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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for May 16, 2012.

Posted: 16 May 2012 12:28:44
ARB Newsclips for May 16, 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.


Texas judge: Coal permit won't stand up in court. State
environmental regulators did not follow federal guidelines when
they issued an air permit for a proposed coal-fired power plant
on the Gulf Coast, and a Texas judge indicated the paperwork is
too flawed for construction to begin. District Court Judge
Stephen Yelenosky sent the letter Monday in response to a lawsuit
filed by environmental groups, who challenged the air permit
issued for Las Brisas Energy Center last May by the Texas
Commission on Environmental Quality. Posted. 

'Shocking' twist in quarry hearing. The Riverside County Board of
Supervisors voted 3-2 Tuesday to affirm its denial of Granite
Construction's Liberty Quarry project, a rock mine that had been
proposed for land on the city of Temecula's southern border. But
in a twist that was described as "shocking," "a surprise" and
"bizarre" by foes of the project, the board during the same
meeting voted 3-2 to certify the quarry's environmental impact
report. Posted. 

Your Heart on Air Pollution: An Olympic Case Study.  In 2008, the
Chinese government conducted one of the largest real-time
environmental experiments ever undertaken: In order to get air
quality up to par for the summer Olympics in Beijing--in of the
world's most polluted metropolis--the government halved the
number of cars allowed to drive the city's roads, shut down
coal-burning factories in the area, and halted construction
projects, among other efforts. And it worked. Posted. 

Time to mow down air pollution.  County residents can replace old
gas-powered lawn mowers with new, zero-emission models for less
than $100 as part of the 13th annual “Mowing Down Pollution”
trade-in event on Saturday.  The Black & Decker mowers, which
typically sell for about $400 plus tax, will cost $99.99. The
mowers are subsidized using fines paid to the San Diego Air
Pollution Control District.  Organizers said about 650 of the
36-volt cordless mowers will be available on a first-come,
first-served basis at the County Administration Center, 1600
Pacific Highway, San Diego.  Posted. 


5th warmest April on record worldwide. Washington -- Unseasonable
weather pushed last month to the fifth warmest April on record
worldwide, federal weather statistics show. The National Oceanic
and Atmospheric Administration's National Climatic Data Center
calculated that April's average temperature of 57.9 degrees was
nearly 1.2 degrees above the 20th century normal. Two years ago
was the hottest April since record keeping started in 1880. Last
month was the third hottest April in the United States and
unusually warm in Russia, but cooler than normal in parts of
Western Europe. This is despite a now-ended La Niña, which
generally lowers global temperatures. Posted.

Rising temperatures could eliminate two-thirds of Calif.
Snowpack. The snowpack that helps provide water for California
cities and farms could shrink by two-thirds because of climate
change, according to new research submitted to the state's Energy
Commission. Higher temperatures appear likely to wipe out a third
of the Golden State's snowpack by 2050 and two-thirds by the end
of the century, the Scripps Institution of Oceanography found.
The conclusions are the latest to declare that California's
snowpack will be hard hit by higher temperatures. Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/Greenwire/print/2012/05/16/4  BY


Oil industry says it will report California 'fracking'
information. On the eve of a series of public hearings on
hydraulic fracturing, a controversial but little-regulated method
of oil extraction in California, an industry group said Tuesday
that its members will voluntarily post information about their
"fracking" operations on a disclosure website, Frac Focus, likely
by the end of June. Posted.

ND becomes nation's second-leading oil producer. North Dakota has
passed Alaska to become the second-leading oil-producing state in
the nation, trailing only Texas, state officials said Tuesday.
North Dakota oil drillers pumped 17.8 million barrels in March,
with a daily average of 575,490 barrels, Assistant State Mineral
Resources Director Bruce Hicks said. That compares with 17.5
million barrels in Alaska, though still far behind Texas. Posted.

Interest groups, agencies battle over study linking E15 to engine
damage. A new study showing that E15 damaged car engines in two
popular models provides "material evidence" that U.S. EPA moved
too hastily in approving the fuel for the market, the oil and
auto industries said today. The industries released the engine
study today after circulating preliminary findings last month.
They said the findings by the industry-backed Coordinating
Research Council provide reason to worry about fuel made of
gasoline blended with 15 percent ethanol. Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/Greenwire/print/2012/05/16/2  BY


Fight Over Auto Emissions Is Measured in Grams. The battle to
control carbon dioxide from automobile tailpipes in the European
Union is fought by the gram — a measure roughly equivalent to the
weight of a paperclip.  Greenhouse gases in these amounts may
sound tiny, but they could affect millions of jobs in the Union
and help determine Europe’s future as a major manufacturer.  Four
years ago, France, where Renault and PSA Peugeot-Citroën produce
small and fuel-efficient cars…Posted. 

China shifting development priority to hybrids.  The Chinese
government has recognized that it may take longer than initially
expected to build a Chinese electric car industry. Therefore, the
Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology released a “Three
Steps Strategy” for the development of electric vehicle
technology in the 12th Five-Year Plan period (2011-2015).
According to this strategy, China will first strive for the
commercialization of gasoline-electric hybrid technologies by
2015. Secondly, China will increase its efforts in the
development of all-electric and plug-in hybrid technology between
2015-2020. Posted.  http://beta.cars21.com/news/view/4653

California bullet train chief seeks environmental exemptions. The
chairman of the California High-Speed Rail Authority says in a
state Senate hearing that he hopes the initial phase of the
construction project through the Central Valley can avoid legal
delays. The chief of the state bullet train authority said
Tuesday that he hopes to obtain some type of relief from
environmental laws that would eliminate a risk that the 130-mile
initial construction project could be stopped by an injunction, a
potentially growing prospect as agriculture interests in the
Central Valley gear up for a legal fight. Posted.


Solar power proposed for more Irvine public schools.  Irvine
Unified School District is considering plans to install
solar-paneled parking canopies at 11 campuses after it saved
$220,000 in electricity costs in its first year using mostly
rooftop solar panels at 15 sites.  The parking canopies, to be
installed by SunEdison, are expected to save the district
$380,000 in energy costs in the first year, public records show. 

Power in numbers: Crowd purchasing brings clean energy within
reach.  We join together with our fellow humans for the sake of
saving a buck all the time. That’s why public transportation
exists — it’s cheaper for 20 people to get on one bus than it is
for 20 people to drive their own cars. (Oh right, and buses are
also super cool.) Or think of roommates — sure, they never wash
their dishes, but living with them saves us hundreds of dollars
in rent.  Posted. 


U.S. asthma rates at all-time high, CDC says. The proportion of
Americans with asthma increased from 7.3% in 2001 to 8.4% in
2010, marking the highest level ever, the U.S. Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday. In 2010, an
estimated 18.7 million adults and 7 million children had the
disease -- one in every 12 Americans. Overall, about 29.1 million
adults have been diagnosed with asthma at some point in their
lives, but many of those were misdiagnosed or have apparently
recovered, leading to the current figure of 18.7 million. Posted.


Editorial: Craft a clean transportation bill by June 30.
Republicans and Democrats in Congress have failed for three years
to reach common ground on a multiyear transportation bill to
replace the 2005-09 bill. We're now on our ninth short-term
extension, which expires June 30. This is no way to build the
transportation networks of the future or to boost economic
recovery. Worse, the Highway Trust Fund that pays for road,
bridge and transit projects is set to run out of money in the
next year Posted.


New York Leads on E.V. Issues, but E.V.’s Have Yet to Follow. A
new study places New York among the world’s most proactive cities
trying to ease the way of electric vehicles, but leadership has
its pitfalls. The study (PDF) was produced by the Rocky Mountain
Institute, an energy research group and think tank, along with
partners including the International Energy Agency and the Clean
Energy Ministerial’s Electric Vehicles Initiative.  The study
examined 16 cities and regions to gauge their readiness to absorb
E.V.’s. Posted. 

A New Skirmish in the Ethanol Wars. The auto and oil industries
plan to release a report on Wednesday indicating that some cars
running on E15, the 15 percent ethanol blend that was recently
authorized by the Environmental Protection Agency, suffered
engine damage. But officials at the Energy Department counter
that the study is flawed and that the department’s own research,
which the E.P.A. relied on in approving E15, demonstrates that
cars now running on the standard blend, called E10, will do just
fine on E15. Posted. 

Is climate change research holding back advances in weather
forecasting?  We’ve discussed, to some extent, the question of
whether large expenditures in NOAA’s budget on satellites
(relative to funding of the National Weather Service) has slowed
progress in numerical weather prediction. University of
Washington’s Cliff Mass, who has addressed that issue as well,
posed another critical question today in a thoughtful,
provocative blog post: “Why is the U.S. government providing
hugely more computer resources for climate prediction than
weather prediction?”  …Posted. 
Carbon Pricing & Trading News from Australia, California, China,
South Korea, & More.  Consideration of carbon pricing and
trading, a market-based (not regulation-based) approach to
addressing global warming, may still be outlawed by GOP
leadership in Congress, but countries around the world (and even
several US states) keep moving forward with planned or existing
carbon pricing and trading programs. Below is some of the latest
news from this arena.  Posted. 

California high-speed rail project given conditional blessing. 
The latest plan for building a California bullet train system got
a very conditional blessing Tuesday from a "peer review
committee" of transportation experts. Will Kempton, the veteran
transportation official who heads the committee, told a Senate
hearing that the latest revision is “measurably improved” from
previous versions. Posted. 

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