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newsclips -- Newsclips for March 21, 2012

Posted: 21 Mar 2012 12:39:22
California Air Resources Board News Clips for March 21, 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.

Study: 'Fracking' may increase air pollution health risks.  Air
pollution caused by hydraulic fracturing, a controversial oil and
gas drilling method, may contribute to “acute and chronic health
problems for those living near natural gas drilling sites,”
according to a new study from the Colorado School of Public
Health.  The study, based on three years of monitoring at
Colorado sites, found a number of “potentially toxic petroleum
hydrocarbons in the air near the wells including benzene,
ethylbenzene, toluene and xylene.”  The Environmental Protection
Agency has identified benzene as a known carcinogen.  Posted. 


Officials: Pittsburgh air quality improving.  Allegheny County
officials say local air quality is better than it's been for over
100 years.  A release issued Tuesday says air quality improved at
every monitoring site in the county in 2011, and is now in
compliance with levels for fine particulate matter, which can
cause asthma and other health problems.  Jim Thompson, an Air
Quality Program Manager, says the improvements are due to recent
pollution controls put in at nearby and out-of-state industrial
plants.  Posted. 

Controversial strawberry pesticide pulled from US. A
controversial strawberry pesticide is being pulled from the U.S.
market by its Tokyo manufacturer. Arysta LifeScience Inc.
announced late Tuesday that it's immediately suspending the sale
of all formulations of the fumigant Midas, or methyl iodide. It
says the decision is based on its economic viability in the
United States. The fumigant is used by growers of strawberries,
tomatoes, peppers and other crops.  Methyl iodide was seen as a
replacement for another fumigant, methyl bromide, which is being
phased out under international treaty because it depletes the
Earth's ozone. Posted. 


March 30 deadline approaching for CARB on-road registry.  Truck
owners whose trucks drive in California are up against a pressing
deadline if they want more compliance time for CARB’s most
expensive truck rule.  The Truck and Bus Rule registry is a
database used by the California Air Resources Board to keep track
of the hundreds of thousands of commercial vehicles that operate
in California annually. The Truck and Bus Rule, also known as the
“Retrofit Rule,” will require trucking fleets to either install
diesel particulate filters or upgrade their trucks.  Posted. 


As natural gas production grows, questions arise about methane
leaks.  As natural gas production in the United States hits an
all-time high, a major unanswered question looms: What does
growing hydraulic fracturing mean for climate change?  The Obama
administration lists natural gas as one of the "clean energy
sources" it wants to expand. When burned, natural gas emits about
half the heat-trapping carbon dioxide as coal. Yet natural gas
production can result in releases of methane into the atmosphere.
 Methane, the primary component of natural gas, is 25 times more
potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.  Posted. 


Obama's day: Heading west over gas prices. Good morning from The
Oval, on a day when President Obama turns his attention to what
may be his biggest current political problem: Gas prices. Obama
starts a two-day, four-state trip designed to promote his
"all-of-the-above" energy strategy, as reported by USA TODAY's
Aamer Madhani, The president plans to promote production of a
variety of energy sources to help stabilize prices at the pump.

Biofuels get a bounce. Community Fuels' biodiesel plant at the
Port of Stockton served as the centerpiece Tuesday for U.S.
Department of Agricultural officials highlighting gains in rural
and farm-related energy projects under the 2008 Farm Bill. "We
wanted to bring some attention to this particular program,
because everything about it is just phenomenal," said Phil Brown,
energy coordinator for the USDA's Rural Development office in
California. Posted.

7 states join opposition to Calif. low-carbon fuel rule. Seven
Midwestern states are joining ethanol and petroleum producers in
opposing enforcement of California's low-carbon fuel standard.
Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning (R) filed a brief March 12
in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals against California's
request to continue enforcing its regulation. It was co-signed by
the attorneys general of Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, North
Dakota and South Dakota. Posted. 


Electric vehicles: Higher gas prices won't charge sales.  Will
higher gas prices help lift sales of electric vehicles?  Lacey
Plache, the chief economist for Edmunds.com, says the hurdles are
still too high for widespread adoption of electric vehicles.  In
an analysis for automotive research firm R.L. Polk & Co., Plache
notes that one problem is that there still isn’t a lot of choice
when it comes to electrics and plug-in hybrids.  While at least
nine electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles are expected to become
available in 2012, only the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt are
widely available.  Posted. 

Nissan bringing back the Datsun. Nissan is bringing back the
Datsun three decades after shelving the brand that helped build
its U.S. business. This time, Nissan hopes the name synonymous
with affordable and reliable small cars will power its growth in
emerging markets. Nissan Motor Co. Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn
made the announcement Tuesday while in Indonesia, one of three
markets, besides India and Russia, where the Datsun will go on
sale in 2014. Posted. 

Nissan not planning Datsun for developed markets. Nissan's
revival of the Datsun won't include developed markets, Chief
Executive Carlos Ghosn said Wednesday, outlining a strategy to
target the revamped brand at emerging nations where the biggest
growth is expected for affordable stylish vehicles. The offerings
will be tailored for each market, including price and engine
size, targeting the burgeoning market of first-time car buyers in
countries such as India, Indonesia and Russia, where Datsun will
be introduced from 2014, he said. Posted. 

DOE to award up to $10M to promote zero emission cargo transport
(ZECT) vehicles.  Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced up to $10
million is available (DE-FOA-0000669) this year to demonstrate
and deploy electric transportation technologies for cargo
vehicles, such as trucks, locomotives and forklifts.  DOE is
seeking applicants for this funding to demonstrate cost-effective
zero emission cargo transport (ZECT) systems and collect detailed
performance and cost data to analyze the benefits and viability
of this approach to freight transportation. The funding
opportunity announcement (FOA) is focused on accelerating the
introduction and penetration of ZECT technologies.  Posted. 


A Measured Rebuttal to China Over Solar Panels. The Commerce
Department said on Tuesday that it would impose tariffs on solar
panels imported from China after concluding that the Chinese
government provided illegal export subsidies to manufacturers
there. The tariffs were smaller, at 2.9 to 4.73 percent, than
some American industry executives had expected. At that size,
their effect on the market could be limited. But additional
tariffs could be imposed in May, when the Commerce Department is
scheduled to decide whether China is “dumping” solar panels into
the United States at prices below their actual cost. A finding of
dumping would result in additional tariffs that could be far
larger than these. Posted. 

U.S. to impose tariffs on solar panels from China.  Ratcheting up
the battle over a vital energy industry, the U.S. Commerce
Department decided to impose tariffs on solar panels imported
from China after concluding that manufacturers there received
illegal government subsidies.  The Commerce Department, in its
preliminary finding over illegal subsidies, said solar panels
imported from China — now dominating the U.S. market — would face
a duty of 2.9% to 4.73%.  Posted. 




NYC has solar, wind power plans for old dump site. A New York
City site once known for the size of its garbage heaps would be
home to alternative energy sources that could generate 20
megawatts of renewable power, now that the city is soliciting
bids to build and operate a wind farm and solar power plant
there. City officials put out a request for proposals on Tuesday
to build solar and wind power facilities at Staten Island's Fresh
Kills landfill. With 75 acres available for lease, city officials
say the project at the closed landfill could generate enough
energy to power 6,000 homes and would double the city's renewable
energy capacity. Posted. 

Can the tensions between trade policy and the emerging 'green'
economy be resolved? As governments and consumers begin to
grapple with the costs of carbon emissions and tightening
resource margins, markets all over the world are moving toward
cleaner, more sustainable business models. As they do, the webs
of international trade laws that connect the world's markets are
evolving, as well. Managed correctly, these laws could play a
prominent role in encouraging green growth and fostering new
innovation, according to a panel of experts hosted by the
Brookings Institution yesterday. Posted. 


New York Maps Viable Offshore Wind Power. A new study mapping out
habitats in and around the waters off New York was released on
Tuesday, bringing the state a step closer to determining the
potential for wind energy projects offshore. The study is the
product of a two-year joint effort by New York’s Department of
State and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to
identify critical bird and fish habitats to ensure that they are
not harmed by future wind farms. Posted. 

P.Wm. climate change case takes center stage.  Now that Attorney
General Ken Cuccinelli’s investigation into climate research has
been tossed out of court, a similar case in Prince William County
targeting the same ex-University of Virginia scientist moves into
the spotlight. And this case, seeking some 12,000 emails sent and
received by scientist Michael E. Mann, using the Freedom of
Information Act, appears to have a far greater chance of success.
 That’s because U.Va. apparently has already given the 12,000
e-mails to Mann himself, though he left Charlottesville years
ago. The American Tradition Institute, the conservative group
hoping to show that climate change scientists like Mann
manipulated their data, argues that U.Va. can’t give the e-mails
to one person and not another. By giving the emails to Mann, the
university has waived any exemptions they’re claiming to the
state Freedom of Information Act, ATI says.  Posted. 

Who benefits from a solar trade war with China?  U.S. solar-panel
makers have long complained that their Chinese rivals are
unfairly subsidized by the government. On Tuesday, the Commerce
Department said it would impose modest tariffs on Chinese solar
cells. Further penalties could be on the way. So who benefits
from a solar trade war?  It’s a mixed bag, really. There’s little
question that some U.S. manufacturers like SolarWorld have been
trampled by China’s rhino-style charge into the world solar
market.  Posted. 

Class-action settlement over Honda Civic Hybrid mileage claims
approved.  A class-action lawsuit between American Honda Motor
Co. and plaintiffs who claimed the Japanese automaker overstated
fuel-economy figures on Honda Civic Hybrids has been approved by
a San Diego Superior Court Judge. According to the San Diego
Union-Tribune, the lawsuit involves about 460,000 people who
either owned or leased 2003 to 2009 Civic Hybrids. The settlement
grants the plaintiffs $100 in cash and a credit towards a new
Honda of between $500 and $1,000. Honda may end up paying out
more than $460 million, including legal fees of more than $8.1
million, the newspaper said. Posted. 

Indonesia: From fuel subsidies to electric cars?  As the
Indonesian government rolls out its plans for cutting fuel
subsidies for private cars and the demand for vehicles is set to
rise steeply, the Minister of State-Owned Enterprises, Dahlan
Iskan sees electric vehicles (EVs) as one of the best solutions
to problems associated with increasing fuel prices.  “Let’s have
a war against fuel,” said Dahlan Iskan, Indonesian Minister of
State-Owned Enterprises during his talk to an audience of around
500 students of the Bandung Institute of Technology in Indonesia.
“There are no alternatives, [the increasing prices] are
inevitable,” he added.  Posted. 

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