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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for March 28, 2012

Posted: 28 Mar 2012 11:53:11
ARB Newsclips for March 28, 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.


Texas wins latest round with EPA in federal court.  A federal
appeals court scolded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on
Tuesday for rejecting a series of state pollution control
projects in Texas that federal regulators said failed to satisfy
requirements of the Clean Air Act.  The ruling from the 5th U.S.
Circuit Court of Appeals stopped short of ordering the EPA to
accept the previously rejected Texas measures. Yet the
three-judge panel directed the agency to take another look at the
state's regulations and issue a quick decision.  Posted. 
Map shows the worst air in America.  The EPA is issuing new
regulations for emissions from power plants, and the American
Lung Association knows why. This map shows U.S. deaths caused by
toxic power plant emissions. If you live in a state with a big
red circle, you should be very glad about the new rule — Texas in
particular should be jumping for joy, if they can manage to stop
coughing for five minutes.  The new rule will only apply to new
power plants, so this is what the map of toxic emissions looks
like for the near future. Eventually we’ll also get laws
governing emissions from old coal plants, at which point maybe
we’ll see those circles shrink.  Posted. 


Mumbai, Miami on list for big weather disasters.  Global warming
is leading to such severe storms, droughts and heat waves that
nations should prepare for an unprecedented onslaught of deadly
and costly weather disasters, an international panel of climate
scientists says in a report issued Wednesday.  The greatest
danger from extreme weather is in highly populated, poor regions
of the world, the report warns, but no corner of the globe — from
Mumbai to Miami — is immune. The document by a Nobel
Prize-winning panel of climate scientists forecasts stronger
tropical cyclones and more frequent heat waves, deluges and
droughts.  Posted. 
AP Newsbreak:


Plan now for climate-related disasters: U.N. report. A future on
Earth of more extreme weather and rising seas will require better
planning for natural disasters to save lives and limit deepening
economic losses, the United Nations said on Wednesday in a major
report on the effects of climate change. The U.N. climate panel
said all nations will be vulnerable to the expected increase in
heat waves, more intense rains and floods and a probable rise in
the intensity of droughts. Posted.

Sprawling cities pressure environment, planning. Expanding cities
threaten to eat up a swath of land the size of France, Germany
and Spain combined in less than 20 years, putting the world under
even more environmental pressure, experts said at a climate
conference on Tuesday. Cities are growing to accommodate a rising
global population and as countries like China, India and Brazil
pursue fast economic growth. Posted.

U.S. Airlines Seek Action on EU Carbon Tax. The trade group
representing the largest U.S. airlines has called on the Obama
administration to take action against the European Union in a bid
to end the bloc's carbon-trading market. The Airlines for America
lobbying group dropped its own lawsuit against the EU and called
on the administration to bring a case through the International
Civil Aviation Organization, a branch of the United Nations.

Obama Power-Plant Rule Signals Demise of ‘Old King Coal’
President Barack Obama’s proposed emission rules for power plants
effectively prohibit new coal- fired power plants, buttressing
the nation’s shift away from a power source that fueled the
Industrial Revolution to cheap natural gas. Obama’s Environmental
Protection Agency proposed the first limits on greenhouse-gas
emissions from U.S. power plants yesterday, setting a standard
natural-gas facilities can meet. Posted.

California crudes to receive no favored status in state's new
carbon limits. As the California Low Carbon Fuel Standard heads
toward a possible legal resolution later this year, one of the
many changes from its earlier version is that crudes produced in
the state won't have the same sort of special status under the
new rules that they did in the regulation's formative years. That
is one of the key changes in amendments approved late last year,
according to various state and industry officials in California
interviewed recently by Platts. Posted.

EPA’s New Carbon Rule Doesn’t Do Much in CA. California enacted
similar limits to pollution from power plants in 2006. The EPA's
new rule limits carbon emissions from new power plants
nationwide. The US Environmental Protection Agency will, for the
first time, begin restricting greenhouse gas emissions from
fossil fuel-fired power plants. The EPA’s new standard limits how
many pounds of carbon can be emitted per megawatt-hour of
electricity generated. Posted.


Electric vehicles: It's about more than cars.  In the United
States, the phrase "electric vehicles" usually means cars like
the Nissan Leaf or Tesla's forthcoming Model S sedan.  But the
global market for electric vehicles includes not just cars but
also aircraft, bicycles, buses, taxis, industrial and commercial
vehicles, marine craft, golf carts and motorcycles.  The entire
spectrum of electric vehicles is being highlighted this week at
Electric Vehicles Land, Sea & Air, an industry conference that
opened Tuesday in San Jose and continues through Thursday. 

Infiniti has fast first hybrid.  Here's an intriguing fact: The
Infiniti M luxury sedan that's listed in the Guinness Book of
World Records for its acceleration prowess is the same M that has
the best fuel economy rating of the lineup.  It's because the
Guinness record holder is the new-for-2012 M35 Hybrid, which
pairs a gasoline V-6 to an electric motor and lithium ion battery
pack and manages the power through a seven-speed automatic
transmission. There's no continuously variable transmission (CVT)
here.  Posted.


Is a nontoxic home possible for children? Laura MacCleery was
four months pregnant when she parked herself on the couch and
started an inventory of the chemicals in her Alexandria, Va.,
town house. First, MacCleery, 40, a lawyer and women's health
advocate, collected 70 products in a pile: things such as makeup,
shampoo, detergents and sink cleaners. Posted.


COLUMN-EPA emission regulations shut door on coal: John Kemp.
Proposed emission rules for new power plants unveiled by the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on March 27 spell the
gradual demise of coal-fired power generation and entrench the
current cost advantage for natural gas. The agency's proposed
rule, signed yesterday, would set a standard well within the
capability of modern gas-fired plants but impossible for
coal-fired units to meet unless they employ (unproven) carbon
capture and storage (CCS) technology. Posted.

Elephants Down Under. I’ve learned three things visiting New
Zealand and Australia: There is a place in the world where rugby
is front-page news. There is a place in the world — the Auckland
airport — where the restrooms have digital clocks in the entryway
telling you hourly when they were last cleaned and when they will
be cleaned again. And there is a place in the world where
moderate Republicans still exist — unfortunately, you have to
take a 13-hour flight from Los Angeles to get there. Posted.

Editorial: Bumps in solar road obscure its success. What was once
touted as the world's biggest solar project – a $5 billion,
1,000-megawatt project in Blythe – has stalled. That follows the
demise of Fremont-based Solyndra, a solar-panel manufacturer that
filed for bankruptcy protection last year after securing a
half-billion dollars in federal loan guarantees. In addition, the
Sacramento Municipal Utility District spent $500,000 of ratepayer
funds and another $1.6 million more in federal and state grants
before it finally pulled the plug on a project to install solar
panels along Highway 50. Posted.

Stop and sniff the marigolds and brassica. Healthy communities
are essential for viable economies, not methyl iodide. On March
20, Arysta Life Science, the largest producer of pesticides and
fumigants in the world, announced that it would pull methyl
iodide (a.k.a. iodomethane, and MIDAS) from the U.S. market.
Sales of methyl iodide have not been good in the U.S., especially
in California. This is in part because of overwhelming public
concern about health and environmental safety. Posted.

Former Speaker Ignores his own Intent on CARB Fees. The reasoning
and intent behind a law is of upmost importance especially when
courts attempt to interpret legislative actions. Yet, the Air
Resources Board and even the bill’s author, Former Assembly
Speaker Fabian Nunez, are ignoring the clear intent of “fee”
revenue raised under the provisions of AB 32, the 2006 bill to
reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Posted.

Dirty Crude Spells Dirty Air in California.  California’s
long-running campaign to reduce air pollution has indirectly
helped create a new problem: its oil refineries now produce more
greenhouse gas emissions than refineries anywhere else in the
country.  On average, California refineries emit 19 to 33 percent
more greenhouse gases per barrel of crude oil when stacked up
against comparable gas-producing regions in the United States,
according to a recent study commissioned by the Union of
Concerned Scientists. Posted. 


Why does the EPA have such an odd way of regulating pollution?
One of the strangest aspects of the EPA’s newest rules on
carbon-dioxide emissions is that they only apply to future power
plants. Existing facilities — the ones that are actually
producing all the pollution — get to carry on as they were. That
seems perverse. So why does the EPA do things this way?
Regulating where the pollution isn’t (Susan Montoya Bryan/AP) As
it happens, this is how a lot of environmental regulation gets
done in the United States. Posted.

When the World Tackled an Environmental Threat, and Won.  In
1974, Dr. Sherwood Rowland, a young research scientist, warned
the world that chlorofluorocarbons, man-made chemicals found in
aerosol sprays and refrigerators, were damaging the earth’s ozone
layer. It took 13 years of bitter debate among governments,
business leaders, scientists and concerned citizens before the
world accepted his findings and moved to ban these chemicals
through an international treaty, the Montreal Protocol, in 1987. 

New Carbon Pollution Safeguards Will Protect Our Health, Our
Children's Future. Today, our nation is taking a historic step
for our health and our children's future. The Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) and the Obama administration have just
announced new carbon pollution safeguards that will protect clean
air and the planet, while also spurring innovation and creating
jobs in the clean energy economy. Posted.

Sacramento and SoCal: How to do sustainable communities right.
Last Thursday, the implementation of SB 375 hit another milestone
with the Air Resources Board's (ARB) review of two more
Sustainable Communities Strategies (SCS) -- from Southern
California and Sacramento. ARB members heard staff presentations
on the two plans, asked questions of the regional agency
directors, and heard stakeholder reactions. Posted.

Time to Tighten Up Oil & Gas Industry Methane Leaks to Curb
Global Warming. Everyone is talking about methane leaks; it’s
time to do something about them. OK, really it’s mostly only
policy wonks, but there is an important link to the weird weather
everyone really is talking about. Last week I posted on the
connection between heat-trapping pollution in our atmosphere and
the record-breaking warmth we’ve seen this spring. It turns out
that a significant amount of this global warming pollution is
methane that leaks from oil and gas industry operations. Posted.

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