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newsclips -- Newsclips for December 11, 2012

Posted: 11 Dec 2012 13:41:28
ARB Newsclips for December 11, 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.


New smog law on state's horizon. For Tracy Renee of Gene's Auto
Repair, a new California smog bill has some good elements. But
she's worried the bill may leave many motorists scratching their
heads. On Jan. 1, AB 2289 impacting California's smog check
programs goes into effect as part of the larger effort to reduce
air pollution. The new law impacts both motorists and automotive
places which offer smog testing, or other businesses which
specialize in and only offer smog tests. Posted.

Oil and gas company to pay fine for EPA violation near
Bakersfield. A major oil and gas production company has agreed to
pay $34,000 to resolve violations of the Clean Air Act, committed
last year at the Kern Front Oil Field north of Bakersfield. The
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said Vintage Production
California LLC identified and self-disclosed the violations. The
company constructed three steam generators at the oil field
without first obtaining a permit for greenhouse gas emissions.


RGGI cap needs to be strengthened by 44% to prevent emissions
rise – study. Carbon dioxide emissions will rise in the Northeast
unless officials dramatically change a regional carbon trading
program, a new report from an environmental group warns. The
report from Environment Northeast finds that the existing carbon
cap of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) should be
strengthened by at least 44 percent …Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2012/12/11/6  BY


APNewsBreak: Texas judge halts oil pipeline work.  A Texas judge
has ordered TransCanada to temporarily halt work on a private
property where it is building part of an oil pipeline designed to
carry tar sands oil from Canada to the Gulf Coast, the latest
legal battle to plague a project that has encountered numerous
obstacles nationwide.  Texas landowner Michael Bishop, who is
defending himself in his legal battle against the oil giant,
filed his lawsuit in the Nacogdoches County courthouse, arguing
that TransCanada lied to Texans when it said it would be using
the Keystone XL pipeline to transport crude oil.  Posted. 

AP Newsbreak:  


Airbus-Backed SG Biofuels Talking to Energy Companies to Expand.
SG Biofuels Inc., backed by Airbus SAS, is talking to large
energy companies including state oil producers in Africa and
Southeast Asia over helping to develop its technology that turns
plant material into vehicle fuels.  The company is speaking to
potential partners that want to mix biofuel with diesel or jet
fuel as it plans to grow into new markets, Chief Executive
Officer Kirk Haney said in a telephone interview. Posted.

Spectra Energy to Buy First Oil Pipeline for $1.25 Billion.
Spectra Energy Corp., the fourth- largest U.S. pipeline company,
agreed to buy its first oil system from Kinder Morgan Energy
Partners LP and two Canadian pension funds for $1.25 billion in
cash. The Express-Platte pipeline brings oil from Alberta and
North Dakota’s Bakken Shale to refineries in Montana, Wyoming,
and Illinois, Spectra said in a statement today. The agreement,
Houston-based Spectra’s largest acquisition, includes the
assumption of $240 million of debt. Posted.

Exxon: Natural gas exports in near future.  North America could
become a net exporter of natural gas by about 2020, Irving-based
Exxon Mobil says in its latest outlook for world energy markets. 
The world's largest private oil and gas producer also said North
America -- Canada, the United States and Mexico -- would be a net
exporter of both crude oil and natural gas by about 2030. The
company's annual outlook projects supply and demand trends to
2040.  Posted. 

What is Methane Monitoring and Why Is It Important? Methane is
the simplest alkane, a dominant greenhouse gas, second to carbon
dioxide, that is composed of 1 carbon molecule and 4 hydrogen
molecules. Its chemical formula is CH4. Lighter than air, this is
likely the most bountiful organic compound on earth. Though it is
quite crucial to transport from its source, this kind of gas is
not lethal when inhaled, but it can cause suffocation as it
reduces the quantity of oxygen taken in. The primary use of
methane is as a fuel. The oxidization of this gas is highly
exothermic. Posted.

7 states plan to sue EPA over methane emissions. A coalition of
seven states today announced plans to sue U.S. EPA over its
failure to directly address methane emissions from the oil and
natural gas industry. The Northeast states, led by Eric
Schneiderman (D), the New York attorney general, notified the
agency that they will claim in the lawsuit that the agency has
violated the Clean Air Act by not acting to limit emissions of
the greenhouse gas. Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/Greenwire/print/2012/12/11/2  BY


California Energy Commission to award up to $3M for advanced
natural gas engine R&D for Class 3–7 vehicles.  The California
Energy Commission (CEC) has issued a funding notice (PON-12-504)
for advanced natural gas engine research and development concepts
for light heavy-duty vehicles (LHDV) and medium heavy-duty
vehicles (MHDV) (Classes 3–7) operated in fleets throughout
California.  There is $3 million available from this PON, with
the possibility of additional funding from related program
sources. The Energy Commission anticipates selecting at least
three projects for funding.  Posted. 

EPA Fuel Economy Guide 2013: Top ten are electric.  The US
Environmental Protection Agency has recently launched the 2013
edition of their annual Fuel Economy Guide. The top 10 are
electric cars, and the new economy and environment label includes
information on charge time and driving range for PHEVs and EVs. 
The EPA Fuel Economy Guide 2013 has listed the vehicles with the
highest fuel economy in the most popular classes. It turns out,
without any surprise, that the top 10 are electric cars (figures
in mpg)…Posted.  http://www.cars21.com/news/view/5077 


Money Trouble Ahead For High-Speed Rail Project?  Politicians are
asking the question: Is it time to pull the plug on California's
high-speed rail?  The fallout from Thursday's House
Transportation Committee hearing may have the rail program
against the ropes. A desperate Transportation Secretary Ray La
Hood tried to convince panelists to drop a ban barring federal
dollars going to California's bullet train.  Posted. 


Food processing plant to put wind turbine to work.  A 55-meter
wind turbine soon will be generating half of the power needed to
operate Superior Farms' Dixon food processing plant, the company
announced. The 1-megawatt turbine is expected to go online around
the first of the year. Company officials said it speaks to their
green credentials. "We are committed at every facet of our
business to sustainability," said Ed Jenks, CEO for Superior
Farms. Posted.

Is solar right for your home? A week after Steve Schear had solar
panels installed on the roof of his house in the Oakland hills,
all he wanted to do was stand in his driveway and watch the
electricity meter. "I just kept running outside to watch it run
backwards," he says with a chuckle. Even with the novelty wearing
thin six months later, Schear still gets a kick out of the idea
that he, a 62-year-old lawyer with no technical expertise, has
become his own green power producer. Posted

California doubles down on solar power, as critics question cost,
job results. The promise of clean and cheap solar energy is
getting a second look in California, where utilities are required
to get a third of their power from renewable power by 2020. But
after millions in tax breaks and handouts, the industry's
honeymoon is over with some counties and ratepayers, as the
expected jobs, savings and revenue have not materialized. Posted.


Those displaced by rail project can get answers.  The California
High-speed Rail Authority recently said it will be in Merced on
Thursday to answer questions from business and property owners
about the project.  The announcement follows a recent court
decision that clears the way for officials to begin construction
on the Merced-to-Fresno section of the project, despite several
legal challenges.  The 4 to 7 p.m. meeting at the Merced College
Business Resource Center will be the first time authority
officials have reached out personally to local residents who
could be displaced by the project, according to city officials. 

Democrats plan overhaul of landmark environmental law. Gov. Jerry
Brown and his fellow Democrats in the Legislature are planning an
overhaul of a sweeping environmental law blamed for high business
costs, permitting delays and lawsuits. At issue is the 1970
California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA, signed by Gov.
Ronald Reagan after a massive 1969 oil spill off Santa Barbara.
CEQA's reach exceeds that of the federal National Environmental
Policy Act by requiring an "environmental impact report"
analyzing any project that needs state or local approval. Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/Greenwire/print/2012/12/11/5  BY


California Democrats Covet Carbon-Market Funds. If you believe
California officials, you might think the state’s long-running
economic and budgetary problems are over, thanks largely to the
flood of money from voter-approved increases in already high
income and sales taxes. The Legislative Analyst’s Office is
exuberant, releasing a budget report declaring, “The state’s
economic recovery, prior budget cuts and the additional,
temporary taxes provided by Proposition 30 have combined to bring
California to a promising moment: the possible end of a decade of
acute state budget challenges.” Posted.

Dan Walters: California bullet train heading for political
collision on funding. California's highly controversial bullet
train project is headed for some kind of political collision.
While the California High-Speed Rail Authority is trying to
quickly spend billions of state and federal dollars on a starter
line in the San Joaquin Valley, the tens of billions in federal
funds needed to expand the project appear to be entangled in
frantic federal budget negotiations. Posted.

Dan Morain: California oil companies may be warming up to a
carbon tax. JOIN THE CONVERSATION: Would you support a carbon
tax, as opposed to other rules to reduce greenhouse gases? Add
your comment below. To write a letter, go to
sacbee.com/sendletter. Oil companies and taxes are a little like
gasoline and lit matches. The oil industry spent $93 million to
blow up a 2006 initiative that sought to raise an oil severance
tax. Taxes are not part of oil executives' DNA. Posted.

'Green energy' could push up prices. California's aggressive
plans to transition to a clean-energy economy could expose
consumers and state government to higher than necessary prices,
according to a report released Monday by the Little Hoover
Commission. The Little Hoover Commission, a nonpartisan state
oversight agency created in 1962, investigates state government
operations. Monday's report largely focuses on California's
renewable portfolio standard…Posted.

Evidence Keeps Building Of Flaws In State’s Carbon Auction. 
California’s cap and trade regulators can’t seem to do anything
right. Taxpayers, businesses and even some environmentalists are
exposing the serious flaws with the state’s carbon auction. 
Small businesses have criticized the landmark greenhouse gas
emissions law for being “the greatest threat to the growth of our
business in California.” On the eve of the state’s inaugural cap
and trade auction…Posted. 

Wendell Cox: High-speed rail's fiscal cliff.  Recently, the U.S.
Government Accountability Office issued its preliminary report on
the proposed California high-speed rail line from Anaheim to San
Francisco. GAO cited a failure to conduct risk and uncertainty
analyses with respect to cost estimates, and failure to document
substantial cost elements, such as stations and operating costs. 
GAO backhandedly compliments the plans for containing "few
mathematical errors." "Few mathematical errors," and insufficient
risk analysis and cost documentation? This is just further
indication of a project that has been poorly planned and
administered. Posted. 

Karen Telleen-Lawton: California’s Carbon — Credit Where Credit
Is Due. You may not have noticed a landmark day last month — I
was busy greeting my newborn granddaughter. The important news:
California joined the carbon credit world, selling the right to
emit greenhouse gas pollution beginning in 2013. The auction
generated more than $230 million from 23.1 million credits sold
to 350 industrial businesses, including utilities, food
processors and oil refineries. They paid $10.09 per ton, barely
above the minimum price of $10. Posted.


Forecasters are optimistic about U.S. carbon emissions. Should
they be? Every year, the Energy Information Administration puts
out its forecast of energy trends in the United States. And each
year since 2009, the agency has become steadily more optimistic
that the country will restrain its carbon-dioxide emissions in
the decades ahead. In its latest forecast, the EIA expects U.S.
carbon emissions from all energy sources to stay below 2005
levels through 2040 and beyond. Posted.

Climate Change Consensus Is Virtually Unanimous.  A recent
analysis of papers appearing in peer-reviewed science journals
shows published scientists to be virtually unanimous in their
agreement that human-produced carbon dioxide emissions are a
significant cause of global warming. You are free to disagree
with my characterization of the consensus as "virtually
unanimous," if you feel 99.83 percent doesn't qualify.  Posted. 

‘Get Ready for More Climate Change-Induced Hurricanes' -- The
Coal Industry.  If you had any serious doubt that (whatever
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer may pretend) all of the serious
players in the climate wars actually understand and believe that
climate change is real, man-made, and enormously serious, here's
another data point to settle a restless mind.  The company that
produces one-fifth of globally traded coal for steel making, the
largest mining company on the planet, BHP-Billiton…Posted. 

Lighter, better battery for small electric vehicles is
SmartBatt's goal.  A European consortium known as SmartBatt
believes that something critical and essential is missing for
pure electric vehicle technology – battery packs that aren't
heavy and bulky. Therefore, SmarBatt's objective is to develop an
innovative, multifunctional, light and safe energy storage system
smartly integrated into electric cars.  Posted. 

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