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newsclips -- ARB Newclips for August 22, 2012.

Posted: 23 Aug 2012 10:02:56
**Due to computer problems yesterday the ARB Newsclips for August
22, 2012 is being posted today. We apologize for the
inconvenience. Thank you 

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.


Coal Plants’ Victory Over EPA Is Muted by Low Gas Prices.
Southern Co. (SO), Edison International (EIX) and rival power
companies won a legal fight with the Environmental Protection
Agency, gaining more time and leeway to cut pollution from
burning coal. The bigger challenges from cheap natural gas may
make it a muted victory. “This really is a black eye for the
EPA,” James Lucier, managing director at Capital Alpha Partners
LLC in Washington, said in an interview. “But for the industry,
the critical factor overall has been the low price of natural
gas,” which is “the great destroyer.” Posted.

Georgia, Alabama AGs applaud air pollution ruling. Attorneys
generals from Georgia and Alabama have applauded a 2-1 ruling by
the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia that
overturned a regulation clamping down on power plant pollution
that contributes to unhealthy air in neighboring states. Alabama
and Georgia joined with 13 other states in challenging the rule.
The EPA had adopted the rule in an attempt to cut down on
downwind air pollution from power plants. Posted.

Coal silo collapses at W.Va. power plant. Mon Power says it's
investigating what caused the collapse of a coal silo at the
Albright Power Plant just 10 days before it was set to be taken
offline. No one was injured when the No. 2 silo collapsed.
WBOY-TV (http://bit.ly/Nj1FYt) says it's one of three at the
site. Albright is an older, inefficient generating station that
Ohio-based FirstEnergy is shutting down to comply with new
federal air emissions standards. Posted.

Garfield Co. to help fund oil, gas pollution study. The Garfield
County commissioners say the county will commit up to $1 million
for a study of air pollution near oil and gas wells. The Glenwood
Springs Post Independent reported Tuesday
(http://tinyurl.com/8hloawp) that energy companies have agreed to
contribute $800,000 toward the three-year, $1.8 million study.
The study would be done by Colorado State University and would
examine the type and quantity of emissions from drilling…Posted. 


California CO2 market players eyeing nuclear plant woes. Newly
announced major layoffs and a prolonged outage at a major nuclear
power plant have raised concerns that the price of carbon
allowances for California's forthcoming cap-and-trade program
will rise sharply, market participants said Tuesday. Southern
California Edison (SCE), owner of the San Onofre nuclear power
plant in southern California, announced on Monday night it will
lay off 730 employees this year to cut costs, a move that comes
as the plant's owners acknowledged that it will be a long time
before the carbon-free nuclear plant will fully return to
service. Posted.

Antarctic Peninsula started warming 600 years ago. Temperatures
in the Antarctic Peninsula started rising naturally 600 years
ago, long before man-made climate changes further increased them,
scientists said in a study on Wednesday that helps explain the
recent collapses of vast ice shelves. The study, reconstructing
ancient temperatures to understand a region that is warming
faster than anywhere else in the southern hemisphere, said a
current warming rate of 2.6 degrees Celsius (4.7 Fahrenheit) per
century was "unusual" but not unprecedented. Posted.

China to spend $372 billion on cutting energy use, pollution. 
China will plough $372 billion into energy conservation projects
and anti-pollution measures over the next three-and-a-half years,
part of a drive to cut energy consumption by 300 million tonnes
of standard coal, the country's cabinet said Tuesday. A report
from China's State Council, or cabinet, said the investments will
take China almost halfway to meeting its target to cut the energy
intensity 16 percent below 2010 levels by 2015. Posted.


Democratic lawmakers move to oppose rewriting California
environmental law. In the middle of an end-of-session bid to
overhaul the California Environmental Quality Act, 33 Democratic
lawmakers urged legislative leaders in a letter released
Wednesday to oppose any significant rewriting of the law. "Like
many important laws, CEQA is not perfect and could probably be
improved while retaining its many benefits – but only if such
improvements are undertaken in a good faith process and are
crafted very carefully," said the letter delivered to Senate
President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and Assembly Speaker John A.
Pérez, both Democrats. Posted.

Effort building to change state's landmark environmental law.
Sacramento — In what has become an annual late-summer ritual that
coincides with the end of the California Legislature's lawmaking
session, a push to make changes in the state's landmark
environmental law appears to be picking up steam in the Capitol.
A coalition of business groups held a news conference Monday to
lay out the principles for what it calls a "modernization" of the
California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Posted.

Imperial Irrigation District could profit from cap and trade. 
California’s soon-to-launch carbon emissions market — referred to
as cap and trade — could mean millions in revenue for the
Imperial Irrigation District.  The IID Board of Directors will
meet at 1 p.m. today, with an agenda including a discussion of
the projected windfall the utility could reap if the maximum
number of emissions credits it is allocated by the state is more
than it actually needs.  Posted. 

Calif. universities struggle to pay carbon tax. Large college
campuses within the University of California and California State
University systems must reduce greenhouse gas emissions or pay up
to $28 million a year for offsets as part of the state's Global
Warming Solutions Act. Five University of California campuses,
one medical center and two California State University campuses
qualify for the cap-and-trade program, which will go into effect
Jan. 1. Compliance could cost $6.3 million to $25 million for the
UC system and $799,000 to $3.2 million for CSU campuses. Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2012/08/22/6  BY


German bioethanol output up as more used in gasoline blend.
German bioethanol output rose 21 percent in the first half of
2012 to 295,000 metric tons due to a rise in blending levels in
gasoline, bioethanol industry association BDBE said, dismissing
criticism that this contributed to higher global food prices. The
German government in 2011 raised the maximum permitted level of
bioethanol blended in gasoline to 10 from 5 percent as part of a
program to protect the environment by cutting carbon dioxide
emissions. Posted.

San Francisco Diesel at High as Tesoro Said to Cut Output. Spot
diesel in San Francisco advanced to a record premium against
futures after Tesoro Corp. (TSO)’s Golden Eagle refinery in
Northern California was said to cut production of the fuel
following a compressor breakdown. Tesoro’s 170,000-barrel-a-day
Golden Eagle plant curbed diesel production after one of two
compressors at a hydrodesulfurization unit shut following an
equipment failure, a person with direct knowledge of the incident
said earlier today. Posted.

Strange Bedfellows Debate Exporting Natural Gas. The shale gas
revolution is starting to pay small dividends for U.S. consumers.
As electrical utilities rush to switch from coal to gas, peak
electricity rates have fallen in nearly every market. According
to the U.S. Consumer Price Index, utility gas service for things
like heating and cooking is now 13 percent cheaper than it was 12
months ago. That’s great and all, but taken together those
savings don’t add up to much. Electricity and gas bills account
for only about 4 percent of our total spending. Posted.

Maryland company asks for Iowa City's trash. A company that
converts organic material into ethanol is requesting access to
Iowa City's trash. KGAN-TV in Cedar Rapids says
(http://bit.ly/Owqray) Fiberight Industries is planning to build
a $60 million refinery in Blairstown. The Maryland company is
expanding into Iowa, and a top executive asked Tuesday to lease
three acres of Iowa City's landfill. Fiberight vice president
Steve Gerber says more than 50 percent of the materials that go
into landfills is organic and can be turned into ethanol. Posted.

Pa.: Okla. energy firm's data filled with errors. The
Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection says natural
gas drilling company Chesapeake Energy last week filed an
important Marcellus Shale production report containing so many
errors a state database rejected it. DEP spokesman Kevin Sunday
said on Tuesday a previous statement by Oklahoma City-based
Chesapeake Energy Corp. that suggested state databases were the
problem wasn't entirely accurate and omitted important points.

Ethanol Waiver May Lower Corn But Raise Gas Prices. Calls are
growing to suspend the federal ethanol production mandate next
year, as the worst drought in more than half a century has
devastated the corn crop in the U.S. The question is whether a
waiver of the Renewable Fuel Standard, or RFS, will actually
bring down sky-high corn prices. Georgia is among the states with
major livestock production petitioning the Environmental
Protection Agency for a waiver, arguing that scarce corn used for
ethanol production is making feed prices unsustainably high for
the state’s $20 billion poultry industry. Posted.

As New York nears fracking decision, both sides take to the
airwaves.  Earlier this week, CBS reported that New York State
will roll out new guidelines to allow fracking sometime after
Labor Day. It’s a vague story, to be sure, but it meshes with
reports from late June about fracking companies getting an early
peek at the restrictions.  There’s another reason to believe a
rule is imminent: both pro- and anti-fracking groups have taken
to the airwaves along the state’s southern border with
Pennsylvania. Posted. 

If you’re building a power plant and it isn’t natural gas, you’re
not trendy.  You’ve heard us say it before: America produces as
much electricity from natural gas as from coal. It’s a sea change
that has happened incredibly quickly.  Today, the Energy
Information Administration outlined exactly how the switch
happened.  Most of the new generators built over the past 15
years are powered by natural gas or wind. In 2012, the addition
of natural gas and renewable generators comes at a time when
natural gas and renewable generation are contributing increasing
amounts to total generation across much of the United States. 


State rebate program putting drivers in clean-tech vehicles.  San
Francisco resident Shanthi Rajagopalan used to feel bad about
driving to work alone, putting pollutants into the air without
even carpooling. Then she learned of California’s Clean Vehicle
Rebate Project.  The project provides rebates of up to $2,500 for
the purchase or lease of a light-duty, zero-emission or plug-in
hybrid vehicle.  Rajagopalan went with the Mitsubishi i.  “It’s
really, really fun to drive; I actually look forward to my
commute,” she said, adding that, “It feels really good to have
less of an impact on the environment.”  Posted. 


A lot riding on California dream of high-speed rail.  California
is moving ahead with the first link of its massive high-speed
rail project, with construction set to begin early next year –
even though not one state Republican lawmaker voted to fund it
and despite several analyses warning of planning deficiencies. 
Eventually, sleek trains that can top 220 miles per hour would
whiz up and down the state, linking Sacramento, San Francisco,
Los Angeles, and San Diego, and many cities in between. Posted. 


Chinese solar industry faces weak sales, price war. Chinese solar
panel makers that grew fast over the past decade are suffering
big losses due to slumping global sales and a price war that
threaten an industry seen by communist leaders as a role model
for hopes to transform China into a technology leader. Another
looming challenge: Moves by the United States and Europe toward
imposing possible anti-dumping tariffs on Chinese-made solar
panels that might further depress sales. Posted. 


I-80 carpool lane slows assemblywoman. When it comes to
special-interest legislation, it's hard to beat Assemblywoman
Fiona Ma's call to eliminate a carpool lane so she'll have an
easier time getting to work as a solo driver. Ma, a Democrat who
commutes to Sacramento from her San Francisco district, is
targeting the eastbound carpool lane on Interstate 80 between the
Bay and Carquinez bridges. That freeway is one of the busiest
stretches in the state, but the carpool lane has almost no one in
it during the morning commute, Ma says, and should be open to
all. So she's sponsoring a bill that would make that happen.


Don't rush changes to the California Environmental Quality Act.
Lawmakers want to change the California Environmental Quality Act
in their session's final days. But it's too late for careful
language or public vetting. With a little more than a week
remaining in the legislative session, suddenly the big buzz is
about CEQA. The Legislature has long neglected to reform the
California Environmental Quality Act, even though it needs
amending. And now that it's too late for carefully rendered
language or a full public vetting, Assembly Speaker John A. Perez
(D-Los Angeles) is touting CEQA reform as one of his top
priorities. Posted.

Herdt: What you don't know about California. An unexpected
development seems to have happened on the way to the Great
California Train Wreck. The locomotive has gotten itself back on
the rails, and although it is not yet exactly speeding forward it
has left a legion of naysayers standing along the tracks. The
most recent evidence came in the state jobs report released last
Friday. It showed a third consecutive month of strong job gains,
and a year-to-year increase of 365,100 jobs that was the largest
12-month increase since 2000. Posted.

The Bigger Picture on Carbon Emissions. You may have been
encouraged to read a widely-circulated story last week that
declared “CO2 Emissions in U.S. Drop to 20-year Low.” The report
from the Associated Press largely credits cheap natural gas for
the change, and says that “many of the world’s leading climate
scientists didn’t see the drop coming, in large part because it
happened as a result of market forces rather than direct
government action.” But is that really the full picture? If you
read the government report that is the basis for the Associated
Press article, you’ll find some more nuance, as well as cause for
both optimism and concern. Posted.

Wind Energy Generating A Lot of Mud. According to the
non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, renewable energy
subsidies have exceeded those given to the fossil fuels since
2008. Most green-oriented taxpayer funds started in the 1980s
while those tied to oil and gas were begun in 1913. To be fair,
oil and gas play a much larger role in the country’s economic
productivity than does wind or solar. But therein lay the
arguments that the two political foes are making. Romney is
saying that the monies given to wind and solar are providing a
low-overall return in terms of job creation and economic
productivity. Posted.

How Climate Change Got Caught in the Culture Wars.  Climate
change is arguably the biggest challenge the nation and the world
face right now. There’s a solid scientific consensus that
anthropogenic global warming is underway. But in America – to put
it gently – there’s a range of beliefs about it, and what if
anything to do about it. This lack of social consensus has
paralyzed the political system. Nothing much is happening, or
likely to happen for a while.  Why? Posted. 


Bush Administration 2012 climate emissions goal met. In 2002, the
Bush Administration unveiled its climate policy centered around
the goal of reducing greenhouse gas intensity 18 percent by 2012.
“This step will set America on a path to slow the growth of our
greenhouse gas emissions and, as science justifies, to stop and
then reverse the growth of emissions,” the Bush White House said.
Ten years later (long after most have probably forgotten about
it), data indicate the goal has been achieved, at least to an
approximate degree. Posted.

Romney’s Attack on Clean Energy: True, With an Asterisk. This
week, Mitt Romney echoed an accusation made by various
conservative bloggers against President Obama — that his
administration has spent $90 billion on green energy. “Do you
know how much money he invested in so-called green energy
companies?” Mr. Romney asked during a campaign stop in
Manchester, N.H., on Monday “Ninety billion. Ninety billion!” But
is it true? Roughly, yes. In fact, the number appears in a
document on the White House Web site and represents the financing
available in the 2009 stimulus package. Posted. 

Lawmakers urge legislative leaders to oppose CEQA changes. Dozens
of lawmakers are urging legislative leaders to oppose a
last-minute campaign by business and labor groups to make key
changes to California's landmark environmental law, asking their
bosses to table the issue in the final two weeks of the session
and revisit it next year. In a letter to Assembly Speaker John A.
Pérez (D-Los Angeles) and state Senate leader Darrell Steinberg
(D-Sacramento), 33 lawmakers said major changes to the California
Environmental Quality Act deserved "serious, thoughtful and
transparent deliberation," a debate that is unlikely in the
harried, final days of a two-year legislative session. Posted.

LA smog has less of a chokehold than years ago, NOAA study says.
If you visited or lived in the Los Angeles area many years ago,
you why it was called, unofficially, the City of Smog. In the
early 1970s, I attended the LA Zoo with my third grade classmates
on one of those given days when the South Coast Air Quality
Management District likely issued a smog warning. The sky was
gray, thick, and hazy. My eyes were red, my throat was thick and
sore and it hurt to breathe deeply. Even though there are more
cars on the streets and freeways of LA now than 40 years ago, I
haven't experienced that kind of aerial assault lately. Posted.

You Can’t Fly an Airplane with an Algae Pond on It…Or Can You?
United Airlines made waves last year when it became one of the
first commercial U.S. airlines to use algae biofuel, and it
quickly followed up by joining the Midwest Aviation Sustainable
Biofuels Initiative last spring. Now the airline is bumping its
commitment to sustainable aviation up another notch through a new
partnership with the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Users Group.
United’s growing confidence in biofuels calls to mind
presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s now-infamous statement that
“you can’t drive a care with a windmill on it.” Posted.

Fat- and Oil-Burning Plant Could Power 18,000 Homes.  A
£20-million clean energy plant has been proposed for a site at
Shoreham Port in West Sussex, England. Portslade, Southwick, and
Shoreham could all be powered by the proposed energy plant if it
is approved and becomes operational. (Shoreham has a population
of about 19,000–20,000.)  Edgley Green Power is the company
responsible for the plan and potential construction. They would
like to have the new plant running by 2014.  It would be built at
Fishersgate terminal on a one-acre site next to the Shoreham
Power Station. Posted. 

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