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newsclips -- Newsclips for December 27, 2011

Posted: 27 Dec 2011 11:41:14
California Air Resources Board Newsclips for December 27, 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.


Doctors, moms take on No. 1 polluter in Utah.  When winter comes
to Utah and atmospheric conditions trap a soup of pollutants
close to the ground, doctors say it turns every resident in the
Salt Lake basin into the equivalent of a cigarette smoker.  For
days or weeks at a time, an inversion layer in which high
pressure systems can trap a roughly 1,300-foot-thick layer of
cold air — and the pollutants that build up inside it — settles
over the basin, leaving some people coughing and wheezing. 

AP Newsbreak:




China: Stricter Air Pollution Monitoring Standards to Start Next
Year, With Results Made Public in 2016. China will introduce
stricter air pollution standards next year to monitor tiny
particles of pollution in Beijing and other cities, but it may
not start releasing the results to the public until 2016, state
news media reported Thursday. Chinese cities do not measure data
on the smaller particles, 2.5 microns in diameter or less, from
smokestacks and exhaust pipes that shroud many cities in acrid
smog, and many Chinese have complained that official statistics
vastly understate the problem. Posted. 

Lingering smoke from holiday a Bay Area health hazard.  Holiday
wood-burning, coupled with stagnant air, filled Bay Area skies
with smoke so unhealthy that it rivaled conditions seen after
2008's major wildfires, according to air quality officials. 
Despite several consecutive "Spare the Air" alerts, by Monday
morning, all nine Bay Area counties sat under a dense and
lingering blanket of smoke, the Bay Area Air Quality Management
District reported.  Posted. 


District doles out millions to help clean the air. Valley air
district officials often say it will be impossible to reach
federal air quality standards without new technology, a so-called
"black box" of tools yet to be invented. They're trying to prod
that creation along with about $3 million in grants for a dozen
technology projects that could help reduce the valley's
emissions. Posted. 


Good news climate stories of 2011.  This past year saw several
bright spots emerge in humanity’s ongoing battle to prevent
climate chaos. Is the tide starting to turn? Maybe we are in for
a happy new year after all.  California is the world’s eighth
largest economy with a GDP surpassing Canada’s by over 40%. Last
year it adopted a cap and trade program for its major climate
polluting industries. Along the way it beat back years of
attempts by Big Fossil to delay and destroy this effort.  Posted.


Natural gas fueling plans may spur vehicle growth.  The United
States has record supplies of natural gas and plenty of reasons
to promote natural-gas powered cars, but so consumers,
manufacturers and fuel suppliers haven't shown much interest. 
Now, a major natural gas developer's plans to vastly increase the
number of truck stops that offer liquid natural gas could help
boost its use in the vehicles that burn the most fuel, while
promoting its availability to a wider market.  Lots of natural
gas is available, if U.S. drivers decide to use it. In just a few
years, domestic natural gas supplies have increased by trillions
of cubic feet through shale finds, boosting the supply to the
point where plans are in place to export part of the overflow. 

AP Newsbreak:




At gas pump, 2011 was the year of the big squeeze.  It's been 30
years since gasoline took such a big bite out of the family
budget.  When the gifts from Grandma are unloaded and holiday
travel is over, the typical American household will have spent
$4,155 filling up this year, a record. That is 8.4 percent of
what the median family takes in, the highest share since 1981. 
Gas averaged more than $3.50 a gallon this year, another
unfortunate record. And next year isn't likely to bring relief. 


A farm lives high – and clean – off the hog.  Loyd Bryant used to
pump manure from his 8,640 hogs into a fetid lagoon, where it
raised an unholy stink and released methane and ammonia into the
air. The tons of manure excreted daily couldn't be used as
fertilizer because of high nitrogen content.  The solution to
Bryant's hog waste problem was right under his nose — in the
manure itself.  Posted. 

ENERGY: Long awaited solar construction jobs are snapped up. Soon
after he reported to work in the desert of northeast San
Bernardino County, where he is helping to build a 370-megawatt
solar power plant, Lee Russell mailed a postcard to his son and
daughter at his family’s home in Beaumont. “I told them I am part
of something big,” he said with pronounced pride. About two years
ago, Russell, a former trucker, was struggling to find work and
scrimping to make ends meet when he read about solar projects
proposed in Inland Southern California’s Mojave Desert that would
be the foundation for a burgeoning new industry for construction
workers. Posted. 

Supervisors to vote on solar farm.  The approval of a
conditional-use permit for a $600 million solar project near
Mount Signal will be decided in a special meeting of the Board of
Supervisors on Tuesday.  Less than two weeks ago the Planning
Commission voted 5-4 to approve the Centinela Solar Energy
project, but the ordinance says the commission needs a two-thirds
majority to approve agenda items, otherwise actions are deemed
denied. The final decision is now for the Board of Supervisors to
make, according to the ordinance.  Posted. 

IID briefs: Some on board bleak on future of solar.  Talk over a
solar project whose developers want to bypass the Imperial
Irrigation District electrical system brought out concerns about
the future of solar in some areas of the Imperial Valley on
Friday.  Directors Stella Mendoza and Jim Hanks expressed concern
over one of the CSolar projects in south Imperial County that is
set to send power to San Diego Gas & Electric. Mendoza
specifically questioned the direction the IID was going if it
were to work out a contract to allow the solar company to tie
into the district’s substation and directly out to San Diego,
bypassing much of the IID.  Posted. 


In China, Power in Nascent Electric Car Industry. Three years
ago, as part of its green-energy policy, the Chinese government
set an ambitious goal: by the end of 2011, the nation would be
able to produce at least 500,000 hybrid or all-electric cars and
buses a year. With only about a week to go, it is clear China
will fall far short of that target. Despite dozens of
electric-vehicle demonstration projects around the country,
analysts put China’s actual annual production capacity at only
several thousand hybrid and all-electric cars and buses. Posted. 

Palo Alto plugs into a greener future.  Electric vehicles look to
factor heavily into Palo Alto's efforts to curb local greenhouse
gas emissions.  The city council last week green-lighted a slew
of new guidelines for creating a public network of electric
vehicle charging stations and promoting adoption of the emerging
technology.  "The city of Palo Alto recognizes (electric
vehicles) as an important part of the solution for reaching its
greenhouse gas emission reduction goal, and so has an interest in
encouraging the use of (electric vehicles) throughout the
community," Debra van Duynhoven, assistant to the city manager
for sustainability, wrote in a report to council members. 


California mandates 15% Zero Emission Vehicles by 2025.  The
California Air Resources Board has proposed major changes in
regulating vehicle emissions in hopes of improving California’s
air quality, which is the worst in the nation. The plan combines
four sets of standards into the Advanced Clean Cars program. The
changes would be sweeping and all-inclusive. By 2025, auto
manufacturers doing business in California must have 15.4% Zero
Emission Vehicles in their fleets, and there will be stringent
new controls on all passenger car and light truck emissions. It
will also increase the number of alt-fuel outlets in California,
adding fueling stations for CNG, hydrogen, methanol, and ethanol.

Car designers at Italy auto show asked to design low-emission,
high-security popemobile.  Pope Benedict XVI’s popemobile may be
getting an ecological upgrade.  Young car designers participating
in an annual auto style competition are being asked to design a
low-emission popemobile that meets the Vatican’s high security
standards.  The Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano announced
details of the competition Friday, saying the green popemobile
will be one of the proposed projects of the 2012 edition of
Autostyle International Design Competition.  Posted. 


Former sailor develops green jobs program.  Elizabeth
Perez-Halperin vividly remembers Oct. 12, 2000, as “the day that
changed my life forever.”  That was when terrorists blew a hole
in the U.S. destroyer Cole docked off Yemen, killing 17 sailors.
One of those victims was her closest friend from Navy boot camp,
Lakiba Nicole Palmer of San Diego.  The attack, coupled with her
growing belief that America’s demand for oil helps fund
terrorists and their allies, has committed Perez-Halperin to new
missions since she left the Navy in 2005.  Posted. 


Springtime for Toxics. Here’s what I wanted for Christmas:
something that would make us both healthier and richer. And since
I was just making a wish, why not ask that Americans get smarter,
too? Surprise: I got my wish, in the form of new Environmental
Protection Agency standards on mercury and air toxics for power
plants. These rules are long overdue: we were supposed to start
regulating mercury more than 20 years ago. But the rules are
finally here, and will deliver huge benefits at only modest cost.

Thomas Heller: New climate talks need to be based on new world
order.  At Durban, South Africa, 194 parties agreed to start
negotiations on a new accord that will have legal force. To be
successful, however, these negotiations will require a different
framework -- one that takes into account new global politics
played out in new places and new economic challenges.  The world
has changed significantly since climate talks began two decades
ago in Rio. It is no longer shaped by two rival superpowers. New
economies -- China, India, Brazil, Korea, Indonesia -- have grown
in size and standing.  Posted. 

Clearing the air on mercury.  The following editorial appeared in
the Los Angeles Times on Friday, Dec. 23: Eight percent of women
of child-bearing age in this country have mercury levels in their
blood that could cause lower IQ in their children. That fact
alone justifies the tough but achievable regulations issued last
week by the Obama administration to control mercury pollution
from coal-fired plants. Industry complaints shouldn't convince
anyone otherwise.  Posted. 



Bad math makes claim that each Volt cost taxpayers $250,000 go
viral. Oh, how easy it is to go viral on the Internet. All you
have to do is be really, really bad at math. Or have an agenda.
Here's how to play the game: Start with a car that is already in
the news and for some reason has turned into a political hot
button. Something like, say, the Chevy Volt. Then, make up a
completely bogus number about how much each one costs taxpayers
and put it out there. Get Drudge involved. Sit back, relax and
see your nonsense spread like wildfire. Posted. 

30-year-old corn ethanol subsidy nixed by Washington. Corn-based
ethanol is a controversial fuel in its own right, and a
long-standing government subsidy for blending the biofuel with
gasoline has been an additional source of consternation over the
last 30 years. The United States Congress wrapped up its work for
2011 without extending the incentive, a move that's drawn praise
from environmental groups and taxpayer advocates. Posted. 

California ARB soliciting research suggestions for FY 2012-2013
plan; sustainable communities, behavior, pollutant exposure, air
pollution science, GHG targets.  The California Air Resources
Board (ARB) is soliciting research suggestions for the Fiscal
Year 2012-2013 Annual Research Plan in the form of brief
conceptual descriptions that address specified research gaps and
support the Board’s ongoing regulatory and policy priorities. The
deadline to submit research concepts is 31 January 2012. 
Proposed research should address policy-relevant knowledge gaps
important to ARB’s mission and must clearly delineate potential
benefits to the State of California.  Posted. 

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