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newsclips -- Newsclips for June 28, 2012.

Posted: 28 Jun 2012 13:00:43
ARB Newsclips for June 28, 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.


LA council votes to strictly enforce Clean Air Act. Los Angeles
officials have voted unanimously to approve stricter enforcement
of the federal Clean Air Act, including a provision that requires
coal-fired plants to reduce mercury and other toxic air
pollution. City News Service reports the city council voted 10-0
on Wednesday to regulate the city's coal-fired power plants,
which provide about 39 percent of the city's electricity. The Los
Angeles Department of Water and Power has vowed to comply with
the new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards and
eventually eliminate coal as an energy source. Posted. 



California Lawmakers Pass Measure Limiting Cap-And-Trade Links.
California lawmakers passed a bill that may stall plans for a
link of the state’s cap-and-trade system with Quebec that would
allow companies to exchange carbon permits across the borders.
The measure, approved as part of the legislature’s $95.1 billion
budget package, requires the state’s air resources board to gain
approval from the governor before linking cap-and-trade systems
with other jurisdictions. The board was expected to decide
tomorrow on a link with Quebec that would allow companies to use
carbon offsets and permits issued by the province to meet
California’s greenhouse-gas emissions targets. Posted.

Court ruling to shift greenhouse gas fight back to Congress. An
appeals court decision to uphold proposed federal greenhouse gas
rules may shift the fight over regulating the heat-trapping
emissions back to Congress, where lawmakers may step up efforts
to diminish the EPA's power or renew efforts to set a price on
carbon, experts said. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District
of Columbia on Monday unanimously ruled that the Environmental
Protection Agency's (EPA) finding that carbon dioxide is a public
danger and the decision to set limits for emissions from cars and
light trucks were legal. Posted.


NASA cancels climate study project in Thailand. The United States
says it will not be able to carry out a major climate study this
year because Thailand has delayed a decision on whether to grant
the U.S. space agency permission to use a key naval air base.
NASA's request to use Thailand's U-Tapao air base as the
project's operations center has faced opposition from critics who
say it could be a cover for military purposes. The base is
located in Chonburi province, 190 kilometers (118 miles)
southeast of Bangkok. Posted.

Heat wave: 1,000+ records fall in US in a week. Feeling hot? It's
not a mirage. Across the United States, hundreds of heat records
have fallen in the past week. From the wildfire-consumed Rocky
Mountains to the bacon-fried sidewalks of Oklahoma, the
temperatures are creating consequences ranging from catastrophic
to comical. In the past week, 1,011 records have been broken
around the country, including 251 new daily high temperature
records on Tuesday. Posted. 


Enviros: Gas industry got inside info from NY DEC. An
environmental group has released documents showing the natural
gas industry had exclusive access to proposed drilling
regulations at least six weeks before they were made public by
New York state's Department of Environmental Conservation. The
Environmental Working Group alleged Thursday that a prominent
industry lawyer used this access to try to weaken rules
restricting discharges of radioactive wastewater. The national
group is seeking a moratorium on shale gas drilling until all
health and environmental concerns are resolved. Posted.


Some senators push for shift in bullet train plan. Three months
ago, Gov. Jerry Brown hit the reset button on the California
bullet train, slashing $30 billion from its $98 billion budget
and promising to reorder the controversial project's priorities.
Now, some Democrats in the state Senate want to hit the reset
button again. They have proposed dramatically shifting the
high-speed rail project's focus by cutting back on planned
construction in the Central Valley and instead spending billions
on immediate rail improvements in Los Angeles and San Francisco.


Screens used to lower electricity bills. Tokyo -- Screens and
shades placed on the outside of windows have been gaining
popularity as people expect they will reduce indoor heat and help
push down their electricity bills for the summer. Made of
polyester or other thin materials, the screens and shades are not
eyesores because many can be rolled up when not in use. In early
June, Mineko Akiba, a 70-year-old housewife in Chiba, Japan, had
a roll-up shade installed at her house outside a living room
window that is 1.7 meters wide and 2 meters high. Posted.

San Jose teams up with SolarCity. San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed has
installed solar panels on his own home and has made renewable
energy a key platform of his "Green Vision" for the city. Now the
city is working with San Mateo-based SolarCity to install rooftop
solar panels on 16 municipal buildings, with 14 additional sites
under consideration. Four of the projects, including
installations at Kelley Park and the Police Activities League
Sports Center, are already complete. Twelve others are under way,
including libraries in Alum Rock and Almaden, the Tully Road ball
field and three downtown parking garages. Posted.


L.A. metal recyclers charged in mishandling of toxic waste. Los
Angeles city attorney's office accuses the owners of three metal
recycling businesses of posing 'a significant threat to human
health and the environment.'  Los Angeles city prosecutors
Wednesday took the unusual step of filing criminal charges
against the owners of three metal recycling businesses, accusing
them of illegally handling hazardous waste and allowing toxic
chemicals to be released into storm water. Posted.

Gas mowers to be exchanged for electric ones Saturday at Big A.
Annual lawnmower exchange is in 10th year and has taken more than
43,000 carbon-belchers out of circulation. Anaheim – Air-quality
officials are coming to Angel Stadium on Saturday, armed with
hundreds of electric lawn mowers they hope professional
landscapers and weekend gardeners will pick up in exchange for
old, carbon-belching models. This is the 10th anniversary of the
Southern California Air Quality Management District's popular
Lawnmower Exchange Program. Posted.

Worth noting: Finalists picked for film-making contest, more.
Finalists have been chosen in the San Joaquin Valley Air
Pollution Control District's annual amateur film-making contest. 
Sophia Breedlove of Fresno won in the K-8 category, Andrew Beard
of Bakersfield won in the high school category and Antonio Garcia
of Bakersfield won in the college and teachers category.
Participants created 30-second videos illustrating how to change
things in daily life that would improve air quality in the San
Joaquin Valley, according to Valley Air District spokesman
Anthony Presto. Posted. 


A Court Rules for the Planet. A federal court decision on Tuesday
upholding the Environmental Protection Agency’s landmark rulings
to control greenhouse gases was a decisive victory for the Obama
administration and a devastating blow to polluters. It vindicated
the administration’s strategy of controlling emissions through
regulation and showed good sense at a time when both the agency
and the science of global warming are under relentless
Congressional attack. Posted.

Letters: When the oceans rise. Re "State sea levels expected to
rise," June 25. Climate change news over the last several weeks,
like The Times' article on California's sea levels rising by up
to five feet, has been troubling. The country's most esteemed
scientists continue to forecast a major sea level rise, as in the
recent National Research Council report, while high-level
government institutions decline to take meaningful action to
forestall or even confront it. Local governments and communities
will bear the brunt of this intransigence, but they are also
empowered to take independent action. Posted.

Is your sofa safe? A California agency is set to study furniture
flammability rules, which largely serve as the standard
nationwide. The California Bureau of Electronic and Appliance
Repair, Home Furnishings and Thermal Insulation might just be the
most important state agency that no one's ever heard of. It is
about to revamp the state's flammability standards for furniture,
a mundane-sounding subject that will have significant
ramifications not just in California but nationally as well.

Dan Walters: Fate of California's bullet train iffy in state
Senate. The state Assembly would surely vote for Gov. Jerry
Brown's plan to begin building a north-south bullet train in the
San Joaquin Valley – but the Senate, where party discipline is
much weaker, is proving to be a tougher political nut to crack.
Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg has publicly pledged
to approve construction funds and wants a vote next week. Just
weeks ago, Senate approval appeared certain, but with Republicans
solidly opposed, Steinberg needs support from 20 of the 24 other
Democratic senators. At the moment, the votes aren't there.

Weather underground: How TV weathercasters can help in the
climate fight.  We humans are warming our climate — mostly by
burning up fossil fuels. And we’re seeing a range of serious
impacts in our own backyards and across the globe, including the
increased frequency and magnitude of some types of extreme
weather.  Americans seem to get it. Polling from 2011 shows that
a majority of us now link an unnaturally warming climate to
droughts, floods, and other extremes. Posted. 


Cutting the Electric Bill with a Giant Battery. A giant battery
bank installed by the side of the Southeast Pennsylvania Transit
Authority’s subway tracks a little over a month ago is saving
about nine megawatt-hours of power a week, its manufacturer says,
which is more electricity than the typical apartment-dweller uses
in a year. The battery system, which I wrote about last year, is
allowing the trains to run a bit like Prius hybrids. When they
slow down at a station, their motors turn into generators,
converting torque into current. Posted.

In New Jersey, Brewing an Alternative to Petroleum. Walking into
the research facility of Primus Green Energy is not unlike
wandering onto the set of “Dr. Who.” Everywhere you look, there
is plumbing, usually covered in multiple layers of shiny aluminum
foil. The foil is hot, it’s festooned with hundreds of wires and
it reeks of solvents. Robert A. Heinlein, the writer of science
fiction, once said that any sufficiently advanced technology is
indistinguishable from magic. Posted. 

Tides Canada Stands Up to Government Critics. A charitable
foundation devoted to environmental causes that has been vilified
by politicians in Canada’s governing Conservative Party has
struck back, outlining its finances and accusing the politicians
of trying to silence dissent. On Wednesday, the group, Tides
Canada, released an unusually detailed accounting of both its
grants and its international donors to counter the charges.

CAFE standards upheld by U.S. appeals court. No dice, partner.
Federal Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards for
2012-16 were upheld this week by a U.S. Court of Appeals in
Washington, D.C., quashing efforts by certain industries and a
number of states to overturn the mandate, The Detroit News
reports. The standards, which have been backed by the Obama
Administration, require fleetwide fuel economy to reach 34.1
miles per gallon by 2016. The mandate, made in part to address
evidence of global warming from greenhouse gas emissions, has
been backed by most major automakers, including Ford, General
Motors and Chrysler. Posted. 

Climate Smack-Down: Court Upholds EPA's Carbon Pollution
Standards In Triumph of Science and Law.  On Tuesday the federal
appeals court in Washington delivered a resounding victory for
science, the rule of law, and common sense by upholding the
Environmental Protection Agency’s landmark actions to start
curbing the dangerous carbon pollution driving climate change. 
Ruling unanimously in Coalition for Responsible Regulation v.
EPA, the appeals court rejected each and every attack from the
coal companies, power companies…Posted. 

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