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newsclips -- Newsclips for July 10, 2012 Posted: 10 Jul 2012 13:32:11
ARB Newsclips for July 10, 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 Power industry braces for court air pollution ruling. Washington - The power industry is waiting for a federal appeals court to rule on proposed emissions controls for coal-fired power plants, a decision with implications for energy sectors ranging from natural gas to coal to tradeable pollution permits. The Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit is expected as soon as Tuesday to issue its decision on the Environmental Protection Agency's Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, or CSAPR. It delayed the decision on December 30, just two days before the rule was to enter force. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/07/09/us-usa-epa-court-idUSBRE8681ED20120709 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/10/epa-cross-state-air-pollution-rule_n_1660540.html Officials declare Spare the Air day Tuesday. With temperatures forecast to reach into the 90s around the North Bay today, air quality officials have declared a Spare the Air Day for the greater Bay Area. Residents are advised to drive less and reduce energy use to limit air pollution, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District said. Warm, still conditions trap ozone, or smog, close to the earth, making for poor air quality that’s especially challenging for children, the elderly and those with respiratory conditions, the air district said. Posted. http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/20120709/ARTICLES/120709586 http://www.insidebayarea.com/ci_21038599/spare-air-alert-called-tuesday-bay-area?IADID=Search-www.insidebayarea.com-www.insidebayarea.com http://www.contracostatimes.com/ci_21038599/spare-air-alert-called-tuesday-bay-area?IADID=Search-www.contracostatimes.com-www.contracostatimes.com AIR QUALITY: Smog-reducing proposals kept secret. The public is not being allowed to view proposals to spend $53 million to reduce air pollution in the Coachella Valley or learn who has submitted the pitches. The lack of transparency has raised concerns among some open-government advocates, who say it is the public’s business and doesn’t merit such secrecy. The South Coast Air Quality Management District is administering the fund, intended to be used to cut pollution to compensate for emissions from a new power plant. Posted. http://www.pe.com/local-news/politics/politics-headlines-index/20120709-air-quality-smog-reducing-proposals-kept-secret.ece?ssimg=640328#ssStory640329 EPA sets Central Valley public hearing on particle pollution. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says it plans two public hearings – one in Sacramento ad the other in Philadelphia, Pa. -- on proposed updates to the national air quality standards for fine particle pollution, dubbed PM2.5). A federal court ruling requires EPA to update the standards based on best available science. The proposed updates, which the EPA says meet that requirement; build on steps already taken by the agency to reduce pollution in communities across the country. Posted. http://www.centralvalleybusinesstimes.com/stories/001/?ID=21433 Nitrogen Dioxide Air Pollution Lessens in Parts of U.S. and Europe. Satellite measurements show that nitrogen dioxide in the lower atmosphere over parts of Europe and the US has fallen over the past decade. More than 15 years of atmospheric observations have revealed trends in air quality. As the world's population increases, economies in many countries are also growing and populations are concentrating in large cities. With the use of fossil fuels still on the rise, pollution in large cities is also increasing. Nitrogen dioxide is an important pollutant in the troposphere, the lowest portion of our atmosphere. Posted. http://eponline.com/articles/2012/07/10/nitrogen-dioxide-air-pollution-lessens-in-parts-of-us-and-europe.aspx Dirty diesel generators test EPA, demand-response industry. Demand-response companies have gained a green reputation as they've grown into a major player on the electricity market, but critics warned U.S. EPA today there's a dirty secret in how they're relieving the strained power grid on the hottest summer days. On competitive energy markets, these firms often get paid to provide "negawatts," or negative megawatts, by inking contracts with customers who agree to avoid using electricity when needed. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/Greenwire/2012/07/10/2 BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY Black lung disease, once on the brink of extinction, is back. Thank the coal industry. In February 1969, miners in West Virginia launched an illegal wildcat strike. The action halted extraction for half of the mines in the northern part of the state for days. The miners had one demand: end black lung disease. The action worked. By the end of 1969, new policies went into effect in an effort to curb the disease, which results from the inhalation of coal dust and leads to long-term lung damage and impaired breathing. New exposure limits were set, and miners were offered regular chest X-rays and compensation for damage. Posted. http://grist.org/news/black-lung-disease-once-on-the-brink-of-extinction-is-back-thank-the-coal-industry / Fire news: Mendocino National Forest fire now 10,000 acres and growing. July 9 saw significant spread to the fire in Mendocino National Forest now dubbed the Mill Fire. It grew from 2,500 acres at noon to 10,000 acres at the 8 p.m. update. The fire is considered 10 percent contained and no estimate on when the fire will be fully contained has been provided by Mendocino National Forest officials. The cause of the fire is under investigation. As of the update there were 700 personnel responding to the incident. Posted. http://www.willitsnews.com/ci_21040296/fire-news-mendocino-national-forest-fire-now-10?source=most_viewed Hancock to offer free air emissions classes. Representatives from local businesses, industry and governmental agencies, as well as the general public, are invited to attend free air emissions regulation courses via Hancock College. The classes, offered at the Santa Maria and Lompoc college campuses, are especially geared toward owners, managers and staff from regulated industries and government and private sector environmental professionals. Santa Maria courses are offered by Hancock and the Central California Environmental Training Center in collaboration with the California Air Resources Board (CARB), and the Lompoc course is in collaboration with Imerys Minerals California, Inc. Posted. http://santamariatimes.com/news/local/education/hancock-to-offer-free-air-emissions-classes/article_8039973a-c98b-11e1-8364-0019bb2963f4.html CLIMATE CHANGE Study links global warming to Texas heat waves. New research suggests that global warming increases the chances of heat waves in Texas, like the one that hit the state last year. The government also confirmed Tuesday that 2011 was among the 15 warmest years on record. Texas had record heat and drought last year. Part of the problem was a weather pattern called La Nina, which contributed to drought across the South. Scientists in Oregon and England used computer simulations to estimate how much more likely such Texas heat waves are because of global warming. Posted. http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_SCI_GLOBAL_WARMING?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2012-07-10-12-02-46 Japan agency says high chance El Nino to emerge this summer. Tokyo - Japan's weather bureau said on Tuesday its climate models indicate there is a strong possibility the El Nino weather pattern, which is often linked to heavy rainfall and droughts, will emerge this summer. The Japan Meteorological Agency changed the language in its monthly assessment of the six-month outlook for El Nino that it used in June, when it said it was more likely that normal weather patterns would prevail in Asia through to December. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/07/10/us-weather-elnino-japan-idUSBRE86906U20120710 Ohio farmers grow concerned over dry conditions. Farmer John Hoffman hopes forecasts of more hot temperatures and extremely dry weather across the state the next few weeks will change, but he doesn't hold out a lot of hope for much of his corn crop. And he's not alone. Concerns are growing among Ohio's farmers as abnormally dry conditions, considered among the worst in the last decade, and triple-digit temperatures scorch already parched fields, stunting much of the corn and soybean crops. Posted. http://www.vcstar.com/news/2012/jul/09/ohio-farmers-grow-concerned-over-dry-conditions/#ixzz20EdcfWi1 Extreme climes producing more insurance claims: report. With climate change, the number of extreme weather events, such as severe thunderstorms, is expected to increase. According to Telling the Weather Story, a report prepared for the Insurance Bureau of Canada last month, Canada's climate is warming and getting wetter. "These changes to the climate are likely responsible, at least in part, for the rising frequency and severity of extreme weather events in Canada, …Posted. http://www.montrealgazette.com/technology/Extreme+climes+producing+more+insurance+claims+report/6908419/story.html#ixzz20EmaaAnu DIESEL EMISSIONS Cat pays $510K for shipping, selling uncertified equipment in California. Caterpillar will pay a fine of $510,000 to the California Air Resources Board (CARB) for shipping more than 590,000 on-road and off-road engines that did not have legally required emissions controls installed. The investigation of these violations was conducted with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Justice based on similar conduct outside of California. The settlement calls for the Illinois-based company to pay a total of $2.55 million in penalties nationwide for violations of the Clean Air Act. Posted. http://www.equipmentworld.com/cat-pays-510k-for-shipping-selling-uncertified-equipment-in-california/ FUELS Ethanol: Beloved by farmers, detested by Big Oil, endlessly debated by Congress. In 2007, Congress finalized a new policy mandating the integration of renewable source fuels into America’s gasoline. In other words, biofuels — gasoline substitutes/additives that could be used by existing vehicles but that were both renewable and resulted in less harmful emissions. Here’s the EPA’s overview of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), as it’s known. Posted. http://grist.org/news/ethanol-beloved-by-farmers-detested-by-big-oil-endlessly-debated-by-congress/ Is fracking polluting Pennsylvania groundwater or not? ProPublica has been at the forefront of examining the possible negative impacts of fracking. Yesterday, they posted a story titled, “New Study: Fluids From Marcellus Shale Likely Seeping Into PA Drinking Water.” Here’s how it starts: New research has concluded that salty, mineral-rich fluids deep beneath Pennsylvania’s natural gas fields are likely seeping upward thousands of feet into drinking water supplies. Posted. http://grist.org/news/is-fracking-polluting-pennsylvania-groundwater-or-not/ VEHICLES Oregon’s ‘electric highway’ a boon for plug-in drivers on the West Coast. It may not be long before electric car owners on America’s Pacific coast can drive all the way from Canada to Mexico using quick-charge stations. Thanks to Oregon’s new ‘electric highway,’ it’s now possible to charge an electric car every 25 miles down a 200-mile stretch of Interstate 5. That, says an NBC News video, makes it the longest stretch of electric highway in the country. It’s set to improve even further, as the state has funding for another 35 quick-charge stations. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/07/08/idUS202230176920120708 HIGH-SPEED RAIL Challenges remain for Calif. high-speed rail plan. Sacramento, Calif. California lawmakers may have given their OK to what could be the nation's first high-speed rail line, but the project is still a ways from leaving the station. Even with prominent supporters such as President Barack Obama and Gov. Jerry Brown, bullet train backers must still overcome a number of challenges, including environmental concerns, clashes with local leaders over land use, a $68 billion overall price tag with no funding guarantees, and an increasingly disenchanted public. Posted. http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_HIGH_SPEED_RAIL?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT Brown, LaHood stump for Calif. Project. Oakland, Calif. -- California will find the money to build its high-speed rail line, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) said yesterday at the Port of Oakland. Politicians had the $68.4 billion statewide rail project on their minds yesterday, even though the Oakland event was to mark an unrelated federal award to the port's rail system. The state high-speed rail authority's recently installed CEO, Jeff Morales, was also in attendance. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/Greenwire/print/2012/07/10/9 BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY MISCELLANEOUS Chevrolet steps up promotions to boost sagging market share. Chevrolet will allow buyers to return their cars for a full refund as long as they have less than 4,000 miles driven and no damage. The offer is part of a new marketing program that includes no-haggle pricing and is meant to increase Chevrolet sales and reverse a market-share slide for the brand this year. The “Love it or return it” program is good on new 2012 or 2013 model-year vehicles. Any returns have to be within 30 to 60 days of the purchase date. The promotion runs through Sept. 4 and may help Chevrolet sell off its remaining inventory of 2012 vehicles as it transitions to the new model year. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/business/money/la-fi-mo-chevrolet-nohaggle-sales-20120710,0,5547584.story GREEN ENERGY UPDATE 1-Japan aims for $628 bln green energy market to boost economy. TOKYO, Japan will aim to create a $628 billion green energy market by 2020 through deregulation and subsidies to promote development of renewable energy and low-emission cars, a draft of the government's growth strategy showed. The government will also work with the Bank of Japan to ensure the country exits deflation and achieves stable price growth, according to the draft obtained by Reuters on Tuesday. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/07/10/japan-economy-growth-idUSL3E8IA3C820120710 Apple's withdrawal from "green" certification program surprises purchasers. After establishing itself as an environmental leader among consumer electronics companies, Apple's (AAPL) abrupt withdrawal from a prominent "green" product registry has set off a furor in the blogosphere and could modestly cut into the company's computer sales. Apple's decision may be tied to the design of the new MacBook Pros, which have batteries glued into the case and can't be disassembled for recycling -- a violation of the green certification standards of EPEAT, a nonprofit product rating group backed by many manufacturers and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Posted. http://www.insidebayarea.com/ci_21038488/apples-withdrawal-from-green-certification-program-surprises-purchasers?IADID=Search-www.insidebayarea.com-www.insidebayarea.com http://www.contracostatimes.com/business/ci_21038486/apple-withdrawal-epeat-green-certification-program-surprises-purchasers OPINIONS Legislature takes long view on high-speed rail. By approving the first stretch of track for a bullet train system, Sacramento has made a landmark choice, one that comes with vision, boldness and sizable risks. California needs this transportation link in its future - along with tough-minded management to make it happen. The concept of 200-mph trains linking the northern and southern population centers makes sense, as voters agreed in passing a $9.9 billion bond measure in 2008. But poor oversight, rising costs and a dose of NIMBY sniping have raised questions, not all of them answered. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/opinion/editorials/article/Legislature-takes-long-view-on-high-speed-rail-3694566.php DYER: Wild weather can't prove global warming, but bet on it. It was 107 degrees Fahrenheit in St. Louis, Missouri, last weekend, about the same as in Saudi Arabia. Along the U.S. Atlantic Coast, it was cooler, but not much: 105 degrees in Washington, D.C., just short of the city's all-time record. And 46 Americans were already dead from the heat wave. In Britain, it was incredibly wet. Almost 2.3 inches of rain fell on Saturday in parts of southern England, and over 20 flood warnings and 100 flood alerts were in effect. The wettest April ever was followed by the wettest June (more than double average rainfall), and July has started the same way. Posted. http://www.nctimes.com/news/opinion/columnists/dyer/dyer-wild-weather-can-t-prove-global-warming-but-bet/article_2297fdb8-21db-52cd-89f5-68b0ba51fe0f.html Editorial: Ban leaf blowers, or at least limit their usage. The subject blows into town every now and again, and we're hearing its low roar once again--residents are complaining about the noise and air pollution caused by gas-powered leaf blowers. We heard about it in a letter to the editor a couple of weeks back from Tony Fiorentino, a 40-year Los Gatos resident, and now we've heard about it again from longtime community volunteers Valerie and John Hopkins in a letter responding to Fiorentino's original correspondence. Posted. http://www.insidebayarea.com/ci_21039990/editorial-ban-leaf-blowers-or-at-least-limit?IADID=Search-www.insidebayarea.com-www.insidebayarea.com BLOGS Green Groups Plan Legal Challenge to Arctic Drilling. A coalition of about a dozen environmental groups is preparing to file a lawsuit as early as Tuesday seeking greater protections as Shell prepares to begin drilling exploratory wells off the North Slope of Alaska this summer, spokesmen for the groups said. The groups — including Earthjustice, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Sierra Club, Oceana and the National Audubon Society — will challenge the Interior Department’s approval of Shell’s plans for responding to a potential spill. Posted. http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/07/09/green-groups-plan-legal-challenge-to-arctic-drilling 'Thank God' for high-speed rail funding, Gov. Jerry Brown says. "It's a jobs creator, and thank God we got it," Gov. Jerry Brown said of funding for high speed rail, narrowly approved by the Legislature last week. He and U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood were at the Port of Oakland on Monday to take a victory lap. The state Senate barely passed $8 billion in state and federal spending on the bullet train and related transportation projects on Friday, sending the bill to Brown for his signature. The federal funding was contingent on the state allocating money. Posted. http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/california-politics/2012/07/thank-god-for-rail-funding-says-jerry-brown.html Review: Insteon remote-control LED light bulb. The dream of a fully technology integrated and automated home can make a tech geek downright giddy: coffee machines that grind coffee and brew at a set hour, power sockets with built-in USB outlets, steaks cooked medium rare thanks to a Bluetooth thermometer. For every person who thinks a thermostat that learns personal temperature preferences is excessive, there's a tech geek who calls that cool. Take the new LED bulb by Insteon. Released a couple of weeks ago, this bulb can be turned on, off or dimmed by remote control (included with bulb) or by iOS and Android apps. Posted. http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/home_blog/2012/07/insteon-remote-control-light-bulb-review.html Panasonic, Energizer, P&G Promise to Ramp Up Battery Recycling. Panasonic, Duracell (Procter & Gamble), Energizer and Rayovac today have announced an ambitious nationwide commitment to the recycling of household batteries. Under the umbrella of the Corporation for Battery Recycling (CBR), these four companies and other stakeholder groups envision an industry-led voluntary program that changes how American consumers dispose of household batteries. CBR’s push is important because battery recycling is still a pesky problem for manufacturers, retailers and municipalities. Posted. http://www.triplepundit.com/2012/07/corporation-for-battery-recycling-panasonic-energizer-pg/