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newsclips -- Newsclips for August 14, 2012

Posted: 14 Aug 2012 12:13:26
ARB Newsclips for August 14, 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.


Smoke over Sacramento coming from Grizzly Island fire in Solano
County. The heavy smoke that hung over Sacramento on Monday came
from a fire burning on Grizzly Island in Solano County, according
to Sacramento County's Regional Fire Dispatch Center.
Sacramento-area fire dispatchers were inundated with calls from
residents wondering about the location of the fire. Several fires
also have been burning in areas north of Sacramento, which could
have contributed to smoke in the area. Posted.

Sacramento area weather: Not only blazing hot but smoky too.
Eye-smarting smoky, hot weather is predicted today by the
National Weather Service. Conditions were miserable on Monday.
Not only was it the hottest day of the year, the mercury hitting
107 in downtown Sacramento, a wildland fire sent smoke into the
city around dinner time. The smoke that cloaked the city through
the night mostly came from a fire that burned on Grizzly Island
in Solano County. Today, government weather watchers say that
Sacramento could experience smoke from bigger fires burning to
the north. Posted.


Chevron considered replacing pipe. Chevron officials initially
deemed the pipe that failed dramatically last week, causing a
major fire at its Richmond refinery, as possibly needing
replacement last year but ultimately cleared it for five more
years of service, The Chronicle has learned. Investigators with
the U.S. Chemical Safety Board and other federal and state
agencies have launched several inquiries into the Aug. 6 leak and
fire. Both the damage and the investigations could leave part of
the crude oil processing unit down for months. Posted.

Refinery fire site too dangerous for investigators. Federal and
state investigators are trying to determine how to safely enter
the area where a fire broke out in a Chevron Corp. refinery last
week so they can examine a failed pipe blamed for the blaze,
which the company reportedly considered replacing nearly a year
ago. Structural engineers on Monday determined the damaged crude
unit that was the site of the fire in the facility was too
hazardous to enter. The 8-inch pipe leaked and its contents
ignited, sending black smoke into the sky above Richmond, Calif.,
and thousands of nearby residents to hospitals with complaints of
eye irritation and breathing difficulty. Posted. 

Investigators wait on OK to enter Richmond refinery.
Investigators looking into the cause of an oil refinery fire at
Chevron's Richmond facility are waiting for structural engineers
to determine if it's safe to enter the unit. Federal, state and
company inspectors hope to get the all-clear and gain access to
the fire site later Monday. The Aug. 6 fire destroyed an area of
the refinery that produces gasoline that satisfies California's
clean-air regulations, the toughest in the nation. It started as
a pipe leak. Other parts of the refinery, which supplies 16
percent of California's daily gas consumption, are still
producing fuels. Posted. 

Richmond refinery repairs could take several months for Chevron
to complete.  The permit process to approve a replacement or
repair of the fire-scarred Crude Unit No. 4 at Chevron's Richmond
refinery could take "months" to complete, a top city official
said.  That estimate, from Richmond City Manager Bill Lindsay,
suggests that Chevron might not be back in full operation for
three to six months. It's unknown how long repairs might take
once the permits are approved.  "I would expect it's going to
take some months," Lindsay said. "That's just a guess. It could
be several months."  Posted. 



California Air Chief Says Carbon Auction Won’t Be Delayed.
California plans to sell the first carbon allowances in November,
undeterred by warnings from a federal energy commissioner that a
system meant to curb emissions may harm businesses, the state air
board’s head said. The agency is on schedule to develop a
platform for a Nov. 14 auction of allowances, each allowing for
the release of one metric ton of carbon under a state program
that caps emissions from plants beginning next year, Chairman
Mary Nichols said during an interview at Bloomberg’s San
Francisco office. Posted.

Brown's office launches climate change website. Gov. Jerry Brown
on Monday launched a website to document the effects of climate
change and respond to those who question it, calling them climate
change "denialists." Brown's office announced the site while he
was at Lake Tahoe with Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval for an annual
summit focused on the health of the lake, which straddles both
states. The Democratic governor said in a statement that climate
change has irrevocably altered Lake Tahoe. Posted. 



California’s carbon-trading market will launch in November.  The
long run-up to California’s cap-and-trade program will finally
end this November, as the state launches its market for carbon
allowances. Polluters will buy allowances for each ton of carbon
dioxide they produce on an open market. Producing more will
therefore cost a company more, producing less will yield a cost
savings. The system is intended not only to impose a cost on the
pollution, but also to bring down the total amount of pollution. 


Union Pacific to study low-emissions locomotives.  Union Pacific
said on Monday that it will spend $20 million testing
low-emissions locomotives in California.  The railroad may
eventually test up to 25 locomotives with various low-emissions
technology. They include one, to be based in Roseville, Calif.,
that will use several emissions-reducing technologies, including
recirculating its exhaust gasses.  The railroad and the
California Air Resources Board will analyze the emissions
reductions achieved by that locomotive over the next year and a
half.  Posted. 

Frito-Lay Rolls Out More Electric Delivery Trucks in California. 
California is now home to the largest fleet of Frito-Lay electric
delivery trucks.  State officials, including Gov. Edmund Brown
Jr., joined senior leadership from PepsiCo's Frito-Lay North
America division to announce the growth of Frito-Lay's California
electric truck fleet. Once all of the vehicles are deployed by
the end of 2012, California will be home to 105 all-electric
delivery trucks, the largest deployment in any state.  By the end
of this year, Frito-Lay will have more than 275 electric trucks
deployed in the U.S., making Frito-Lay the largest commercial
fleet of all-electric trucks in the country. In May of this year,
Frito-Lay reached a milestone of one million all-electric miles
driven.  Posted. 


Despite falling oil cost, California gas prices soar in refinery
fire's wake. Gas prices in California are soaring a week after a
fire damaged the Chevron refinery in Richmond, a critical piece
of the state's supply chain. Prices at the pump jumped 25.8 cents
in the Sacramento area over the past week, to $4 a gallon,
according to market tracker GasBuddy.com. In San Francisco,
motorists are paying $4.17 a gallon, according to a separate
survey by AAA. And it may be only the beginning. "You probably
won't see a break until mid- to late September," said Patrick
DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy. Posted.

Navy partners with local company in quest for new energy sources.
Why should the Navy switch from diesel to biodiesel if the two
types of fuel have the same energy efficiency? Naval officials
asked that question 12 years ago when the change was suggested.
Russell Teall, founder of local biodiesel producer Biodico, said
biodiesel can be made in the U.S., alleviating dependency on
foreign oil, which suppliers could cut off if political relations
went awry. Also, emergency supplies are in underground salt domes
in Texas and Louisiana that are vulnerable to natural and
man-made disasters. Posted. 


Korean scientists develop fast-charging battery.  South Korean
scientists have developed a new material for rechargeable
lithium-ion batteries that they say could cut charging time down
significantly and prove a boon for electric vehicles.  According
to Yonhap News Agency's report on Monday, a group of scientists
from Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology, who were
funded by the country's Ministry of Education, Science and
Technology, has gone beyond conventional rechargeable battery
technology.  Posted. 

New coolant keeps EV batteries cool even during hot summer days. 
A team of German researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for
Environmental, Safety and Energy Technology has developed a new
coolant for EV batteries called CryoSolplus, which is capable of
absorbing between two and three times as much heat as water. The
scientists’ next task will be to carry out field tests, trying
out the coolant in an experimental vehicle.  Overheating of
batteries in electric vehicles (EVs), which in hot summer weather
could easily happen, can dramatically cut their life by up to
50%.  Posted.  http://cars21.com/news/view/4857 


High-speed rail forum brings together contractors, small
businesses.   About 500 representatives of small businesses from
throughout the San Joaquin Valley and California are meeting
Tuesday morning in Fresno with potential prime contractors for
California's high-speed train system.  An industry forum at the
Save Mart Center outlined plans for construction between Fresno
and Bakersfield. It also served as a networking session for
businesses hoping to work on the project.  "You all have a lot of
experience, and we want to take advantage of that," said Hans Van
Van Winkle, the construction manager for the statewide high-speed
train project. 


Obama to push wind power in Iowa, Romney to tour Ohio coal mine.
The presidential candidates turn to the topic of energy Tuesday
as they travel to different battleground states with different
interests in future U.S. energy policy. In Iowa, President Obama
plans to talk about wind energy as he pushes Congress to extend
the production tax credit for companies investing in this growing
alternative source. In Ohio coal country, meanwhile, Republican
Mitt Romney is expected to talk about Obama’s “war on coal” and
the strain he says it puts on an industry that helps to power the
state’s economy. Posted.


Effort to Cut Milan Traffic Halted as Court Favors Garage. It
would seem to go without saying that a measure aimed at reducing
traffic in the center of a city would hurt the business of a
parking garage there. It would not even seem to be a matter of
dispute, much less a court case. Yet in Italy, where
obstructionism has been raised to a fine art, few were surprised
when an administrative court, the Council of State, upheld a
parking garage’s right to appeal and Milan’s six-month experiment
with a fee that was designed to reduce traffic congestion hit a
brick wall. Posted. 

California fire fee ignites anger as bills go out. More than
800,000 Californians who own property in wildfire country will
begin receiving bills this week for a new annual fire-protection
fee, rekindling outrage among rural residents and leading to a
likely lawsuit seeking to overturn the surcharge. The fee, passed
by Democrats in the Legislature and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown
last year, is intended to raise an estimated $84 million in its
first year for fire-prevention efforts. Posted. 




Shale Gas to the Climate Rescue. The battle against runaway
climate change is being lost. The green movement and the energy
industry — while engaged in a furious debate on issues from
nuclear power to oil sands — are missing the bigger picture.
There is little recognition by either side that current policies
to reduce carbon dioxide emissions are inadequate for dealing
with the threat that they pose. It is the coal-fueled growth of
countries like China and India that generates much of these
emissions. Posted. 

Chevron's refinery, Richmond's peril. The facility that caught
fire violates pollution rules and is a daily threat to workers
and neighbors. Stay inside, close your windows and doors, and
turn off air conditioning and heating units. Pets and all
children in sporting activities should be brought inside, and
have duct tape ready should you need to further seal windows and
doors. These are among the "shelter in place" warnings made to
Bay Area residents last week in response to a massive fire at the
Chevron Corp. refinery in Richmond. Posted.

Viewpoints: State's servants should be accountable. Almost 20
years after I helped initiate legal action against Pacific Gas
and Electric for the contamination of the small town of Hinkley's
tap water with cancer-causing hexavalent chromium, this week the
Natural Resources Defense Council and the Environmental Working
Group planned to file another hexavalent chromium suit to force
the state agency charged with protecting our health to finally
establish an enforceable standard for this dangerous chemical
lurking in the drinking water supplies of millions of
Californians. Posted.

EDITORIAL: Time to end ethanol mandate. The notion of the
government trying to pick winners and losers in the economy is
one that has largely been rejected in the United States. Our
historical record of economic growth and a healthy middle class
was the result of allowing individuals to make their own
decisions, with a loose set of regulations to try to minimize
out-and-out fraud and abuse. To discuss where exactly to draw the
line on what constitutes abuse is to wade into a gray area, and
is an arena of political debate that has contributed mightily to
the shaping of our elections through the centuries. Posted. 

Murdock: The speech Romney should give. Mitt Romney cannot run
from his record at Bain Capital. So, he might as well give this
speech. ... Ladies and Gentlemen: You have heard plenty about my
previous life as a rich businessman. Yes, I made some $250
million in free enterprise and am proud I did — just as Berry
Gordy is proud that he produced millions at Motown and Steve Jobs
was proud he yielded billions at Apple. Like these respected and
wealthy entrepreneurs, I added value, delivered products and
services that people wanted and created thousands of careers
along the way. 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. 


Should Candidates Talk About Climate Change? Anthony Leiserowitz,
the director of the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication,
just sent the note below about a new analysis of climate
attitudes. I’m posting it here as part of a continuing effort to
point to notable news and analysis out there in the fire hose
flood: Today we are releasing a short report that draws upon data
from our latest national survey (March 2012) and other research
to investigate this question: On balance, will candidates for
political office benefit or be harmed by talking about and
supporting action to reduce global warming? …Posted. 

Do Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney disagree on climate change?  Mitt
Romney’s views on climate change can be difficult to pin down. In
2004, when Romney was governor of Massachusetts, his
administration unveiled a detailed plan to reduce the state’s
carbon emissions. As recently as June 2011, Romney was telling
voters in New Hampshire that “the world’s getting warmer,” that
“I believe that humans contribute,” and that “I think it’s
important for us to reduce our emissions of pollutants and
greenhouse gases.”  Since then, however, Romney has softened that
stance somewhat. “I don’t know if [rising temperatures are]
mostly caused by humans,” he told another New Hampshire crowd
last summer.  Posted. 

Climate Change: Countries That May Be Hit Hardest.  Rising seas
threaten to drown island countries such as the Maldives and
Kiribati in the era of global warming — a dire scenario that has
forced leaders to plan for floating cities or consider moving
their entire populations to neighboring countries. Most countries
won't need to take such drastic steps to simply survive, but many
more will similarly experience the uglier side of climate change.
 The countries potentially facing the worst fates may not
necessarily experience the greatest climate change, but instead
lack the resources to cushion their people against
climate-related disasters such as hurricanes, floods, heat waves
and droughts.  Posted. 

New Fisker statement on Karma fire: batteries not to blame. As we
suspected yesterday, the first official word from Fisker about
the Karma that caught fire in Woodside, CA this weekend is that
the li-ion batteries are apparently not to blame. Fisker has
released a statement, which you can find below, that says that
independent investigators from Pacific Rim Investigative Group
are looking into the cause of the blaze and that: Evidence
revealed thus far supports the fact that the ignition source was
not the Lithium-ion battery pack, new technology components or
unique exhaust routing. Posted. 

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