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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. AIR POLLUTION 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. http://www.vcstar.com/news/2012/jul/23/protesters-urge-epa-to-reject-arctic-waiver/ 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. http://www.vcstar.com/news/2012/jul/23/epa-agrees-to-air-pollution-limits-for-florida/ DIESEL EMISSIONS 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. Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/cruise-ship-lines-alaska-officials-question-new-air-pollution-limits/2012/07/22/gJQAc4Jy2W_story.html 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. http://www.vancouversun.com/technology/City+measure+emissions+from+diesel+engines/6979420/story.html FUELS 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. http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/A/AS_CHINA_CANADA_ENERGY?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT http://www.nctimes.com/business/china-seeks-n-american-energy-reserves-know-how/article_0458fbe0-86df-5236-94f8-527300e805dd.html 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. http://www.sacbee.com/2012/07/23/4653605/lead-author-of-fracking-study.html 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. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/pipeline-risks-exceed-rewards-bc-premier-says/article4435145/ VEHICLES 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 HIGH-SPEED RAIL 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. http://www.fresnobee.com/2012/07/23/2919867/delay-sought-on-bakersfield-high.html GREEN ENERGY 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. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2012/07/24/4654546/wind-farm-rises-on-alaskan-island.html 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. http://www.fresnobee.com/2012/07/23/2919274/la-unveils-48-million-solar-power.html#storylink=misearch http://www.modbee.com/2012/07/23/2293135/la-unveils-48-million-solar-power.html#storylink=misearch MISCELLANEOUS 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. http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0712/78852.html 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. http://news.yahoo.com/calif-county-vote-medication-disposal-bill-073900176--finance.html OPINIONS 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. http://www.sacbee.com/2012/07/24/4653434/the-climate-dice-are-loaded-and.html http://www.contracostatimes.com/ci_21145143?IADID=Search-www.contracostatimes.com-www.contracostatimes.com 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. http://www.appeal-democrat.com/articles/made-118082-one-party.html 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. http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2012/jul/23/county-doing-enough-thwart-global-warming/ 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. http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/letters/la-le-0724-tuesday-santa-monica-smoking-20120724,0,7099436.story 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. http://logisticsviewpoints.com/2012/07/24/guest-commentary-preparing-your-organization-for-the-impending-cost-of-carbon/ 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. http://grist.org/news/another-reason-to-freak-out-drought-puts-electrical-production-at-risk/ 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. http://grist.org/renewable-energy/what-i-left-out-when-i-wrote-about-lowball-renewable-energy-projections/ BLOGS 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. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/wp/2012/07/24/what-we-know-about-climate-change-and-drought/ 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. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/stephanie-j-stiavetti/rise-climate-change-and-c_b_1693837.html 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. http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2012/07/24/573371/air-pollution-in-london-may-hurt-olympic-athletes-says-leading-sports-medicine-doctor/ 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. http://www.environmentalleader.com/2012/07/24/international-support-for-renewable-energy/