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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. AIR POLLUTION 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. http://www.businessweek.com/ap/2012-08-13/steel-mill-polluted-town-as-romney-firm-profited http://www.nctimes.com/news/national/steel-mill-polluted-town-as-romney-firm-profited/article_bc750ea0-cf5e-57f9-a336-d3b52497ba2c.html http://www.modbee.com/2012/08/13/2327711/steel-mill-polluted-town-as-romney.html#storylink=misearch http://www.vcstar.com/news/2012/aug/11/steel-mill-polluted-town-as-romney-firm-profited/ 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. http://www.vcstar.com/news/2012/aug/10/incentive-program-sought-to-protect-whales-and/ RICHMOND REFINERY 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. http://www.contracostatimes.com/news/ci_21292343/chevron-refinery-has-history-fires-and-pollution-releases?IADID=Search-www.contracostatimes.com-www.contracostatimes.com http://www.insidebayarea.com/news/ci_21292343/chevron-refinery-has-history-fires-and-pollution-releases?IADID=Search-www.insidebayarea.com-www.insidebayarea.com CLIMATE CHANGE 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. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2012/08/13/4720127/arb-looks-at-reducing-cap-and.html#storylink=cpy 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. http://www.sacbee.com/2012/08/10/4712399/hed-here.html?storylink=lingospot_related_articles#storylink=cpy 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. http://www.mercurynews.com/california/ci_21294645/long-beach-study-possibility-selling-carbon-credits-industry 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. http://www.pe.com/local-news/breaking-news-headlines/20120812-agencies-fear-the-worst---and-plan-for-it---amid-climate-change.ece 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. http://www.examiner.com/article/climate-change-may-increase-parasite-infections-say-scientists 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. http://www.calwatchdog.com/2012/08/09/companies-will-exploit-cap-and-trade/ DIESEL EMISSIONS 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. http://www.gazettes.com/news/environment/port-air-quality-continues-improvements/article_6a0b5eb4-e27a-11e1-92d2-001a4bcf887a.html 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. http://truckinginfo.com/news/news-detail.asp?news_id=77737 FUELS 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 SUBSRIPTION ONLY VEHICLES 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. Posted. http://www.pe.com/local-news/columns/on-the-road-headlines/20120812-on-the-road-miles-per-gallon-credibility.ece GREEN ENERGY 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. http://www.sacbee.com/2012/08/12/4714938/federal-spending-on-clean-energy.html#storylink=misearch#storylink=cpy http://www.fresnobee.com/2012/08/12/2947343/federal-spending-on-clean-energy.html#storylink=misearch http://www.modbee.com/2012/08/12/2324325/federal-spending-on-clean-energy.html#storylink=misearch MISCELLANEOUS 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. http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-recycle-20120812,0,7688222.story 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. http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Foes-Pa-state-permit-order-threatens-environment-3784123.php#ixzz23Rbfc6Ir 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. http://www.fresnobee.com/2012/08/11/2949043/high-speed-rail-advocacy-group.html OPINIONS 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. Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/eugene-robinson-heating-up-debate-on-climate-change/2012/08/09/d81a9986-e259-11e1-a25e-15067bb31849_story.html 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. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/12/opinion/sunday/extreme-weather-and-drought-are-here-to-stay.html?pagewanted=print 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. http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-pope-diesel-emissions-air-quality-20120813,0,6756831.story 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. http://www.sfgate.com/opinion/editorials/article/The-right-move-on-gas-mileage-3780176.php#ixzz23RcJVmUg 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. http://www.sfgate.com/opinion/openforum/article/Convert-Richmond-refinery-to-biocrude-3777111.php#ixzz23RdiYXwy 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. http://www.mercurynews.com/science/ci_21292931/barnidge-professor-was-slow-warm-up-climate-change http://www.insidebayarea.com/news/ci_21292933/barnidge-professor-was-slow-warm-up-climate-change?IADID=Search-www.insidebayarea.com-www.insidebayarea.com 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. http://www.mercurynews.com/opinion/ci_21287888/daniel-borenstein-air-districts-richmond-refinery-fire-statement 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. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/deepak-chopra/global-warming-doom-meaning_b_1772802.html?utm_hp_ref=books 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. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tom-zeller-jr/global-warming-cooler-heads_b_1765473.html BLOGS 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. http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/08/13/climate-insight-from-a-magical-mountain-range/?src=twr 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. http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/08/10/the-physics-of-tidal-energy/?src=me 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. http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/08/10/the-secrets-of-hissing-trees/ 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. http://blog.pe.com/environment/2012/08/10/brown-air-morning-pollution-a-pall-in-sb-valley/ 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. http://green.autoblog.com/2012/08/13/fuel-efficiency-bringing-back-automotive-jobs-but-theres-more/ 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. http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2012/08/13/681131/cap-and-trade-californias-best-secret/?mobile=nc