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newsclips -- Newsclips for April 30, 2012

Posted: 30 Apr 2012 13:31:26
ARB Newsclips for April 30, 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.


Combating Allergy with Air Purifier. Due to the rising cases of
air pollution in urban cities, many families are now taking steps
to purify air inside their home. Dirty air can enter a home if
the atmosphere gets too polluted outside. A Hepa Air purifier can
help families breathe in clean air that won’t damage their
health. Your body can be attacked by free radicals that are
brought about by pollution. Posted.

AEP disputes study linking plants to 3,200 deaths. Energy giant
American Electric Power is disputing an environmental group's
study that finds air pollution from the company's 26 coal-fired
plants caused as many as 3,200 deaths and more than 20,000 asthma
attacks last year. The analysis done for the New York-based
Natural Resources Defense Council also estimates that the
pollution emitted by AEP plants, two of which are in Oklahoma,
led to more than 1 million lost work days and lists the economic
toll as high as $24 billion in 2011.

Company plugs blown Wyoming oil well leaking gas. Workers at a
blown oil well in eastern Wyoming took advantage of changing
winds Friday to plug the well with mud and end a powerful,
three-day eruption of potentially explosive natural gas. The
operation to stem the air pollution - not to mention the risk of
an explosion at a multimillion-dollar drilling rig - began at
about 9:30 a.m. By 11 a.m. the flow of gas had stopped, according
to Tom Doll, supervisor of the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation
Commission. Posted. 


EPA faces crucial climate decision on diesel made from palm oil. 
Quick quiz: Which country is the world’s third-largest emitter of
greenhouse gases, after the United States and China?  The answer,
at least in recent years, has been Indonesia. That’s surprising.
It’s not the world’s third-largest economy. It’s not an
industrial powerhouse. But Indonesia has been clearing its vast
rain forests of late, releasing huge stores of carbon into the
air. Posted. 


Cheap natural gas drives down coal industry. Is coal doomed? The
dirty yet abundant energy source has had some rough patches
before, but nothing like this. In 1985, coal accounted for 57
percent of all power generated in the United States. Last year,
it was 42 percent. The U.S. Energy Information Administration
estimates it will fall to 40 percent this year. Prices for
Appalachian coal are down 24 percent over the past 12 months; for
coal from the Powder River Basin in Montana and Wyoming, they're
down 45 percent. "With the prices you're looking at now, no one
can make money," says Lucas Pipes, an analyst at Brean Murray,
Carret. Posted.

US DOE to award up to $3M for coal-biomass-to-liquid projects. 
The US Department of Energy (DOE) will award up to a total of $3
million to projects (1) to develop and to test novel technologies
for the economical and environmentally-sustainable conversion of
coal-biomass feedstocks to liquid transportation fuels (CBTL) and
(2) to assess concepts and evaluate the feasibility of building
and operating a commercial scale CBTL production facility. 


Green side of Bay Area car buying. Sonoma County and the rest of
the San Francisco Bay Area are No. 1 in the nation when shopping
for cars that get more than 40 mpg, according to Cars.com, the
vehicle shopping website. Five of the top 10 most "eco-friendly"
car shopping areas are in California, based on searches for
vehicles getting 40-plus mpg. In the SF-Oakland-Santa Rosa area,
12.36 percent of searches used the high-fuel efficiency criteria,
the website said. Monterey-Salinas was third on the list at 11.74
percent, followed by San Diego (5th at 11.09 percent), Santa
Barbara-San Luis Obispo (7th at 11.04 percent),
Sacramento-Stockton-Modesto (8th at 10.97 percent) and
Chico-Redding (9th at 10.93 percent). Posted. 


SolarCity makes IPO plans. SolarCity Corp., a Bay Area solar
panel developer and installer whose chairman heads Tesla Motors
Inc., is planning an IPO.
The San Mateo company’s intention to go public come as other
alternative energy firms are backing away from similar growth
plans, even after the industry reported record growth last year.
First Solar Inc. said this month that it would close down some of
its factories and trim 2,000 positions. Oakland’s BrightSource
Energy Inc. scrapped its IPO plans a few weeks ago. Posted.

Protests over Valley solar projects called a ploy.  A statewide
labor group accused of fighting power plants on environmental
grounds just to win job contracts has set its sights on the
Valley's young solar industry.  California Unions for Reliable
Energy is scrutinizing dozens of solar-project proposals between
Bakersfield and Fresno and, in partnership with a handful of
local residents, recently submitted challenges to three ventures
in Fresno County.  The group claims that the Fresno County
projects don't live up to state environmental standards,
potentially ruining wildlife habitat and bringing traffic and air
pollution.  Posted. 

Smart Meter options. How odd it was that this “Amazing Smart
Meter News” was not announced in our Ventura County Star
Newspaper. On April 19, 2012, a historic decision was voted on by
the California Public Utilities Commission. You are now able to
permanently opt out of having any Smart Meter. The decision also
was made that you can even have a Smart Meter replaced with the
old reliable noninvasive analog meter. This is great news and it
should now - while Smart Meters are being installed all over
Ventura County - be broadcast loud and clear by word of mouth.


Why green-certified products may not always be the best choice. 
If you want to build a really green house, how much time should
you spend looking for products that carry a green certification? 
Not a lot, advised builders and architects known for their
“greenness.” Though green attributes such as recycled content
were very important and might lead them to consider a particular
product, the presence or absence of a green certification rarely
influenced their selections. Posted. 

Protesters call for shutdown of San Onofre nuclear plant. "Shut
down San Onofre!" was the rallying cry of about 200 protesters at
San Onofre State Park on Sunday. They listened to a dozen
speakers, marched and carried anti-nuclear-power signs to raise
awareness of perceived safety issues at the San Onofre Nuclear
Generating Station.
The protesters also called for the permanent decommissioning of
the plant that sits just south of San Clemente. Posted.


Arbor Day and the history of living green. The early adopters of
green living lived earth love rather than proclaimed it. In the
Louisiana parish that was home to generations of my family,
people lived hard lives as field hands or sharecroppers, laboring
from "can see in the morning" to "can't see at night." They hoed
and picked cotton, corn, peas and other crops; they understood
the planting cycle; they ate locally grown fruits and vegetables
without ever visiting a supermarket. Long before the terms
"eco-friendly" and "environmentalism" came into vogue,
generations of Americans embraced the principles of recycle,
reuse, reduce without ever naming them. Posted.

Lois Henry: FAIL: the Lung Association's air quality ratings. To
all you people out there with your hair on fire because the
American Lung Association ahhhgain gave our air an "F," please,
douse yourselves and think for a minute. The truth is the
nation's air quality overall has improved vastly in the years
since the ALA began looking at air pollution data more than 13
years ago. So if Bakersfield has the worst air in the nation, yet
we've all improved dramatically, what does this grade really
mean? On it's face -- nothing. Posted. 

Opinion: The prescription for better breathing is cleaner air. As
a doctor and allergist, I deal primarily with respiratory illness
in children and adults. I see firsthand the direct correlation
between air pollution and increased sickness, particularly with
those suffering from asthma and COPD (chronic obstructive
pulmonary disease) – the two most common lung diseases. Higher
pollution means more symptoms and more hospitalizations. Our
clean air standards need to be tightened and modernized to
reflect our population’s increased vulnerability to escalating
pollutants in the air we breathe. Posted.


No Easy Scapegoat for Hong Kong Pollution. Hong Kong has long
preferred to blame its smoggy skies on polluting factories just
over the border in mainland China. But new analysis suggests that
the blame for much of the city’s pollution rests squarely on Hong
Kong’s shoulders. According to just-released data from a regional
government report, air quality in the Pearl River Delta area has
continuously improved over the past year, thanks to initiatives
to encourage better energy efficiency and cleaner industrial
production. Posted.

Will Oil Extraction Harm Western Parks? As the public comment
period ends this week on a proposal to develop oil shale and oil
sands in vast areas of the Rocky Mountain West, conservationists
are making a stand on behalf of the area’s national parks. The
National Parks Conservation Association, a 90-year-old
organization, is concerned that eight national parks and
monuments are at risk from energy development of this type and
scale. Posted.

China getting ready for 5m plug-in vehicles by 2020. Imagine all
of the cars and light-duty trucks in Washington and Oregon
combined. Then imagine them all being either battery-electric
vehicles or plug-in hybrids. That's what Chinese leaders have in
mind by the end of the decade. The China State Council is pushing
for a combination of automotive industry production and public
acceptance to allow for as many as five million plug-in vehicles
to be on the roads in China by 2020, Green Car Congress reports.

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