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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for February 4, 2013. Posted: 04 Feb 2013 14:46:42
ARB Newsclips for February 4, 2013. ARB Newsclips for February 4, 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 Politics of pollution: China's oil giants take a choke-hold on power. The search for culprits behind the rancid haze enveloping China's capital has turned a spotlight on the country's two largest oil companies and their resistance to tougher fuel standards. Bureaucratic fighting between the environment ministry on the one hand and China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) and Sinopec Group on the other has thwarted stricter emission standards for diesel trucks and buses -- a main cause of air pollution blanketing dozens of China's cities. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/02/us-china-pollution-oilcompanies-idUSBRE9110F620130202 CLIMATE CHANGE Coal-burning utilities seek a role in EPA rule-making on greenhouse gas emissions. Lobbyists for coal-burning utilities such as Southern Co. and Duke Energy are consulting environmental advocates and holding strategy sessions as they seek a role in shaping President Obama’s plan to combat climate change. Obama’s emphasis on global warming in his inaugural address last month has led power and coal producers, which have fought regulation of greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, to begin crafting their own proposed rules. Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/coal-burning-utilities-seek-a-role-in-epa-rule-making-on-greenhouse-gas-emissions/2013/02/03/a0095c8a-6b39-11e2-95b3-272d604a10a3_story.html Republican energy plan calls for more drilling, nothing to rein in greenhouse gases. The Senate’s top Republican on energy issues, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, has crafted a blueprint for U.S. energy policy that calls for increased drilling while opposing laws to cap greenhouse gases that are blamed for global warming. "Energy 20/20" is a signal of how the Republicans want to proceed on energy policy in the coming years as the nation wrestles with contentious debates over oil drilling, fracking and climate change. Posted. http://www.fresnobee.com/2013/02/03/3159503/republican-energy-plan-calls-for.html#storylink=misearch http://www.modbee.com/2013/02/03/2562175/republican-energy-plan-calls-for.html#storylink=misearch#storylink=cpy FEDS: Climate change imperils snow-loving wolverines. The tenacious wolverine, a snow-loving carnivore sometimes called the “mountain devil,” could soon join the list of species threatened by climate change — a dubious distinction putting it in the ranks of the polar bear and several other animals that could see their habitats shrink drastically due to warming temperatures. Federal wildlife officials on Friday proposed Endangered Species Act protections for the wolverine in the Lower 48 states. That’s a step twice denied under the Bush administration. The Associated Press obtained details of the government’s long-awaited ruling in advance of Friday’s announcement. Posted. http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2013/feb/03/tp-feds-climate-change-imperils-snow-loving/ Experts say human impacts of climate change need prompt attention. When they picture the adverse effects of climate change, public health scientists hope the American public won't think of them as something that happens to glaciers or polar bears, but turn the focus more on themselves. "The face of climate change ought to be people," epidemiologist George Luber, associate director for global climate change at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in an interview last week. "We ought to kind of internalize it." Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2013/02/04/3 BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY FUELS Vast Oil Reserve May Now Be Within Reach, and Battle Heats Up. Secure in this state’s history and mythology, the venerable Midway-Sunset oil field near here keeps producing crude more than a century after Southern California’s oil boom. Many of its bobbing pump jacks are relatively short, a telltale sign of the shallowness of the wells and the ease of extracting their prize. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/04/us/vast-oil-reserve-may-now-be-within-reach-and-battle-heats-up.html?partner=rss&emc=rss&_r=1&&pagewanted=print Sacramento gas prices soar. Gasoline prices have taken flight over the past week. In its weekly report released today, national gas price tracker GasBuddy.com put the average price of gas in the area at $3.74 a gallon, up 21 cents from the previous week. That's on top of a 6-cent rise the previous week. GasBuddy data are based on a survey of 720 stations in the area. The current at-the-pump price is 6.2 cents per gallon higher than a year ago and 26.8 cents higher than last month. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2013/02/04/5164625/sacramento-gas-prices-soar.html#storylink=cpy Energy industry develops nontoxic fracking fluids. The oil and gas industry is trying to ease environmental concerns by developing nontoxic fluids for the drilling process known as fracking, but it's not clear whether the new product will be widely embraced by drilling companies. Houston-based energy giant Halliburton Inc. has developed a product called CleanStim, which uses only food-industry ingredients. Other companies have developed nontoxic fluids as well. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/news/texas/article/Energy-industry-develops-nontoxic-fracking-fluids-4247137.php#ixzz2JxkMWhVW http://www.vcstar.com/news/2013/feb/03/energy-industry-develops-nontoxic-fracking/#ixzz2Jx1YfNst Americans spent 4 percent of household income on gas in 2012. In 2012, Chevron made $26.2 billion in profits. Exxon, $44.9 billion. Shell, $26.59 billion. At today's prices, that's enough to buy almost 25 billion gallons of gas in California. Last year, Americans paid record-high average gas prices, a fact that is certainly linked to the oil companies' massive profits. Posted. http://grist.org/news/americans-spent-4-percent-of-household-income-on-gas-in-2012/ VEHICLES Insight: Electric cars head toward another dead end. Are electric cars running out of juice again? Recent moves by Japan's two largest automakers suggest that the electric car, after more than 100 years of development and several brief revivals, still is not ready for prime time - and may never be. In the meantime, the attention of automotive executives in Asia, Europe and North America is beginning to swing toward an unusual but promising new alternate power source: hydrogen. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/04/us-autos-electric-hydrogen-idUSBRE91304Z20130204 Five take-aways from the Washington Auto Show’s energy efficiency policy summit. Automakers debut new car models at Detroit’s North American International Auto Show, but they come to the Washington Auto Show to talk green technology and energy policy. Last week, Energy Secretary Steven Chu delivered the show’s keynote, highlighting the Energy Department’s “EV Everywhere Grand Challenge” — an initiative aiming to make electric vehicles more affordable by 2022. Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/capitalbusiness/five-take-aways-from-the-washington-auto-shows-energy-efficiency-policy-summit/2013/02/01/f8c49dcc-6c8c-11e2-8740-9b58f43c191a_story.html DOE seeking input on proposed automotive fuel cell cost and durability targets. The US Department of Energy (DOE) is issuing a Request for Information (RFI) (DE-FOA-0000855) seeking input from stakeholders on proposed cost targets for fuel cells designed for automotive applications. The purpose of this RFI is to solicit feedback from developers, manufacturers, end users, and other stakeholders on proposed cost and durability targets for automotive fuel cell systems. Posted. http://www.greencarcongress.com/2013/02/doe-20130203.html Nissan plans to triple number of EV quick-chargers. To fuel consumer interest in plug-in vehicles, Nissan Motor Co. and NRG Energy Inc. plan to build at least 500 quick-charging stations across the country in the next 18 months, tripling the number of quick-chargers available today. Research shows that the vast majority of electric vehicle (EV) owners charge up at home, but knowing there's a network of charging stations out on the road helps alleviate range anxiety and boost consumer interest. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2013/02/04/8 BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY HIGH-SPEED RAIL Losing rail bidders will get $2M each. Only one out of five bidders to design and build the first phase of California’s high-speed rail project will win the $1.8 billion contract — but they will all get paid. The California High-Speed Rail Authority has agreed to issue a $2 million “stipend” to all four of the losing bidders, an obscure practice used for some large-scale construction projects. Bullet train officials say the incentive was designed to attract bidders and therefore spur better, more competitive proposals. Posted. http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2013/feb/03/high-speed-rail-millions-for-losing-bidders/ GREEN ENERGY Beer will help power Alaska brewery. The Alaskan Brewing Co. is going green, but instead of looking to solar and wind energy, it has turned to a very familiar source: beer. The Juneau-based beer maker has installed a unique boiler system in order to cut its fuel costs. It purchased a $1.8 million furnace that burns the company's spent grain - the waste accumulated from the brewing process - into steam which powers the majority of the brewery's operations. Company officials now joke they are now serving "beer-powered beer." Posted. http://www.modbee.com/2013/02/04/2562595/beer-will-help-power-alaska-brewery.html#storylink=misearch#storylink=cpy Nuclear-plant foes celebrate anniversary of its shutdown. Environmental group San Clemente Green and other opponents of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station gathered Saturday night at the San Clemente Community Center to celebrate the first anniversary of the closure of the plant, which they hope will be permanent. A small leak of radioactive gas in a steam-generator tube in one of San Onofre's two reactors led to the plant's shutdown Jan. 31, 2012. Posted. http://www.ocregister.com/news/san-414335-clemente-steam.html Are Mini-Reactors The Future Of Nuclear Power? The U.S. government is investing millions of dollars in what it considers a promising new industry for American manufacturing: nuclear reactors. The plan is to build hundreds of mini-reactors, dot them around the U.S. and export them overseas. Development of these reactors are already in the works, and at one office park in Lynchburg, Va., where one of these reactors is being assembled, the traditional signs of nuclear reactors are nowhere to be found. Posted. http://www.kqed.org/news/story/2013/02/04/115635/are_minireactors_the_future_of_nuclear_power?source=npr&category=science Energy secretary to step down, after creating a large suite of clean energy policies. Trading his suit and tie for a lab coat and goggles, Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced his decision to step down last week and return to academia. In his wake, the Nobel Prize-winning physicist will leave a gulf of technical expertise, a volatile energy market and an administration in flux on how to address climate change. Chu pushed aggressively for new science and technologies to solve America's energy issues, at times palpably excited by new findings, while making politically and financially risky bets on new technologies. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2013/02/04/1 BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY China's wind and solar programs expand at world-beating pace, but grid connection remains a problem. Despite a slowdown in growth and investments, China still installed more wind turbines than any other nation last year, according to a report issued today by Bloomberg New Energy Finance. China installed 15.9 gigawatts of onshore wind turbines in 2012 -- equal to more than one-third of all new capacity worldwide, the report says. This was the fourth successive year China has led the field since overtaking the United States in 2009. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2013/02/04/2 BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY 2 big utilities accelerate shutdowns of older, coal-fired power plants. The Southeast's two largest investor-owned utilities last week shifted their generation plans away from coal, reflecting what many believe to be a regional sea change that moves them away from carbon-intensive fossil fuels toward more climate-friendly energy sources. The sweeping changes were reflected in Georgia Power Co.'s latest 20-year ásource plan (IRP), which among other things calls for the retirement of nearly 2,100 megawatts of coal- and oil-fired generating units across the utility's 2.5-million-customer service territory. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2013/02/04/6 BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY MISCELLANEOUS AQMD votes to increase environmental oversight of Los Angeles, Long Beach ports. Over the objections of officials at Los Angeles and Long Beach harbors, a regional air quality board moved Friday to increase its environmental oversight at the nation's largest port complex. By a vote of 8-3, the South Coast Air Quality Management District board advanced a so-called "backstop measure" that would kick in only if the ports don't meet their own emission-reduction goals. Posted. http://www.dailynews.com/news/ci_22502389/aqmd-votes-increase-environmental-oversight-los-angeles-long?source=rss Flame retardants may leach from your walls. Couches throughout the nation have become notorious for containing flame-retardant chemicals that may do more harm than good. Now, it turns out, those chemicals may also be leaching from the walls that surround you. Because of laws passed in the 1970s, many homes and workplaces built in the United States since then contain foam insulation doused with flame retardants. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/health/article/Flame-retardants-now-seen-as-health-risk-4248112.php#ixzz2JxBc5hbN OPINIONS Phil Serna will do much good on state Air Resources Board. Congratulations to Sacramento County Supervisor Phil Serna, who was appointed this week to serve on the California Air Resources Board. Serna's unique blend of public and private sector experience give him a great perspective on how local land-use decisions can affect regional air quality and quality of life. He also serves as chairman of the California State Association of Counties' Housing, Land Use and Transportation Policy Committee. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2013/02/03/5156152/phil-serna.html BLOGS A Cry of Frustration at Delhi’s Sustainable Summit. Once more, frustration with stymied efforts on climate change has emerged as a major theme at an international conference on the planet’s health. Opening the 13th annual Delhi Sustainable Development Summit conference this week, India’s prime minister noted that similar sentiments surfaced last year at the United Nations Rio+20 meeting, which marked the two-decade anniversary of a landmark Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. Posted. http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/02/01/a-cry-of-frustration-at-delhis-sustainable-summit/ Cap And Trade Schemes Hurt Green Consumerism. There is a reason for the disparity between charitable giving among people who advocate smaller government and larger government; people who advocate larger government already feel like they are doing their part by paying more in taxes, so they give less to charity. That same mindset limits green consumerism, says economist Dr. Grischa Perino from the University of East Anglia (UEA). Posted. http://www.science20.com/news_articles/cap_and_trade_schemes_hurt_green_consumerism-102217 Solar Development Absorbing California Farmland. There's a land rush of sorts going on across the nation's most productive farming region, but these buyers don't want to grow crops. They want to plant solar farms. With California mandating that 33 percent of electricity be generated from renewables by the end of the decade, there are 227 proposed solar projects in the pipeline statewide. Coupled with wind and other renewables they would generate enough electricity to meet 100 percent of California's power needs on an average summer day, the California Independent System Operator says. Posted. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/02/solar-development-california_n_2607891.html