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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for April 2, 2013. Posted: 02 Apr 2013 12:53:03
ARB Newsclips for April 2, 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 Justices reject challenge to EPA air pollution rule. The Supreme Court on Monday rejected a challenge by the oil lobby disputing a Environmental Protection Agency air pollution rule. Various industry groups, including the American Petroleum Institute, originally challenged the 2010 regulation, which set a tighter Clean Air Act standard for short-term spikes in nitrogen dioxide pollution near roads. The Supreme Court's decision not to take the case means the rule remains intact. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/04/01/usa-court-epa-idUSL2N0CK12P20130401 http://www.eenews.net/Greenwire/print/2013/04/01/13 BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY Air Pollution Linked to 1.2 Million Premature Deaths in China. Outdoor air pollution contributed to 1.2 million premature deaths in China in 2010, nearly 40 percent of the global total, according to a new summary of data from a scientific study on leading causes of death worldwide. Figured another way, the researchers said, China’s toll from pollution was the loss of 25 million healthy years of life from the population. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/02/world/asia/air-pollution-linked-to-1-2-million-deaths-in-china.html?_r=0 To Fight Gridlock, a City Synchronizes Every Red Light. Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa, who pledged to complete the system in his 2005 campaign, now presents it as a significant accomplishment as his two terms in office comes to an end in June. He argued that the system would also cut carbon emissions by reducing the number of times cars stop and start. “I am proud that we are the first big city in the world to synchronize all of our traffic signals,” Mr. Villaraigosa said in an e-mail. “By synchronizing our traffic signals, we spend less time waiting, less time polluting.” Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/02/us/to-fight-gridlock-los-angeles-synchronizes-every-red-light.html?pagewanted=all Houston gets iPhone app with up-to-date smog data. Houston residents now can have in their pocket the answer to whether ozone levels in the city are too high for their asthmatic child to play soccer. A new app available for iPhones and Android smartphones collects data from 74 air and wind monitors throughout the Houston area, giving residents nearly real-time data on smog. The app was developed by the Houston Air Alliance, the University of Houston and the American Lung Association. Posted. http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2013/apr/02/houston-gets-iphone-app-with-up-to-date-smog-data/ CLIMATE CHANGE Global warming means seas freeze more off Antarctica: study. Global warming is expanding the extent of sea ice around Antarctica in winter in a paradoxical shift caused by cold plumes of summer melt water that re-freeze fast when temperatures drop, a study showed on Sunday. An increasing summer thaw of ice on the edges of Antarctica, twinned with less than expected snowfall on the frozen continent, is also adding slightly to sea level rise in a threat to low-lying areas around the world, it said. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/31/us-climate-antarctica-idUSBRE92U05A20130331 World Bank chief says global warming threatens the planet and the poorest. World Bank president Jim Yong Kim on Tuesday called global warming “a fundamental threat” to world economic development and announced plans to put the issue at the center of bank planning. In a call for action to end extreme poverty among hundreds of millions of people worldwide by 2030, Kim said that central to that aim is ensuring that global temperatures don’t rise faster than expected. Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/world-bank-chief-says-global-warming-threatens-the-planet-and-the-poorest/2013/04/02/caa73842-9ba7-11e2-9a79-eb5280c81c63_story.html Nobody is declaring a state of drought in California, but ... Surveyors in the Sierra find only half the snowpack that is normal for the date. But it could have been worse, considering the last three months have been the driest January-March period on record. When snow surveyors headed into the Sierra Nevada on Thursday for the most important measurement of the season, they found only about half the snowpack that is normal for the date. It could have been a lot worse — considering that the last three months in California have been the driest of any January-through-March period on record, going back to 1895. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-water-dry-20130329,0,1069379,print.story A carbon market takes root in California. When California held its first-ever auction of greenhouse gas emission allowances last fall, allowances sold for $10.09, just pennies above the $10 floor price set by state regulators. Some observers warned that the low price meant the state's new cap-and-trade program wouldn't work and was a sign that companies were not participating. But in the second auction last week, the allowances sold for $13.62 each, higher than many analysts had expected. Posted. http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/business/ci_22691814/carbon-market-takes-root-california DIESEL EMISSIONS California Air Resources Board reps get earful from north-state truckers, growers in Chico. Truckers and growers frustrated by California air emission laws got a chance to vent Thursday to representatives of the California Air Resources Board. In an event organized by Assemblyman Dan Logue, R-Loma Rica, more than a dozen speakers begged for changes to the state's laws, pointing out flaws with the regulations and how the heavy-handed guidelines are making it impossible for small firms to stay in business, especially in the north state. Nearly every hand raised when Logue asked for a show of business owners in the standing-room-only City Council chambers. Posted. http://www.chicoer.com/news/ci_22898516/california-air-resources-board-reps-get-earful-from FUELS U.S. fracking helped kill off German solar firms: Bosch. Bosch, one of the world's largest auto parts suppliers, blames the U.S. fracking boom in shale gas for hurting demand for energy-efficient green technologies, its chairman told a German newspaper. The Stuttgart-based company recently decided to discontinue its photovoltaic solar energy activities at the cost of roughly 3,000 jobs - due largely, but not entirely, to a glut in capacity built up in China. "Photovoltaic is going through a unique transition. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/31/us-bosch-solar-shalegas-idUSBRE92U03520130331 Israel Taps an Offshore Natural Gas Field. Israel moved closer to its goal of energy independence on Sunday as natural gas from a large offshore field began flowing into the country, a harbinger of important change that will benefit the country strategically and economically, officials said. “We are taking an important step toward energy independence,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement after the natural gas started flowing Saturday from the Tamar reservoir in the Mediterranean Sea to a terminal in the Israeli port of Ashdod, a journey that officials said would take 24 hours. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/01/world/middleeast/israel-turns-on-natural-gas-flow-at-offshore-site.html?ref=earth Northeast drilling boom threatens forest wildlife. Hawks swoop in and gobble up songbirds. Raccoons feast on nests of eggs they never could have reached before. Salamanders and wildflowers fade away, crowded out by invasive plants that are altering the soil they need to thrive. Like a once-quiet neighborhood cut up by an expressway and laced with off ramps, northeastern forests are changing because of the pipelines crisscrossing them amid the region's gas drilling boom, experts say. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2013/04/02/5310668/northeast-drilling-boom-threatens.html#storylink=misearch#storylink=cpy European industry flocks to U.S. for cheaper natural gas. The sprawling chemical plant in this city along the Rhine River has been a jewel of Germany's manufacturing-led economy for more than a century. But the plunging price of natural gas in the United States has European companies setting sail across the Atlantic to stay competitive. German chemicals giant BASF, which operates the plant here, has announced plans for wide-ranging expansion in the United States …Posted. http://www.sbsun.com/ci_22922268/european-industry-flocks-u-s-cheaper-natural-gas#ixzz2PKQFaQwh Oil industry, lawmakers say EPA fuel rule would hike prices at the pump. Oil industry representatives and congressional Republicans accused the Obama administration Friday of effectively jacking up gas prices across the country after the Environmental Protection Agency unveiled a plan to clean up gasoline and automobile emissions. The proposal, released Friday morning, aims to reduce sulfur in gasoline by more than 60 percent in 2017. The agency claimed the change would save lives and cut down significantly on respiratory ailments by making the air cleaner. Posted. http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/03/29/epa-to-unveil-proposal-to-clean-up-tailpipe-pollution-that-critics-say-would/#ixzz2PKhlwphv Could 'raging fireball' be the key to carbon-neutral fuel? Even before it was studied as a potential biofuel-producing agent, the microorganism Pyrococcus furiosa had a great deal to recommend it to scientists. Capable of surviving in boiling water and doubling in number every 37 minutes, the microorganism is something of a poster child for the heat-loving organisms known as hyperthermophiles. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2013/04/01/7 BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY VEHICLES Tesla soars to all-time high after CEO says company is now profitable. Shares of Tesla Motors (TSLA) leapt to an all-time high Monday after the electric-car maker said it would show a quarterly profit for the first time in its 10-year history -- and Wall Street expects even more good news Tuesday. The announcement about the company's financial performance puts to rest, for now, those who questioned Tesla's ability to sell enough cars to create a viable business, especially as other automakers report disappointing EV sales and one, Fisker Automotive, is looking for partners to keep operating. Posted. http://www.mercurynews.com/business/ci_22915765/tesla-soars-52-week-high-after-ceo-elon?source=rss Tahoe's Heavenly Mountain Resort fined over environmental violation. Heavenly Mountain Resort on Lake Tahoe's south shore has been fined more than $90,000 for several violations of California environmental laws. The violations stem from a 2010 inspection of the ski resort and its upper maintenance shop, California Department of Toxic Substances Control officials said. The resort was accused of failing to have controls to prevent spillage of a used-oil tank, failing to have the tank assessed and inspected…Posted. http://www.mercurynews.com/travel/ci_22915451/tahoes-heavenly-mountain-resort-fined-over-environmental-violation New vehicle apps help drivers dial in on better fuel economy. Getting better fuel economy is about more than building better engines and powertrains; it's also about how people drive and choosing the right car for a given lifestyle. Today, new technology is allowing drivers to tap into these once elusive efficiency gains. The Department of Energy yesterday announced the winners of the "Apps for Vehicles Challenge," which asked developers and entrepreneurs to develop smartphone apps that harness open vehicle data to improve vehicle safety and fuel efficiency. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2013/04/02/4 BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY HIGH-SPEED RAIL Calif. lawmakers scrutinize high-speed rail plan. California officials are using a standard bidding process for their plan to speed construction of the state's $68 billion high-speed rail line, but there are still outstanding questions about the inspection process that the Legislature should investigate, lawmakers heard Tuesday at a hearing on the plan. Tuesday's joint Senate hearing was billed as an opportunity to safeguard the public's interest…Posted. http://www.mercurynews.com/news/ci_22672431/calif-lawmakers-review-high-speed-rail-plans GREEN ENERGY A Building Not Just Green, but Practically Self-Sustaining. When an office building here that bills itself as the world’s greenest officially opens later this month, it will present itself as a “living building zoo,” with docents leading tours and smartphone-wielding tourists able to scan bar codes to learn about the artfully exposed mechanical and electrical systems. Tenants have already begun moving into the six-story Bullitt Center, in advance of its grand opening on Earth Day, April 22. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/03/realestate/commercial/the-bullitt-center-in-seattle-goes-well-beyond-green.html?pagewanted=all Davis company finishes solar project in Gridley. Davis-based Blue Oak Energy, which designs, builds and maintains photovoltaic systems in the United States, said today that it has completed installation of a 4.2-megawatt solar facility in the Butte County community of Gridley. The electricity generated by the facility will be directed to two members of the Northern California Power Agency through separate energy meters: the city of Gridley and Bay Area Rapid Transit. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2013/04/02/5310676/davis-company-finishes-solar-project.html#storylink=cpy New England renewable energy a hard sell in region. Establishing a New England market to buy renewable energy seemed a laudable goal when governors committed last year to bulk purchases of wind and solar power to knock down the price while reducing the region's reliance on fossil fuels. Consumers could benefit from price stability, even from costlier wind and energy power. But putting together details about what types of renewable energy the six states will buy in the groundbreaking deal is snared in a patchwork of rules, state laws and disagreements over how even to define alternative energy. Posted. http://www.modbee.com/2013/03/31/2647428/new-england-renewable-energy-a.html#storylink=misearch#storylink=cpy Utilities challenge net metering as solar power expands in Calif. A program that pays California residents for electricity made by their rooftop solar panels is under scrutiny, and supporters fear it could be weakened. The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) is examining the costs and benefits of net energy metering, a system that allows households and businesses with green power to earn credit for surplus electricity fed into the grid. Advocates say it's driven expansion of rooftop solar and locally based energy, also known as distributed generation. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2013/04/02/1 BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY L.A. ditches coal for 'cleaner' power source. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power announced it will phase out the electricity it imports from the Navajo Generating Station in Arizona and Intermountain Power in Utah. The two coal plants provide 39 percent of the city's power. "The era of coal is over," Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said in a statement. "By divesting from coal and investing in renewable energy and energy efficiency, we reduce our carbon footprint and set a precedent for the national power market." Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2013/04/01/10 BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY MISCELLANEOUS Fowler physician certified for state air board. Fowler physician Dr. Alexander Sherriffs was confirmed as the newest member of the California Air Resources Board that creates policies to mitigate air pollution in the state. Sherriffs, who has worked as a physician in Fowler since 1983, was appointed to the board by Governor Jerry Brown last March for his long-standing commitment to air quality issues. Posted. http://www.thebusinessjournal.com/news/state/5300-fowler-physician-certified-to-state-air-board California environmental groups seek ban on rice pesticide. California environmentalists say a proposal by state pesticide regulators to allow spraying of a controversial pesticide on rice fields in the Sacramento Valley could harm aquatic organisms and honeybees. Groups submitted a comment letter to the California Department of Pesticide Regulation on Thursday, asking the agency to withdraw the proposal for approving clothianidin for use on rice. The chemical is already registered in the state for uses on cotton, grapes and other plants. Posted. http://www.mercurynews.com/food-wine/ci_22907753/california-environmental-groups-seek-ban-rice-pesticide Free smog emission tests. Motorists can test their smog emissions and receive vouchers for hundreds of dollars in free repairs at an event Saturday. The latest Tune In & Tune Up event is set for 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the San Joaquin County Fairgrounds. Arrive early and expect a two-hour wait, organizers said. Each car will be tested for smog emissions. Owners of cars that fail the test will be eligible for $500 repair vouchers at participating shops, while supplies last. Posted. http://www.recordnet.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20130402/A_NEWS/130409982&cid=sitesearch San Onofre Operator Requests to Restart Reactor. The operator of the San Onofre nuclear power plant, Southern California Edison, has submitted a draft request for a license amendment to restart the plant at 70 percent power this summer. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission meets this week to consider the request. It’s the next step in the long-running saga of whether to restart the San Onofre nuclear power plant, which has been shut down for more than a year since a small radiation leak was detected in one of its new steam generators. Posted. http://www.kpbs.org/news/2013/apr/01/san-onofre-operator-requests-restart-reactor/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+kpbs%2Flocal+%28KPBS+News%3A+Local+Headlines%29 OPINIONS Is the valley air district forgetting its mission? The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District staff is saying that Hydrogen Energy California project is acceptable because: "we need electricity," "it is good for our finances," and the height of the factory stack will carry the emissions out of our valley. Has the air district forgotten that its mission is to do good for the air and the people, not the corporation? Posted. http://www.bakersfieldcalifornian.com/opinion/letters/x511835513/Is-the-valley-air-district-forgetting-its-mission BLOGS The public’s interest in climate change is waning. The global warming conundrum has been on full display over the past 24 hours. Even as one of the nation’s most prominent climate scientists has decided to retire in order to become a full-time activist, a new Pew Research poll suggests public interest and intensity with the issue is waning. James E. Hansen, who directs the Goddard Institute of Space Studies in New York City, has been warning policymakers about the threat of climate change since 1988. Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2013/04/02/polls-suggest-publics-interest-in-climate-change-is-waning/ NASA’s most famous climate scientist is retiring. Here’s a look back at his work. One the country’s most prominent climate scientists is leaving the government to become a full-time climate activist. James E. Hansen says he will step down as head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies this week after 46 years at the agency. “He plans to take a more active role in lawsuits challenging the federal and state governments over their failure to limit emission… Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/04/02/nasas-most-famous-climate-scientist-is-retiring-heres-a-look-back-at-his-work/ Canada’s Latest Climate Change. Despite the ruling Conservative government’s claim that it had opted out because too little of its contribution was going toward actual anti-drought programming — branding the U.N. convention a “talkfest” in the process — many critics were quick to say the move fits a patten of a conservative party that has opposed environmental regulation. Posted. http://rendezvous.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/04/01/canadas-latest-climate-change/ New EPA gas regs won’t help California. When it comes to gasoline, California is a world unto itself. And you pay for it. The Golden State has America’s strictest environmental regulations for gas. Adopted in 1996, those rules have helped clear the air in California’s smoggy cities. But by and large, only refineries located in California make the fuel. Posted. http://blog.sfgate.com/energy/2013/03/29/new-epa-gas-regs-wont-help-california/ Superior Court judge rules fast-track law on CEQA challenges unconstitutional. Alameda Superior Court Judge Frank Roesch has ruled that a provision of AB 900 is unconstitutional, meaning environmental challenges to certain large-scale development projects must start in the lower courts. The provision thrown out by Judge Roesch changed the rules for legal challenges to certain developments under the California Environmental Quality Act. Under the law, anyone suing to block a large-scale project that developed renewable energy or met green building standards…Posted. http://www.scpr.org/blogs/environment/2013/04/01/13127/superior-court-judge-rules-fast-track-law-on-ceqa/