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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips of August 13, 2012.

Posted: 13 Aug 2012 12:13:53
ARB Newsclips of August 13, 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.


Steel mill polluted town as Romney firm profited.  The rusty
stains on Shirley Carter's home are a permanent reminder of her
fight with the local steel mill, just down U.S. Highway 17 near
the boat docks. No matter how many cans of industrial-strength
acid she went through, the red tint on her property never seemed
to go away.  In 1998, Carter and her neighbors sued Georgetown
Steel, then owned by the company Republican presidential
candidate Mitt Romney co-founded, Bain Capital. They sought
millions in cleanup costs and accused the mill's owners of
leaving their historic Southern neighborhood looking like it had
been hit by a "chemical bomb."  Posted. 

Incentive program sought to protect whales and cut pollution. 
Asking yielded little cooperation.  Four years ago, federal
officials set up a voluntary program, asking ships to slow down
in the Santa Barbara Channel to prevent deadly collisions with
whales. The measures took effect for a few months each year, when
whales are drawn to the area by heaping supplies of krill.  But
fewer than 1 percent of ships have cooperated, said Sean
Hastings, resource protection coordinator with the Channel
Islands National Marine Sanctuary.  Posted. 


Chevron refinery has history of fires and pollution releases, but
that is par for industry.  Federal investigators say last week's
massive blaze at Chevron's Richmond refinery was a "near
disaster" that could have killed more than a dozen workers trying
to fix an old, leaky pipe, but a review of air pollution
violations, accidents and fires at Contra Costa's four refineries
show the San Ramon-based oil giant is not the worst offender. 
The Aug. 6 fire in a crude oil refining unit burned and billowed
smoke for hours, prompting residents in nearby communities to
seek shelter indoors. Posted. 


ARB looks at reducing 'cap and trade' burden on businesses. Big
business sees California's global-warming law as a job killer, a
$1 billion tax that could force some of the state's heaviest
industries to flee. Now state regulators, trying to ease the
burden, are studying whether to give hardship breaks to dozens of
companies. Under the plan being considered, the state would dole
out extra carbon credits – the precious allowances that will give
industries the license to emit greenhouse gases starting in
January. The proposal could save companies millions of dollars.

New high-efficiency gas power plant in Lodi ready for final
testing. California's largest single consumer of electricity
plans to eliminate 80 percent of its greenhouse gas emissions by
2050. A new, highly efficient power plant outside Lodi will help
make that possible. The state Department of Water Resources uses
an average of 2,000 megawatts of power each day to pump water up
and down the state. About half of DWR's power comes from its own
hydroelectric plants, but the rest is purchased from others and
includes electricity produced from burning coal, considered a
major culprit in global warming. Posted.

Long Beach to study possibility of selling carbon credits to
industry to offset tree costs. Does money grow on trees? Some
Long Beach council members want to find out. A proposal to be
introduced Tuesday to the City Council asks to determine the
feasibility of selling carbon credits potentially produced by
Long Beach's 393,000-tree urban forest to help defray the
multimillion dollar annual cost of tree trimming. The possible
source of revenue - at a time when Long Beach leaders are faced
with balancing another deficit in 2013 …Posted.

Agencies fear the worst - and plan for it - amid climate change. 
Experts predict that climate change, in addition to causing
longer and fiercer heat waves and higher humidity, will bring an
increase in viruses and bacteria that cause illness.  Infectious
disease specialists who will have to deal with those health
effects got an unplanned preview from the deadly H1N1 influenza
pandemic of 2009-2010 and the whooping cough epidemic that
followed a few months later.  Posted. 

Climate change may increase parasite infections, say scientists.
According to research published today in the journal Nature:
Climate Change, parasites may flourish with climate change. The
increasing variability of the global climate is shifting the
distribution of infectious diseases in both human and animal
populations. These changes have the potential to adversely affect
our capability to manage diseases. Posted.

Companies will exploit Cap and Trade. Anti-capitalists always
complain that entrepreneurs exploit loopholes in all those nice
laws liberals and progressives pass to help the environment, the
baby seals, the rain forests, etc. You can bet that will happen
with California’s Cap and Trade program, which launches in
January and is preceded by carbon allowance auctions on Nov. 14.
Reported Forbes: “Governor Jerry Brown’s budget plan, released in
January, projected auction revenue of $1 billion in 2012-13. When
the cap-and-trade program expands to include transportation fuels
in 2015, auction revenue will ratchet upwards.” Posted.


Port Air Quality Continues Improvements.  The Port of Long Beach
continues to receive good evaluations when it comes to reducing
air pollution, according to its annual emissions inventory
report.  “This year we saw a lot more of these smaller and
incremental changes,” said Art Wong, port spokesman. “My
expectation is that next year there will not be hardly any
changes, but when we start plugging in the ships (to shore
power), then we will see another significant reduction.”  Posted.

EPA's Navistar Proposal Up for Final Review.  The Environmental
Protection Agency is close to releasing a revised proposal on
whether or not Navistar International can pay penalties on
engines that don't meet clean air standards.  The proposed rule,
which still is under wraps, is awaiting final review at the White
House Office of Management and Budget.  Last May the agency said
it would allow Navistar to pay non-compliance penalties. Navistar
said it needed that relief in order to keep selling its Class 8
engines, which use an exhaust gas recirculation technology that
has not yet been able to bring the engines into compliance with
clean air requirements.  Posted. 


New catalyst can break down vehicle methane emissions. A team of
scientists from Italy, Spain and the United States has identified
a catalyst that could break down methane -- a potent greenhouse
gas -- in vehicle engines, reducing it to only a fraction of its
global warming potential. A combination of palladium particles
and a semiconductor called cerium oxide allows methane to break
down into water and carbon dioxide more efficiently than other
catalysts, a study in Science publishes last week showed. While
methane makes up a small amount of vehicle exhaust, its global
warming potential -- 20 times that of carbon dioxide -- is
significant. Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2012/08/13/6 BY


ON THE ROAD: Miles-per-gallon credibility.  “How much credibility
is there in the so-called EPA estimates of miles-per-gallon we
should expect to get when we buy a certain car?”  J. Paul
Lombardi asked that question when explaining his 2012 Hyundai
Sonata GLS isn’t delivering the fuel economy alleged by the
Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Energy —
24 miles per gallon in city driving, 35 mpg for highway driving. 


Federal spending on clean energy falls short on jobs, but wind
and solar advance. Washington -- What has America gotten so far
from President Barack Obama’s spending on clean energy, and has
it been worth the cost? The multibillion-dollar outlays of the
past four years had equally big goals: putting people to work
right away, but also future jobs in a growing global endeavor to
cut pollution and the risks from climate disruption. The federal
spending has become an issue in the 2012 campaign. Republicans
say the federal government squandered taxpayers’ money…Posted.



Metal recycling firms burgeon in state, but regulators can't keep
up. The operations commonly handle hazardous materials and
sometimes are near homes, but are subject to inconsistent
oversight by a patchwork of agencies. Many are rarely if ever
inspected. The explosions came one after another, jolting a South
Los Angeles neighborhood. "It felt like an earthquake, and then
it was just raining fire," recalled Richard Gomez, who watched a
metal recycling facility on Slauson Avenue erupt in flames one
day in June 2010. Posted.

Foes: Pa. state permit order threatens environment. Critics say a
new order from Gov. Tom Corbett will pressure state employees to
more quickly approve environmental permits, including Marcellus
Shale gas wells and projects that involve sensitive wetlands or
ecosystems. The order, signed July 24, is described as a "Permit
Decision Guarantee" for the Department of Environmental
Protection. Environmental advocates say the order directs the
agency to "consider compliance with the review deadlines a factor
in any job performance evaluations" of staff. Posted.

High-speed rail advocacy group to host info workshop in Hanford. 
 A California High Speed Rail advocacy group will hold an
informational workshop in Hanford from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Aug.
25 to discuss the latest environmental impact report from the
California High Speed Rail Authority.  Citizens for California
High Speed Rail Accountability is hosting the workshop at the
First Baptist Church of Hanford on the report for the
Fresno-to-Bakersfield section of the rail system, spokeswoman
Shelli Andranigian said.  Posted. 


Heating up debate on climate change. Excuse me, folks, but the
weather is trying to tell us something. Listen carefully, and you
can almost hear a parched, raspy voice whispering: “What part of
‘hottest month ever’ do you people not understand?” According to
the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, July was
indeed the hottest month in the contiguous United States since
record-keeping began more than a century ago. That distinction
was previously held by July 1936, which came at the height of the
Dust Bowl calamity that devastated the American heartland.

Hundred-Year Forecast: Drought. BY many measurements, this
summer’s drought is one for the record books. But so was last
year’s drought in the South Central states. And it has been only
a decade since an extreme five-year drought hit the American
West. Widespread annual droughts, once a rare calamity, have
become more frequent and are set to become the “new normal.”
Until recently, many scientists spoke of climate change mainly as
a “threat,” sometime in the future. But it is increasingly clear
that we already live in the era of human-induced climate change,
with a growing frequency of weather and climate extremes like
heat waves, droughts, floods and fires. Posted.

Cracking down on diesel. California can, and should, lead the
world in ending the menace of soot and black carbon pollution
from diesel engines. California can, and should, lead the world
in ending the menace of soot and black carbon pollution from
diesel engines. We've all choked on black smoke billowing from
diesel trucks and buses. It's obviously polluting, but what's not
obvious is much worse. Diesel emissions are a major health hazard
— cancer causing, in fact. And they are a big part of the threat
to our climate. Yet cleaning them up is practical, easy and
affordable — the rules just need to be enforced. Posted.

The right move on gas mileage. After fine-tuning the rules for a
year, the Obama administration is due next week to set mileage
standards that will double fuel economy to 54.5 miles per gallon
by 2025. It's the right move that saves money for consumers,
cleans the air and cuts oil imports. But GOP forces - led by
likely presidential contender Mitt Romney - aren't sold on the
obvious good sense of this plan. Stepping in ahead of the White
House, a Republican report claims the higher mileage rules were
coerced from carmakers who needed federal bailouts. Posted.

Convert Richmond refinery to biocrude. The Chevron oil refinery
in Richmond on San Francisco Bay opened in 1902, before there was
a dense population surrounding it. It is incredibly dangerous to
have an oil refinery in the middle of an urban area, and any new
refinery today would be built far from a dense population. No new
refineries have been built in the United States since 1976,
because they are an environmental nightmare. Oil refineries are
hazardous and carry with them a risk of chemical spills and
explosions, which are extremely detrimental to human beings and
ecosystems. Posted.

Barnidge: UC Berkeley professor was slow to warm up to climate
change. Global warming skeptics come in many forms. Richard
Muller is a physics professor at UC Berkeley with an extensive
background in climatology, but for years even he found himself at
odds with the theory. He was troubled, he said, by unreliable
data from temperature stations located on asphalt lots or near
buildings. Further doubts were fueled by "Climategate" -- the
2009 revelation that researchers with the University of East
Anglia's Climatic Research Unit had manipulated facts. Posted.


Daniel Borenstein: Air district's Richmond refinery fire
statement incomplete, inaccurate. As hundreds of Richmond
residents complained of respiratory ailments after Monday night's
fire at the Chevron refinery in Richmond, the Bay Area Air
Quality Management District sent out a news release suggesting
everything was fine. Lab analysis from air samples showed levels
of potentially toxic pollutants to be well under state standards
"and not a significant health concern," the district declared in
a carelessly written statement. Posted.

Global Warming and the Meaning of Doom. Alarming data and
warnings about climate change have been with us for twenty years.
The issue has morphed into something like a low-level toothache.
The public is numbed by all the bad news, and in place of
sensible solutions, we witness the folly of political
polarization. You can't believe in climate change and be a good
conservative. This departure from fact-based reality is only part
of the problem. China and the U.S., who produce 40 percent of the
world's harmful emissions…Posted.

Global Warming Debate Needs Cooler Heads To Prevail. Over the
course of the last two weeks, two scientists -- James E. Hansen
of Columbia University and Richard A. Muller at the University of
California, Berkeley -- took to the pages of two prominent
American newspapers to present new and compelling evidence that
climate change is real, that it is driven overwhelmingly by human
activity, and that its dire effects are already upon us. And then
nothing happened. Posted. 


Climate Insight From a Magical Mountain Range. As many people
know, human civilization arose during a particularly stable
period in the history of the earth – the Holocene, encompassing
the 12,000 years since the end of the last ice age. It may have
been no accident that civilization burst forth during an era when
ice had retreated from some of the most favorable land and when
climate, sea level and other conditions had settled down after
the turbulence of the ice age. But they have not entirely settled
down. Posted.

The Physics of Tidal Energy.  As my colleague Jess Bidgood
reported in Friday’s paper, a tidal energy project is moving
ahead in Maine, with high costs but high hopes too. But the
180-kilowatt unit that the Ocean Renewable Power Company hopes to
put under water next week is really just a first step. The big
question is, how well will it withstand the force of the rushing
water? The region, the Bay of Fundy, is famous for strong tides,
but the company has picked a spot called Cobscook Bay, where the
current is relatively slow, an average of 5.8 knots, or 6.7 miles
an hour. Posted.

The Secrets of Hissing Trees. Three years ago, a researcher
collecting tree core samples in Connecticut was startled to see
one of the trees begin to hiss and spit. Even more surprising, he
found that the leaking gas could be set on fire. It’s been known
since around the 1970’s that a relatively rare bacterial
infection in trees responsible for the damaging rot known as wet
wood can cause trees to emit methane, a greenhouse gas with 20
times the warming potential of carbon dioxide. Trees in wetland
soils can also act as straws, sipping methane from soggy,
oxygen-poor soil. Posted.

BROWN AIR: Morning pollution a pall in SB Valley.  Anyone driving
west on Interstate 10 from the east San Bernardino Valley this
morning likely saw a thick, yellow-brown wall of air pollution
lying ahead. It’s not an uncommon sight, and it’s often
accompanied by a distinctive, acrid smell that can make people
think twice about taking a deep breath.  Sort of dispels the
expression “morning fresh.”  So what is that stuff, exactly? Sam
Atwood, longtime spokesman for the South Coast Air Quality
Management District, said the likely culprit is PM 2.5,
microscopic particles that combine to form one of the more
troublesome forms of air pollution.  Posted. 

Fuel efficiency bringing back automotive jobs, but there's more
to the story.  Consumer demand for fuel efficient vehicles and a
federal mandate to reach 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025 has helped
bring back 236,000 badly-needed U.S. auto industry jobs since
2009, says a report issued by DrivingGrowth. A portion of this
growth – 66,300 new jobs – occurred in the Midwest in Michigan,
Indiana, and Ohio, along with new jobs in 500 facilities in 43
states that manufacture components and technology that contribute
to fuel economy improvements. Posted. 

Cap And Trade: California’s Best Secret. A new statewide poll in
California has mixed results for those of us dedicated to
fighting climate change. While the good news is actually great
news, the bad news is a call to action. Let me start on the
upbeat side, which recognizes the magnitude of the issue. The
Public Policy Institute of California’s 12th annual poll on
“Californians and the Environment” found that a strong majority
of Californians, 78 percent, thinks that the world’s temperature
has probably increased over the last 100 years, versus 17 percent
who said it probably hasn’t. Posted.

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