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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for June 20, 2012 Posted: 20 Jun 2012 12:05:49
ARB Newsclips for June 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 Businesses Take Action to Clean Up London’s Air. London — Boris Johnson, the mayor of London, says he has a solution to the city’s air pollution problem, one of the worst in Europe: Since last year, specially equipped trucks have trundled around the capital spraying glue to stick sooty particles to the ground in its worst traffic hotspots. Critics accuse Mr. Johnson, who has a shrewd penchant for self-parody, of not taking the problem seriously. Environmentalists say the trucks have been particularly active near air quality monitoring stations, to help London avoid being fined for violating E.U. pollution limits. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/21/business/global/cleaning-londons-air-for-the-olympics.html?_r=1&pagewanted=print Rule on soot standards was overdue. The Environmental Protection Agency is tightening the nation's standards for soot pollution. It only took a court order and five years of delay for them to do the right thing. The proposal will reduce annual exposure regulations from 15 micrograms of fine-particle soot per cubic meter of air to between 12 and 13 micrograms. Earthjustice attorney Paul Cort, who represented the Lung Association and the National Parks Conservation Association in a successful lawsuit that is forcing the EPA to issue this rule, estimates that the new regulations will save 8,000 lives per year. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/06/20/EDAO1P4D7N.DTL&type=printable http://www.eenews.net/Greenwire/print/2012/06/20/1 BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY State finds no link to birth defects in farm town. Kettleman City, Calif. -- State health officials say the number of birth defects in the Central Valley community of Kettleman City mirror the state average. Some Kettleman City residents claim the region experiences an unusually high number of birth defects they believe is caused by pollution. California Department of Public Health officials said during a public meeting Tuesday that tests near the homes of women who gave birth to affected children didn't reveal any substances that could be directly linked to causing defects. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2012/06/19/4574507/state-finds-no-link-to-birth-defects.html http://www.vcstar.com/news/2012/jun/19/state-finds-no-link-to-birth-defects-in-farm/ http://www.modbee.com/2012/06/19/2249113/state-finds-no-link-to-birth-defects.html#storylink=misearch Air Quality Action Day Forecast June 20 in All Five Pennsylvania Regions. The Department of Environmental Protection and its regional air quality partnerships have forecast a code Orange air quality action day for ozone for Wednesday, June 20, in the Lehigh Valley, Pittsburgh, Liberty-Clairton, Philadelphia, and Susquehanna Valley regions. On air quality action days, young children, the elderly and those with respiratory problems, such as asthma, emphysema and bronchitis, are especially vulnerable to the effects of air pollution and should limit outdoor activities. The Lehigh Valley region is Berks, Lehigh and Northampton counties. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2012/06/19/4573925/air-quality-action-day-forecast.html Rejuvenating Mexico's Polluted, Crime-Ridden Cities. Mexico’s leading architects, planners and civil servants are working together in a long-overdue battle to clean up some of the country’s most polluted urban areas. Public parks are being rehabilitated and designated pedestrian zones are cutting traffic in car-clogged cities. Leading the way in green initiatives is Villahermosa, capital of Tabasco state and a hub of the oil and natural gas industry. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/21/business/global/rejuvenating-mexicos-polluted-crime-ridden-cities.html CLIMATE CHANGE Mayors vaunt progress against climate change. While squabbling between rich and poor countries casts a pall over the upcoming United Nations' Rio+20 conference on sustainable development, the world's mayors said Tuesday that they were already taking real, measurable action to stave off environmental disaster and preserve natural resources for future generations. The C40 grouping of mayors from 58 megacities around the globe estimated that the nearly 5,000 measures they've already undertaken to fight global warming could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over a billion tons by 2030. Posted. http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jHeNooZzY-zs1WKaJT_7IpzaqKmg?docId=de152c6fe64842ff88620992ee012913 AP Newsbreak: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/06/19/4574125/mayors-vaunt-progress-against.html http://www.modbee.com/2012/06/19/2248839/mayors-vaunt-progress-against.html#storylink=misearch http://www.insidebayarea.com/ci_20892062/mayors-vaunt-progress-against-climate-change?IADID=Search-www.insidebayarea.com-www.insidebayarea.com http://www.contracostatimes.com/ci_20892062/mayors-vaunt-progress-against-climate-change http://www.fresnobee.com/2012/06/19/2879799/mayors-vaunt-progress-against.html#storylink=misearch http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2012/06/20/3 BYSUBSCRIPTION ONLY Cap-and-trade plan upheld by Calif. Court. A state appeals court on Tuesday upheld California's plan to combat global warming with a market-based cap-and-trade system to limit emissions of greenhouse gases, rejecting some environmental groups' arguments that the rules are too weak and could worsen certain types of air pollution. The state Air Resources Board, which adopted the plan in 2009, gave adequate reasons for rejecting alternatives such as binding limits on emissions and a tax on carbon-based fuels, said the First District Court of Appeal in San Francisco. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/06/20/BASU1P4MFB.DTL&type=printable http://www.eenews.net/Greenwire/2012/06/20/3 BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY Climate law could raise gas prices, lobbyists say. California regulations designed to fight global warming could force half of the state's refineries to close, trigger fuel shortages and add $2.70 per gallon to the cost of gasoline, according to a study released Tuesday by an oil industry lobbying group. The study, issued by the Western States Petroleum Association, argues that California's upcoming cap-and-trade system to cut carbon dioxide emissions could wreak havoc with fuel supplies as early as 2015. So could the state's low carbon fuel standard, a policy requiring refiners to lower the carbon intensity of the fuel they sell in California. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/06/20/BUMJ1P4HTJ.DTL&type=printable Two Sacramento area firms hailed as climate-friendly. Sacramento waste/recycling firm Atlas Disposal Industries and Citrus Heights environmental services company Virtually Basic LLC were among the 16 in-state winners of the CoolCalifornia.org "Small Business Awards." Announced by the state Air Resources Board, the awards recognize small firms that demonstrate leadership and make notable, voluntary achievements toward reducing their impact on the climate. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2012/06/20/4574790/two-sacramento-area-firms-hailed.html House approves waiver of border environmental laws. Washington -- The Republican-controlled House on Tuesday approved a bill that would allow the Border Patrol to circumvent more than a dozen environmental laws on all federally managed lands within 100 miles of the borders with Mexico and Canada. Supporters said the measure is needed to give border agents unfettered access to rugged lands now controlled by the Interior Department and Forest Service. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2012/06/19/4573769/house-takes-up-bill-to-waive-enviro.html Battle escalates over Calif.'s low-carbon standard. Sparring over the fate of California's low-carbon fuel standard continues in and out of court with a coalition of state attorneys general joining the fray on California's side. Oregon Attorney General John Kroger (D) filed an amicus brief in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, accompanied by the attorneys general of Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington. Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber (D) in April directed the state environmental quality department to write low-carbon fuel standard regulations by the end of the year; the complaint also cites the Northeastern states' consideration of a low-carbon fuels policy.. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2012/06/20/5 BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY Small-scale emitters worry about more greenhouse gas regulations. Under U.S. EPA's greenhouse gas regulations, it would cost $182.20 more for a small-scale farmer to raise a dairy cow and $2.19 more for a local baker to make a loaf of bread. The regulations would also significantly increase the financial burden of oil refineries serving rural communities. This is what would happen if EPA's efforts to curb climate change were to hit small-scale emitters -- a group EPA has so far exempted from the most burdensome greenhouse gas regulation -- representatives from agriculture, the baking industry and a small oil refinery said yesterday at a House Energy Committee hearing. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2012/06/20/6 BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY DIESEL EMISSIONS Pike Research forecasts clean diesels to represent more than 12% of global light-duty vehicle sales by 2018; outpacing hybrids in North America. A new report from Pike Research finds that rising fuel prices and stronger fuel economy regulations will stimulate increasing demand for clean diesel vehicles in markets around the world, and forecasts sales of these vehicles will increase from 9.1 million in 2012 to 12.1 million annually by 2018, representing 12.4% of all LDV sales by the end of that period. Posted. http://www.greencarcongress.com/2012/06/pikediesel-20120620.html FUELS Alarm raised about potential tar sands pipeline. With the fight continuing over a proposed tar sands pipeline through the Midwest, environmental groups are raising an alarm that a Canadian energy firm may be turning its attention to a possible eastern pipeline route through Northern New England. But both the Canadian firm identified in a new report from the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Portland, Maine-based owner of the pipeline running from Portland to Montreal say no such plans are in the works. Posted. http://www.vcstar.com/news/2012/jun/19/alarm-raised-about-potential-tar-sands-pipeline/#ixzz1yLh9m5a4 Pipe failure caused Feb. fire at Wash. BP refinery. BP says the Feb. 17 fire that shut down its Cherry Point oil refinery in Washington state near Ferndale was caused by a pipe failure in the crude processing unit. Refinery Manager Stacey McDaniel says the pipe has been replaced and is being monitored while a redesign is considered. BP added a maintenance "turnaround" to the repairs, which at one time required more than 3,200 additional workers at the site. The refinery returned to operation at the end of May. Its outage had been blamed as a factor in high West Coast gasoline prices. Posted. http://www.vcstar.com/news/2012/jun/19/pipe-failure-caused-feb-fire-at-wash-bp-refinery/#ixzz1yLhgVroM U.S. Senate committees study air pollution and earthquakes related to oil and gas production. Advances in oil and gas extraction that spurred domestic production have drawn scrutiny on Capitol Hill, and that continued here Tuesday as separate Senate panels examined earthquakes and air pollution associated with oil and gas wells. At a hearing on new air pollution standards for oil and gas production, a Devon Energy Corp. official said the reputation of natural gas as a cleaner burning fuel is being damaged by the Environmental Protection Agency’s willful ignorance of the hydraulic fracturing process. Posted. http://newsok.com/senate-eyes-effects-of-energy-development/article/3685977 VEHICLES Fuel Efficiency Takes Baby Steps in the Auto Industry. Thanks to climate change policies and expensive gasoline, electric cars — and especially hybrid electrics — have made some inroads in the U.S. vehicle market. Still, the internal combustion engine is not about to go the way of the dodo. Mainstream engine makers are continually pushing forward incremental improvements and a few companies are developing radically different technologies. Most of these innovators are still testing and marketing their designs and market barriers may slow or block widespread adoption, even if their inventions perform as hoped. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/21/business/global/fuel-efficiency-takes-baby-steps-in-the-auto-industry.html?pagewanted=all Clean State. With an average of 1.8 vehicles per household, Los Angeles is the world’s most car-populated metropolis. It’s no coincidence that it also ranks in the top four on each of the American Lung Assn.’s “Most Polluted Cities” lists for ozone, year-round particle pollution and short-term particle pollution. California legislators have been acutely aware of these air-quality problems since the 1950s, and the state has long led the nation in working to limit pollution by mandating low-emission vehicles. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/custompublishing/automotive/la-clean-state-20120619,0,2967688.story GREEN ENERGY Mexico's green party focuses more on money than environment. Mexico City -- The Ecologist Green Party of Mexico isn't your garden-variety group advocating recycling and mass transportation. It's swimming in cash, ideologically flexible and tainted by scandal. And it plays an outsized role in the campaign that's leading up to this country's presidential election July 1. For one thing, it's in a coalition with the Institutional Revolutionary Party, the odds-on favorite to recapture the presidency. It may form part of the next government. Environmental advocates say the Mexican party hijacked the "green" label and has leveraged its growth by association with the global green-party movement. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2012/06/20/4575776/mexicos-green-party-focuses-more.html Scotland could see 'Silicon Valley effect' from green energy. He made the statement in an address to members of the Commonwealth Club of California in San Francisco. Mr Salmond is on the west coast of America on a four-day trade mission. Scotland has 10% of Europe's wave power resources and a quarter of its offshore, wind and tidal resources. The first minister highlighted Scotland's developing marine energy sector and said the country would be a centre of excellence, bringing potentially huge economic and environmental gains. Posted. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-18517306 MISCELLANEOUS Goldman says buy Tesla before Model S sedan debut. Shares of Tesla Motors Inc. gained Wednesday after a Goldman Sachs analyst raised urged investors to buy shares of the electric car maker ahead of the delivery of its new Model S sedans. THE SPARK: Analyst Patrick Archambault increased the six-month price target on Tesla shares by 39 percent, to $50 from $36, and backed his "Buy" rating. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2012/06/20/financial/f090412D98.DTL&type=business OPINIONS Deadly Particles. In a welcome move that will make the air that Americans breathe cleaner, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed on Friday to tighten standards governing fine particles, commonly known as soot. Released by sources like diesel trucks and power plants, these microscopic specks can lodge in the lungs and bloodstream and cause respiratory and heart ailments. New standards are long overdue. In 2006, the E.P.A. reviewed the standards but decided to leave them where they had been set nearly 10 years before, at 15 micrograms of particulates per cubic meter of air. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/20/opinion/deadly-particles-in-the-air.html?ref=opinion&pagewanted=print Mandated filters on power plant smokestacks are a must to protect Americans' health. The following editorial appeared in the Miami Herald on Monday, June 18: After the Environmental Protection Agency's decade-long quest to implement needed standards for cleaner air and save Americans from the ill effects of mercury poisoning and other toxins, the EPA's rules are under attack in the U.S. Senate. Last December the EPA put Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) into practice, requiring coal and oil plants nationwide to filter their smokestacks from releasing harmful pollutants like mercury, lead, arsenic and acid gases into the already smoggy atmosphere. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2012/06/20/v-print/4575622/mandated-filters-on-power-plant.html Biochar aids soil fertility, keeps carbon in earth. After many afternoons digging in The Chronicle's garden, I've grown accustomed to the strong winds that blow through the intersection of Fifth and Mission. Yet I couldn't help but notice the dusty, depleted soil that barely clumped in my palm. With 6-year-old dirt harboring very little organic matter, our planters were looking more like dust bowls. Like many container gardeners, we've struggled to maintain soil fertility on our San Francisco rooftop. Typical potting soil contains a mixture of sand, compost and perlite. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/06/17/HOKS1NGPE6.DTL&type=printable Paternalism in the age of climate change. New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg recently proposed a ban on sales of sugary drinks over 16 oz., prompting an astonishing outpouring of strong pundit feelings on the subject of “paternalism” in government policy. (Honestly, I saw more genuine anger over this than I have seen over torture, food-stamp cuts, climate denial … it does not speak well of the political elite, frankly.) I’m not all that interested in soda policy as such. Posted. http://grist.org/climate-energy/paternalism-in-the-age-of-climate-change/ Will the Senate make you inhale mercury? We find out today. Last year, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, a first-of-its-kind baseline regulating the emission of mercury (and, as you might have guessed, other airborne toxics) from coal- and oil-fueled power plants. Today, the Senate, led by Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), will vote on blocking the regulation from ever taking effect. Thanks, Senate! Obviously, everyone you know will be talking about this. Americans are obsessed with the intricacies of governmental regulation and the procedures by which they are overturned. Posted. http://grist.org/news/will-the-senate-make-you-inhale-mercury-we-find-out-today/ BLOGS David Roberts on the Simple Climate Problem. David Roberts of Grist.org has posted his presentation at an Evergreen State College TEDx event, “Hello Climate Change: Rethinking the Unthinkable.” The conference was organized “to encourage thinking about the role of liberal arts education in an era of climate change.” Roberts called his talk “Climate change is simple.” He focuses on the basics of the science, with a dollop of economics, and leaves off the super wicked questions related to satisfying the energy needs of humanity through its current growth spurt without overheating climate. Posted. http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/19/david-roberts-on-the-simple-climate-problem/ Americans Polarized on Climate, Tuned Out on ‘Fracking.’ At a young age, Sheril Kirshenbaum has already excelled at many things — authorship in books on kissing and scientific illiteracy, blogging at “Culture of Science,” and more. Now she directs the new University of Texas at Austin Energy Poll, which offers a valuable view of Americans’ attitudes on energy choices and climate concerns. (The poll methods are described here.) I invited Kirshenbaum to sift the results from the second survey, conducted in March, for findings that she saw as most interesting or notable. Posted. http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/19/americans-polarized-on-climate-tuned-out-on-fracking/ Q. and A.: The Dark Side to ‘Green’ Transactions. At Rio+20, the global conference on sustainable development that got under way Wednesday morning in Brazil, discussions abound on advancing environmental goals in a way that will benefit local and national economies. But development experts say there is a dark side to some ostensibly “green” market initiatives: the appropriation of resources for biofuels production, carbon offsets, ecotourism and so on can have devastating consequences for local people. Posted. http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/20/q-and-a-the-dark-side-to-green-transactions California Court of Appeal Upholds AB 32 Scoping Plan for Greenhouse Gas Reduction. Today, the California Court of Appeal rejected an appeal by environmental justice advocates seeking to scuttle the California Air Resources Board’s AB 32 Scoping Plan. EJ advocates objected to the Scoping Plan’s adoption of a cap-and-trade program to achieve some of the greenhouse gas reductions required under the landmark California law AB 32. Their primary concern is that the program will not adequately reduce the emissions of co-pollutants that harm public health, or possibly will even increase those emissions in vulnerable neighborhoods. Posted. http://legalplanet.wordpress.com/2012/06/19/california-court-of-appeal-upholds-ab-32-scoping-plan-for-greenhouse-gas-reduction/ Appellate Court Upholds Cal. Climate Change Plan. I have previously blogged about the ongoing battle between environmental justice activists and the California Air Resources Board (“CARB”) over CARB’s adoption of its scoping plan for its AB 32 program to reduce global warming emissions. I focused upon the issues under the California Environmental Quality Act, basically CARB’s initial failure to thoroughly consider alternatives and its leap to judgment before considering its response to comments. Posted. http://legalplanet.wordpress.com/2012/06/19/california-court-of-appeal-upholds-ab-32-scoping-plan-for-greenhouse-gas-reduction/ Young motorists driving far less than even 10 years ago. A new study by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group indicates Americans are driving less than they were a few years ago. That drop is largely thanks to young people. Those between the ages of 16 and 34 drove 23 percent fewer miles in 2009 than they did in 2001. While it's tempting to attribute the decline to the recession, the study suggests the decline may continue even after the economy picks up pace. Factors like steeper fuel prices, more readily available public transportation and a shift in priorities are likely to continue to allow young drivers to cut down on their time behind the wheel. Posted. http://green.autoblog.com/2012/06/20/young-motorists-driving-far-less-than-even-10-years-ago/