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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for August 19, 2013. Posted: 19 Aug 2013 14:26:13
ARB Newsclips for August 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 Luminant Sued by EPA Over Texas Clean Air Violation Claims. Luminant Generation Co., the largest power generator in Texas, was sued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over air-pollution standards for two power plants. The enforcement action, which was filed under seal in federal court in Dallas, follows two earlier EPA notices of violations of the U.S. Clean Air Act by the Big Brown plant in Freestone County and the Martin Lake plant, located in Rusk and Panola counties. Posted. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-08-16/luminant-sued-by-epa-over-texas-clean-air-violation-claims-1-.html Valley air officials say more trees could cool down smog problem. In sweltering September 2011, Fresno could have used more trees. Temperatures climbed, winds died and lung-searing ozone spiked the season's highest readings on three days. Worse yet, all three peaks broke the one-hour federal ozone standard between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. on weekdays when children were outside after school. Posted. http://www.modbee.com/2013/08/17/2867657/san-joaquin-valley-air-officials.html#storylink=cpy http://www.mercedsunstar.com/2013/08/17/3169142/san-joaquin-valley-air-officials.html http://www.fresnobee.com/2013/08/17/3445450/san-joaquin-valley-air-officials.html Air Alert in effect for back-to-school week. Authorities have called an Air Alert from Monday through Wednesday, saying valley residents need to be aware of rising ozone levels with school beginning and traffic expected to increase as a result. The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District announced the alert on Friday. It's hoped that motorists will avoid idling their cars and using drive-through services when an alert is declared. Residents are also encouraged to car-pool. Posted. http://www.fresnobee.com/2013/08/19/3446373/air-alert-in-effect-for-back-to.html http://www.modbee.com/2013/08/16/2867307/rising-ozone-prompts-air-alert.html http://www.recordnet.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20130819/A_NEWS/308190308 Smoke from Siskiyou forest fires creates unhealthy conditions. As three forest fires continue to burn in the Sawyers Bar area, Siskiyou County officials are warning that the amount of smoke in the air there has made the outdoors hazardous for activity. “Everyone should avoid all physical activity. Older adults should remain indoors. Simply put, exchange as little air as possible, avoid all exercise,” said Patrick Griffin, agriculture commissioner and air pollution control officer, of regions experiencing a hazardous level of smoke. Posted. http://www.redding.com/news/2013/aug/17/smoke-from-siskiyou-forest-fires-creates/ EPA's pending CO2 rules will need flexibility to deal with uneven state actions. If Obama's climate road map goes into force as planned, U.S. EPA will be tasked with crafting power plant rules that match the uneven terrain of different states' previous efforts to cut carbon. Thirty states and the District of Columbia have enacted renewable portfolio standards, and 10 are involved in a cap-and-trade system for greenhouse gases. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/stories/1059986135/print BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY CLIMATE CHANGE Experts surer of manmade global warming but local predictions elusive. Climate scientists are surer than ever that human activity is causing global warming, according to leaked drafts of a major U.N. report, but they are finding it harder than expected to predict the impact in specific regions in coming decades. The uncertainty is frustrating for government planners: the report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the main guide for states weighing multi-billion-dollar shifts to renewable energy from fossil fuels…Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/08/16/us-climate-report-idUSBRE97F0KM20130816 Warming trend a sign of climate change in Clear Lake. Clear Lake, a haven for bass anglers and jetskiers at the foot of a dormant volcano in Lake County, is also a sentinel for climate change in California. Satellite measurements of the shallow, 68-square-mile lake’s surface water temperature show a pronounced warming since 1992, matching the trend at five other lakes in California and Nevada, including Lake Tahoe. Posted. http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/20130818/articles/130819537 FUELS Montana Oilmen Baffled by Bay Area Opposition to Keystone. In San Francisco, more than 1,300 miles from the proposed route of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, an agency charged with regulating air pollution from industrial plants and home heaters says the project is a threat. The Bay Area Air Quality Management District has joined scores of municipalities and interest groups from California to Maine that have adopted resolutions on Keystone XL or crude from Alberta’s oil sands that the pipeline is designed to carry. Posted. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/print/2013-08-16/montana-oilmen-baffled-by-bay-area-opposition-to-keystone.html Judge: Calif. high-speed rail violates initiative. A Sacramento County judge dealt a major blow to California's high-speed rail project Friday, ruling that the agency overseeing the bullet train failed to comply with the financial and environmental promises made to voters when they approved initial funding for the project five years ago. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2013/08/16/5657474/judge-calif-high-speed-rail-violates.html#storylink=cpy Are Democrats About to Fracture Over Fracking? Environmental activists see opportunities ahead to pressure the party on what they see as a risky drilling practice. Led by President Obama, most Democrats have tried to occupy a careful middle ground on the natural-gas industry that's transforming the U.S. energy economy. But that balance might not last much longer, as environmentally conscious "fracktivists" look for ways to press their case that the potential for pollution…Posted. http://www.nationaljournal.com/politics/are-democrats-about-to-fracture-over-fracking-20130817?mrefid=mostViewed VEHICLES Ford Lowers Mileage Rating on C-Max Hybrid to 43 MPG. Ford Motor Co. (F), hit by lawsuits for coming up short on its fuel economy promises, lowered the mileage rating for its C-Max Hybrid model. The automaker will also make one-time payments to customers because of the change. The rating for the 2013 model was revised to 43 miles (69 kilometers) per gallon for combined city and highway driving…Posted. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/print/2013-08-15/ford-said-to-lower-mileage-rating-on-c-max-plug-in-hybrid.html Hybrids take 7% of California market in 1H 2013; PHEVs 0.7%; EVs 1.1% Hybrid vehicle market share (excluding plug-in hybrids) in California increased to 7% in the first half of 2013, up from 6.2% in 2012, according to the California Auto Outlook for the second quarter of 2013. Plug-in hybrid market share was an estimated 0.7%, while battery electric vehicle market share hit 1.1%. California Auto Outlook is sponsored by the California New Car Dealers Association. Posted. http://www.greencarcongress.com/2013/08/20130817-cao.html HIGH-SPEED RAIL Judge's ruling could bring Valley's high-speed rail project to screeching halt. A Sacramento County Superior Court judge's decision late Friday has the potential to halt construction of California's high-speed rail project before it starts. After considering a lawsuit filed almost two years ago by Kings County and two of its residents, Judge Michael Kenny determined that a funding plan adopted by the California High-Speed Rail Authority in 2011 violated several provisions of Proposition 1A…Posted. http://www.fresnobee.com/2013/08/16/3445675/judges-ruling-could-bring-valleys.html http://www.eenews.net/greenwire/stories/1059986169/print BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY GREEN ENERGY Trash Into Gas, Efficiently? An Army Test May Tell. THERE is an indisputable elegance to the idea of transforming garbage into fuel, of turning icky, smelly detritus into something valuable. But big drawbacks have prevented the wholesale adoption of trash-to-gas technology in the United States: incineration is polluting, and the capital costs of new plants are enormous. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/18/business/trash-into-gas-efficiently-an-army-test-may-tell.html?ref=earth Multifamily property rehab certified 'green' Build It Green, the Oakland-based nonprofit that works with public and private entities to adopt green building practices, has given its first green certification for a rehabilitation of a multifamily property in Sacramento County to Norwood Mutual Housing. "Norwood is the first and only rehab of an existing multifamily project we have rated in the county," said Christopher Becker, BIG's senior project manager. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2013/08/17/5658216/multifamily-property-rehab-certified.html#storylink=cpy Green energy fees disappearing from utility bills. Four years after raising customers' bills to meet mandates to sell cleaner power, Michigan's biggest utilities are eliminating the fees or slashing them significantly. Residential customers of DTE Electric may see their $3 monthly surcharge fall to 43 cents under a plan pending with state regulators. Consumers Energy's 52-cent monthly fee for residential customers — which previously fell from $2.50 — could go away entirely next year. Posted. http://www.fresnobee.com/2013/08/17/3445286/green-energy-fees-disappearing.html Some Vt. utilities try to put brakes on solar boom. When the tiny Washington Electric Cooperative Inc. announced last week it was moving to slow the growth of customers installing solar power systems and putting their extra electricity on the power grid, it brought to the fore a battle that had been brewing for years. The Shumlin administration, lawmakers and Vermont's largest utility have been cheering the arrival of solar energy and "net metering" on Vermont's electrical generation … Posted. http://www.modbee.com/2013/08/18/2870199/some-vt-utilities-try-to-put-brakes.html#storylink=cpy MISCELLANEOUS Safeway evicts parking lot recycling centers. The problem seems as obvious as the trash on the street. The large recycling centers in parking lots at two Safeway stores - one near Japantown and one at Church and Market streets - have become magnets for a scruffy group of scavengers. These guys haul in bottles and cans in stolen shopping carts, hang out and make customers uneasy. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/nevius/article/Safeway-evicts-parking-lot-recycling-centers-4721762.php - OPINIONS Wanted: Another Green Mayor. New York has been a dirty, gritty city practically forever, but it has also had farsighted leaders who qualify as green visionaries, going back to the 19th century. They preserved valuable real estate as irreplaceable public parkland; dreamed up an astonishing system of aqueducts to carry clean mountain water, unpumped and unfiltered, to city taps; and built a walkable, ridable, electric-train metropolis generations before “smart growth” and “transit-oriented development” were buzzwords. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/19/opinion/wanted-another-green-mayor.html?_r=0 Time to ban plastic bags statewide. As San Franciscans, we care deeply for the environment. Together, we've shown the world that hybrid cars, composting, rooftop solar panels and reusable bags work to solve environmental problems. Soon, our first-in-the-nation plastic-bag ban will cover restaurants, and San Francisco will be the biggest U.S. city completely free of plastic carry-out bags. With Los Angeles' plastic bag ban, a third of Californians will soon be bag free. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/opinion/openforum/article/Time-to-ban-plastic-bags-statewide-4724583.php Editorial: Rail project could be a boon for the Valley. Much of the focus on California's high-speed rail project has been on reading the tea leaves of the far-distant future – from projecting costs to ridership demand. But that misses an important part of the here and now: the potential for this project to benefit much of the Central Valley, including its largest city, Fresno. The California High-Speed Rail Authority signs a contract for "everything-but-track" work next week for the first stage…Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2013/08/18/5657883/editorial-rail-project-could-be.html#storylink=cpy BLOGS A Closer Look at the Technical and Behavioral Barriers to Action on Global Warming. There’s been some excellent writing elsewhere of late showing why addressing the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, despite the clarity of the basic science, is so hard. Here are two examples: In the Huffington Post, Tom Zeller, Jr., has filed an expanded version of an earlier clear-eyed examination of the impediments to wide adoption of technologies for capturing carbon dioxide from the air and stashing it underground. Posted. http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/08/19/a-closer-look-at-the-technical-and-behavioral-barriers-to-action-on-global-warming/?ref=earth Over half of all EVs in America are in these five cities. If someone were to tell you that electric vehicles are popular in Los Angeles, there's no reason to be surprised. Same thing with San Francisco and New York City. But if someone were to tell you she had collected a list of the top five EV cities in the US, which would round out the list? The picture above is a hint, if you recognize the skyline. Posted. http://green.autoblog.com/2013/08/17/over-half-of-all-evs-in-america-are-in-these-five-cities/ Economics and Politics in California: Cap-and-Trade and Trade Exposure. In my previous essay at this blog – The Importance of Getting it Right in California – I wrote about the precedents and lessons that California’s Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32) and its greenhouse gas (GHG) cap-and-trade system will have for other jurisdictions around the world, including other states, provinces, countries, and regions. Posted. http://theenergycollective.com/robertstavins/261901/economics-and-politics-california-cap-and-trade-allowance-allocation-and-trade- Climate scientists are 95 percent sure that humans are causing global warming. Climate hawks are buzzing over leaks from the fifth big climate report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, due to be officially released in September. Spoiler: Scientists are pretty damn confident that we’re screwing up the climate. An earlier draft was leaked in December by climate deniers trying to undermine the case for anthropogenic climate change. Posted. http://grist.org/news/climate-scientists-are-95-percent-sure-that-humans-are-causing-global-warming/ 16 of your favorite things that climate change is totally screwing up. When people talk about “climate impacts,” the images that usually come to mind are broiling heat waves, drought-parched creek beds, dangerous storm surges, the slowly but surely rising sea. These things can seem distant and unlikely to affect most people’s day-to-day lives, but there is growing evidence that the reality of climate change will strike close to home. Posted. http://grist.org/climate-energy/16-of-your-favorite-things-that-climate-change-is-totally-screwing-up/