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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for December 24, 2012 Posted: 24 Dec 2012 11:13:20
ARB Newsclips for December 24, 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 Chevron fined for violations before fire. Chevron has agreed to pay $145,600 to settle more than two dozen air-quality regulatory violations at its Richmond refinery, including citations for exceeding pollution limits and failing to inspect for leaks. The violations all predate the Aug. 6 refinery fire that was caused when a leaking and corroded pipe broke open, spewing out a vapor cloud that ignited. The smoke cloud from the ensuing blaze prompted 15,000 people to visit hospitals for respiratory problems and other ailments. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/default/article/Chevron-fined-for-violations-before-fire-4139913.php Overdue push to scrub soot from the air. On your next trip to the parking lot, run a finger along the hood of your car. That smudgy gunk that comes off is soot, considered the country's most widespread and deadly air pollutant. This grimy dust, almost impossible to see, is blamed for thousands of deaths and millions of sick days per year. For years, curbing soot levels was a top target for environmental and public health groups, and it's a special challenge in California, which has the nation's dirtiest air. But getting anything done, until now, has been a sorry tale of foot-dragging and politics. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/default/article/Overdue-push-to-scrub-soot-from-the-air-4139578.php MORENO VALLEY: Air district raps warehouse plans. Regional air quality officials are throwing cold water on Moreno Valley’s warehouse ambitions, saying the city is moving forward without looking for ways to reduce pollution from the thousands of diesel trucks the new distribution centers would attract. A strongly worded letter to the city’s top planner pointed out that residents already “experience the worst air quality in the nation.” The South Coast Air Quality Management District letter says Moreno Valley is working to become a warehousing hub. Posted. http://www.pe.com/local-news/topics/topics-environment-headlines/20121221-moreno-valley-air-district-raps-warehouse-plans.ece EPA finalizes boiler rule to reduce air pollution. The Environmental Protection Agency finalized rules Friday aimed at reducing toxic air pollution from industrial boilers and incinerators while offering industry more flexibility and lower costs to comply with the new standards. Obama administration officials said most of the 1.5 million boilers nationwide are not covered by the regulation since they are too small or emit too little pollution to warrant controls. Posted. http://www.vcstar.com/news/2012/dec/21/epa-finalizes-boiler-rule-to-cut-pollution/#ixzz2FzN71uns You'll soon check air quality on your cellphone. Checking whether the air you’re breathing is dirty is likely to become yet another thing you can do with a cellphone. The University of California San Diego has developed CitiSense, an experimental tool that detects and measures a handful of pollutants and wirelessly sends the readings to Android phones. The system is still in the development stage. But CitiSense has worked well in field tests and is the kind of personal air quality monitoring device federal regulators have been urging science and industry to make. Posted. http://www.nctimes.com/news/science/you-ll-soon-check-air-quality-on-your-cellphone/article_e8c5d472-5da5-5961-8314-eaa83b059c4a.html Key environmental law targeted for overhaul. Signed by Republican Gov. Ronald Reagan and strengthened by a series of court rulings and legislation, California’s bedrock environmental law in recent years has been slowly chiseled in response to the bleak economy and flurries of litigation that have compounded costs for developers and public agencies. But this could be a watershed moment for the California Environmental Quality Act as powerful Democrats and their staunch allies return to the Capitol in January to explore legislation that could remove some of the law’s formidable legal barriers to projects while still making sure environmental safeguards do not crumble. Posted. http://www.nctimes.com/blogsnew/news/politics/key-environmental-law-targeted-for-overhaul/article_f88e9302-2ffc-5205-b9e4-476ded590de5.html Air quality district urges residents to avoid fires on Christmas Eve. The Bay Area Air Quality Management District is asking Bay Area residents to skip the fire in the fireplace on Christmas Eve to keep air quality healthy on Christmas Day. Burning wood is not illegal on Christmas Eve, but officials are asking residents to observe a voluntary ban. "The break in the blustery weather will cause smoke pollution to build on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning," said Jack Broadbent, the district's executive officer. "We are asking the public to voluntarily not burn on Christmas Eve to help reduce pollution levels and avoid the need to call a Winter Spare the Air Alert on Christmas Day." Posted. http://www.mercurynews.com/science/ci_22253841/air-quality-district-urges-residents-avoid-fires-christmas http://www.insidebayarea.com/ci_22253841/air-quality-district-urges-residents-avoid-fires-christmas?IADID=Search-www.insidebayarea.com-www.insidebayarea.com http://www.contracostatimes.com/science/ci_22253841/air-quality-district-urges-residents-avoid-fires-christmas?IADID=Search-www.contracostatimes.com-www.contracostatimes.com CLIMATE CHANGE Scientists Report Faster Warming in Antarctica. West Antarctica has warmed much more than scientists had thought over the last half century, new research suggests, an ominous finding given that the huge ice sheet there may be vulnerable to long-term collapse, with potentially drastic effects on sea levels. A paper released Sunday by the journal Nature Geoscience reports that the temperature at a research station in the middle of West Antarctica has warmed by 4.4 degrees Fahrenheit since 1958. That is roughly twice as much as scientists previously thought and three times the overall rate of global warming, making central West Antarctica one of the fastest-warming regions on earth. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/24/science/earth/west-antarctica-warming-faster-than-thought-study-finds.html?hpw&_r=0 Annual bird counts give scientists climate clues. "Learning the changes of habit in drought could help us know what will happen as it gets warmer and drier," said Kostecke, a bird expert and associate director of conservation, research and planning at the Nature Conservancy in Texas. Scientists saw birds change their habits during last year's historic drought that parched most of Texas. Some birds that normally winter on the coast - such as endangered whooping cranes - arrived and immediately turned back when they couldn't find enough food. Posted. http://www.vcstar.com/news/2012/dec/22/annual-bird-counts-give-scientists-climate-clues/#ixzz2FzPQpH3V An apps-eye view of global warming and climate change. Drought in the Midwest; forest fires in the Southwest; blizzards and hurricanes on the East Coast; rising ocean levels on both coasts. If you're wondering what to make of the crazy weather of the past few years, maybe it's time to check out some of the iPhone and Android apps you can use to study climate change and global warming. Quite a few are devoted to the still-contentious issue. Many are for the Apple (AAPL) operating system, but there are some in the Android app store too. Posted. http://www.mercurynews.com/business/ci_22239744/an-apps-eye-view-global-warming-and-climate?IADID=Search-www.mercurynews.com-www.mercurynews.com DIESEL EMISSIONS Could Natural Gas Save This Truck Maker? Will Navistar International ever get it right? The poor truck maker, which designs and manufactures integrated truck bodies and engines, has had a rough year. A series of missteps and misfortunes have sent shares tumbling nearly 70%. But now, a new CEO is at the helm and aiming for a turnaround. The odds look tough, but a golden opportunity awaits Navistar, if only the company would capitalize on it. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/default/article/Could-Natural-Gas-Save-This-Truck-Maker-4140735.php FUELS Chevron buys half of Canadian natural gas project. Chevron will buy a 50 percent stake in the Kitimat liquefied natural gas project in Canada's British Columbia from EOG Resources and Encana to tap into rising demand from Asia. The Kitimat project, which has a license from the Canadian National Energy Board to export 10 million tons of LNG per year, is one of several North American gas export projects that aim to benefit from rising supplies from shale fields. After the deal, Chevron and Apache each will hold 50 percent stakes in the project and the associated Pacific Trail Pipeline. Chevron Canada will operate the LNG plant. Posted. http://www.mercurynews.com/business/ci_22254051/chevron-buys-half-canadian-natural-gas-project?IADID=Search-www.mercurynews.com-www.mercurynews.com In fracking culture war, celebs, billionaires and banjos. Not so long ago, fracking was a technical term little known beyond the energy industry. Now it's coming to Hollywood, as the fierce battle between environmentalists and oil firms is played out in several forthcoming films. Hydraulic fracturing, the controversial drilling technique also known as fracking, has lifted U.S. energy output dramatically, despite warnings from critics who fear it pollutes water deep underground. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/12/24/fracking-culturewars-idUSL1E8NN0QO20121224 VEHICLES Study examines potential for alternatives to new car ownership models to advance EV market. A new study by the RAC Foundation and the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) examines the potential for alternatives to new car ownership models to kick-start the electric vehicle market. The paper, “Car Rental 2.0”, summarizes the findings from a joint seminar held by the RAC Foundation and BVRLA earlier this year on alternatives to car ownership: car rental, traditional and one-way car clubs, and ridesharing. Posted. http://www.greencarcongress.com/2012/12/rental2-20121224.html OPINION The future of the flying car. In the real world, there’s climate change, peak oil, and more esoteric forms of resource depletion (we’re running out of magnesium?!), the 1 percent vs. the 99 percent, and the imperial tristesse that infuses the idea of America’s declining power in the world. The skies of the future are no longer filled with flying cars. Maybe I’m just typical of my time, or maybe the cultural moment has come around to better fit my own flatliner tendency, but this comes as a relief to me. Posted. http://www.nctimes.com/news/opinion/perspective/the-future-of-the-flying-car/article_db797c42-7cd4-5d7b-b40f-fef931a3a2ff.html BLOGS On Issues Like Climate Change, Can Urgency and Patience Coexist? Here are some end-of-year thoughts on ways to fit human aspirations on a finite planet, expressed during a recent short interview taped while I was participating in this years Business for Social Responsibility (aka BSR) conference (more interviews and talks are here). One is that addressing humanity’s entwined energy and climate challenges requires an unlikely mix of urgency and patience. Posted. http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/12/24/urgency-and-patience-required-when-dealing-with-wicked-issues-like-climate-change/ E.P.A. Issues Standards on Air Pollution for Boilers. The Environmental Protection Agency on Friday issued long-delayed new air pollution standards for industrial boilers, incinerators and cement kilns. The rules provide significant concessions to industry and allow several additional years for full compliance in an effort to minimize job and economic impacts, officials said. The new standards for the first time set numerical limits on emissions of mercury, acid gas and small-particle pollution for a small subset of the nation’s 1.5 million industrial boilers. The agency, which has come under withering criticism from Congressional Republicans for what they contend is regulatory overreach, emphasized that the standards were drafted after extensive consultation with industry groups and local officials. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/22/science/earth/epa-issues-standards-on-boiler-air-pollution.html?_r=0 Your 2012 climate change scorecard. As our friends at 350.org like to remind us, climate change really comes down to math. Put x amount of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere, see y degrees of warming. Our goal — meaning, our goal as an evolved, aware species that would rather not be plagued by droughts and megastorms and constant flooding and armed conflict — is to reduce how much carbon dioxide we’re putting into the atmosphere each year instead of continually increasing the amount. We’re not good at this. And time is running very low: We either need massive, quick action or it’s too late. Posted. http://grist.org/news/your-2012-climate-change-scorecard/