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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 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.

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.


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."



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

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


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.

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.


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.

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.

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

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

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


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.

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.


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.

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.

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.

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


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.

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.


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.

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.

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.


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.

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.

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.

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