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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. AIR POLLUTION 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. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/01/11/us-usa-epa-air-idUSTRE80A2FK20120111 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. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-01-12/hong-kong-pollution-link-to-7-240-premature-deaths-group-says.html 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. http://www.latimes.com/news/local/environment/la--me-gs-emissions-texas-0120111,0,3217162.story?track=rss&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+latimes%2Fnews%2Fscience%2Fenvironment+%28L.A.+Times+-+Environment%29 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. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/01/12/BA4U1MO655.DTL&type=green 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. http://www.fresnobee.com/2012/01/12/v-print/2679454/unfair-air-quality-fines.html 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. http://www.sanluisobispo.com/2012/01/11/1903999/oceano-dunes-enthusiasts-sue-board.html CLIMATE CHANGE 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. Posted. http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_GREENHOUSE_GASES?SITE=MOSTP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT AP Newsbreak: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/01/12/MN3R1MO54H.DTL&type=green http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203436904577155160478913928.html?_nocache=1326393419371&user=welcome BY SUBSCRIPTION http://www.modbee.com/2012/01/11/2021171/epa-power-plants-main-global-warming.html http://www.nctimes.com/news/national/epa-power-plants-main-global-warming-culprits/article_2458cd2d-ac5f-5098-8c3e-770fbe449fca.html 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. http://www.latimes.com/news/local/environment/la-me-gs-epa-web-tool-tracks-major-greenhouse-gas-sources-20120111,0,370183.story?track=rss 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. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/01/11/BAAL1MNFM4.DTL&type=green 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. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/2012/01/12/archive/4?terms=cold+hard+cash BY SUBSCRIPTION 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. http://www.grist.org/climate-energy/2012-01-11-scientists-develop-material-to-trap-carbon-dioxide 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. http://www.nationaljournal.com/energy/epa-sets-stage-for-2012-climate-clashes-20120111?mrefid=freehplead_3 DIESEL EMISSIONS 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. http://www.torquenews.com/1080/clean-diesel-sales-beating-hybrids-27-2011 FUELS 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. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/01/12/BUUM1MNRAC.DTL&type=green 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. http://www.socaltech.com/cool_planet_biofuels_starts_road_testing/s-0040349.html VEHICLES 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. http://www.dailybreeze.com/news/ci_19721853#.Tw6iJZY8gjg.email 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. Posted. http://www.pe.com/local-news/riverside-county/perris/perris-headlines-index/20120111-perris-hybrid-vehicles-will-save-city-money.ece 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 citizens. http://www.cars21.com/content/articles/73020120112.php GREEN ENERGY '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. http://www.sacbee.com/2012/01/12/v-print/4182376/green-energy-is-the-best-route.html 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. Posted. http://www.insidebayarea.com/ci_19714029?IADID=Search-www.insidebayarea.com-www.insidebayarea.com http://www.contracostatimes.com/ci_19714029?IADID=Search-www.contracostatimes.com-www.contracostatimes.com MISCELLANEOUS 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. http://www.sacbee.com/2012/01/12/4182805/uc-system-bans-smoking-chewing.html 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. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/01/12/BAHH1MO3KQ.DTL&tsp=1 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. http://futureoftech.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/01/11/10118661-sunflowers-inspire-improved-solar-power-plant?chromedomain=cosmiclog OPINIONS 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. Posted. http://opinion.latimes.com/opinionla/2012/01/california-cant-afford-the-bullet-train-most-commented.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+OpinionLa+%28L.A.+Times+-+Opinion+Blog%29 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. http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/letters/la-le-0111-wednesday-20120111,0,4632320.story 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. http://www.sacbee.com/2012/01/12/4181493/valeros-revenge-foils-ab-32-implementation.html 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. http://editorial.autos.msn.com/toyota-unveils-newest-prius-model-plug-in-hybrid-concept?icid=autos_2282 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. http://www.forbes.com/sites/jaynejung/2012/01/12/why-alternative-energy-part-two/ 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. http://www.examiner.com/green-living-in-tampa-bay/the-effects-of-urban-pollutants-and-acid-rain BLOGS 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. http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/11/on-our-radar-the-nations-greenhouse-gas-culprits/ 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. http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/12/new-york-plans-bigger-recycling-effort/ 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. http://blogs.kqed.org/climatewatch/2012/01/11/follow-the-carbon-epa-maps-greenhouse-gas-emitters/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+kqed%2FClimateWatchBlog+%28KQED%27s+Climate+Watch+Blog%29 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. http://blogs.kqed.org/climatewatch/2012/01/11/cleaner-air-the-word-could-still-be-plastics/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+kqed%2FClimateWatchBlog+%28KQED%27s+Climate+Watch+Blog%29 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. http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/rkassel/unfinished_business_at_epa_tim.html 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. http://green.autoblog.com/2012/01/11/hyundai-offers-lifetime-battery-replacement-guarantee-for-sona/ 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. http://www.celsias.com/article/un-sustainable-energy-all-initiative/ 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. http://news.softpedia.com/news/Chemically-Removing-CO2-from-Air-is-Ridiculously-Expensive-246025.shtml