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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for October 22, 2012.

Posted: 22 Oct 2012 14:52:51
ARB Newsclips for October 22, 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.


Obama’s record: Environmental agenda pushes sweeping attack on
air pollution. The day after the November 2010 elections made
clear President Obama’s greenhouse-gas legislation was doomed, he
vowed to keep trying to curb emissions linked to global warming.
There’s more than one way of “skinning the cat,” he told
reporters. Since then, Obama has used his executive powers —
including his authority under the 1970 Clean Air Act — to press
the most sweeping attack on air pollution in U.S. history.

Pollution drop from building rail yard near L.A. harbor disputed.
Public health and environmental experts dispute predictions that
air pollution will be significantly cut if a giant rail yard is
built in the L.A. harbor area. Public health and environmental
experts are disputing predictions that air pollution would be
significantly reduced if a giant rail yard is built next to
schools, parks and hundreds of homes in the Los Angeles harbor
area. Posted.

Air-monitor spat could cost Valley millions. People in the San
Joaquin Valley are paying a $30 million annual penalty for air
pollution until the air clears up. At least, that was the deal
until the state's spat with a landowner got in the way. No matter
how clean the air gets, the penalty might remain until the state
can smooth things over with the miffed landowner -- Arvin-Edison
Water Storage District, which booted a key air-monitoring site
off its land. The state and the Valley need an air monitor back
on that land. Posted.

California Groups Sue EPA Over Vehicle Fees For Smog. California
environmental groups have filed a lawsuit protesting a decision
to combat San Joaquin Valley smog by increasing automobile
registration fees instead of fining industrial polluters. The
lawsuit filed Friday in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
accuses the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency of violating
federal environmental laws by waiving the fines. The EPA adopted
the region’s air district plan to charge an additional $12 on
each auto registration to replace the money lost by waiving the
fines in August, though motorists have been paying the new fee
since last year. Posted.



Carbon Plan Hurts EU Credibility as Regulator, Traders Say. A
plan by the European Commission to prevent emitters from using
some Emission Reduction Units issued after the end of this year
damages the regulator’s credibility, said a lobby group
representing traders. The proposal does not follow due process
and the commission should have proposed a change to the emissions
trading system law instead of the carbon registry regulation,
Jeff Swartz, Geneva-based international policy director at the
International Emissions Trading Association, said today. Posted.

SKorea picked to host $100B global climate fund. South Korea says
it has been chosen to host a new U.N. climate fund that aims to
channel $100 billion a year in aid to developing nations. Seoul's
Finance Ministry says the decision was made Saturday in a vote by
the fund's 24-member board in Songdo, South Korea. The Green
Climate Fund is envisioned as the world's biggest financier for
helping developing nations adapt to climate change and move
toward low-carbon economic growth. It would draw and distribute
$100 billion that rich nations have pledged annually by 2020.

More Americans believe in global warming. For the first time
since the United States entered a deep recession five years ago,
70 percent of Americans now say they believe global warming is a
reality, according to researchers. In a report released Thursday
by the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication, authors
wrote that America's concern about global warming is now at its
highest level since 2008, and that 58 percent of Americans
expressed worries about it. "Historically Americans have viewed
climate change as a distant problem…Posted.

NGOs Square Off Over REDD in California. Indigenous groups across
Latin America are exploring the use of carbon finance to save
their forests and provide income. Some NGOs, however, fear
mechanisms like REDD will backfire – resulting in higher rates of
both deforestation and poverty. The two opposing views are
converging this week in California, and each side accuses the
other of not playing fair.  Posted.

Rice agriculture accelerates global warming, new research finds.
Plant scientist Chris van Kessel says without additional
measures, the total methane emissions from rice agriculture will
strongly increase. (International Rice Research Institute/photo )
More carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, coupled with rising
temperatures, is making rice agriculture a larger source of the
potent greenhouse gas methane, according to a study published
today in Nature Climate Change by a research team that includes a
University of California, Davis, plant scientist. Posted.

Study: 20 million acres of federal oil, gas leases in Gulf of
Mexico idle. Oil and natural gas companies are not exploring,
developing or producing on more than 20 million acres of federal
leases in the Gulf of Mexico, 40 percent of them owned by the
five biggest private oil giants, according to a study by the
office of Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), the ranking member of
the House Natural Resources Committee. Posted. 

After the Boom in Natural Gas. THE crew of workers fought off the
blistering Louisiana sun, jerking their wrenches to tighten the
fat hoses that would connect their cement trucks to the
Chesapeake Energy drill rig — one of the last two rigs the
company is still using to drill for natural gas here in the
Haynesville Shale. Posted. 

California gasoline consumers hurt by few suppliers, outages.
California has about half the number of refiners it had in the
early 1980s. Gasoline price spikes, such as the one this month,
hurt independent stations too. For nearly two decades, Santosh
Arya has pumped some of the San Diego area's cheapest gas at his
three Homeland Petroleum stations. But his streak ended early
this month, when wholesale prices started rising sharply, then
shot up 40 cents a gallon overnight. Posted.

Building gas stations with flair. Carson-based gas station
operator United Oil Co. is aiming to stand out from the pack with
its eye-catching architecture. Remember when gas stations were
cool? In the decades after World War II, gas was cheap and
operators competed on service. Every time a car rolled in, a bell
would ring and uniformed pump jockeys dashed out to fill the
tank, wash the windshield and check the oil level. Sagging tires
got a whoosh of air. Posted.

Canada blocks Petronas' bid for Progress Energy. Canada has
blocked the Malaysian state-owned oil firm Petronas' US$5.2
billion (CA$5.17 billion) bid for gas producer Progress Energy
Resources, saying the proposed investment would not provide a net
benefit to Canada. Federal Industry Minister Christian Paradis
did not explain his decision in a statement released just before
midnight Friday, saying only that it was made after a careful and
thorough review of the proposed transaction.


Colton looks to green energy to cut electric costs. Utility rates
remain a sore subject from living rooms to City Hall as election
season heats up and candidates promise to reduce energy costs.
Monthly bills totalling in the hundreds are commonplace, despite
a 10 percent rate reduction passed by the City Council last year,
one that affects roughly 70 percent of Colton residents. Add in
the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, or AB 32, which aims to
reduce the state's greenhouse gas emissions to 1990

$60 million to rehab Don Pedro plant. Hydroelectric plants are
like athletes. After 40, their parts can get creaky.So it is at
Don Pedro Reservoir, completed in 1971 to provide power and water
for the Modesto and Turlock irrigation districts. The districts
face estimated costs of up to $60 million over the next few years
to upgrade or replace generators and related equipment. Posted. 

Without buyer, Dominion to close Wis. power plant. Dominion
Resources Inc. said Monday that it plans to close and
decommission its Kewaunee Power Station in Wisconsin after it was
unable to find a buyer for the nuclear power plant. The Richmond,
Va.-based energy provider said that the 556-megawatt facility in
Carlton, Wis., is expected to stop producing power in the second
quarter of 2013 and move to safe shutdown status. Dominion plans
to record an after-tax $281 million charge in the third quarter
related to the closing and decommissioning of the station.

Calif. measure to defund major clean energy lobby sparks money
battle. Environmental groups are teaming with labor unions to
fight a California ballot measure that they fear could undermine
the Golden State's push for clean energy. The Golden State's
Proposition 32 would ban political contributions that come
directly from workers' pay and would block using that money for
political activities. Labor and environmental organizations argue
that the measure is a direct attack on unions. Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2012/10/22/7  BY

Arizona coal-fired power emissions ignored? The Arizona Electric
Power Cooperative will receive $34 million in guaranteed loans
from the US Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development’s Rural
Utilities Service (RUS) according to a USDA announcement made
Friday, October 19, 2012. Of course, providing reliable,
affordable electricity is essential to the economic well-being of
the nation’s rural residents, and this is a primary goal of the
RUS electric program. There are approximately 700,000 people
living in rural areas in Arizona. Posted.


California to start new smog check program. Few drivers may
realize it, but their car’s onboard computer is busily collecting
all sorts of data as they drive. And soon, the state of
California will be picking those little under-the-hood brains.
The California Air Resources Board is readying plans for a new
smog check program that eliminates sticking a probe up the
tailpipe to measure emissions while simulating driving conditions
in a shop. Instead, for 2000 model-year and newer vehicles, the
new test siphons off the data stored in the on-board diagnostic
systems that are standard equipment on all newer vehicles.

Scientists convicted of manslaughter for failing to warn of
earthquake. A court in L'Aquila, Italy, has sentenced defendants
to six years in prison despite lack of any reliable way to
predict quakes. An Italian court convicted seven scientists and
experts of manslaughter on Monday for failing to adequately warn
citizens before an earthquake struck L'Aquila in central Italy in
2009, killing more than 300 people. The court in L'Aquila
sentenced the defendants to six years in prison. Each is a member
of the country's Grand Commission on High Risks. Posted.


Dianne Feinstein: U.S. can't halt progress on fuel economy. While
economic and foreign policy issues have rightly dominated this
year's presidential contest, one area that deserves more scrutiny
is where the candidates stand on a key energy security issue:
vehicle fuel efficiency. In 2007, I joined Republican Sen.
Olympia Snowe in authoring the Ten-in-Ten Fuel Economy Act, which
will increase fleetwide fuel economy to 54.5 miles per gallon by
2025. This landmark bill was signed by President George W. Bush.

Our View: Recycling program fraud. CalRecycle, the state's
quarter-century-old beverage container recycling program, is in
big trouble. While the number of bottles and cans diverted from
landfills in California is up dramatically, rampant fraud and
mismanagement is depleting the state's recycling fund. In recent
years, the state has paid out $80 million to $100 million more to
consumers and others who turn in used bottles and cans than it
has taken in from beverage distributors. If something is not done
soon to restructure the program, the fund could run out of money
within two years. Posted.

Come on, put that air monitor back.  The Arvin-Edison Water
Storage District should allow the California Air Resources Board
to reinstall an air quality monitor on its land. Air quality is
one of the biggest health issues facing the San Joaquin Valley
and Arvin is ground zero for that battle, recording some of the
highest levels of pollution in the nation over the years. Having
reliable and long-running data from one location is critical to
the health of the community and the region's challenge to meet
clean air standards. Posted.

Air quality funding needs to help Coachella Valley. Every once in
a while, in the midst of a bureaucratic meeting, you get a sudden
moment of clarity that refocuses the whole proceeding. That
happened at Tuesday’s meeting of the South Coast Air Quality
Management District’s Administrative Committee in Palm Desert,
when Jim Rothblatt, a local bicyclist, got up to speak in favor
of the Coachella Valley Association of Governments’ proposed
cross-valley parkway. Posted. 

BROOKS: Green technology in America: A sad story. The period
around 2003 was the golden spring of green technology. John
McCain and Joe Lieberman introduced a bipartisan bill to curb
global warming. I got my first ride in a Prius from a
conservative foreign policy hawk who said that these new
technologies were going to help us end our dependence on Middle
Eastern despots. You’d go to Silicon Valley and all the venture
capitalists, it seemed, were rushing into clean tech. From that
date on the story begins to get a little sadder. Posted.

Editorial: Brown asked to cool it on cap-and-trade. A group of
employer and taxpayer organizations has formally asked Gov. Jerry
Brown to delay the scheduled Nov. 14 auction of greenhouse gas
allowances long enough to "fix" the state's cap-and-trade
program. The auction would sell to regulated businesses the right
to emit greenhouse gases in a scheme that would lower annually
the permissible total emissions. The theory is that, over time,
companies would switch to technology that emits less, reducing
greenhouse gases emitted in California. Of course, ramped-up use
of coal in China and other expanding industries worldwide would
more than offset any savings, generated at great cost, in
California. Posted.

They don't listen. Congratulations and thanks to Fresno County
Supervisor Susan Anderson, whose courageous stance kept the Board
of Supervisors' eligible voting members Phil Larson, Henry Perea
and Debbie Poochigian from unanimously approving "giant" Gerawan
Farms' rock mining application. Fresno County will now have
increased air pollution, increased drain on our precious water, a
serious and non-reversible impact on aquifers, a worsening of our
two-lane county roads due to increased traffic, a potential of an
annual $29 million in federal fines (air pollution violations),
not to mention subsequent ugliness of the terrain. Posted.

Nobody Mentions Climate Change. But Somebody Did Something About
It. I constantly whine about the Beltway media, and I believe
global warming is the most important issue facing humanity. So I
was infuriated but not surprised to hear Candy Crowley explain
after the last debate that she considered a question for “you
climate change people,” but ditched it because “we knew the
economy was still the main thing.” Actually, the technical term
for people affected by climate change is “people. Posted.


Valero Shopping Its Two California Refineries. Valero Energy
Corp. is putting its two California refineries on the block,
attempting to exit the state ahead of a ratcheting up of
air-pollution regulations, people familiar with the matter said.
San Antonio-based Valero has enlisted Citigroup Inc. to help find
a buyer for the facilities, these people said, adding that the
process is in the early stages. Valero, one of the largest
refiners in the U.S., operates a 78,000-barrel-a-day refinery in
Wilmington outside Los Angeles and a
 132,000-barrel-a-day refinery in Benicia, in the San Francisco
Bay area.  Posted.

Did Obama promise a ‘war on affordable energy’? “Under my plan of
a cap-and-trade system, electricity rates would necessarily
skyrocket.” “So, if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant,
it’ll bankrupt them.” -- Excerpts of Barack Obama interview
featured in an American Energy Alliance ad. This ad uses cropped
comments from a January 2008 interview between then-Sen. Barack
Obama and the San Francisco Chronicle’s editorial board. The
president’s critics have cited these same comments as proof that
the current administration is bent on destroying the fossil-fuel
industry and the jobs that go along with it. Posted.

Q&A: Back to the Future With Environmental Bipartisanship. Last
month a new conservation pledge , the American Eagle Compact, was
propounded by the leaders of the National Audubon Society and
ConservAmerica. Its purpose, like that of some earlier alliances,
is to counter the political polarization that now characterizes
most debates about clean air, clean water, habitats for plants
and animals and, in particular, climate change. Posted.

A Fresh Start on Global Warming. Next month, the curtain rises on
the next round of international talks on global warming. Never
before has diplomacy on this important topic been in a worse
state. There are dozens of exciting new ideas for how governments
could tackle the dangers of warming, but no idea and no
government is clearly dominant. Outside of Europe, no major world
economy is actually doing much to control its emissions. Posted.

Global Warming At The Presidential Foreign Policy Debate: The
Elephant In The Room. A quick quiz: Which presidential or vice
presidential candidate said the following at one of the three
previous debates? "Energy is essential to how we will power our
economy and manage our environment in the 21st century. We
therefore have an interest in promoting new technologies and
sources of energy -- especially including renewables -- to reduce
pollution, to diversify the energy supply, to create jobs and to
address the very real threat of climate change." Posted.

The Attack on Green Energy. Conservative critics of the Obama
administration's move to promote renewable energy typically make
the argument that government is ill-equipped to "pick winners"
and invest in or subsidize new businesses. In his recent New York
Times column, David Brooks acknowledges the climate problem and
advocates a carbon tax, but devotes most of his piece to an
attack on Obama's renewable energy program and the difficulties
faced by this emerging industry. Posted.

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