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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for September 6, 2012. Posted: 06 Sep 2012 14:45:55
ARB Newsclips for September 6, 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 REGION: New environmental screening tool stirs debate. A state plan to rank communities by the cumulative effects of pollution on residents has raised objections among local business leaders, who say it would kill job development in areas identified as disadvantaged. The proposed California Communities Environmental Health Screening Tool would use existing environmental, health and socioeconomic data to score areas by ZIP code. Posted. http://www.pe.com/local-news/breaking-news-headlines/20120905-region-new-environmental-screening-tool-stirs-debate.ece EPA proposes new refinery rules, but not for greenhouse gases. U.S. EPA yesterday sent the White House a package of proposals that would limit emissions from oil refineries, but the long-awaited New Source Performance Standard for greenhouse gas emissions was not among them. In late 2010, EPA pledged as part of a settlement agreement with environmentalists that it would craft an NSPS rule for greenhouse gas emissions from refineries (Greenwire, Dec. 23, 2010). Posted. http://www.eenews.net/Greenwire/print/2012/09/06/3 BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY CLIMATE CHANGE U.S. Emissions Reach 20-Year Low, but its not time to congratulate ourselves just yet! Climate scientists are getting their fair share of surprises this year, from the record-breaking ice melt in the Arctic to the fact that first-quarter U.S. carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions have hit their lowest point since 1992. CO2 emissions from energy consumption for the January-March period fell to 1.34 billion metric tons, down 8 percent from a year ago. While the depressed economy and rising renewable energy generation have contributed to emissions reductions in the past few years…Posted. http://www.enn.com/sustainability/article/44905/print FUELS Shell Places a Not-So-Green Bet on Natural Gas. Outside Royal Dutch Shell’s research laboratories here, a stack of tubes, tanks and dials four stories high percolates 24 hours a day. This bewildering-looking apparatus is a tiny prototype of one of Shell’s crown jewels: the huge Pearl gas-to-liquids plant in Qatar. Now gradually increasing production, Pearl sucks in huge volumes of natural gas from the gargantuan North Field under the aquamarine Gulf and — in a feat of seeming alchemy — transforms the gas into jet fuel and diesel and other liquids far more valuable than natural gas these days. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/06/business/energy-environment/06iht-green06.html Officials urge NY Gov. Cuomo to OK gas drilling. Town officials and landowners eager for shale gas drilling to begin in southern New York are pressing Gov. Andrew Cuomo to approve an environmental review that's been four years in the making. "This issue has been going on for four years," Town of Binghamton Supervisor Tim Whitesell said Thursday. "We understand the politics involved. But at the same time we are in a position where our residents are looking for this. It's very frustrating that we see this economic boom just south of us in Pennsylvania and we're not able to take part in it." Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Officials-urge-NY-Gov-Cuomo-to-OK-gas-drilling-3844387.php#ixzz25iZCTtZZ Chevron: Small flash fire preceded massive Aug. 6 blaze at Richmond refinery. Richmond -- A "flash fire" was extinguished about 10 minutes before a massive blaze erupted Aug. 6 at Chevron's refinery here, the company revealed in a 30-day report on the accident that it submitted to Contra Costa County officials Wednesday. The revelation of the flash fire, which was not publicly known previously, is crucial to the investigation into the blaze caused by a leaking 8-inch pipe, said Contra Costa County Hazardous Materials Chief Randy Sawyer. "There was a small fire that their fire department put out very quickly," Sawyer said. Posted. http://www.contracostatimes.com/news/ci_21476435/chevron-small-flash-fire-preceded-massive-aug-6?source=rss GREEN ENERGY California ISO marks 1,000-megawatt solar milestone. California surpassed a major milestone during a recent heat wave, hitting more than 1,000 megawatts of solar power generation. That's equal to the output of two large, gas-fired power plants. The threshold - driven by heavy air-conditioning use during recent, blistering-hot days - was surpassed multiple times, according to the Folsom-based California Independent System Operator Corp., which operates the state's wholesale transmission grid. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2012/09/05/4790076/california-iso-marks-1000-megawatt.html#mi_rss=Business NM regulators to consider clean energy standard. New Mexico regulators have set the stage for a discussion that could result in a novel program aimed at curbing carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. The Public Regulation Commission on Thursday agreed to schedule workshops to consider a proposal that would allow electric utilities to voluntarily opt to reduce carbon emissions from their generating stations by 3 percent a year starting as soon as 2014.The proposal was filed with the PRC by Western Resource Advocates on behalf of 33 environmental groups. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/NM-regulators-to-consider-clean-energy-standard-3843543.php#ixzz25imSzWuC MISCELLANEOUS Few environmental bills make it out of the California Legislature. Environmental groups and their supporters hoping for a new wave of green laws from the Legislature this year ended up with barely a ripple. From a statewide effort to ban plastic bags, to limits on foam food packaging, most of the top environmental bills of the 2012 session died. Environmental groups did score a few wins. They beat back an effort by industry to rewrite the California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA, the landmark law that requires environmental studies of major projects. Posted. http://www.contracostatimes.com/environment/ci_21468132/few-environmental-bills-make-it-out-california-legislature OPINIONS Our View: Lawmakers push global warming cash grab. Among bills awaiting Gov. Jerry Brown's signature are at least four deserving vetoes because they would do more economic harm than good, at a time the state least needs it. Among legislation identified by the California Chamber of Commerce as "job killer bills" are four approved by the Legislature, which ended its 2011-12 session on Friday. The chamber's characterization is apt. But these bills would do more than kill jobs at a time when California unemployment is 10.7 percent, more than twice the rate during the summer of 2006. Posted. http://www.appeal-democrat.com/articles/chamber-119209-california-trade.html#ixzz25iaiYCbw Soot standard would improve our air, save lives. Most of us don’t need to look far to find someone we know and love who has lung disease. Perhaps it’s a grandmother with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or a child with asthma. For all of these people, particle pollution makes breathing even more difficult. On days when air is bad, those with COPD may need supplemental oxygen. People with asthma may need to take extra medicine and stay indoors. Poor air quality days can send those with lung diseases to emergency rooms. Posted. http://helenair.com/news/opinion/soot-standard-would-improve-our-air-save-lives/article_233d76c2-f722-11e1-a2bf-001a4bcf887a.html Support strong air quality rules. The recently announced gas mileage standards by the Obama administration will double fuel efficiency in cars and thus help reduce air pollution. However, we still have a ways to go for cleaner air. The air New Hampshirites breathe should not inflame our lungs or increase our chances of suffering a stroke or heart attack. Yet, air in the United States is still polluted with particles like soot from coal-fired power plants, which makes it toxic for us to breathe. Posted. http://www.concordmonitor.com/article/352767/support-strong-air-quality-rules?SESSe28c2d4e33ff93df39bf48cc31abfb4a=bing BLOGS The Baffling Nexus of Climate Change and Health. In 2004, a rare tropical fungus caused a string of respiratory failures and neural disorders along the Pacific Northwest coast, baffling the health community. That same year, Alaskan cruise ship passengers dining on local oysters fell sick with a gastric virus typically found in warm water estuaries. Now Texas, after an unusually wet spring and dry summer, is battling what may become the country’s worst recorded outbreak of West Nile virus. Meteorological and ecological shifts driven by climate change are creating a slow and often…Posted. http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/06/the-baffling-nexus-of-climate-change-and-health/?ref=science Climate Change and the Food Supply. A small bit of good news about food prices from the Food and Agriculture Organization, a United Nations agency in Rome: The price spiral seen earlier this summer as markets reacted to droughts and other bad news has leveled off, with the agency’s closely watched index of global food prices essentially unchanged in August compared with July. Prices are still up sharply from earlier in the year and remain high by historical standards, the F.A.O. said Thursday, but they have not reached the peaks seen in 2008 and 2011. Posted. http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/06/climate-change-and-the-food-supply/?ref=business Shifting Views on Climate Change. President Obama and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, have spelled out their views on climate change in a bit more detail than they usually do on the campaign trail in response to questions from a group of scientific organizations. In written statements posted on Tuesday at the Web site of Sciencedebate.org, the candidates added some clarity to their views on global warming, but in a way that also raised some questions about their consistency. Posted. http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/05/shifting-views-on-climate-change/?pagewanted=print