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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for September 7, 2012. Posted: 07 Sep 2012 12:16:10
ARB Newsclips for September 7, 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. CLIMATE CHANGE El Niño is coming, but weakly - sort of Thanks to a tiny but consistent warming of the Pacific Ocean half a world away, the Bay Area will experience an El Niño season this year, beginning this month. If that idea conjures up images of fearsome storms and tumultuous winds - as one infamous El Niño pattern caused in the late 1990s - fear not. At least, possibly not. The National Weather Service has identified a "weak" El Niño this year, as opposed to the "moderate" or "strong" varieties, suggesting that the weather pattern caused by El Niño won't last the entire winter. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/El-Ni-o-is-coming-but-weakly-sort-of-3844544.php#ixzz25o1g1OdT Court asks for EPA response on whether to rehear GHG regulations case. A federal appeals court has asked U.S. EPA to explain why it should not reconsider a recent ruling upholding the Obama administration's greenhouse gas regulations. The order issued yesterday indicates that at least one judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit is interested in the possibility of the entire eight-judge court reconsidering the case, a process known as rehearing en banc. It still appears unlikely the court will rehear the case. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/Greenwire/print/2012/09/07/14 BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY Obama blasts Republicans for calling climate change a 'hoax' President Obama sharply criticized Republican intransigence on climate change last night, rebuking those who disbelieve in man-made carbon effects in an effort to cast a clear choice between him and his opponent, Mitt Romney. His comments mark some of the strongest assertions on climate in the presidential race, coming as the campaigns sprint into the straightaway before November's election. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2012/09/07/1 BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY FUELS Too few state oil refinery-safety checks. California regulators have not been conducting the intensive workplace-safety inspections of Chevron's Richmond plant and the state's 14 other oil refineries that federal standards call for, a Chronicle investigation shows. The limited checks that California inspectors have performed over the last decade have not led to a single fine collected from a major oil company, according to inspection records. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Too-few-state-oil-refinery-safety-checks-3846415.php#ixzz25o0paCQ4 SRS scientists find bacteria on spent nuke fuel. Scientists at the Savannah River Site near Aiken have identified a bacteria growing on old nuclear fuel. The Augusta Chronicle reports (http://bit.ly/Q3igo8) the material looks like a cobweb. The senior technical adviser for the Savannah River National Laboratory, Christopher Berry, says genetic analysis shows it's mostly bacteria although some of the DNA strains are unknown. It was first observed about a year ago among old fuel assemblies submerged in a basin where nuclear materials from research reactors are stored. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/SRS-scientists-find-bacteria-on-spent-nuke-fuel-3847421.php#ixzz25nxlvLdG Bill Bars Corn Ethanol From State Alt Fuels Program. Among the flurry of action -- or inaction -- on renewable energy bills in the last days of the state's legislative session comes a striking but largely unheralded statement of policy from the state of California. Last week, Governor Brown signed into law a bill that excludes corn-derived ethanol fuel from the state's Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program. Assembly Bill 523, authored by Republican assembly member David Valadao, excludes ethanol made from the edible parts of corn from any loans, grants or incentives included as part of the alternative fuel program. Posted. http://www.kcet.org/news/rewire/transportation/bill-bars-corn-ethanol-from-state-alt-fuels-program.html VEHICLES Electric cargo truck developers have to be ready for a long haul. The CEO of a Poway company says there is still much work to do to make electric trucks a viable alternative to those that run on gasoline or natural gas. Building an electric car is one thing. But move too fast in developing a heavy-duty electric cargo truck and bad things happen, according to the head of Southern California company that is trying to succeed where others have failed before. In the past, electric trucks ran out of juice less than halfway through an eight-hour shift at the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-electric-truck-20120907,0,2311013.story GREEN ENERGY Asia-Pacific Forum to Cut Import Duties for Green Technologies. Asia-Pacific nations have made a breakthrough in promoting trade in green technologies, and the United States is pressing ahead with efforts to carve out a regional free-trade zone, a senior U.S. official said Friday. Speaking before a summit of leaders of the 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, Demetrios Marantis, the deputy U.S. trade representative, said the group had agreed to cut import duties on technologies that can promote economic growth without endangering the environment. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/08/business/energy-environment/asia-pacific-forum-to-cut-import-duties-for-green-technologies.html?_r=1&ref=energy-environment&pagewanted=print California to launch task force on scrap metal recycling problems. Scrap metal operations have been loosely regulated and linked to environmental contamination and fires and explosions. The task force will coordinate oversight. State officials said Thursday that they will start a task force to target problems posed by scrap metal recycling operations across California, which have been loosely regulated and linked to environmental contamination and numerous fires and explosions in recent years. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-scrap-metal-20120907,0,7671089.story California's solar energy passes a 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 production of two large gas-fired power plants. The threshold was surpassed several times, according to the Folsom-based California Independent System Operator Corp., which operates the state's wholesale transmission grid. California energy officials celebrated the solar-generation milestone this week at ISO's annual Stakeholder Symposium at the Sacramento Convention Center. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2012/09/07/4796127/californias-solar-energy-passes.html#storylink=cpy East Bay town hoping to save $4.4 million by going solar. Town officials are hoping for big savings from four solar power arrays that will be going up around town this fall. On Tuesday, the town council approved a $1.2 million energy prepayment to San Mateo-based SolarCity, which now has the go-ahead to build the arrays on town-owned properties. Town Manager Joe Calabrigo told the council the solar arrays are expected to save the town $4.4 million in energy costs over their 25-year lifetime. In addition to the savings, the arrays will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions, he said. Posted. http://www.mercurynews.com/science/ci_21474944/danville-hoping-save-4-4-million-by-going LEDs most environmentally friendly bulbs – study. LED light bulbs do the least environmental harm when compared with compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) and traditional incandescent bulbs, a study from a Department of Energy lab has found. In an in-depth study, the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory examined the environmental effects of the three bulb types, taking into account mining of raw minerals, disposal, manufacturing and degree of electricity use. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/Greenwire/print/2012/09/07/18 BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY MISCELLANEOUS Tests show no water pollution after oil breach. Officials say preliminary tests show no pollution to water near the Holly refinery in Woods Cross where a break in a fuel tank sent oil spraying onto buildings, cars, and streets. The Salt Lake Tribune reports (bit.ly/QpB0hh) the Utah Division of Water Quality found no detectable levels of dangerous chemicals in a first round of tests. However, John Whitehead, the agency's assistant director, says more detailed results have yet to come in. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Tests-show-no-water-pollution-after-oil-breach-3847001.php#ixzz25nvFlZgE Contest to depict clean air strategies. Young artists have a chance to showcase their artistic talents and help improve the Central Valley’s air through an annual calendar contest. Students from kindergarten through high school can enter the Healthy Air Living Kids’ Calendar contest, sponsored by the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District. Fourteen student illustrations will be selected to promote healthy air in the eight-county air basin the district covers. Posted. http://www.tracypress.com/view/full_story/20066236/article-Contest-to-depict-clean-air-strategies?instance=home_our_town NAVY CITED OVER TOXIC CHEMICAL EXPOSURE. Dangerous metals found in aircraft hangar in Coronado. The Navy has been cited for safety violations that exposed up to 350 employees at an aircraft hangar in Coronado to the toxic chemicals lead, cadmium and beryllium, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration said Thursday. OSHA inspectors found widespread contamination in one hangar at the North Island Naval Air Station aircraft maintenance facility, including in areas where employees worked on jets and stored and ate meals. Posted. http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2012/sep/07/tp-navy-cited-over-toxic-chemical-exposure/ OPINIONS Editorial: State must nail down off-road vehicle funds. California lawmakers and the governor need to immediately get to the bottom of funding within the Off-Highway Vehicle Trust Fund. If they don't, it will only further the public's doubts about the ability of state leaders to manage and track public funds. And that won't help Gov. Jerry Brown as he tries to persuade voters to approve the tax increase he seeks, Proposition 30 on the Nov. 6 ballot. At issue are the "hidden assets" that the Brown administration discovered within the state Department of Parks and Recreation. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2012/09/07/4795592/state-must-nail-down-off-road.html#storylink=cpy Eric Lauritzen: Salinas study to clear the air. As the state Department of Pesticide Regulation prepared to launch the nation’s first long-term, pesticide air monitoring project last year, DPR explained its plan this way: “The aim is to document pesticide levels in ambient air collected from communities with higher populations of children, persons over 65, persons who work on farms and close proximity to agricultural areas with high use of pesticides.” In my view, that description fit Monterey County perfectly. Posted. http://www.thecalifornian.com/article/20120907/OPINION04/309070014/Eric-Lauritzen-Salinas-study-clear-air?odyssey=nav%7Chead BLOGS Obama Counterpunches on Climate Change. Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential nominee, took a not-too-subtle jab at President Obama in his convention speech last week, mocking Mr. Obama’s soaring 2008 campaign language about rolling back the rising seas and healing the planet. Mr. Romney’s gibe drew thunderous applause from the Republican delegates, many of whom express doubt about the existence of climate change. Posted. http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/07/obama-counterpunches-on-climate-change/?ref=science Cooling a Computer Server With Mineral Oil. When they’re using their smartphones or tapping away on laptops, few people pause to think about the enormous amount of energy needed to power the data centers that store and deliver the information in all those e-mails and on Web sites and Facebook pages. But maybe we should. A recent study by Pike Research estimated that about 1.5 percent of all electricity generated worldwide goes to power data centers. The attendant greenhouse gas emissions, some 188 million tons of carbon dioxide per year, match the emissions of about 33 million passenger vehicles. Posted. http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/06/cooling-a-computer-server-with-mineral-oil/?ref=energy-environment California hopes practice makes perfect for cap-and-trade; real carbon auction set for November. Just months away from the start of California's first effort to cap, trade, and reduce carbon, the stakes are high for state regulators to get it right. Hundreds of companies are involved, not to mention billions of dollars. Last week the California Air Resources Board ran a practice for November's big day: the auction that will set in motion a market for carbon emissions in California. (I was on vacation, failing to draft a useful wide receiver in the fantasy draft.) Posted. http://www.scpr.org/blogs/environment/2012/09/06/9742/california-hopes-practice-makes-perfect-cap-and-tr/