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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for July 26, 2012 Posted: 26 Jul 2012 13:10:32
ARB News Clips for July 26, 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 Judge blocks air permit for Texas coal-fired plant. A state judge has struck down a state air permit for a planned coal-fired power plant on the Texas coast. State District Judge Stephen Yelenosky's ruling came Wednesday in Austin. He says state regulators didn't require backers of the Las Brisas Energy Center to show it would meet standards intended to ease air pollution. A spokesman for the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality says the agency believes the permit is sufficiently protective. He says the agency is considering its next move. Posted. http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505245_162-57480622/judge-blocks-air-permit-for-texas-coal-fired-plant/ http://www.contracostatimes.com/ci_21158292/judge-blocks-air-permit-las-brisas-plant?IADID=Search-www.contracostatimes.com-www.contracostatimes.com http://www.insidebayarea.com/ci_21158292/judge-blocks-air-permit-las-brisas-plant?IADID=Search-www.insidebayarea.com-www.insidebayarea.com http://www.sacbee.com/2012/07/25/4660848/judge-blocks-air-permit-for-las.html Environmentalists to sue Colstrip over pollution. Environmentalists filed notice Wednesday that they plan to sue the six companies that co-own eastern Montana's Colstrip power plant over alleged pollution violations. The Sierra Club and Montana Environmental Information Center say the plant's owners failed to upgrade pollution control equipment as required under the Clean Air Act for older power generation facilities that undergo significant changes. Posted. http://www.businessweek.com/ap/2012-07-26/environmentalists-to-sue-colstrip-over-pollution http://www.sfgate.com/default/article/Environmentalists-to-sue-Colstrip-over-pollution-3734683.php CLIMATE CHANGE Could extreme weather be causing climate change? New study aims to find if peat bogs release greenhouse gas when it rains. The causes of climate change are still the subject of heated debate - but a new study aims to find out if the weather itself may be making the problem worse. Peat soils which are farmed - and thus exposed to the atmosphere - release greenhouse gases. Extreme weather can change the amount of greenhouse gases being released from peat soils - and understanding this could lead to a way to control the effect. Monitoring the effects of weather on peatlands could provide an effective way to fight climate change. A team of researchers from the Department of Geography and Centre for Landscape and Climate Research at the University of Leicester set up a new monitoring station in June to measure greenhouse gas emissions from drained and cultivated peatlands in the East Anglian Fens. Posted. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2179305/Could-extreme-weather-causing-climate-change-New-study-aims-peat-bogs-releasing-greenhouse-gas-rain.html George Osborne's gas push has shattered the climate change consensus. When the history of climate change in the UK is written, probably from a bunker somewhere in Northern Scandinavia, the last few months will be noted as the moment when the country's admirable political consensus on the need to tackle climate threats and build a green economy finally shattered. The UK does not have the world's most vibrant green economy - how can it when the government has managed to engineer the second serious recession in three years - but it does have several advantages that has made the country a highly attractive proposition for green businesses and investors. Posted. http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/jul/26/george-osborne-gas-climate-change?newsfeed=true Dead cattle, devastation in wake of Western fires. Cecil and Delores Kolka thought they escaped the worst of the Ash Creek Fire when the 390-square-mile blaze spared their home and several pastures as it ripped through the couple's Montana cattle ranch. But when the family went to round up their livestock they encountered carnage - the charred and bloated bodies of an estimated 400 cows and calves killed as the fire torched a series of narrow, thickly forested draws on the nearby Custer National Forest. Some surviving animals were burned so badly that their hides were peeling. Posted. http://www.vcstar.com/news/2012/jul/26/dead-cattle-devastation-in-wake-of-western-fires/ http://www.nctimes.com/news/national/dead-cattle-devastation-in-wake-of-western-fires/article_d470cd8e-f1cf-5f2a-a52a-57605315d744.html America supports helping farmers adapt to climate change because obviously. For some completely inexplicable reason, the public is quite supportive of government programs that would help farmers adapt to climate change. It is almost like people enjoying eating food/not starving to death/having agriculture! From Phys.org: Regardless of what those surveyed believe causes climate change, more than 65 percent of them support government assistance for farmers, said Scott Loveridge, MSU professor of agricultural, food and resource economics. …Posted. http://grist.org/news/america-supports-helping-farmers-adapt-to-climate-change-because-obviously/ Australian voters oppose carbon tax. The majority of Australian voters do not support a carbon tax, saying it would be bad for the overall economy as well as individual households, according to a "Climate of the Nation" poll. Sixty-seven percent of those surveyed said the government should take a leading role in mitigating climate change, but respondents said proposed plans would be ineffective. Only 28 percent thought the Labor Party's carbon pricing system would be able to reduce emissions by at least 5 percent by 2020. Forty percent thought it would be unsuccessful, and 32 percent didn't know. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/2012/07/26/8 SUBSCRIPTION ONLY DIESEL EMISSIONS Vancouver Testing Diesel Pollution From Trucks. A three-month, $130, 000 study to measure diesel pollution from heavy-duty vehicles on Vancouver’s roads and highways began in July, according to the Delta Optimist. Testing will be done during Summer 2012, using technology involving remote sensing tests so that trucks and buses do not have to stop or slow down when passing the test site. Infrared and ultraviolet beams from a testing trailer on one side of a road will be directed at the height of a heavy-duty truck's engine exhaust pipe. The beams go through the exhaust of passing trucks to a "detector," allowing for analysis of the vehicle's emissions, the regional district explained. Posted. http://www.todaystrucking.com/vancouver-testing-diesel-pollution-from-trucks Proposed emissions testing won't include most diesels. Despite reportedly being a major contributor to air pollution, most diesel vehicles will not be tested in Cache County’s planned emissions inspection program, according to County Executive Lynn Lemon. He noted Wednesday that diesels without on-board diagnostic (OBD) technology will be exempt from testing in accordance with the federal Clean Air Act. Grant Koford, the Bear River Health Department’s environmental health division director, said Wednesday that 2008 and newer diesel vehicles are equipped with OBD technology, but those older than 2008 “may not have it.” He noted there is no tailpipe test for diesels. Lemon said that not being able to test most diesels is frustrating. Posted. http://news.hjnews.com/news/article_dee4c794-d6bc-11e1-a72d-001a4bcf887a.html VEHICLES UK Electric Vehicle charger network must be open source. It's not a term particularly well embedded in our collective vernacular just yet, but "EV Chargers" does of course refer to 'Electric Vehicle Chargers', the units we need to keep the next generation of environmentally sustainable cars on our roads. But could EV Chargers go open source? Eco-transport website Hybridcars.com reports this week on Charge Your Car Limited, a project originating in the North East that is part of the Department for Transport's Plugged in Places project funded by One North East, OLEV, public and private partners. Posted. http://www.computerweekly.com/blogs/open-source-insider/2012/07/uk-electric-vehicle-charger-network-must-be-open-source.html Industry says there will be enough lithium - but will there be enough graphite? While EV uptake might be not as fast as forecast last year, investments into battery plants are still high. GS Yuasa invests $300 (~ €245) million to expand their battery production facilities, LG Chem invests the same amount in a li-ion battery plant in the US to supply the Chevy Volt, Russia had announced to put $420 (~ €342) miilion into completing the world's largest li-ion battery plant..... But if only 5% of cars worldwide were to become electric, current graphite production would need to double, says Greg Bowes, CEO of Northern Graphite (see exclusive interview tomorrow), who has a graphite mine development project in Bissett Creek, Ontario, Canada. Posted. http://cars21.com/news/view/4806 GREEN ENERGY China solar makers decry trade spat, urge dialogue. Chinese solar panel makers are urging Beijing to seek talks with the European Union over a dispute they say threatens to escalate into a trade war. Four big solar panel manufacturers issued a joint statement Thursday appealing for both sides to resolve the disagreement over allegations they receive illegal subsidies and dump their products in the European market. "The Chinese government should immediately seek high-level dialogue with the EU to find a way to improve the situation," said the statement by Yingli Green Energy Holdings Co., Suntech Power Holdings Co., Trina Solar Ltd. and Canadian Solar Inc. Posted. http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5h-ITW6eToLgyG4HFHiOhgRlTrvxw?docId=4e87d3be3c1e40678a4490ce82a9c888 AP Newsbreak: http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/china-solar-panel-makers-say-dispute-with-eu-risks-trade-war-urge-beijing-to-pursue-talks/2012/07/26/gJQAZoLlAX_story.html http://www.fresnobee.com/2012/07/26/2923072/china-solar-makers-decry-trade.html#storylink=misearch http://www.sfgate.com/default/article/China-solar-makers-decry-trade-spat-urge-dialogue-3736587.php http://www.nctimes.com/business/china-solar-makers-decry-trade-spat-urge-dialogue/article_bdccdbc4-878c-5a7a-86de-99acd63a45c3.html http://www.vcstar.com/news/2012/jul/26/china-solar-makers-decry-trade-spat-urge/ Westerly to consider solar energy park. Westerly zoning officials are taking up a proposal from a company that wants to build a solar energy park as part of the town's green energy initiative. The Westerly Sun reports (http://bit.ly/M9H3Yj ) a hearing on the proposal from Middletown-based rTerra has been scheduled for Aug. 1. The company, already designated as the town's solar energy partner, wants to build a 1 megawatt solar array with 3,500 photovoltaic panels on White Rock Road, next to the town's Water Department building. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/default/article/Westerly-to-consider-solar-energy-park-3736971.php Desert Solar May Pose Threat to Desert Biofuels. Development in the desert can cause serious dust pollution, and utility-scale solar is no exception to that rule. Any disturbance to the desert's delicate soils can loose tons of dust into the air. (If you've driven past Ford Dry Lake on I-10 on a windy day recently, you've seen an example of this, as heavy dust off the Genesis Solar Energy Project routinely slows transcontinental traffic between Blythe and Indio.) That dust can do more than decrease visibility, and breathability for that matter. It can also seriously affect desert plant life, including some desert plants that are being farmed as a renewable energy source themselves. And according to jojoba farmer Donna Charpied, dust blowing off the Desert Sunlight construction site adjacent to her farm in the Chuckwalla Valley has seriously damaged this year's crop of potential fuel oil. Posted. http://www.kcet.org/news/rewire/biomass/biofuels/desert-solar-may-pose-threat-to-desert-biofuels.html How Green Power Can Benefit Both Small Retailers and the Environment. You've bought compact fluorescent light bulbs for your store, offer reusable shopping bags and stock your shelves with eco-friendly products. What else can you do to show your commitment to the environment? Consider switching to green power. While the upfront costs of green energy can be substantial, the investment can pay off in lower energy costs down the road. The first step is to decide on the type of alternative energy program. There are a variety of ways you can reduce your store's use of traditional energy sources, such as coal and gas, or compensate for some of the carbon emissions they generate. The most clear-cut approach is to install power generators, such as solar panels or a wind turbine, at your store. You also could buy energy from a utility that commits to obtaining some or all of your power from green sources. Posted. http://news.terra.com/how-green-power-can-benefit-both-small-retailers-and-the-environment,f1019a94753c8310VgnVCM10000098cceb0aRCRD.html Eagle Mountain mine 'green' power project stymied. It's a tale of two obsessions and blind bureaucracy. Developer Steve Lowe wants to turn the long-idle Eagle Mountain iron mine — located near Desert Center about 50 miles east of Indio — into a massive, pumped storage plant that would help integrate wind and solar power into the grid. The yawning pits at Eagle Mountain — closed since the 1980s — would become reservoirs, connected by underground tunnels that would in turn be connected to an underground power turbine. Posted. http://www.mydesert.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2012207260310 MISCELLANEOUS California Air Resources Board Awards CleanFlame Firelogs As A Climate Leader. The California Air Resources Board proudly recognized CleanFlame with a prestigious award as a Climate Leader with helping to improve air quality. The CoolCalifornia.org Small Business Awards honored CleanFlame as a business that made notable, voluntary achievements toward reducing their climate impact. This firelog manufacturer invested in new technologies to enhance water and energy conservation. Also recognizing the company's efforts were Senator Doug LaMalfa and Assemblyman Dan Logue. Unlike other artificial firelog brands, CleanFlame Logs and Firestarters are clean enough to cook over, toxin free, safer for our families and better for our environment. CleanFlame products represent a new era in sustainability coupled with a much healthier alternative. Posted. http://www.virtual-strategy.com/2012/07/26/california-air-resources-board-awards-cleanflame-firelogs-climate-leader OPINIONS Editorial: Transparency is needed for cap-and-trade. Californians, understandably, have considerable angst about establishing a cap-and-trade program as a response to state law requiring a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. The Legislative Analyst's Office has called the program, an offshoot of the passage of AB 32, "one of the most wide-ranging and complex regulatory efforts in the history of the state." That's why public oversight is essential as the state attempts to build a regional market. No one wants a repeat of California's experience with energy deregulation, which set the stage for the electricity crisis of 2000-01. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2012/07/26/4661167/transparency-is-needed-for-cap.html BLOGS A Climate and Energy Stalemate. On the day he clinched the Democratic nomination for president in 2008, Barack Obama declared that future generations would look back and say, “This was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.” He made addressing climate change, domestically and as part of a concerted international effort, a central tenet of his campaign platform and a top priority of his first year in office.Then the president backed off, hamstrung by an economic crisis and implacable opposition from Republicans, who were cheered on and financed by their ideological allies and fossil fuel companies. Posted. http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/07/26/a-climate-and-energy-stalemate/ A Squabble Over Moving Oil and Sharing Royalties. After opposition from many Nebraskans, environmentalists and others in the United States stalled approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, Canada turned to Plan B, a collection of other pipeline routes that could move crude from Canadian oil sands to refineries along the American gulf coast. But now, internal politics may jeopardize a different pipeline proposal — one that is central to the Canadian aim of cultivating Asian countries, particularly China, as oil sands customers.Because Alberta is landlocked, its oil must cross into neighboring British Columbia by pipeline to be loaded onto ships bound for China. Posted. http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/07/25/a-squabble-over-moving-oil-and-sharing-royalties/ In New Jersey, Brewing an Alternative to Petroleum. Walking into the research facility of Primus Green Energy is not unlike wandering onto the set of “Dr. Who.” Everywhere you look, there is plumbing, usually covered in multiple layers of shiny aluminum foil. The foil is hot, it’s festooned with hundreds of wires and it reeks of solvents.Arthur C. Clarke, the writer of science fiction, once said that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. Posted. http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/28/in-new-jersey-brewing-an-alternative-to-petroleum/ O.C. company buys UK electric-car tech firm. Green Automotive Co. in Newport Beach said it has acquired Liberty Electric Cars Ltd. in Oxford, England, which designs and sells electric vehicle technology. Liberty’s intellectual property covers drive trains for electrical vehicles including trucks, buses, 4X4s and sport utility vehicles. Green Automotive converts, imports and distributes electric vehicles and converted piston engines worldwide. It is currently assessing all-electric and alternate fuel vehicles including buses for possible introduction into the United States. Posted. http://jan.ocregister.com/2012/07/25/o-c-company-buys-uk-electric-car-tech-firm/80416/ What is green energy? In the past three decades, research and development in green energy has exploded, yielding hundreds of promising new technologies that can reduce our dependence on coal, oil, and natural gas. But what is green energy, and what makes it a better option than fossil fuels? Green energy comes from natural sources such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, plants, algae and geothermal heat. These energy resources are renewable, meaning they're naturally replenished. In contrast, fossil fuels are a finite resource that take millions of years to develop and will continue to diminish with use. http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/energy/stories/what-is-green-energy DOE funds 13 biofuel projects with $41 million. The U.S. Department of Energy has got its fingers in a lot of alternative-energy pies, from hydrogen vehicles to plug-ins. Today, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the DOE has announced that it will reach a little deeper into 13 biofuel and feedstock improvement projects with a $41 million investment. We hope there are gloves involved in the "manure to ethanol" project. The details of the projects can be found in the press release below, but there are five that will "diversify the nation's energy portfolio and replace the need for gasoline and diesel in vehicles" and eight that use "biomass genomics to improve promising biofuel feedstocks and drive more efficient, cost-effective energy production." Posted. http://green.autoblog.com/2012/07/26/doe-funds-13-biofuel-projects-with-41-million/