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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for July 22, 2014. Posted: 22 Jul 2014 12:57:08
ARB Newsclips for July 22, 2014. 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 Corralling Carbon Before It Belches From Stack. So much soot belched from the old power plant here that Mike Zeleny would personally warn the neighbors. “If the wind was blowing in a certain direction,” Mr. Zeleny said, “we’d call Mrs. Robinson down the street and tell her not to put out her laundry.” That coal plant is long gone, replaced by a much larger and cleaner one along the vast Saskatchewan prairie. Sooty shirts and socks are a thing of the past. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/22/science/corralling-carbon-before-it-belches-from-stack.html?_r=0 Groups sue over steel plant’s air emissions permit. A state agency’s decision to revise a Detroit-area steel plant’s air quality permit will allow the facility to continue emitting too much pollution, environmental organizations said Monday in a lawsuit. The Sierra Club and several other groups are challenging the May ruling by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, which changed the permit for a Dearborn plant owned by Severstal. Posted. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/jul/21/groups-sue-over-steel-plants-air-emissions-permit/#ixzz38DcJJzKx http://www.sacbee.com/2014/07/21/6571441/groups-sue-over-steel-plants-air.html U.S. troops in Afghanistan sent waste to open burn pits, report finds. Although the U.S. has spent millions to build incinerators in Afghanistan to avoid exposing anyone to toxic smoke from open burning, American troops sent waste to an Afghan-operated open pit for five months last year, according to an inspector general’s report issued late Monday. The Afghans continued to burn their own dangerous waste -- including batteries, tires and plastic…Posted. http://www.latimes.com/nation/nationnow/la-na-nn-afghan-burn-pits-20140721-story.html#page=1 CO2 Emissions Regulations from EPA Narrowed by Supreme Court. Since the US Supreme Court affirmed in 2007 that the Clean Air Act (CAA) provides the EPA with authority to regulate CO2 and other greenhouse gases, EPA has pursued a growing set of regulatory initiatives. In each, EPA has attempted to fit GHGs into statutory and regulatory programs originally designed for more conventional pollutants…Posted. http://www.environmentalleader.com/2014/07/22/co2-emissions-regulations-from-epa-narrowed-by-supreme-court/ Oil company agrees to pay fine for super greenhouse gas emissions. A subsidiary of Occidental Petroleum Corp. has agreed to pay $254,100 to settle charges that it emitted a greenhouse gas in amounts exceeding what California law allowed. THUMS Long Beach Co., an offshore oil and gas production operation, did not admit any liability in the case and paid the fine to resolve the complaint by the California Air Resources Board (ARB), according to a written agreement. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/stories/1060003261/print BY SUBSCRIPTON ONLY CLIMATE CHANGE Climate scientists have a beef with beef. If you want to slow climate change, white meat may be the right meat, according to two studies that tally the environmental effect of the beef industry. Raising cattle in the U.S. requires 28 times as much land and 11 times as much irrigation water, and pumps at least five times as much planet-warming gases into Earth's atmosphere than producing the equivalent calories of dairy products, poultry, pork or eggs…Posted. http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-climate-scientists-beef-20140721-story.html http://www.sfgate.com/default/article/Beef-pollutes-more-than-pork-poultry-study-says-5635839.php California was hotter than ever during the first half of 2014. It was another balmy, breezy summer day Monday, with a high in San Jose of 79 degrees, far below the record temperature of 97. Oakland was even cooler at 74, and as usual, San Francisco's high of 70 was cool enough to bring out jackets. But beneath that simmering surface calm, the ground was heating up at a record rate -- and the California weather landscape was shifting with it. Posted. http://www.contracostatimes.com/News/ci_26191436/California-was-hotter-than-ever-during-the-first-half-of-2014 http://www.insidebayarea.com/News/ci_26191436/California-was-hotter-than-ever-during-the-first-half-of-2014 Checking the variability of EPA's math leads some to question its Clean Power Plan. Under the Clean Power Plan (CPP) -- U.S. EPA's ambitious proposal to curb greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants -- states are asked to meet widely divergent targets. Some, like North Dakota and Kentucky, would have to cut carbon intensity by less than 20 percent; others would have to hit reduction targets of more than 40 percent. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/2014/07/22/stories/1060003262 BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY U.N. gives climate change policy a major role in dealing with poverty. The United Nations has made tackling climate change a central part of fighting poverty in a sweeping new blueprint that could form the core of the world's development priorities for the coming decades. Approved over the weekend after nearly 29 hours of debate, the proposed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) still must get the green light from the General Assembly in September before undergoing still further negotiations. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/stories/1060003264/print BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY Soaring 60,000 feet above, pilots use NASA laser technology to analyze Arctic ice and sea-level conditions. In the cockpit of an ER-2 jet with its impressive 103-foot wing span, two pilots in Alaska have been flying over the Arctic and back to help NASA scientists gather information about the relationship between melting ice and sea-level rise. Taking turns piloting eight-hour flights from Fort Wainwright -- close to Fairbanks -- to the northern tip of the globe, either Tim Williams or Denis Steele climbs to 60,000 feet and engages NASA's laser and photo system to collect data on ice, water and Arctic forests. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/stories/1060003244/print BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY DROUGHT California drought: Record heat gives some cantaloupe crops sunburn. -- The temperatures were so hot this year in Joe Del Bosque’s cantaloupe fields that some of the melons could have used sunscreen. The surface of the fruit got sunburned, which looks bad and in some cases affects taste. He had to throw those away. The first six months of the year were the hottest ever in California, the National Weather Service said Monday. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-california-drought-record-heat-sunburns-melon-crops-20140721-story.html?track=rss New law prohibits some fines for brown lawns during droughts. Californians who let their lawns die during a drought won't risk a slap on the wrist from their homeowners' associations, thanks to a bill signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday. The measure prohibits homeowners' associations from imposing fines on residents who stop watering their lawns in an effort to conserve water. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/local/political/la-me-pc-homeowner-association-lawns-20140721-story.html?track=rss http://www.sacbee.com/2014/07/21/6571908/fines-for-brown-lawns-blocked.html#mi_rss=Capitol%20Alert Q&A: City of Sacramento watching for water run-off, watering violations. With California in a severe drought, the State Water Resources Control Board ruled last week that some cases of water waste could be treated as criminal infractions. The city of Sacramento declared a water shortage in January and has been enforcing tough rules since then. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2014/07/22/6571661/qa-city-of-sacramento-watching.html#storylink=cpy 'Water cops' being hired by Bay Area agencies to root out water waste. It's about to get more difficult to go unnoticed if your sprinklers are watering the street more than your lawn. California's worsening drought and mandatory new state water rules are prompting Bay Area water agencies to beef up their conservation staffs -- the employees sometimes called "water cops." Posted. http://www.mercurynews.com/science/ci_26191180/california-drought-water-cops-being-hired-by-bay?source=rss BY SUBSCRIPTION FUELS U.S. consumer inflation rises on high gasoline prices. U.S. consumer prices rose in June as the cost of gasoline surged, but the underlying trend remained consistent with a gradual build-up of inflationary pressures. The Labor Department said on Tuesday its Consumer Price Index increased 0.3 percent last month, with gasoline accounting for two-thirds of the gain, after May's 0.4 percent rise. In the 12 months through June, the CPI increased 2.1 percent after a similar rise in May. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/07/22/us-usa-economy-inflation-idUSKBN0FR19O20140722 Pump Prices in U.S. at 4-Month Low as Refineries Ramp Up. Retail gasoline in the U.S. slid to the lowest level in almost four months as refineries boosted production to cash in on cheaper domestic oil, offering relief to consumers who saw their costs rise last month. Pump prices averaged $3.593 a gallon yesterday, down 4.2 cents from the previous week and the lowest since March 31, data posted on the Energy Information Administration’s website show. Gasoline was 2.4 percent below 2013 levels. Posted. http://www.businessweek.com/news/2014-07-22/u-dot-s-dot-gasoline-falls-below-2013-levels-on-refining-push Maine town fights plan to use pipeline to export oil sands crude. Tom Blake, like thousands of his neighbors in this coastal town, is used to living alongside the oil industry. Tank farms cluster in neighborhoods, by the park where families watch the movie "Frozen" on a summer night, next to schools and senior citizens apartment buildings. As a child, Blake, the town's former mayor, used to jump into high snow drifts from the massive oil tank next door. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-portland-pipeline-20140721-story.html#page=1 San Diego County Gasoline Price Drops For 15th Day. The average price of a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline in San Diego County dropped Tuesday for the 15th consecutive day, decreasing six-tenths of a cent to $4.025, its lowest amount since March 29. The average price has decreased 12.8 cents over the past 15 days, including four-tenths of a cent on Monday, according to figures from the AAA and Oil Price Information Service. Posted. http://www.kpbs.org/news/2014/jul/22/san-diego-county-gasoline-price-drops-15th-day/ Natural gas, despite leaks, appears to be less polluting than coal. Natural gas is only half as polluting for the climate as coal, even accounting for leaks of a potent greenhouse gas, suggests a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences yesterday. The study, by scientists at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, compiles the findings of previous studies exploring the benefits of natural gas for the climate. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/stories/1060003240/print BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY REFINERY Chevron agrees to new Richmond refinery project conditions in hope of gaining approval. Looking to satisfy city and state leaders, Chevron Corp. on Monday reversed its previous position and agreed to a lower cap on greenhouse gas emissions stemming from its $1 billion Richmond refinery modernization project. Posted. http://www.insidebayarea.com/news/ci_26190816/chevron-agrees-new-richmond-refinery-project-conditions-hope?source=rss http://www.contracostatimes.com/News/ci_26190816/Chevron-agrees-to-new-Richmond-refinery-project-conditions-in-hope-of-gaining-approval VEHICLES 4 farms selected to produce energy for utility. Four Michigan farms have been selected to produce electricity for a utility using biodegradable material in anaerobic digesters. Jackson-based CMS Energy Corp. announced the plans Tuesday, saying it's a part of an effort to diversify the use of renewable energy by Consumers Energy. Posted. http://www.vcstar.com/news/4-farms-selected-to-produce-energy-for-utility_38105945 GREEN ENERGY Downstream Solar Companies, Funds Drive Strong Solar Investment. The social and environmental, as well as economic, benefits of making greater use of clean, renewable energy are clear as day, whatever your opinion about climate change and our role in causing it. With performance and reliability steadily improving, costs declining sharply, and the advent of third-party financing that makes installing solar photovoltaic (PV) systems more affordable for more people…Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/default/article/Downstream-Solar-Companies-Funds-Drive-Strong-5638206.php Loan, partnership propel Mexico wind farm. A new investment partner and development bank financing are pushing forward plans for a wind power plant in Mexico that delivers electricity to the California grid. IEnova, the Mexico-based subsidiary of Sempra Energy, has sold a 50 percent interest in its Energía Sierra Juárez wind project to power generating firm InterGen. Sierra Juarez is engineered to harness winds blowing across the high plains…Posted. http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2014/jul/22/partnership-moves-wind-farm-forward/ An industry nurtured with tax breaks may be nearing commercial tipping point. Limited storage capacities and high upfront costs have historically prohibited solar power from competing against cheaper energy alternatives like coal and natural gas. Yet as the sector grows, solar power proponents can point to promising indicators hinting at the energy potential solar panels might yield. Consider how solar panel use in Australia forced the price of electricity -- in the middle of the day -- below zero on July 2…Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/stories/1060003249/print BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY OPINIONS Australia dumps working carbon tax, keeps failed mining tax: Clyde Russell. Australian lawmakers have voted to dump a tax that was arguably working and keep one that is demonstrably failing in yet another example of petty politics trumping sensible policy. The conservative government of Prime Minister Tony Abbott finally managed last week to pass legislation through both houses of parliament that ended the carbon tax and the floating emissions scheme it was to morph into from July 2015. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/07/22/us-column-russell-australia-carbon-idUSKBN0FR0EB20140722 New survey: Public likes carbon taxes, with caveats. Despite their hostility to new taxes that they might have to pay themselves, a sizable majority of Americans can support a tax on carbon if it's structured the right way, according to a survey released Monday by the University of Michigan's Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy. The survey, done in conjunction with Muhlenberg College's Institute of Public Opinion in Pennsylvania, found that the enthusiasm for carbon taxes…Posted. http://www.latimes.com/opinion/opinion-la/la-ol-carbon-tax-support-depends-on-how-revenue-used-20140721-story.html BLOGS A Reassuring American Presence Joins Talks on Climate Change With China. The presence of John D. Podesta, former chief of staff to President Bill Clinton and now counselor to President Obama, at the recent United States-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue in Beijing was a surprise. He is not a China expert. But the Chinese like old hands, aides with proximity to the Oval Office, and Mr. Podesta fills that bill. In addition, Mr. Podesta is passionate about climate change. Posted. http://sinosphere.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/07/21/a-reassuring-american-presence-joins-talks-on-climate-change-with-china/?partner=rss&emc=rss Researchers Question Expansion of Antarctica’s Fringe of Sea Ice. A new study of methods used to track Antarctic sea ice trends has raised important questions about whether recent increases in ice there are, to a significant extent, an illusion created by flawed analysis of data collected by a series of satellites. The news release excerpted below offers a good overview of the paper — “A spurious jump in the satellite record: has Antarctic sea ice expansion been overestimated?”…Posted. http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/07/22/researchers-question-expansion-of-antarcticas-fringe-of-sea-ice/?partner=rss&emc=rss California Fire Season: Threat of Dry Lightning Looms. Weather experts say the next couple of weeks could be some of the worst in state history for wildfires caused by lightning strikes. Three years of drought have caused the state to become incredibly dry, with significantly more wildfires than last year. Posted. http://blogs.kqed.org/science/2014/07/21/california-fire-season-threat-of-dry-lightning-looms/ Next Big Thing You Missed: Bigger, Cheaper Fuel Cells Will Eliminate Power Outages. General Electric has a bright idea for keeping the lights on even when the electrical grid short-circuits. The 122-year-old company wants to bring clean, reliable, affordable energy to the masses with hyper-efficient fuel cells , and in a rare move, is launching a startup to do it. On Tuesday, the energy and electronics conglomerate unveiled GE Fuel Cells…Posted. http://www.wired.com/2014/07/ge-fuel-cells/ The U.S. Must Lead on Climate Threat. During a Congressional hearing this year, Texas Rep. Joe Barton (R) invoked Noah's Ark saying, "I would point out that if you're a believer in the Bible, one would have to say the Great Flood is an example of climate change and that certainly wasn't because mankind had overdeveloped hydrocarbon." Really? Because 97% of the world's climate scientists beg to differ today. Posted. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/barbra-streisand/the-us-must-lead-on-clima_b_5607751.html?utm_hp_ref=homepage California is in a drought emergency. Visit www.SaveOurH2O.org for water conservation tips.