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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.


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.

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.eenews.net/Greenwire/print/2012/06/20/1 BY

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.


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. 

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. 


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. 

AP Newsbreak:



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.eenews.net/Greenwire/2012/06/20/3  BY SUBSCRIPTION

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.

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.

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.

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

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


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. 


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.  

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. 

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. 


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. 

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. 


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.

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. 


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.


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.

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.

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.

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. 

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. 


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.

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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