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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for August 24, 2012. Posted: 24 Aug 2012 14:15:22
ARB Newsclips for August 24, 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 Air sensors read normal in Chevron fire. Two weeks after a large fire at the Chevron refinery sent plumes of black smoke floating over Richmond and San Pablo, regional air regulators admit they weren't able to measure the amount of soot in the air as the flames raged. A single air sample taken 2 miles from the refinery and six hours after the fire ignited on Aug. 6 shows that the amount of fine particulate material in the air wasn't any higher than normal for early August, according to Bay Area Air Quality Management District data. "In a nutshell, the overall results ... were unremarkable for this time of year," said Eric Stevenson, director of air sciences for the regional agency. “Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Air-sensors-read-normal-in-Chevron-fire-3811731.php#ixzz24Tqv60Wb Air in Butte County bad for hours this year, for days in 2008. It's the difference between hours and days. A comparison of air quality this year to that of 2008 — when nearby fires also filled the area with smoke — was presented to the Butte County Air Quality Management District board Thursday. Staffer Jason Mandly explained that while the current fires have caused hours of bad air, the 2008 blazes fouled the air for days on end, and at levels far higher than we're seeing today. For example, Chico hasn't had a day since this set of fires began where the air quality was worse than moderate, according to Mandly. Posted. http://www.chicoer.com/fromthenewspaper/ci_21390225/air-butte-county-bad-hours-this-year-days CLIMATE CHANGE Bid to overhaul California Environmental Quality Act falls short. A late-hour bid to overhaul the California Environmental Quality Act fell apart Thursday, with Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg saying the upper house will not take up the measure before the legislative session ends next week. "The Senate will not take up comprehensive CEQA reform in the last days of the legislative session," Steinberg, D-Sacramento, told reporters at the Capitol. "This law, for all of its strengths and its faults, is far too important to rewrite in the last days of the session." Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2012/08/24/v-print/4753169/bid-to-overhaul-california-environmental.html http://www.pe.com/local-news/politics/jim-miller-headlines/20120823-ceqa-overhaul-not-happening-before-aug.-31-recess.ece http://totalbuzz.ocregister.com/2012/08/23/ceqa-reform-proposal-already-dead-in-sacramento/88354/ China plunges into carbon capture technology, seeking emissions cuts and exports. Shenhua Group Corp., one of China's coal giants, has built much of its success at the cost of climate change. Every year, the company digs hundreds of million of tons of coal out of the ground and sells this carbon-intensive energy source throughout China. Meanwhile, its own plants consume a few million tons to generate power and chemicals, releasing a massive amount of climate-harming gas into the air. But now, Shenhua is shifting its course. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2012/08/24/1 BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY Aquacultures provide opportunity to offset impacts of climate change. Climate change and overfishing could affect the variety and availability of fish in the wild, prompting consumers to turn to seafood raised in aquacultures, the fastest-growing food system in the world, experts say. Wild seafood still accounts for slightly more than half the market, according to a report funded by the Worldwatch Institute. However, farmed fish are quickly gaining ground within the industry, growing 8.7 percent in 2010 to almost 60 million tons and rising again in 2011 by 6.2 percent to about 64 million tons. As climate change continues to have more of an impact, some fish species will simply die out…Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2012/08/24/6 BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY DIESEL EMISSIONS GE says first to meet 2015 U.S. rail emission rules. General Electric Co (GE.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) on Friday plans to unveil a new generation of railroad locomotive that will meet strict U.S. emission standards set to take effect in 2015. The new Evolution locomotive keeps the largest U.S. conglomerate a step ahead of rival Caterpillar Inc's (CAT.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) Electro-Motive Diesel train unit and will allow railroads to meet emission standards without adding another fluid to the list of chemicals needed to maintain trains, GE officials contend. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/08/24/us-ge-rail-idUSBRE87N0P120120824 Diesel Trucks Inspected In Otay Mesa For Pollution Laws Compliance. Heavy-duty diesel trucks filling the air with dark smoke were inspected at Otay Mesa before entering Mexico today. The Air Resources Board and the California Highway Patrol tested many trucks to see whether they were compliant with California's air pollution laws and fuel efficient. Not all the trucks heading south were inspected. Some showed signs of violations, but Beth White, manager of truck and bus regulation with the Air Resources Board, said most were in compliance. Posted. http://www.kpbs.org/news/2012/aug/22/diesel-trucks-inspected-otay-mesa-pollution-laws-c/ FUELS Calls to lower ethanol quota rise as U.S. corn crop withers. To avert a possible food crisis from a lack of corn, groups are urging changes to the U.S. renewable fuel standard or at least a temporary waiver of the ethanol quota. The worst U.S. drought in more than half a century has rallied critics of the federal renewable fuel standard, which will reserve about 40% of the nation's corn crop for ethanol production this year. Critics have long questioned the commitment of a growing share of a food source for fuel use. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-drought-ethanol-20120824,0,619759.story Ethanol additive 49 cents cheaper. Number of the day 49 cents. That's how much less ethanol costs per gallon than regular gasoline. The price difference is encouraging refiners to continue using the biofuel as an additive even if the Obama administration ends a requirement to do so. The Midwestern drought - the most severe in 56 years - has prompted lawmakers to call for a suspension of the ethanol mandate because of its potential effect on food costs. Ethanol will consume 42 percent of this year's corn crop, according to government estimates. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/business/article/Ethanol-additive-49-cents-cheaper-3811507.php#ixzz24TrsTJw4 Romney's fossil fuel-rich energy plan accused of being shortsighted. Mitt Romney's plan to achieve North American energy independence relies predominantly on expanded fossil fuel production, when many experts say efforts are needed to use less energy, not more, with new technologies in transportation and manufacturing. In promoting energy production in untapped areas off the East Coast and across federal lands, the Republican presidential candidate is making energy generation a piece of his economic message, saying that mining and other energy-making activities will create 3 million jobs. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2012/08/24/2 BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY FERC hearings examine gas- and coal-fired power, highlight low priority for renewables. Government regulators are assessing the nation's increasing dependence on natural gas as a source of electricity generation in a series of regional meetings around the country throughout the month of August. Advocates for renewable energy, however, express concern that in a "dash for gas," the federal government may be overlooking the long-term reliability and emissions reduction potential of renewable sources such as wind and solar. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2012/08/24/5 BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY Researchers explore a puzzle: Why did atmospheric methane drop? The amount of methane pumped into the atmosphere has slowed over the past few decades, and scientists haven't been sure why. A new study concludes that changes in fossil fuel production and use -- including greater demand for natural gas -- are behind the slowdown. Researchers from the University of California, Irvine, say their results suggest companies are more likely to capture natural gas that escapes when oil is pumped from the ground. That means less methane is released by venting or flaring gas from oil fields. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2012/08/24/7 BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY VEHICLES Tesla builds 100th sedan, but steep production ramp looms. Tesla has built its 100th Model S sedan. That may not seem like a lot, but it's an indication that the electric car company is -- as it said in a blog post Tuesday announcing the milestone -- starting to ramp up production. Palo Alto-based Tesla's last production update came about a month ago, when it announced its second-quarter results. At that point, the company had made 40 cars total and had delivered none to customers other than the first 10 it delivered in a highly publicized "launch" event June 22. Posted. http://www.mercurynews.com/business/ci_21376443/tesla-builds-100th-sedan-but-steep-production-ramp Clean-Diesel Proponents Still Await Details On Chevy Cruze. Clean-diesel fans must wait longer to find out details of General Motors’ commitment to build a diesel-powered U.S. version of its Chevrolet Cruze compact car at its Lordstown, Ohio, assembly facility. GM this week announced that it will invest $220 million for tooling and equipment to build the next-generation Cruze, retaining more than 5,000 jobs in Ohio. While significant for GM and Ohioans, this was a relatively routine announcement. Posted. http://www.forbes.com/sites/dalebuss/2012/08/23/clean-diesel-proponents-still-await-details-on-chevy-cruze/ GREEN ENERGY Solyndra plant may sell at huge loss. Solyndra's factory in Fremont, which closed nearly a year ago as the solar company spiraled into bankruptcy, may sell for just a fraction of what taxpayers invested in it. But then, that's not unusual in bankruptcy. Seagate Technology, a Cupertino company that makes computer hard drives, has reached a tentative agreement to buy Solyndra's factory and headquarters for $90.3 million, unless someone else swoops in with a better offer. Any sale will require the approval of a bankruptcy court judge. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/business/article/Solyndra-plant-may-sell-at-huge-loss-3811513.php#ixzz24TrNKT4E Romney energy plan focuses on more oil. The energy plan Mitt Romney unveiled Thursday adopts familiar GOP ideas for weaning the United States off foreign oil by boosting offshore drilling and relaxing environmental regulations - in dramatic contrast to the Obama administration's approach. Although President Obama and his Republican challenger view energy development as a way to rev up the economy and create jobs, Romney's plan focuses squarely on the oil and gas sector. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/politics/article/Romney-energy-plan-focuses-on-more-oil-3811741.php#ixzz24TuK36lQ Assembly Vote Coming on Solar Garden Bill. If you'd like to use electricity from rooftop solar but you don't own a rooftop to put it on, the California Assembly will soon be deciding whether or not to help you. On Monday, August 27 the Assembly is scheduled to vote on SB 843, which would allow renters, low-income Californians and others who can't install solar panels on their own property to buy shares in offsite solar facilities of up to 20 megawatts in size, and share in the proceeds from power sales to utilities. SB 843, if enacted, would create the Community-Based Renewable Energy Self-Generation Program in which retail utility customers could offset up to 100% of their utility bills by buying shares in a shared facility…Posted. http://www.kcet.org/news/rewire/solar/photovoltaic-pv/assembly-vote-coming-on-solar-garden-bill.html U.S. Chamber unveils 'pro-growth, pro-jobs' fix for Calif. Economy. A glut of regulations handcuffs job creation in California and forces consumers to pay more for energy, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said yesterday as it unveiled a report proposing fixes. The 79-page document, dubbed "California Comeback," critiques policies in a host of areas including spending, taxes, schools and infrastructure. It sees the energy arena as one of the most problematic given the state's high unemployment. The Golden State last month had a 10.7 percent jobless rate, compared with the U.S. average of 8.3 percent. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/Greenwire/print/2012/08/24/7 BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY MISCELLANEOUS L.A. Unified replaces plastic foam cafeteria trays with paper ones. The districtwide switch to recyclable paper trays was sparked by students at one middle school who were studying the effects of trash on the environment. Lunch items in the Los Angeles Unified School District have been in flux in recent years — for example, swapping pizza for whole-grain spaghetti — but the sagging plastic foam tray that carried the food survived for decades. That changed too earlier this month, when the foam was switched out for recyclable paper trays at all district schools. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-plastic-foam-20120824,0,1467040.story As a bike-friendly city, we're halfway there. In its July issue, Bicycling magazine placed Sacramento right in the middle of its top-50 best bike cities, a ranking that suggests we've come a long way in recent years and can, with a little more effort and foresight, someday elbow our way into the Top 10 with the likes of Portland and San Francisco. Sacramento already has it good when it comes to riding a bike – the year-round weather, the flat terrain, the easy-to-navigate street grid, as well as the much-lauded 32-mile bike trail that winds along the American River from downtown to Folsom Lake without encountering automobile traffic. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2012/08/23/4748468/as-a-bike-friendly-city-were-halfway.html#storylink=cpy OPINIONS Viewpoints: Healthy headwaters are key to water future. Two new climate change studies offer a fascinating, if deeply troubling, view of California's water future. The noted climate scientist Jim Hansen and his NASA colleagues have analyzed decades of global temperatures and found a steep increase in the frequency of extremely hot summers. The statistical likelihood of extreme heat, drought and heavy downpours in certain regions is so huge that from a mathematical perspective these cannot be random or normal events. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2012/08/24/4753029/healthy-headwaters-are-key-to.html#storylink=cpy Roderick Wright's cap and trade hearing was biased. Re "Will Jobs be lost with Cap and Trade?" (Dan Morain, Aug. 19): Stepping back, a broader perspective shows the positive effects from a clean, efficient economy. Sen. Roderick Wright recently held a hearing about the cap and trade program. I was scheduled to participate in that hearing, but withdrew when I learned the senator was basing the discussion on a discredited report funded by the oil industry, and had stacked the panel with representatives of polluting industries. Given the lopsided nature of the hearing, it appeared the viewpoint shared by most Californians that AB 32 creates jobs and stimulates investments was not welcome. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2012/08/22/4749767/the-short-view-wisdom-research.html#storylink=cpy Energy independence is within our grasp, America. Over the past decade, American energy supply has undergone a remarkable transformation. We are experiencing no less than a resource revolution – an “American spring” for a nation seeking freedom from dependence on hostile countries for energy to power our economy. The United States – once heavily reliant on an unpredictable cartel and worried about the prospect of running out of fossil fuels – now enjoys projections of once unimaginable abundance from domestic and other North American sources. Posted. http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2012/08/24/energy-independence-is-within-our-grasp-america/#ixzz24UFxDc1K BLOGS A Fresh Look at the Difference Between Climate Trends and Variations. For awhile I’ve been wanting to draw attention to this visual deconstruction of the “global warming has stopped” meme often used by people whose profession or worldview makes them apt to reject science pointing to a greenhouse-heated climate: (graph) This animated graphic was created by the folks at the Skeptical Science blog as part of a series of posts on the notion of “going down the up escalator.” Posted. http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/08/23/a-fresh-look-at-the-difference-between-climate-trends-and-variations/?ref=science Romney’s Energy Plan. Ridiculing a campaign document is like shooting unusually large fish in a barrel, but Mitt Romney’s new energy “plan” is so fantastical and extreme that I feel compelled to fire away. Let’s start first with the premise of the plan, which is also its promise: that energy independence is an achievable goal for America by 2020. Presidents have been talking about energy independence since Richard Nixon and haven’t come close. The simple truth, as President Obama has recognized, is that a country that holds less than 3 percent of the world’s reserves but consumes more than 20 percent of the world’s supply cannot drill its way to energy independence. Posted. http://takingnote.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/08/24/romneys-energy-plan/?ref=opinion California Powers Up Plan for Waste-to-Watts. Energy from trash and fewer catastrophic fires? What’s the catch? Wood scraps, animal manure, household garbage and other wastes may soon fuel a sweeping “clean energy” initiative in California, if the collective vision of several state agencies comes to pass. This week, the state announced its 2012 Bioenergy Action Plan [PDF], which promotes an array of organic materials as a large and untapped fuel source for an energy-hungry state. Posted. http://blogs.kqed.org/climatewatch/2012/08/23/california-throws-the-switch-on-waste-to-watts/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+kqed%2FClimateWatchBlog+%28KQED%27s+Climate+Watch+Blog%29