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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for March 9, 2012 Posted: 09 Mar 2012 12:45:09
ARB Newsclips for March 9, 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 In Silver Lake, an air of dismay over pipeline project. Neighbors say dust from construction is causing respiratory problems. DWP officials say they are taking steps to control noise and pollution from the $40-million project. Silver Lake residents can't wait for this construction job to bite the dust. More than two dozen residents living along the path of a $40-million water pipe project say they are suffering respiratory problems from particulate matter stirred up by construction trucks and heavy-duty trenching machines. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-pipe-dust-20120309,0,643731.story Cupertino: County prepares for EIR hearing on Lehigh Cement. Santa Clara County is still tentatively set for a March 22 planning commission hearing on the latest environmental impact report regarding Lehigh Southwest Cement. The cement and rock quarry located just outside Cupertino in unincorporated county territory is working on a reclamation plan that will someday see the mined property returned to its natural beauty and a beneficial state, according to county staff. Posted. http://www.insidebayarea.com/ci_20134990/cupertino-county-prepares-eir-hearing-lehigh-cement?IADID=Search-www.insidebayarea.com-www.insidebayarea.com http://www.contracostatimes.com/ci_20134990/cupertino-county-prepares-eir-hearing-lehigh-cement?IADID=Search-www.contracostatimes.com-www.contracostatimes.com Alert on tub-stripping chemical serves as reminder of dangers of improper use. A recent warning about a chemical stripper often used to refinish bathtubs raises a red flag about using chemical products improperly. Earlier this week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an alert about the dangers of using paint strippers containing methylene chloride in tub refinishing. The risk is to the person doing the work, not to anyone using the tub later. The products were linked to 13 deaths from 2000 to 2011 of people who used them to remove old finishes from bathtubs without adequately protecting themselves from the vapors, which can cause people to pass out and interfere with their breathing. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2012/03/08/4321163/alert-on-tub-stripping-chemical.html FUELS East Bay Oil Exports Have Become Huge Business. The Bay Area is known for the Golden Gate Bridge, technology start-ups and California cuisine, among other things. Oil does not usually make the list. But the region’s five oil refineries along San Pablo Bay and the Carquinez Strait were responsible for $7.8 billion in oil exports in 2010, more than any other metro area in the country, according to a report released Thursday by the Brookings Institution. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/09/us/oil-exports-have-become-huge-business-in-the-san-francisco-bay-area.html?_r=1&scp=8&sq=air%20pollution&st=cse Exxon pegs spending at $185B over next 5 years. Exxon said Thursday that it will spend about $150 billion over the next five years to find more oil and natural gas to satisfy the world's growing energy appetite. Exxon Mobil Corp., the world's largest publicly traded energy company, expects global energy demand to increase 30 percent by 2040, compared with 2010 levels. As demand grows, CEO Rex Tillerson said Exxon will plow more money into a global search for new resources. Posted. http://www.fresnobee.com/2012/03/08/2751997/exxon-to-spend-185b-over-5-years.html#storylink=misearch VEHICLES Auto Overcapacity Gives Leaders Another Issue to Ponder. While Europe has been preoccupied with the euro crisis, another storm has been gathering that could also take a grievous toll on jobs and growth. Just as Europe has too much debt, it also has more automobile factories than the economy can support. The overcapacity is not exactly a secret, but judging from the talk at the Geneva auto show this week, a long-postponed reckoning is nigh. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/08/business/global/the-other-ticking-time-bomb-in-europe-auto-overcapacity.html?scp=8&sq=vehicles&st=cse Japan automakers are back, a year after disaster. Nissan is back, one year after an earthquake and tsunami in northeastern Japan ground auto production to a halt, left giant cracks at a key factory and killed five employees and 17 family members. It's a story of surprising recovery that's playing out at other Japanese automakers, but particularly at Nissan. Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn called it "miraculous" on Friday ahead of the disaster's anniversary, crediting hard work at his company. The maker of the March subcompact and Infiniti luxury brands had a record sales year of 4.67 million vehicles in 2011. Posted. http://www.nctimes.com/business/japan-automakers-are-back-a-year-after-disaster/article_c3981c1e-a005-522b-a94f-aa1502c326ec.html#ixzz1ode7w28F http://www.modbee.com/2012/03/09/2104824/japan-automakers-are-back-a-year.html http://www.dailynews.com/ci_20137569/japan-automakers-are-back-year-after-disaster?IADID=Search-www.dailynews.com-www.dailynews.com http://www.contracostatimes.com/ci_20137569/japan-automakers-are-back-year-after-disaster?IADID=Search-www.contracostatimes.com-www.contracostatimes.com China auto sales fall in first 2 months of year. China's vehicle sales weakened further in the first two months of this year as the economy slowed and higher fuel prices deterred some buyers. The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said Friday that car sales in January-February fell 4.4 percent from a year earlier to 2.37 million vehicles. Total sales, including trucks and buses, dropped 6 percent to 2.95 million vehicles. Posted. http://www.insidebayarea.com/ci_20137264/china-auto-sales-fall-first-2-months-year?IADID=Search-www.insidebayarea.com-www.insidebayarea.com http://www.dailynews.com/ci_20137264/china-auto-sales-fall-first-2-months-year?IADID=Search-www.dailynews.com-www.dailynews.com http://www.contracostatimes.com/ci_20137264/china-auto-sales-fall-first-2-months-year?IADID=Search-www.contracostatimes.com-www.contracostatimes.com Electric scooter version of Zipcar hits San Francisco. San Francisco’s hipsters are about to get motorized. Scoot Networks, an electric scooter rental system similar to Zipcar, launched in the Bay Area this week. The system, which is being rolled out to San Francisco-based companies for private fleets, lets users locate nearby scooters with their smartphone and claim the one they want (as with Zipcar, each scooter lives at a certain location). After it’s docked into the scooter, the phone unlocks the vehicle and acts like a virtual dashboard, providing a map as well as information on speed and range. Posted. http://grist.org/list/electric-scooter-version-of-zipcar-hits-san-francisco/ GREEN ENERGY Senate rejects GOP environment, energy proposals. The Senate killed Republican-backed attempts to overturn several of President Barack Obama's environmental and energy policies Thursday as lawmakers worked against a March 31 deadline to keep aid flowing to more than 100,000 transportation construction projects around the country. The two-year, $109 billion transportation bill before the Senate has wide, bipartisan support, but has become a magnet for lawmakers' favorite causes and partisan gamesmanship. Posted. http://www.nctimes.com/news/national/senate-rejects-gop-environment-energy-proposals/article_df3e2636-5d26-54ca-9d66-4b1a815134d5.html#ixzz1oddbWZar http://www.modbee.com/2012/03/07/2102831/senate-leaders-say-deal-on-transportation.html http://www.dailynews.com/ci_20136324/senate-rejects-gop-environment-energy-proposals?IADID=Search-www.dailynews.com-www.dailynews.com http://www.insidebayarea.com/ci_20136324/senate-rejects-gop-environment-energy-proposals?IADID=Search-www.insidebayarea.com-www.insidebayarea.com http://www.contracostatimes.com/ci_20136324/senate-rejects-gop-environment-energy-proposals?IADID=Search-www.contracostatimes.com-www.contracostatimes.com http://www.fresnobee.com/2012/03/08/2753154/senate-rejects-gop-environment.html#storylink=misearch http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/federal_government/senate-leaders-say-deal-clears-way-for-vote-on-109b-overhaul-of-highway-transit-programs/2012/03/07/gIQAP9X7xR_story.html Government-subsidized green light bulb carries costly price tag. The U.S. government last year announced a $10 million award, dubbed the “L Prize,” for any manufacturer that could create a “green” but affordable light bulb. Energy Secretary Steven Chu said the prize would spur industry to offer the costly bulbs, known as LEDs, at prices “affordable for American families.” There was also a “Buy America” component. Portions of the bulb would have to be made in the United States. Now the winning bulb is on the market. The price is $50. Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/government-subsidized-green-light-bulb-carries-costly-price-tag/2012/03/07/gIQAFxOD0R_story.html RIVERSIDE: City to receive 2011 Sustainability Showcase Award. The California Sustainability Alliance has announced that the city of Riverside has been chosen to receive its 2011 Sustainability Showcase Award for Local Government. The city has implemented multiple initiatives and programs across all departments to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy, foster alternative-fuel vehicle use, and improve water use efficiency, which are key elements in the alliance’s award criteria. Posted. http://www.pe.com/local-news/riverside-county/riverside/riverside-headlines-index/20120308-riverside-city-to-receive-2011-sustainability-showcase-award.ece MISCELLANEOUS Energy department probes delay of layoff news at Solyndra. The Energy Department's Office of Inspector General is investigating who pushed to delay bad news about federally backed Solyndra LLC until after the November 2010 midterm elections. Energy Secretary Steven Chu, who nearly four months ago pledged to find out if anyone in his department was involved, told a House Committee on Thursday he’s turned the matter over to the department’s Office of Inspector General. Posted. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/mar/8/energy-department-probes-delay-of-layoff-news-at-s/ Molycorp, a Rare Earth Mining Firm, Is to Merge With a Processor, Neo Material. One of the West’s two main rare earth metal mining companies announced on Friday that it was buying one of the world’s two main rare earth processing companies for $1.3 billion, the latest in a series of deals that are rapidly consolidating the industry. Molycorp, which operates the big American mine now being reopened and expanded in Mountain Pass, Calif., is buying Neo Material Technologies of Toronto, which makes specialty chemicals from rare earths at factories in China and Thailand. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/09/business/global/merger-combines-a-rare-earth-mining-firm-with-a-processor.html Plutonium from Japan nuclear disaster not seen as major threat. A study says the levels of radioactive plutonium around the Fukushima nuclear plant are not much higher than residual levels from Cold War-era weapons tests. The levels of radioactive plutonium around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant aren't much higher than the amount of plutonium remaining in the environment from Cold War-era nuclear weapons tests, and it probably poses little threat to humans, a new study indicates. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/news/science/la-sci-fukushima-plutonium-20120309,0,5592554.story Rural Peninsula activists -- and others around Bay Area -- oppose development plans. Citizens in San Mateo County's rural midcoast are pushing back against Plan Bay Area, a state-mandated effort to figure out where the region's growing population will live -- and they're not alone. Organizations and community activists throughout the Bay Area are faulting the plan, which intends to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by creating incentives for transit-oriented development. A number of environmental groups have joined the fray…Posted. http://www.contracostatimes.com/breaking-news/ci_20132791 3,000 new downtown homes still city's goal. Balancing stark realism with tempered optimism, city leaders recommended Thursday a goal of 3,000 homes built downtown by 2020 - just weeks after slashing that same number by 90 percent. Success isn't likely, they say. Stockton added 13,444 homes over the past decade, just 62 of them in the greater downtown area. But Deputy City Manager Mike Locke told the city's Climate Action Plan Advisory Committee that the goal will be part of a larger …Posted. http://www.recordnet.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20120309/A_NEWS/203090319&cid=sitesearch OPINIONS There's no consensus on climate change. I was taught that one of the first rules, in studying history is to remember that there is a minimum of two sides to every story. Regarding the "Move toward One America" article in Friday's paper, the same rule applies. If you saw Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth," did you see Lomborg's movie, "Cool It"? If not, you should. The article further stated that emails from the Heartland Institute implied compliance with the belief in global warming. http://www.thecalifornian.com/article/20120309/OPINION03/203090328/There-s-no-consensus-climate-change BLOGS Following Beijing, Hong Kong Releases PM2.5 Pollution Data. Hong Kong has decided to come clean with data on a dangerous form of air pollution, a month and a half after Beijing, a city with smoggier skies and a murkier approach to statistics, did the same. After years of withholding the data, Hong Kong’s environmental protection department on Thursday began publicly releasing hourly measurements of the tiny pollutants known as PM2.5 – so called because they are smaller than 2.5 micrometers in diameter – that health experts say are especially threatening because they penetrate deeply into the lungs. Posted. http://blogs.wsj.com/chinarealtime/2012/03/09/following-beijing-hong-kong-releases-pm2-5-pollution-data/ With Energy Department’s Encouragement, Ford, G.M. and Ram Unveil Natural Gas Pickups. Speaking here this week at the Green Truck Summit, an event held in conjunction with the Work Truck Show, Steven Chu, the head of the Energy Department, called on commercial fleet owners to consider converting their vehicles to run on natural gas, which he characterized as a “no-brainer” alternative to gasoline and diesel. Posted. http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/08/with-energy-departments-encouragement-ford-g-m-and-ram-unveil-natural-gas-pickups/?scp=6&sq=vehicles&st=cse California Team to Tackle the Sands of Baja in a 400-Horsepower E.V. At its essence, the Baja 1000, a long-running off-road race on Mexico’s Baja peninsula, is a wooly, slightly unhinged competition celebrating horsepower and torque. This year, a new vehicle class called Ultra Green will give the race an air, however subtle, of environmental stewardship. Jeffrey Smith, a successful competitor in the 2011 race, has set his sights on winning the class in its inaugural year with a purely electric racer. Posted. http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/08/california-team-to-tackle-the-sands-of-baja-in-a-400-horsepower-e-v/?scp=2&sq=vehicles&st=cse Volvo Ups the Ante on Emissions Reductions. Volvo Group, the transportation equipment manufacturer, has set a tall order for itself. It wants to reduce its carbon emissions from the construction equipment, buses and trucks it makes by 30 million tons by the end of 2014. To accomplish that, the group has expanded its partnership with the WWF Climate Savers program. Posted. http://www.triplepundit.com/2012/03/volvo-ups-ante-emissions-reductions/ Nissan will double Tennessee workers for Leaf, battery-pack ramp-up. Nissan will almost double the number of workers at its factory in Smyrna, TN, within the next year in part to ramp up production of both Nissan Leaf electric vehicles and battery packs, HybridCars reports. Nissan will add 1,300 workers specifically for the battery packs and for the Leafs, which will start being built in the U.S. later this year. The Japanese automaker has invested $1.7 billion upgrading the plant, which will include a 1.3-million-square-foot facility dedicated to making battery packs. Posted. http://green.autoblog.com/2012/03/09/nissan-will-double-tennessee-workers-for-leaf-battery-pack-ramp/