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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for March 19, 2013. Posted: 19 Mar 2013 13:07:15
ARB Newsclips for March 19, 2013. ARB Newsclips for March 19, 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 Tighter air quality rules mean fewer ‘good’ air days. Starting this week, the federal government has tightened its air pollution standards for fine particulates. The federal Environmental Protection Agency has lowered the Air Quality Index threshold for good air quality from 15 to 12 micrograms per cubic meter. The result will likely be that more days will be classified as having moderate air quality, said Aeron Arlin-Genet, spokeswoman for the county Air Pollution Control District. Posted. http://www.sanluisobispo.com/2013/03/18/2435156/tighter-air-quality-rules-mean.html CLIMATE CHANGE California Cap-and-Trade Funds Proposed for Green Bank. California should start a state-run bank to finance economic development that’s less polluting and more environmentally friendly, financed by auctions of greenhouse-gas carbon credits, Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom said. The Green Infrastructure Bank, which would make low- interest loans to local governments or private business for projects that would help reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, would have the authority to sell tax-exempt and taxable municipal revenue bonds…Posted. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-03-19/california-cap-and-trade-funds-proposed-for-green-bank.html Study: Climate change to worsen hurricane storm surge. Could the USA deal with a Hurricane Katrina every two years? Such a scenario is possible by the end of the century due to climate change, according to a study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The frequency of extreme storm surges — the deadly and devastating walls of water that roar ashore during hurricanes — is projected to increase by as much as 10 times in coming decades because of warming temperatures, the study finds. Posted. http://www.usatoday.com/story/weather/2013/03/18/storm-surge-hurricane-climate-change-global-warming/1997113/ http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2013/03/19/3 BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY Major changes for greenhouse gas standards? Signs are growing that the Environmental Protection Agency will miss its April deadline to finish creating landmark greenhouse gas standards for new power plants — a key piece of President Barack Obama’s expected climate agenda. And some attorneys closely following the rule say the agency would be wise to make major changes. Posted. http://www.politico.com/story/2013/03/major-changes-for-greenhouse-gas-standards-88962.html#ixzz2O0QyT7c2 Fight Against Fracking in California Gathers Steam. Environmentalists file a slew of lawsuits and lawmakers propose bills to regulate the controversial drilling practice. Armed with a slew of lawsuits and proposed regulatory bills, environmentalists and lawmakers are mustering forces to fight an expected fracking boom in California. In recent months, the California Department of Conservation’s Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR), which regulates drilling in the state, has been slapped with two lawsuits. Posted. http://www.earthisland.org/journal/index.php/elist/eListRead/fight_against_fracking_in_california_gathers_steam FUELS U.S. Energy Dept. still reviewing comments on natural gas exports. The U.S. Energy Department will tell lawmakers on Tuesday that it is wading through nearly 200,000 comments it received in response to a report on the impact of natural gas exports, as the debate over sending more U.S. gas abroad continues. Released in December, the department-sponsored report gave a resounding endorsement of the economic benefits of exporting liquefied natural gas, saying the more exports, the better. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/19/usa-lng-hearing-idUSL1N0CA44A20130319 Fuel efficiency law to get EU on road to growth: study. Proposed European legislation on auto fuel efficiency, to be debated this week, could create around 400,000 jobs and save the bloc tens of billions of euros in annual fuel costs, according to a new study. The fuel efficiency proposals, set for an initial vote in the European Parliament on Tuesday, have split the industry. Germany, home to luxury carmakers, has pressed for supercredits, which the European Commission says would dilute its plans. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/18/us-eu-cars-idUSBRE92H00F20130318 METHANE HYDRATES: U.S. reports huge potential for 'fire in the ice' as Japan hurries to production. The international scientific world has been buzzing over two separate milestones on methane hydrates, a little-known form of natural gas found in ice formations under Arctic permafrost and in deepwater coastal regions. Last Tuesday, Japan announced it had successfully produced natural gas from an offshore methane hydrates test well. A day later, the United States published significant new data outlining massive methane hydrate reserves along the Atlantic and Pacific shores. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/energywire/print/2013/03/19/1 BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY VEHICLES Fisker Sales Talks Fall Apart. Chinese Bidders for Luxury Hybrid Car Maker Disagree Over Government Loan. Chinese auto makers have pulled back from talks to buy Fisker Automotive Inc. over a disagreement on whether to revive a loan agreement with the U.S., leaving the Anaheim, Calif., company's future uncertain ahead of an April loan payment. Fisker management had proposed to the Chinese that as part of any sale it tap the remaining portion of a $529 million U.S. loan, a move that would commit a new owner to building Fisker cars at a former General Motors Co. auto factory in Delaware, a person familiar with the situation said on Monday. Posted. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323415304578368341051986934.html BY SUBSCRIPTION Automakers are found cheating on mpg testing. Car manufacturers face increasing pressure from governments and consumers around the world to produce more fuel-efficient vehicles. But loopholes in vehicle testing cycles are letting them game the system and get unrealistically high gas mileage ratings. A recent report from the campaign group Transport & Environment (T&E) found that automakers in Europe are manipulating the road test to achieve higher fuel economy by fitting their vehicles with special tires…Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2013/03/19/4 BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY HIGH-SPEED RAIL State high-speed rail board approves two-track approach for Peninsula. At a special meeting Monday, the California High-Speed Rail Authority board approved an agreement that underscores its commitment to run the state's future bullet trains on Caltrain's two tracks between San Jose and San Francisco. The memorandum of understanding also outlines a $750 million modernization plan to electrify Caltrain's system so its trains can go faster and to install an advanced signal system. Posted. http://www.mercurynews.com/peninsula/ci_22820898/state-high-speed-rail-board-approves-two-track Rare Fresno high-speed rail board meeting packs conference room. The California High-Speed Rail Authority holds most of its board meetings in Sacramento. But a special teleconference meeting Monday offered Fresno-area residents a chance to attend without making the three-hour haul up Highway 99. About two dozen people -- including members of Kings County's grassroots opposition group Citizens for California High-Speed Rail Accountability -- Posted. http://www.fresnobee.com/2013/03/18/3218997/high-speed-rail-board-approves.html Board seeks $8.6B in California high-speed rail bonds. The California High-Speed Rail Authority voted Monday to issue nearly $8.6 billion in taxpayer-approved bonds to build the nation's first bullet train. Officials say they will try to sell $3.7 billion of the bonds as the state rushes to begin construction in July. That includes $2.6 billion for high speed rail and another $1.1 billion for improving existing commuter rail systems in Northern and Southern California. Posted. http://www.vcstar.com/news/2013/mar/18/board-seeks-86b-in-calif-high-speed-rail-bonds/ http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=news/state&id=9032281 http://abclocal.go.com/kfsn/story?section=news/state&id=9026539 GREEN ENERGY Clean Energy Is Comparable to Fossil Energy Reserves, BNEF Says. The “energy reserves” contained in wind and bioenergy projects in the U.S. and Brazil are “significant” compared to oil and gas in the countries, according to a study commissioned by BP Plc (BP/) that estimates the barrels of oil equivalent for the renewable resources. The study, based on Bloomberg New Energy Finance analysis, found that wind and bioenergy projects in Brazil have more than two-fifths of the energy content of the country’s proven oil and gas reserves, the London-based group said in an e-mailed statement. Posted. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/print/2013-03-19/clean-energy-is-comparable-to-fossil-energy-reserves-bnef-says.html Chinese solar giant Suntech defaults on bond payment. Suntech, one of the world's biggest solar panel manufacturers, said Monday it has defaulted on a $541 million bond payment in the latest sign of the financial squeeze on the struggling global solar industry. Suntech Power Holdings's announcement was a severe setback for a company lauded by China's Communist government as a leader of efforts to make the country a center of the renewable energy industry. Posted. http://www.mercurynews.com/business/ci_22815543/chinese-solar-giant-suntech-defaults-bond-payment Environmental groups protest green energy projects (Photos). With all the concerns about conventional energy, wind and solar energy are often seen as saints of the energy sector. Clean and renewable, they too impact our environment. Many environmental groups are now speaking out against green projects. Loss of habitat is the largest threat to endangered and threatened plants and animals, and the construction of wind and solar stations are impacting many endangered species. Posted. http://www.examiner.com/article/environmental-groups-protest-green-energy-projects MISCELLANEOUS One San Onofre unit could be restarted at full power, Edison says. The utility says its analysis confirms that it would be safe to fire up the nuclear plant's Unit 2 reactor, but as a precautionary move it is proposing running it at only 70%. One of the two reactors at the darkened San Onofre nuclear plant could be restarted at full power and operate safely for almost a year, Southern California Edison officials said Monday. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-0319-san-onofre-restart-20130319,0,3477980.story?track=rss Unwanted Electronic Gear Rising in Toxic Piles. Last year, two inspectors from California’s hazardous waste agency were visiting an electronics recycling company near Fresno for a routine review of paperwork when they came across a warehouse the size of a football field, packed with tens of thousands of old computer monitors and televisions. The crumbling cardboard boxes, stacked in teetering rows, 9 feet high and 14 feet deep, were so sprawling that the inspectors needed cellphones to keep track of each other. The layer of broken glass on the floor and the lead-laden dust in the air was so thick that the inspectors soon left over safety concerns. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/19/us/disposal-of-older-monitors-leaves-a-hazardous-trail.html?pagewanted=2&_r=3&hp&pagewanted=all& Ten things you can do at home to reduce smog. The air we breathe in Bakersfield is about as bad as it gets anywhere in the nation. Government regulators are trying to improve it. There are federal air pollution regulations that target different industries and equipment, California regulations that do the same thing, and local air pollution control agencies that have their own rules as well. These agencies target vehicle manufacturers, refineries, chemical plants, oil companies, and power plants. Posted. http://www.examiner.com/list/ten-things-you-can-do-at-home-to-reduce-smog OPINIONS Britain's carbon tax: unfair and ineffective: Gerard Wynn. The variable carbon tax that Britain is introducing from April 1 to promote low-carbon investment will cause problems due to some incompatibility with the wider European emissions trading scheme. The tax, called "carbon price support" by the British government, is levied on suppliers of fossil fuels to power plants and these will pass on the cost to electricity consumers. It has uniquely united environmentalists and energy-intensive industries in opposition. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/19/column-wynn-carbon-uk-idUSL6N0CB4M820130319 Elias: Air board may have it right on cap and trade. From the moment Assembly Bill 32 and its mandate for greenhouse gas reductions passed in 2006, conservative opponents and climate-change deniers have vilified it as an economic suicide pact for California. But that may not be so, in part because of how the cap and trade system for lowering emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) is now working. What’s more, no one expected this to be a big state moneymaker back when current Democratic state Sen. Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills, and then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger were pushing it. Posted. http://www.vcstar.com/news/2013/mar/18/elias-air-board-may-have-it-right-on-cap-and/?print=1 Dan Walters: High-speed project moves forward, but lawsuits loom. The agency charged with building the nation's first bullet train system in California took two big steps Monday. However, the legality of both is under fire, thanks to some very specific conditions imposed on the controversial project by the 2008 ballot measure that authorized its construction with nearly $10 billion in state bonds. Critics – including the former legislator who was the major champion of a bullet train – contend that how it's now being proposed would violate those conditions, and their contentions will be tested in lawsuits. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2013/03/19/5273550/dan-walters-high-speed-project.html#storylink=cpy San Mateo jail: If land is too toxic for housing, how can a jail go there? Last week the aptly named Chemical Way was cleaned of decades of toxic chemical residue, according to the San Mateo County Sheriff's Department. The site of the proposed new jail was so permeated by volatile organic compounds that the Department of Toxic Substances Control declared the land too hazardous for residential use. Unfortunately, it is still too hazardous to meet residential toxicity standards. Posted. http://www.mercurynews.com/opinion/ci_22793481/san-mateo-jail-if-land-is-too-toxic The Feverish Hunt For Evidence Of A Man-Made Global Warming Crisis. Although “climate” is generally associated with periods of at least three decades, less than one and one-half decades following mid-1970s “scientific” predictions that the next Ice Age was rapidly approaching, the media trumpeted a new and opposite alarm…a man-made global warming crisis. Previously, even the prestigious National Academy of Sciences had issued a warning that there was “a finite possibility that a serious worldwide cooling could befall the earth within the next 100 years.” Posted. http://www.forbes.com/sites/larrybell/2013/03/19/the-feverish-hunt-for-evidence-of-a-man-made-global-warming-crisis/ Canadian coal plant retrofit could be a 'game changer' (Sponsored content). A 43-year-old Canadian coal plant is being retrofitted to capture roughly 90 percent of its carbon dioxide emissions and store the gas deep underground, Gates writes. It will be the first commercial-scale power plant equipped with a fully integrated carbon capture and storage system, he adds. A recent story from E&E reported on the progress of Canadian utility SaskPower’s 43-year-old coal plant at its Boundary Dam Power Station. The facility is being retrofitted to capture roughly 90 percent of its carbon dioxide emissions and store the gas deep underground. Posted. http://www.csmonitor.com/Environment/Energy-Voices/2013/0319/Canadian-coal-plant-retrofit-could-be-a-game-changer Is the US oil boom coming to an end? Though US oil production is experiencing steady expansion, Graeber writes, it's starting to slow down and with it potentially goes the revenue on which Paul Ryan's budget plan depends. The United States is expected to lead the pack among non-OPEC members in terms of oil supply growth for 2013. That's the assessment from this month's market report from the Vienna-based cartel. Posted. http://www.csmonitor.com/Environment/Energy-Voices/2013/0319/Is-the-US-oil-boom-coming-to-an-end?nav=643867-csm_blog_post-leftColRelated BLOGS Why the EPA might delay its carbon rules for power plants. Is the Obama administration planning to backtrack on its carbon rules for power plants? That’s the big environmental question on everybody’s mind lately. The core of Obama’s second-term agenda on climate change, recall, involves new regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency on greenhouse-gas emissions. Last year, the EPA took a major step forward by proposing carbon standards for all future power plants — a rule that would make it impossible to build new coal-fired facilities in the United States. Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/03/18/why-the-epa-might-delay-its-carbon-rules-for-power-plants/?print=1 With a Big If, Science Panel Finds Deep Cuts Possible in Auto Emissions and Oil Use. A panel convened by the National Academy of Sciences has concluded that deep cuts in oil use and emissions of greenhouse gases from cars and light trucks are possible in the United States by 2050, but only with a mix of diverse and intensified research and policies far stronger than those pursued so far by the Obama administration. Posted. http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/03/18/with-a-big-if-science-panel-finds-deep-cuts-possible-in-auto-emissions-and-oil-use/?ref=earth Rise & Opine: Is cap-and-trade working in California? Kudos to Thomas Elias. He's one of the first columnists statewide to suggest that California's cap and trade system, despite all the naysayers, might actually be working. He might be right. It will take several auctions to know for sure if the state is on the right track. Dana Hull of the San Jose Merc has answers to 13 big questions about the state's cap and trade. But Elias makes a good point "The fact most businesses paid nothing for 90 percent of their pollution allowances is a real positive." Posted. http://blogs.sacbee.com/the_swarm/2013/03/rise-opine-is-cap-and-trade-wo.html#storylink=cpy Green jobs growing, but not as fast. Each year the Next 10 public policy group issues a report on the state of California’s green economy. As green job reports go, it’s pretty exacting. The researchers actually count real jobs at real companies, rather than relying on estimates or projections. The drawback is that the jobs figures are always two years out of date. Precision has its price. The latest report shows green jobs in California growing in between the start of 2010 and January, 2011. Posted. http://blog.sfgate.com/energy/2013/03/18/green-jobs-growing-but-not-as-fast/ What Connects Us Most: Climate Change and Humanity. To start, please forgive an American pressing an audience of Brits about climate change, as your country at least has climate goals, while half our Congress still won't even accept that humans are heating the planet. Of course, you sent us religious fanatics who won't accept science -- some wish you had sent them to Australia instead of the criminals. We are connected by and to the natural systems which sustain humanity, most notably a stable climate. Posted. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-fenton/what-connects-us-most-cli_b_2901181.html?utm_hp_ref=climate-change