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newsclips -- Newsclips for December 15, 2011. Posted: 15 Dec 2011 14:53:37
California Air Resources Board Newsclips for December 15, 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 American Electric Seeks Easing of EPA Toxics Plan for Particles. Power producers fighting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s $11 billion rule to curb mercury and toxic emissions are gaining ground in a drive to revise part of the standard. American Electric Power Co. (AEP) and Southern Co. (SO) asked the EPA to ease its planned limits on small-particle emissions from coal-fired plants. Otherwise the rule would require expensive changes to plants that already have pollution-controls, the companies said in a closed-door meeting with the EPA this year. Posted. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-12-15/american-electric-seeks-easing-of-epa-toxics-plan-for-particles.html Residents want to meet W. Pa. coke plant officials. A residents' group wants to meet with operators of a coke plant near Pittsburgh that has been cited for scores of air pollution violations this year. Shenango Inc. on Neville Island has been cited more than 150 times, and has already been fined $114,000 by the Allegheny County Health Department for the first 114 of those violations through July. The health department contends soot from the plant's coke battery is polluting the air. DTE Energy, the Detroit company that owns Shenango, is appealing those fines. Posted. http://www.insidebayarea.com/ci_19553168?IADID=Search-www.insidebayarea.com-www.insidebayarea.com http://www.contracostatimes.com/ci_19553168?IADID=Search-www.contracostatimes.com-www.contracostatimes.com Monterey Bay Unified Air Pollution Control District investigates its top management. It’s a good thing for air quality on the Monterey Peninsula that there’s not enough sun or water to easily grow grass; running a lawnmower for an hour emits as much air pollution as a new car driving 300 miles. But a proposed $15,000 trade-out program at the Monterey Bay Unified Air Pollution Control District, which would allow tri-county residents to swap diesel hogs for electric lawnmowers, is unlikely to ever rev up. Posted. http://www.montereycountyweekly.com/news/2011/dec/15/air/ State takes soil samples from Western Environmental, blamed for Mecca odor. Hazardous waste workers examine business. MECCA — After months of negotiation, state hazardous waste regulators have reached a deal to take soil samples from the business blamed for last year's overwhelming odor outbreaks in Mecca. On Wednesday, employees of Western Environmental Inc., overseen by the state's Department of Toxic Substances Control, started collected soil samples at the contaminated-soil recycling facility. Posted. http://www.mydesert.com/article/20111215/NEWS07/112150311/Mecca-odor-soil-samples-taken-Western-Environmental?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|Frontpage CLIMATE CHANGE Governor kicks off climate change conference with attack on deniers. Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown kicked off his climate conference Thursday with a blistering attack on libertarians, the Republican party and others who deny that climate change is happening, despite overwhelming scientific consensus that sea levels are rising and the earth is warming. Brown convened about 250 state energy policy leaders to a one-day conference held at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. Posted. http://www.mercurynews.com/business/ci_19554582 Governor vows to prepare Calif. for climate change. San Francisco—The United Nations' top climate change official is in San Francisco to join California Gov. Jerry Brown at a conference addressing the costs associated with preparing for the effects of a warming world. Brown organized Thursday's conference at the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park. The event includes Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and billionaire Sir Richard Branson. Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger also is expected to attend this afternoon. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2011/12/15/4125280/governor-vows-to-prepare-calif.html http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2011/12/15/state/n105027S28.DTL http://www.mercurynews.com/breaking-news/ci_19554652 http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/environment/calif-governor-joined-by-international-climate-change-officials-for-global-warming-conference/2011/12/15/gIQArhANwO_story.html EU Looks to Carbon Reductions. Brussels—Efforts to cut greenhouse-gas emissions in the European Union will pay off over the next four decades as they will reduce the fossil fuel bill, but such a scenario hinges on where oil prices are headed, the European Commission said Thursday. The commission released a strategy paper on how the 27 EU countries could achieve their goal of cutting carbon-dioxide emissions by at least 80% in 2050 compared with 1990 levels, analyzing different scenarios. It said that if the union continues with current policies, it could reduce the costs of investing in infrastructure. Posted. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203893404577100220208173542.html?_nocache=1323976199813&user=welcome BY SUBSCRIPTION Loophole Inserted in Climate Accord Augurs U.S.-China Clash. The deal struck by United Nations envoys this week to fight climate change gives the biggest polluters three options for a wider agreement by 2015, setting the stage for renewed discord between rich and poor countries. Negotiators from more than 190 nations agreed Dec. 11 to draft a “protocol, legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force” to take effect by 2020. While the European Union says that calls for a treaty to limit fossil-fuel emissions in all countries, two of the world’s three biggest air polluters, China and India, signaled they expect to be assigned looser limits in the final accord. Posted. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-12-14/loophole-in-climate-accord-augurs-clash.html Notes from the Science Desk: Dramatic ecological changes ahead, courtesy of man-made greenhouse gases. Researchers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Caltech are painting a dramatic portrait of how Earth's ecosystems are likely to respond to human-induced climate change over the next few centuries. By 2100, nearly half of the the plant communities covering Earth's land mass will be modified - with nearly 40 percent morphing into another type altogether (e.g., forest to tundra). The study used computer modeling to project likely reactions to rising levels of human- produced greenhouse gases over the next 300 years. Posted. http://www.pasadenastarnews.com/ci_19551660 Closing arguments made in NM emissions case. SANTA FE, N.M. — A hearing over whether New Mexico should uphold regulations for curbing greenhouse gas emissions has wrapped up after a week and a half of testimony and public comment. At stake is a plan by the group New Energy Economy that was adopted last year by state regulators. It calls for large polluters such as coal-fired power plants and refineries to reduce carbon emissions by 3 percent per year from 2010 levels starting in 2013. Utilities and other industry groups petitioned the Environmental Improvement Board to overturn the plan along with the state's regional cap-and-trade program. Posted. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/45683521 Big Oil and Canada thwarted U.S. carbon standards. Emails show how a Washington lobbyist enlisted Canadian officials to beat back U.S. carbon standards. When President Barack Obama decided in early November to delay a decision on TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline until after the next election, America’s environmental movement celebrated one of its biggest victories in recent memory. And no doubt the news came as a blow to Alberta’s tar sands industry, and to Canada’s oft-stated dream of becoming the next global energy superpower. Posted. http://www.salon.com/2011/12/15/big_oil_and_canada_thwarted_u_s_carbon_standards/print/ DIESEL EMISSIONS CARB truck and bus regulation online reporting now available. The online reporting system for the California Air Resources Board (CARB) Truck and Bus regulation is now available at http://www.arb.ca.gov/msprog/onrdiesel/reportinginfo.htm. CARB notes that fleets which must report have until Jan. 31, 2012 to complete their reporting. Posted. http://www.equipmentworld.com/carb-truck-and-bus-regulation-online-reporting-now-available/ VEHICLES China Imposes New Tariffs on U.S. Vehicles. The Chinese government increased trade tensions with the Obama administration Wednesday evening by unexpectedly imposing antidumping and antisubsidy tariffs on imports of sport utility vehicles and midsize and large cars from the United States. The new tariffs, totaling up to nearly 22 percent of the import prices, will probably have a mainly symbolic function, rather than reducing the already skimpy sales of such vehicles in China. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/15/business/global/china-imposes-new-tariffs-on-some-vehicles-from-the-us.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=vehicles&st=cse State hopes to break car owners' habit of changing oil too often. California launches a campaign against the widespread notion that oil changes are needed every 3,000 miles. Officials say the practice wastes millions of gallons of oil a year. Many automobile owners are spending more than they need on motor oil, believing that it should be changed every 3,000 miles even though almost no manufacturer requires such an aggressive oil-change schedule. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-autos-oil-change-20111215,0,4554184.story Bullet train's travel-time mandate adds to ballooning of costs. The ballot measure for the project required that the L.A.-to-San Francisco trip take no more than two hours, 40 minutes. Achieving that would mean building more viaducts and tunnels, which are costly. California's proposed bullet train will need to soar over small towns on towering viaducts, split rich farm fields diagonally and burrow for miles under mountains for a simple reason: It has no time to spare. In the fine print of a 2008 voter-approved measure funding the project was a little-noticed requirement that trains be able to rocket from Union Station in downtown Los Angeles to San Francisco in no more than two hours and 40 minutes. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-bullet-speed-20111215,0,1729184.story GREEN ENERGY Solar industry reports record third-quarter growth. The 449 megawatts of power installed in the U.S. in the third quarter are more than all the installations in 2009, according to a new report on the solar energy industry. Solar power is a booming business in the U.S., with more domestic solar installations completed in the third quarter of this year than during all of 2009, according to a report released Wednesday by GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Assn. "The U.S. solar industry is on a roll, with unprecedented growth in 2011," said Rhone Resch, chief executive of the solar group. "Solar is now an economic force in dozens of states, creating jobs across America." Posted. http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-solar-growth-20111215,0,5390004.story Summary Box: Germany looks to green scientists. GOING GREEN: Germany has given 20 young scholars from across the globe the chance to carry out research on climate change and sustainability as part of Berlin's push to get 80 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2050. They won the chance to carry out research projects in Germany as part of a $2.6 billion government research fund earmarked for research and development of renewable technology. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2011/12/15/financial/f093512S86.DTL&type=business http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/germany-investing-billions-of-dollars-in-green-research-reaching-out-to-young-scientists/2011/12/15/gIQAnXPjvO_story.html http://www.insidebayarea.com/ci_19553841?IADID=Search-www.insidebayarea.com-www.insidebayarea.com http://www.contracostatimes.com/ci_19553841?IADID=Search-www.contracostatimes.com-www.contracostatimes.com Central Valley company named one of state’s ‘greenest’. Sixteen California companies or organizations, including one from the Central Valley, are getting the 2011 Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award from Gov. Jerry Brown for their contributions to California’s environment and economy. “To thrive in the twenty-first century, we need to preserve the environment on which the economy itself depends,” says Mr. Brown. “This year’s winners exemplify the imagination that will drive California’s recovery.” Posted. http://www.centralvalleybusinesstimes.com/stories/001/?ID=19987 OPINIONS Viewpoints: Low Carbon Fuel Standard aids economy, saves consumers cash. If there is any silver lining to the modern era of soaring gasoline prices, it's the way they have renewed Californians' desire for more choices at the pump. As a result, Californians are pursuing cars powered by lower cost, cleaner fuels, such as electricity and natural gas. Diversity in our transportation fuels market is beneficial to our economy, our environment and our national security. On Friday, members of California's Air Resources Board could act to help give Californians more choices with lower-cost alternative fuels. This is an opportunity CARB should seize. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2011/12/15/4123572/low-carbon-fuel-standard-aids.html California must stay course on cleaner fuels. California, which has led the way on many clean-air regulations, took a bold step in demanding that oil companies reduce the carbon intensity of the fuels they sell by 10 percent by the end of this decade. Wisely, this state also declared that the greenhouse-gas impact of producing and distributing those fuels should go into the equation. Perhaps not surprisingly, as those regulations approach the end of their first year, the oil industry is lobbying to undercut them. The California Air Resources Board is expected to consider a series of amendments to the landmark Low Carbon Fuel Standard at its meeting in Los Angeles on Friday. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/12/14/EDB21MCGCH.DTL Improving air district programs. Having grown up in the valley, we weren't exposed to air district programs until we commenced our first semester at Fresno State this fall. We would like to suggest the following improvements to the air district programs so that more people are informed: Flag program — Flags are used at schools to inform teachers and students about the daily air quality. We suggest communicating air quality information over the PA system and displaying the current flag color in classrooms and gymnasiums. Posted. http://www.modbee.com/2011/12/14/1987680/improving-air-district-programs.html So, what will air district target next? Mowers? I know I'm a dinosaur, I admit it. I still cut my own firewood and burn in my fireplace as often as the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District allows. You see, I try to minimize my monthly dues to "Pacific Graft and Extortion." Imagine my amazement when I opened the newspaper on Tuesday to find that, after a winter storm warning with a trace of rain, a no-burn status was in effect. So for kicks, I called the air district to inquire what criteria is used to call a no-burn day, because looking out my window, the air was clear. Posted. http://www.bakersfield.com/opinion/letters/x1836507109/So-what-will-air-district-target-next-Mowers Climate talks as good as it gets with divergent agendas. I'm inclined to believe that the apparent result of the climate change summit in Durban, South Africa, might turn out to be a very big deal. Someday. Maybe. That's my view, but it's hardly universal. After the meeting ended Sunday, initial reaction basically ranged from "Historic Breakthrough: The Planet is Saved" to "Tragic Failure: The Planet is Doomed." Posted. http://www.recordnet.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20111215/A_OPINION0608/112150314&cid=sitesearch Air pollution knows no international boundaries. Improving air quality in the Imperial and Mexicali valleys has long been something the average person on both sides of the border could agree upon. Yet because of the complexity and enormity of the issue, the average person is often left feeling that there is not much he or she can do to effect positive change. So it is cause for elation when the federal government delivers a piece of legislation that, while not far-reaching or as controversial as emission standards, is an unmistakable step in the right direction toward cleaner skies. Posted. http://www.ivpressonline.com/opinion/ivp-air-pollution-knows-no-international-boundaries-20111215,0,856378.story It's Time To Clear The Air: EPA's Clean Air Rules Save Lives. In meetings with members of Congress in Washington, D.C. today, we will urge our nation's legislators to do the right thing and tackle the problem of dirty air by supporting the soon-to-be-finalized Air Toxics Rule and ensuring it goes into effect without delay. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the next few days is expected to issue this lifesaving rule, which would mandate nationwide reductions of dangerous emissions of mercury, lead, arsenic, and acid gases from coal-fired power plants. Most importantly, the rule would clean the air we breathe and save lives. Posted. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jerome-bettis/clean-air-act_b_1149822.html Does politics trump science in the Obama W.H.? President Barack Obama turned it into a campaign-trail talking point: He would end the Bush administration’s “war on science.” But four years later, as the White House shifts into reelection mode, Obama is facing the same attacks he leveled against his Republican predecessor: He is putting politics ahead of science. The complaints about Obama’s record come after a pair of controversial administration actions in recent months — and some of the president’s most ardent supporters are bracing for more disappointment. Posted. http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1211/70468.html Guest commentary: It's time for Obama to protect U.S. from mercury pollution. It's time for President Barack Obama to get us across the finish line on mercury pollution. The problem has been clear from the get-go: Burning coal makes us sick. The pollution from burning coal causes a host of serious health problems -- especially for children and senior citizens -- including asthma, respiratory illness, cancer, neurological problems and heart disease. Disposing of toxic coal ash is also dangerous: Studies show that living near a toxic coal ash site is worse for your health than smoking a pack of cigarettes a day. But mercury is one of the worst of the pollutants coming out of coal smokestacks. Posted. http://www.freep.com/article/C4/20111215/OPINION05/112150420/Guest-commentary-It-s-time-for-Obama-to-protect-U-S-from-mercury-pollution?odyssey=nav|head BLOGS How will climate change affect rainfall? This Q&A is part of the Guardian's ultimate climate change FAQ. Changes in rainfall and other forms of precipitation will be one of the most critical factors determining the overall impact of climate change. Rainfall is much more difficult to predict than temperature but there are some statements that scientists can make with confidence about the future. A warmer atmosphere can hold more moisture, and globally water vapor increases by 7% for every degree centigrade of warming. Posted. http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/dec/15/climate-change-rainfall CARB’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard – A Self-Imposed Fuel Embargo on California. Perhaps no Californians are more sensitive to the issue of energy security than our veterans. As one of the most essential commodities in the world, it is critically important that we have ample domestic energy supplies to free us from dependence on foreign imports from parts of the world that may be less than friendly to us. That is why the American GI Forum of California takes notice when the government pursues policies that will hamper in-state production and increase the need for imported fuels. Posted. http://www.foxandhoundsdaily.com/2011/12/carbs-low-carbon-fuel-standard-a-self-imposed-fuel-embargo-on-california/ California Air Board Plans to Eliminate Gasoline Vehicle Sales — Deja Vu All Over Again. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) proposes to amend its Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEV) program to help the state meet its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. Under the proposal, ZEVs — plug-in hybrids, battery-electric vehicles, and fuel cell vehicles — would account for 15.4% of all new cars sold in California by 2025 and nearly 100% by 2040. By 2050, 87% of all vehicles on the road will be ZEVs, CARB estimates. Posted. http://www.globalwarming.org/2011/12/14/california-air-board-plans-to-eliminate-gasoline-vehicle-sales-deja-vu-all-over-again/ Mazda planning EV for U.S. market by 2018. We don't have a clue what 2018 has in store for us, but automakers' product plans extend well into the future, giving us a glimpse of what may or may not come. Automotive News reports that Mazda is planning to offer an electric vehicle in the United States by 2018, in part to satisfy California's zero-emissions vehicle requirements. Mazda engineer Mitsuru Fujinaka reportedly told AN that the regulations make a U.S.-bound EV a near certainty, adding, "otherwise, we can't sell in California." Posted. http://green.autoblog.com/2011/12/15/mazda-planning-ev-for-u-s-market-by-2018/