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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.


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. 


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.

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.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2013/03/19/3  BY

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.

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.


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.

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.

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


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.

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
http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2013/03/19/4 BY


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. 

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 --

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.  



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.

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.

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.


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.

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.

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.


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.”

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.

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.


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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