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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for November 21, 2012

Posted: 21 Nov 2012 11:11:03
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 


How to rule out cap-and-trade without quite ruling out
cap-and-trade.  Lobbed a friendly question yesterday afternoon,
Joe Oliver stood in the House and declared as follows.  I am
pleased to announce that, although the United States is adopting
a carbon tax, which the American administration did not say it
intended to do, our government will never do so in Canada. We
will never adopt the NDP’s $21 million carbon tax, which would
cause job losses and increase prices overall. We will continue to
lower taxes and stimulate job creation.  Now, moments earlier,
Eve Adams had reported to the House that the Obama administration
was steadfastly against a carbon tax, so maybe Mr. Oliver had
received urgent news to the contrary or perhaps he misspoke.
Nonetheless, here was the Natural Resources Minister declaring
that the Harper government would never adopt a carbon tax. 


Air quality officials say DWP responsible for Owens Lake dust
storms.  The California Air Resource Board ruled Monday that the
Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is solely responsible
for controlling the choking dust storms that arise from the dry
Owens Lake bed.  The board said the DWP must take additional air
pollution control measures on 2.9 square miles of the lake bed,
which was drained to provide water to Los Angeles. The
powder-fine dust arising from the bed often exceeds federal
health standards.  Posted. 

Australian scientists find excess greenhouse gas near fracking. 
Environmental researchers have detected excess greenhouse gas
levels near the site of Australia's biggest coal seam gas field,
prompting calls for halting expansion of hydraulic fracturing
until scientists can determine whether it might be contributing
to climate change.  Posted. 

Environmentalists sue to block mining near Reedley.  California
environmentalists are suing Fresno County in an effort to block
the proposed 886-acre Carmelita mine rock quarry project near
Reedley.  The Board of Supervisors approved the quarry last month
after a contentious seven-hour hearing.  Friends of the Kings
River say in Tuesday's lawsuit that planners did not keep the
region's best interests in mind when they considered potential
problems, such as groundwater drawdown, air pollution and
traffic.  Posted. 

Unhealthy air quality levels ending in NH.  The New Hampshire
Department of Environmental Services says a three-day period of
unhealthy air pollution levels in the southwest part of the state
is coming to an end.  The department forecast concentrations of
fine particle pollution to be unhealthy for sensitive individuals
in populated valley areas, especially in Keene. The forecast
started Monday and ends late Wednesday morning.  Posted.

COUNTY: Changes to review process sought.  Hoping to boost public
confidence in how Riverside County handles development, a
supervisor wants to change the environmental-review process so
county officials, not developers, pick the consultants to conduct
the studies.  Supervisor Jeff Stone discussed his proposal during
the Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday, Nov. 20. Stone’s
suggestion comes after Liberty Quarry opponents condemned the
environmental impact report for the proposed open-pit mine
outside Temecula.  Posted. 

CDC: Secondhand smoke at 5 major airports puts flyers at risk. 
Thanksgiving travelers who pass through the five major U.S.
airports that still allow indoor smoking in designated public
rooms face a hidden health hazard, the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention said on Tuesday.  A study by the federal
health agency found that secondhand smoke levels directly outside
public smoking areas were five times higher than the levels in
smoke-free airports.  Posted. 




UN report warns of widening climate gap.  A U.N. report on rising
greenhouse gas emissions reminded world governments Wednesday
that their efforts to fight climate change are far from enough to
meet their stated goal of limiting global warming to 2 degrees
Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit).  The report by the U.N. Environment
Program, released just days ahead of a major climate conference,
said the concentration of heat-trapping greenhouse gases like
carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is up about 20 percent since
2000.  Posted.


Algae-based Biodiesel For Sale in California.  For what is being
touted as the first time in history, algae-based biodiesel is
available to consumers in a retail setting at various locations
in the state of California.  PropelFuels, a retailer of renewable
fuels and clean mobility solutions, and Solazyme Inc., a
renewable oil and bioproducts company, are bringing algae-derived
fuel to retail pumps.  The two renewable fuel brands have come
together to offer Solazyme's algae-based SoladieselBD to drivers
through Propel's Bay Area network of retail renewable fuel
locations. The month-long pilot program provides the industry's
first opportunity to test consumer response to this advanced
renewable fuel.  Posted. 


California Energy Commission to award up to $28.59M for hydrogen
refueling stations in 25 areas.  The California Energy Commission
has issued a competitive grant solicitation (PON-12-606) to award
up to a combined $28.59 million for new hydrogen refueling
stations in 25 selected areas. The goal is to expand the network
of publicly accessible hydrogen fueling stations to serve the
current population of fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) and to
accommodate the planned large-scale roll-out of FCVs commencing
in 2015. Individual projects are eligible for up to 65% of the
total project cost or $1.50 million, whichever is less.  Posted. 


Judge rejects injunction against California high-speed project. 
A SACRAMENTO County Judge has rejected a bid by farm bureaus in
Merced and Madera counties to halt preparatory work on the
initial section of California's high-speed line between Merced
and Fresno until a lawsuit is decided.  The lawsuit was filed
earlier this year and alleges that the California High Speed Rail
Authority (CHRSA) failed to conduct thorough environmental
reviews and violated open meeting laws stipulated by the
California Environmental Quality Act. However, the failure by the
bureaus to secure an injunction means that preparation work and
tendering will proceed as scheduled.  Posted. 


L.A. City Council Approves $1.6 Billion DWP Solar Power Deal. 
You might not have noticed it even if you were in the room at the
time, but the Los Angeles City Council this morning unanimously
approved a power purchase agreement between the Los Angeles
Department of Water And Power (DWP) and the largest utility-scale
solar project on tribal land in the United States. Under the
agreement, DWP will buy all the power from the K Road Moapa Solar
plant for 25 years, at a cost of $1.6 billion, with several
options to buy the plant outright.  Posted.

US natural gas supplies shrank last week.  The nation's natural
gas supplies fell last week, the government said Thursday.  The
Energy Department's Energy Information Administration reported
that natural gas in storage shrank by 38 billion cubic feet to
3.873 trillion cubic feet for the week ended Nov. 16.  Analysts
expected a drop of 23 billion to 27 billion cubic feet, according
to a survey by Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill
Cos.  Posted.

Santa Barbara Residential Solar Company Offers New Extended
25-Year Warranty as Elite Dealer for SunPower.  New research by
the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National
Laboratory finds that installing a residential solar energy
system increases a home’s value by an average of $17,000. That’s
good news for homeowners who want to increase the value of their
home, save money on utility bills, and reduce their impact on the
environment. Posted. 

Moving Forward, Looking Back: Sun shines on town's green roots. 
By today's standards, the good people who settled our town in
1639 were environmental superstars. In a world with no fossil
fuels, no engines, and no electricity, they cleverly exploited
the energy that nature offered them. Wind-powered boats brought
them across the Atlantic; their mills ran on the hydropower of
river currents and tides. Travel and labor were self-powered,
with assists from domesticated animals. They were obsessive
recyclers.  Posted.

Living Green: Geo-thermal heating offers a clean-energy
alternative.  When Loraine and Alan Robichaud were building their
home on the rolling hills in Hoosick Falls, they were determined
to make it both lovely and eco-friendly.  For starters, they had
enormous 19-foot-high windows built where some homes would have
solid walls.  Posted. 

Blue Sphere's Waste to Energy Plants in North Carolina and Rhode
Island Sign a Letter of Intent for Sales of Compost!  Blue Sphere
Corp. (OTCBB: BLSP) (the "Company" or "Blue Sphere"), a company
in the Cleantech and Waste to Energy sectors as a project
integrator, is pleased to announce that each of its two waste to
energy projects - a 5.2 MW plant in North Carolina and a 3.2 MW
plant in Rhode Island - has signed a letter of intent with an
international compost manufacturing and marketing company at
prices of up to $20 per ton of compost. Posted. 
Minn. man buys surplus NC light tower for research.  To the
government, it was a defunct offshore light tower that hadn't
helped ships navigate the waters off North Carolina in more than
a decade. To a Minnesota entrepreneur, the platform out in the
Atlantic is a launching pad for research into wind power and
other technologies.  First, some renovations will be needed at
the Diamond Shoals Light Tower, which sits about 13 miles off
Cape Hatteras. Its buyer hopes to get his first view of his new
property next week - provided, of course, that the landing pad is
sturdy enough for a helicopter.  Posted.


Echoes of Enron in cap-and-trade?  Somewhere, Grandma Millie is
shaking her head in despair.  Millie, in case you've forgotten,
was a fictional California widow personified in recordings of
Enron traders who gamed the state's electricity markets more than
a decade ago.  The traders laughed about stealing from bleeping
"Grandma Millie" after charging her $250 a megawatt hour for
power and leaving her in the dark.  Millie's suffering has faded
from California's consciousness as the state again prepares to
meddle in manipulated markets. This time, it's adopting a
cap-and-trade system to restrict carbon emissions, a "market"
disturbingly similar in structure to Enron's former playground. 

Still ignoring the history – and risk – of AB 32.  Last week, the
California Air Resources Board had its first cap-and-trade
auction of pollution credits, meant to use market forces to
gradually push major industries to reduce the emission of gases
which contribute to global warming. Since then, Gov. Jerry Brown,
air board chair Mary Nichols and others have lauded the Golden
State for the enactment of AB 32, a 2006 state law requiring
California to broadly shift to cleaner but costlier forms of
energy by 2020 through cap-and-trade and renewable energy
mandates.  Posted. 

King Coal, Alive and Kicking.  Some 1,200 new coal-fired power
plants are being planned across the globe despite concerns about
greenhouse gas emissions from such generating stations, the most
polluting type, the World Resources Institute estimates.
Two-thirds of them would operate in China and India, it says.
[World Resources Institute]  The United States and Mexico will
share in both surpluses and water shortages under an accord
overhauling how the two countries manage water from the Colorado
River.  Posted. 

Editorial: California's first cap and trade foray doesn't yet
answer question: Will it reduce greenhouse gas?  California
dipped its toe into the cap-and-trade water and found it to be
neither too hot nor too cold.  Air Resources Board chairwoman
Mary D. Nichols proclaimed the first auction of carbon allowances
to be a success. Numerous environmentalists who want cap and
trade to succeed also praised it.  But in reality, the first live
auction conducted last week and assessed this week was like
taking a test drive in an alternative fuel vehicle. Maybe it will
fit California's needs. Maybe it won't.  Posted.  here:


California’s CO2 Now Has a Price, but a Low One.  A free-market
auction has established a price for pollution in California: for
each metric ton of carbon dioxide emitted, businesses, utilities
and industries that bought allowances last week will pay just
$10.09.  The results of the first auction, announced on Monday,
came as both a relief and a bit of a disappointment, although
state officials put the best face of it. In a statement, Mary D.
Nichols, chairwoman of the California Air Resources Board, said,
the auction was “a success and an important milestone for
California as a leader in the global clean-tech market.” She
added, “By putting a price on carbon, we can break our unhealthy
dependence on fossil fuels.”  Posted. 

Clean Energy, Innovation, and Infrastructure Win Western Support.
 On the eve of California's landmark, first ever cap-and-trade
auction, voters in three Western states were asked some key
questions: Should polluters be held financially accountable for
their climate pollution emissions? And if so, how should the
resulting funds be spent?  The results of this new poll show
significant support for putting a price on carbon pollution, as
well as funding clean energy and innovative infrastructure. The
poll was made public at Greenbuild 2012 in San Francisco, the
world's largest conference and expo dedicated to green building,
and was conducted by Lake Research Partners on behalf of the
BlueGreen Alliance, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC),
Ceres, and the U.S. Green Building Council.  Posted. 

Would a carbon tax cut emissions drastically? Not on its own. 
Lately, the White House and Congress have been talking up tax
reform. And that’s given policy wonks an excuse to revisit one of
their favorite environmental proposals — the carbon tax. The
government would slap a fee on greenhouse-gas emissions to offset
tax cuts elsewhere. It would boost the economy and address global
warming. What’s not to love?  Well, set aside the fact that there
aren’t yet any prominent politicians touting the idea. It’s still
worth discussing on its merits. And one of the biggest questions
here is whether a carbon tax would actually reduce U.S.
greenhouse-gas emissions significantly. Is it a comprehensive
solution to climate change? Or just a small first step?  Posted. 

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