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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for September 11, 2013. Posted: 11 Sep 2013 14:21:10
ARB Newsclips for September 11, 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 BP Faces Claims Over Refinery's Pollutants. A Texas jury on Wednesday will begin hearing arguments in a lawsuit in which neighbors of a former BP PLC refinery allege the oil giant's release of toxic gases exposed residents to potential health dangers. The suit is the latest BP has faced over the refinery it used to own in Texas City, where a 2005 explosion killed 15 workers, injured scores of others and cost the London-based oil company $2.1 billion in legal settlements. Posted. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323864604579067371639047710.html?KEYWORDS=emissions A third of food is wasted, making it third-biggest carbon emitter, U.N. says. The food the world wastes accounts for more greenhouse gas emissions than any country except for China and the United States, the United Nations said in a report on Wednesday. Every year about a third of all food for human consumption, around 1.3 billion tons, is wasted, along with all the energy, water and chemicals needed to produce it and dispose of it. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/09/11/us-food-wastage-idUSBRE98A0E920130911 http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2013/sep/11/un-one-third-of-food-produced-gets-wasted/ Calif. air board collects nearly $400,000 in fines. California's clean air agency says so far this year it has settled 26 cases involving violations by firms making or selling products that exceeded standards for gases known as volatile organic compounds. The Sacramento Bee reports (http://bit.ly/16jNWgV) Wednesday that since January the California Air Resources Board has collected fines totaling $377,950. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/default/article/Calif-air-board-collects-nearly-400-000-in-fines-4804503.php Air pollution linked to heart-disease deaths. Link shown to heart disease death. It's common knowledge that chronic exposure to air pollution is linked to respiratory problems, but a new UC Berkeley-led study of California adults now links it to deaths from heart disease. The analysis, which was funded by the California Air Resources Board, estimated the individual air-pollution exposures of more than 73,700 California residents. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/default/article/Air-pollution-linked-to-heart-disease-deaths-4803352.php Maine gets feedback on anti-smog rules proposal. Maine's environmental department heard from supporters and opponents Tuesday of its proposal to weaken some air-quality restrictions. The Department of Environmental Protection is seeking federal approval to allow new or newly upgraded industrial polluters to be exempt from federal Clean Air Act measures designed to reduce ground-level ozone. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/default/article/Maine-gets-feedback-on-anti-smog-rules-proposal-4802752.php Study: People drive more on bad air alert days. Lured by crisp, clean mountain air only a short drive away, northern Utah residents seem to be escaping the murky valley air by driving up the canyons on days when bad air alerts are issued — even though the system was created to limit use of cars, a new study from the University of Utah found. Ten years of traffic counter data from the Utah Department of Transportation reveals traffic remained steady in the city center…Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/default/article/Study-People-drive-more-on-bad-air-alert-days-4802324.php Court denies Ariz. bid to delay pollution controls. A federal appeals court has rejected a bid to postpone pollution control upgrades at three Arizona coal-fired power plants. The state and four utility companies had asked the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals for the delay while the court reviews the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's rule. The court denied the request in a brief order this week. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/default/article/Court-denies-Ariz-bid-to-delay-pollution-controls-4802318.php San Joaquin County issues air quality alert. Increasing ozone levels and possible smoke from lingering wildfires have prompted air officials to declare the air basin’s second air alert of 2013 through today from Lodi to Bakersfield. Steps residents can take to reduce ozone levels include carpooling, vanpooling, refraining from idling when dropping off/picking up students…Posted. http://www.lodinews.com/news/article_5de1166a-3d77-519a-9c94-22d70f19612c.html CLIMATE CHANGE Arctic Ice Grows Again in August After Record 2012 Melt. The area of Arctic sea ice was nearly 30% greater in August than a year ago, according to recent satellite data, though projections based on longer-term trends suggest the sea ice will continue its decline over time. Arctic sea ice covered 2.35 million square miles in August, up from 1.82 million square miles a year earlier, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center, or NSIDC, in Boulder, Colo. The level recorded last year was a record low. Posted. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323864604579067243988516908.html?KEYWORDS=climate+change Obama Said to Ban New Coal Plants Without Carbon Controls. New coal plants would need to install expensive equipment to limit climate-change emissions under a proposal the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is close to issuing, according to people familiar with the plan. The EPA agreed to revise a similar proposal from last year in response to opposition by utilities and coal producers who said it would effectively kill coal as a power source. Posted. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-09-11/obama-said-to-ban-new-coal-plants-without-carbon-controls.html Regulations worry Yolo County farmers more than climate change itself. Some farmers are saying that climate change regulations don t look at how farmers can help the environment. (Deo Ferrer/ Democrat) California farmers feel more threatened by climate policy than they do by climate change itself, according to a new study from UC Davis. The study, published in the journal Global Environmental Change, found that the greatest climate risk Yolo County farmers believe...Posted. http://www.dailydemocrat.com/ci_24063832/regulations-worry-yolo-county-farmers-more-than-climate Climate Change in the Californian Mind. Highlights: • Most Californians (79%) believe global warming is happening, while only 11% believe it is not. • Over half (58%) believe that if global warming is happening, it is mostly due to human activities. • A majority (55%) also believes that most scientists think global warming is happening. Of those who believe global warming is happening, large majorities say that: Posted. http://environment.yale.edu/climate-communication/ DIESEL EMISSIONS CARB fines two waste haulers $77,875 for diesel violations. The California Air Resources Board has fined two waste disposal companies $77,875 for violating state air quality regulations. CARB levied administrative fines of $39,250 to Burlingame, Calif.-based Redwood Debris Box Service and $38,625 to Bakersfield, Calif.-based Mountainside Disposal Inc./Price Disposal Inc., according to a CARB news release. Posted. http://www.landlinemag.com/Story.aspx?StoryID=25691 Judges seem skeptical of truck makers' arguments against EPA penalty rule. Three of the nation's biggest long-haul truck manufacturers argued in court today that U.S. EPA should have voided air compliance certificates granted to a competitor in light of a court ruling last year. The manufacturers -- Daimler Trucks North America LLC, Mack Trucks Inc. and Volvo Group North America -- are challenging "certificates of conformity" EPA issued to Navistar International Corp. to manufacture trucks in compliance with EPA's 2001 nitrogen oxides (NOx) limits for heavy-duty truck engines. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/greenwire/stories/1059987075/print BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY FUELS EU lawmakers reduce use of food-based biofuel. The European Parliament voted Wednesday to significantly reduce the amount of biofuels made from food crops by 2020 to counter concerns over the energy source's environmental and ethical sustainability. Environmentalists argue biofuels made from sugar, corn or soybeans add as much or even more to greenhouse gas emissions as the fossil fuels they are meant to replace. Posted. http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/E/EU_EUROPE_BIOFUEL?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT OTHER RELATED STORIES http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323595004579068742133643768.html?KEYWORDS=climate+change http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2013/sep/11/eu-lawmakers-reduce-use-of-food-based-biofuel/ Vehicle Fuel Efficiency Reaches a High, Nearing Goal for 2016. Automakers are making slow but steady progress improving fuel efficiency, as the industry hit a high for the average miles per gallon of new vehicles sold in August in the United States. A study released by the University of Michigan on Tuesday said that the average fuel economy on the window stickers of cars and trucks sold last month was 24.9 miles per gallon. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/11/business/energy-environment/fuel-economy-hits-six-year-high.html?pagewanted=print EPA proposes changes to oil and gas emissions reporting. The oil and gas industry would have to reveal to U.S. EPA and the public the data it uses to compute its greenhouse gas emissions, under a new proposed rule. The proposal was released in a Federal Register notice published yesterday. The move is meant to improve transparency of the greenhouse gas reporting program, a key EPA initiative mandating that companies report the amount of greenhouse gases…Posted. http://www.eenews.net/energywire/stories/1059987016/print BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY VEHICLES Automakers bet on alternative-fuel cars for future. Judging by the slew of electric and hybrid vehicles being rolled out at the Frankfurt Auto Show, it might seem carmakers are tapping a large and eager market. But in fact almost no one buys such cars — yet. More and more automakers are coming out with electric versions of existing vehicles — such as Volkswagen's all-electric versions of its Up! city car and Golf compact — or ones they have designed as electrics from the ground up, like small BMW's electric city car i3. Posted. http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/E/EU_FRANKFURT_AUTO_SHOW_ELECTRIC_DREAMS?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/E/EU_HOT_WHEELS_MERCEDES_S_CLASS_HYBRID?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT OTHER RELATED STORIES http://www.sfgate.com/default/article/Automakers-bet-on-alternative-fuel-cars-for-future-4804489.php http://www.vcstar.com/news/2013/sep/11/automakers-bet-on-alternative-fuel-cars-for/#ixzz2ebc7AKbr VW may sell CNG cars in U.S. Volkswagen Group says it is considering selling compressed-natural gas cars in the United States and has talked to the Environmental Protection Administration, urging the government to do more to support CNG refueling. Heinz-Jakob Neusser, head of powertrain development at VW, said the company is considering selling CNG vehicles in the United States. Currently, only Honda Motor Co. sells a CNG passenger car — and it has sold only about 2,000 vehicles. Posted. http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20130911/AUTO0104/309110090#ixzz2ebpXBEM8 Plug-in electric vehicle sales expected to grow by 18% annually – report. Plug-in electric vehicle sales have failed to meet the expectations of automakers and political leaders, but the vehicles are quickly becoming more available across North America, with coastal states showing the highest adoption rates, according to a new report by Navigant Research. The report finds that California, New York, Washington and Florida will lead the way in plug-in vehicle (PEV) sales through 2022. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/stories/1059987025/print BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY Battery maker to unveil micro hybrid system. The world's largest automotive battery supplier today will unveil a two-battery micro hybrid system for automobiles. The production-ready system, which will be debuted by Johnson Controls Inc. at the International Motor Show in Germany, would boost a car's fuel economy by 15 percent. The company released the prototype in January, and it plans to have the first generation of the battery to automakers by December. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/greenwire/stories/1059987062/print BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY GREEN ENERGY Far-reaching energy bill a step closer to reality. A bill that could raise California's already lofty goals for renewable power, encourage more homeowners to go solar and change the way most state residents pay for electricity appears to be headed for Gov. Jerry Brown's desk. The legislation from Assemblyman Henry Perea, D-Fresno, had been the subject of a bitter, months-long fight between electricity utilities and solar companies…Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/default/article/Far-reaching-energy-bill-a-step-closer-to-reality-4803399.php Supervisors OK zoning rules for renewable energy development. Sonoma County supervisors Tuesday approved zoning rules that they said would ensure a “conservative” and “cautious” approach to renewable energy development on the county's farms, ranches and remote forested lands and hillsides. The regulations for commercial projects on agricultural property cover more than three-quarters of the county, or more than 700,000 acres. Posted. http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/20130910/articles/130919944 MISCELLANEOUS California Takes Steps to Ease Landmark Law Protecting Environment. A landmark law that has been a symbol of California’s tough environmental philosophy for more than 40 years is facing an unlikely challenge from Democrats, including Gov. Jerry Brown, who contend that regulations protecting the environment have been abused and are thwarting legitimate development. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/11/us/california-takes-steps-to-ease-landmark-law-protecting-environment.html?ref=science&pagewanted=print Study: Wind farms killed 67 eagles in 5 years. A new study by government scientists says wind energy facilities have killed at least 67 golden and bald eagles in the last five years, but the number could be much higher. The research represents one of the first tallies of eagle deaths attributed to the nation's growing wind energy industry. A total of 85 eagles were killed at wind farms since 1997, the study concludes, but most of those occurred in 2008-2012. Most deaths — 79 — were golden eagles. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Study-Wind-farms-killed-67-eagles-in-5-years-4805253.php Valley fever hospitalizations increase in Calif. The annual rate of hospitalizations for valley fever, a potentially lethal but often misdiagnosed disease, has doubled over the past 12 years in California, according to a study published on Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The fever — which is caused by a fungus found in soil and can be contracted by simply breathing in the spores from dust disturbed by wind or other activity…Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/news/medical/article/Valley-fever-hospitalizations-increase-in-Calif-4805249.php Monterey Bay Unified Air Pollution Control District re-branding contest open to Monterey Bay area college students. The Monterey Bay Unified Air Pollution Control District is holding a re-branding contest to accept submissions for a new name. The contest is open to college students in Monterey, Santa Cruz and San Benito counties. The entry deadline is Sept. 30. Posted. http://www.contracostatimes.com/california/ci_24068395/monterey-bay-unified-air-pollution-control-district-re Oakley council pursues apartment complex smoking law. In an effort to protect the public's health, the city will be pursuing an ordinance that regulates where smokers in apartments can indulge their habit. The City Council on Tuesday directed its attorney to draft an ordinance that, if it follows staff recommendations, would apply to complexes with 10 or more units and not only to tobacco users but those who smoke marijuana for medicinal purposes. Posted. http://www.contracostatimes.com/east-county-times/ci_24068331/oakley-council-pursues-apartment-complex-smoking-law OPINIONS COLUMN-Australia is another nail in cap and trade: Wynn. Australia's proposal to ditch cap and trade market in favour of a weakened scheme follows reduced or abandoned carbon markets in Europe and the United States and does not bode well for planned schemes around the world. One advantage of cap and trade was always supposed to be the fact that it is not a tax. As a complicated policy instrument, it was something that the public would struggle to understand or care about. Posted. http://uk.reuters.com/article/2013/09/11/column-wynn-australia-co-idUKL5N0H622720130911 More on Fracking and the Poor. The U.S. oil and gas boom added $1,200 to disposable income in 2012. Last week we reported on a study showing that the U.S. oil and natural gas revolution may be the country's best antipoverty program, and the evidence keeps coming. A new report from IHS Global Insight estimates that fracking added the equivalent of a cool $1,200 to real household disposable income on average in 2012. Posted. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324094704579065432802151184.html#printMode The dangerous effects of global warming. DID GLOBAL warming contribute to the punishing heat wave much of the country endured during the summer of 2012? How about Superstorm Sandy? A group of 78 scientists led by experts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) last week gave their preliminary answers, releasing a series of peer-reviewed analyses on those and other major weather events from last year. Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-dangerous-effects-of-global-warming/2013/09/08/14a96d62-1721-11e3-be6e-dc6ae8a5b3a8_story.html Counting the Cost of Fixing the Future. What would you pay to protect the world in which your great-great-grandchildren will live from hurricanes, drought and the like? In May, to little fanfare, the Obama administration published new estimates of the “social cost of carbon,” a dollars-and-cents measure of the future damage — from floods, pandemics, depressed agricultural productivity — that releasing each additional ton of heat-trapping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere would cost. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/11/business/counting-the-cost-of-fixing-the-future.html?pagewanted=all Another View: CEQA streamlining needed for Sacramento arena. Sacramento is set to embark on possibly the most significant civic project in the history of the city. The downtown sports and entertainment complex is a necessary component to keeping the Kings in California. But more than that, it’s a vital civic amenity that will renew our city center, create jobs and stimulate our region’s economy. That’s why the passage of SB 743 is critical to Sacramento’s future. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2013/09/11/5725242/another-view-ceqa-streamlining.html#storylink=cpy Viewpoints: CEQA reform is no longer stuck in traffic. State Senate pro Tem Darrell Steinberg is finally putting some sense back into the California Environmental Quality Act, at least when it comes to how the law treats traffic impacts. His bill to modernize CEQA is now taking overdue aim at the law’s misguided way of dealing with traffic. Nobody likes sitting in traffic. But the way CEQA currently handles the issue creates more environmental problems than it solves. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2013/09/10/5724841/viewpoints-ceqa-reform-is-no-longer.html#storylink=cpy BLOGS From the Fire Hose: Warming Slowdown, Deep-Ocean Waves, Canadian Crude. Zeke Hausfather, a data analyst at the Berkeley Earth project, has filed “Examining the Recent Slowdown in Global Warming” at the Yale Forum on Climate Change and the Media. It’s a superb examination of what’s known, and unknown, about what James Hansen, Susan Solomon and other climate scientists have described as a pause or hiatus in warming. Posted. http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/09/11/more-on-warming-slowdown-mislabeled-crude-in-canadian-train-inferno/?ref=earth RIVERSIDE: Forum focus is air pollution and growth. I hope those of you interested in air pollution can attend a community forum on the topic on Thursday, Sept. 12, sponsored by The Press-Enterprise. It will be an opportunity to discuss the health effects, economics and policy questions surrounding Inland air quality, which fails to meet federal health standards. The event is free and open to everyone. Posted. http://blog.pe.com/air-quality/2013/09/11/riverside-forum-focus-is-growth-and-air-pollution/ Grid Storage Cost-Effective for Solar, Not So Much for Wind. Renewables like solar and wind aren't on call 24/7. If we expect to count on power from those two intermittent resources 24/7, we need to find a way to store that power, so that we can flick a switch on on a windless night and have the lights go on. This isn't news: we've covered the storage issue frequently here at ReWire. But a study published recently is news: it suggests that on a cost-effectiveness basis alone, storage may make a lot more sense for solar energy than it does for wind. Posted. http://www.kcet.org/news/rewire/the-grid/grid-storage-cost-effective-for-solar-not-so-much-for-wind.html