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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for April 23, 2012.

Posted: 23 Apr 2012 12:54:13
ARB Newsclips for April 23, 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.


Ventura County air is cleanest it's been in almost four decades,
officials say. Ventura County's efforts to clean up its air have
paid off, according to a report released this week by the
California Air Pollution Control Officers Association. The
county's air is cleaner than it has been in almost four decades,
partly because of new emissions-reduction programs and controls,
a mild summer, high gas prices and a weak economy, officials
said. Posted. 

ARB, APCD to hold PM2.5 air modeling symposium this week.  The
California Air Resources Board (ARB) and the San Joaquin Valley
Air Pollution Control District (APCD) will hold a technical
symposium this Friday, April 27. The topic is the scientific
modeling being done to support the 2012 San Joaquin Valley PM2.5
Plan. (The new plan itself will be discussed at a separate
workshop on Monday, April 30.)  PM2.5 refers to particulate
matter air pollution whose diameter is 2.5 microns or smaller. A
micron, or micrometer, is equal to one millionth of a meter.

Health scare worsening in Kettleman. Just as the birth-defect
scare appears to have calmed down, activists say a new kind of
health scare is now haunting this small town — cancer. A
17-month-old baby has been diagnosed with leukemia, and a
6-year-old boy and two teenage girls have been diagnosed with
brain tumors. Three people between the ages of 40 and 50 have
also died of cancer. Posted.


Climate Change to Affect Corn Prices, Study Says. Researchers
have found that climate change is likely to have far greater
influence on the volatility of corn prices over the next three
decades than factors that recently have been blamed for price
swings — like oil prices, trade policies and government biofuel
mandates. The new study, published on Sunday in the journal
Nature Climate Change, suggests that unless farmers develop more
heat-tolerant corn varieties or gradually move corn production
from the United States into Canada, frequent heat waves will
cause sharp price spikes. Posted. 

U.S. suggests no emissions limits to protect polar bears. Polar
bears are skating on thin ice in Alaska these days: Warming
temperatures have resulted in dramatic shrinkage of sea ice,
leaving the bears with fewer ice floes on which to rest and hunt
seals. But at least for the moment, the Endangered Species Act
won’t be used to control the greenhouse gas emissions that
conservationists say are contributing to climate change and
posing one of the biggest threats to the bears’ survival. Posted.


EU delays vote on labeling oil sands oil dirty. The European
Commission will delay asking members to approve a measure that
would label oil from oil sands as worse for climate change than
crude oil - a temporary victory for Canada, where such oil is
produced. The Commission will ask the EU's 27 environment
ministers to vote on the measure early in 2013 rather than this
June, Isaac Valero-Ladron, a spokesman for EU Commissioner for
Climate Action Connie Hedegaard, said Friday. In the interim, the
Commission, the EU's executive arm, will study the proposed fuel
quality law's impact on business and markets, as some EU
countries had requested. Posted. 

Cool news about 'hot fuel'. The fight over "hot fuel" has gone on
for years, but now there's welcome news: Three major gasoline
retailers have agreed to settle lawsuits accusing them of selling
fuel that hasn't been adjusted for temperature. As Judy Dugan of
Consumer Watchdog in California put it, "The wall of resistance
is crumbling." Adjusting fuel for temperature is important
because fuel expands as it gets warm, while the volume of a
standard gallon stays the same. Hence, a standard gallon of
warmer fuel has less energy, even though you pay the same price.


U.S. tariffs on Chinese solar cells fuel debate about green jobs.
Some domestic solar manufacturers praised the recent import levy
as a victory for job creation, but an analysis of the industry
suggests the duty may actually be a job killer. A simmering trade
dispute is highlighting a debate about the kinds of jobs America
can sustain in a greening economy. The Obama administration's
recent decision to slap import tariffs on Chinese solar cells was
hailed by some domestic solar manufacturers as a victory for job

Solar power producers hesitate to embrace new DWP program. A DWP
pilot program will let solar power producers reduce their bills
and sell excess energy, but some say they're worried the new
system will be plagued by the same problems as an older system.
Storm clouds hovered over the San Fernando Valley, but
businessman Jack Engel was smiling as he pointed to a row of
solar inverters at one of two commercial warehouses he owns in
Sun Valley. Power was being generated despite the weather, no
problem. Posted.

Sierra Club targets Puget Sound Energy in Beyond Coal campaign.
The Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign, working in concert with a
number of environmental and energy activists and researchers in
Washington and Montana, announced Thursday a new push to get
Puget Sound Energy to stop buying power from coal-fired Colstrip
Generating Station in Montana. According to EPA rankings, the
facility is the eighth most egregious emitter of greenhouse gases
among power plants in the U.S. Posted.

Lawsuit says wind energy industry hurts condors. 
Environmentalists are hoping a court will curb Southern
California's growing wind energy industry, which they believe
poses a threat to the endangered condor.  Three environmental
groups filed a federal lawsuit this month against the U.S. Bureau
of Land Management to stop the proposed 100-turbine North Sky
River wind project in Kern County's Tehachapi region, the Ventura
County Star reported Saturday.  Posted. 

Farmers turn to alternative energy despite money, time, risks and
obstacles. Farmers, the self-described new green pioneers, are
increasingly turning to alternative energy to lower costs, solve
problems, boost efficiency and shrink their environmental
footprint. Fuel cells, biogas, cogeneration and solar arrays are
some of the newer energy generators growers are using, despite
the risk and significant time and money commitments. Posted. 


Stocktonians get down to Earth. The 24th annual Earth Day
Festival at Victory Park combined old ecological favorites like
solar power with new green products such as ... Tupperware? "We
have a lot of different products that protect the environment,"
Tupperware manager Rene Acosta said. The Tupperware water pitcher
replaces disposable water bottles, she said. Reusable containers
substitute for disposable plastic lunch baggies. Posted. 

Eye on the environment: Earth awareness doesn't end with Earth
Day. Today, on the 42nd annual Earth Day, people worldwide are
reminded of how much we depend on the Earth for resources, and
how it depends on us for protection. One event scheduled to
coincide with today's celebration is the grand opening of Habitat
for Humanity's new ReStore in Simi Valley. Like Habitat's ReStore
in Oxnard, it will sell mostly used and surplus home improvement
items, saving resources and preventing waste. Posted. 


Voters deserve a do-over on bullet train vote. Republican
lawmakers, citing changes to the deal, want to put the brakes on
the project. Sacramento — The car salesman offers you a sleek new
luxury model for $33,000. Go for it, you think. Time for an
upgrade. Sold. Oops, the sales guy says later. Those numbers
won't pencil. We'll need $98,000. You're stunned and outraged.
Tell you what, the dealer counters. We'll let ya have it for
$68,000 and take off some options. Posted.
Decas: Greening of the Port of Hueneme. The Port of Hueneme joins
the world today in celebrating the 42nd anniversary of Earth Day.
Connecting international businesses with local communities, the
port sits in a unique position as a global partner to advance
vital environmental policies and practices. The port is uniting
with the community, businesses and government to map out and
implement sound environmental strategy that also keeps churning
the economic engine of trade, commerce and progress. Posted. 

OP-ED: Agriculture’s climate protection solutions.  When we think
about ways to slow down climate change and avert the worst
impacts of rising temperatures, what usually comes to mind are
things like electric cars, weatherizing homes and putting up
solar panels. But there are other significant climate solutions
to be realized from one of the most important economic sectors in
California — agriculture.  Farms and ranches offer unique
opportunities to store, or “sequester” carbon dioxide in soil,
trees and other woody plants. Posted. 


My home demolition: Building it green.  While I wait for an
estimate from DeConstruction Services to do the tear-down of the
house in an environmentally sensitive way, my architect, Peter
VanderPoel, suggested we spend a Tuesday afternoon at Amicus
Green, a building supply center dedicated to green products, in
Kensington. I thought we were going to a mall for eco-friendly
supplies. I had no idea.  On the way to Kensington, Peter began
to tell me about LEED certification.  Posted. 

The Cookstove Conundrum. Cooking the family meal can be a
dangerous business for poor people in developing countries.
According to a study by the World Health Organization, indoor air
pollution from “primitive household cooking fires” is the leading
environmental cause of death in the world. In most rural homes,
which lack electricity, a stove can be an open fire and the fuel
as basic as wood, dried animal dung or agricultural residue,
together known as “biomass” fuels. Posted.

Climate Change ‘Swing Voters’ Affected by Weather, Not
Denialists, Says Analyst.  Just a quick note on an engaging video
that can give you a glimpse of the new science on the jet stream…
following a brief thought on public opinion and the worsening
wild weather around the planet.  Recent reports say public
opinion is beginning to swing back up to a larger majority who
“believe in global warming.”  A New York Times headline says, “In
Poll, Many Link Weather Extremes to Climate Change.”  Actually,
that link appears to be old news.  Posted. 

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