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newsrel -- ARB Newsclips for January 2, 2013

Posted: 02 Jan 2013 12:34:01
ARB Newsclips for January 2, 2013. 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.


Local groups among those who sue EPA over rules on pesticide
A group of community organizations has sued the Environmental
Protection Agency about new rules on pesticide emissions, saying
the regulations do too little to protect public health. The suit,
filed under the Clean Air Act, challenges the EPA's approval of
the California Department of Pesticide Regulation's measures to
reduce certain emissions from pesticides. Attorneys for the San
Francisco-based Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment filed
the suit in federal court recently. The local Wishtoyo Foundation
and Ventura Coastkeeper are on the list of petitioners. Posted.

Officials declare Wednesday Spare the Air day. Bay Area air
quality officials have declared Wednesday a winter Spare the Air
day, meaning burning of wood and wood products is prohibited.
It's the second Spare the Air day in a row, and the second of the
season, which runs from Nov. 1 to Feb. 28. The air forecast for
Thursday is also poor. The 24-hour burn ban is intended to limit
the introduction of soot and particulates from wood smoke into
the air, where they can contribute to respiratory problems like
asthma, bronchitis and lung disease. Posted.


STUDY: Climate change is having significant impact on
biodiversity. Plants and animals are shifting their ranges and
life cycles in response to climate change, creating clashes
between unfamiliar creatures or mismatches between animals and
their food sources, according to a new national biodiversity
report. The analysis could expand the scope of conservation
efforts, which for 40 years has focused predominantly on habitat
changes, local wildlife experts said. Posted.


Location looms large in pump prices at California gas stations.
Record gasoline prices in 2012 and calls for investigation of
California's fuel markets have brought into focus a persistent
peculiarity of the state's service station world: the wild swings
in price any brand has from one location to the next. Known in
the industry as zone pricing, the controversial practice was
apparent one afternoon when Culver City resident Michael Denis,
on a jaunt to downtown Los Angeles, stopped at a Chevron station
to feed his Fiat 500 some gasoline at $4.69 a gallon. Posted.

Hollywood faces fracking in 'Promised Land.' The new movie
"Promised Land" digs into the fierce national debate over
fracking, the technique that's generated a boom in U.S. natural
gas production while also stoking controversy over its possible
impact on the environment and human health. Written by and
starring Matt Damon and John Krasinski, the film comes at an
opportune time for a big-screen exploration of the issues
surrounding the shale gas revolution, with cheap natural gas
transforming the nation's energy landscape and "fracking" now a
household word. Posted.

No fuel sheen, no sign that hull is breached. Crews aboard two
aircraft flew over an oil drilling ship Tuesday that went aground
in a severe Alaska storm and saw no sign that the vessel was
leaking fuel or that its hull had been breached. The Royal Dutch
Shell drilling rig used this summer in the Arctic was aground off
a small island near Kodiak Island, where the ship, the Kulluk,
appeared stable, said federal on-scene response coordinator Capt.
Paul Mehler. "There is no sign of a release of any product,"
Mehler said during a news conference at unified command center at
an Anchorage hotel. Posted.


Avis to Buy Zipcar for $500 Million. The Avis Budget Group said
on Wednesday that it had agreed to acquire the car-sharing
pioneer Zipcar for $500 million in cash. The deal represents a
new direction for Avis in the fiercely competitive car rental
market. Rivals Hertz Global and Enterprise each have hourly
rental operations that compete with Zipcar. These rentals tend to
have younger, more urban customers than traditional business or
leisure travelers. Posted.


Why greener schools can make a difference in kids' lives. As
awareness about the environment continues to grow, it’s becoming
more apparent that “going green” not only benefits the planet –
it benefits the entire population, especially its youngest
segment. When children learn in safe, comfortable, toxin-free
school environments, their futures are that much brighter. "Green
schools improve student test scores, lower energy bills, and
promote a more ecologically sound atmosphere,” explains Matt
Petersen, president and CEO of Global Green USA. “We call it the
three R's of green schools: Rise in student performance levels
and teacher retention; Reduction in carbon emissions and toxins;
and Renewed hope in education and the future." Posted.

Paving a fast lane for desert solar. Hundreds of square miles of
Southern California desert, both public and privately owned,
could be targeted for renewable energy development under a
comprehensive plan balancing state clean-power mandates with
efforts to conserve wild habitat. State and federal officials are
currently providing a sneak preview of the Desert Renewable
Energy Conservation Plan that's designed to speed the development
of large-scale solar, wind and geothermal plants with the least
possible environmental impact. Posted.

Rancho Cucamonga to permit residential wind energy turbines. The
city will now allow some residents to apply for a wind turbine.
For now, only owners of larger properties will be allowed to get
permits. The city will require towers to be placed in "large
backyards" and not in front of homes, according to officials. The
new systems are meant to be supplemental energy sources for
households. The policy change is part of a development-code
update for the city and is part of the Healthy RC initiative,
which includes more sustainable energy, Mayor Dennis Michael
said. Posted.

'Fiscal cliff' deal includes extension to tax credit for wind
industry. A one-year extension of a key tax credit for the wind
industry made it into the fiscal cliff deal the U.S. Senate and
House passed on Tuesday. The tax credit, which has been a major
driver for wind development across the U.S. over the past two
decades, is worth 2.2 cents per kilowatt-hour of energy produced
by new wind installations for their first 10 years of operation.


Fixing Our Food Problem. We must figure out a way to un-invent
this food system. It’s been a major contributor to climate
change, spawned the obesity crisis, poisoned countless volumes of
land and water, wasted energy, tortured billions of animals… I
could go on. The point is that “sustainability” is not only
possible but essential: only by saving the earth can we save
ourselves, and vice versa. Posted.

Carbon Trading on 2013 Energy-Law Agenda. In Monday’s Wall Street
Journal, we wrote about the big greenhouse-gas debate coming up
in 2013 over Environmental Protection Agency plans to restrict
emissions from coal-fired power plants.Some market-oriented
environmentalists say the most logical solution is to let the
plants emit as much CO2 as they like, so long as they pay extra
for doing so or find offsets for the emissions. And that’s where
the legal angle comes in: Washington’s lawyers disagree whether
the EPA could engineer such a system on its own. Posted.

Fiscal fiasco bright spot: 2013 will be a huge year for wind. You
have probably heard by now that Congress has voted through a bill
that will avert the absurdly named “fiscal cliff.” I’ll leave it
to other blogs to get into the details. (Suzy Khimm has a nice
rundown.) I’ll also leave it to others to lament the absurd way
in which this country is governed. I just want to focus on one
bright spot that hasn’t gotten much coverage. Part of the bill
was a one-year extension of several stimulus tax credits. Among
them was the production tax credit (PTC) that is so crucial to
the wind industry and for which it has been fighting over the
past year. Posted.

Chilling effect: How warmer winters could ruin fruit. Think of
your favorite fruits and you might think of the warm climates
they tend to thrive in. Florida oranges, Texas grapefruit,
California strawberries — and grapes, figs, pears, and apricots.
But here’s the funny thing: Most fruit trees have to chill.
Literally. Unless they’re tropical, trees have what are called
“chilling requirements”: They need winter temperatures to drop to
within a certain range — usually just above freezing — and remain
there for a set period of time. Posted.

Fuel cell company ClearEdge Power to acquire UTC Power. ClearEdge
Power, a manufacturer of scalable, continuous onsite power
systems, recently reached agreement to acquire the UTC Power fuel
cells unit from United Technologies Corp. Divesting UTC Power is
another step forward in UTC’s ongoing portfolio transformation to
focus on its core of aerospace and building systems. The
transaction is subject to customary closing conditions. Closing
is expected early in 2013. Posted.

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