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newsclips -- Newsclips for January 19, 2012. Posted: 19 Jan 2012 13:13:56
California Air Resources Board News Clips for January 19, 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. GOVERNORS STATE OF THE STATE ADDRESS State of the State 2012: "California on the Mend" In his 2012 State of the State speech, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. said California is “on the mend” and laid out an ambitious agenda for economic growth in the year ahead. The full text of the speech is below: (Remarks as prepared). As required by the state constitution, I am reporting to you this morning on the condition of our state. Putting it as simply as I can, California is on the mend. Posted. http://gov.ca.gov/news.php?id=17386 AIR POLLUTION Cabazon tribe agrees to air quality monitoring. Environmental regulators will be allowed to enforce air quality laws on reservation in the Coachella Valley. Environmental regulators will be allowed to enforce air quality laws on the Cabazon Band of Mission Indians reservation in the Coachella Valley, an agreement reached seven months after noxious odors from a recycling facility sickened nearby schoolchildren. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-toxic-waste-cabazon-20120119,0,6528489,print.story South Coast Air Quality Management District, Cabazon Band of Mission Indians near historic deal. Some east valley residents still worried about odors. COACHELLA — Regional air quality officials are on the verge of a landmark deal with the Cabazon Band of Mission Indians to enforce clean-air standards on tribal lands. “This is historic in nature,” Barry Wallerstein, the South Coast Air Quality Management District's executive officer, said of his agency's pending agreement with the tribe. Posted. http://www.mydesert.com/article/20120118/NEWS01/120118016/South-Coast-Air-Quality-Management-District-Cabazon-Band-Mission-Indians-agree-Mecca-air-deal Sierra Club sues Texas for upping plant emissions. An advocacy group has filed a court challenge against Texas' environmental regulatory agency after it agreed to allow four coal-fired power plants to emit more pollution. The Sierra Club argues in a lawsuit filed Tuesday that the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality didn't allow for public comment or look closely enough at the plants' emission controls and their impacts on air quality. Posted. http://www.insidebayarea.com/ci_19774386?IADID=Search-www.insidebayarea.com-www.insidebayarea.com http://www.contracostatimes.com/ci_19774386?IADID=Search-www.contracostatimes.com-www.contracostatimes.com CLIMATE CHANGE Dueling NY studies over natural gas climate impact. ALBANY, N.Y. — Two groups of scientists at Cornell University are dueling over whether natural gas from shale is better or worse than coal when it comes to global climate change. It's a significant question because proponents of shale gas development using the controversial practice of high-volume hydraulic fracturing argue that natural gas is a cleaner-burning "bridge fuel" from the age of coal to an era of wind, solar and other sustainable energy sources. Posted. http://online.wsj.com/article/AP5a65cb4fae304d60ba49904e3053e259.html BY SUBSCRIPTION Jerry Brown defends high-speed rail. Sacramento -- Gov. Jerry Brown took ownership of California's controversial high-speed-rail project on Wednesday in his State of the State speech, forcefully defending the plan that has received blistering bipartisan criticism in recent weeks. Brown likened the project to massive infrastructure advances of past decades, including the building of the Panama Canal, BART and the interstate highway system - …Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/01/19/MNOP1MR40G.DTL California cap and trade program likely to face legal challenges. On Oct. 20, 2011, the California Air Resources Board adopted administrative rules to implement California’s “cap-and-trade” program for industrial emissions of greenhouse gases. It’s the first of its kind at the state level, and is set to take effect in 2013. Before it does, however, it is likely to face significant legal challenges that, like the canary in the coal mine, may provide a hint of what other states may expect if they attempt to impose a similar program. Posted. http://djcoregon.com/news/2012/01/18/california-cap-and-trade-program-likely-to-face-legal-challenges/ Report: Natural Gas From Shale Not Suitable as "Bridge Fuel," May Worsen Climate Change. Researchers Note Gas Emissions From Marcellus Shale and Other Sites Linked to Significant Increased Risk of Near-Term Climate Change. Far from being a "solution" to climate change, natural gas extracted from shale is a huge contributor of greenhouse gases when both methane and carbon dioxide are considered, according to a major new study by three Cornell University researchers. Posted. http://www.marketwatch.com/story/report-natural-gas-from-shale-not-suitable-as-bridge-fuel-may-worsen-climate-change-2012-01-19 DIESEL EMISSIONS Trucks and Diesel Air Pollution. It is annoying to be driving behind a truck especially one that smells of diesel combustion products. Doing something about that is desirable but it will come at a tremendous cost. trucks are bought and used for years. It is not something that you replace quickly because it is costly. A common trend in environmental reporting is to put things in terms of jobs vs. the environment. For the port cities such as LA environmental protection has become more important than jobs. Posted. http://www.enn.com/pollution/article/43879/print FUELS Keystone XL Pipeline Seen Moving Ahead on Alternative Route. TransCanada Corp. (TRP)’s $7 billion Keystone XL oil pipeline still will move ahead with an alternate route after President Barack Obama’s decision to deny a permit, investors, public officials and analysts say. Obama blamed congressional Republicans yesterday for imposing a deadline on his decision, which he said left no time to approve the project. Posted. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-01-18/obama-administration-is-said-to-reject-transcanada-s-keystone-xl-pipeline.html Obama administration denies Keystone XL oil pipeline permit. The State Department says it needs more time to assess the proposal under current law. Project advocates and opponents both are likely to prolong the political fight. The Obama administration denied a permit for the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada, leaving the door open for the builder to reapply this year but prolonging a bitter political fight that has raged for months and energized each party's political base. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-keystone-20120119,0,2176733,print.story http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/01/19/MNDA1MR7RV.DTL&type=green Judge: California’s low carbon fuel standard unconstitutional. A judge in Federal District Court in Fresno, Calif., has sided with the ethanol industry in ruling that California's Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) is unconstitutional. Judge Lawrence J. O'Neill agreed with arguments that the LCFS is in violation of the Commerce Clause the U.S. Constitution. Posted. http://www.agriview.com/news/crop/judge-california-s-low-carbon-fuel-standard-unconstitutional/article_f90de266-42c1-11e1-83be-001871e3ce6c.html VEHICLES Car review: 2012 Subaru Impreza adds fuel economy. Subaru says this new Impreza, available as a sedan and a hatchback, is the most fuel-efficient all-wheel-drive vehicle in the U.S. It's rated at 27 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway. The recipe for Subaru's compact Impreza is getting a rewrite for 2012. Previously, it was like a bag of trail mix that skimped on the M&Ms. The Impreza was a hearty, go-anywhere offering that was long on nutrition but short on a key ingredient to sweeten the concoction and broaden its appeal. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/business/autos/la-fi-autos-review-subaru-impreza-20120119,0,7121644.story UK EV charge points outnumber EV cars. The DfT has revealed that 2,500 vehicle charging points have been installed across the UK, while sales figures for EVs stand at only 2,149 vehicles sold since 2006, despite a government subsidy of £5,000 for environmentally cars. Sales of electric vehicles did rise in 2011 however, increasing from 138 units in 2010 to 1,082 registered in 2011. Posted. http://cars.uk.msn.com/news/uk-ev-charge-points-outnumber-ev-cars GREEN ENERGY Utilities unveil online tool to help customers save energy. Three big California power utilities are launching a Web-based tool to help their customers save energy – and money. Called “Green Button,” the online tool unveiled Wednesday by Southern California Edison, San Diego Gas & Electric and Pacific Gas & Electric will allow consumers and businesses to see how much electricity they’re using and to download the data so that they can figure out how to use less. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/business/money/la-fi-mo-energy-saving-tool-20120118,0,4452052,print.story California utilities unveil 'Green Button' system. Aneesh Chopra, the Obama administration's chief technology officer, visited Silicon Valley on Wednesday to celebrate the launch of the "Green Button" -- an online tool that lets consumers download energy usage data from their utility's website in an easy, standard format. California's utilities are leading the way: The Green Button feature is already available on the PG&E and San Diego Gas websites. Posted. http://www.insidebayarea.com/business/ci_19770177?IADID=Search-www.insidebayarea.com-www.insidebayarea.com http://www.contracostatimes.com/business/ci_19770177?IADID=Search-www.contracostatimes.com-www.contracostatimes.com Delta solar farm could get green light under new law. A Delta farmer's plan to build a 120-acre solar array might yet bear fruit, if growing actual crops on his land is as hopeless as he claims. San Joaquin County supervisors this week declined to take the unusual step of canceling Michael J. Robinson's contract under the Williamson Act, a state program that preserves farmland. But they did decide that the 20-megawatt solar farm - said to be the first of its kind for San Joaquin - is compatible with the county's General Plan. Posted. http://www.recordnet.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20120119/A_NEWS14/201190318&cid=sitesearch MISCELLANEOUS WWDSS? What would Dr. Seuss say about climate change? A version of this post first appeared in The Last Word on Nothing. Late last year, I wrote about the dominance of the tragic “Lorax narrative” in environmental reporting. It made me wonder: How would Dr. Seuss himself tackle climate change? After all, the story of climate change is muddy and complex, and its real drama is both geographically distant (if you’re lucky) and years in the future (ditto) — in other words, it lacks most of the ingredients that make any narrative memorable. Posted. http://grist.org/climate-change/wwdss-what-would-dr-seuss-say-about-climate-change/ OPINIONS A Good Call on the Pipeline. President Obama has properly rejected, at least for now, the Keystone XL oil pipeline that would run from Canada to the Gulf Coast. He rebuffed the demand of House Republicans that the controversial project be decided in haste under an election-year deadline. The foolish requirement that Mr. Obama issue a decision on the pipeline by Feb. 21 — cynically inserted into the payroll tax bill passed in December — could never be met given the need for a thorough environmental study before any judgment is made. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/19/opinion/a-good-call-on-the-keystone-xl-oil-pipeline.html Five myths about the Keystone XL pipeline. After months of intense debates and protests, the Obama administration has finally decided the fate of the Keystone XL pipeline project: It’s not going to happen anytime soon. The proposed pipeline would have moved about 700,000 barrels of oil-like bitumen from the Alberta oil sands to Texas refineries each day, and oil companies and their allies lobbied hard for it — including with an ad blitz that ran during Republican presidential debates. Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/five-myths-about-the-keystone-xl-pipeline/2011/12/19/gIQApUAX8P_story.html Advertising on California's beaches; keeping track of high-speed rail; climate change in the classroom. High-speed rail, low-speed results. Re "Brown enlarges his bullet train role," Jan. 14. No one can argue against the notion that the California High-Speed Rail Authority is struggling. But to suggest, as The Times has, that the agency is "foundering" — that is, utterly failing — is somewhat extreme and not necessarily the case. The authority needs to quickly assess where and how it has gotten sidetracked. Its draft business plan is much improved over earlier versions, providing much greater detail as to where the high-speed line and its stations would be located and what the building and operating costs would be. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/letters/la-le-0119-thursday-20120119,0,4094383,print.story Trying to teach climate change. Re "Classrooms feel climate skepticism," Jan. 16.This intrusion into science education is much more dangerous than the evolution versus creation controversy. That issue arose over a difference between scientific views and religious beliefs. With climate change, the opposition to the accepted science is being driven by political and economic interests, and the consequences due to postponed government action will probably be severe. Climate-change denial is not a valid scientific position. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/letters/la-le-0119-thursday-20120119,0,4094383,print.story Opinion: Clean vehicles move California forward. Predictions about the effect of vehicle standards are older than the Model T. Henry Ford and Horace Dodge sued in 1904 to stop a vehicle registration law that they said gave an unfair advantage to the horse-drawn carriage. Fast forward to 1973, when GM warned that extending California-style emissions requirements to the rest of the nation raised "the prospect of an unreasonable risk of business catastrophe and massive difficulties with these vehicles in the hands of the public." Posted. http://www.mercurynews.com/opinion/ci_19769435 The ‘Check Engine’ Light Should Be Banned. It’s pretty easy to dismiss the check-engine light as stupid, because it is. I suppose if you thought the smoke coming from under your hood had something to do with the floor mats, then, sure, the check engine light is handy. Beyond that, though, it is useless. But that’s not the real problem. The real problem is that the check-engine light is a tool for the propagation of consumer ignorance about their cars. That is why it needs to die. Now. Posted. http://www.wired.com/autopia/2012/01/ban-check-engine-lights/ Mining site all wrong. When self-appointed expert John Husing, who lives in Redlands, tries to tell me what is best for Temecula it is a real source of irritation (“Quarry rejection is bad news for all,” Perspective, Jan. 15). There is a prevailing wind from the southwest nearly every day that would carry silicone dust right through Temecula. There is no way that granite dust could be mitigated entirely. That’s bad news for those living downwind — all of Temecula — from the proposed quarry. Posted. http://www.pe.com/opinion/letters-to-the-editor-headlines/20120118-your-views-jan.-19.ece Legal ruling could force California to rethink CO2 plan. A legal ruling by a U.S. federal judge has left a big hole in California's plan to cut emissions and could force the cash-strapped and politically-gridlocked state to consider new strategies if it is to meet its domestic goal to cut greenhouse gas emissions. On December 29, a federal court ruled that California's plan to cut the carbon content of transport fuels by 15 million tonnes of carbon dioxide violates the U.S. Constitution as it discriminates against out-of-state fuel sources. Posted. http://newsandinsight.thomsonreuters.com/California/News/2012/01_-_January/Legal_ruling_could_force_California_to_rethink_CO2_plan/ BLOGS Chevy Modifies Volt to Improve Emissions, Boost Sales. General Motors Co. is revamping its Chevrolet Volt plug-in electric vehicle to meet California emissions requirements, aiming to juice sales after failing last year to qualify for state incentives that helped fuel the rise of Nissan Motor Co.’s rival Leaf. Chevrolet engineers made modifications to the Volt’s exhaust system and expect by March to begin selling models that meet California’s stringent emissions standards, allowing California buyers to qualify for a $1,500 state rebate on top of a $7,500 federal tax break. Posted. http://blogs.wsj.com/drivers-seat/2012/01/19/chevy-modifies-volt-to-improve-emissions-boost-sales/?mod=google_news_blog BY SUBSCRIPTION Calculating the Carbon Value of a Swamp. A nonprofit organization and a Gulf Coast electric company have come up with a way that might raise money to help protect New Orleans and surrounding areas from storms made worse by climate change – by collecting funds from people who feel bad about their carbon dioxide emissions. The American Carbon Registry of Arlington, Va., runs a market for carbon credits. Posted. http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/19/calculating-the-carbon-value-of-a-swamp/ Agriculture and Climate Change, Revisited. Agriculture has long been a stepchild in global negotiations over the climate. Hopes had risen that this might change at the latest big global climate session, in Durban, South Africa, in December. It did not. Now, a group of experts led by John Beddington, the chief science adviser of the British government, is issuing a call for renewed research and advocacy regarding the future of the world’s food system. Posted. http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/19/agriculture-and-climate-change-revisited/ The Indoor Pollution Threat You May Not Have Known Existed. Americans spend 90 percent of their time indoors, but have you ever thought about the purity of the air that you are breathing as you sit inside your home, office or even a restaurant? Indoor air quality is considered to be the fourth greatest pollution threat to Americans by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Even if you can never see, and can't always smell, the chemicals inside your home, they are there. Posted. http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/abc-blogs/indoor-pollution-threat-may-not-known-existed-120400425--abc-news.html EPA won’t promise final power plant carbon rules before 2012 elections. The Environmental Protection Agency will soon float delayed draft rules to curb greenhouse gas pollution from power plants, but the agency’s top air-quality official isn’t making any promises that the standards will be finalized before the 2012 elections. “I at this point won’t anticipate when that is going to be completed,” Gina McCarthy, who heads the Office of Air and Radiation, said at a briefing Thursday hosted by ICF International. Posted. http://thehill.com/blogs/e2-wire/e2-wire/205081-epa-wont-promise-final-power-plant-carbon-rules-before-2012-elections Chinese Climate Change Report Says Environmental Future "Grim" While you were cheering the Obama administration's decision to halt (for now at least) the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline—which pre-eminent climate scientist Dr James Hansen has called "game over" for the climate if it gets built—you may have missed that China has just made public its latest report on how our changing climate will damage the nation. In short: Posted. http://www.treehugger.com/climate-change/chinese-climate-change-report-says-environmental-future-grim.html Cutting dirty diesel pollution can reduce global warming while it improves human health. My colleague, Dan Lashof, just posted a great summary of the study, published in Science this week that explained how cutting soot and smog pollution could help reduce the impacts of global warming in the short-term, while improving human health and buying time for critically important reductions in carbon pollution to take effect over the long term. Posted. http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/rkassel/cutting_dirty_diesel_pollution.html First hearing on 54.5 mpg proposal reveals widespread support. They came from as close as the General Motors headquarters across the street and as far away as Santa Fe, New Mexico. They represented groups as diverse as automakers and the military, steel manufacturers and religious organizations. And nearly all of the 90 or so people who testified on a proposal to raise the nation's fuel economy standard to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025 offered support for the plan before a joint government panel in downtown Detroit. Posted. http://green.autoblog.com/2012/01/18/first-hearing-on-54-5-mpg-proposal-reveals-widespread-support/ Amazon In Transition from Net Carbon Sink to Net Carbon Source. A Review in this week’s Nature shows that the southern and eastern Amazon forest is experiencing a transition in energy and water cycles. Preliminary evidence also suggests that the Amazon may be transitioning from a net carbon sink to a net carbon source. Eric Davidson and colleagues examine recent research on the effects of climate change and disturbances such as deforestation and fire on the functioning of the Amazon Basin. Posted. http://www.celsias.com/article/amazon-transition-net-carbon-sink-net-carbon-sourc/ How to cut carbon emissions. Don’t be middle-aged. CARBON emissions vary hugely between countries. That is well known, as is the finding that rich people emit more than poor ones. But a newly revised paper* by Emilio Zagheni of the Max Planck Institute in Rostock, Germany also shows how carbon footprints vary by age—and the worrying implications of this. Average spending patterns vary over a lifetime. Posted. http://www.economist.com/node/21543133