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newsclips -- Newsclips for April 26, 2012

Posted: 26 Apr 2012 13:59:11
ARB Newsclips for April 26, 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.


Bay Area no longer among 25 most-polluted regions. The San
Francisco metropolitan area has dropped off the list of the top
25 most polluted regions in the nation, the American Lung
Association said in a report Wednesday. The State of the Air
report ranked regions across the United States on particle and
ozone pollution, finding that three of the nine least smoggy
counties in California are located in the Bay Area and that, with
a few exceptions, the air in Northern California is safe to
inhale. Posted.

Study: Inland Empire air quality improving; High Desert
healthier. An air quality report released for the first time as a
companion to the American Lung Association's annual report shows
the same steady decline in pollution, but more accurately
reflects differences between regions, say those in charge of
regulating air quality locally. 
The report by the California Air Pollution Control Officers'
Association, released last week, compares fine particulate matter
and ozone pollution among the state's 35 air quality management
districts. Posted.


Study: Antarctic ice melting from warm water below. WASHINGTON --
Antarctica's massive ice shelves are shrinking because they are
being eaten away from below by warm water, a new study finds.
That suggests that future sea levels could rise faster than many
scientists have been predicting. The western chunk of Antarctica
is losing 23 feet of its floating ice sheet each year. Until now,
scientists weren't exactly sure how it was happening and whether
or how man-made global warming might be a factor. Posted.

Activists urge Discovery to acknowledge climate change science.
Forecast the Facts, the activist group that first confronted GM
about its support of climate change doubters the Heartland
Institute, now plans to muster a public campaign targeting the
Discovery Channel. The purpose: to get Discovery to acknowledge
the scientific consensus on man-made climate change in its
programming. The flap follows the recent airing of the final
episode of Discovery’s lush exploration of the polar regions,
“Frozen Planet.”

Lawmakers To Wrangle Over How To Spend California's Cap-and-Trade
Billions. Barring last-minute lawsuits or administrative delays,
California’s cap-and-trade program launches on January 1, 2013.
The state’s carbon market will be the world’s second largest,
after the European Emissions Trading System, and is tasked with
supplying 20% of the emissions reductions mandated under the
Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, or AB 32. Posted.


"California-Only" Diesel Will Come at High Cost for State, Study
Says.  Significant job losses will be directly attributable to
California Air Resources Board's fuel policies, says a new study
by the California Trucking Association. Goods movement and
agriculture sectors will be especially hard hit if the policies
are allowed to go into effect as currently designed.  The report,
titled "The Impact of the Low Carbon Fuel Standard and
Cap-and-Trade Programs on California Retail Diesel Prices"
demonstrates the effect that CARB's regulatory actions will have
on the state's retail diesel future leading to a $6.69 per gallon
price tag.  Posted. 

San Joaquin Railroad getting four low-emission locomotives. 
Progress Rail Services Corporation, of Albertville, Ala., a
wholly-owned subsidiary of Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT), has
reached an agreement with the San Joaquin Valley Railroad, a
RailAmerica subsidiary in the Centrl Valley, to supply four
repowered, low-emissions PR30B locomotives.  Progress Rail will
repower the 4-axle, GP-type locomotives with Caterpillar 3516C-HD
engines rated at 2,995 bhp and equipped with exhaust
aftertreatment technology verified by the California Air
Resources Board to achieve the equivalent of U.S. EPA Tier 4
line-haul emissions levels.  Posted. 


Automotive Technology Programs Changing With the Times: Build
Electric Cars.  The EV (electric vehicle) Challenge is a program
for high school students to replace traditional automotive
technology programs with a new idea: Take a donated (or even
abandoned) gasoline-powered car or truck and convert it into an
all-electric vehicle.  Students learn about design, engineering,
electronics, math, and science.  They make hard decisions and
learn about tradeoffs (larger voltage batteries have higher
acceleration capability, but won’t last as long in endurance
runs, for example).  Posted. 


Sacramento Catholic girls' school completes huge installation of
solar panels. A Sacramento Catholic girls' school has completed
the installation of a huge array of solar panels. Next week the
students of St. Francis High School in east Sacramento will wear
flip flops and sunglasses during the dedication of the new
photovoltaic system. Solar power generation from 1,316 panels on
the rooftops of 7 campus buildings is expected to produce about
30 percent of the school's current electrical demands - and save
the school $1 million over the next 25 years. Posted.

Dixon firm will make PG&E 'green' trucks. Birmingham, Ala.-based
Altec Industries plans to begin production of about 300
environmentally friendly Pacific Gas and Electric Co. service
trucks at its new facility in Dixon in May. Ribbon-cutting
ceremonies were held Tuesday, and production is expected to last
through 2014. The project is expected to produce more than 150
jobs. The Dixon facility, which exceeds Title 24 energy/lighting
codes, was built through an Altec-PG&E partnership. Posted.

Public split over elimination of U.S. energy subsidies, poll
finds. The American public is divided about whether to eliminate
federal subsidies for any form of energy and is giving less
support to nuclear power and U.S. funding of renewable energy, a
new poll has found. Fifty-four percent of respondents opposed
doing away with subsidies for oil, gas, coal, nuclear or
renewable energy, while 47 percent favored the idea. Support for
building more nuclear power plants has fallen dramatically, to 42
percent from 61 percent in 2008. Posted.

DOE to award up to $2.5M to deploy fuel-cell-powered baggage tow
tractors at commercial airports.  The US Department of Energy
(DOE) will award up to $2.5 million this year to demonstrate and
to deploy fuel-cell-electric baggage tow tractors (BTT) at major
US commercial airports. DOE plans to select up to three projects
under the terms of a new Funding Opportunity Announcement
(DE-FOA-0000701), which will also leverage more than $2.5 million
in additional funding from private and other sources.  Posted. 


Viewpoints: Potential of low carbon fuel will drive California
forward.  For the first time since the 1950s the United States is
exporting more gasoline and diesel than it imports. To become
energy secure, we need to invest in homegrown fuels, but also
develop fuel-efficient vehicles that go farther on a gallon of
gas, while producing as little pollution as possible. That's
where California's low carbon fuel standard comes in.  The low
carbon fuel standard, the first of its kind in the world, was
enacted in 2009 and incentivizes all producers of motor fuels,
including gasoline and corn ethanol, to reduce by 10 percent the
carbon content of motor fuels sold in California.  Posted. 
Op-Ed: The Truth about SB375 and the One Bay Area Plan.  The
stated goal of Senate Bill 375, which was signed into law in
2008, is “to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) 15 percent by
2035.” Its premise is that building high density development with
an affordable component, close to public transportation, will
decrease GHGs and thereby have a positive effect on global
warming.  The rationale is as follows: Section 1(a) of SB375
states: “The transportation sector contributes over 40 percent of
the greenhouse gas emissions in California. Automobiles and light
trucks alone contribute almost 30 percent.  Posted. 

Well, Duh: L.A. Has Some of the Dirtiest Air in America. For yet
another year, Los Angeles has been named by the American Lung
Association as one of the cities with some of the dirtiest air in
America. The just-released annual State of the Air report
indicates that Californians are still waiting to exhale: More
than 90 percent of Californians still live in counties plagued
with unhealthy air, particularly in the Central Valley, Los
Angeles, Inland Empire, Sacramento, and San Diego. That means
more people are at risk for asthma attacks, heart attacks, and
premature death. Posted.


Low Prices a Problem? Making Sense of Misleading Talk about
Cap-and-Trade in Europe and the United States. Some press
accounts and various advocates have labeled the Regional
Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) as near “the brink of failure”
because of the recent trend of very low auction prices. 
Likewise, commentators have recently characterized the European
Union Emission Trading Scheme (EU ETS) as possibly “sinking into
oblivion” because of low allowance prices.  Since when are low
prices (which in this case reflect low marginal abatement costs)
considered to be a problem?  Posted.

California's Lungs Need a Passing Grade.  The American Lung
Association released its annual State of the Air report today.
Not surprisingly, California continues to dominate the list of
most polluted cities for both particulate and ozone pollution
with many counties in the State receiving an “F” grade. Most of
the poorest grades on air quality were focused in areas like Los
Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside, and many portions of the San
Joaquin Valley. Overall, the report reflects a continued need for
robust and strong advocacy to curb harmful air pollution that
makes it unhealthy for millions of Californians.  Posted. 

10 Green Lessons from the Sustainable Operations Summit.  Last
week I attended the Sustainable Operations Summit in New York,
where I had the chance to hear many interesting and smart people,
from President Bill Clinton to Amory Lovins, talk about the green
economy. The summit, which got some attention due to its refusal
to let Dogwood Alliance participate because the organizers were
afraid it will lead to a confrontation with YUM! Brands’
representative, provided some very interesting insights about
business and sustainability.  Posted. 

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