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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. AIR POLLUTION 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. http://www.dailydemocrat.com/news/ci_22167025/new-smog-law-states-horizon 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. Posted. http://www.bakersfieldnow.com/news/local/Oil-and-gas-company-to-pay-fine-for-EPA-violation-182886611.html CLIMATE CHANGE 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 SUBSCRIPTION ONLY FUELS 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. http://www.politico.com/story/2012/12/keystone-xl-pipeline-work-stopped-84898.html AP Newsbreak: http://www.insidebayarea.com/ci_22167752/apnewsbreak-texas-judge-halts-oil-pipeline-work?IADID=Search-www.insidebayarea.com-www.insidebayarea.com http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/apnewsbreak-texas-judge-halts-transcanada-oil-pipeline-work-over-landowners-fraud-claim/2012/12/11/2f91f1a0-43a3-11e2-8c8f-fbebf7ccab4e_story.html http://www.contracostatimes.com/ci_22167752/apnewsbreak-texas-judge-halts-oil-pipeline-work?IADID=Search-www.contracostatimes.com-www.contracostatimes.com http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-12-11/transcanada-keystone-pipeline-temporarily-halted-in-texas http://www.nctimes.com/news/national/apnewsbreak-texas-judge-halts-oil-pipeline-work/article_1712b61c-de52-5d48-b155-284e71584f3b.html 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. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-12-10/airbus-backed-sg-biofuels-talking-to-energy-companies-to-expand.html 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. http://sfgate.adc.bloomberg.wallst.com/SFChronicle/Story?docId=1376-MEV6256JTSE901-22H8BD9OCOLAJU6PSUONT2GTTM 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. http://www.fresnobee.com/2012/12/11/3097408/exxon-natural-gas-exports-in-near.html#storylink=misearch 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. http://www.examiner.com/article/what-is-methane-monitoring-and-why-is-it-important 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 SUBSCRIPTION ONLY VEHICLES 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. http://www.greencarcongress.com/2012/12/cec-20121211.html 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 HIGH-SPEED RAIL 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. http://www.myfoxla.com/story/20309740/california-congressman-pull-the-plug-on-rail-project GREEN ENERGY 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. http://www.sacbee.com/2012/12/09/5041652/food-processing-plant-to-put-wind.html#storylink=cpy 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 http://www.sfgate.com/homeandgarden/article/Is-solar-right-for-your-home-4097935.php#ixzz2ElWArsqA 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. http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/12/10/california-doubles-down-on-solar-power-as-critics-question-cost-job-results/#ixzz2Els0Tr9E MISCELLANEOUS 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. Posted. http://www.mercedsunstar.com/2012/12/11/2698951/those-displaced-by-rail-project.html 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 SUBSCRIPTION ONLY OPINIONS 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. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-12-10/california-democrats-covet-carbon-market-funds.html 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. http://www.sacbee.com/2012/12/11/5045315/dan-walters-california-bullet.html#storylink=cpy 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. http://www.sacbee.com/2012/12/09/5040005/dan-morain-california-oil-companies.html '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. http://www.dailydemocrat.com/news/ci_22167024/green-energy-could-push-up-pricdes 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. http://www.foxandhoundsdaily.com/2012/12/evidence-keeps-building-of-flaws-in-states-carbon-auction/ 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. http://www.ocregister.com/opinion/rail-380240-high-speed.html 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. http://www.noozhawk.com/article/121012_karen_telleen-lawton_californias_carbon_credit/ BLOGS 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. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2012/12/10/forecasts-for-u-s-carbon-emissions-keep-dropping-is-this-too-optimistic/ 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. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/neil-wagner/climate-change-consensus-_b_2273715.html ‘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. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/carl-pope/get-ready-for-more-climat_b_2235055.html 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. http://green.autoblog.com/2012/12/11/lighter-better-battery-small-electric-vehicles-smartbatt/