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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for July 20, 2012. Posted: 20 Jul 2012 14:16:58
ARB News Clips for July 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 Air permit for Las Brisas plant needs more work. An air permit for a planned coal-fired power plant on the Texas coast is expected to face another review by regulators. Parties in the Las Brisas Energy Center dispute agreed Thursday to fine tune their language related to the disputed permit. The unit is planned for Corpus Christi's inner harbor. Environmental groups have raised air quality concerns. A judge in Austin in May rejected the 2011 permit from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Judge Stephen Yelonosky said TCEQ granted approval based on models not meeting national air quality standards. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Air-permit-for-Las-Brisas-plant-needs-more-work-3722466.php EPA hears public views of changes to soot standard. Jesse and Jessika Hernandez were barely a year old when the twins contracted asthma. Now, at age 10, they grapple with the illness every day, missing school and ending up in a hospital, because of the poor air quality in their native Fresno. The two were among several dozen that attended the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Sacramento hearing on national air quality standards Thursday. The agency is proposing a change to the annual standard for soot and is seeking the public's input. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2012/07/20/v-print/4643552/epa-hears-public-views-of-changes.html http://www.modbee.com/2012/07/19/v-print/2288775/dozens-give-epa-an-earful-over.html SUBSCRIPTION ONLY POLLUTION: EPA officials take testimony on soot standards. Sacramento Clean-air advocates urged federal environmental officials Thursday to impose stricter limits on fine-particle pollution, a move industry representatives warned would increase business costs and hurt the economy. The hearing near the Capitol was the second of two day-long sessions on either side of the United States this week to get reaction to the Environmental Protection Agency's proposal last month to lower its annual fine-particle standard for the first time since 1997. Posted. http://www.pe.com/local-news/politics/politics-headlines-index/20120719-pollution-epa-officials-take-testimony-on-soot-standards.ece CLIMATE CHANGE Leaders say climate is changing Native way of life. Native American and Alaska Native leaders told of their villages being under water because of coastal erosion, droughts and more on Thursday during a Senate hearing intended to draw attention to how climate change is affecting tribal communities. The environmental changes being seen in native communities are "a serious and growing issue and Congress needs to address them," Tex Hall, chairman of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation of New Town, N.D., said Wednesday. Posted. http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_NATIVE_AMERICANS_CLIMATE?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/07/20/us-india-monsoon-mission-idUSBRE86J0CS20120720 http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/congress/native-americans-seek-plan-to-respond-to-climate-changes-they-say-affect-their-way-of-life/2012/07/19/gJQAlpTuwW_story.html http://www.vcstar.com/news/2012/jul/19/climate-change-affecting-native-communities/#ixzz21BKA9D52 http://www.nctimes.com/news/national/leaders-say-climate-is-changing-native-way-of-life/article_f6ca51c2-f77a-54e1-a5f1-ad7ad2ac945a.html http://www.fresnobee.com/2012/07/19/2915405/climate-change-affecting-native.html#storylink=misearch http://www.modbee.com/2012/07/19/2288705/climate-change-affecting-native.html#storylink=misearch Canada energy industry must improve green record - Senate report. Canada will not be able to fully benefit from huge resources of oil and natural gas unless the energy industry improves its environmental record, a Senate report concluded on Thursday. The report, from the Energy Committee of the Senate, said Canada should do more to persuade the world it was developing its resources responsibly. "Canada must demonstrate its commitment to mitigating greenhouse gas emissions on a national scale," it said, adding that firms working in the oil sands industry had to improve their environmental performance. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/07/19/canada-energy-future-idUSL2E8IJ71C20120719 Zhongtian Lighting Co., Ltd. Launches the LED Spotlights of M16 Series to Help Mitigate Global Warming. There are many factors causing the global warming, such as population explosion, the air pollution caused by extensively using coals to emit the carbon dioxide, sharp reduction of forestry source, poisonous waste pollution and so on. However, there is no doubt that the heat emitted by the incandescent lamps also is a key factor to cause the global warming. The M16 series LED spotlights can deal with the problem well. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/default/article/Zhongtian-Lighting-Co-Ltd-Launches-the-LED-3722081.php FUELS Military spending fight hits foreign oil, biofuel. Some 100 nautical miles northeast of Oahu in the Pacific Ocean, a fleet of U.S. Navy fighter jets slings from the deck of the U.S.S. Nimitz aircraft carrier, leaving thin trails of smoke on the tight runway. The operation, part of maneuvers involving several thousand sailors as part of the world's largest naval exercises in waters off Hawaii, was at the center of a growing controversy involving defense spending and foreign oil. The dozens of air and sea vessels surrounding the Nimitz — including helicopters, fighter jets and destroyer ships…Posted. http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_NAVY_CLEAN_ENERGY?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT http://www.sfgate.com/default/article/Military-spending-fight-hits-foreign-oil-biofuel-3720609.php http://www.fresnobee.com/2012/07/19/2915438/military-spending-fight-hits-foreign.html#storylink=misearch Defense officials defend "Great Green Fleet" cost. The Navy's "Great Green Fleet," a group of warships and fighter jets burning an expensive blend of biofuels and petroleum, is performing as planned, Defense Department officials said on Thursday, as the Senate prepared for a fight over the program's cost. Dozens of F/A-18 Super Hornets and other aircraft powered by conventional jet fuel mixed with recycled cooking grease and algae oil screamed off the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz on Wednesday during international military exercises in the central Pacific. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/07/19/us-usa-navy-greenfleet-idUSBRE86I0B220120719 Navy 'Green Fleet' sails on biofuels. Washington -- As the Navy ran test exercises with biofuel-powered planes and vessels near Hawaii this week, top Obama administration officials hit back against criticism that the endeavor was a waste of taxpayer dollars. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said the "Great Green Fleet" test exercises for the first time proved that aircraft carriers, FA-18 jets and other equipment could run on advanced biofuels without any modifications, a milestone in his quest to find alternative fuels. Critics have blasted the exercises as too costly, especially as the Defense Department heads toward mandated budget cuts. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/science/article/Navy-Green-Fleet-sails-on-biofuels-3721590.php VEHICLES Plug-in hybrid sales gain traction as electric cars falter. Since a new generation of electric cars went on sale 18 months ago, the results have been far from jolting. Sales of cars that run off battery power alone have declined despite Ford, Honda and Mitsubishi joining pioneer Nissan in the marketplace for electric vehicles. Analysts say the limited range of electric cars, their greater expense and the lack of a widespread public charging infrastructure have hurt the appeal of the vehicles. Still, there is a bright spot for rechargeable cars in plug-in hybrids…Posted. http://www.latimes.com/business/money/la-fi-mo-cmax-plugin-hybird-20120719,0,4475042,print.story Ford says plug-in van goes 20 miles on electricity. Ford says a plug-in electric version of its new C-Max small van will be able to go more than 20 miles on battery power alone, and have a range of 550 miles on a tank of gas. The C-Max Energi plug-in, due in showrooms this fall, is expected to get the equivalent of 95 miles per gallon of gasoline in combined city/highway driving, Ford Motor Co. said in a statement. A version of the five-seat C-Max powered by a gas-electric hybrid powertrain also is due out in the fall. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/business/article/Ford-says-plug-in-van-goes-20-miles-on-electricity-3722771.php Ford recalls some 2013 Escapes, says: Stop driving them. The 11,500 recalled Escape SUVs have a fuel line problem that could cause a fire if not repaired, Ford says. Separately, Honda recalls 166,000 CR-Vs and 6,200 Acura ILX sedans to fix a door issue. In an unusual move associated with a recall, Ford Motor Co. told owners of one version of the new redesigned Escape sport-utility vehicle to stop driving it because it might catch on fire. Dealers will go to the homes of owners, provide a loaner and retrieve the Escape for repairs. Ford needs to replace a fuel line in the vehicles. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/business/autos/la-fi-autos-ford-recall-20120720,0,2329594,print.story An Electric Car That Actually Goes Far? Researchers have long had high hopes for lithium-air batteries, a device that has the potential to store 10 times more energy than the best lithium-ion batteries on the market today. But so far, lithium-air batteries have been unstable, falling apart after a few charges. Now researchers report that they’ve made the first stable lithium-air batteries. If the batteries can leap other hurdles needed to make them practical, they may one day give electric cars a driving range similar to today’s gas guzzlers. Posted. http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2012/07/electric-car-battery/ RIVERSIDE: Researchers seek more miles from electric cars. Scientists in Riverside are optimistic that finding a better way to drive could extend the range of electric cars, potentially putting drivers more at ease. Relying on real-time traffic info and other mapping characteristics, researchers believe re-routing cars so they reduce idling time at lights, avoid congestion and travel at steady, efficient speeds could improve the range of electric cars by about 10 percent. Posted. http://www.pe.com/local-news/transportation-headlines/20120719-riverside-researchers-seek-more-miles-from-electric-cars.ece Eaton to develop affordable home refueling station for natural gas vehicles; liquid piston technology. Eaton Corporation will develop an affordable home refueling station for natural gas vehicles, utilizing existing natural gas sources in the home and innovative compressor technology. The effort is funded in part by a $3.4-million grant from the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) MOVE project. (Earlier post.) Posted. http://www.greencarcongress.com/2012/07/eaton-20120720.html GREEN ENERGY State, Business and U.S. Navy Leaders Highlight Clean Energy and Job Creation as Capstone to Navy Week. Leaders from California clean tech companies, state government and the United States Navy came together at the State Capitol today to highlight innovative clean tech partnerships at Navy installations across the state. As part of Sacramento Navy Week, designed to give the community a better understanding of the Navy, the Sailors who serve in it and the important work they do, more than a dozen California companies showcased current projects with the Navy that utilize biofuels, solar power, energy efficiency and waste-to-energy advancements to meet Navy energy goals. These leaders also laid out a vision for the future of these partnerships in California. Posted. http://sd23.senate.ca.gov/news/2012-07-19-state-business-and-us-navy-leaders-highlight-clean-energy-and-job-creation-capstone- UPDATE 4-China to investigate U.S., S.Korean solar materials imports. China will open investigations into imported U.S. and South Korean solar-grade polysilicon, the country's trade ministry said on Friday, in the latest instance of growing tensions between major solar manufacturers. The Ministry of Commerce said that it would open anti-dumping and anti-subsidy probes on U.S. imported polysilicon, as well as an anti-dumping probe on South Korean imports of the raw materials used to make solar products. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/07/20/china-trade-solar-idUSL4E8IK0I220120720 EBay Plans Data Center That Will Run on Alternative Energy Fuel Cells. EBay plans to build a data center to handle its billions of dollars in retail transactions that will draw its power from alternative energy fuel cells rather than the national power grid, which is heavily dependent on coal plants. It will be the first major tech company to use alternative power as a primary source for energy-hungry data centers, although the new center will connect to the electricity grid for backup. Environmental groups have issued a series of rebukes to Internet companies because of their heavy reliance on coal-fired power to run their centers. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/21/technology/ebay-plans-data-center-that-will-use-alternative-energy.htm l Government postpones green energy subsidy cut by two months. Britain moved back the start date of new mostly lower subsidy levels for small-scale renewable projects by two months to December 1 and said it would cut support for wind, hydro and waste power by 5 percent per year from 2014, depending on uptake. Friday's announcement came days after the government delayed a tariff decision for large-scale renewable projects, its Renewable Obligations programme. It gave green energy investors some certainty about how much money they will receive for smaller projects which will start operating later this year. Posted. http://news.yahoo.com/government-postpones-green-energy-subsidy-cut-two-months-140459652.html Green labels add value to California homes. California homeowners who add insulation, upgrade to more efficient water heaters and make other energy- and water-saving improvements could add as much as 12% to the value of their homes when they are certified as green by the Energy Star, GreenPoint Rated or LEED for Homes programs, according to a study released Thursday. The "Value of Green Labels in the California Housing Market" study found that a typical California home valued at $400,000 sells for an average of 8.7%, or $34,800, more when it has a green label. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/features/home/la-lh-green-labels-home-values-20120719,0,1541911.story Sustainability reinventing the California Dream. The California Dream began with a laconic offer: "There it is. Take it." The speaker was William Mulholland, the engineer who headed the mighty Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, opening a sluice in 1913 that brought water from the Owens Valley to the future megalopolis. The network of dams, aqueducts and reservoirs that sustains Los Angeles is one of America's great engineering feats. It is a vital part of the 20th-century post-urban model: a network of freeways and sprawling suburbs based on cheap fuel, cheap water and cheap land. Posted. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10820891 MISCELLANEOUS Sacramento-area plans advance for SouthEast Connector. Is it possible to build a 35-mile expressway in a way that helps the environment – or at least doesn't hurt it? That's the question facing regional officials as they push ahead with plans for the Capital SouthEast Connector expressway, the largest road project the Sacramento region has seen in decades. Bike lanes, hydrogen fuel stations and solar panels are among the ideas floated to green-up the planned thoroughfare, which would run from El Dorado Hills, skirting Folsom, Rancho Cordova and Elk Grove, and linking Highway 99 and Interstate 5 in south Sacramento County. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2012/07/20/4643685/sacramento-area-plans-advance.html http://www.modbee.com/2012/07/20/2289102/sacramento-area-plans-advance.html#storylink=misearch Judge slaps mining company with $2 million penalty. A federal judge is ordering a Canadian mining company to comply with the nation's clean water laws and pay at least $2 million in penalties for polluting a tributary of the Boise River system. The order and penalty represent another loss for Atlanta Gold Corp., which is seeking to extract gold from the mountains near the historic mining town of Atlanta. Earlier this year, U.S. Magistrate Judge Mikel H. Williams ruled that the company is legally responsible for high levels of arsenic and iron flowing from an abandoned mine shaft. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/default/article/Judge-slaps-mining-company-with-2-million-penalty-3722775.php OPINIONS Viewpoints: Change safety standards for toxic furniture. Gov. Jerry Brown made a bold move last month when he directed a state agency to update California's 40-year-old furniture flammability standards to improve fire safety and eliminate use of toxic and untested chemicals. Just a few weeks after Brown's directive, the California Bureau of Electronic and Appliance Repair, Home Furnishings and Thermal Insulation will hold public workshops in Sacramento and Riverside to review its recent draft flammability standard. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2012/07/20/v-print/4643254/change-safety-standards-for-toxic.html Soot Hearings: Speaking Out for Public Health. On Tuesday, hundreds of Philadelphia residents rallied and spoke at an Environmental Protection Agency hearing on new safeguards to cut deadly soot pollution nationwide. On Thursday, many others rallied at a second soot hearing in Sacramento. I grew up in the Smoky Mountains, where -- believe it or not -- dangerous levels of air pollution sometimes made it dangerous to hike in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Since becoming a mom two years ago…Posted. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mary-anne-hitt/soot-hearings-speaking-ou_b_1686134.html?view=print&comm_ref=false Deroy Murdock: Obama's green projects bleeding red. "We'll invest $15 billion a year over the next decade in renewable energy, creating 5 million new green jobs that pay well, can't be outsourced, and help end our dependence on foreign oil," candidate Barack Obama pledged on Nov. 1, 2008. Three years and eight months later, as unemployment has exceeded 8 percent for 41 straight months, Obama seems incapable of keeping this promise. Consider three key programs of the U.S. Department of Energy. DOE's website boasts that its "clean energy" initiatives loaned $34.7 billion and launched "nearly 60,000" jobs. This totals a staggering $578,333 per position. Posted. http://www.ocregister.com/opinion/million-364546-obama-bankruptcy.html A tragicomic tale of coal industry incompetence and disregard. Let me share an remarkable story with you. It’s about coal: the people it harms, the arrogance the industry has developed over years of being coddled, and the way it’s all starting to fall apart. Up to the northeast of Las Vegas, off of I-15, is the 48-year-old Reid Gardner coal-fired power plant, owned by NV Energy. It spews lead, smog, mercury, and carbon dioxide, but for our present purposes, let’s focus on its gigantic ponds and piles of coal ash. Not only are they leaking chromium into the groundwater …Posted. http://grist.org/coal/a-tragicomic-tale-of-coal-industry-incompetence-and-disregard/ BLOGS Could plankton help us tackle climate change? As carbon emissions keep rising each year, with no end in sight, scientists have begun dreaming up all sorts of zany geoengineering schemes for slowing down the rate at which the planet’s heating up. Artificial volcanoes to cool the air! Giant mirrors in space to deflect sunlight! Fertilizing the ocean with iron to mop up that carbon!As it turns out, that last idea might actually work. A team of researchers has published a new study in Nature showing that, under the right conditions, it’s possible to lace the ocean with iron in order to stimulate the growth of phytoplankton. Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/wp/2012/07/19/could-plankton-help-us-tackle-climate-change/