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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for October 21, 2013.

Posted: 21 Oct 2013 13:41:36
ARB Newsclips for October 21, 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.


Super smog hits north China city; flights canceled. Visibility
shrank to less than half a football field and small-particle
pollution soared to a record 40 times higher than an
international safety standard in one northern Chinese city as the
region entered its high-smog season. The manager for U.S. jazz
singer Patti Austin, meanwhile, said the singer had canceled a
concert in Beijing because of an asthma attack likely linked to
pollution. Posted.



In Canada's Alberta province, oil sands boom is a two-edged
sword. The oil sands industry has brought good jobs to villages
such as Fort Chipewyan. But there is fear about cancer and the
environment. In the Cree language, the word "athabasca" means "a
place where grass is everywhere." Here in Alberta, the Athabasca
River slices through forests of spruce and birch before spilling
into a vast freshwater delta and Lake Athabasca. But 100 miles
upstream, the boreal forest has been peeled back by enormous
strip mines...Posted.

Regulators move to shut down battery recycling plant.  Air
quality officials say Exide Technologies in Vernon has failed to
control lead and arsenic emissions, leading to health risks.
Regional air pollution regulators moved Friday to shut down Exide
Technologies' troubled battery recycling plant in Vernon, citing
public health risks from its repeated emissions of lead and
arsenic. Posted.

Supermarkets failing to curb harmful emissions, study finds. 
America's 12 largest supermarkets and retailers are failing to
curb their hydrofluorocarbon emissions, adding large amounts of
greenhouse gases to the environment, according to a new report.
The report, published by the nonprofit Environmental
Investigation Agency, examined 12 retailers, including Costco,
Whole Foods Markets, Target, Wal-Mart and the Delhaize Group,
whose brands include Food Lion and Bottom Dollar Food. Posted.

Boxer plans hearing on toxins following U.N. report. Following
the release of a World Health Organization report that designated
air pollution as a human carcinogen, Senate Environment and
Public Works Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said she plans
to hold a hearing on airborne pollution. In a report released
last week, the WHO's International Agency for Research on Cancer
said there was "sufficient evidence" linking exposure to outdoor
air pollution to lung cancer and an increased risk for bladder
cancer. Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/greenwire/stories/1059989127/print BY

EPA lends backing to Navajo haze plan alternative. U.S. EPA
officials are getting behind a pollution reduction plan by the
operators of the largest coal-fired power plant in the West,
saying it will achieve more progress than a previous federal
proposal. In July, a Technical Working Group (TWG) of Native
American leaders, conservationists and owners of the
2,250-megawatt Navajo Generating Station within the Navajo Nation
in Arizona proposed a plan that would shut down one coal-fired
unit by 2020 and install new pollution controls on the remaining
two units by 2030. Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/greenwire/stories/1059989132/print BY

Excessive smog hurts computers, too – Intel. Scientists already
know that excessive air pollution can cut life spans in northern
China by five years or more. Now, engineers with Intel Corp. are
finding the air is degrading electronic components crucial for
making the company's personal computers and servers work
properly. Intel engineers say sulfur in China's air is corroding
copper circuitry that is essential for PCs and servers. The air
pollution also wrecks motherboards that operate computer systems.
Posted. http://www.eenews.net/greenwire/stories/1059989110/print


Environmentalists, workers seek common ground. The nation's
largest labor unions are ready and willing to help fight global
warming, but are cautioning environmentalists that workers need
new clean-energy jobs before existing industries are shut down.
The four-day Power Shift conference in Pittsburgh is training
young people to stop coal mining, fracking for oil and gas, and
nuclear power, but organizers also want workers to join the
battle against climate change. Posted.



Australian wildfires put heat on climate change skeptic Abbott. A
long, hot summer looms for Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott
as devastating wildfires near Sydney fuel opposition to his plans
to repeal a carbon emissions tax, one of his basic campaign
pledges in the election he won a month ago. The links between the
blazes and climate change caused by carbon emissions are complex
and as the driest inhabited landmass on earth, deadly wildfires
have been a perennial problem for Australia. Posted.

To Fix Climate Change, Scientists Turn To Hacking The Earth. In
the summer of 2012, a small group of the Haida people, a native
community in Canada, had a problem. The salmon they rely on were
disappearing. So the Haida took matters into their own hands.
They partnered with an American businessman, drew up plans and
then took a boat full of iron dust into the waters off their home
island and put the dust in the ocean. When they spread the iron
dust, it created a big algae bloom. Posted.

Utility regulators fret over grid reliability as EPA preps
emission rules. State utility regulators at the forefront of
implementing upcoming federal rules to reduce carbon emissions
from existing power plants in the United States are concerned
that a fast-tracked schedule could trigger reliability issues.
"The most important question is, how quickly and how much of a
transition time we do have?" said Philip Jones, president of the
National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC).
Posted. http://www.eenews.net/greenwire/stories/1059989124/print 


GE, Clean Energy Fuels to advance natural gas use in trucking
industry. The transportation arm of General Electric Co. and the
largest provider of natural gas fuel in North America announced
today that they have partnered to convert heavy-duty trucking
fleets from diesel to natural gas. Truck fleet operators looking
to make the switch must contract with Clean Energy Fuels Corp.
and apply for loans and leases from GE Capital, including fair
market value leases, to acquire trucks from manufacturers that
produce commercial natural gas vehicles. Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/greenwire/stories/1059989135/print BY


US gas prices drop 2 cents over past 2 weeks. The average U.S.
price of a gallon of gasoline has dropped 2 cents over the past
two weeks. The Lundberg Survey of fuel prices released Sunday
says the price of a gallon of regular is $3.36. Midgrade costs an
average of $3.56 a gallon, and premium is $3.71. Diesel was down
a penny at $3.91 gallon. Posted.

Oil drops below $100 as supply reports awaited. Oil sagged to
below $100 a barrel Monday for the first time since early July as
traders waited for the delayed release of U.S. supply figures
that are expected to show another rise in crude stockpiles.By
early afternoon in Europe, benchmark crude was down 85 cents a
barrel to $99.96 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile
Exchange. The contract rose 14 cents Friday, lifted by an
improvement in China's quarterly economic growth. Posted.


UK looks to new nuclear plant to secure energy. Britain has
agreed to build the country's first nuclear power plant in a
generation, despite concerns raised by the Fukushima meltdown in
Japan as the U.K. seeks to secure its future energy needs and cut
greenhouse gas emissions. The government struck a deal with
Electricite de France and a group of Chinese investors Monday to
build the country's first nuclear power plant since 1995…Posted.


Methanol Fuel Worth a Second Look. Consider that China is making
a big bet on using methanol in vehicles to cut down on its air
pollution problems. Howard Sachar's letter of Oct. 16, citing a
bad experience some time ago by the Los Angeles County MTA,
disparages using methanol as a transportation fuel by stating
that it is corrosive to engine parts and produces toxic
emissions. The corrosion problem has been solved for new cars at
trivial cost (and conversion is even possible for existing cars).

Cheaper Gasoline Adds $40 Million a Day to the Pockets of
American Drivers. Gasoline prices will be 11¢ cheaper, on
average, in 2013 than a year ago, according to a new forecast
(pdf) from the Energy Information Agency:  “The weekly U.S.
average regular gasoline retail price fell by 18 cents per gallon
during September, ending the month at $3.43 per gallon. EIA’s
forecast for the regular gasoline retail price averages $3.34 per
gallon in the fourth quarter of 2013. Posted.

Waste Management Fuels Fleet with Landfill Gas. Waste Management
is building a facility that will create pipeline-ready natural
gas from its Milam Landfill in Fairmont City, Ill. The processed
renewable natural gas will be injected into the pipelines of
Ameren Illinois for withdrawal at other locations, including some
Waste Management facilities. Once there, it will be used to fuel
truck fleets and other equipment that run on compressed natural
gas (CNG). Posted.

USDA offers loan guarantees worth $181M for advanced
biorefineries. The Department of Agriculture announced the
availability today of $181 million in loan guarantees for
advanced-biofuel refineries. Producers can use that funding to
build new biorefineries or retrofit existing ethanol facilities
for next-generation fuels that don't rely on corn starch as an
input, USDA said. Applications will be due in January. Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/greenwire/stories/1059989120/print  BY


Is there a role for EVs in the grid of the future?  A potentially
lucrative new market is emerging around the exchange of energy
between plug-in vehicles and the electrical grid, particularly as
more low-carbon power generation sources come online. So-called
vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technologies are enabling electric vehicle
(EV) batteries to provide ancillary services to the grid that can
complement intermittent renewable energy sources or shave demand
during peak hours…Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/stories/1059989092/print BY


Work begins on Calif. bullet train, locals angry. Trucks loaded
with tomatoes, milk and almonds clog the two main highways that
bisect California's farm heartland, carrying goods to millions
along the Pacific Coast and beyond. This dusty stretch of land is
the starting point for one of the nation's most expensive public
infrastructure projects: a $68 billion high-speed rail system
that would span the state, linking the people of America's salad
bowl to more jobs, opportunity and buyers. Posted.


When it comes to construction of office buildings, green is the
new black.  In an effort to attract and retain talent and promote
a healthier work environment, many corporate tenants are looking
to locate in sleeker, brighter spaces. And increasingly,
companies concerned over rising energy costs and seeking to
minimize their environmental footprints are putting green office
space high on their wish list.  In turn, office developers
looking to maximize their potential pool of tenants are regularly
delivering Energy Star and LEED-certified office buildings.

Carbon-negative energy, a reality at last -- and cheap, too. In
Berkeley, Calif., All Power Labs is turning out machines that
convert cheap and abundant biomass into clean energy and rich,
efficient charcoal fertilizer. In 2007, officials from this
famously liberal city shut off the electricity to an artists
space known as the Shipyard. That action, which forced the
artists there to seek a new way to power their flamethrowers, is
the origin story of a company that now produces what it says is
the world's only carbon-negative power source. Posted.

Wind Power Cuts CO2 Emissions Considerably, Even At High
Penetration Levels. New empirical research out of Spain shows
that wind power is very effective at cutting CO2 emissions, even
at quite high penetration levels. This is, of course, what many
of us would expect, but some people have had the odd idea (or
have at least claimed) that wind power plants require such a
large amount of backup power that they are useless in making such
cuts. Absurd… as this new research shows. Posted.


L.A. City Council weighs appeal of PUC ruling on ride-sharing
firms. The L.A. City Council will meet with city lawyers to
discuss a possible appeal of the PUC's decision to allow the
operation of app-driven ride-share companies such as Lyft and
Sidecar. The Los Angeles City Council is weighing a challenge to
the app-driven ride-sharing companies that have given residents
new transportation options while drawing protests from the
taxicab industry. Posted.

Whatever happened to the Hydrogen Highway? Remember the Hydrogen
Highway? It was front-page news less than a decade ago, and the
California Fuel Cell Partnership in West Sacramento was ground
zero for what was touted as a forward-looking effort to green the
Golden State. Approved in 2004 by then-Gov. Arnold
Schwarzenegger, who promoted it with action film hero gusto, the
Hydrogen Highway envisioned construction of an extensive network
of hydrogen filling stations to serve drivers of zero-emission
fuel-cell vehicles…Posted.


Golden State Is Green and Fair, Too. The premise that our effort
to reduce the carbon intensity of vehicle fuels "punishes"
out-of-state businesses is countermanded by businesses. Regarding
your editorial "California's Green Trade War" (Oct. 12): Others
promoted the view that California's efforts to provide a
marketplace for cleaner vehicle fuels was tantamount to economic
protectionism. They sued us in court claiming discrimination on
the basis of geography. They lost. Posted.

Congress turns a blind eye to global warming.  This wasn’t the
dramatic news that opponents of the Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) were hoping for: Last Tuesday, the Supreme Court
declined to consider a variety of challenges to the EPA’s effort
to slash greenhouse gas emissions.  But the news wasn’t a total
victory for environmentalists. The court announced it would hear
one challenge to the agency’s regulations...Posted. 

Another View: ‘Green chemistry’ could harm auto industry and
consumer. Dan Morain’s recent column regarding California’s green
chemistry law (“State’s attempt to regulate toxic chemicals draws
long list of opposition,” Oct. 2) ignores a fundamental truth.
While well intentioned, the state’s green chemistry law could
have a negative impact on the auto industry’s dramatic progress
improving fuel economy, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and
increasing passenger safety. Posted.

Clean up the cosmetic industry. The following editorial appeared
in the San Jose Mercury News on Thursday, Oct. 17: The makers of
cosmetics are experts in the art of cover-up. Researchers say the
$60 billion beauty industry often fails to disclose the use of
potentially dangerous ingredients in its products, including
lead, phthalates, formaldehyde and triclosan - and the Food and
Drug Administration does not test or approve cosmetics before
they go to market. Posted.

California’s Energy and Climate Agenda: Visionary Leader or
Cautionary Tale? Should the United States adopt the ambitious
renewable-energy and climate-change policies that California is
pursuing? On one front, the federal government is already
following in California's footsteps. In 2009, President Obama
enacted ambitious fuel-economy standards that were modeled
largely off what the Golden State had done in its transportation
sector. Posted.

Letter: Next step: a carbon tax. Re “Shaheen’s energy legislation
should appeal to everyone” (Monitor Opinion page, Oct. 10):
Elizabeth Hager is right. Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Rob Portman
have written a common-sense bill to increase energy efficiency
and reduce emissions that everyone should find very easy to
support. When fighting climate change, it is important to pass
the easy legislation (grab the low-hanging fruit), while also
talking constantly about the harder legislation that will
actually be more effective at reducing emissions. Posted.


The shale-gas boom won’t do much for climate change. But it will
make us a bit richer. The shale-gas boom in the United States
won't do much to cut U.S. carbon-dioxide emissions or tackle
global warming. That's because, in addition to killing off
coal-fired plants, cheap gas will also edge out cleaner energy
sources like wind, solar, and nuclear. On the other hand, the
glut of natural gas from fracking will make the country a bit
wealthier and clean up other air pollutants in the decades ahead.

Airpocalypse’ Hits Harbin, Closing Schools. Updated, 8:22 a.m. |
School was canceled, traffic was nearly paralyzed and the airport
was shut down in the northeast Chinese city of Harbin on Monday
as off-the-charts pollution dropped visibility to less than 10
meters in parts of the provincial capital. A dark, gray cloud
that the local weather bureau described as “heavy fog” has
shrouded the city of…Posted.

New Report Confirms Major Progress in California's Alternative
Fuels Market.  After months of surveys, analysis and preparation,
the California Energy Commission’s draft 2013 Integrated Energy
Policy Report (IEPR) is out – and it shows that dramatic progress
is underway in the state’s transportation fuels market.  Not only
has the state made measured progress towards a more diversified
fuel market through targeted investments, the growth of
alternative fuels shows that policies like the Low Carbon Fuel
Standard (LCFS) are working and compliance is achievable. Posted.

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