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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for December 16, 2013

Posted: 16 Dec 2013 15:02:33
ARB Newsclips for December 16, 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.


EU Adopts Emergency Carbon Fix Law to Curb Permit Glut. The
European Union adopted an emergency law change to alleviate a
record glut of emission permits in the region’s carbon market and
help prices recover from near all-time lows. EU agriculture
ministers approved an amendment to authorize the European
Commission, the bloc’s regulatory arm, to postpone sales of as
many as 900 million carbon allowances despite opposition from
Poland. Posted.

EU Climate and Energy Squeeze on Industry Backfiring, Dow Says.
Europe’s “backfiring” climate and energy policies are adding to
high natural gas costs and holding back Dow Chemical Co.’s
investment in the region, said the company’s director of global
climate change policy. European Union proposals to limit the
amount of free emission permits in its cap-and-trade program
boost industry costs, and are one reason Dow and other chemical
makers limited refining capacity expansion in the region for the
past 12 years…Posted.

CARB Approves Another Round of Cap and Trade Amendments.  The
California Air Resources Board (CARB) has held its most important
meetings related to the Cap and Trade Regulation (Regulation)
annually in October over the last few years, and 2013 was no
exception. On October 25, CARB staff presented to the Board both
retroactive and proactive “tweaks” to the program in anticipation
of its next major milestone—the broadening of the compliance
market in 2015 when transportation fuels are included. Posted. 

Initiative: Carbon-credit dollars for timber lots.  For most of
Oregon’s history, the forests like the ones near Paul Nys’ house
were places where a landowner could get wealthy. Cultivated from
seed, rows of trees were grown to a healthy middle age and then
chopped down, buzzed into lumber at sawmills and shipped out. 
Over the years, the retired schoolteacher has had many offers to
buy his property…Posted. 

A forced auction sheds light on China's experiments with carbon
trading. Good sales usually signal a strong market demand, but
that might not always be the case in the Chinese carbon market.
Guangdong province, host to China's fourth regionwide emissions
trading pilot, today launched an auction for 3 million tons of
carbon permits. While the government has yet to unveil the
result, the Guangzhou-based China Emissions Exchange, which hosts
the auction, said that it has been going quite well. Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/stories/1059991889/print BY


Air quality officials say South L.A. oil field modifying
operations. Air quality regulators say that an urban oil field
blamed for chronic respiratory illnesses and nosebleeds in a
South Los Angeles neighborhood is modifying its operations to
prevent leaks and upgrade air pollution controls. Allenco Energy
Co., which voluntarily suspended operations Nov. 22 at the
request of U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), plans to inspect
and repair tanks, remove an open-air drain and sump from

Big disparities in air pollution detected in L.A. neighborhoods.
Smog is an irritation for anyone living in Los Angeles, but
exactly where in the city you live can make a huge difference in
your in your exposure to the tiniest air pollutants, a new study
has found. 
The study by UCLA researchers compared four Los Angeles
neighborhoods and found striking disparities in levels of air
pollutants known as ultrafine particles, even over short
distances. Posted.


Residents urge closure of Exide battery recycling plant. The
company says it has reduced emissions. One by one, hour after
hour Saturday in a ballroom at Cal State Los Angeles, residents,
elected officials and activists from southeast Los Angeles
pleaded with an air district hearing board to shut down a Vernon
battery recycler accused of endangering hundreds of thousands of
people because of unsafe arsenic and lead emissions. Posted.

Lawsuit aimed at FutureGen pollution standards. The Sierra Club
has filed a federal lawsuit aimed at tightening the pollution
controls planned for the FutureGen clean-coal project. The
environmental group argues In the lawsuit filed last week in U.S.
District Court in Springfield that the project needs to meet
tougher standards for preventing the release of pollutants into
the air. Posted.

Air agency announces Chico wood smoke ban today.  An indoor
wood-burning ban for Chico has been issued for today by the Butte
County Air Quality Management District.  In a press release, the
agency said residents inside Chico's city limits are being asked
not to use woodstoves or fireplaces today because of expected
poor air quality. Burning EPA-approved woodstoves or manufactured
logs is OK.  The ban continues today to midnight.  Posted. 

Unhealthy air conditions expected across the Valley.  The worst
type of advisory from the San Joaquin Valley Air District is air
deemed, "Very Unhealthy." Air is not expected to be that bad
Monday, but schools and doctors are watching the air quality
conditions very closely.  Schools say they could be limiting
outdoor actives for their kids. And allergy doctors say they are
preparing for a busy day.  The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution
Control District expects the air from San Joaquin to Kern
Counties to be unhealthy.  Posted.

Spare the Air alert issued for Monday.  Monday is a Spare the Air
day around the Bay Area, so burning of wood logs and other solid
fuels is prohibited unless there is no alternate heating source. 
Lingering cold weather had created stagnant atmosperic conditions
expected to trap air pollution at human levels, including soot
and microscopic particulates resulting from fires, air quality
officials say.  Posted. 

Pollution cuts at the port promise a breath of fresher air for
West Oakland. The Port of Oakland said that diesel pollution from
its maritime operations has plunged 70 percent from 2005 levels,
even as the port is handling 3 percent more cargo. The port is in
the midst of a larger push to reduce its diesel pollution in West
Oakland 85 percent by 2020. Tim Leong, an environmental scientist
at the port, said the agency is on track to meet that goal. “The
community can breathe easier,” Leong said. Posted.


EU reaches deal to cap super-warming F-gases. The European Union
on Monday reached a tentative deal on limiting the use in fridges
and air conditioners of fluorinated gases that have a global
warming potential thousands of times greater than carbon dioxide.
Two decades after international action led to the phasing out of
ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), the European
Commission last year proposed a law to eliminate the
climate-harming "F-gases" that replaced CFCs. Posted.

U.S. states urge regulator to adopt their emissions strategies.
Fifteen U.S. states have urged the top environmental regulator to
adopt their carbon-cutting policies as a template for future
federal rules to cut greenhouse gas emissions from power plants,
the country's largest source of pollution. Officials from states
such as Colorado, Illinois and Minnesota told the Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) their states had cut a fifth from carbon
emissions by power plants in the past seven years, using policies
other states could follow. Posted.


http://www.eenews.net/greenwire/stories/1059991919/print  BY

A burning question: Why don't climate scientists sound more
worried? If the threats posed by climate change are so grave,
then why don't scientists discussing those risks sound more
worried? This was the question addressed by science historian
Naomi Oreskes, of Harvard University, in a provocative session at
the American Geophysical Union conference. The session was titled
"400ppm CO2: Communicating Climate Science Effectively." Posted. 
http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/stories/1059991886/print BY

Opposition emerges to San Diego's Climate Action Plan. Last week,
San Diego officials released the working draft of the city's
Climate Action Plan, a 74-page proposal for slashing greenhouse
gas emissions. "Climate adaptation will not be inexpensive,"
according to the plan. "It is a case where the cost will come
before the benefits." Such open-ended verbiage has sparked
concern, especially from industries that say they will feel the
brunt of the new rules. The climate plan calls for major cutbacks
in each household's waste production…Posted.


EPA offers funding to cut down pollution from diesel engines. 
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has made available $2
million in funding for rebates to help public and private
construction equipment owners replace or retrofit older diesel
construction engines. The rebates will reduce harmful pollution
and improve air quality in local areas.  “Exhaust from diesel
construction equipment affects children, senior citizens and
others in neighborhoods across the country…Posted. 

Hydrogen-powered buses having ups and downs. The ski resort town
of Whistler, British Columbia, is ending its hydrogen fuel-cell
bus program, the world's largest demonstration of its kind, and
switching back to diesel. The 20-bus project was launched ahead
of the 2010 Winter Olympics to showcase the technology before an
international audience in a location with challenging terrain and
climatic conditions. Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/stories/1059991884/print BY


California Plans Tighter Control of Fracking, but Not Enough for
Some. California drillers eager to use hydraulic fracturing to
tap the nation’s largest oil shale formation will face
comprehensive regulation for the first time next year under rules
issued this week. The rules take effect on Jan. 1, though they
will be replaced a year later by permanent regulations that are
still being developed but are expected to be similar. Posted.

Gasoline prices dropping in Charlotte area, nation. The price of
gasoline in the Charlotte area and nationwide continues to dip
after fluctuating throughout November, according to AAA
Carolinas. The average local price today is $3.22 per gallon for
regular unleaded, down from $3.26 a week ago. The
Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill market’s average was $3.19 a month
ago. The statewide average price in North Carolina is $3.28 per
gallon, down from the week-ago average of $3.32 but still up from
the month-ago average of $3.20. Posted.

Natural gas seen passing coal as U.S. power source by 2040. The
U.S. Energy Information Administration and the International
Energy Agency issued slight downward revisions for future coal
use in separate reports released today. EIA's "Annual Energy
Outlook" early release, which makes predictions largely based on
a regulatory status quo, said natural gas will overtake coal in
U.S. power production by 2040. The agency said gas will fuel 35
percent of the nation's electricity by 2040 compared with 32
percent for coal. Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/greenwire/2013/12/16/stories/1059991921 BY

Democratic House bill would extend tax incentives. A House bill
introduced by Democrats as members left for recess last week
would extend two biofuels tax credits that are slated to expire
at the end of this month. The bill introduced by Rep. Scott
Peters (D-Calif.), who leads the Congressional Algae Caucus,
would provide a one-year extension of the second-generation
biofuel producer credit worth $1.01 a gallon of fuel and the
special allowance for second-generation biofuel plant property.
Posted. http://www.eenews.net/greenwire/stories/1059991907/print

Oil prices drive ethanol, corn prices -- U.N. study. Oil prices
are the long-run drivers of ethanol and corn prices, according to
a new study by economists from the U.N. Food and Agriculture
Organization. FAO economists Natalia Merkushev and George
Rapsomanikis found that in the long run, ethanol prices move with
oil prices -- though their relationship is affected by federal
policies like the renewable fuel standard. Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/greenwire/stories/1059991910/print BY


Tesla Motors plans to debut cheaper car in early 2015.  Tesla
Motors plans to unveil an electric car in early 2015 that could
sell in the $40,000 range, a mainstream offering that could be
key to the automaker's future growth. Tesla's only current
offering is the Model S, a premium sport sedan that starts at
$71,070 before any state or federal tax incentives, and can cost
far more with options. Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/greenwire/stories/1059991903/print  BY

Converting glycerol from biodiesel production into bio-gasoline. 
A team at the University of Idaho has demonstrated that glycerol,
a byproduct from biodiesel production, could be used as a
substrate for producing drop-in gasoline-range biofuel. In a
paper published in the ACS journal Energy & Fuels, Guanqun Luo
and Armando G. McDonald describe their study of converting
methanol (MTG) and a mixture of methanol and glycerol (MGTG) into
gasoline-range hydrocarbons using a bench-top, fixed-bed
microreactor.  Posted. 


Foes of bullet train are gaining momentum. The state's strategy
of tapping $3.2 billion in federal money to begin construction of
an ambitious bullet train project may be legally flawed and could
put the state in financial jeopardy, key lawmakers say. After
recent legal rulings that bar the use of state money for the
project, legislators from both political parties say that even
the use of federal funds is questionable and the entire project
needs to be reassessed. Posted.


Regulators pose threat to EU green energy and industry. A formal
enquiry by EU regulators into German energy subsidies, expected
this week, threatens to hand heavy industry a multi-billion euro
bill and jeopardises Europe's shift to green energy, campaigners
and lawyers say. Across the European Union, subsidies to help
achieve an overall 2020 target to get 20 percent of energy used
from renewable sources have been blamed for pushing up fuel
costs. Posted.

Valley builders prepare for new state energy-efficiency codes
next year. California is raising the bar next year on energy
efficiency in new homes and commercial buildings. Developers will
have to ensure roofs can support solar panels, install windows
that let in sunlight while reducing heat gain, and add
whole-house fans under the more stringent building codes. The
improvements could add a couple thousand dollars to the cost of a


Corning Inc. gets $30 million tax credit. Corning Inc. is getting
a $30 million tax credit from the federal government. The 48-C
Tax Credit is part of a $150 million package that will go toward
investments in manufacturing facilities by 12 firms. The benefit
will allow Corning to expand the manufacturing capacity of its
diesel emissions control products facility in Erwin, N.Y. U.S.
Sen. Charles Schumer says this new investment will allow
continued growth as countries around the world toughen emission
standards. Posted.

Beach Mining in Monterey Bay Causes a Dustup. Officials in
California Weigh Limits on a Decades-Old Facility That Dredges
Sand. California's Monterey Bay boasts one of the nation's most
protected coastlines, situated within a federal sanctuary that
imposes bans on everything from Jet Skis to offshore drilling.
Yet most days, hundreds of tons of sand are harvested from one of
its most picturesque beaches, in a mining operation now coming
under increased state and local scrutiny. Posted.

Residents living near Expo Line stations reduce car use, study
shows. After the light-rail line opened, Angelenos who lived
within half-mile of a station tripled their rail ridership, USC
study finds. he Metro Expo Line was already under construction
when Ryan Vincent started house-hunting. His goal: to live within
walking distance of a light-rail station. "Every house I looked
at, I was doing the mental calculus," Vincent, 39, said. Posted.


A Fight Over Cross-State Pollution.  The Environmental Protection
Agency is charged by the Clean Air Act with setting air-quality
standards and issuing regulations to limit pollutants like
life-threatening particulate matter and ozone. Because bad air
often travels far from its source — 93 percent of the air
pollution in New Haven, Conn., for example, comes from other
states — the act’s “good neighbor” policy requires that every
state work to assure that the pollution from its power plants
does not “contribute significantly” to the pollution in other
states. Posted. 

Kern almond trees very close to illegal fracking discharge. I
took a windshield tour last week to see hydraulic fracturing
operations around Shafter, just northwest of Bakersfield. Oil and
ag are side by side here -- right on top of a city of 17,000
people.I saw the site where Vintage Production California LLC
discharged chemicals and water into an open pit. The fluid,
containing boron, salts and other chemicals, had been injected
into shale thousands of feet below to free up oil. Posted.


Air regulators seek public comment on Vernon battery recycler. 
More than a hundred people turned out for the South Coast Air
Quality Management District's hearing about the Vernon-based
Exide battery recycling plant.  AQMD is asking for the district’s
independent quasi-judicial board for an abatement order that
would force Exide to halt all lead smelting operations until it
comes into compliance with rules to control emissions of arsenic
metals from its blast furnace.  Posted. 

Warmer days, potentially more pollution in store for Valley.  We
just got through a cold snap. Where I live, the overnight
temperatures dipped down into the mid-to-upper 20s. Daytime
highs, meanwhile, were in the 50s and, on some days, the 60s
even. Next week, however, it’s a different story: daytime temps
are expected to reach 70 degrees and this is for mid-December?! 
As temperatures rise, this could spell trouble for Central Valley
air.  Posted. 

The Neverending Story: Spare the Air Again on Monday.  Another
Winter Spare the Air alert has been issued, this one for Monday.
Wood burning is banned both indoors and outdoors for the full 24
hours.  It's the ninth consecutive Winter Spare the Air day,
setting yet another record.  The Bay Area Air Quality Management
District made the announcement on Sunday afternoon, saying the
prolonged cold weather is trapping pollutants close the ground
and causing unhealthy air.  Posted. 

China Can Clean Its Air. On December 14, 2013, China became the
first nation in 37 years to make a soft landing of a spacecraft
on the moon. Its unmanned Jade Rabbit lunar rover is now very
busy exploring the surface of the moon. At the very same time
this great scientific achievement was taking place, events nearer
to the ground were less inspiring. Last week, eastern China sat
under a massive gray cloud of air pollution that was among the
most widespread smog incidents the planet has ever seen. Posted.

Global Warming Explained, In About A Minute. On a pleasant day in
2011, researchers roamed San Diego's public parks in search of
volunteers to fill out anonymous surveys about global warming. In
the end about 270 responses were collected from a mix of park
visitors and nearby community college students. The researchers
wanted to know how well the average American understands the
basic processes responsible for global warming…Posted.

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