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newsclips -- Newsclips for March 12, 2012.

Posted: 12 Mar 2012 12:13:35
ARB Newsclips for March 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.


Lawmaker: Vehicle emission tests no longer needed.  Every day,
mechanics around the commonwealth check gas caps and look under
hoods as part of annual vehicle emissions inspections.  But one
state lawmaker says residents should no longer have to take their
cars in for— and pay for—the annual inspections.  State Sen. John
Wozniak, D-Westmont, tells the Centre Daily Times
(http://bit.ly/AEuK9H ) that he thinks cleaner cars have made the
inspections obsolete.  "I think the test needs to be tested,"
said Wozniak, who introduced a resolution earlier this year
asking the federal government to end the requirement. "Virtually
all cars pass the test, and it's time to re-evaluate whether it's
just a waste of money for consumers."  Posted. 

ARCO to pay $1 million to EPA at Superfund site. Atlantic
Richfield Co. has agreed to pay $1 million to the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency for managing the Superfund site
at the former Black Eagle smelter. "It really allows us to have a
special account to do oversight of the responsible party's
activities," said EPA spokesman Charlie Coleman. "Right now, with
budgets the way they are, our abilities could be limited."

CARB: Regulatory Sell-Through Dates for Composite Panels.  In
June 2011, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) announced
the delay in enforcement of two sell-through dates that affect
distributors, importers, fabricators and retailers of finished
goods made with Phase 1 hardwood plywood - veneer core and
distributors of Phase 1 particleboard and MDF panels. The
extension was granted in recognition of the economic recession
and related problems for companies to sell off their inventories.

Study finds automobile tires are a potential source of
carcinogenic dibenzopyrenes to the environment.  A new study by
researchers from Stockholm University concludes that automobile
tires may be a potential previously unknown source of
carcinogenic dibenzopyrenes—a type of high molecular weight
polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH)—to the environment. Their
findings are published in the ACS journal Environmental Science &
Technology.  Posted. 

Fuel Tech Awarded Air Pollution Control Orders Totaling $2.2M. 
Warrenville, Ill. Fuel Tech, Inc. (NASDAQ: FTEK), a world leader
in advanced engineering solutions for combustion and emissions
control systems for utility and industrial applications, today
announced receipt of multiple air pollution control orders
totaling $2.2 million. The larger of these orders, placed by a
new domestic utility customer in the Midwest, was for combustion
modifications and a Separated Over-Fire Air (SOFA) system for a
small tangential coal-fired boiler. Posted.


GM under a global warming cloud. Washington – General Motors, a
company that has made strides to lower the carbon footprint of
driving, is taking heat from 10,000 of its customers for a
donation its charitable foundation made to an institute that
casts doubt on climate science. GM vehicle buyers have posted
online comments objecting to the GM Foundation's gifts of $30,000
in the past two years to the Heartland Institute, a free-market
advocacy organization that publicizes its disagreement with
prevailing scientific views about evidence of climate change.

Scientists say rising sea level threatens local beaches,
Oceanside harbor. Sea-level increases projected by the middle of
this century could wipe out sections of San Diego County's
beaches, swell flood waters and deluge wetlands, according to
maps generated by the Scripps Institution for Oceanography. The
maps, prepared for the San Diego Foundation Regional Focus 2050
Study, combined projected sea level increases with wave
measurements and high-resolution topographic images of the
coastline to estimate high tide marks for 2050. Posted. 


Study says diesel emissions can increase risk of cancer
three-fold. A landmark government health study released last week
provides evidence that the diesel engine exhaust that pervades
California highways could be causing cancer at a greater rate
than previously known.  The study says miners exposed to diesel
engine exhaust are three times more likely to contract lung
cancer and die, and that a similar increased risk applies to
people from smoggy, urban areas such as Southern California who
live near freeways or commute to work.  Posted. 


BP accused of selling "dirty gasoline" in California. 
Californian regulators allege BP sold gasoline between December
2008 and March 2009 that failed to comply with state limits on
the amount of benzene and other potentially harmful chemicals it
can contain.  "BP could have complied with the applicable
reported fuel property limits, BP intentionally chose not to do
so and did not do so," the California Air Resources Board (CARB)
claimed in a lawsuit filed in the Contra Costa Superior Court in
California this week.  Posted. 

The Pentagon is a gas guzzler. The Pentagon spent $17.3 billion
on oil in 2011, a 26 percent increase from 2010. This despite the
Pentagon's public efforts to "go green." Late last month,
Bloomberg reported that British Petroleum continues to experience
substantial growth in the amount of money it receives from the
Pentagon for its oil services. From 2010 to 2011, Pentagon
contracts with BP increased by one-third from about 1 billion to
1.35 billion. Posted.

Ethanol Industry Pioneer Wants Higher Blends. The president of
one of the world’s largest ethanol plant engineering and
construction firms is pleased with the progress made by the
industry in the last 30 years, but frustrated by the barriers to
higher ethanol blends. At the recent National Ethanol Conference,
where ICM, Inc. founder Dave Vander Griend was honored with the
Renewable Fuels Association 2012 Membership Award, he talked
about how ethanol could replace some of the additives currently
found in gasoline – called aromatics – which are used to help
boost octane in gas. Posted.


Proof That There’s Fun After 40 Miles Per Gallon. ASK the hipster
waiting in line for a new iPad. Buyers and critics alike are
easily seduced — sometimes too easily — by the new. It’s no
different with cars. Last year, a rare battle of the
welterweights broke out. Never before, it seemed, had so many new
compact models swaggered into showrooms. The Ford Focus, Honda
Civic, Hyundai Elantra, Chevy Cruze and Nissan Versa were all
brand-new or completely redesigned. Which one would win the
compact crown? Posted. 

New carpool lane opens on Highway 50. A carpool lane on westbound
Highway 50 between Rancho Cordova and Sacramento has opened.
Caltrans said the project added 7.5 miles of new carpool lane in
the westbound direction on Highway 50 between Sunrise Boulevard
and Watt Avenue. With the added mileage, a continuous carpool
lane of nearly 23 miles exists from on westbound Highway 50 from
Watt Avenue in Sacramento County to Bass Lake Road in El Dorado
County. Posted.

Average new-vehicle fuel economy rises to record 23.7 mpg, study
says. The average fuel economy for new vehicles purchased in the
United States rose to 23.7 mpg in February, a new high,
researchers at the University of Michigan said. The university’s
Transportation Research Institute in Ann Arbor, Mich., has
tracked the average fuel economy of new vehicles sold monthly
since October 2007, when average fuel economy was 20.1 mpg. In
January, the researchers said they expected average fuel economy
for new vehicles purchased to keep rising. Posted. 

Static electricity. Driving her brand-new car down Pacific
Avenue, Catherine Kearney turned into a gas station. Only to
remember - with a "whoops" and a laugh - that she would never
need gas again. Kearney's Nissan Leaf is refueled each day while
it sits in a parking spot near her desk at the San Joaquin County
Office of Education, which recently installed five charging
stations for plug-in electric vehicles. Posted. 

VW plans plug-in Golf for U.S. in '13. Volkswagen of America
plans to bring a plug-in car to the United States late next year,
its first foray into the electric-vehicle market.  The 2014 model
will be an all-electric version of its Golf, Jonathan Browning,
VW of America's president, told Automotive News last week at the
Geneva auto show. VW likely will start with a limited rollout
targeting specific markets before making the electric Golf
available nationwide, he said. The electric Golf also will go on
sale in Europe around the same time. Posted. 

More hybrid, electric cars available to rent. Rental car
companies and hotels are making it easier for travelers who want
to help save the environment and not spend extra money on high
gasoline prices. Major car rental companies are increasingly
adding electric cars to their already growing hybrid car fleets.
And hotels are installing electric charging stations or giving
electric and hybrid car drivers breaks on pricey parking fees.
Travelers have never had so many options for more fuel-efficient
and environmentally friendly cars. Posted.

Electric-vehicle innovation might be game-changer.  As part of
his plan to get 1 million electric cars on the road by 2015,
President Barack Obama wants Congress to give buyers a tax credit
of up to $10,000 next year.  Currently, the maximum is $7,500,
and some Republicans scoff at the credit, calling it a subsidy
for the wealthy, noting that the average yearly income of a
Chevrolet Volt electric car is $170,000. Posted. 

6000 new EV users in first 100 days.  Since the launch of car2go
in San Diego on 18 November 2011, more than 6,000 people have
registered to join North America's first all-electric carsharing
programme, and more than 25,000 trips have been taken in the
smart fortwo electric drive vehicles. The car2go carsharing
service will be available in Washington, D.C. beginning 24 March
2012 and in Portland as of 31 March.  Prior to the launch of
car2go in November 2011, there were reportedly 800 electric
vehicles in San Diego. Posted. 


First Solar to build new solar plant for NRG. First Solar Inc
will build a 26-megawatt solar power plant for power producer NRG
Energy Inc in Arizona under the latest deal between two of the
biggest players in the U.S. renewable energy sector. NRG is the
majority owner of the 290-megawatt Agua Caliente plant that First
Solar is building near Yuma, Arizona, and the two companies
previously teamed up on a 21-MW plant in Blythe, California, in
2009 and the 20-MW Road Runner plant in New Mexico last year.

Solyndra Is Blamed as Clean-Energy Loan Program Stalls. More than
$16 billion in loans authorized five years ago by Congress to
develop fuel-efficient vehicles has yet to be dispersed, with
applicants for the money complaining that the Energy Department
is crippling plans for greener cars and trucks at a time of
rising gas prices. Some companies contend that the loans,
administered by energy officials, have dried up because of a
political firestorm that followed the bankruptcy last year of the
solar-panel company Solyndra, which had received a federal loan
from a related program. Posted.


Nobel scientist who warned of thinning ozone dies.  F. Sherwood
Rowland, the Nobel prize-winning chemist who sounded the alarm on
the thinning of the Earth's ozone layer and crusaded against the
use of man-made chemicals that were harming earth's atmospheric
blanket, has died. He was 84.  Rowland died Saturday at his home
in Corona del Mar of complications from Parkinson's disease, the
dean of the University of California, Irvine's physical sciences
department said Sunday.  Posted. 


Analysis: Chevron is gambling with its reputation in South
America. Rio de Janeiro -- George Buck, a slim, towering American
who runs Chevron's operations in Brazil, is often flanked by
lawyers these days. Since November, when the No. 2 U.S. oil
company spilled at least 2,400 barrels of oil offshore Brazil,
the local attorneys have helped Buck navigate the legal system,
sometimes doubling as Portuguese translators and cultural
consultants. The soft-spoken engineer, in the country since 2009,
has good reason to measure his words. Posted.

The Republican Party's gasoline alley. The Republicans are
synthesizing a higher-octane blend in their bid to fuel
Americans' anxiety about higher gas prices. The Republican
National Committee sent out talking points instructing party
faithful to take up the issue. House Speaker John Boehner urged
his caucus to do the same. And, on Wednesday, the House energy
committee obliged: The Republican majority called in a bunch of
oilmen for a hearing dedicated largely to blaming President Obama
for gas prices. Posted. 

Just a little breeze of brightness but we'll take it. A couple of
updates from the good news (sort of) department. Harris Ranch and
the California Air Resources Board (CARB) have reached an
agreement on the now infamous seven trucks that were torched by
criminals two months ago.. The agreement still calls for Harris
to buy seven old, pollution belching trucks in order to get grant
money to replace the trucks that were burned up. But the beef
company won't have to actually operate the beater trucks.
Sigh. I shall pause for the head-shaking to settle. Posted.

Cap and Trade Plan Touches Third Rail.  In California, an odd
team has hatched a plan. This most unlikely duo will create a
polluter’s auction to siphon off $1 billion from state businesses
to start construction on one of the state’s most mismanaged
projects: high-speed rail.  The California Air Resources Board
(CARB) has authority under California’s landmark 2006 climate
law, Assembly Bill 32, to implement a “cap and trade” system to
reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  Posted. 

GREEN GAZETTE: Long Beach Transit Looks For More Riders, Cuts
Down Pollution. There are an average of 76,344
environmentally-friendly acts occurring every day in Long Beach. 
And those are only the people who are boarding a Long Beach
Tranit bus.     Long Beach Transit is the publicly-owned
nonprofit agency that operates the city’s bus system, including
the downtown Passports, Dial-A-Lift service and the water taxis
and AquaLink boats that ply the city’s coast. Posted.


If Cutting Carbon Emissions Isn’t Working, What’s Next? What if
it is too late to save the climate by cutting greenhouse gas
emissions? What if the amount of carbon dioxide already added to
the atmosphere by human activity is so great that it is going to
produce big temperature changes no matter what, with big shifts
in rainfall and in ocean chemistry? Options remain, according to
a new book, “Suck It Up,” by Marc Gunther, a journalist, blogger
and speaker who specializes in energy and climate issues. Posted.

Obama's EV-Everywhere plan sets 2022 goals for U.S.-made electric
vehicles. President Barack Obama on Thursday outlined his
administration's EV Everywhere plan designed to cut gas-powered
vehicle use over the next decade. Speaking at a Daimler truck
plant in North Carolina, Obama set a 2022 goal of having the U.S.
produce a five-passenger electric vehicle that would provide both
a payback time – thanks to lower refueling costs – of less than
five years and an ability to be recharged quickly enough to
provide enough range for the typical American driver. Posted. 

Ford Focus Electric qualifies for HOV lane access, extra $2,500
off. Following in the footsteps of the Chevrolet Volt and the
Honda Civic Natural Gas, the 105-MPGe 2012 Ford Focus Electric
has been granted HOV lane access in California by the California
Air Resources Board (CARB). CARB not only gave the upcoming
all-electric vehicle the ability to let people drive alone in the
"high occupancy" vehicle lane but also qualified it to get an
extra $2,500 off through the state's Clean Vehicle Rebate Program
(CVRP). Posted. 

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