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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.


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.

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.

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. 

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. 

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


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.

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.


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.

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.

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.


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.

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. 


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.eenews.net/greenwire/stories/1059986169/print BY


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.

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.

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. 

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.


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.


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.

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.

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.


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.

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.

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. 

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. 

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. 

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