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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 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.

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.


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.


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.





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.

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.


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.

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.

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.


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.

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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. 


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.

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.

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. 

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.
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.

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.


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.


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.


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.

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

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. 

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. 


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.

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