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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for March 16, 2012

Posted: 16 Mar 2012 15:31:34
ARB Newsclips for March 16, 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.


COACHELLA: Truck stop settles county, state environmental claims.
Owners of a Coachella truck stop agreed to pay $1.2 million to
settle a lawsuit by Riverside County and the state over
environmental violations, Attorney General Kamala D. Harris and
Riverside District Attorney Paul Zellerbach announced Thursday.
TravelCenters, an Ohio-based company with 10 locations in
California, was sued in 2007 by then-District Attorney Rod
Pacheco regarding a number of violations stemming from improper
storage and oversight of fuel at the Coachella truck stop. The
state joined the lawsuit the following year. Posted. 

DEP says Pa. plant's pollution upgrades likely OK. State
Department of Environmental Protection officials say they'll
likely issue a permit for pollution control equipment that will
keep a western Pennsylvania power plant operating—and 265 workers
employed. The Tribune-Democrat of Johnstown (
http://bit.ly/xMPqkD) says DEP officials announced those plans at
a meeting Wednesday at a school auditorium near the Homer City
Generating Station, the state's second-largest coal-fired power
plant. Posted. 


O.E.C.D. Warns of Ever-Higher Greenhouse Gas Emissions. Global
greenhouse gas emissions could rise 50 percent by 2050 without
more ambitious climate policies, as fossil fuels continue to
dominate the energy mix, the Organization for Economic
Cooperation and Development said Thursday. “Unless the global
energy mix changes, fossil fuels will supply about 85 percent of
energy demand in 2050, implying a 50 percent increase in
greenhouse gas emissions and worsening urban air pollution,” the
Paris-based O.E.C.D. said in its environment outlook to 2050.

Cap and trade programs do not provide sufficient incentives for
innovation: research. Cap and trade programs to reduce emissions
do not inherently provide incentives to induce the private sector
to develop innovative technologies to address climate change,
according to a new study in the journal Proceedings of the
National Academy of Sciences. In fact, said author Margaret
Taylor, a researcher at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
(Berkeley Lab) who conducted the study while an assistant
professor at the University of California, Posted.


EPA regs could hamper oil, natural gas production, report says.
Despite rhetoric to the contrary, the Obama administration is
poised to deal a major blow to U.S. oil and natural gas, a
leading industry group charged Thursday. Domestic production of
both fuels could plummet if proposed Environmental Protection
Agency regulations, designed to limit emissions from well sites,
go into effect later this year, according to an extensive new
study commissioned by the American Petroleum Institute. Posted. 

Energy, Pain At The Pump. When the President and Prime Minister
of Great Britain announced the releasing of strategic oil
reserves for this coming summer brings to light the blatant
disregard that the oil industry and our own government has for
the general public. Ever since the mid 1970's the United States
has had numerous opportunities to develop, manufacture and
produce affordable automobiles using alternate fuel sources.
Hydrogen fuel cells and natural gas are just a few alternatives
that could have been incorporated into auto manufacturing…Posted.


San Diego judge tentatively OKs Honda settlement over hybrid
vehicles’ fuel economy claims. A judge tentatively approved a
settlement to give owners of Honda Civic hybrids up to $200 cash
over claims that the cars’ fuel economy was inflated, casting
aside arguments that a motorist’s victory in small claims court
entitled them to a larger award. Superior Court Judge Timothy
Taylor said the essence of a settlement is compromise. “No doubt
plaintiffs would have loved to have gotten more;…Posted.
Judge to weigh Honda settlement over gas mileage. A Southern
California woman who challenged the legal status quo with a
victory in small claims court against Honda Motor Co. will be
back in court before another judge to address the automaker's
inflated claims about fuel economy in its Civic hybrids. This
time, Heather Peters wants to derail a class-action settlement
between the Japanese company and owners of about 200,000 of its
cars, spanning from model years 2003 to 2009. Posted. 

Mexico agrees to cap auto exports to Brazil. Mexico has agreed to
cap auto exports to Brazil at $1.45 billion per year to avoid a
Brazilian threat to slap import tariffs on Mexican cars. The
moves comes after weeks of talks that reflected Brazil's concern
over a spike in auto imports in 2011.Mexican Economy Secretary
Bruno Ferrari said Thursday his country is satisfied with the
deal, even though it represents a cut from the $2 billion in
light vehicles Mexico exported to Brazil in 2011. Posted. 

LaSorda: Fisker Karma shut down to protect itself during
magazine's test. Fisker Automotive's new CEO said a Karma luxury
sedan owned by Consumer Reports shut itself down during testing
to protect itself. "The Karma performed exactly as it was
designed to," Tom LaSorda said in a letter sent to customers.
"The onboard diagnostics detected a fault and entered a
protection mode that shut the car down to protect other
components. We are sorry for the inconvenience this caused the
customer." Posted. 


Obama Defends Energy Policy, Hitting Back at Presidential
Candidates.  In what has become a weekly ritual, President Obama
on Thursday defended his administration’s energy policy, in the
face of relentlessly rising gasoline prices, to an American
public that believes he can do more to ease the pain at the pump.
Mr. Obama cycled through now-familiar themes, promoting his
record of increased domestic oil and gas production; stricter
fuel-efficiency standards for cars and trucks; and investments in
alternative sources of energy, like biofuels, wind and solar
power. Posted. 


First big piece of 'Electric Highway' gets juice. Central Point,
Ore. -- Electric car owners riding along Oregon's Interstate 5
don't have to worry about running out of juice on the open road.
The first major stretch of what's been dubbed an "Electric
Highway" on the West Coast from Canada to Mexico went operational
Friday with the opening of a series of fast-charging stations
along 160 miles of the interstate. The eight stations stretch
from the California border north to the Oregon city of Cottage
Grove and are located at gas stations, restaurants and motels
just off I-5, the nation's second-busiest interstate. One station
is at an inn that was once a stage coach stop. Posted.

Officials take second swing at grant money for highway project.
Four months after losing out on key federal grant money for
widening the Highway 101/Highway 23 interchange, officials from
Ventura County are trying again. Thousand Oaks and county
transportation officials plan to submit a grant application for
$19.5 million by the end of the week, said Jay Spurgin, Thousand
Oaks' public works director. Spurgin traveled with others from
the city and the Ventura County Transportation Commission to
Washington, D.C., last week. Posted. 

It's Time to Reconsider Energy Subsidies. Our country is in the
midst of a great debate on how to reduce our national debt. This
is an important discussion for all of us to have. As part of this
conversation, we should carefully examine the subsidies for
different forms of energy production -- fossil fuels and
renewables. All of us understand that the subsidy game can be a
slippery slope, and it is important to set clear standards for
when subsidies make sense and when they do not. As a rule, there
are three things we should consider before putting subsidies in
place: Posted.


What’s going to kill us in 2050? Air pollution — and lots of it.
Air pollution tends to get wildly underrated as a public health
concern. Everyone knows malaria is deadly. Or that access to
clean water is a problem. And yet, in the next few decades, air
pollution will kill far more people than both of those things
combined, according to a new report. On Wednesday, the OECD
released its “Environmental Outlook to 2050,” which contained a
few spots of cheery news. Posted. 

Study finds that environmental impact of corn-ethanol E85 is 23%
to 33% higher than that of gasoline; environmental
problem-shifting. When 12 different environmental impacts and the
regional differences among 19-corn growing states are taken into
consideration, E85 (85% ethanol, 15% gasoline) blends made with
corn ethanol from dry mills show a worse total environmental
impact than gasoline, according to a new study by a team from the
Universities of Minnesota, Troyes (France), and California, Santa
Barbara. In a paper published in the ACS journal Environmental
Science & Technology …Posted. 

AAA adds plug-in vehicle charging stations to TripTik map
services. AAA is getting ready for the EV era. After announcing
roadside charging assistance for electric vehicles last summer,
the company announced today that it is going to add charging
station locations to its TripTik services, either online or with
an app. It's all part of the brand's history of helping drivers,
as the press release helpfully points out. 100 years ago, AAA
made sure to note where the gas stations were on customer maps.

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