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newsclips -- Newsclips for February 3, 2011.

Posted: 03 Feb 2011 13:05:39
California Air Resources Board News Clips for February 3, 2011. 

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.


Court Orders EPA To Revisit S. Calif. Ozone Plan. San Francisco
-- A federal appeals court ordered U.S. EPA yesterday to revisit
a 2003 plan for cutting smog in the Los Angeles region, saying
the agency failed to require transportation control measures to
account for projected increases in vehicle miles traveled. The
9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said EPA's review of
California's ozone attainment plan for the Los Angeles-South
Coast Air Basin was "arbitrary and capricious" because, among
other elements, the agency did not direct the state to plan for
offsetting growth in vehicle miles traveled (VMT). Posted.


California Groups Seek Overhaul of State Carbon Market.
California should abandon a cap-and- trade program for greenhouse
gases and rewrite regulations for cutting the emissions that
scientists link to climate change, an environmental-justice group
said. The program, in which power plants, refineries and
factories buy and sell the right to emit carbon dioxide, will let
companies pay to “continue polluting in low-income communities,”
Alegria De La Cruz, legal director at the Center on Race, Poverty
& the Environment, said today in a telephone interview from San
Francisco. Posted.

Court Ruling Could Threaten State Emissions Law. San Francisco --
A California court has issued a tentative ruling that could delay
implementation of the state's climate change law. In a proposed
decision released with little fanfare, San Francisco Superior
Court Judge Ernest Goldsmith faulted the California Air Resources
Board (ARB) for, in his view, not doing enough to complete
environmental analyses or consider alternatives to a
cap-and-trade market to regulate carbon emissions. Posted.

EPA Must Work With States To Limit Rules' Reliability, Cost
Impacts – Regulator. U.S. EPA should work with stakeholders to
ensure that electric reliability and pricing do not suffer from
expected environmental regulations covering power plant
emissions, coal ash waste handling and other issues, according to
a draft resolution to be presented at a February meeting of
utility regulators. Posted.


Democrats Launch 'Green Energy' Bills. Flanked by solar energy
business people and investors, legislative Democrats announced
Wednesday that they're resurrecting a bill to require utilities
to buy at least 33 percent of California's electricity from
renewable sources by 2020. Legislators presented the proposal
along with related measures as a pro-business effort to help
create jobs. "The budget is and remains our top priority," said
Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento. Posted.

Newsom Sings Praises Of China At Green Biz Event In SF. The forum
was sponsored by Oakland-based GreenBiz Group, a company that
seeks to help professionals integrate sustainable business
practices into their routines. Joel Makower, GreenBiz Group
chairman and executive editor, opened the discussion by praising
Newsom's green efforts as San Francisco's mayor. While in the
mayor's office, Newsom introduced citywide composting bins and
converted all city vehicles to run on biodiesel fuels, Makower
said. "We also have the nation's highest green building standards
and the highest recycling rate," Newsom said. Posted.

Report Criticizes California Electricity Surcharge Program.
California consumers have paid $700 million for research on clean
and efficient energy. But a legislative analyst says the money
has not been well spent and urges that the program be overhauled
or killed. California electricity users have paid $700 million in
surcharges for research on clean and efficient energy production,
but not all of the money may have been well spent and the program
should be overhauled or killed, state officials say in a new
report. Posted.

Energy Firms Aided by U.S. Find Backers.  In late 2009, the
federal government gave $151 million in grants to advance 37
clean energy ideas deemed too radical or too preliminary to
attract much private financing — like electricity storage that
mimics photosynthesis and batteries that double or triple the
energy stored per pound.  Posted. 

Obama Spotlights Energy Efficiency Work At Penn St.   im Freihaut
thinks he might be on the verge of one of those "Sputnik moments"
that President Barack Obama referred to in his State of the Union
speech.  The Penn State scientist wants to transform the building
industry by making energy-efficient renovations more affordable.
The administration is so interested that Obama plans to get a
firsthand look at Freihaut's lab during a scheduled stop Thursday
in State College.  Posted.

Green Is Good In A Blue State. Change one letter in Gordon
Gecko’s infamous credo and it becomes the mantra of Democratic
policymakers from President Obama to Gov. Jerry Brown and the
majorities of the state Senate and Assembly: Green is good. In
their eyes, it’s very, very good. Perhaps too good. They say:
Greater energy efficiency, expanded recycling, cleaner
manufacturing, more renewable energy will foster new categories
of jobs that will drive California’s economy into broad sweeping
uplands – green, naturally – of prosperity and sustainability.

Cleantech Companies Off To A Good Start. Six cleantech companies
that received a total of $23.6 million in seed funding from the
Department of Energy's highly regarded ARPA-E program have, a
year later, attracted more than $100 million in private capital
investment. The announcement, made late Wednesday by the Energy
Department, seeks to highlight ARPA-E's success in making early
and strategic investments in potentially game-changing
clean-energy technologies. Posted.

New research at work: Bing Energy of Chino to make cost-saving
fuel cells.  Bing Energy's licensing deal to bring new research
to the marketplace could allow the firm to produce hydrogen fuel
cells at significantly lower prices, the company's vice president
for business development said.  Posted. 

Calif. Lawmakers Promote Clean Energy Standards.  The California
Legislature's Democratic leaders are promising quick passage of
bills they say will position the state as the national leader in
developing clean energy alternatives and green jobs.  The package
introduced Wednesday includes a bill requiring utilities to get
one-third of their power from alternative energy sources like
wind, solar and geothermal by 2020. The state is currently on
track to get 21 percent of its energy from renewable sources by
2012.  Posted. 



Obama To Propose Goal For Energy Efficiency In Buildings.
President Obama will announce an ambitious effort to reduce
energy use in the nation's commercial buildings by 20 percent
when he delivers a speech today in State College, Penn. The plan,
called the Better Building Initiative, seeks to spark a spending
spree on things like new lighting, windows and heating systems in
thousands of strip malls, hospitals and universities across the
country. The administration hopes to meet the efficiency goal by
2020. Posted.

Alternative-Energy Bill Should Be Top Priority For Congress –
Poll. Of eight issues Congress could tackle this year, Americans
most favor an energy bill that would provide incentives for solar
and other alternative energy sources, according to a new Gallup
poll. Eighty-three percent of individuals would favor such energy
legislation, placing the issue ahead of overhauling the federal
tax code, speeding up withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan,
addressing illegal immigration or passing stronger gun control
laws, the poll said. Posted.


Volkswagen Touareg Hybrid's Selling Point Is Power, Not Fuel
Economy. The main advantage of the hybrid Touareg over other
versions is getting V-8 power out of a V-6. If you're looking to
make your fuel dollars go further, the diesel TDI is your best
bet. Volkswagen recently put on sale the second generation of its
mid-size sport utility vehicle, the 2011 Touareg. Sitting at the
top of the Touareg line is the $61,385 Hybrid, a vehicle that is
eminently capable and well-executed.  Posted.

Electric Vehicle Recharging Stations Get Funding. As the latest
wave of electric cars arrives in California, the Bay Area Air
Quality Management District on Wednesday awarded $3.9 million to
four companies to install charging stations in homes and public
places. Most of the money will be used to lower the cost of
installing charging stations in the homes of electric car
drivers, helping fund the installation of 2,750 chargers
throughout the Bay Area. The money also will pay for installing
30 fast-charging stations in places accessible to the public,
such as stores, restaurants or government buildings. Posted.

The Hazy Anatomy Of A Potential 'Game-Changer' In Automobiles.
The last of a four part series. Click here for part one, here for
part two and here for part three. In his State of the Union
address, President Obama painted a vision of the jobs of tomorrow
-- then pointed to the scientists of today. "None of us can
predict with certainty what the next big industry will be, or
where the new jobs will come from," Obama admitted. But
historically, he said, the government has funded basic research
that the private sector hesitated to fund itself. Posted.

IBM On The Hunt To Perfect The Lithium-Air Car Battery. As the
Obama administration searches for a breakthrough battery, it will
have company -- a 100-year-old U.S. company doing the research on
its own dime. IBM, better known for its computers and mainframes,
has spent two and a half years researching lithium-air batteries,
a technology that could eliminate the gap between gasoline cars
and electric cars, if it works. In late 2009, IBM applied for a
Department of Energy grant to defray some of the cost of this
risky research. Posted.


EPA To Regulate Toxic Chemicals In Drinking Water. The EPA plans
to set standards for perchlorate and 16 other substances,
reversing a Bush-era decision. The Environmental Protection
Agency took steps Wednesday to curb toxic substances in drinking
water, including perchlorate, a chemical thought to threaten the
thyroid gland that has contaminated hundreds of public water
wells, mostly in California. The agency also moved to set
standards for 16 other substances that can invade water supplies
and impair human health. Perchlorate, a remnant of California's
manufacturing, aerospace and military bases, can inhibit thyroid
hormone production, especially in fetuses and infants. Posted.

CA Stations Still Using Non-Compliant Hands-Free Pumping Clips.
California's Fire Marshal office has sent lists of non-compliant
stations to local fire districts. Walnut Creek, CA – California
officials have estimated that nearly 1,000 of California's 12,000
gas stations have not yet complied with an October 15 order from
the State Fire Marshal to remove hands-free pumping clips from
VST nozzles, Patch.com reports. Stations with VST nozzles must
either remove the hands-free clip or install approved nozzles at
a cost of $180 to $300 each. Posted.


Peering Into A Post-Petroleum World. As protests in Egypt
underscore the hazards of relying on imported oil, a bus and
bike-riding scientist at UCLA is working on clean fusion energy
that could wean us from foreign fuel. The story of how I ended up
in the basement of a UCLA physics building, getting a tour of a
plasma facility with a young scientist working on the development
of clean fusion energy, begins with the uprisings in the Middle
East. Posted.

Court’s AB 32 Ruling Is Quite Narrow and At Most a Temporary
Setback . Cara published a terrific summary of  a tentative
California superior court decision in which the court held that
the state’s Air Resources Board (CARB) violated  the California
Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) in implementing AB 32, the
state’s landmark climate change legislation.  The CEQA portion of
the ruling — should the judge stick with it when he finalizes his
decision — is a setback for efforts to implement California’s
law.  But I think it’s worth emphasizing that it’s only a
temporary setback and one that may not even have the effect of
delaying the air board’s climate change plan.  Posted.


Debating Carbon-Dioxide Emissions.  A recent Washington Times
editorial unfairly disparaged climate research based on a
purposefully narrow representation of science (“Snow job,”
Comment & Analysis, Jan. 28).  The editorial cited a recent study
about glaciers in the Himalayas to try to downplay the effects of
climate change. However, as your editorial noted, the study was
limited. Dirk Scherler, the study’s lead author, told Reuters
news agency, “Overall in the Himalayas, the glaciers are
retreating.” The editorial misrepresented science in the service
of its ideological opposition to government policies aimed at
reducing carbon-dioxide emissions.  Posted. 

Give Me The Green Light. Businesses respond to signals, not
speeches. High unemployment tells companies to hold off on
production, and low interest rates tell companies to borrow, but
State of the Union addresses don't have the power to tell
companies to do anything. So when the president says he's
committed to green energy, that's fine. But the U.S. isn't giving
alternative energy companies the green light. We're giving off
something more like a ruddish-yellow light, as if to say: Go
ahead if you'd like, but proceed at your own caution. Posted.

Air District Needs True Transparency, Collaboration.  Regardless
of recent claims by the air district that the air is cleaner, the
health of San Joaquin Valley residents is indicative that more
can be done.  Polluted air is still responsible for 2,400
premature deaths in the region, and is linked to heart disease,
diabetes, asthma and other serious acute and chronic health
conditions.  The valley also continues to have the highest
childhood asthma prevalence in the state, almost double that of
the state average.  Posted. 


Another Challenge to Greenhouse Gas Regulation. Three Republican
lawmakers have joined the bandwagon of opponents of Environmental
Protection Agency regulation of climate-altering gases. Senator
James Inhofe of Oklahoma and Representatives Fred Upton of
Michigan and Ed Whitfield of Kentucky are circulating a draft of
a bill dubbed the Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011 that takes
aim squarely at the E.P.A.’s authority to impose limits on
emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases.

Disputed Power Plant For San Joaquin Valley Clears Hurdle. Should
all new power plants install the "best available technology" to
control pollution? Not necessarily, the Obama administration said
on Tuesday, reversing a long-held policy.  The U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency, battling an industry lawsuit, told a U.S.
District Court in the District of Columbia that it would allow a
controversial gas-fired plant to be built in the San Joaquin
Valley, one of the nation's most polluted regions. Posted.

It's Baaaccck! Lawmakers To Try Again For 33 Percent Renewable
Energy Standard. They say in Sacramento that no idea ever dies,
it just returns the next year. That's the case for an ambitious
clean energy proposal, which failed to get out of the Legislature
in the wee hours at the end of the last legislative session
because the clock ran out. Today, lawmakers announced they have
reintroduced the bill, which mandates that utilities get 33
percent of their energy from renewable resources by 2020 -- the
so-called "renewable portfolio standard." Posted.

US States Take Initiative On Cap-And-Trade. As Congress fights
over whether or not to block the US Environmental Protection
Agency from regulating carbon emissions, 23 states are moving
ahead on one level or another to take climate legislation into
their own hands and institute cap-and-trade schemes at the local
level. California’s is by far the most comprehensive state system
being instituted, and cap-and-trade is to begin in the state in
2012. Posted.

Auto Industry Repeating Pattern of Overstating Cost to Comply
with Pollution Standards. As I blogged about earlier, the
Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (AAM) recently sent letters
to the new House leadership claiming the cost for meeting future
fuel economy standards are twice as high as those recently
estimated by three government agencies, the Environmental
Protection Agency, the National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration and the California Air Resources Board.   Posted.

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