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newsclips -- Newsclips for February 22, 2012

Posted: 22 Feb 2012 11:27:59
ARB News Clips for February 22, 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.


National parks conservation group urges tighter air quality
measures to protect Mammoth Cave.  A plan by the Environmental
Protection Agency to exempt some older coal plants from tough air
quality standards could hurt Mammoth Cave National Park,
according to the National Parks Conservation Association.  The
group is urging the EPA not to allow the exemption, citing a
report released this month that it would allow emissions of 243
percent more nitrogen oxides "than the best pollution controls
would allow."  Posted. 


UN climate chief turns to CEOs for action.  As governments bicker
over who should do what to slow the pace of global warming, the
U.N.’s climate chief is increasingly looking to business leaders
to show the way forward to a low-carbon future.  Christiana
Figueres told The Associated Press that her efforts to reach out
to high-profile executives from companies such as Coca-Cola,
Unilever and Virgin Group represent “a deeper recognition of the
fact that the private sector can contribute in a decisive way.” 

AP Newsbreak:  


Greenhouse gas battle could reap billions in auctions.  As
California’s attempt to curb climate-changing greenhouse gases
ramps up, critical pieces of the landmark law remain uncertain,
including the impact of the all-important auctions of hundreds of
millions of so-called “emission allowances” that will serve as
the spur for utilities, refiners and others to comply.  Over the
next eight years, the quarterly auctions by some estimates are
projected to raise between $8 billion and $41 billion, with the
money going to everything from helping balancing the state budget
to promoting the virtues of clean energy to giving breaks to
millions of residential and commercial electricity customers. 


Incentives help Sacramento Valley farmers replace diesel pumps
with electric to cut pollution.  A wine grape vineyard in Galt is
helping to clear the air in the Sacramento Valley.  The ranch is
one of hundreds that are replacing sooty diesel irrigation pumps
with cleaner electric pumps, part of a regional program to cut
diesel emissions in agriculture, construction and trucking.  Carl
Maggio, ranch manager at the Pacific Agri Lands vineyard in Galt,
said the property has 10 pumps to draw groundwater for irrigating
the grapes. Three diesel pumps have been replaced with electric
ones, and he's expecting to replace two more this year.  Posted. 

Swift and Los Angeles reach port truck cash settlement.  The Port
of Los Angeles and Swift Transportation have reached a settlement
over the mega-carrier’s $11.8 million grant grab from the port to
purchase new trucks.  In 2010, the port revealed that only 30
percent of the 2,000 trucks purchased with port money had made
the required 300 trips per year. At that time, nearly 400 trucks
purchased with the port money hadn’t made a single trip to the
port.  Swift will pay the port $4 million, confirmed Phillip
Sanfield, Los Angeles port spokesman.  “We’re pleased the Los
Angeles Harbor Commission approved the settlement between the
port and Swift,” Sanfield said. “The settlement avoids any
potential for a costly and protracted legal battle.”  Posted. 

Emission regs may force Willows to upgrade equipment.  Emission
standards designed to control air pollution has Willows officials
scrambling to find money to buy new heavy equipment.  With an
anticipated general fund deficit, the city hopes to use grant
funding to purchase a new street sweeper that meets clean air
standards, officials said last week.  The California Air
Resources Board, which developed a comprehensive strategy to
control diesel emissions, set goals to reduce diesel particulate
mater emissions in California by 85 percent by 2020. 
Construction equipment such as bulldozers, cranes, sweepers and
forklifts account for 32 percent of all carbon dioxide and seven
percent of fine particle emissions expelled in the air, according
to the state.  Posted. 

Donaldson Gets CARB OK.  Donaldson Co. said that it has received
Level 3 Plus conditional verification by the California Air
Resources Board (CARB) for its Non Road Low NO2 Filter (NR-LNF
Muffler). The emissions retrofit device is applicable to off-road
engines produced from 1996 to 2010 with power ranges from 100 to
600 Hp.  The NR-LNF Muffler incorporates a DPF (diesel
particulate filter) solution for vehicles with sufficient duty
cycles to permit a passive DPF. “We’re very pleased to have
received the CARB conditional verification for the NR-LNF
Muffler,” said Ted Angelo, Exhaust & Emissions general manager at
Donaldson. “This expands the successful LNF product into the
off-road market, where performance and compact size are critical.


Canadian oil: Could some of it be headed for California?  Much of
the focus behind Canada’s push to build a new oil pipeline to the
West Coast has been to diversify its markets, to reduce its
reliance on the U.S. as a customer. The Canadian government says
it wants to start selling oil to China and South Korea.  But
there are strong indications that California could be the
ultimate destination for much of the oil shipped on the proposed
Northern Gateway pipeline.  Analysts say California could see as
much as half of the oil transported out of the tar sands of
northern Alberta to a port on the coast of British Columbia,
where it would be loaded onto tankers for destinations as yet
unknown.  Posted. 

Money Minute: Can we drill our way to lower gas prices? [Video] 
Gas prices are climbing -- again. And as they go up, calls are
growing in some quarters for more domestic oil drilling.  But can
we drill our way to energy independence?  The answer, experts
say, is no. And it's a simple math problem. The United States
consumes more than 20% of the world's oil every year and a
similar percentage of natural gas. But we have only about 1.6% of
proven oil reserves and only about 3.8% of proven gas reserves. 
That means we could drill like fiends, planting oil rigs
everywhere there's oil to be tapped, and we'd still be importing
fuel.  Posted. 


Fisker: My company is 'viable, self-funded'. Just to be clear,
Henrik Fisker says his fledging auto company is not circling the
drain. Fisker Automotive recently missed vehicle development and
sales milestones needed to obtain another round of Department of
Energy funding -- resulting in layoffs and speculation that the
luxury-hybrid startup is failing. Posted. 


Heartland Institute: Not a think tank, just in the tank. The
purported Heartland Institute internal documents leaked to media
outlets last week were not exactly revelatory. Collectively, the
100 or so pages describe an advocacy group going about the
business of pushing its agenda and raising money to help it do
so. Chicago-based Heartland has been doing that since it was
created in 1984 "to discover, develop and promote free-market
solutions to social and economic problems," according to its
current mission statement. Posted. 


New Enzyme Could Cut Cost of Ethanol Made From Waste. It is one
of the holy grails of clean energy production: finding a way to
make ethanol from the cellulose in biowaste like corn husks and
household trash. Although several pilot projects are up and
running — with many more in the pipeline — commercial production
has remained elusive, with the costs remaining much higher than
for producing ethanol from corn, or gasoline. Posted. 

Battery cost dropping below $200 per kWh soon, says Tesla's Elon
Musk. During its recent fourth quarter 2011 financial results Q&A
conference call, CEO Elon Musk had, of course, lots to say about
Tesla Motors and its various products. One statement though,
concerning the falling cost of batteries, spoke to the broader
electric vehicle (EV) market and bears repeating. The high price
of energy storage is, after all, one of the major barriers to
lower EV prices and, consequently, faster consumer adoption.

‘Sticky smog’ might help solve smoggy mystery.  The hazardous
gases that make up Southern California’s smoggy haze might stick
together like tar, not dissolve inside droplets, a new study by
UC Irvine scientists shows.  And while that might sound like
splitting hairs, it could have profound implications for how we
understand smog and forecast its effects.  The finding, by UCI
chemistry professor Barbara Finlayson-Pitts and a team of
researchers, might help solve the mystery of “missing” smog
particles — the huge discrepancy known to pollution regulators
between the amount of some kinds of smog particles forecast by
computer models, and the far larger amount seen in reality. 

E15 may be cleared for commercial sales by summer, advocates say.
E15, which is gasoline with a blend of 15 percent ethanol, may be
cleared by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to be
sold as commercial gasoline in time for the busy summer driving
season, website DomesticFuel.com reports, citing statements by
ethanol advocates Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) and Growth
Energy. Posted. 

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