texas adopts rules on fracking chemical disclosure. Texas regulators have adopted rules requiring oil and gas drillers to disclose on a website the chemicals they use in hydraulic fracturing operations. The Texas Railroad Commission adopted rules Tuesday to enforce a law passed by the Legislature earlier this year. Texas has been a pioneer in efforts nationwide to force drillers to be more open about chemical-laced water pumped into the ground to crack dense rock formations to withdraw oil and gas. The process is known as fracking and some environmental groups fear the chemicals could taint water and pollute the air. Posted. http://www.modbee.com/2011/12/13/1985799/texas-adopts-rules-on-fracking.html#ixzz1gWshXWjH http://www.fresnobee.com/2011/12/13/2647882/texas-adopts-rules-on-fracking.html#storylink=misearch CA’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard Up for Review. The California Air Resources Board is considering amendments to the state's Low Carbon Fuel Standard. The oil industry has voiced concerns about the global-warming rule, but environmentalists are urging the board to strengthen it. Simon Mui, a scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council, says the board should support a strong fuel standard which will compel the oil industry to minimize investments in crude oils such as tar sands, and phase in clean fuel investments. Posted. http://www.publicnewsservice.org/index.php?/content/article/23811-1 Businesses, Utilities Support California's Low Carbon Fuel Standard. Ad says standard "strengthens the economy and supports thousands of California jobs". Sacramento, CA Today, a diverse group of business leaders from across the state, representing tens of thousands of California workers -- including the state's largest electricity and natural gas providers and two of the world's leading carmakers -- released a new advertisement supporting California's Low Carbon Fuel Standard. Posted. http://www.theautochannel.com/news/2011/12/14/018378-new-ad-businesses-utilities-support-california-s-low-carbon-fuel.html http://www.sacbee.com/2011/12/14/4122302/new-ad-businesses-utilities-support.html VEHICLES TRANSPORTATION: Calif. regulator plans for near elimination of gasoline-powered vehicles. The way California sees it, the gasoline-powered vehicle could go the way of the dinosaur by midcentury. The Golden State last week, as part of a revised plan to limit vehicle emissions, described a future where most gasoline engines would be eliminated in California by 2050. Automakers need to shift what they are selling, the state's Air Resources Board (ARB) said in its proposal for California to meet its goal of slashing greenhouse gas pollution. "We have to start now," ARB said. "There is no time to lose." Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2011/12/14/1 BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY MISCELLANEOUS The spookiest horror film about energy waste you’ve ever seen. David Parker's "Light" depicts light pollution and wasted energy as a sort of Blob, not necessarily malign but relentless and implacable. In the film, energy-burning lights start dripping goo that covers the ground and finally drives people out of their homes -- but it's all very quiet and eerie, like a Chris Van Allsburg drawing. Showing light as akin to an oil spill draws attention to the wastefulness of using artificial lighting when it's not needed -- wasting energy does basically cover the planet with a gross oily substance, just not necessarily locally and not right away. Posted. http://www.grist.org/list/2011-12-14-the-spookiest-horror-film-about-light-pollution-youve-ever-seen OPINIONS What stinks in D.C. Why can't lawmakers see what we all see: corporate contributions corrupt? It was one of those uncomfortable moments when you suddenly realize you're in the wrong place, that you're a rube from the sticks in a sophisticated city whose customs you don't quite understand. Politico was sponsoring a "Washington Year in Review" symposium last week, and they'd invited me to be part of the energy panel. So even though I'd spent barely three weeks in Washington this year (and the most memorable nights were spent in its central cellblock for protesting outside the White House to block the Keystone XL pipeline), I found myself traveling down from Vermont to share a stage with Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Rep. Lee Terry (R-Neb.). Posted. http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-mckibben-congress-20111214,0,3498758.story Debating electric cars; Michael Kinsley on the class war; and Newt Gingrich on the Palestinians. few loose wires Re "Back to an electric future," Opinion, Dec. 11 Enough with articles about the electric car's rosy future. The electric car just transfers tailpipe emissions to the chimneys of the major electricity plants that must generate the power to charge them. These plants are predominantly coal or natural gas-fired and are potential environmental disasters that emit carbon dioxide. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/letters/la-le-1214-wednesday-20111214,0,6972204,print.story Editorial: House clogs up Congress with polluter 'riders' Congress is pressing up against a deadline to pass a $900 billion omnibus spending bill, dubbed the "megabus" – or the government shuts down when current funding runs out on Friday. Congress also is pressing up on a deadline to extend the one-year payroll tax cut – or it expires on Dec. 31. The House Republican majority passed a version on this yesterday that is unacceptable to the president and the Senate Democratic majority. We're at this juncture, in large measure, because House Republicans, once again, are trying to attach "poison pill" policy riders to these must-pass spending bills. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2011/12/14/v-print/4120932/house-clogs-up-congress-with-polluter.html Emission Reduction: A daunting challenge for state. California has the nation's most ambitious plan to reduce carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere. Step one is to cut emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. Then comes the really hard part -- cutting the emissions by an additional 80 percent by 2050. Can it be done? A California Council on Science and Technology report, which was produced by scientists from the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, says yes and outlines how to do it. Posted. http://www.timesheraldonline.com/guestopinions/ci_19535685 Breathe easy: 5 reasons to back the EPA's latest push to clean up our air. COMMENTARY More poison, anyone? Unless you have a taste for airborne toxins, you'll be glad to know that the Environmental Protection Agency is set this week to take a major step in restricting the amount of arsenic, mercury, lead and other dangerous pollutants emitted by energy companies. The agency on Friday is scheduled to issue the final version of its "Utility MACT" (maximum achievable control technology) rule. Proposed in March as an extension of the landmark Clean Air Act of 1970, the regulation represents the first national standard for air pollutants from power plants. Posted. http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505123_162-57342983/breathe-easy-5-reasons-to-back-the-epas-latest-push-to-clean-up-our-air/ It's a Living Hell: Climate Change and Middle School. Reading updates about the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa, felt discouraging to me, with the United States seemingly out-of-touch with the reality of global warming. But I experienced a nagging sense of familiarity as US legislators at home and negotiators abroad ignored scientific truths, communicated through hyperbole, and used obstructionist delay tactics. Then I heard my almost 13-year-old daughter Maya yell from her bedroom, "I told you 17 times to turn out the light!!!!!" Posted. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mallory-mcduff-phd/climate-change_b_1142433.html?ref=parents BLOGS Why small delays on climate change can be costly. When it comes to tackling climate change, a few years’ delay can make a huge difference. The International Energy Agency, for instance, has argued that global emissions need to peak by around 2017 if the world wants to keep global warming below 2°C. By contrast, the recently concluded U.N. talks at Durban set a goal of reaching a new climate agreement by 2020. That doesn’t sound like a huge difference — what’s a mere three years between friends? — but it actually makes the task much, much harder. Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/post/why-does-it-matter-when-we-cut-co2-emissions/2011/12/14/gIQAumxwtO_blog.html Arnold Schwarzenegger to speak at Jerry Brown's climate event. Updating a previous announcement to include a "new participant," Gov. Jerry Brown's office confirmed this morning that former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will be among the speakers at a climate change conference hosted by Brown in San Francisco on Thursday. The conference, "The Governor's Conference on Extreme Climate Risks and California's Future," also includes Nobel Prize winner Rajendra Pachauri and Virgin Group founder Richard Branson. Posted. http://blogs.sacbee.com/capitolalertlatest/2011/12/arnold-schwarzenegger-to-speak-at-jerry-browns-climate-event.html Why CAFE changes could lead to larger cars, not smaller ones. A study by the University of Michigan shows that auto manufacturers could meet tougher fuel economy standards simply by increasing the size of the vehicles they sell. A "footprint-based" formula for calculating mileage targets was adopted when Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards were revised in 2007. Researchers now think this could lead to bigger vehicles on the road rather than increases in fuel economy for our nation's fleet.. Posted. http://green.autoblog.com/2011/12/13/why-cafe-changes-could-lead-to-larger-cars-not-smaller-ones/ Ford says Focus Electric will get 100 mpge, C-Max models also ready to compete. How much difference a seat makes. Ford just announced that the Focus Electric will be, "the first all-electric vehicle to achieve a 100 miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe) fuel efficiency rating." But wait, you're saying, what about the Mitsubishi i, which gets 112 MPGe? Ah, this is when you finish reading Ford's sentence, which ends, "with seating for five." The i is rated as a 2+2-seat vehicle while the Focus is a "normal" five-seater. 100 MPGe is just one selling point for Ford's upcoming EV. Posted. http://www.green.autoblog.com/2011/12/14/ford-focus-electric-100-mpge-c-max-models/ Oil Companies' Investments in Dirty Fuels Outpacing Clean Fuels by Fifty Times. NRDC has long supported efforts by companies to invest in cleaner technologies. We have started tracking oil industry investments in renewable fuels such as advanced biofuels, down to the company level. In a new analysis, NRDC compares those investments to traditional investments in conventional oil production and even dirtier unconventional sources such as tar sands. For years, the oil industry has promoted itself as getting cleaner and investing in alternatives to oil. Posted. http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/smui/oil_companies_investments_in_d.html