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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for August 1, 2012. Posted: 01 Aug 2012 12:24:22
ARB Newsclips for August 1, 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 Hopewell plant fined, improving pollution controls. A Hopewell chemical plant has agreed to pay a $175,000 fine for alleged air pollution violations. Under the agreement with federal officials, Hercules Inc. has also agreed to add $200,000 in pollution controls. The Richmond Times-Dispatch (http://bit.ly/Ol73hJ) reports that the plant did not adequately limit emissions of chemical pollutants and it had an inadequate system for detecting leaks. Posted. http://www.vcstar.com/news/2012/aug/01/hopewell-plant-fined-improving-pollution/#ixzz22JV4IVyi RIVERSIDE COUNTY: Liberty Quarry closer to fast-track approval. Riverside County supervisors voted for a streamlined approval process for the new Liberty Quarry application following a daylong hearing featuring impassioned comments from members of the public and elected officials alike. Their voices rising at times, supervisors Tuesday, July 31, voted 3-2 to ask county staff to begin the process of adding surface mines, such as the quarry, to the list of projects eligible for fast-tracking, a process that allows certain developments to bypass the Planning Commission and head straight to the Board of Supervisors for approval. Posted. http://www.pe.com/local-news/politics/politics-headlines-index/20120731-riverside-county-liberty-quarry-closer-to-fast-track-approval.ece Quebec plans to adopt air-quality policy. Quebec Environment Minister Pierre Arcand has been a busy man over the last nine days. As the clock ticks down to an expected election call Wednesday, Arcand has criss-crossed the province, holding press conferences to announce everything from the expansion of a national park to increased funding for compost-treatment centres to better-than-expected results from a campaign to reduce plastic-bag use in Quebec. Posted. http://www.montrealgazette.com/health/Quebec+plans+adopt+quality+policy/7019860/story.html#ixzz22JXc7SDI Air District Reaches Settlement with EPA on Challenge to Dust Rules. The Imperial County Air Pollution Control District (Air District), together with the California Department of Parks and Recreation (Parks), have entered into a settlement agreement with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that will resolve the Air District’s and Parks’ pending litigation in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The Air District and Parks had challenged EPA’s July 8, 2010 limited disapproval of the Air District’s Regulation VIII fugitive dust rules. Posted. http://tribwekchron.com/2012/07/air-district-reaches-settlement-with-epa-on-challenge-to-dust-rules/ CLIMATE CHANGE California weighs giving away more CO2 permits. In an effort to dissuade companies in key industries facing new carbon costs from leaving the state, California is considering giving them millions of dollars’ worth of additional free greenhouse gas allowances, state's air regulator said on Monday. California's cap-and-trade program seeks to emulate tactics used in the European Union and Australia to address emission "leakage" - a term describing the exodus of employers from a state or country in order to sidestep environmental costs. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/08/01/us-california-carbon-idUSBRE8700BS20120801 Planners mull report on climate change. As California grows warmer, nowhere will the increased temperatures be starker than its arid Central Valley, where farmers will have to consider whether the crops grown today will survive in a harsher environment. Rising sea levels will also flood coastal airports and municipal sewage systems, while earlier springs will hasten snow melt and reduce the state's capacity to generate hydroelectric power in the summer months when it's needed most. Posted. http://www.contracostatimes.com/ci_21204228/planners-mull-report-climate-change?IADID=Search-www.contracostatimes.com-www.contracostatimes.com http://www.fresnobee.com/2012/07/31/2930866/calif-report-will-guide-climate.html#storylink=misearch http://www.vcstar.com/news/2012/jul/31/calif-report-will-guide-climate-change-02/#ixzz22JVPcw72 http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/20120731/WIRE/120739918 California prepares for harsh realities of changing climate. Climate change is real and unfolding, and the outlook for California is bleak, according to new state-sponsored studies. Released Tuesday, the studies warn that California can expect more scorching heat waves, severe wildfires and strain on the electric grid as the Earth warms and sea levels rise along the state's 1,100-mile long coast. Higher temperatures in the coming decade mean that many more of the state's 37 million people will depend on air conditioning -- increasing demand for electricity by up to 1 gigawatt during hot summer months. Posted. http://www.contracostatimes.com/ci_21203992/california-prepares-harsh-realities-changing-climate?IADID=Search-www.contracostatimes.com-www.contracostatimes.com Calif. leaders brace for threats from air, land, sea. California must start preparing now for a future that will be hotter and drier because of climate change, state officials said yesterday. Warmer temperatures are producing a number of threats, leaders said, including accelerated sea-level rise, dangers to the power supply and perils to the agricultural industry. "Climate change is here now in California," said Ken Alex, director of the state's Office of Planning and Research. "We need to adapt." The assessment came as the California Energy Commission and Natural Resources Agency released more than 30 studies on the effects of climate change. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/2012/08/01/3 BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY Texas, Calif. to face more climate-induced downpours – report. Houston -- Climate change is causing heavier rainstorms to occur more frequently across Texas and Southern California, according to separate versions of a new report released yesterday. In mid-July, the Houston area and much of the southeastern part of the state received torrential downpours over successive days. Manhole covers popped up onto some downtown streets where sewer systems were overwhelmed, and in this city's northwest corner, one of the hardest-hit areas, 100 homes were flooded when Cypress Creek spilled over its banks. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2012/08/01/7 BY SUBSCRIPTON ONLY Scientists examine California's vulnerability to climate change. Fish biologist Peter Moyle says most native fishes, like this cutthroat trout, will suffer population declines and some face extinction from climate change. As climate change threatens to reshape California’s landscape, University of California, Davis, researchers are helping to inform policymakers about the state’s vulnerability and provide strategies for adaptation. The UC Davis research appears in a report, “Our Changing Climate,” released today by the California Natural Resources Agency and the California Energy Commission. Posted. http://www.news.ucdavis.edu/search/news_detail.lasso?id=10294 New study links wildfires and climate change. New study has found a strong link between climate change and wildfire. It appears to explain long-term changes in the frequency of fire over many centuries, and it may explain what's been happening in the West in recent years. "Climate ultimately drives fire," said Mitchell Power, assistant professor of geography at the University of Utah and curator of the Garrett Herbarium at the Natural History Museum of Utah. Power is lead author of the new study which explored lake-bottom sediments in hundreds of locations around the world. Posted. http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865559760/New-study-links-wildfires-and-climate-change.html U.S. Drought and Climate Change: Science Points to Link. The drought that’s turned most of the United States into a dessicated hotbox may be a symptom of climate change, a brutal blowback from carbon pollution. Climate scientists, who prefer to speak in terms of probabilities and trends rather than single events, are reluctant to point fingers at any one cause — but signs point to human influence making a natural dry spell unnaturally severe. Posted. http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2012/07/climate-change-drought/ FUELS Shell Oil scales back Arctic drilling plan. Shell Oil Co. is downsizing its plan for off-shore drilling in the Arctic this year amid delays completing a spill containment barge required by the federal government, a spokesman said Tuesday. Shell now hopes to complete two wells in 2012 instead of five. One would be in the Beaufort Sea off the northern Alaska coastline, and the other in the Chukchi Sea off the northwest coast between Alaska and Russia. Posted. http://www.nctimes.com/news/national/shell-oil-scales-back-arctic-drilling-plan/article_000b0e26-15a6-560b-9f8f-4a20ed1282b7.html VEHICLES As Fleet Sales Stall, Automakers Report Mixed Results. Automakers reported mixed results for their July sales in the United States, as both General Motors and Ford posted declines due in part to lower sales to rental fleets and other business customers. G.M., the nation’s largest automaker, said it sold 201,000 vehicles in the month, down 6.4 percent from the same period a year ago. The company said sales to retail customers increased slightly, but fleet sales dropped 41 percent. Ford said its overall United States sales declined 3.5 percent during the month to 166,000 vehicles. Ford also cited lower fleet sales as the prime reason for the decrease. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/02/business/as-fleet-sales-stall-automakers-report-mixed-results.html?_r=1 AUTOMOTIVE: Smaller Prius is gas stingy. Not counting plug-in cars, the 2012 Toyota Prius c is the most gasoline-stingy auto on the U.S. market, with a combined city/highway rating of 50 miles a gallon, according to the federal government. Better yet, the starting retail price of $19,710 means the Prius c has the second-lowest base price of any gasoline-electric hybrid in the country. No wonder the 2012 Prius c small hatchback with four-cylinder engine mated to two electric motors and battery pack is a compelling offering for budget-minded consumers and environmentalists who want to reduce oil usage and air emissions. Posted. http://www.nctimes.com/business/automotive-smaller-prius-is-gas-stingy/article_7b4d8e9b-479b-58e2-a161-af009c172f95.html HIGH-SPEED RAIL High-speed rail will shift Highway 99 through Fresno. Caltrans estimates that it will cost about $226 million and take up to three years to relocate a stretch of Highway 99 through Fresno to make way for high-speed train tracks. The estimate by the state's transportation department includes acquiring the private property needed to shove the freeway west by about 100 feet between Ashlan and Clinton avenues in central Fresno, as well as building new traffic lanes and demolition of the old highway, according to a report to the California High-Speed Rail Authority. Posted. http://www.fresnobee.com/2012/07/31/2931368/high-speed-rail-will-move-highway.html GREEN ENERGY NE governors, Canadian counterparts talk energy. New England governors and their eastern Canadian counterparts, who are eager to export a growing overabundance of hydroelectric and wind power, promised Monday to work together to increase the use of clean energy throughout the region. During their 36th-annual meeting, governors, eastern Canadian provincial leaders and their representatives talked about the need to share energy resources across state, provincial and international boundaries. Posted. www.vcstar.com/news/2012/jul/30/ne-governors-canadian-counterparts-talk-energy/ OPINIONS Editorial: The challenge in reversing climate change denial. For some people climate change is proving a godsend. Quebec wine producers are glorying in a manifestly warming climate in the province with a third consecutive warmer and drier summer underway. This is boosting the yield of their vines and favouring the production of vintages said to be exceptionally rounded and full-bodied. Quebec’s environment ministry reported this week that the province’s average temperature has risen by 1.6 degrees Celsius between 1961 and 2010. Posted. http://www.montrealgazette.com/technology/Editorial+challenge+reversing+climate+change+denial/7019508/story.html Climate change takes back seat on campaign trail. It’s been a summer of discontent, with much of the country broiling under a heat wave like few before. Out West, parched wildlands burn. In the Midwest, farmers are sweating out another year of drought and wilted crops. Consumers are feeling it, too, as they fume over rising food prices and muse about what’s behind the scorching temperatures. Many scientists and environmentalists, and some politicians, are sure of what’s at least partly to blame: climate change. Posted. http://bostonglobe.com/news/politics/2012/07/31/climate-change-back-burner-issue-presidential-race-despite-drought-heat-waves-wildlands-fires/Tlj7h1XkK5mlPkGjzCE7AJ/story.html BLOGS A Glimpse of the Alternative Fuel Future. While a variety of new fuel technologies are advancing, policymakers can be assured that the internal combustion engine will remain dominant for decades, the National Petroleum Council told the Department of Energy on Wednesday in a report. The report from the council, an advisory agency, was drawn up in response to requests from the Energy Department for counsel on how to accelerate the adoption of new fuels and technologies, from compressed natural gas to fuel cells to biofuels, between now and 2050. Posted. http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/08/01/a-glimpse-of-the-alternative-fuel-future/ India’s Long Struggle for Power. India’s power outages this week were the nation’s largest, but they reflect a long-standing national problem. “India has long struggled to provide enough electricity to light its homes and power its industry around the clock,” Vikas Bajaj wrote this April. “In recent years, the government and private sector sought to change that by building scores of new power plants,” he wrote, but that campaign “is now running into difficulties because the country cannot get enough fuel — principally coal — to run the plants.” Posted. http://india.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/07/31/indias-long-struggle-for-power/ White House honors California high-speed rail leader for innovation. Although polls have shown that a majority of California voters have soured on the state’s bullet-train project, there is at least one place where it still has overwhelming political support: the White House. On Tuesday, President Obama, whose high-speed-rail initiative has come off the tracks in several parts of the country, named Dan Richard, chairman of the California High-Speed Rail Authority, a “Transportation Innovator Champion of Change.” Posted. http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2012/08/white-house-honors-california-high-speed-rail-leader-for-innovation.html GE says WattStations not to blame for Nissan Leaf charging problems. It's not us. That's what General Electric is saying after reports surfaced that some charging stations – namely, its GE WattStations – were causing the on-board charger in some Nissan Leafs to be damaged. General Electric says it's a software issue specific to Nissan's electric car, as proven by the fact that no other types of electric vehicles suffered charger damage after using a WattStation. Posted. http://green.autoblog.com/2012/07/31/ge-wattstation-nissan-leaf-charging-problems/ In the light of day, that solar plan looks like cap-and-trade. When it comes to global warming, I always thought it would be a cold day in hell before I found myself agreeing with the Daily Kos. But I found myself in agreement with what that liberal website’s D.S. Wright had to say about our governor’s signing of that solar-energy bill last week. In an article headlined “GOP Keynote Speaker Bails out Solar Industry, Says Government Creates Jobs,” Wright cited Chris Christie’s boasting of that bill’s job-creation potential. Posted. http://blog.nj.com/njv_paul_mulshine/2012/07/in_the_light_of_day_that_solar.html Connecting the Dots on Climate Change. On Wednesday, the Senate Environment and Public Works committee takes up the important issue of climate change science and adaptation. Hopefully, it's a first step toward some real solutions to address record heat, drought, storms and other effects of climate change that we're now all experiencing first-hand. When it comes to connecting the dots between climate change and extreme weather, the lines are now clear. What's also clear is that we can do something -- a lot of things, actually -- to prevent more of the climate-change related weather disasters we're experiencing. Posted. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/frances-beinecke/connecting-the-dots-on-cl_b_1728809.html Global Warming Debate Heats Up, Again. A firestorm is raging across the Internet after The New York Times ran an op-ed piece by University of California Berkeley scientist Richard Muller. In it, he explains why he turned from climate-change skeptic to accepting the central role that humans play in warming the planet. Muller claims that a careful reanalysis of the data collected from temperature stations led him to conclude that the average global temperature "has risen by two and a half degrees over the past 250 years, including an increase of one and a half degrees over the most recent 50 years. Moreover, it appears likely that essentially all of this increase results from the human emission of greenhouse gases." Posted. http://www.npr.org/blogs/13.7/2012/08/01/157659554/global-warming-debate-heats-up-again