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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for April 19, 2012. Posted: 19 Apr 2012 13:49:00
ARB Newsclips for April 19, 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. HIGH-SPEED RAIL California lawmakers scrutinize rail plan. A day after a highly critical report on a $68.4 billion high-speed rail proposal in California, Democrats who control the Legislature said they remained committed to the project while the chairman of the authority that would oversee construction said it's still a risk worth taking. On Wednesday, lawmakers began evaluating the latest proposal from the California High-Speed Rail Authority in Senate and Assembly hearings. Posted. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/47099994 California lawmakers in no rush on high-speed rail bonds. California lawmakers said on Wednesday they won't rush a decision on whether to approve a bond sale to begin building a high-speed rail system, adding they could sideline the issue until after they conclude state budget talks. The Democrat-led Legislature faces a mid-June deadline to approve a budget for the fiscal year beginning in July while Governor Jerry Brown has urged lawmakers to give the nod to a bond sale for the planned rail system quickly. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/04/18/economy-california-high-speed-rail-idUSL2E8FIL2Z20120418 Uncertainty is part of transportation funding, California high-speed rail chief says. California High-Speed Rail Authority Chairman Dan Richard defended his $68 billion program Wednesday by noting that major transportation projects often face the financial uncertainty for which the rail program faces criticism. In two Capitol hearings, Richard urged lawmakers to approve $2.6 billion in state bond funds along with $3.3 billion in federal money to start construction in the Central Valley this year. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2012/04/19/4425279/uncertainty-is-part-of-transportation.html Correction: High-Speed Rail story. Sacramento, Calif.—In a story April 17 about California's high-speed rail proposal, The Associated Press reported erroneously that a 520-mile system would link San Francisco and Burbank. The 520-mile segment would link San Francisco and Anaheim. Posted. http://www.mercurynews.com/news/ci_20428002/correction-high-speed-rail-story AIR POLLUTION And the lasers' red lights lit up holiday nights. Air group, citing pollution, seeks fireworks substitute. There could be no rockets' red glare, nor bombs bursting in air, in some San Joaquin Valley communities if air-quality officials approve a plan today to reduce dramatic spikes in pollution each Fourth of July. The regulators want to offer up a quarter of a million dollars this summer to encourage communities to switch from fireworks displays to high-tech, zero-emission laser shows. Posted. http://www.recordnet.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20120419/A_NEWS/204190325&cid=sitesearch CLIMATE CHANGE Locus Verifiers Accredited Under New California GHG Reporting Rule. Locus Technologies (Locus), the industry leader in web-based environmental compliance and information management software, has been accredited by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to provide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions verification services. Locus is one of a select few companies to obtain this accreditation. Locus has provided verification services since 2010 for dozens of reporting entities. Recent amendments to the CARB regulation have prompted the regulators to retest and recertify all verifiers to ensure thorough understanding of the new regulations. Posted. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/47097907 Do Emissions Cause Tornadoes? Climate Service Would Know. Last weekend, more than 100 tornadoes tore across the Plains states, smashing homes, tossing cars and killing six people. This might have counted as a rousing start to the spring tornado season, except for the dozen or more twisters that struck Dallas and Fort Worth earlier this month and the 223 that hit the U.S. in March -- almost three times the average for that month since 1990. Tornadoes have been blamed for 63 deaths this year in the Midwest and South. Posted. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-04-18/do-emissions-cause-tornadoes-climate-service-would-know.html U.S. Caps Emissions in Drilling for Fuel. Washington — Oil and gas companies will have to capture toxic and climate-altering gases from wells, storage sites and pipelines under new air quality standards issued on Wednesday by the Environmental Protection Agency. The rule is the first federal effort to address serious air pollution associated with the natural gas drilling process known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, which releases toxic and cancer-causing chemicals like benzene and hexane, as well as methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/19/science/earth/epa-caps-emissions-at-gas-and-oil-wells.html?_r=1 California leads green tech funding, reduces greenhouse emissions. California has had remarkable success in extending its national lead in clean technology, using it to help fuel the state’s economic rebound and drive its effort to cut greenhouse gas emissions, even as its population continues to grow. Those are some of the findings of the 2012 California Green Innovation Index, released by the nonpartisan nonprofit group Next 10 and compiled by Collaborative Economics. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/business/money/la-fi-mo-green-tech-funding-20120419,0,6332921.story FUELS Solar Will Dominate Clean-Energy Mergers, Jefferies Says. Solar manufacturers will lead consolidation in the clean-energy sector this year because of overcapacity and declining government incentives, according to a survey conducted by Jefferies Group Inc. (JEF) Mergers and acquisitions of solar companies will top those of wind-turbine makers, biofuels, energy-storage and smart-grid companies, according to 71 percent of respondents in a survey of about 90 investors the investment bank conducted at its conference in New York on Feb. 23. “Solar needs to be rationalized,” Amy Smith, co-head of cleantech investment banking at Jefferies in San Francisco, said yesterday in an interview. “It’s become somewhat of a commodity industry.” Posted. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-04-19/solar-will-dominate-clean-energy-mergers-jefferies-says.html New EPA rules target pollution at fracking sites. Environmentalists applaud the new rules but are disappointed that natural gas producers were given three years to install methane-capturing technology. The industry says the regulations are onerous. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued regulations that for the first time will curtail air pollution from natural gas wells that use a controversial production technique known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-epa-drilling-20120419,0,3783768.story http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/04/19/MNG41O5DN6.DTL&type=green http://www.sacbee.com/2012/04/19/4425229/epa-rules-target-air-pollution.html VEHICLES Fuel-efficiency records raise questions. The Obama administration focused on winning support of Detroit's Big Three automakers to double fuel-efficiency standards by 2025 before it sought approval of foreign automakers, new documents show. Emails obtained by The Detroit News also show federal regulators wanted to complete fuel-efficiency talks by June 30 — a month earlier than the actual deal — and that senior White House aide Ron Bloom directly conferred with Ford Motor Co. CEO Alan Mulally during last summer's talks. Posted. http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20120419/AUTO01/204190355/1148/AUTO01/Fuel-efficiency-records-raise-questions Electric vehicles are the cheapest of all alternative fuels. Although the authors hesitate to declare any alternative fuel the cheapest option, the chart below clearly shows the “BEV-100″ (Battery-Electric with 100-mile range, i.e. the Nissan Leaf) to be the least expensive option even at high electricity prices ($0.14/kWh, €0,107/kWh) and low gas prices ($3,5/gallon, €0,70/L). However, the Leaf only has a clear lead when the $7500 (€5710) tax credit is taken into account. Posted. http://beta.cars21.com/news/view/4569 GREEN ENERGY California May Credit Big Hydro Power to Green Energy Goal. California, the second-largest U.S. hydroelectric producer, would count large water projects toward its goal of having renewable resources supply a third of its power under a bill approved by an Assembly committee. The measure would remove a limitation that now counts only smaller hydropower projects, capable of producing 30 megawatts or less, to qualify toward California’s renewable portfolio standard. The biggest U.S. state by population, which consumed 8.5 percent of the nation’s energy in 2009…Posted. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-04-17/california-may-credit-big-hydro-power-to-green-energy-goal-1-.html India Struggles to Deliver Enough Electricity for Growth. India has long struggled to provide enough electricity to light its homes and power its industry around the clock. In recent years, the government and private sector sought to change that by building scores of new power plants. But that campaign is now running into difficulties because the country cannot get enough fuel — principally coal — to run the plants. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/20/business/global/india-struggles-to-deliver-enough-electricity-for-growth.html?ref=business# Study touts California's clean-tech industry. California's clean-technology industry is growing and supporting economic recovery in the state, according to a report released today by Next 10, a San Francisco nonprofit that promotes growth of California's clean economy. Published for the fourth time since 2008 by Next 10 and compiled by Collaborative Economics Inc. in San Mateo, the 2012 California Green Innovation Index measures various economic and environmental factors, including clean-tech venture capital investment levels, clean-tech patent activity, energy productivity and renewable energy-generation levels. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2012/04/19/4425173/study-touts-californias-clean.html California clean-tech industry a VC darling. Despite Solyndra's spectacular collapse, a report issued Tuesday suggests that California's clean-tech industry continues to thrive, soaking up more venture capital in 2011 than it did before the recession. The annual California Green Innovation Index from public policy group Next 10 tracks the green economy's health, pulling together data on employment, patents and the rising use of renewable power. It tries to show real-world benefits of the state's global warming policies, which have helped make California a magnet for green businesses. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/04/18/BUS51O57OE.DTL Bay Area workers get training for green jobs, and placement. SolarTech, an initiative of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, has partnered with NOVA, a local job training organization, on a pioneering program that trains people for highly sought after "green jobs" in the region's fast-growing solar and energy efficiency industries. Called the SolarTech Workforce Innovations Collaborative, or SWIC, the program goes a step beyond many other job training programs. Posted. http://www.contracostatimes.com/ci_20427734/local-workers-get-training-green-jobs-and-placement?IADID=Search-www.contracostatimes.com-www.contracostatimes.com http://www.insidebayarea.com/ci_20427734/local-workers-get-training-green-jobs-and-placement?IADID=Search-www.insidebayarea.com-www.insidebayarea.com MISCELLANEOUS Bunge Seeks CO2 Credits for California, China After Drop. Bunge Ltd. (BG) is seeking to buy carbon credits for new markets from California to China after prices plunged to a record and it bought London-based Climate Change Capital Ltd. “We don’t think environmental markets are going away,” Alfred Evans, chief executive officer of Climate Change Capital, said on April 16 in a phone interview from Geneva. Bunge, the food and agriculture company, is betting there will still be markets for credits in some North American states and Australia, even in the absence of a global market, Evans said. Posted. http://webfarm.bloomberg.com/news/2012-04-18/bunge-seeks-co2-credits-for-california-china-after-price-drop.html South Lake Tahoe controlled burns sending smoke over the region. U.S. Forest Service crews are conducting prescribed fires in South Lake Tahoe. The controlled burns began Monday and are expected to continue through Friday in the Andria Drive area of Kingsbury Grade. Residents and visitors can expect to see smoke from the fires, said Lisa Herron, public affairs specialist for the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2012/04/19/4425641/south-lake-tahoe-controlled-burns.html OPINIONS Speculators and the Gas Pump. No matter what Mitt Romney and other Republicans say, there are no easy fixes for rising gas prices. With the national average price hovering near $4 a gallon, Americans are understandably concerned, and President Obama was right to call for more scrutiny of the oil markets. Mr. Obama made clear that not even the president of the United States can repeal the law of supply and demand. But what federal officials can do is ensure that market manipulation and speculation do not drive gas prices higher than is warranted by economic fundamentals. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/19/opinion/speculators-and-the-gas-pump.html?ref=opinion&pagewanted=print On this 42nd Earth Day, it's still not easy being green. If only being green were always black and white. Instead it's often way too gray in the glut of opinions and advertising claims. And it's even more murky when products or actions proven beneficial to our dear Mother Earth present potential side effects themselves -- unintended consequences of our growing green goals. Biodegradable trash bags? Sounds great, but if they're made from corn which is an overproduced crop, is that OK? Posted. http://www.contracostatimes.com/ci_20428290/this-42nd-earth-day-its-still-not-easy?IADID=Search-www.contracostatimes.com-www.contracostatimes.com http://www.insidebayarea.com/ci_20428290/this-42nd-earth-day-its-still-not-easy?IADID=Search-www.insidebayarea.com-www.insidebayarea.com Teens: Let me ride my bicycle in peace. Gas prices have been steadily rising, but what do I care? I get around by bicycle. My main mode of transportation may be old-fashioned, but it's free, it's healthy and it's eco-friendly. Much to my disappointment, it's also socially unacceptable in the "Danville bubble," where I live. When people find out I bike to school, the usual response is: "Wow, that sucks! Why? Don't you have your license?" Yes, I do have a driver's license. Posted. http://www.contracostatimes.com/ci_20428259/teens-let-me-ride-my-bicycle-peace?IADID=Search-www.contracostatimes.com-www.contracostatimes.com The EPA's Faulty Science Can Be Stopped. United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-sponsored and funded "human health effects science" research is unreliable and makes irresponsible and outrageous claims about how air pollution causes thousands of deaths. Then the EPA claims that it can prevent those deaths with its latest set of regulations of emissions. This junk science can be challenged effectively, legally, and politically, as described below. Posted. http://www.americanthinker.com/2012/04/the_epas_faulty_science_can_be_stopped.html You Can’t Build High Speed Rail with No Money. Analyst’s “concern” that funding is not available for the High Speed Rail (HSR) comes at the same time that the federal government – a source counted on for HSR funds — appears to be turning against the High Speed Rail. Yesterday, the subcommittee on Transportation under the Appropriations Committee of the United States Senate put a hold on HSR federal funds for the 2013 fiscal year. Ken Orski, editor and publisher of Innovation News Briefs, which follows transportation issues on Capitol Hill, says the full committee usually follows the sub committee’s recommendations. Posted. http://www.foxandhoundsdaily.com/2012/04/you-cant-build-high-speed-rail-with-no-money/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=you-cant-build-high-speed-rail-with-no-money BLOGS Americans connect dots between global warming and extreme weather. Most Americans get it: global warming is intensifying heat waves and extreme precipitation to some degree. That’s the take away from a new public opinion survey from the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication and George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication. The survey, which queried more than 1,000 adults across the country about global warming and extreme weather…Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/capital-weather-gang/post/americans-connect-dots-between-global-warming-and-extreme-weather/2012/04/18/gIQAyQBORT_blog.html Of Pretzels, Space Heaters and the Fate of the Planet. A reader in New Mexico, John Mihelich, raises an interesting question about my recent article about a climate change poll. The poll showed that a large majority of the public believes that global warming is influencing the weather in the United States and that it probably made some recent weather disasters worse. Mr. Mihelich pointed out that the poll was taken during several weeks in March when the United States was unseasonably warm. “I wonder what the results would have been of a similar poll conducted in the depth of the bitter winters of 2010 or 2011,” he wrote. Posted. http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/04/18/of-pretzels-space-heaters-and-the-fate-of-the-planet/?ref=earth More on Global Warming from a Republican Meteorologist. The meteorologist and energy entrepreneur Paul Douglas is keeping up his valuable effort to depoliticize the science pointing to a growing human influence on the climate. Last month, I noted a post in which he described the scientific case posed by the unabated emissions of greenhouse gases. He described himself as a “Republican deeply concerned about the environmental sacrifices some are asking us to make to keep our economy powered-up, long-term.” Posted. http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/04/19/more-on-global-warming-from-a-republican-meteorologist/ California fracking bill would protect industry ‘trade secrets’. A California lawmaker working to pass the Golden State's first hydraulic fracturing rules has watered down his landmark legislation, hoping to overcome industry opposition to a measure that would force energy companies to disclose the mysterious mix of chemicals they inject into the ground to tap oil deposits. The legislation stalled last year after objections by industry that full disclosure of "fracking" chemicals would reveal proprietary "recipes." Posted. http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/california-politics/2012/04/california-fracking-bill-would-protect-industry-trade-secrets.html California high-speed rail chief: Projects often lack sure funding. After the state's fiscal analyst criticized California high-speed rail for facing "highly speculative" financial prospects, California High-Speed Rail Authority Chairman Dan Richard defended the $68 billion program this morning by suggesting major transportation projects often lack funding certainty. Richard urged Assembly members to approve $2.6 billion in state bond funds along with $3.3 billion in federal money to start construction in the Central Valley by the end of the year. Posted. http://blogs.sacbee.com/capitolalertlatest/2012/04/california-high-speed-rail-chief-dan-richard-projects-often-lack-funding-certainty.html New Report Suggests Best Approach to Invest Cap and Trade Revenue. California’s safest option for guarding against lawsuits over how it spends the billions anticipated from its landmark cap-and-trade program is to channel the auction revenue toward reducing greenhouse gas pollution and furthering the goals of its Global Warming Solutions Act (AB32), according to a recent analysis. The conclusion by the UCLA School of Law’s Emmett Center on Climate Change and Environment may put the brakes on some of the wide-ranging suggestions for using the state’s fee revenue. Posted. http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/kgrenfell/new_report_suggest_best_approa.html Taking the Sting Out of Climate Change Displacement. Now that global warming, aka climate change, has joined the ranks of indisputable occurrences, the British government has announced itself ready to stand behind 21st century technology that can help mediate climate disasters and climate change displacement. The UK, whose record on climate is best described as “schizophrenic ” – a term most applicable to the Conservative Party’s inability to fixate on specific green goals – is currently in an ongoing imbroglio with even less environmentally committed nations over an airlines emissions…Posted. http://www.celsias.com/article/taking-sting-out-climate-change-displacement/