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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for April 20, 2012. Posted: 20 Apr 2012 14:26:27
ARB Newsclips for April 20, 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 Asbestos probe: No conspiracy. Activists convinced that the Hunters Point Shipyard development is a threat to the health of its neighbors have lost another battle with the government. An investigation by the FBI and the inspector general of the federal Environmental Protection Agency found "no evidence that an EPA employee conspired with the (San Francisco Department of Public Health) and Lennar Corp. to conceal asbestos exposure at the ... site," a summary of the report, released earlier this month, states. The inspector general "recommended no further action and now considers this matter closed." Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/04/20/BAS11O6E04.DTL&type=printable California Air Pollution: Report Shows Decrease In 'Unhealthy Air'. California air pollution reached unhealthy levels less often in 2011 than a decade ago, according to a report released this week by a state association of regional air district officers. Compared with 2000, there were about 74 percent fewer days of "unhealthy air" statewide last year, data from the report [PDF] showed. Air quality can range from "good" to "very unhealthy," and it is calculated based on local monitoring of four air pollutants regulated by the federal Clean Air Act. Posted. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/20/california-air-pollution-_n_1440705.html?ref=los-angeles Air officials scale back offer to replace fireworks with lasers. San Joaquin Valley air quality officials on Thursday approved a scaled-back version of a plan to coax communities to drop fireworks displays in favor of nonpolluting laser-light shows this Fourth of July. The original plan was to offer $250,000 to communities willing to make the change. But Valley Air Pollution Control District board members felt there wasn't enough information yet on how well the program would be received and what the health benefits would be from reducing fireworks pollution. Posted. http://www.recordnet.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20120420/A_NEWS/204200305/-1/A_NEWS14 CLIMATE CHANGE California carbon soars 14 pct as new buyer enters-Point Carbon. California carbon allowances (CCAs) for delivery in 2013 hit their highest price this year, gaining $1.85/tonne from the previous week to close at $15.50/t on Thursday, on the back of new buying, market sources said. A total of 245,000 CCAs changed hands this week on the IntercontinentalExchange (ICE), making it the busiest week for allowance trading so far this year. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/04/20/california-pointcarbon-idUSL2E8FK03L20120420 Showing Polar Ice Melting, TV Program Is Silent on Why. “Frozen Planet,” the seven-hour series that has attracted millions of viewers to the Discovery Channel in recent weeks, shows Earth in extremis. On this planet, the poles are violently cold, yet are also atypically vulnerable to the warming trends that are endangering polar bear populations and causing huge chunks of ice to break off Greenland and Antarctica. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/21/business/media/discoverys-frozen-planet-is-silent-on-causes-of-climate-change.html GREEN ENERGY NASA's Greenest Building Unveiled at Moffett Field. NASA's newest building at the Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, has won the distinction of being certified as the nation's "greenest" federal building. Known as "Sustainability Base," the 50,000-square-foot, two-story office building is visually stunning: Sunlight streams through skylights, windows actually open, and the office floor plan has scrapped private offices in favor of open spaces that encourage teamwork and collaboration. Posted. http://www.insidebayarea.com/news/ci_20435327/nasas-sustainability-base-at-moffett-field-is-nations http://business-news.thestreet.com/mercury-news/story/nasas-greenest-building-unveiled-moffett-field/1 VENTURE FUNDING RISES IN SAN DIEGO. Investments in clean-tech firm, life sciences lead way. San Diego startup companies hauled in more venture capital in the first quarter than the prior year, bucking the national trend of declining funding for young firms. Two reports released today showed that San Diego’s good first quarter was led by a large investment in clean-tech firm Sapphire Energy, as well as continued funding for life sciences companies. Posted. http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2012/apr/20/tp-venture-funding-rises-in-san-diego/ OPINIONS Clean Air and Natural Gas. The Obama administration’s new rules aimed at cutting harmful emissions from natural gas wells are a win for the environment, for the public and for industry. And despite what Republican politicians claim, the rules will not impose major new costs or slow what has been a remarkable boom in natural gas production. The rules, announced on Wednesday by the Environmental Protection Agency, are the first federal effort to address air pollution problems associated with hydraulic fracturing. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/20/opinion/clean-air-and-natural-gas.html Editorial: SACOG sets high bar on transportation plan. Quality of life in the Sacramento region is inexorably linked to how we build communities and link them with transportation. If we do it right, we can reduce pollution, protect farmland, create a vibrant urban fabric and give people alternatives to congested freeways and highways. This region has a long history in making bad choices in this realm, but that is starting to change. One big step forward came Thursday when the Sacramento Area Council of Governments approved a 2035 Sustainable Communities Strategy/Regional Transportation Plan. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2012/04/20/4428212/sacog-sets-high-bar-on-transportation.html Viewpoints: High-speed rail for a more sustainable state. We are all strong supporters of building the California High-Speed Rail system, and our state has arrived at a critical juncture. In the weeks ahead, state legislators will be asked to release $2.7 billion in previously approved state bond funds to begin construction of the first section of high-speed rail in the United States. Our long-term economic and environmental future requires an alternative to simply adding more highways and airport runways. We need a sustainable, modern way of moving people up and down the state that doesn't rely on gasoline and concrete. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2012/04/20/4428222/high-speed-rail-for-a-more-sustainable.html A boon to California's electric vehicle economy. California leads the nation when it comes to hybrid and electric vehicles and, with record electric and hybrid vehicle sales across the country last month, advanced vehicles are set to break into the mainstream. That breakthrough so far has been held back by the relatively limited number of electric vehicle charging stations available to California drivers. That's about to change. The electric vehicle industry got a huge shot in the arm last month when Gov. Jerry Brown announced the largest-ever investment in electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/04/19/EDAK1O4RCA.DTL Marin Voice: Sustainability is a commitment we can all make. JOHN F. KENNEDY famously posited: "Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country." In this age of global warming, his message has taken on an even stronger resonance. In Marin, one need not look far for simple ways to better our planet and better our lives in the process. The city of San Rafael established a Climate Change Action Plan in 2009, a culmination of several months of community outreach, citizen engagement, lively discourse and democracy in action. Posted. http://www.mercurynews.com/opinion/ci_20427851/marin-voice-sustainability-is-commitment-we-can-all?IADID=Search-www.mercurynews.com-www.mercurynews.com ‘Stay the course’ a (rail) road to ruin. The Legislative Analyst Office’s evaluation of the latest version of the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s business plan is a serious document that deserves a serious response. The report praised rail authority officials for coming up with a cheaper ($68 billion) and more practical alternative. It also, however, pointed out that the state had less than a fifth of the money in hand for the bullet train project and no realistic expectations that any of the $55 billion or more that is still needed could be obtained from any source. Posted. http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2012/apr/19/stay-the-course-a-rail-road-to-ruin/ Letter: Meat threatens the environment. Just in time for next Sunday's Earth Day observance, a study in the Environmental Research Letters warns that animal manure and fertilizers used in growing animal feed emit large amounts of nitrous oxide, a powerful greenhouse gas. An op-ed piece in The New York Times warns that the devastating environmental impacts of a meat-based diet are actually magnified when raising animals on the range because this involves more land and more greenhouse gas emissions. Posted. http://www.mydesert.com/article/20120420/OPINION02/204200329/Letter-Meat-threatens-environment Letter: Are windmills a wise investment? Why have we not seen any figures on the 2,000 bird-killing wind turbines in the valley? It would be interesting to know the cost to date and how many kilowatt hours of power were generated over the 8,760 hours a year available. How much income was generated and how much of that income was subsidized by we taxpayers because of the failed “green energy” mantra. And if we ever get this information, we'll look at solar power next. Posted. http://www.mydesert.com/article/20120420/OPINION02/204200330/Letter-windmills-wise-investment- Don't sell bonds for high-speed rail. Once again, we wonder how many experts must deliver a single message before the California Legislature will heed it. In the case of the state's high-speed rail boondoggle, it seems the answer is simple: As many as it takes to get the answer it wants. On Tuesday, the state's nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office once again echoed the chorus of every serious analysis of the plan. The LAO's message was clear: The plan - even the revised one - is just not "strong enough" and relies on "highly speculative" funding sources. Posted. http://www.sbsun.com/editorial/ci_20434335/dont-sell-bonds-high-speed-rail Green industries play vital role. As stewards of the environment, "green" industries like the water service sector understand their vital role, not only for the environment, but for the workforce as well. With Earth Day 2012 right around the corner, there is growing evidence of that: A report released this month by the Green Job Bank, a Baltimore-based green job search engine, showed a dramatic increase in the number of green job postings during the first quarter of 2012. For two years running, a study by CNN, Fortune and Money magazines ranks environmental engineering among the 10 best "fast-growth" career fields in the United States. Posted. http://www.sbsun.com/pointofview/ci_20434494/green-industries-play-vital-role Methane in the Twilight Zone (First Episode). Last month saw methane emissions entering the twilight zone for the first time. By an odd quirk of timing, two incongruous things happened virtually at once. At this year's annual American Geophysical Union (AGU) conference in San Francisco, leading experts dealing with a source for potentially significant Arctic methane emissions, in an area known as the Eastern Siberian Arctic Shelf (or ESAS), gave a disturbing presentation in which they reported having recently found large plumes of escaping methane there bubbling from the sea floor, up to a hundred times larger than any they had found in the area before. Posted. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nathan-currier/methane-in-the-twilight-z_b_1198239.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://www.californiaprogressreport.com/site/comment/reply/10053 New EPA Rules Help Communities of Color Breathe Easier. New Standards Will Reduce Health and Economic Costs. On this Earth Day all Americans can celebrate the Environmental Protection Agency’s commitment to ensure everyone can breathe clean air. But this commitment particularly benefits communities of color. Currently, African Americans, Hispanics, and Asian Americans are especially vulnerable to air pollution’s health effects. Within the last year, however, the EPA instituted new mercury and air toxics standards and restrictions on cross-state air pollution. Posted. http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2012/04/epa_communities_of_color.html Environmental Standards Give the United States an Edge Over China. Chinese Citizens Still Facing Health Threats We Addressed Decades Ago. This Sunday, April 22, is Earth Day, a great opportunity to take stock of the progress we are making around the world on environmental protection. Here in the United States, much can be learned by comparing our environmental progress to China, where they are just now starting down a path we took back in 1970.Taking stock of our environmental progress is particularly important in an election year…Posted. http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2012/04/china_earthday.html BLOGS Bringing science back to the Keystone Pipeline decision. When years of lobbying, protests, and debate all come down to a pushing the pause button, it’s frustrating. That’s the situation we’re in now that the Obama Administration has put off deciding about the about the Keystone XL Pipeline — which would send Canada’s oil sands to refineries on the American Gulf Coast — until 2013. The Administration says the decision to punt had nothing to do with politics. But let’s face it: Right now, the Keystone Pipeline — like every other key energy-policy decision — is bogged down in politics. Posted. http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/energy-a-environment/222589-bringing-science-back-to-the-keystone-pipeline-decision