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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for April 24, 2013.

Posted: 24 Apr 2013 12:04:09
ARB Newsclips for April 24, 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.


Central Valley fares poorly in new California pollution index.
Central Valley communities are among the hardest hit in
California under a unique new misery index that provides
statewide mapping on community pollution, health and well-being.
The state Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday unveiled a
new environmental screening tool that reveals – by ZIP code – how
neighborhoods are affected by pesticides, truck fumes, hazardous
waste and other toxic factors. Posted.

S.J. Valley has some of state's worst pollution.  Seven of
California's 10 ZIP codes most burdened by pollution are in the
San Joaquin Valley and three are in Los Angeles, according to a
new tool developed by state environmental officials to target
communities for cleanup. "People tend to think of more urban
areas when they think of pollution effects," said Sam Delson, a
spokesman for the California Environmental Protection Agency.
"That isn't necessarily the case." Posted.

Bakersfield pollution again ranked nation's worst. American Lung
Association executives delivered perennial bad news Tuesday but
with a dose of encouragement: Bakersfield and the San Joaquin
Valley still have some of the nation's worst air quality, but
there are points of improvement. Bakersfield-Delano ranked first
in the nation for short-term and annual particle pollution, and
third in ozone pollution in the Lung Association's "State of the
Air 2013" report. Posted.

Region's air improves, but still gets an F. The San Diego region
again received failing marks for its air quality from the
American Lung Association despite achieving steady declines in
pollution, a paradox that illustrates the complex and evolving
nature of environmental standards. Today, the group is scheduled
to release its 14th annual “State of the Air” report, which
grades air quality nationwide for the 2009-11 period. The greater
San Diego area got another “F” based on the number of days it
went above federal limits for ozone and particle pollution, and
it again made the association’s list of the 25 most polluted
cities in the country. Posted.

New pollution study ranks Los Angeles areas in top 10 worst in
state. A statewide snapshot measuring the cumulative impact of
pollution on public health reported that of the top 10 percent
most polluted ZIP codes in the state, half are in Southern
California. Three Los Angeles County communities are especially
burdened: East Los Angeles, Vernon and Baldwin Park, according to
CalEnviroScreen 1.0, an interactive tool released Tuesday by the
California Environmental Protection Agency. Posted. 

Region makes strides but still among worst in ozone levels. The
four-county Southern California region - which includes San
Bernardino and Los Angeles counties - remains the most
ozone-polluted region in the nation, but the number of unhealthy
ozone days is the lowest in more than a decade, the American Lung
Association, said a report released today. The region has seen a
36 percent reduction in annual unhealthy ozone days, between the
lung association's year 2000 report and the report out today.


Federal energy, safety agencies to study air emissions from gas
drilling. Two federal agencies are embarking on a study of air
emissions from natural gas drilling. Under the terms of a
memorandum of understanding signed by the National Institute for
Occupational Safety and Health and the National Energy Technology
Laboratory, the two departments will share data, quantify risks,
develop emission control mechanisms and assess exposure. The
research is part of a larger effort to address worker health and
safety concerns in the burgeoning U.S. shale industry. Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/energywire/print/2013/04/24/2 BY


UN Says Clean Energy Funding Too Low to Halt Climate Harm. UN
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said the funds flowing to renewable
power and efficiency aren’t sufficient to avert environmental
calamities and that investors must move more quickly to back new
energy technologies. “Climate change is a threat to economies
large and small and to the stability of the global financial
system,” Ban said today in a speech at a Bloomberg New Energy
Finance conference in New York. “The climate clock is ticking.
The longer we delay the greater the cost. Posted.

Climate changed discussed at United Nations Association event in
Whittier. Climate change and other environmental issues were
discussed in an Earth Day event Sunday held by the Whittier
chapter of the United Nations Association. Jack Eidt, nationally
known environmental activist, told a Whittier audience that
urgent action is needed to slow climate change and preserve the
natural environment, according to John Beynon, president of the
chapter. Posted.

UN climate chief hopeful 2015 talks will produce global warming
accord, despite 2009 failure. Governments are more serious and
the impact of climate change is more dramatic, improving chances
of a groundbreaking global warming pact in 2015 in contrast with
the failure of such an effort in 2009, the U.N. climate chief
said Tuesday.
The climate change talks in Copenhagen were a resounding failure,
setting back the movement to control global warming. Posted.

NM grapples with tough choices as drought persists. In southern
New Mexico, the mighty Rio Grande has gone dry - reduced to a
sandy wash winding from this chile farming community to the
nation's leading pecan-producing county. Only puddles remain,
leaving gangs of carp to huddle together in a desperate effort to
avoid the fate of thousands of freshwater clams, their shells
empty and broken on the river bottom. Across the state's eastern
plains, wells stand empty and ranchers are selling their cattle.
In the north, urbanites face watering restrictions while rural
residents see the levels of their springs dropping more every

U.S. and Calif. create bi-level climate diplomacy with China.
Secretary of State John Kerry and California Gov. Jerry Brown (D)
each went to China earlier this month to drum up enthusiasm for
climate change policies, signing treaties on both the provincial
and national levels. Brown made much of his mission in a talk at
Tsinghua University in Beijing on April 11, comparing the Golden
State positively to the federal government. "California's doing a
lot," he said. Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2013/04/24/5 BY

Japan starting from scratch with GHG policies. At this month's
U.N. meeting on climate change, Japan is expected to remain quiet
because the nation has not yet formed a plan to reduce greenhouse
gas emissions without relying on nuclear power. As of April,
Japan is no longer bound by the Kyoto Protocol and is freed from
any earlier emissions reduction goals. After the Fukushima
Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster in 2011…Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2013/04/24/10 BY


Big rig emissions checked in Santa Maria. Big rig drivers were
pulled over in Santa Maria today, not for the way they were
driving, but for what they may be putting into the air. "Diesel
exhaust is one of the largest contaminants here in California,"
said Eloy Flores of the Air Resources Board. According to the Air
Resources Board, 70% of the cancer risk from air pollution comes
from diesel exhaust. In order to put the brakes on high
emissions, state inspectors spent the day on Tuesday performing
numerous tests on heavy duty trucks traveling on Highway 166.

Officials hunt for air polluters. It wasn't the way Tuesday was
supposed to go for Jose Mejia. One minute he was wheeling his
Santa Maria-Bonita School District truck along Main Street,
having just delivered food for school lunches at Bonita
Elementary School — and the next he was stuck waiting at the side
of the road, caught in a surprise roadside inspection by air
resources authorities on the hunt for air polluters. “I’ve been
here 25 minutes,” Mejia said, watching as workers for the state
Air Resources Board peered into his engine. Posted.

US diesel truck emissions fall 95% from 1993 levels. Exhaust
emissions from US diesel trucks and heavy equipment have been cut
by more than 95%, new research has claimed. According to the new
Equipment World Infographic report, Greening the fleet, this
reduction in emissions is one of the most successful
environmental initiatives of our time. It has been achieved by a
combination of engine technologies including improved diesel fuel
injection, computerized engine controls and advanced engine air
management. Posted.


Rowdy Keystone pipeline hearing pits workers vs greens. U.S.
construction workers, environmentalists and company executives
squared off on Thursday at a raucous meeting on the Keystone XL
oil pipeline, but it was unclear the gathering changed any minds
on the controversial project. U.S. State Department officials
hosting the meeting repeatedly called for order at the hearing in
Grand Island, Nebraska. It was the first since the department
released a 2,000-page report on the environmental impacts of the
pipeline in March and more than four years after the project was
first floated. Posted.

L.A. City Council votes to move away from coal-fired energy. In a
12-0 vote, the panel clears the way to begin converting a
coal-fired plant in Utah to natural gas. But a DWP watchdog warns
that the move could cost more then $650 million. The Los Angeles
City Council approved a plan Tuesday to begin moving away from
coal-fired energy, despite warnings from a Department of Water
and Power watchdog that the shift could cost more than $650
million. Posted.

New hopes for shale gas in green’s paradise.  Germany has one of
the most robust green movements in the world, but economic
pressures are tempting it to try something critics say would harm
the Earth: shale gas drilling. Motivated by a rapid-fire increase
in natural gas production in the United States, German business
leaders and some politicians say they need to act quickly to
prevent the country’s industrial core from departing for places
where energy is just a fraction of the price. They worry that the
country’s ambitious environmental goals are far less meaningful
if the economy withers in achieving them. Posted.

Large coalition backs fracking moratorium in Calif.  A coalition
of more than 100 groups yesterday voiced support for California
legislation that would ban hydraulic fracturing for oil and
natural gas in the state. The alliance endorsed A.B. 1301 from
Assemblyman Richard Bloom (D), a measure that would impose a
moratorium on the process known as fracking until the Legislature
enacted subsequent legislation specifying how it could be done
safely. "Fracking endangers our climate, air, water, wildlife,
public health, and private property," the coalition said in a
letter to Bloom. Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/energywire/print/2013/04/24/3 BY


How the Wheels Came Off for Fisker. Untested Electric-Car Firm
Was Ripe for the Times; U.S. Loans Saddled It With Factory Never
Used. For a few months in 2012, Bruce Simon, the chief executive
of gourmet food retailer Omaha Steaks International Inc., drove a
$100,000 plug-in hybrid electric car known as the Fisker Karma.
No longer. Mr. Simon says his car broke down four times over the
span of a few months. Each time, Fisker Automotive Inc. picked it
up and sent it by trailer from his home in Omaha, Neb., to a
dealer in Minneapolis. Posted.

Breaking Down on the Road to Electric Cars. No one answers the
phones these days at Fisker Automotive. Its visionary founder has
quit; its employees have been laid off or put on furlough without
pay. Production of its sleek plug-in hybrid car, the Karma, ended
months ago. Veering on the edge of bankruptcy, without a buyer in
sight, Fisker has become — to lawmakers and others — the Solyndra
of the electric car industry. Not only private backers but
millions of dollars in government loans gave life to a company,
some would argue, that was a shaky investment from the start.

Car website notes 'green' car searches. The Sacramento region
made Cars.com's annual list of U.S. cities with the most
eco-conscious car shoppers. The Sacramento-Stockton-Modesto
region was No. 10 on the list, which was dominated by California
metro areas. The top three on the list are San
Francisco-Oakland-San Jose, Monterey-Salinas and San Diego,
respectively. The list was compiled based on millions of Cars.com
visitors searching for hybrids or other environmentally friendly
cars. Posted.

GM says Chevy Spark EV can go 82 miles per charge. General Motors
said Wednesday that the battery-powered version of its Chevrolet
Spark mini-car can travel up to 82 miles on a single charge,
putting it among the leaders in mass-market electric vehicles
sold in the U.S. The Spark EV also gets the equivalent of 119
miles per gallon in testing monitored by the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency. GM said that makes it the most efficient car
available for sale to the public. The figure is for combined city
and highway driving. Posted. 


EU faces energy policy vacuum after 2020. EU ministers meeting in
Dublin stood far apart on what energy and environment policy
could follow a set of 2020 targets, with a binding legal deal
unlikely before 2015. Energy firms, with long investment cycles,
say there is an urgent need for a new EU policy framework. Debate
has become much harder following economic crisis and the shale
gas revolution, which has handed the United States the advantage
of cheap energy. Posted.


L.A. City Council jumps into San Onofre debate. Los Angeles
became the latest -- and largest -- city to weigh in on the fate
of the San Onofre nuclear plant Tuesday, with the City Council
unanimously passing a resolution calling on federal regulators to
hold off on deciding whether the plant can restart. The plant has
been out of service for more than a year because of unusual wear
on steam generator tubes that carry radioactive water. One tube
leaked a small amount of radioactive steam last January,
prompting the plant's shutdown. Posted.

Cal students want oil money for education, green energy, county
governments and state parks. Tired of rising tuition at UC
Berkeley, a group of students said Monday it would help gather
signatures for a state ballot measure taxing oil and gas
extraction $2 billion for education, green energy, county
governments and state parks. The UC Berkeley group is joining 12
other student and environmental groups to get the California
Modernization and Development Act on the November 2014 ballot.

NYC tobacco policy would most curb youngest teens: researcher.
New York City officials, with the blessing of Mayor Michael
Bloomberg, announced Monday that they will seek to raise the
minimum age to buy tobacco products in the city’s five boroughs
from 18 to 21 years of age. Although the proposed rule might seem
to target the older teenagers who will no longer be able to buy
cigarettes, much of its effect would trickle down to high school
students 14 to 17 years old, said John Billimek, a health policy
researcher at the UC Irvine School of Medicine. Posted.


Smoking and the right to dumb choices. New York's proposal to ban
purchases by those under 21 is off-base. As thoroughly awful as
everyone knows cigarettes to be — still the No. 1 cause of
premature death in this country — public officials walk a blurry
line when they try to reduce smoking's terrible toll. As long as
they lack the will to ban tobacco altogether, they face all sorts
of ethical, legal and political problems in regulating a product
that is, after all, perfectly legal. High tobacco taxes, critics
say, unfairly punish smokers, who are disproportionately low
income. Posted.


If Keystone XL gets blocked, can trains save Canada’s tar sands?
There’s a key question at the center of the debate over the
Keystone XL pipeline. If President Obama rejects the pipeline,
will all of that Canadian heavy crude find another way to get to
market? After all, the biggest environmental objection to
Keystone is that oil from the tar sands of Alberta is far more
carbon-intensive than other types of oil. And the proposed
pipeline in question, which will transport up to 830,000 barrels
per day down to the Gulf Coast for refining, would allow the tar
sands industry to keep expanding. Posted.

The White House’s “all of the above” energy strategy goes global.
As President Obama’s national security adviser Tom Donilon speaks
Wednesday at the launch of Columbia University’s Center on Global
Energy Policy, we thought it would be worth highlighting some of
his speech’s key points: 1.The U.S. is in great shape because of
its oil and natural gas production. “The International Energy
Agency has projected that the United States could be the world’s
largest oil producer by the end of the decade. Of course, we
recognize that these are early days and prediction is a risky
business”. Posted.

Transformational Investment Plan Charts Course to Meet
California's Clean Energy, Air Quality Goals. The California Air
Resources Board will vote Thursday on a plan to invest the
proceeds from the sale of carbon pollution allowances in
transformational strategies and technologies to ensure the state
meets its long-term climate and air quality goals and delivers
those benefits to consumers. The Air Resources Board has held two
auctions of pollution permits to date (see here and here) under
the state’s cap-and-trade program, generating a combined $138
million to advance the goals of California’s Global Warming
Solutions Act (AB 32). Posted.

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