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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for July 24, 2012.

Posted: 24 Jul 2012 12:32:39
ARB Newsclips for July 24, 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.


Protesters urge EPA to reject Arctic waiver. About a dozen
Alaskans rallied Monday outside the Anchorage federal building to
urge the Environmental Protection Agency to reject Shell Oil's
request for a waiver of requirements in the company's air permit,
which it needs to drill exploratory wells in the Arctic Ocean. A
rejection of the waiver is one of the last hopes drilling foes
have to stop the company from drilling this year in the Chukchi
Sea off Alaska's northwest coast. Shell Oil Co. also hopes to
drill in the Beaufort Sea off the state's north coast. Posted. 

EPA agrees to air pollution limits for Florida. The federal
Environmental Protection Agency has agreed to set deadlines for
limiting haze-causing air pollution from aging power plants and
factories in Florida. Earthjustice said Monday the agreement
would settle a lawsuit the legal organization filed for several
environmental groups including the Sierra Club and National Parks
Conservation Association. It is subject to approval by a federal
court in Washington, D.C. It requires EPA to finalize cleanup
steps in two phases with the last due July 15, 2013. Posted. 


Cruise ship lines, Alaska officials question new air pollution
limits.  The gleaming white Sapphire Princess docked in this
deep-water port this month, unloading its passengers and taking
on another 2,600 guests headed first to Glacier Bay and,
eventually, Vancouver, B.C. Every day of that trip the cruise
ship — whose Web site invites passengers to see Alaska’s
“pristine landscapes” — will emit the same amount of sulfur
dioxide as 13.1 million cars, according to the Environmental
Protection Agency, and as much soot as 1.06 million cars. 

City to measure emissions from diesel engines.  Metro Vancouver
will use "remote sensing" to measure the diesel pollution from
thousands of semi-trailer trucks, dump trucks, buses and other
heavy-duty vehicles over the next three months.  The move, which
involves infrared and ultraviolet beams from a specialized
testing trailer on the side of a road, is expected to help the
regional district better understand the emissions from these
vehicles so it can design programs and policies to target diesel
soot.  The beams are directed across road-ways at the height of a
truck's "stack" or engine exhaust pipe. Posted. 


China seeks N. American energy reserves, know-how. Offshore
Chinese energy giant CNOOC's $15 billion offer for Canadian oil
and gas producer Nexen Inc. is strategically calibrated to win
regulatory approval - unlike its failed 2005 attempt to buy
Unocal. The deal announced Monday shows China's appetite for
overseas energy assets remains as strong as ever despite its
current economic slowdown. Weaker oil prices and a resolve to
capture technologies China needs to unlock its own sizable but
hard to extract reserves are powerful incentives for its energy
companies to snap up foreign producers. Posted.

Lead author of fracking study is industry board member. Austin,
Texas -- The lead author of a recent University of Texas study
that suggested that hydraulic fracturing, commonly called
fracking, does not contaminate groundwater is a paid board member
and shareholder in a company that engages in the practice, a
situation that critics are calling a conflict of interest and of
which the researcher's supervisors were unaware.
 "The report was presented as if it was an independent study of
fracking when, in fact, the study was led by a gas industry
insider," …Posted.

Gateway pipeline risks exceed rewards, B.C. Premier says. British
Columbia Premier Christy Clark is warning that the environmental
risks associated with a plan to sell Canadian oil to Asia through
the Northern Gateway pipeline outweigh the economic benefits,
leaving her at odds with the federal and Alberta governments. Ms.
Clark conveyed her concerns about the project during a series of
high-level meetings, beginning with a telephone call to Prime
Minister Stephen Harper on Thursday. Posted. 


EVs always cheaper to charge than ICEs.  The study, ”United
States Smart Grid: Utility Electric Vehicle Tariffs,” includes a
benchmark of the EV tariffs of ten different utilities in six
different US states (California, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada,
Oregon and Texas).  “In all scenarios we studied, the costs to
recharge an electric vehicle were cheaper than fueling a
gasoline-powered car. In the most likely EV charging scenarios,
costs were approximately one-tenth to half the costs of fueling a
conventional vehicle with gasoline,” according to Northeast
Group, LLC.  Posted. http://cars21.com/news/view/4805  


Delay sought on Bakersfield high-speed rail path. The state
lawmaker who this month cast a deciding vote on funding for
California high-speed rail now wants to delay a portion of the
controversial project. Despite early agreements to send the train
through downtown Bakersfield, state Sen. Michael Rubio said
Monday that the Bakersfield City Council, the Kern County Board
of Supervisors and those who have participated in the project no
longer support that route. Posted.


Wind farm rises on Alaskan island. Fire Island, Alaska -- Look
hard to the west from mainland Anchorage. The horizon is changing
fast. Tall towers are rising up on Fire Island as Cook Inlet
Region Inc. builds its long-talked-about wind farm. By the end of
September, it is expected to be producing electricity - the first
megawatt-scale wind project in Southcentral Alaska.  From select
vantage points at Kincaid Park, the Coastal Trail, the Hillside
and even the overlook at the Glen Alps parking lot, the poles
look like tiny toothpicks, small enough to mask with a thumb.

LA unveils $48 million solar power plant.  The Los Angeles
Department of Water and Power has unveiled a solar plant it says
can power 3,300 homes a year.  The 10 megawatt Adelanto Solar
Power Project was introduced Monday.  The Mojave Desert plant
actually began generating electricity to Los Angeles on June 30. 
The $48 million plant has more than 46,000 solar panels. It was
built on DWP land 65 miles north of Los Angeles and can generate
up to 10 megawatts of power.  Posted. 



Penn State scientist threatens legal action over Sandusky
comparison. Penn State University global warming researcher
Michael Mann is lawyering up to counter attacks by conservatives
who have referred to him as the “Jerry Sandusky of climate
science.” Mann’s lawyer wrote Friday to National Review Executive
Publisher Scott Budd demanding a retraction and apology for a
July 15 blog post that compares Penn State’s mishandling of years
of child sexual abuse to the university’s investigation of
“Climategate.” Posted. 

Calif. county to vote on medication disposal bill. A proposed
ordinance that would put the pharmaceutical industry on the hook
for not only making drugs, but also getting rid of them, is
scheduled to be taken up by California's Alameda County on
Tuesday. The Alameda County Board of Supervisors plans to vote on
an ordinance that would require drug makers to pay for programs
to dispose of expired and unused drugs. Government and industry
officials said the ordinance would be the first of its kind
nationwide. Advocates for the law said that unused drugs pose a
danger to the environment and people's health. Posted.


Paul Krugman: Loading the climate change dice.  A couple of weeks
ago the Northeast was in the grip of a severe heat wave. As I
write this, however, it's a fairly cool day in New Jersey,
considering that it's late July. Weather is like that; it
fluctuates.  And this banal observation may be what dooms us to
climate catastrophe, in two ways. On one side, the variability of
temperatures from day to day and year to year makes it easy to
miss, ignore or obscure the longer-term upward trend. On the
other, even a fairly modest rise in average temperatures
translates into a much higher frequency of extreme events -- like
the devastating drought now gripping America's heartland -- that
do vast damage.  Posted. 

Thomas D. Elias: One-party government fosters secrecy. Much has
been made — and rightly so — of the "budget trailer" bill passed
swiftly and without public hearings earlier this summer that
allows virtually complete secrecy to the new semi-governmental
corporation that will administer California's upcoming cap and
trade program for reducing air pollution and greenhouse gases.
That measure, known as SB 1018, allows directors of the new
corporation to do anything it likes in secrecy. The corporation
will eventually levy heavy fees against businesses that emit more
than the prescribed level of pollutants. Posted.

Is county doing enough to tackle global warming? Local
environmentalists have sued San Diego County for not doing enough
to thwart global warming by allegedly creating a blueprint that
doesn’t ensure greenhouse gas reductions and isn’t comprehensive.
The San Diego chapter of the Sierra Club on Friday filed a
lawsuit in Superior Court challenging the county’s Climate Action
Plan, saying the county needs a more enforceable strategy to
reduce emissions of pollutants linked to climate change. Posted.

Letters: Santa Monica's common-sense smoking ban. Re "Santa
Monica goes too far," Editorial, July 22 Your editorial on Santa
Monica's pending ban on smoking in condo and apartment units says
the proposal intrudes too far into the "lives and homes of
residents." The law does absolutely nothing to curtail current
residents' smoking rights. It covers only prospective residents
who, by definition, are not yet residents when they learn that
the unit they are considering is a nonsmoking unit. They can
choose to reside in a community with smoking units. That decision
helps current nonsmoking residents. Posted.

Guest Commentary: Preparing Your Organization for the Impending
Cost of Carbon. It’s not a matter of “if” the United States will
implement a program to reward organizations for reducing
emissions and penalize those that do not, but “when.” This means
that U.S. companies — particularly global players — can’t afford
to keep their sustainability plans on the back burner. In fact,
the pressure to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is greater than
ever. In 2005, Europe implemented the first large cap-and-trade
program in the world under its European Union Emission Trading
Scheme, while Australia’s program, the second largest, started
this month as part of its Clean Energy Future package. Posted.

Another reason to bug out: Drought puts electrical production at
risk.  In 2005, Americans used 410 billion gallons of water a
day. In the spirit of the soon-to-commence-we’ve-heard London
Olympics, that’s enough to fill 620,808 Olympic-sized swimming
pools. In the spirit of the 2000 Sydney Games, it’s three times
the amount of water in Sydney Harbor. (How much we use now is
probably similar, but the U.S. Geological Survey’s research on
2010 won’t be ready until 2014.)  Half of the water we use goes
to power generationPosted. 

What I left out when I wrote about lowball renewable energy
projections.  Last week, I highlighted some energy projections
from 2000 or so that substantially underestimated the growth of
renewables. Mainly I wanted an excuse to repost Michael Noble’s
list. So as not to merely thieve, I added a few musings of my
own, reflecting my ongoing obsessions with the dynamics of
distributed energy and the values-based assumptions buried in
economic models. Posted. 


What we know about climate change and drought.  As farmers in the
United States slog through the country’s worst drought in 50
years, a lot of people are asking about the connection between
global warming and the arid landscape in the Midwest. Is climate
change causing this drought? Didn’t the United States suffer even
worst droughts in the past? And what can we expect if the planet
continues to warm? How will it affect our food supply?  Those
aren’t easy questions. So here’s a guide to what we know about
the link between climate change and drought. Posted. 

RISE: Climate Change and Coastal Communities.  This month yet
another new study about climate change* was released. But this
one is different. Unlike many previous studies in which
scientists are hesitant to draw causal connections between global
warming and specific weather events, this study comes out and
says it: "Global warming makes heat waves more likely." The study
also found that global warming is making other weather extremes
more likely, such as droughts and heavy rains.  Posted. 

Air Pollution In London May Hurt Olympic Athletes, Says Leading
Sports Medicine Doctor.  High concentrations of nitrogen dioxide
in London could increase breathing problems among Olympic
athletes, according to a leading sports medicine committee. 
According to Dr. William S. Silvers of the American Academy of
Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI), the air quality in London
during the 2012 Olympic games — set to start in three days —
could cause a “narrowing of the airways” in athletes competing
outdoors.  Posted. 

International Support for Renewable Energy.  With the December 31
deadline for the extension of the wind power production tax
credit (PTC) looming, the future of American green energy hangs
in limbo. The US might to look to other countries that are
dedicated to the development of the renewable energy sector and
make the passing of the PTC extension — and support for clean
energy in general — a priority.  In its twelfth Five-Year Plan,
China places strong emphasis on boosting economic growth through
the encouragement of the development of seven emerging
industries: new energy…  Posted. 

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