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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for January 24, 2013. Posted: 24 Jan 2013 11:51:44
ARB Newsclips for January 24, 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. AIR POLLUTION China says major pollutant levels dropping, but hard task ahead. China's environment minister said on Thursday that emissions of four major pollutants dropped last year and should fall by a similar level this year, but admitted the country faced a tough task in trying to end chronic air pollution. This winter's pollution, especially in northern China, has been so severe that even usually pliant state media has criticized government inaction, partly because it can't be hidden from the public unlike other sensitive subjects such as high-level corruption. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/01/24/us-china-pollution-idUSBRE90N0CF20130124 MORENO VALLEY: Sierra Club rebuked for delaying development. Council members also said the South Coast Air Quality Management District’s demand for the city to exceed air quality standards is unfair and unreasonable. In a Dec. 14 letter, the district asked city officials to look at the cumulative consequences of several planned warehouse projects and how they affect the risk of cancer and other health problems. The district, citing correspondence in which city officials contend they have no ability to reduce emissions from trucks, accuses Moreno Valley of not adopting strategies other Southern California communities use to cut pollution from trucks. Posted. http://www.pe.com/local-news/riverside-county/moreno-valley/moreno-valley-headlines-index/20130123-moreno-valley-sierra-club-rebuked-for-delaying-development.ece Former plant site, area wells tested. Officials have been conducting testing at and near the former Hercules plant to determine whether contaminants have spread into surrounding neighborhoods. Testing is being conducted by officials with the state Department of Environmental Quality, the Environmental Protection Agency and Ashland Inc., Hercules' parent company at wells within a half-mile radius of the former chemical plant as well as onsite. Willie McKercher, with MDEQ's Groundwater Assessment and Remediation Division, said samples were being taken from test wells to understand where contaminants are present. http://www.vcstar.com/news/2013/jan/24/former-plant-site-area-wells-tested/#ixzz2Iuo3YJK2 SD Supreme Court upholds refinery permit. The South Dakota Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the approval of an air quality permit that would allow a Texas company to begin constructing a proposed $10 billion oil refinery. Opponents sued the Board of Minerals and Environment, saying the board erred when it approved the Hyperion Energy Center permit because its study did not include a full-scale environmental impact statement. Attorneys for Dallas-based Hyperion and the board contend that an environmental impact statement was not required and that board members took into account all relevant environmental issues. Posted. http://www.contracostatimes.com/ci_22440237/sd-supreme-court-upholds-refinery-permit?IADID=Search-www.contracostatimes.com-www.contracostatimes.com http://www.insidebayarea.com/ci_22440237/sd-supreme-court-upholds-refinery-permit?IADID=Search-www.insidebayarea.com-www.insidebayarea.com Supervisor Adam Hill passed over on air-quality board chairmanship. Brushing aside complaints that they were politicizing a panel that was created to protect public health, the county’s air pollution control board on Wednesday declined to move Supervisor Adam Hill from the vice chairmanship to the chairmanship — a normally routine advancement that some characterized as almost ceremonial. The move to make Hill chairman of the Air Pollution Control District board failed on a 6-6 vote. In a subsequent vote…Posted. http://www.sanluisobispo.com/2013/01/23/2367685/supervisor-adam-hill-passed-over.html CLIMATE CHANGE Greenland ice less vulnerable than feared to thaw: study. Greenland is less vulnerable than expected to a runaway melt that would drive up world sea levels, according to scientists who found that only a quarter of the ice sheet thawed in a warm period more than 100,000 years ago. The study, involving 300 experts from 14 nations, implied that Antarctica at the other end of the planet would contribute at least as much or more to the kind of sea level rise that threatens coasts and cities from Mumbai to Miami. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/01/23/us-climate-greenland-idUSBRE90M1BY20130123 COLUMN-Zero carbon prices beckon, no disaster: Gerard Wynn. The European Commission can win significant gains from defeat on its carbon market reform if it can extract concessions for a more ambitious scheme from 2020. The European Parliament energy and industry committee on Thursday rejected the Commission's planned, modest boost to carbon prices, spotlighting the mountain it has to climb. The vote saw carbon prices tumble as much as 40 percent on the day before they recovered a little. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/01/24/column-wynn-carbon-cap-idUSL6N0AT30H20130124 Kerry says global climate change is threat to U.S. Sen. John Kerry pointed to climate change as among the top international threats facing the United States at his nomination hearing Thursday, cheering environmentalists and dismaying oil industry officials, who have been watching how his confirmation could affect the fate of the Keystone XL pipeline. In his opening statement before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the Massachusetts Democrat said that American foreign policy “is defined by life-threatening issues like climate change,” along with political unrest in Africa and human trafficking across the globe. Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/kerry-says-global-climate-change-is-threat-to-us/2013/01/24/45cb9d94-6645-11e2-85f5-a8a9228e55e7_story.html With climate change bill unlikely, lawmakers want Obama action. Conceding that any climate change legislative efforts would face overwhelming opposition in Congress, the authors of one of the most high-profile climate change bills are now pinning their hopes on administrative action from President Barack Obama. "Congress has not been interested in acting, particularly in the House, in the last two years, so we're calling on the president to develop a plan for the administration to take action without Congress and he has an enormous amount of authority to do that," Representative Henry Waxman…Posted. http://www.platts.com/RSSFeedDetailedNews/RSSFeed/ElectricPower/6070335 DIESEL EMISSIONS California trucking group will keep challenging CARB reg. A California trucking organization will continue its legal fight against one of California’s toughest emissions regulations. The California Construction Trucking Association, or CCTA, appealed a recent ruling made in its nearly two-year lawsuit against the California Air Resources Board over its Truck and Bus Regulation. The California association filed a notice of appeal on Jan. 16 with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Posted. http://www.landlinemag.com/Story.aspx?StoryID=24689 FUELS Gas at the gates of oil's transport fuel citadel. Crude oil's supremacy in motor fuels is pricing it out of power and industry, leaving it stuck in low-growth transport and vulnerable to a revolution that could favour natural gas. International oil company BP predicts worldwide oil demand growth of just 0.8 percent a year up to 2030 - slower than for any other energy type and only half the projected total energy demand growth rate over the same period. With cheaper fuels already pushing it out of industrial and power generation use, any extra oil demand now has to come from vehicles, shipping and aircraft. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/01/24/energy-transportfuel-idUSL6E8IB1XK20130124 UPDATE 2-U.S. 'disappointed' with proposed EU duties on ethanol. The United States on Wednesday objected to proposed European Union import duties on U.S. ethanol that EU officials said are intended to offset subsidies given to American producers. "We are disappointed in this outcome," said Nkenge Harmon, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Trade Representative's office. "I will add that we have serious concerns about certain procedural and methodological aspects of the investigation." Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/01/23/usa-eu-ethanol-idUSL1N0ASBCQ20130123 VEHICLES Toyota, BMW to research lithium-air battery. Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and BMW AG (BMWG.DE: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) will jointly research a lithium-air battery expected to be more powerful than the lithium-ion batteries used in many hybrid and electric vehicles, the two firms said. The two companies will also work on a fuel cell vehicle system, which includes a hydrogen tank and motor, by 2020, they said on Thursday. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/01/24/us-toyota-bmw-fuelcell-idUSBRE90N0L020130124 http://www.modbee.com/2013/01/24/2546363/toyota-bmw-working-on-new-battery.html#storylink=misearch BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY Can personal vehicles use electric-vehicle charging stations on base? Question: What is the base policy on charging personal vehicles at electric-vehicle charging stations? I’ve seen some available on base, but they’re locked. Answer: At this time, charging personally owned vehicles at charging stations installed using appropriated funds is not allowed by law. Essentially, it would be similar to allowing you to gas your car at the government vehicle fuel station. Posted. http://www.vcstar.com/news/2013/jan/23/can-personal-vehicles-use-electric-vehicle-on/#ixzz2IupY9isg The buzz on the newest electric cars from Consumer Reports. More and more car companies are coming out with cars that are all-electric, no gas needed. Several claim the equivalent of 100 miles per gallon or more. The government tax credit of up to $7500 could have you thinking about getting an electric vehicle. Ford calls the Ford Focus Electric the most fuel-efficient compact car in America. Consumer Reports finds it can get the equivalent of 107 miles per gallon. The engineers compared it with other all-electric cars, including the smaller sub-compact Mitsubishi i-MiEV. Posted. http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news/consumer&id=8965127 HIGH-SPEED RAIL California rail: We don't need cash – yet. California’s landmark high-speed rail line won’t require cash from Congress for at least two years. But at some point, it will. That’s the message the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s leadership team is sending to Washington about the massive $68 billion project set to break ground this year. The planned statewide system is short about $60 billion, some of which will undoubtedly need to come from Congress. Posted. http://www.politico.com/story/2013/01/california-rail-need-for-federal-aid-years-off-86579.html GREEN ENERGY Ikea to double its spending on renewable energy to $4 billion. The investment boost is part of Ikea's plan to get all the energy used at its stores and by subcontractors from renewable sources by 2020. Ikea Group, the world's biggest furniture retailer, will double its investment in renewable energy to $4 billion by 2020 as part of a drive to reduce costs as cash-strapped consumers become more price sensitive. The additional spending on projects such as wind farms and solar parks…Posted. http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-ikea-energy-20130123,0,4468981.story MISCELLANEOUS The battle for CEQA. California’s core environmental protection law, a 43-year-old statute frequently denounced by developers and business interests as a tangle of red tape, is on a Capitol hit list once again. But the political dynamic this year is unusual: Those pushing hard for change are Democrats, including Gov. Brown, the Senate and Assembly leaders and a farm-belt lawmaker. At issue is the California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA, which requires builders and others to detail their projects’ potential impacts over time on the environment and offer ways to fix them…Posted. http://www.capitolweekly.net/article.php?xid=116395uhwgjhsts# Green groups oppose easing NY dairy pollution regs. Environmental groups are pushing back against the Cuomo administration's plan to support a growing yogurt industry by easing regulations on large-scale dairy operations. The Greek yogurt industry is growing so fast in New York that the state doesn't have enough cows to meet the demand for milk. At a "yogurt summit" in Albany last August, Gov. Andrew Cuomo called Greek yogurt one of the best entrepreneurial opportunities in a generation. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/news/science/article/Green-groups-oppose-easing-NY-dairy-pollution-regs-4220378.php#ixzz2IunzeJiZ OPINIONS Funding the Climate Change Battle. Thomas Lovejoy’s alarm call (“The climate change endgame,” Views, Jan. 22) points to two critical dangers confronting the whole human population. He is right to highlight the “massive and accelerating” biodiversity and ecosystem loss, as well as climate change. A pity then that there was not space to explore in more detail the threat to remedial efforts from “inadequate funding.” Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/25/opinion/global/funding-the-climate-change-battle.html?_r=0 Viewpoints: Sacramento must resolve to kick its unhealthy addiction to sprawl. What is commonly called "sprawl" reduces the availability of affordable farmland, open space and habitat. Its associated lifestyle increases greenhouse gas emissions, reduces air quality, lessens needed physical activity, and usually gives the municipal governments a negative return on investment, adding to the strain on local government budgets. When we stop sprawling, we free up huge amounts of capital to invest in our existing neighborhoods. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2012/12/08/5039764/sacramento-must-resolve-to-kick.html#storylink=cpy Letter: Benefit to following clean air laws. While reading a news article ("'Don't Light Tonight' extended," Jan. 18, 2013), I recalled that when I headed the Environmental Health Division of the U.S. Air Force hospital in Ankara, Turkey, 35 years ago, I had the opportunity to visit with a renowned Turkish doctor who was heavily involved in trying to correct the air pollution problem in the city. We talked at length about the seriousness of the problem and its causes, the types of pollutants and what effects it had on the population. Believe me, it was and continues to be a serious problem. Posted. http://www.thereporter.com/letters/ci_22439657/letter-benefit-following-clean-air-laws?source=rss BLOGS Why India’s Waste-to-Energy Industry Won’t Catch Fire. The unfortunate part is that the plant is in Malaysia, not India, where the process was invented. Mr. Sivaprasad, an energetic 80-year-old, went abroad after repeatedly trying to build his project in India but finding that the system was stacked against him, he says. India tosses more than 188 million tons of garbage each day, but is falling behind other Asian nations in early efforts to turn it into electricity. Posted. http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/01/23/why-indias-waste-to-energy-industry-wont-catch-fire/?ref=earth President unlikely to get support from Congress on climate change. In his second inaugural address, President Obama promised to “respond” to the threat of climate change, saying the failure to do so would betray future generations. "Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science," said the president, "but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires and crippling drought and more powerful storms." But President Obama shouldn’t expect any comprehensive legislation from Capitol Hill. Posted. http://www.scpr.org/blogs/politics/tagged/cap-and-trade America's High Speed Rail Quest Limps Along As Amtrak, Other Carriers Consider Train Options. High speed rail development here in the United States, particularly California, continues to limp along. Even as China recently opened its longest high-speed rail line as part of a growing industry there which is both helping that nation’s economy as well as looking overseas for possible projects, we continue to move in the slow lane. Outside of China other places such as Spain are also leaving us behind in this green technology focus. Posted. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/23/america-high-speed-rail-us-train_n_2535815.html