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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for August 21, 2012. Posted: 21 Aug 2012 12:19:40
ARB Newsclips for August 21, 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 Court overturns border-crossing pollution rule. A federal appeals court has overturned a regulation clamping down on power plant pollution that contributes to unhealthy air in neighboring states. In a 2-1 decision Tuesday, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia said the Environmental Protection Agency's cross-state air pollution rule exceeded the agency's statutory authority. The court faulted the EPA for imposing "massive emissions reduction requirements" on upwind states without regard to limits imposed by law. Posted. http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_EPA_DOWNWIND_POLLUTION?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT OTHER RELATED ARTICLES http://www.sacbee.com/2012/08/21/4744510/court-overturns-border-crossing.html http://www.fresnobee.com/2012/08/21/2959511/court-overturns-border-crossing.html#storylink=misearch http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-08-21/u-dot-s-dot-appeals-court-overturns-cross-state-air-pollution-rule http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/federal_government/appeals-court-overturns-regulation-to-reduce-power-plant-pollution-spoiling-air-downwind/2012/08/21/da739076-eb9f-11e1-866f-60a00f604425_story.html http://www.eenews.net/Greenwire/print/2012/08/21bn/1 BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY Sinclair fined $3.8M for pollution at Wyo. plants. Sinclair Oil Corp. has agreed to pay a $3.8 million fine for two of its Wyoming oil refineries exceeding air pollution limits that had been established three years earlier in another settlement with the federal government, authorities announced Monday. Sinclair also agreed to spend about $10.5 million on additional pollution control equipment and other measures at its refineries in Casper and east of Rawlins in the town of Sinclair, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Posted. http://www.vcstar.com/news/2012/aug/20/sinclair-fined-38m-for-pollution-at-wyo-plants/ CLIMATE CHANGE New carbon emissions rule could cost UC, CSU millions. Large campuses in the University of California and California State University systems are bracing for the implementation of new state rules that will force them to cut carbon emissions or pay as much as $28 million a year to offset their greenhouse gases. For years, businesspeople have been complaining that the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, also known as Assembly Bill 32, will decimate California's economy and force companies to move out of state. The program, which will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2013, sets a gradually shrinking cap on emissions by the state's biggest polluters while also establishing a market for carbon credits, which will be initially distributed through an auction and free handouts to many emitters. Posted. http://www.ocregister.com/news/million-369041-state-cap.html Action on climate change speeding up: Commission. The expert Commission was set up by the Federal Government last year and says its remit is to "provide all Australians with an independent and reliable source of information" about climate change, action on greenhouse gas emissions, and the carbon price. Its latest report, subtitled 'The Critical Decade' and released today, says nearly 850 million people in 33 countries will soon be living in economies with a carbon price or similar arrangement. Commissioner and economist Robert Beale says Australia is still the developed world's biggest per-capita carbon emitter "by quite a way". Posted. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-08-21/more-countries-set-to-adopt-carbon-price/4211572 UN calls on nations to adopt drought policies. The world urgently needs to adopt drought-management policies as farmers from Africa to India struggle with lack of rainfall and the United States endures the worst drought it has experienced in decades, top officials with the U.N. weather agency said Tuesday. The World Meteorological Organization says the U.S. drought and its ripple effects on global food markets show the need for policies with more water conservation and less consumption. Posted. http://www.vcstar.com/news/2012/aug/21/un-calls-on-nations-to-adopt-drought-policies/#ixzz24CIh4J8d Calif. will relax its regulation of 'resource shuffling' in cap-and-trade program. California regulators won't enforce a controversial provision in their cap-and-trade system requiring emitters to deny shuffling high-carbon electricity out of the state when trading begins next year. In response to a worried letter Aug. 6 from Federal Energy Regulatory Commission member Philip Moeller, Air Resources Board (ARB) Chairwoman Mary Nichols said she would suspend the requirement for businesses to promise that they have not engaged in "resource shuffling”, or avoiding carbon constraints by arranging power imports to sell dirtier energy out of state. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2012/08/21/7 BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY FUELS California gasoline prices climb, but at reduced pace. Gas prices have slowed their climb, but motorists are still paying heavily at the pump, here in the Sacramento area and nationwide. And prices could go even higher by Labor Day weekend. The average price of gas in the area rose 3.3 cents over the past week to $4.05 a gallon, according to Monday's weekly report by SactoGasPrices.com, a GasBuddy.com website. That was a comparative walk in the park after the previous week's 25.8-cents-a-gallon spike following an Aug. 6 fire that damaged the Chevron refinery in Richmond, a critical link in the state's gas supply chain. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2012/08/21/4742853/state-gasoline-prices-climb-but.html#storylink=cpy GREEN ENERGY China declares US energy projects violate free trade, stepping up trade spat. China’s government has ruled that U.S. government support to six American solar and wind power projects violates free trade rules, adding to strains between Beijing and its trading partners over renewable energy. The United States and China are the two biggest markets for renewable energy and have pledged to cooperate in developing technology. They accuse each other of improperly supporting their own producers and obstructing foreign competitors. Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/china-declares-us-energy-projects-violate-free-trade-stepping-up-trade-spat/2012/08/20/dac33d9a-eb2e-11e1-866f-60a00f604425_story.html West Hollywood OKs ban on plastic bags in store checkout lines. West Hollywood's ordinance follows decisions by a string of California cities to prohibit single-use plastic bags. The bans aim to reduce landfill waste. West Hollywood has become the latest in a string of California cities — including Santa Monica, Long Beach and Pasadena — to ban single-use plastic bags at store checkout lines. The City Council adopted an ordinance Monday night prohibiting hundreds of pharmacies and grocery and retail stores… Posted. http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-plastic-bag-ban-20120821,0,5969498.story El Cerrito recycling center has style. It's no surprise that El Cerrito's new recycling center comes with such studiously green touches as thick benches assembled from remnants of wooden trusses from the shed that once stood on the site. The unexpected twist is the center's architectural presence - an industrial campus of wood and steel cradled against steep cliffs in a way that shows how even the least glamorous aspects of modern life can be housed in energetic style. The $2.8 million center opened in April on a bowl-shaped site at the end of Schmidt Lane that in previous lives was a quarry and then the city dump. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/place/article/El-Cerrito-recycling-center-has-style-3799947.php#ixzz24CP7reGf MISCELLANEOUS BP recalls unleaded regular gas from Whiting. WHITING, Ind. -- BP is alerting northwestern Indiana fuel distributors that it's recalling unleaded regular gasoline shipped from its Whiting fuel storage terminal Aug. 13-17. The company said Monday it believes that fuel stored in a tank at the storage depot could cause hard starting, stalling and other drivability issues. BP asks any customer whose vehicle has experienced those problems since Aug. 13 to contact its customer hotline at 1-800-333-3991. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2012/08/20/4742587/bp-recalls-unleaded-regular-gas.html#storylink=cpy Almond Environmental Tour shows sustainability in action. The Almond Board’s recent environmental stewardship tour provided real-world examples of how almond growers are taking sustainable farming principals and putting them into action in a way that manages resources with an eye toward environmental stewardship and economic viability. Brian Leahy, director of the California Department of Pesticide Regulation, one of the state’s highest ranking regulators who himself has a background in sustainable farming, was one of 40 state, local and federal regulators, elected officials, media and other invited guests who got a firsthand look at innovative almond growing practices related to water, nutrient and pest management at the Almond Board’s eighth annual Environmental Stewardship Tour in May. Posted. http://westernfarmpress.com/tree-nuts/almond-environmental-tour-shows-sustainability-action OPINIONS Residents have right to know what is in the air. The right to know what's in the air we breathe and what we're being exposed to from our neighbors - whether resident, business or industry - is a fundamental human right. This right isn't easy to exercise and vanishes without action. The recent fire at Chevron's Richmond refinery makes the strongest case for a community's right to know, yet Richmond, North Richmond and San Pablo residents have been denied their right by local government and industry. We protest this denial and call for environmental justice. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/opinion/openforum/article/Residents-have-right-to-know-what-is-in-the-air-3802444.php#ixzz24CNntPVl Dan Walters: Overhauling CEQA now a hot topic. For years – even decades – business groups have complained that the California Environmental Quality Act's complex provisions were being misused to block worthwhile projects, often for reasons that had nothing to do with the environment. The complaints drew sympathy from Republican legislators, and sometimes became intertwined with state budget negotiations. But the Legislature's dominant Democrats, closely allied with environmental groups, refused to entertain any major changes in CEQA. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2012/08/21/4743027/dan-walters-overhauling-ceqa-now.html#storylink=cpy Roadshow: What 'HOV Only' means on toll lanes at Highway 237 and I-880. I've noticed a few times that the express lane signs will say "HOV Only" instead of the toll on Highway 237 in the evening commute. Why would the express lane only allow carpoolers during toll hours? A Good question, and here's the answer. When you see "HOV Only" on the sign over the carpool or express lane, it means solo drivers may not use this lane unless they are driving a motorcycle or clean air vehicle with green or white stickers. Posted. http://www.contracostatimes.com/traffic/ci_21338584/roadshow-what-hov-only-means-toll-lanes-at?IADID=Search-www.contracostatimes.com-www.contracostatimes.com KEVIN HALL: We can clean Valley's air. Cleaning our Valley's air is not the impossible task some people, particularly those in charge of doing the job, want us to think. What's needed is new leadership at the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District. In his Sunday column, "Diesel truckers should pay for bad air," Bill McEwen correctly identifies one major source of our problem: diesel exhaust from semi-trucks. Thanks largely to state regulators, those emissions will drop from 139 tons per winter day in 2012 to 78 tons by 2019. Posted. http://www.fresnobee.com/2012/08/21/2958867/kevin-hall-we-can-clean-valleys.html#storylink=misearch Leave the renewable fuels standard alone. America is suffering from the worst drought since the Dust Bowl. Thirty-two states have been declared natural disaster areas, rural communities are hurting, and lawmakers from the local, state and national level are looking for solutions. As often happens in times of crisis, a potential solution is being touted that would have drastically negative consequences in the long run - altering America’s Renewable Fuels Standard, or RFS. For the sake of the very rural communities suffering today, and for our energy and national security long-term…Posted. http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0812/79884.html BLOGS Sweaty Lessons in the ‘True’ Cost of Construction. When my wife, Julia, and I arrived in Moab, Utah, to start our four-month internship building a straw bale house, a party was raging in the backyard. Our internship is with the nonprofit group Community Rebuilds, and on the evening we drove up to the house we’ll be sharing with seven other interns, Emily Niehaus, the group’s founder and director, was throwing a thank-you party for Bike and Build. Posted. http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/08/20/sweaty-lessons-in-the-true-cost-of-construction/?hp Business, labor groups propose environmental act changes. A coalition of business and labor groups is proposing changes to California's landmark environmental law, saying it is time to modernize a 40-year-old measure that is often used to block even so-called green development. At a Sacramento press conference Monday, representatives of the coalition outlined a proposal that they said would maintain the California Environmental Quality act as "the state environmental law" but eliminate regulatory redundancy and limit legal challenges to "real" environmental lawsuits. Posted. http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/california-politics/2012/08/business-labor-groups-propose-ceqa-changes.html California has HOV lane stickers for plug-in vehicles, but not many takers. Those new green stickers in the Golden State haven't exactly been golden. A California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) program that distributes special high-occupancy-vehicle-lane (HOV) stickers to owners of vehicles like the Chevrolet Volt and Toyota Prius Plug-in has started slower than expected, as few plug-in drivers have taken up the state's offer to let them drive solo in HOV lanes, the North County Times reports. Posted. http://green.autoblog.com/2012/08/21/california-has-hov-lane-stickers-for-plug-in-vehicles-but-not-m/ Climate Change This Week: Climate Skeptic Team, Poached Caviar, and More. Climate Change? What climate change? While Mitt Romney has expressed uncertainty over whether global warming is occurring or not, his vice-presidential pick, Congressman Paul Ryan, is a virulent denier of climate science, with a Congressional voting record to match, reports Brad Johnson at Climate Progress. Thus, this election will be crucial in deciding how the U.S. addresses climate change. Make your vote part of it! Posted. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mary-ellen-harte/climate-change-this-week-_16_b_1808743.html LA's Pollution from Car Exhaust is Down 98% from the 60s. My earliest memories of L.A. are colored with a grey, dystopian palette—I remember staring out at a hazed-over full moon, actually impressed by the way the smog smeared the city lights and hung thick in the air even at night. It was surreal and noirish and pretty repulsive. And that was just over ten years ago. It never really occurred to me to again be impressed by how quickly that industrial fog has lifted. But I think back to more recent visits to California's sprawling metropolis, and it's striking: I'd never again seen it so choked by pollution. Posted. http://www.treehugger.com/fossil-fuels/las-pollution-car-exhaust-down-98-60s.html