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newsclips -- Newsclips for January 12, 2012.

Posted: 12 Jan 2012 12:43:04
California Air Resources Board News Clips for January 12, 2012. 

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.


Factbox: EPA's looming clean air rules. The Environmental
Protection Agency is introducing its most ambitious clean air
rules in decades, though it is making some concessions to
election-minded Republicans who oppose them. The EPA, facing
backlash from heavy industry, has delayed several of the rules
and made adjustments in others. Some industry groups say the
rules will cost companies billions of dollars and increase power
bills for consumers. Posted.

Hong Kong Pollution Link to 7,240 Premature Deaths, Group Says.
Roadside pollution in Hong Kong, which benchmarks itself against
a 25-year-old air standard, contributed to about 7,240 premature
deaths from 2005 to 2011, a public think tank said, citing data
from an environmental index.  High nitrogen dioxide levels are
linked to the deaths, the Hong Kong-based Civic Exchange said in
a statement today …Posted.

Texas' emissions top EPA list. Texas likes to brag that it’s big.
Turns out that it’s a big emitter of greenhouse gases, too. A new
federal database shows that in 2010 the Lone Star State’s power
plants and refineries sent 294 million metric tons of greenhouse
gases into the atmosphere – more than twice the amount released
by similar facilities in any other state. The data, posted online
Wednesday by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency…Posted.

Spare the Air Alert issued for Thursday. Officials have declared
a Spare the Air alert for today, the second such alert in as many
days and the 14th since the winter air-quality season began Nov.
1. An alert for Friday is also likely as long as stagnant weather
persists, said Kristine Roselius, a spokeswoman for the Bay Area
Air Quality Management District. Posted.

Unfair air quality fines. Most agree that equitable air pollution
regulations are necessary. However, the San Joaquin Valley Air
Pollution Control District is required by the Environmental
Protection Agency to levy a $29 million fine every day air
standards are not met in this region. District vehicle owners
must now pay one such fine, with yet another being tacked onto
DMV fees. Also, uncontrolled growth makes more fines inevitable.
According to our Constitution, Congress makes laws and the
judiciary enforces them. What's going on? Posted.

Oceano Dunes enthusiasts sue air board on dust rule. Group
disputes study that links off-road riding to unhealthy air on
Nipomo Mesa. A group of off-highway vehicle users has sued the
county Air Pollution Control District in an effort to overturn a
new rule controlling dust emissions from the Oceano Dunes State
Vehicular Recreation Area. Friends of Oceano Dunes filed the
lawsuit Jan. 4 in San Luis Obispo Superior Court. Posted.


EPA: Power plants main global warming culprits.  The most
detailed data yet on emissions of heat-trapping gases show that
U.S. power plants are responsible for the bulk of the pollution
blamed for global warming.  Power plants released 72 percent of
the greenhouse gases reported to the Environmental Protection
Agency for 2010, according to information released Wednesday that
was the first catalog of global warming pollution by facility.

AP Newsbreak:


EPA Web tool tracks major greenhouse gas sources. The
Environmental Protection Agency unveiled a new interactive
website Wednesday that allows users to track the total annual
greenhouse gas emissions of power plants, oil refineries and
other big industrial facilities that account for 80% of the
country’s output of the gases that are the primary contributors
to global climate change. Posted.

State shift of carbon fee to deficit questioned. Sacramento --
Gov. Jerry Brown's budget proposal includes nearly $500 million
in spending from the proceeds of California's first-in-the-nation
cap-and-trade program, but the plan is raising questions about
whether the governor is using the new money to cut the budget
deficit instead of promoting new greenhouse-gas-reducing
programs. The controversial cap-and trade program essentially
puts a price on carbon emissions by limiting the amount of CO2
that can be produced by the state's largest polluters. Posted.

Cold, hard cash from cap and trade draws lawmakers' interest. 
The news that California is banking on getting $1 billion from
its cap-and-trade program this upcoming fiscal year has sparked a
vigorous debate about how -- and whether -- it can be used.  Gov.
Jerry Brown (D) last week included the money in his proposed
budget for 2012-2013, despite the fact that auctions aren't
starting until August.  Posted. 

Scientists develop material to trap carbon dioxide.  As
atmospheric carbon dioxide levels continue to climb, a team of
California scientists has created a new material that will help
reduce the amount escaping from smokestacks and power plants. 
The material, called polyethylenimine, or PEI, acts like a carbon
dioxide fly-tape trap, attracting the greenhouse-gas molecules
and sticking to them so they can't escape.  Posted. 

EPA Sets Stage for 2012 Climate Clashes.  The Obama
administration is laying the foundation — quite literally — for
the battles it faces this year on climate change.  On Wednesday,
the Environmental Protection Agency unveiled the first-ever
searchable database of greenhouse-gas emissions from most major
sectors of the economy. The database, mandated by Congress in
2008 through an appropriations bill, doesn’t require any new
regulations but it is user-friendly: …Posted. 


Clean diesel sales beating hybrids, up 27% in 2011.  Sales of
clean diesel vehicles in the United States rose by 27.4% in 2011
compared to 2010. At the same time, hybrids saw sales drop by
2.2% in the same period. Clean diesels make up about twice the
market segment that hybrids do.  According to Baum and
Associates, a market research firm, clean diesel vehicles
(defined as diesels with lower emissions and better efficiency
than traditional automobiles) make up about 3% of the current
passenger vehicle sales market in the U.S. Hybrids make up a
little over 1% of that market.  Posted. 


Super fracking push for more oil, gas production. As regulators
and environmentalists study whether hydraulic fracturing can
damage the environment, industry scientists are studying ways to
create longer, deeper cracks in the Earth to release more oil and
natural gas. Energy companies are focused on boosting production
and lowering costs associated with so-called fracking, a
technique that uses high-pressure injections of water, sand and
chemicals to break apart petroleum-saturated rock. Posted.

Cool Planet BioFuels Starts Road Testing.  Camarillo-based Cool
Planet Biofuels, the cellulosic biofuels developer backed by BP,
Shea Ventures, General Electric, Google Ventures, ConocoPhillips,
NRG and North Bridge Venture Partners, announced today that it
has received approval from the California Air Resources Board
(CARB) to begin fleet-testing its low carbon gasoline. Cool
Planet is developing a process to convert low-grade biomass such
as grass and woodchips, into gasoline. Posted. 


Carson fined for illegal catalytic converter sales. A Carson
company has been fined for selling illegal catalytic converters
for use on passenger vehicles, state air quality regulators said
Wednesday. The California Air Resources Board said U.S. Auto
Parts Network Inc. paid $233,000 in penalties after investigators
documented the sales of 932 illegal catalytic converters. The
converters at issue were no longer legal for sale in California
due to new regulations that took effect on Jan. 1, 2009, said
Karen Caesar, a CARB information officer. The agency's
investigation occurred from that date through March 10, 2010, she
added. Posted.

PERRIS: Hybrid vehicles will save city money.  Perris officials
have continued their commitment to green energy with the purchase
of two hybrid vehicles that will save thousands of gallons of
gasoline and reduce carbon emissions for years.  The new Lincoln
MKZ cars were purchased with money provided through the Air
Quality Management District as an incentive for the city to
remove older, less fuel-efficient, vehicles from its fleet. 

Switch reluctant motors and EV fast charging at gas stations -
Electric Japan Weekly No36.  Nidec has announced that it will
start delivering switch reluctant electric motors for EVs without
rare earth materials to car makers by 2013. Japanese oil
companies introduce a paying fast charging system at pumping
stations. And Kanazawa is starting free fast charging service for


'Green energy' is the best route to profitable public investment.
Bloomington, Ind. -- The Obama administration's investments in
the green energy economy have already produced a great number of
jobs in a sector with significant potential for additional
growth. It would be a serious mistake to undercut the initiative
just as it's contributing to the recovery.  While estimates vary
on exactly how many jobs the American Recovery and Reinvestment
Act created, several experts have put the number at 2 million or
more. Posted.

Alameda and Contra Costa among top Bay Area green counties. 
Alameda County is leading the Bay Area in energy efficiency among
homeowners and officials from StopWaste.org are banking on
Livermore-Amador-Valley residents to widen the gap.  Since the
Energy Upgrade California program began in March, 33 percent of
Alameda County homeowners have completed a home energy upgrade
that includes anything from new attic insulation to solar panels.


UC system bans smoking, chewing of tobacco. Oakland, Calif. --   
 The University of California is banning smoking and the chewing
of tobacco on all of its 10 campuses. UC President Mark Yudof
announced the ban to campus chancellors this week. It will go
into effect in 2014. The San Jose Mercury News reports
(http://bit.ly/w5vvHm) that about 8 percent of UC students and 10
percent of employees smoke. Posted.

BART plans to order test batch of new cars in May. BART plans to
buy a slick new ride - 260 new rail cars - for about $1 billion
in May. The cars will sport a sleek modern look, cleaner seats,
digital information displays, even air conditioning that works on
hot days. And if transit officials are pleased, and can come up
with another $2 billion or so, they'll buy another 515 cars.
After years of planning and scrounging for funding, BART is ready
to lurch forward with the start of its plans to replace its
669-car fleet of rail cars, most of which are about to turn 40.

Sunflowers inspire improved solar power plant.  The well-tuned
geometry of the florets on the face of the sunflower head has
inspired an improved layout for mirrors used to concentrate
sunlight and generate electricity, according to new research. 
The sunflower-inspired layout could reduce the footprint of
concentrating solar power (CSP) plants by about 20 percent, which
could be a boon for a technology that's limited, in part, by its
massive land requirements.  Posted. 


California can't afford the bullet train [Most commented]. Dump
California's bullet train. At least, that's the overwhelming
sentiment among readers who've been responding to the board's
most recent editorial, "Keep California's bullet train on track."
The board wrote: The project is unquestionably risky, far more
expensive than voters were told it would be when they approved
nearly $10 billion in bonds to build it in 2008, and unlikely to
be finished until years later than promoters had suggested.

California's bullet train debate; a Brit's crusade against the
word "awesome"; how to spend the peace dividend. Lure of the
rails. Re "Keep the bullet train on track," Editorial, Jan. 7.
Should California continue its high-speed rail project? Yes. But
should we get locked into the current plan by the California
High-Speed Rail Authority? No. Most people favor, in principle,
building a bullet train system, even many who object to the cost
and poor design. So the real question is why we're locked into
such an unrealistic plan. Posted.

Dan Morain: Valero's revenge foils AB 32 implementation.  Forgive
Valero and other oil producers if they're feeling a little bit
smug.  A little more than a year ago, the Texas oil company spent
$5 million to promote an ill-advised initiative to upend
California's Assembly Bill 32, the landmark 2006 legislation that
seeks to force a reduction in greenhouse gases.  Posted. 

Toyota Unveils Newest Prius Model, Plug-In Hybrid Concept.
Obviously, Toyota is dedicated to hybrid technology. It builds
the best-selling hybrid on the planet, the Prius. The Japanese
giant announced plans to expand its Prius lineup last year here
in Detroit with the release of the larger Prius v. At the 2012
North American International Auto Show, Toyota unveiled the
production version of the next model in that range, the smaller
Prius c. Posted.

Why Alternative Energy, Part Two. Sometime between 2008 and 2009,
or perhaps before then, I got it in my head that the best poetry
was political in nature, the best fiction was psychological or
sociological in nature, and the best non-fiction, well, was
non-fiction! It was sometime around then that I got on board the
alternative energy train, or perhaps hopped on the caboose that’s
being dragged by the engine. At the time, I wasn’t thinking about
writing about the subject. Posted.

The Effects of Urban Pollutants and Acid Rain. Steaks on the
bar-b tonight!! When I smell charcoal burning, usually early
Saturday mornings, my thoughts immediately revert back to when I
last attended a bar-b-que cook out. The smell of mesquite
charcoal, well-seasoned top choice T-Bone steaks, baked potato,
baked beans, corn-on-the-cobb, etc. I could go on and on but that
would only cause you to seek out the nearest grocery store to
retrieve the essentials for your weekend outing. Posted.


On Our Radar: The Nation’s Greenhouse Gas Culprits.  The
Environmental Protection Agency releases an interactive online
tool for identifying major sources of greenhouse gas emissions in
the United States. The database and map allow residents and
governments to learn about the biggest polluters in their
neighborhoods and get the broad picture as well. [Environmental
Protection Agency]  Amid a wave of complaints about its worsening
air quality, Hong Kong will begin measuring pollutants smaller
than 2.5 micrometers at all its monitoring stations by March, an
official says.  Posted. 

New York Plans Bigger Recycling Effort.  The Bloomberg
administration has set a goal of doubling the amount of garbage
it diverts from landfills over the next five years.  The plan,
which is expected to be announced at 1 p.m. by Mayor Michael R.
Bloomberg in his State of the City address on the campus of
Morris High School in the Bronx, seems to reflect a deeper
commitment to programs that encourage the reuse and prevention of
waste, including the city’s long-neglected residential recycling
program. Posted. 

Follow the Carbon: Find the Biggest Greenhouse Gas Emitters Near
You. The federal Environmental Protection Agency has just made
tracking greenhouse gases a lot easier. The agency has produced
its own map of major GHG producers, with fresh data and
customizable features. Two years ago, when we produced our map of
California emitters for Climate Watch, we had to cobble it
together with raw data from the state Air Resources Board
emissions inventory, numbers that were relatively hard to find
and infrequently updated. Posted.
How Plastic Trees Could Help Pull Carbon Dioxide Out of the Air.
We know that real trees soak up carbon from the atmosphere — but
fake trees? Kimberly Ayers. And you thought plastic palm trees
had no redeeming value... A cheap plastic that removes carbon
dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere? “Yes,” says a team of chemists
at the University of Southern California’s  (USC) Loker
Hydrocarbon Research Institute…Posted.

When will EPA release its new car pollution proposal? This is a
post about an EPA proposal that hasn’t been proposed.  It’s a
post about a proposal that environmentalists, state air
regulators, and industry stakeholders have been waiting a year
and a half to see.  And, it’s a post about an important issue
that has not received much attention, so it may be news to you.
Here goes: On May 21, 2010, I joined my colleagues at EPA, in the
health and environmental communities, and in the vehicle
emissions industries in the White House Rose Garden to hear
President Obama announce a three-part plan to reduce pollution
from our nation’s vehicles. Posted.

Hyundai offers 'lifetime battery replacement guarantee' for
Sonata Hybrid.  Hyundai is complementing its standard 10-year,
100,000-mile warranty by adding a "lifetime battery replacement
guarantee" for the Sonata Hybrid, the only hybrid the South
Korean automaker sells.  Hyundai said Monday that, in the event
of breakdown of the Sonata Hybrid's lithium polymer battery, the
company will replace the battery free of charge and pay for its
recycling costs. Hyundai, which co-developed the lithium polymer
battery with LG Chem, says the Sonata Hybrid's drivetrain can
hold up under more than 300,000 miles of driving with "minimal
degradation."  Posted. 

UN Sustainable Energy for All Initiative.  Secretary-General of
the UN, Ban Ki Moon has set three objectives for his his new
Sustainable Energy for All Initiative to be achieved by 2030:
ensure universal access to modern energy services; double the
rate of improvement in energy efficiency; and double the share of
renewable energy in the global energy mix.   Posted. 
Chemically Removing CO2 from Air Is Ridiculously Expensive.
Trapping harmful pollutants directly from the atmosphere using
chemicals sounds like a suitable solution to curb the appalling
levels of air pollution. However, research led by experts from
Stanford and MIT clearly indicates that the plan is viable only
on paper, since the prohibitive costs of this method make it
unsuitable. This theory is backed by a study published in the
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, revealing that
capturing emissions from local sources…. Posted.

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