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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for July 12, 2012. Posted: 12 Jul 2012 12:51:56
ARB Newsclips for July 12, 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 Iowans sue EPA over livestock feedlot emissions. Cedar Rapids, Iowa (AP) — A group of Iowa residents has filed a lawsuit seeking to require the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate emissions from livestock operations. The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in U.S. District in Cedar Rapids, claims the EPA's failure to regulate pollutants such as ammonia and hydrogen sulfide, commonly found in the air around the operations, endanger public health and welfare, The Gazette (http://bit.ly/NjVeoH ) reported. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Iowans-sue-EPA-over-livestock-feedlot-emissions-3702528.php POLLUTION: Tougher burning restrictions expected. On the heels of a new rule that restricts wood fires in people’s homes and yards, air-quality regulators are talking about a further crackdown on fireplaces to control fine-particle pollution in Southern California. Under the current rules, the South Coast Air Quality Management District proclaims no-burn days in areas where fine-particle pollution is expected to reach unhealthful levels. The district is considering a lower threshold for no-burn days that would be in effect for the entire air basin from the ocean to the mountains, district spokesman Sam Atwood said. Posted. http://www.pe.com/local-news/local-news-headlines/20120711-pollution-tougher-burning-restrictions-expected.ece Thursday will be third Spare the Air day this week. Air quality officials have declared a third consecutive Spare the Air Day on Thursday because of forecasts calling for hot temperatures and high pollution levels. Residents around the greater Bay Area are being advised to avoid any unnecessary driving, as well as strenuous outdoor activity during the hottest part of the day. It will be the fourth Spare the Air day of the season, and the third since Tuesday, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District said. Posted. http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/20120711/COMMUNITY/120719929 http://www.insidebayarea.com/ci_21054475/spare-air-alert-called-thursday-bay-area?IADID=Search-www.insidebayarea.com-www.insidebayarea.com http://www.contracostatimes.com/ci_21054475/spare-air-alert-called-thursday-bay-area?IADID=Search-www.contracostatimes.com-www.contracostatimes.com Mill Fire acreage and containment climb slightly Wednesday. Northern California – Firefighters continued to make progress on a wildland fire that’s been burning in the Mendocino National Forest for nearly a week. The Mill Fire, burning north and east of Upper Letts Lake within the Colusa County side of the forest since last Saturday, reached 16,800 acres late Wednesday, according to Mendocino National Forest officials. The fire edged up about 800 acres on Wednesday, with containment improving to 38 percent, the agency said. Posted. http://www.lakeconews.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=25932:mill-fire-acreage-and-containment-climbs-slightly-wednesday&catid=1:latest&Itemid=197 Higher CO2 levels in atmosphere could speed emissions from soils – study. As higher levels of carbon dioxide permeate the Earth's atmosphere, scientists have long counted on forests -- which, as individual trees, grow larger in carbon-rich environments -- to soak up some of the excess. But after nearly a decade and a half of observing forest ecosystems in controlled settings, scientists now see evidence that elevating carbon levels may cause forests to release as much extra carbon as they absorb. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2012/07/12/2 BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY Canadian regulators approve first large CO2 control project for oil sands. Canadian regulators approved a project yesterday that could become the first-ever large-scale attempt to control CO2 emissions from the country's oil sands region. The Alberta Energy Resources Conservation Board greenlighted Royal Dutch Shell PLC's Quest CCS project, which envisions capturing 1 million metric tons of carbon dioxide annually from an oil sands upgrader -- an oil processing unit -- and storing the greenhouse gas underground permanently. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2012/07/12/3 BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY CLIMATE CHANGE FOOD: Technology helps limit drought losses. For months, Illinois farmer David Kellerman held out hope for rain, even as the worst drought in nearly 25 years spread across the country. He finally gave up when the temperature hit 108 three days in a row. Corn won’t develop kernels if it gets too warm during pollination, and Kellerman knew the empty cobs in his fields would never fill out. Just after the Fourth of July, he and the neighbor he farms with took an extraordinary step: They cut down the entire crop and baled the withered plants to use as hay for their cattle. Posted. http://www.pe.com/business/business-headlines/20120711-food-technology-helps-limit-drought-losses.ece http://www.nctimes.com/business/crop-technology-helps-limit-corn-losses-in-drought/article_874f4fc8-8c94-542a-8ae7-57529d0f5942.html Cap and Trade Resurrected? Some States Awaken to Its Economic Benefits. Evidence showing that cap and trade can bolster a new revenue stream has some state and federal officials quietly seeking answers. Cap and trade is long dead in the United States, a victim of shifting political winds, fierce oil industry opposition and a weak economy. With many states in financial trouble—and with evidence building that cap and trade can bolster a new revenue stream and create jobs—some states are starting to take a second look. Posted. http://insideclimatenews.org/news/20120708/cap-and-trade-rgg-states-california-economic-benefits-energy-efficiency-jobs-carbon-auctions-proceeds-deficits California Department of Water Resources Finalizes Climate Action Plan. The California Department of Water Resources ("DWR") recently finalized and approved a Climate Action Plan ("Plan"). The first phase of this Climate Action Plan is a Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Plan, which will guide State Water Project development and decision making with respect to energy use and greenhouse gas ("GHG") emissions. The Plan outlines how DWR will make substantial reductions in its GHG emissions in the near-term (present to 2020)…Posted. http://www.jdsupra.com/post/documentViewer.aspx?fid=44f5a37d-933e-41bf-acdd-c0b1331502dd DIESEL EMISSIONS California fines Caterpillar for engine violations. The California Air Resources Board said Caterpillar Inc., the Peoria, Ill.-based producer of industrial equipment and engines, will pay a $510,000 fine for shipping nearly 600,000 on- and off-road engines that did not have legally required emissions controls. ARB said the fine resulted from a joint investigation with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Justice. The fine is part of a larger national settlement resulting in payment of $2.55 million for violations of the Clean Air Act. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2012/07/11/v-print/4622946/california-fines-caterpillar-for.html FUELS Brent leaps above $101 as U.S. ups sanctions versus Iran. Brent crude futures turned higher in late trading on Thursday, jumping above $101 a barrel, after the United States announced increased sanctions against Iran, quashing sharp losses sparked by global economic growth worries. U.S. crude followed suit and gasoline futures rose more than 1 percent higher tracking the global benchmark Brent futures, traders said. The U.S. Treasury said, in announcing the move, that it was blacklisting a number of firms and individuals for contributing to what it called an effort to acquire nuclear weapons. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/07/12/us-markets-oil-idUSBRE83H17O20120712 Can fracking pollute water? Study tries to answer. A new study being done by the Department of Energy may provide some of the first solid answers to a controversial question: Can gas drilling fluids migrate and pose a threat to drinking water? A drilling company in southwestern Pennsylvania is giving researchers access to a commercial drilling site, said Richard Hammack, a spokesman for the National Energy Technology Laboratory in Pittsburgh. Posted. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/jul/11/can-fracking-pollute-water-study-tries-to-answer/ Dominion begins operations at new Va. power plant. Dominion Virginia Power has started commercial operations at its Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center in Wise County as part of its blueprint to meet growing energy demands and comply with changes to environmental regulations. The Richmond, Va., energy provider said Wednesday that the 585-megawatt power station in St. Paul was placed in commercial operation late Tuesday after four years of construction that employed nearly 2,400 workers at its peak. The $1.8 billion power station uses coal, waste coal and biomass to produce enough to power 146,000 homes at peak demand. Posted. http://www.vcstar.com/news/2012/jul/11/dominion-begins-operations-at-new-va-power-plant/ Companies that bought fake renewable credits fault EPA for lack of warning. One thing that has particularly irked companies that were taken in by a recent high-profile scam involving the peddling of fraudulent renewable energy credits on the biodiesel market is the fact that U.S. EPA knew about the scam for more than a year before it told buyers about it. Oil refiners and other obligated parties that purchase the renewable fuel credits to satisfy government mandates have questioned why EPA didn't provide them with a heads-up about the green energy scheme sooner. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/Greenwire/print/2012/07/12/4 BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY VEHICLES Sacramento public parking garages to add electric charging stations. Sacramento electric car owners will have 28 more charging stations to use starting in November. The City Council last week approved installation of the stations at eight public parking garages. The new stations – provided by Coulomb Technologies' ChargePoint America program – will work with every electric vehicle on the road except for select Tesla model vehicles. For those cars, an adapter is sold by Tesla. The charging stations will be free to use. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2012/07/11/4622584/sacramento-public-parking-garages.html United Airlines orders 150 Boeing 737s. United Airlines is buying 150 Boeing 737s, planning to use them to replace older planes that are not as fuel efficient. The order announced on Thursday includes 100 of Boeing's new 737 Max 9s.That's a new version of the plane that will have new engines and other tweaks to cut how much fuel it burns. Those planes start arriving at United in 2018. United is also buying 50 of Boeing's current 737-900ER. Those planes begin arriving late next year. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/business/article/United-Airlines-orders-150-Boeing-737s-3702057.php www.fresnobee.com/2012/07/12/2906722/united-airlines-orders-150-boeing.html#storylink=misearch ROUSH CleanTech Receives CARB Retrofit Alternative Fuel System Certification for 2010-MY Vehicles. ROUSH CleanTech has received California Air Resources Board (CARB) approval of its propane autogas fuel system for retrofitting 2010 model year 5.4-liter Ford E-150, E-250 and E-350 cargo vans and wagon. This is the first CARB certification awarded since 2000 for a liquefied petroleum gas retrofit system, and the first CARB certification for any alternative fuel system for retrofit installation on 2010 model year vehicles, according to the company. Posted. http://www.businessfleet.com/News/Story/2012/07/ROUSH-CleanTech-Receives-CARB-Retrofit-Alternative-Fuel-System-Certification-for-2010-MY-Vehicles.aspx McKinsey analysis indicates Li-ion pack prices could fall to $160/kWh by 2025; EV TCO competitive with combustion engine vehicles. A new analysis by the consultancy McKinsey & Company indicates that the price of a complete automotive lithium-ion battery pack could fall from the current $500–$600/kWh to about $200/kWh by 2020 and to about $160/kWh by 2025 (in real dollars, indexed to 2011). These figures represent the price per effective kWh, assuming batteries with 70% depth of discharge (DoD), and include the price of battery cells, battery-management systems, and packaging. Posted. http://www.greencarcongress.com/2012/07/mckinsey-20120712.html China aims to build and sell 5M energy-efficient vehicles by 2020. The Chinese government plans to invest heavily in green-tech vehicles and appliances, providing subsidies and incentives to get industries on board. The goals are to lessen dependence on foreign oil, cut emissions and speed the transition of the auto industry to a more environmentally sustainable model. By 2015, the country hopes to build and sell 500,000 energy-efficient and alternative-energy vehicles, increasing that number to 5 million by 2020. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2012/07/12/11 BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY GREEN ENERGY China drives 24% rise in new clean tech investment. China was the main contributor to a 24 percent rise in new global investment in clean energy in the second quarter as large Chinese solar and wind projects raised millions of dollars of finance, said research firm Bloomberg New Energy Finance. New global clean energy investment totalled $59.6 billion in the second quarter of this year, up 24 percent from the previous quarter but still 18 percent below the near-record high of $72.5 billion in the second quarter of 2011, the company said in a report on Wednesday. Posted. http://in.reuters.com/article/2012/07/11/clean-energy-investment-idINL6E8IB5JL20120711 U.S. trails in energy efficiency ranking. The United States ranked ninth out of 12 major industrial powers in overall energy efficiency, according to a new survey released Thursday. The American Council on Energy Efficient Economies scorecard rated the world’s top 12 economies on a variety of fronts, including energy use in buildings, fuel economy standards and energy intensity in the industrial sector. The United Kingdom ranked highest, with an overall score of 67 out of 100. The United States scored 47. Posted. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/jul/12/us-trails-energy-efficiency-ranking/ Gills Onions, Duda unveil newest ventures into renewable energy. The future of agriculture in Ventura County and California just may be a high-tech battery on an Oxnard onion farm. On Wednesday, amid the tangy aroma of fresh-cut onions, grower and food processor Gills Onions unveiled the technology to curious onlookers — a vanadium flow battery that converts chemical energy into electricity to store for later use. Posted. http://www.vcstar.com/news/2012/jul/11/gills-onions-duda-unveil-newest-ventures-into/ Brazilian inmates can reduce their sentence by providing human-powered electricity. Brazil is pioneering a new sort of jailhouse workout, in which inmates ride bikes instead of pumping iron. That’s not because they’d prefer fast inmates to strong ones (either one seems problematic if there’s an incident). It’s because the bikes, unlike weightlifting or prison-yard basketball, help power a nearby town. The program has four bikes, sourced from the police department’s lost and found. The incentive, as the Associated Press reports, is that the more time inmates spend generating pedal power, the shorter their stay in prison will be. Posted. http://grist.org/list/brazilian-inmates-can-reduce-their-sentence-by-providing-human-powered-electricity/ Industry adopting natural gas, shunning coal – experts. The energy industry is transitioning out of coal generation, and natural gas is poised to take its place, according to a panel of experts at the Summer 2012 Energy Outlook Series yesterday. Panelists said it would be difficult for coal to regain its former hold on the market as record-low natural gas prices and pressure from U.S. EPA to adopt stricter environmental standards have made coal-fired power plants less cost-effective. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2012/07/12/7 BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY Energy storage policy -- a necessity that is ramping up slowly. San Francisco -- Using energy storage to capture and mete out wind and solar power has immense potential but not enough financial upside for utilities to embrace currently, backers are saying. At this week's Intersolar conference in San Francisco, advocates of energy storage were front and center, arguing for policy updates on the state and federal levels. Encompassing batteries, pumped water, compressed air and flywheels, the field is not considered to be mature relative to the renewable energy technologies it's intended to supplement. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2012/07/12/8 BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY MISCELLANEOUS APNewsBreak: Tube wear detailed at CA nuke plant. Federal regulators have released the most detailed information to date on damage at California's idled San Onofre nuclear power plant. Records posted Thursday show the extent of wear in 3,400 tubes that carry radioactive water in the plant's troubled steam generators. The tube wear caused by vibration and friction was found in 15,000 places at varying degrees of erosion. The report has implications for the fate of the plant shut down since January. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/APNewsBreak-Tube-wear-detailed-at-CA-nuke-plant-3702580.php OPINIONS Is California's high-speed train on track or off the rails? One political party absolutely loves the idea of the modern rail system, both as a boon for business and commerce, and, incidentally, perhaps as a bit of a boondoggle for its political buddies. Guess which party. It’s the GOP, 150 years ago. The rail system I’m talking about is the railroad to the Pacific. It was a very wide plank in the Republican Party platform in 1856 and 1860, and a dream of Abraham Lincoln’s that he never lived to see realized. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/opinion-la/la-ol-california-high-speed-train-20120710,0,4229826.story Bullet train vote demonstrates California Legislature working well. When the California Legislature works, this is one example of how it works well. But one big caveat: We're talking about functional versus dysfunctional, leadership versus ineptitude — a system that is running smoothly rather than broken. We're not necessarily talking about a desired policy result. Sometimes you lose. (If you're a California Republican, you usually do in Sacramento.) First, the math: Gov. Jerry Brown and his legislative leader allies needed a majority vote in each house. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-cap-rail-20120712,0,4624110.column EDITORIAL: Uncle Sam’s solar eclipse. As much of the nation broils under the merciless July sun, the Obama administration can’t resist the urge to burn cash on “green” energy projects. Each time one of these solar-energy firms flames out, American taxpayers get singed. Even a sundial would indicate it’s quitting time. The latest to fail is Abound Solar, a Colorado solar-panel manufacturer. The firm filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation on July 2, two years after being awarded a $400 million stimulus loan guarantee. President Obama personally touted the loan during a 2010 radio address called “A Solar Recovery.” Posted. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/jul/11/uncle-sams-solar-eclipse/ A Ticket to Ride: High-Speed Rail Moves Forward on a Historic (and Bumpy) Track in California. Last Friday's narrow passage of legislation authorizing the beginning of construction of the first high-speed rail system in America was a dramatic moment many years in the making. And while it was undertaken entirely by Democrats at the end, some famous Republican politicians made it happen along the way. In fact, it would never have happened without them. Which makes the current version of the once Grand Old Party and its knee-jerk opposition to the project all the more ironic. Posted. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/william-bradley/a-ticket-to-ride-highspee_b_1666733.html Spare the Air - is anybody listening? It was a Spare the Air day, but that was news to Stephanie Gillian and her carpool mates who drove across the Bay Bridge into San Francisco on Wednesday. "Isn't the entire summer Spare the Air?" Gillian, 28, asked on a day when the air quality in the eastern and southern reaches of the Bay Area was predicted to slip into the unhealthy range for people with respiratory problems. "Or is it in the winter?" asked Jeffery Wu, a 29-year-old information technology technician. "You're not supposed to burn wood during the holidays. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Spare-the-Air-is-anybody-listening-3700478.php Why California is still the place for business. Polluters and their friends have made a blood sport out of knocking California’s economy and regulatory climate. Although study after study from the Public Policy Institute of California about business relocations debunks the myths, the adage “if you repeat something loud enough and often enough, people begin to think it is true” is being repeated thanks to the efforts of the conservative propaganda machine. But facts are stubborn things. And here’s one that hasn’t changed: California employs more Americans and has more businesses than any other state. Posted. http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2012/jul/05/why-california-still-place-business/?print&page=all BLOGS B FAO Yields to Meat Industry Pressure on Climate Change. The past year has been the warmest ever in the United States, with record heat sweeping across the country last week, causing at least 52 human deaths and also harming livestock. In fact, livestock are not only harmed by human-caused global-warming greenhouse gas, but also cause about 18 percent of it, according to “Livestock’s Long Shadow,” a 2006 UN Food and Agriculture Organization report by FAO livestock specialists (who normally promote livestock). Posted. http://bittman.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/07/11/fao-yields-to-meat-industry-pressure-on-climate-change/ LaHood: Obama high-speed rail effort 'off to a good start,' despite GOP opposition. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said Wednesday that the Obama administration's high-speed rail proposals have gotten off to a "good start" despite rejections by several Republican state officials. Speaking at the start of the World Congress on High-Speed Rail in Philadelphia, LaHood said the rejection of rail money by GOP governors in states like Florida, Wisconsin and Ohio was offset by a recent approval in California. Posted. http://thehill.com/blogs/transportation-report/railroads/237271-lahood-us-high-speed-rail-effort-off-to-a-good-start