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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for August 9, 2012 Posted: 09 Aug 2012 13:12:19
ARB Newsclips for August 9, 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 Md., Del. make list of worst power plant polluters. Maryland and Delaware are among the nation's top 20 power plant polluters, according to new rankings by the Natural Resources Defense Council. Maryland ranked 19th in the rankings released Thursday, an improvement from fifth place the year before. Delaware rose one spot from 21st the year before to make it onto the top 20 list. The new rankings are based on 2010 figures, and the NRDC says new standards imposed by the federal Environmental Protection Agency mean power plant pollution should drop over the next few years. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Md-Del-make-list-of-worst-power-plant-polluters-3775595.php Spare the Air alert issued for Thursday. A Spare the Air alert has been issued for Thursday by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, which is advising residents to avoid outdoor activities during the hottest part of the day, when air quality is unhealthiest. "With five Spare the Air Alerts already this summer and the hottest weather of the season likely yet to come, we need to do more to reduce air pollution," said Jack Broadbent, executive officer of the air district. The district is encouraging people to carpool, work from home or bike to work to cut down on air pollution that creates smog in the summer heat. Posted. http://www.mercurynews.com/california/ci_21265870/spare-air-alert-issued-thursday http://www.insidebayarea.com/ci_21265502/spare-air-alert-issued-thursday-bay-area?IADID=Search-www.insidebayarea.com-www.insidebayarea.com http://www.contracostatimes.com/ci_21265502/spare-air-alert-issued-thursday-bay-area?IADID=Search-www.contracostatimes.com-www.contracostatimes.com US Magnesium loses pollution appeal. A federal appeals court is closing a loophole that let Utah industries exceed pollution emissions and escape sanctions by blaming malfunctioning equipment. Utah regulators say they were moving to close the loophole anyhow and make all unexpected pollution releases a potential Clean Air Act violation. The U.S. Environment Protection Agency is forcing the change and says Utah is on the right track. The Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the new regulation earlier this week by rejecting a challenge from U.S Magnesium. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/US-Magnesium-loses-pollution-appeal-3772644.php Air Pollution Linked With Stillbirth Risk. Air pollution has been linked to a number of breathing problems, mainly in developing countries, and now a new preliminary study looking at pollution levels in New Jersey has found an increased risk of stillbirths among women exposed to specific pollutants. "We found that different pollutants are harmful in different trimesters of pregnancy," said Dr. Ambarina Faiz, an instructor at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. For example, exposure to a high level of nitrogen dioxide was particularly harmful during the first trimester, she said. The study was published online July 18 in the American Journal of Epidemiology. Posted. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/09/air-pollution-stillbirth_n_1760301.html NOAA, partners find 50-year decline in some Los Angeles vehicle-related pollutants. In California’s Los Angeles Basin, levels of some vehicle-related air pollutants have decreased by about 98 percent since the 1960s, even as area residents now burn three times as much gasoline and diesel fuel. Between 2002 and 2010 alone, the concentration of air pollutants called volatile organic compounds (VOCs) dropped by half, according to a new study by NOAA scientists and colleagues, published in the Journal of Geophysical Research yesterday. “The reason is simple: Cars are getting cleaner,” said Carsten Warneke, Ph.D., a NOAA-funded scientist with the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at the University of Colorado Boulder. Posted. http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2012/20120809_laairqualitystudy.html RICHMOND REFINERY FIRE Effect of Chevron refinery fire on gas prices is unclear. The market is waiting for Chevron to report on the severity of damage to its refinery. The expected run-up in gasoline prices after a major fire at a Bay Area refinery may not come as quickly as expected, but it's coming. What isn't known at this point, analysts said, is how bad it will get. The market is waiting for Chevron Corp.to report on the severity of the damage to its 2,900-acre refinery in Richmond, Calif., which opened in 1902. Chevron said Wednesday that the refinery, which was shut down because of the fire at one of its units, was now partially operating. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-chevron-gas-prices-20120809,0,3198696.story Refinery fire highlights pollution concerns. A massive Chevron oil refinery fire that sent hundreds of people rushing to hospitals and is pushing West Coast gas prices higher was just the latest pollution incident at the facility that records show has increasingly violated air quality rules over the past five years. The refinery is one of three such facilities near San Francisco that rank among the state's top 10 emitters of toxic chemicals, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Toxic Release Inventory. Chevron's Richmond refinery—the scene of Monday's fire that shrouded the area in black smoke—has been cited by San Francisco Bay area regulators for violating air regulations 93 times in the past five years. Posted. http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5iDxdJa0AIpy3B_PxnyHPZ8_XIZBQ?docId=abd6d605632642e8a1b920b858b1b8e6 OTHER RELATED ARTICLES http://www.fresnobee.com/2012/08/09/2944364/fire-is-latest-pollution-problem.html#storylink=misearch www.insidebayarea.com/ci_21271009/fire-is-latest-pollution-problem-at-chevron-plant?IADID=Search-www.insidebayarea.com-www.insidebayarea.com http://www.contracostatimes.com/ci_21271009/fire-is-latest-pollution-problem-at-chevron-plant?IADID=Search-www.contracostatimes.com-www.contracostatimes.com http://www.recordnet.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20120808/A_NEWS/120809897&cid=sitesearch http://www.vcstar.com/news/2012/aug/09/fire-is-latest-pollution-problem-at-chevron/ http://www.nctimes.com/business/fire-is-latest-pollution-problem-at-chevron-plant/article_290de67b-f120-5d13-8bcc-5025e29259b6.html http://www.modbee.com/2012/08/09/2321226/fire-is-latest-pollution-problem.html#storylink=misearch http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/20120808/WIRE/120809567 Tests reveal safe toxics levels near Chevron refinery fire, but airborne particulates data not available. The Bay Area air district declared toxic chemical levels were safe after Monday night's Chevron refinery fire in Richmond, so why did nearly 1,700 people go to hospital emergency rooms complaining of stinging eyes, wheezing and difficulty breathing? Experts note the tests analyzed chemicals in the air, but not the particulate matter -- soot -- that turns smoke black and can irritate the eyes, nose, throat and lungs Posted. http://www.contracostatimes.com/ci_21266816/tests-reveal-safe-toxics-levels-near-chevron-refinery?IADID=Search-www.contracostatimes.com-www.contracostatimes.com http://www.insidebayarea.com/ci_21266816/tests-reveal-safe-toxics-levels-near-chevron-refinery?IADID=Search-www.insidebayarea.com-www.insidebayarea.com How an oil refinery can pollute the air (infographic). Nearly 1,700 Bay Area residents went to hospital emergency rooms complaining of stinging eyes, wheezing and difficulty breathing after Monday night's Chevron refinery fire in Richmond. This simplified diagram of an oil refinery shows how and where hazardous chemicals and gases get into the air. Posted. http://www.mercurynews.com/bay-area-news/ci_21268054/ Chevron refinery fire in California highlights the site's ongoing air pollution violations. A massive refinery fire that sent hundreds of people rushing to hospitals and is likely to increase West Coast gas prices was just the latest pollution incident at the facility that records show has increasingly violated air quality rules over the past five years. The Chevron oil refinery is one of three such facilities in Contra Costa County that are among the state's top 10 emitters of toxic chemicals, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Toxic Release Inventory. Posted. http://www.startribune.com/business/165423906.html?refer=y Chevron Fire Triggers Calls for Tougher Controls. The explosion and hours-long fire at Chevron’s large oil refinery in Richmond, California has triggered calls for tougher regulation of toxic chemicals. The Chevron fire reportedly released toxic chemicals including sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide in unknown amounts, sending hundreds of local residents to local hospitals with breathing and eye complaints. California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control claims it has little to no oversight of dangerous substances produced in refinery accidents. Posted. http://www.corporatecrimereporter.com/news/200/chevronfire08082012/ CLIMATE CHANGE Regulator urges change in California cap-and-trade program. A federal regulator asked California's governor to suspend a section of the state's cap-and-trade regulations that addresses power imported from out of state, warning that it threatens to destabilize its power supply and disrupt the world's eighth largest economy. Phillip Moeller, one of five commissioners of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which oversees electric reliability, said in a letter to Governor Jerry Brown that California's prohibition of and lack of clarity about "resource shuffling" may disrupt its electricity market. Posted. http://in.reuters.com/article/2012/08/08/us-california-carbon-idINBRE8770C320120808 Carbon Credits Gone Awry Raise Output of Harmful Gas. When the United Nations wanted to help slow climate change, it established what seemed a sensible system. Greenhouse gases were rated based on their power to warm the atmosphere. The more dangerous the gas, the more that manufacturers in developing nations would be compensated as they reduced their emissions. But where the United Nations envisioned environmental reform, some manufacturers of gases used in air-conditioning and refrigeration saw a lucrative business opportunity. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/09/world/asia/incentive-to-slow-climate-change-drives-output-of-harmful-gases.html?_r=1&partner=rss&emc=rss http://www.eenews.net/Greenwire/2012/08/09/23 What Cornfields Show, Data Now Confirm: July Set Mark as U.S.’s Hottest Month. It may come as little surprise to the nation’s corn farmers or resort operators, but the official statistics are in: July was the hottest month in the lower 48 states since the government began keeping temperature records in 1895. The average temperature last month was 77.6 degrees — 3.3 degrees above the average 20th-century temperature, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported on Wednesday. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/09/science/earth/july-was-hottest-month-ever-recorded-in-us.html?ref=science&pagewanted=print Climate change not a presidential election issue yet. Barack Obama promised to tackle climate change when he first ran for the White House four years ago, but - battling this summer for a second term - he speaks little of the issue even as the United States suffers through a drought of historic proportions, wild storms and punishing heat that topples temperature records almost daily. As late as April, Obama told Rolling Stone magazine climate change would be a central campaign issue. Posted. http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-250_162-57489676/climate-change-not-a-presidential-election-issue-yet/ Seeking hardier breeds for drought, climate change. Cattle are being bred with genes from their African cousins who are accustomed to hot weather. New corn varieties are emerging with larger roots for gathering water in a drought. Someday, the plants may even be able to "resurrect" themselves after a long dry spell, recovering quickly when rain returns. Across American agriculture, farmers and crop scientists have concluded that it's too late to fight climate change. Posted. http://www.contracostatimes.com/ci_21264519/seeking-hardier-breeds-drought-climate-change?IADID=Search-www.contracostatimes.com-www.contracostatimes.com http://www.insidebayarea.com/ci_21264519/seeking-hardier-breeds-drought-climate-change?IADID=Search-www.insidebayarea.com-www.insidebayarea.com DIESEL EMISSIONS 6 shipping carriers become inaugural participants in Port of Los Angeles Environmental Ship Index. Six shipping carriers have become the inaugural participants in the Port of Los Angeles Environmental Ship Index (ESI), an international clean air program that rewards ocean carriers for bringing their newest and cleanest vessels to the Port. Developed through the International Association of Ports & Harbors’ World Ports Climate Initiative, the ESI program is the first of its kind in North America and the Pacific Rim. The web-based ESI program, already underway at 14 European ports, offers immediate and significant clean air benefits by rewarding vessel operators …Posted. http://www.greencarcongress.com/2012/08/esi-20120809.html FUELS Livestock farmers seek pause in ethanol production. Livestock farmers and ranchers seeing their feed costs rise because of the worst drought in a quarter-century are demanding that the Environmental Protection Agency waive production requirements for corn-based ethanol. One-third of House members have also signed onto a letter urging EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to relax ethanol production targets in light of corn supply concerns and spiking prices. The EPA says it is working with the Agriculture Department and is keeping a close eye on crop estimates and how they might relate to the biofuel program. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Livestock-farmers-seek-pause-in-ethanol-production-3774474.php New biofuels offer hope to hungry world. The poorest people in the world face additional hunger as the price of staple foods soar. The growth of crops in 2012 has been badly affected by drought in the US and Russia and prices have risen 50% since June. According to a report about the hike in food prices, from the international agency Oxfam, 40% of US corn stocks are currently being used to produce fuel. The US Renewable Fuel Standard mandate requires that up to 15 billion gallons of domestic corn ethanol be blended into the US fuel supply by 2022. Posted. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-19179419 CaFCP report concludes California needs 68 hydrogen fueling stations by end of 2015 to support first commercial wave of fuel cell vehicles. To support the planned commercial launch of fuel cell electric vehicles by automakers in 2015 (FCEVs), California needs 68 hydrogen fueling stations in five clusters in which most early adopters are expected, according to a new report issued by the California Fuel Cell Partnership (CaFCP). These 68 stations should be in place by the end of 2015 in order to serve adequately the first approximately 20,000 FCEVs, the report finds. Posted. http://www.greencarcongress.com/2012/08/cafcp-report-concludes-california-needs-68-hydrogen-fueling-stations-by-end-of-2015-to-support-first.html Coal's hard times are felt by the nation's railroads. Coal-to-gas fuel switching by U.S. electric utilities is proving to be a game changer for the nation's railroads, many of which derive significant revenues from hauling coal from mine sites in Appalachia, the Midwest and the West to power plants across the country. CSX Corp., the nation's largest hauler of coal with a base of operations in the East, said in a conference call with investors yesterday that coal revenues for the first half of 2012 are down 10 percent, while total volumes delivered are down 14 percent from the same period in 2011. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2012/08/09/1 BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY VEHICLES Electric vehicle supplier expands manufacturing operation in Dixon. A Palo Alto-based developer and marketer of drivetrain systems for electric vehicles is expanding its operations in Dixon. Efficient Drivetrains Inc., said it has added a second research and development facility, growing Dixon operations from 4,000 square feet to about 12,000 square feet. The expansion will used, in part, to construct vehicles being designed for the global marketplace. Company CEO Joerg Ferchau said the company currently employs 18 but anticipates adding three or four more hires this year. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2012/08/08/4706062/electric-vehicle-supplier-expands.html#storylink=cpy Fallbrook Technologies raises $20.1M. Fallbrook Technologies Inc. has raised $20.1 million in an equity offering, the company stated in an SEC filing Wednesday. Founded in a garage in Fallbrook by inventor Don Miller, the privately held company makes a continuously variable planetary gear called NuVinci that can be used in bicycles, electric vehicles and off-road vehicles. The company says NuVinci eliminates jarring and shocks caused by shifting gears, and saves energy. A total of $30.7 million is being sought in the offering, leaving $10.6 million left to be raised, the company stated in the filing. Posted. http://www.nctimes.com/business/fallbrook-technologies-raises-m/article_bd48c949-ab17-5e1c-b087-4876574af93f.html Battery-switchable electric Commodore breaks 24-hour world EV distance record. The battery-switchable fully-electric Holden Commodore developed by EV Engineering in Australia (earlier post) recently unofficially broke the distance record for a production electric car, achieving 1,886 (1,172 miles) kilometers of driving over a 24-hour period. A team of 16 engineers and technicians from EV Engineering and its member companies began the attempt at 1 pm on Saturday 21 July, supported by a team in the workshop operating the semi-automated switch station that switches a depleted battery for a fully-charged one. Posted. http://www.greencarcongress.com/2012/08/commodore-20120809.html EV Batteries: cell costs down, but not enough - insights of Uwe Wiedemann, AVL. We know for more than 120 years that electric vehicles are technologically feasible, but when it comes to being able to replace ICEs without a premium price, it is still very difficult, especially because of the battery. Uwe Wiedemann, Product Manager in the Global Battery Competence Team at AVL, give his insights on battery systems cost and market development. Posted. http://cars21.com/news/view/4850 HIGH-SPEED RAIL High-Speed Rail Authority sets disadvantaged business goal for contracts. The California High-Speed Rail Authority Board has set a goal to ensure that 10 percent of federal rail contracts and other construction contracts are awarded to businesses that have been certified as disadvantaged. A Disadvantaged Business Enterprise is a small business that is at least 51 percent owned by at least one person who is both socially and economically disadvantaged. Posted. http://www.bizjournals.com/sacramento/news/2012/08/09/calif-high-speed-rail-disadvantaged-busi.html GREEN ENERGY Geothermal energy industry stalls in California, officials tell Sacramento summit. The core of the U.S. geothermal energy industry came to Sacramento this week with a message: California is not paying enough attention to this underground power source. "There's no question the industry is stalled in California," said Karl Gawell, executive director of the Geothermal Energy Association in Washington, D.C. The association's members wrapped up their National Geothermal Summit on Wednesday at the Hyatt Regency Sacramento. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2012/08/09/v-print/4708146/geothermal-energy-industry-stalls.html EASTVALE: City Council discusses manure-to-energy project. Norco city officials Wednesday night, Aug. 8, spoke at Eastvale’s City Council meeting to ease their neighbors’ concerns about a proposed manure-to-energy project within Eastvale city limits.Norco City Manager Beth Groves assured Eastvale City Council members that if Norco goes ahead with its plan to build a plant where manure and green waste would be incinerated and turned into energy, it would go through the Eastvale planning process. Posted. http://www.pe.com/local-news/riverside-county/riverside/riverside-headlines-index/20120809-eastvale-city-council-discusses-manure-to-energy-project.ece MISCELLANEOUS Chicago Delay Fuels Concern About New York Bike Sharing. An ambitious bike-share program, trumpeted as a transformational initiative by a powerful big-city mayor, has been pushed back to the spring. No, not in New York — but in Chicago. The program in Chicago, operated by Alta Bicycle Share, will not meet its initial target of late summer and will be delayed until next year, officials there announced this week. Alta is also in charge of New York City’s program, which was supposed to begin last month. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has attributed the delay here to software problems, and no new starting date has been announced. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/09/nyregion/chicago-delay-fuels-concern-about-new-yorks-bike-sharing.html US, Mexico Sign Agreement Addressing High Priority Border Environmental Issues. Today U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa P. Jackson joined Mexico’s Secretary for the Environment and Natural Resources Juan Elvira Quesada to sign the Border 2020 U.S.-Mexico Environmental program agreement. Posted. http://scoopsandiego.com/news/local/us-mexico-sign-agreement-addressing-high-priority-border-environmental-issues/article_b397eec0-e195-11e1-be40-001a4bcf6878.html OPINIONS George F. Will: Despite its high-ranking supporters, high-speed rail is no boon for California. State Sen. Joe Simitian's district office near Stanford's campus is nestled among shops sporting excruciatingly cute names ("A Street Bike Named Desire," "Mom's the Word" maternity wear) intended to make the progressive gentry comfortable with upscale consumption by presenting it as whimsical. This community surely has its share of advanced thinkers who believe trains are wonderful because they are not cars (rampant individualism; people going wherever and whenever they want, unsupervised). Nevertheless …Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2012/08/08/4707583/despite-its-high-ranking-supporters.html http://www.kansascity.com/2012/08/08/3751834/george-f-will-one-states-reckless.html BLOGS The Power of Images: California Maps Greenhouse Gases. One of the most significant political problems facing campaigns against air pollution these days is this: by and large, you can’t see it. You can track its molecules, watch emergency room admissions go up and down as it waxes and wanes and estimate the number of lives shortened by it. But none of that provides the jolt of, say, a picture of a tornado’s path or a river on fire. Back in 1948, when killer smog descended on Donora, Pa., it was a visible scourge. But carbon dioxide is odorless and colorless, so the eye is no judge of gauging when pollution is better or worse. Posted. http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/08/09/the-power-of-images-california-maps-greenhouse-gases/?src=twrhp Climate Change Adaptations: How To Prepare For Global Warming. Wild geoengineering schemes may aim to reverse global warming by reflecting sunlight into space or storing excess carbon dioxide, but they won't spare humanity from living through climate change in the next several decades. That means humans must adapt to life in a world where droughts hit harder, floodwaters rise higher and entire island nations may sink beneath the waves. 'Some adaptation ideas resemble science fiction made real — growing crops inside city buildings, floating villages and genetically engineered crops. Posted. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/09/climate-change-adaptations_n_1759835.html Mazda's SkyActiv technology driving hefty weight loss goal. You may have noticed that Mazda hasn't released a lineup of electric vehicles, hybrids and alternative fuel vehicles. So, how will the automaker reach the demanding 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025 federal mandate? By going lightweight and utilizing its Skyactiv technology. As part of its Skyactiv program, Mazda dropped 575 pounds off its CX-5 crossover from its similar-sized predecessor, the CX-7. Now the goal is shed at least 220 pounds every time it redesigns one of its models. Posted. http://green.autoblog.com/2012/08/09/mazda-s-skyactiv-technology-driving-hefty-weight-loss-goal/