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newsclips -- Newsclips for April 11, 2012 Posted: 11 Apr 2012 11:53:08
California Air Resources Board News Clips for April 11, 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 Owner pleads not guilty to Sierra mine charges. The co-owner of a gold mine in the Sierra foothills pleaded not guilty Tuesday to operating the mine illegally and causing environmental damage. Joseph Hardesty entered the plea during his arraignment, said El Dorado County Deputy District Attorney Mike Pizzuti. Hardesty, 55, is charged with grading the Gold Rush-era mine near Placerville, which is about 45 miles east of Sacramento. He also is charged with operating heavy equipment without permits, causing air pollution and allowing hazardous fluids to reach a nearby creek. Posted. http://www.vcstar.com/news/2012/apr/10/owner-pleads-not-guilty-to-sierra-mine-charges/ http://www.nctimes.com/news/national/owner-pleads-not-guilty-to-sierra-mine-charges/article_32e45b3f-7c61-531d-80b4-1abec8d6f1d6.html http://www.modbee.com/2012/04/10/2152148/owner-pleads-not-guilty-to-sierra.html CLIMATE CHANGE Tennessee enacts evolution, climate change law. Tennessee enacted a law Tuesday that critics contend allows public school teachers to challenge climate change and evolution in their classrooms without fear of sanction. Republican Gov. Bill Haslam allowed the controversial measure to become law without his signature and, in a statement, expressed misgivings about it. Nevertheless, he ignored pleas from educators, parents and civil libertarians to veto the bill. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-tennessee-climate-law-20120411,0,665705.story 110 in the Shade. Q. Will climate change affect the incidence of diseases and medical conditions? A. Health experts say that global warming is already causing more deaths in many regions of the world. There is increasing evidence of lives being lost both directly, to causes like heart and respiratory ills, and indirectly, as the animal vectors of disease spread to newly warmer areas, according to a review article in the journal Nature in 2005. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/10/science/is-climate-change-resulting-in-higher-rates-of-illness.html?scp=2&sq=climate%20change&st=cse FUELS Out of Africa (and Elsewhere): More Fossil Fuels. THE world’s largest energy companies have big plans for Mozambique. Until recently, the East African country was better known for its long civil war, and had few energy resources compared with regional heavy-hitters like Nigeria and Angola. But in the last 10 years, companies like Exxon Mobil, the BG Group of Britain and Eni of Italy have used the latest technologies, including advances in deep-sea drilling, to find new natural gas resources that are turning Mozambique into the center of an energy boom. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/11/business/energy-environment/quest-for-new-fossil-fuels-goes-to-africa-and-beyond.html?scp=4&sq=green%20energy&st=cse VEHICLES March new-car purchases set new record for average mpg, study says. The average fuel economy for new vehicles purchased in the United States rose to a record 24.1 mpg in March, from 23.9 the previous month, 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 each month since October 2007, when average fuel economy was 20.1 mpg. Posted. http://www.autonews.com/article/20120410/RETAIL01/120419996#ixzz1rktzpKb5 Electric vehicle charging station agreement raises hackles. A proposed $100 million settlement with the California Public Utilities Commission that requires NRG Energy to build a network of electric vehicle charging stations has caused an uproar within the electric vehicle community over concerns that NRG will become the default provider of charging stations throughout the state. In late March, California Gov. Jerry Brown announced a landmark agreement, which is part of a legal settlement stemming from the state's energy crisis in 2001. NRG will invest $100 million of its money to build a network of electric vehicle charging stations, mainly in the Bay Area, Los Angeles and San Diego. Posted. http://business-news.thestreet.com/mercury-news/story/electric-vehicle-charging-station-agreement-raises-hackles/1 http://www.insidebayarea.com/ci_20366926/electric-vehicle-charging-station-agreement-raises-hackles?IADID=Search-www.insidebayarea.com-www.insidebayarea.com http://www.contracostatimes.com/ci_20366926/electric-vehicle-charging-station-agreement-raises-hackles?IADID=Search-www.contracostatimes.com-www.contracostatimes.com GREEN ENERGY Renewable Sources of Power Survive, but in a Patchwork. JUST a few years ago, the future of renewable energy looked as bright and shiny as a white turbine blade coming out of the mold. The federal government was handing out money under the stimulus package, states were approving clean energy mandates, young companies were racing ahead with promising new technologies and big global developers were planting stakes for ambitious, utility-scale projects. Now that picture has dimmed. The low price of natural gas has made renewable power less appealing to utilities and energy companies. The high price of gasoline — which has become an issue in the presidential campaign, as Republican candidates seek to use it against President Obama, has renewed calls to increase oil exploration and production at the expense of alternatives. State lawmakers are reconsidering requirements for utilities to buy green power. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/11/business/energy-environment/renewable-energy-advances-in-the-us-despite-obstacles.html?scp=2&sq=green%20energy&st=cse Meccas of Shopping Try Hand at Being Misers of Energy. FOR most people, talking about commercial air filters is a great way to end a conversation. To Charlie Brantl and Bob Devine, it is an invitation to an hourlong discussion. They are engineers, in charge of finding ways to conserve energy and reduce waste at the Mall of America south of Minneapolis, the country’s largest shopping and entertainment complex. And they talk excitedly about everything related to saving energy, including skylights, low-flush toilets and, yes, commercial air filters. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/11/business/energy-environment/retailers-seek-to-conserve-energy-to-cut-costs.html?scp=4&sq=air%20pollution&st=cse Army lab to develop energy-saving technology. A new Army laboratory will develop technology such as fuel cells and hybrid systems for combat vehicles as the Pentagon steps up its push for cleaner and more reliable energy, federal officials said Wednesday. The complex near Detroit was opening as the Obama administration prepared to announce a series of initiatives to create a greener U.S. military, which officials said is intended not to just benefit the environment but also to improve fighting capabilities. Posted. http://www.vcstar.com/news/2012/apr/11/army-lab-to-develop-energy-saving-technology/ http://www.modbee.com/2012/04/11/2152726/army-lab-to-develop-energy-saving.html http://www.insidebayarea.com/ci_20370634/army-lab-develop-energy-saving-technology?IADID=Search-www.insidebayarea.com-www.insidebayarea.com http://www.contracostatimes.com/ci_20370634/army-lab-develop-energy-saving-technology?IADID=Search-www.contracostatimes.com-www.contracostatimes.com Your new offshore energy source: floating algae farms. Forget offshore oil drilling. NASA’s working on a project that would generate clean, renewable offshore energy, by growing algae in floating plastic bags. These floating algae farms would take in wastewater from treatment plants. For algae, wastewater is like the nectar of the gods: the ammonia and phosphates act as a fertilizer. So the algae would float happily contained in the baggies, getting fat with lipid oil, and cleaning up the wastewater in the process. Eventually, the algae farmers would harvest the oil, recycle the plastic and start all over again. Posted. http://grist.org/list/your-new-offshore-energy-source-floating-algae-farms/ MISCELLANEOUS Sonoma County takes another step toward public power agency. The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to push forward toward formation of a countywide public power agency. The 4-0 vote marked the most significant move yet on the proposal, which has been under review since last year. At least an additional 18 months of work is envisioned before a final decision to launch the effort. Posted. http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/20120411/COMMUNITY/120419923 OPINION Pulling Back From the Exurbs. The view from a helicopter over the outer edges of Las Vegas in about 2004, at the height of the housing bubble, was of sprawl overtaking desert as fast as builders could throw up framing and lay on the stucco and roofing tiles. People were flooding in. The Clark County School District was hiring 2,000 teachers a year. Came the recession, and down went the boom. Las Vegas was the third-fastest-growing metro area in the country between 2000 and 2010. Between 2010 and 2011, it fell to 151st place. When the housing market collapsed, so did growth, particularly where growth had been fastest, in the outer suburbs, or exurbs. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/10/opinion/pulling-back-from-the-exurbs.html?scp=9&sq=fuels&st=cse The Other Arab Spring. ISN’T it interesting that the Arab awakening began in Tunisia with a fruit vendor who was harassed by police for not having a permit to sell food — just at the moment when world food prices hit record highs? And that it began in Syria with farmers in the southern village of Dara’a, who were demanding the right to buy and sell land near the border, without having to get permission from corrupt security officials? And that it was spurred on in Yemen — the first country in the world expected to run out of water — by a list of grievances against an incompetent government, among the biggest of which was that top officials were digging water wells in their own backyards at a time when the government was supposed to be preventing such water wildcatting? Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/08/opinion/sunday/friedman-the-other-arab-spring.html?ref=thomaslfriedman Cutting our contribution to warming. Based on computer models the Environmental Protection Agency ruled that atmospheric carbon dioxide is a pollutant that contributes to global warming. The most common source of the pollutant is carbon- based fuels. In addition, with every breath people, worldwide, add about another 10 percent to the 30 billion tons of carbon dioxide produced yearly by fossil fuels. An emissions control system such as cap-and-trade can be applied to control the currently untapped activities of people. For example, the more people exercise and breathe more air, the more carbon dioxide they emit. Therefore, exercise enthusiasts need to find ways to offset their extra emissions above an average baseline for normal activity. Posted. http://www.sbsun.com/ci_20367247/cutting-our-contribution-warming?IADID=Search-www.sbsun.com-www.sbsun.com#ixzz1rkegCeXH BLOGS In California, a Fast-Charging First. A Los Angeles-based firm claims to have installed California’s first public fast-charging station, which opened for business last week. The unit, which can recharge the battery pack of a Nissan Leaf in about 30 minutes, is located at the Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto, adjacent to Stanford University and about 30 miles south of San Francisco. Roughly 2,000 public charge stations dot the state, according to Obrie Hostetter, the regional director of 350Green, the firm that installed and manages the Palo Alto station. None of those, however, offered fast-charging capabilities on a self-serve basis. Posted. http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/04/10/in-california-a-fast-charging-first/?scp=5&sq=vehicles&st=cse Is Your Town California’s “Coolest?” We must’ve missed the opening ceremonies with the parade of flag-bearing competitors and giant torch-lighting — or maybe it was canceled to save energy. Either way, ten California cities are competing over the next year to reduce their carbon emissions. Individuals, local governments and businesses will all be involved in the project, called the Cool California Challenge. The Cool California website has a carbon calculator, tips on reducing your footprint and links to rebates. Plus there’s a social media element, so you can envy, goad or cooperate with your neighbors as you see fit. Posted. http://blogs.kqed.org/climatewatch/2012/04/10/is-your-town-californias-coolest/ Is Your State Prepared for Climate Change? A new report from the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) found that 29 states, almost 60 percent, are not prepared for water threats caused by climate change. Only six of the 36 states facing possible water supply challenges have comprehensive adaptation plans, and only 22 states have formally adopted or established greenhouse (GHG) emissions reduction targets or goals. The report, titled Ready or Not: An Evaluation of State Climate and Water Preparedness Planning categorizes all 50 states into one of four categories. Category 1 represents states that have the best and most prepared plans, while Category 4 includes the most unprepared states. California, the most populated state in the nation, is one of the nine most prepared states. California stands out even among the group of nine states in Category 1 with a comprehensive climate change preparedness plan, as an NRDC blog post points out. Posted. http://www.triplepundit.com/2012/04/california-prepared-state-when-comes-climate-change/