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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for March 18, 2013. Posted: 18 Mar 2013 12:32:29
ARB Newsclips for March 18, 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 California EPA puts West Fresno atop cities with high health risks. From the Hyde Park mound in West Fresno, you can see the city landscape quickly go from residential to industrial park. You can smell it, too. Across the street, there is an animal rendering plant, a poultry facility, a meat distributor and a PG&E substation. The Hyde Park mound itself is a converted garbage landfill. But there is more: high asthma rates, widespread poverty and low birth weights that scientists link to dirty air, chemical exposures and a host of other problems. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2013/03/17/5269301/california-epa-puts-west-fresno.html http://www.fresnobee.com/2013/03/16/3217239/west-fresno-the-riskiest-place.html#storylink=misearch Yolo-Solano Air Quality Management District fights particulate pollution. There is an adversary that floats through the air without much detection. This enemy is about 1/30th the width of a human hair, so small it can bypass the body's natural defenses and get embedded in the lungs and bloodstream, causing lung and heart problems. This pest is called particulate pollution -- a mixture of tiny particles and liquid droplets. http://www.thereporter.com/news/ci_22810416/yolo-solano-air-quality-management-district-fights-particulate CLIMATE CHANGE Study: Plankton's absorption of CO2 higher than assumed. A study into the chemical composition of marine plankton is challenging a long-held assumption on how much carbon dioxide the organisms consume. The study, published online Sunday in Nature Geoscience, calls into question the textbook ratio of carbon, nitrogen and phosphorous contained in all plankton. This so-called "Redfield ratio," named for oceanographer Alfred Redfield, holds that those compounds are fixed at 106:16:1 units respectively. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/news/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-plankton-carbon-ratio-20130315,0,78136.story S.F. protest urges action on climate change. Environmentalists are protesting in San Francisco as they urge President Barack Obama to take action on climate change and reject a pipeline that would carry oil from Canada to Texas. Organizers say the members of 65 San Francisco Bay area groups including the Sierra Club, Greenpeace and 350.org are taking part in the rally, which coincides with a demonstration in Washington, D.C. Demonstrators are holding the protest outside of a U.S. Department of State office…Posted. http://www.sbsun.com/ci_22610710/s-f-protest-urges-action-climate-change#ixzz2NuPba0Yy FUELS Valero restarts Ohio ethanol plant as margins improve. Leading ethanol maker Valero Energy Corp has restarted its ethanol plant in Ohio and will resume operations at their only remaining offline facility in Indiana in the coming weeks, a company spokesman said on Monday. "Margins have improved where the plants can be operated at a profitable level," Valero's spokesman Bill Day said. Corn futures have plunged 16 percent from a record-high of $8.49 per bushel in August at the Chicago Board of Trade. The punishing costs reduced demand for the main feedstock for ethanol produced in the United States…Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/18/valero-ethanol-idUSL1N0CA3AA20130318 UPDATE 2-Dow Chemical to build specialty plants on U.S. Gulf Coast. Dow Chemical Co said it plans to build several plants on the U.S. Gulf Coast to take advantage of cheap shale-derived natural gas to produce plastics used in areas such as transportation and telecommunications. The U.S. plastics-producing industry is increasingly shifting away from oil-derived naphtha, the key feedstock for the petrochemical industry. It is also investing billions in plants that run on ethane, made from shale gas. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/18/dowchemical-usgulfcoast-idUSL3N0CA25B20130318 U.S. Northern Plains sees corn boom, aided by ethanol, climate. A combination of a long-term warming trends, improved seeds and soaring profits has sparked a "corn boom" in the Northern Plains that might one day turn North and South Dakota into the new Iowa, analysts say. "All you need to do is look on a research footprint map of the United States and Canada, and compare where we are today to where we were 10 years ago, and you would see the movement from the north to the west," said Paul Schickler, president of DuPont's Pioneer Hi-Bred unit, known also as DuPont Pioneer. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/18/usa-crops-dakotas-idUSL1N0C59UA20130318 U.S. vehicle fuel economy rose to 23.8 mpg in 2012 –EPA. Model year 2012 passenger vehicles sold in the United States had an average fuel economy rating of 23.8 miles per gallon, the highest on record, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said on Friday. Last year's models showed a 1.4 mpg improvement over 2011, the biggest annual improvement since the EPA began keeping records on fuel economy. Improving fuel economy is a key component of the Obama administration's effort to cut U.S. oil consumption and polluting greenhouse gases…Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/15/us-usa-autos-fueleconomy-idUSBRE92E0RH20130315 California Fracking Fight Has $25 Billion Taxes at Stake. California (CROMCA)’s reputation for environmental protection may be jeopardized by the lure of a $25 billion tax windfall that depends on how the state permits oil companies to take advantage of vast deposits lying two miles beneath its golden hills. The Monterey Shale formation running through the center of the state may hold 15.4 billion barrels of oil -- equivalent to five years of U.S. petroleum imports, according to a state report. Posted. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-03-17/california-fracking-fight-has-25-billion-taxes-at-stake.html Ethanol Surplus May Lift Gas Prices. A glut of ethanol in the gasoline supply is threatening to push up prices at the pump and may have exacerbated the growing cost gap between regular gasoline and premium, some oil experts say. Refiners have been trading so-called ethanol credits furiously in an effort to meet federal environmental mandates, helping to significantly push up the cost of those credits — a jump to more than $1 from a few pennies in the last several days, and drivers are feeling the effects, experts say. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/16/business/energy-environment/ethanol-glut-threatens-a-rise-in-gasoline-prices.html Days of Promise Fade for Ethanol. Five years ago, rural America was giddy for ethanol. Backed by government subsidies and mandates, hundreds of ethanol plants rose among the golden fields of the Corn Belt, bringing jobs and business to small towns, providing farmers with a new market for their crops and generating billions of dollars in revenue for the producers of this corn-based fuel blend. Those days of promise and prosperity are vanishing. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/17/us/17ethanol.html EPA threatens to sue fuel-storage facility in San Pedro. The 40-year-old tank farm holds up to 25 million gallons of flammable butane. The EPA says it wants to make sure the facility is following a federal safety law. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has notified the owners of a 40-year-old San Pedro tank farm, which has up to 25 million gallons of highly flammable butane that it is prepared to sue to ensure compliance with federal law. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-epa-suit-20130318,0,5593381.story EPA may delay greenhouse gas rules for new power plants. The Obama administration is leaning toward revising its landmark proposal to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants, according to several individuals briefed on the matter, a move that would delay tougher restrictions and anger many environmentalists. The discussions center on the first-ever greenhouse gas limits for power plants, which were proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency nearly a year ago. Posted. http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/20130316/MCT/303161086/0/SEARCH EPA annual report on CO2, fuel economy and technology trends finds 2012 heading for all-time best; rapid adoption of new technologies. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its annual report summarizing key trends in carbon dioxide emissions, fuel economy, and CO2- and fuel economy-related technology for gasoline- and diesel-fueled personal vehicles sold in the United States, from model years (MY) 1975 through 2012. Data for MY 2011 are final; data for MY 2012 are preliminary and based on projected vehicle production values provided to EPA by manufacturers. The report finds that CO2 emissions rates and fuel economy values reflect a very favorable multi-year trend beginning in MY 2005. Posted. http://www.greencarcongress.com/2013/03/epa-0130315.html VEHICLES Renault chief Ghosn clings to China for electric car boost. China will save the electric car, Renault-Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn predicts - and with it the vision of battery-powered motoring on which he has staked his credibility. Ghosn, who has ploughed a bigger share of his companies' cash into the technology than any other mass-market carmaker, struck a determinedly optimistic note as he released Renault's Zoe into a European market notable for its scarcity of electric car chargers and customers. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/18/renault-nissan-electric-cars-idUSL6N0C4FBU20130318 Obama Seeks to Use Oil and Gas Money to Develop Alternative Fuel Cars. Warning that the United States risks falling behind in the international race to develop alternative energy, President Obama on Friday proposed diverting $2 billion in revenue from federal oil and gas royalties over the next decade to pay for research on advanced vehicles. Mr. Obama toured a vehicle research facility at Argonne National Laboratory near Chicago and then spoke to employees about his plan…Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/16/us/politics/obamas-2-billion-plan-to-replace-fossil-fuels-in-cars.html?hpw http://www.sfgate.com/business/article/Obama-pushes-for-greener-vehicles-4359200.php HIGH-SPEED RAIL High-speed rail board teleports meeting to Fresno. Leaders of California's high-speed rail efforts will take another swing Monday at approving an agreement to electrify a Bay Area train system as a step toward creating a statewide rail network. The special meeting of the California High-Speed Rail Authority illustrates the political sausage-grinding involved in the high-speed train project. Board members who barely mustered a quorum a little over a week ago for a meeting in Redwood City will teleconference from three different locations across the state to make sure they have the votes to OK the deal. Posted. http://www.fresnobee.com/2013/03/16/3217135/californias-high-speed-rail-board.html GREEN ENERGY UAE opens first big solar energy plan. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Sunday officially opened its first big solar energy plant, the three companies behind the project said in a statement. The 100-megawatt (MW) Shams 1 concentrated solar plant (CSP) took the UAE's Masdar, France's Total and Spain's Abengoa three years to build at a cost of around $600 million. Shams 1 is one of the largest CSP projects in the world and by far the largest solar plant in a fossil fuel reliant region that lags far behind much of Europe, the Americas and Asia in renewable energy. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/17/us-uae-solar-idUSBRE92G08B20130317 Green energy more important for climate than Keystone-White House. A White House spokesman said on Friday that new investments in green energy technology are more important for easing the effects of climate change than whether or not the controversial Keystone pipeline gets built. Asked by reporters whether the construction of the pipeline was less important to slowing climate change than supporting projects such as the Argonne National Laboratory that President Barack Obama is visiting on Friday, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said it was. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/15/obama-energy-keystone-idUSL1N0C76YK20130315 Obama turns focus to research in first energy speech of second term. U.S. President Barack Obama will try to turn the page on bitterly partisan fights over energy policy on Friday, focusing his first energy speech of his second term on proposing a modest new fund to support research. Obama will tour the Argonne National Laboratory outside of Chicago known for its groundbreaking research into advanced batteries used in electric cars, and will talk about the need to find more ways to wean cars and trucks off oil, White House officials said. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/15/obama-energy-idUSL1N0C6EA120130315 New power plant rule running late, with major changes possible. It's looking increasingly likely that U.S. EPA will miss its April 13 deadline to finalize its carbon dioxide rule for new power. For one thing, the agency has yet to sign off on the rule internally and send it to the Office of Management and Budget to begin a review process that would typically take 90 days or longer to complete. And the administration might hold off on issuing the rule until Obama's pick for EPA, Gina McCarthy, makes it safely through the Senate confirmation process. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/Greenwire/print/2013/03/18/2 BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY MISCELLANEOUS Cleaning up house after years of smoking. Q: My husband and I have owned a two-bedroom, one-bath rental house in San Leandro for 20 years. Despite the market's ups and downs it's been a good investment. We have been even more fortunate to have the same quiet, responsible tenant for the past 15 years. But last month our tenant, who is in her late '70s, decided she needed some help and moved into an assisted living home. We're going to miss her. What we won't miss is that she was a dedicated two-pack-a-day smoker. We want to get the place back on the market but it reeks of tobacco. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/homeandgarden/sweatequity/article/Cleaning-up-house-after-years-of-smoking-4349305.php#ixzz2NumOf83x Cross-country car trip used only solar, hydrogen. A Tennessee college professor is celebrating his coast-to-coast trip using no petroleum fuel. Middle Tennessee State University fuels researcher Dr. Cliff Ricketts drove into Long Beach, Calif., having used only solar power and hydrogen to power his car. Ricketts and backup driver Terry Young of Woodbury finished their six-day journey Thursday afternoon. Posted. http://www.insidebayarea.com/ci_22815039/cross-country-car-trip-used-only-solar-hydrogen?IADID=Search-www.insidebayarea.com-www.insidebayarea.com http://www.contracostatimes.com/ci_22815039/cross-country-car-trip-used-only-solar-hydrogen?IADID=Search-www.contracostatimes.com-www.contracostatimes.com http://www.sbsun.com/ci_22815039/cross-country-car-trip-used-only-solar-hydrogen#ixzz2NuQ4Ng8X OPINIONS Oil Sands Emissions. Contrary to “No to Keystone. Yes to Crazy,” by Thomas L. Friedman (column, March 10), Keystone XL will have no impact on global greenhouse gas emissions because oil sands crude will replace current American imports of similar heavy oil from Venezuela and Mexico. Oil sands operations account for just 0.16 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. If all operations shut down tomorrow, the impact on greenhouse gas emissions would be infinitesimal. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/18/opinion/oil-sands-emissions.html?_r=0 A Real Carbon Solution. Sometime this summer, in Odessa, Tex., the Summit Power Group plans to break ground on a $2.5 billion coal gasification power plant. Summit has named this the Texas Clean Energy Project. With good reason. Part of the promise of this power plant is its use of gasified coal; because the gasification process doesn’t burn the coal, it makes for far cleaner energy than a traditional coal-fired plant. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/16/opinion/nocera-texas-might-be-on-to-something.html Letters: Categorizing climate deniers. Re "Reform the carbon calculation," Opinion, March 14. Bill McKibben overstates things with his suggestion that white voters are responsible for climate denial on Capitol Hill. It's more accurate to say that ultraconservative voters of all races are responsible for voting climate deniers back into Congress. That said, voters of all races should use their power to urge lawmakers to lead on climate and to enact a consumer-friendly, revenue-neutral carbon fee and dividend program. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/letters/la-le-0317-sunday-climate-change-immigration-20130317,0,2087547.story Dan Walters: Capitol battle over environmental law comes down to 'standards' What's in a word? Apparently a lot, when it comes to overhauling the California Environmental Quality Act. Two months ago, Gov. Jerry Brown, in plugging CEQA reform, told legislators, "Our approach needs to be based more on consistent standards that provide greater certainty and cut needless delays." The key word was "standards," which has been a byword of business and local-government groups seeking to bring more certainty to environmental reviews of private and public projects…Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2013/03/18/5270786/dan-walters-capitol-battle-over.html#mi_rss=Dan%20Walters Editorial: Renters deserve relief from smoking. Fewer than 14 percent of Californians smoke cigarettes or other tobacco products. While they have the right to choose the risks of smoking for themselves, they do not have the right to impose their smoke involuntarily on others. That is why California has statewide laws that ban smoking in workplaces, restaurants and bars. Now legislators are considering taking the next step – apartments and condominiums. With shared walls, floors, ceilings or ventilation systems, the drift of smoke is palpable in neighboring units. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2013/03/17/5267211/editorial-renters-deserve-relief.html Dan Morain: Hazards of life in a 'green' state. Magdalena Romero sat at a picnic table in this dusty town's one park, remembering the baby she named America. Romero's little girl came into this world with a cleft palate, Down syndrome, a heart murmur and a fatal abnormality called trisomy 13. She left five months later in 2008. Romero, 36, has five living children. The youngest is 4 and also is named America. Romero lifted America's shirt and showed me a scabby rash on her back. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2013/03/17/5267202/hazards-of-life-in-a-green-state.html SHANNON GROVE: Don't keep Californians in dark on cap and trade. This week is national Sunshine Week, an annual occasion dedicated to the pursuit of open and transparent government. California implemented its own "sunshine" law several decades ago. The Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act mandates that state agencies conduct their business in a manner that promotes transparency and accountability in government activities. The purpose of the act was to give the public a seat at the table in the policy decision-making process. Posted. http://www.bakersfieldcalifornian.com/opinion/hot-topics/x837007669/SHANNON-GROVE-Dont-keep-Californians-in-dark-on-cap-and-trade BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY Warmest Temperatures In 4,000 Years? Not So Fast, Global Warming Alarmists. The mainstream media are reporting in breathless fashion about a new paper claiming current temperatures are their warmest in 4,000 years. Already, however, objective scientists are reporting serious flaws in the paper. The media may wish to paint a picture of runaway global warming, but the science tells a completely different story. Posted. http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamestaylor/2013/03/17/warmest-temperatures-in-4000-years-not-so-fast-global-warming-alarmists/ California's Clash: Shale Oil or Green Energy. California’s economic predicament and environmental progression have met head on. But the state’s leaders are saying that the two dynamics can be reconciled, all to potentially capture the nation’s richest “tight oil” deposits. At issue now is the Monterey Shale, a formation holding more shale oil than anywhere else in the country. It could be a potential gold mine if developers could find a way to extract it and if regulators could appease the environmental community there. Posted. http://www.forbes.com/sites/kensilverstein/2013/03/17/californias-clash-shale-oil-or-green-energy/ Ten reasons why fracking for dirty oil in California is a stupid idea. The latest target of the unconventional oil craze is California, specifically the Monterey Shale in southern California (see map). Will California become the next North Dakota? Let us ponder. Oil in California is nothing new — it’s the third highest oil-producing state in the U.S. (after Texas and North Dakota, which recently displaced Alaska for the No. 2 spot). The Monterey area has been drilled for years, profitably, though production has been steadily declining since its peak in the mid ’80s. Posted. http://grist.org/climate-energy/top-10-reasons-why-fracking-for-dirty-oil-in-california-is-a-stupid-idea/ Testing and treating to reduce city's toxic vapor problem. Like toxic vapors coming out of the ground, health concerns about TCE are lingering in northeastern Mountain View. In a meeting in City Hall for the MEW Superfund site's Community Advisory Board Tuesday evening, Allison Nelson of Sherland Avenue said she had been speaking with her neighbors and noticed that many of them suffer from similar health problems, including cerebral palsy and migraine headaches. Posted. http://mv-voice.com/news/show_story.php?id=6738 BLOGS Environmental Woes Could Reverse Global Development. Climate change and other environmental disasters could put 3.1 billion people into extreme poverty by 2050, if no significant steps are taken, says an annual United Nations report on the state of global development. “While environmental threats such as climate change, deforestation, air and water pollution, and natural disasters affect everyone, they hurt poor countries and poor communities most,” noted the report’s authors. Though the world has become fairer overall…Posted. http://rendezvous.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/03/18/environmental-woes-could-reverse-global-development/ AIR QUALITY: A navel victory in Riverside. I was analyzing air pollution data recently for an in-depth reporting project on air quality and health, and I came across a small victory in Southern California’s war against smog. Fine-particle pollution — tiny pieces of soot, dust, chemical compounds and other microscopic airborne gook — has declined to healthful levels in Riverside in the spot where a plaque marks the first plantings of the Washington navel orange tree at Magnolia and Arlington avenues. Posted. http://blog.pe.com/environment/2013/03/16/air-quality-a-navel-victory-in-riverside/ Butch, Sundance & BPA. You remember the final scene: Butch and Sundance, hopelessly cornered and surrounded by the Bolivian army, are stubbornly confident that they'll escape to make their way to sanctuary in Australia. It came to mind when I heard about the lawsuit filed by the chemical industry in a last-ditch effort to keep the notorious plastics and packaging chemical Bisphenol A, or BPA, off California's official list of chemicals considered hazardous to human health. Posted. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alex-formuzis/butch-sundance-bpa_b_2875716.html Choose Your Weapon in the Fight Against Climate Change. Today's post marks What on Earth's final appearance. The experience over these past few years of producing over 200 comic strips (and blogs) has been a fulfilling one. Part of that fulfillment comes from knowing I found a way to use my lifelong love of cartooning to help the fight against climate change. At least a little bit. We've all heard that if you find a job you love you'll never work a day in your life. The same can be said of environmental activism Posted. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/neil-wagner/choose-your-weapon-in-the_b_2870816.html?utm_hp_ref=green