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newsclips -- Newsclips for March 8, 2011

Posted: 08 Mar 2011 13:24:04
California Air Resources Board News Clips for March 8, 2011.
California Air Resources Board News Clips for March 8, 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.


EPA Tells Oklahoma Utilities To Clean Coal Plants. The U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) wants OG&E Corp and
American Electric Power Co Inc (AEP) to reduce air pollution at
three coal-fired power plants in Oklahoma or convert the
facilities to natural gas. The EPA acted because the state's plan
did not adequately reduce sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions enough
to meet the regional haze requirements under the Clean Air

Report: U.S. Coal Power Plants Emit Toxic Air Pollutants.
Coal-burning power plants release more toxic air pollutants such
as arsenic and lead than any other U.S. industrial pollution
source, says a report Tuesday by the American Lung Association.
The report comes as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency gets
ready to propose rules to address this pollution, which it's
required to do by March 16. Environmental and health-care groups,
including the ALA, are pushing for strict limits on pollutants.
The industry seeks more flexibility. Posted.

EPA Gives OK To California Ban On Dry Cleaning Chemical. The
federal Environmental Protection Agency has given the green light
to California’s ban on a chemical many dry cleaners use. Twenty
years ago, California’s Air Resources Board identified
perchloroethylene, or PERC, as a toxic air contaminant. For
decades, though, dry cleaners relied on that solvent. Scientists
say it’s a possible carcinogen that can cause neurological
problems in humans and liver and kidney damage in rodents.
California has ordered dry cleaners to phase out the use of PERC
by a dozen years from now. Posted.

Wyoming Plagued By Big-City Problem: Smog. Wyoming, famous for
its crisp mountain air and breathtaking, far-as-the-eye-can-see
vistas, is looking a lot like smoggy Los Angeles these days
because of a boom in natural gas drilling. Folks who live near
the gas fields in the western part of this outdoorsy state are
complaining of watery eyes, shortness of breath and bloody noses
because of ozone levels that have exceeded what people in L.A.
and other major cities wheeze through on their worst pollution
days. Posted.


Carbon Capture Projects Up In 2010, Despite Costs. OSLO, March 8
(Reuters) - The number of projects for capturing greenhouse gases
from power plants and factories edged up in 2010 despite soaring
costs and slow progress in U.N.-led efforts to slow climate
change, a study showed on Tuesday. The focus of carbon capture
and storage (CCS) projects also shifted more to the United States
from Europe even though U.S. President Barack Obama has failed to
persuade the Senate to legislate caps on U.S. greenhouse gas
emissions, it said. Posted.

EU Urges Energy Savings to Top Carbon Target, Offers to Set Aside
Permits. The European Union urged governments and businesses to
make energy efficiency a higher priority to help the bloc exceed
its goal of cutting carbon by 20 percent, reduce reliance on
fossil fuels and boost security of supplies. The EU may cut
greenhouse gases 25 percent by 2020 compared with 1990, as long
as it steps up energy-saving measures, the European Commission,
the bloc’s executive arm, said in a policy paper published today
in Strasbourg, France. The document maps a path for an 80 percent
reduction in greenhouse gases in 2050. Posted.

Snubbing Skeptics Threatens to Intensify Climate War, Study Says.
Listening to climate change doubters, and not dismissing them,
might avert a "logic schism" similar to the political stalemate
on abortion, according to a new paper involving research on
skeptics. The paper (pdf) portrays doubters as being at a
disadvantage. The majority of climate research comes from the
fields of physical science, engineering and economics -- largely
depicting rational outcomes in a world dominated by the view that
the Earth is warming, and that something needs to be done about
it. Posted.

CO2 Scrubber Could Recycle Carbon Into Multiple Uses. American
company Skyonic Corp. has launched a proposal to build a system
that would attach to a British power plant, trap carbon dioxide,
and use it to make paper, windows and even shrimp food. The
scrubber would trap carbon dioxide and use it to make minerals --
sodium bicarbonates or calcium carbonates. These can be made into
as a base to grow algae that shrimp eat, or produce glass and
paper. Selling these carbon byproducts could offset the cost of
operating the project. "Let capitalism work," said Joe Jones, CEO
of Skyonic. "We can recycle the carbon dioxide and displace
mining of minerals." Posted.

'Climate Change' Rings Truer Than 'Global Warming'. American
skepticism about whether the world's weather is changing depends
partly on wording. More believe in "climate change" than "global
warming," a new study by the University of Michigan shows.Three
of four people, or 74%, thought the problem was real when it was
referred to as climate change, while 68% thought it was real when
it was called global warming, according to questions posed by U-M
psychologists on a RAND-conducted survey of 2,267 U.S. adults..

Greens Slam EPA Over Exemption For Emissions Data. U.S. EPA's
plan to give businesses another three years to show how they
calculate their greenhouse gas emissions will weaken the agency's
new reporting requirements and could be illegal, environmental
groups said before yesterday's deadline to comment on the
proposal. Under the new reporting program, which was ordered by
Congress in 2007, the largest pollution sources now have to
gather data on their greenhouse gas emissions and make it
available to the public. Posted.

Calif. Will Launch Emissions Trades With At Least One Partner.
California's greenhouse gas trading program for industrial
emitters could start with even fewer trading partners than
expected, the state's air pollution chief said last week. "I
predict in January 2012 we will be starting a program and will
have at least one other trading partner with whom we are fully
linked by the time we start the program," California Air
Resources Board Chairwoman Mary Nichols told an audience of
business executives at The Wall Street Journal's ECO:nomics
conference in Santa Barbara. Posted.


Monsanto Backs Algae Startup Sapphire Energy. Agriculture and
genetics giant Monsanto has made its bet on algae. On Tuesday
Monsanto announced that it has made an equity investment in, and
developed a partnership with, algae startup Sapphire Energy.
Founded in 2007, Sapphire Energy uses synthetic biology to make a
green crude out of algae that can be turned into gas, diesel or
jet fuel. Monsanto wants access to Sapphire’s genetic research
technology to use it for its own agricultural development.

CORRECT: German Economy Minister: No Halt To Introduction Of E10
Fuel. ("German Economy Minister: No Halt To Introduction Of E10
Fuel," at 1207 GMT, misstated the ethanol content in E5 fuel in
the third paragraph. The correct version follows:) -German
Economy Minister Rainer Bruederle said Tuesday that he doesn't
expect a halt to the introduction of E10 gasoline in Germany, a
gasoline fuel containing a 10% ethanol blend to meet European
Union biofuel targets. Bruederle later Tuesday will meet
Germany's ministers for the environment and agriculture, as well
as representatives from the fuel and automotive industries, to
discuss problems with the introduction of the fuel. Posted.

Bill to Handcuff EPA's Greenhouse Gas Regs a Mixed Bag for
Biofuels Industry.
Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) negotiated some concessions for
his home state's corn ethanol industry before he signed on to a
bill last week that would bar U.S. EPA from regulating greenhouse
gas emissions -- but not as many as he won two years ago before
agreeing to support a climate change bill. In 2009, the
then-chairman of the House Agriculture Committee was instrumental
in adding language to a greenhouse gas cap-and-trade bill that
would have allowed corn ethanol to qualify for a larger share of
the renewable fuel standard by tweaking the way the carbon
footprint of various fuels is calculated. Posted.

Ethanol Industry Feels Squeeze as Congress Tightens Belt. It's
been a rough season for corn ethanol on Capitol Hill. A winter
that began with a tougher-than-expected battle to win
congressional approval for a one-year extension of the ethanol
blenders' tax credit is delivering more harsh doses of reality to
an industry that benefits from notable government support. With a
House Republican majority newly emboldened to trim ethanol
mandates and a bipartisan Senate majority eyeing subsidy reform,
the political obstacles facing conventional biofuels appear
steeper than ever. Posted.

Scientists Get Isobutanol From Plants For First Time. Researchers
at the University of California, Los Angeles, and the Oak Ridge
National Laboratory may have come across two breakthroughs in
biofuels production that could open doors to the
commercialization of cleaner-burning substitutes for gasoline and
diesel. A team led by James Liao, of UCLA, has published a study
that describes how researchers, armed with grants from the U.S.
Energy Department, may have discovered the means to circumvent
many of the problems encountered in biofuels processing. Posted.

Breakthrough In Biofuels Reported. Bacteria are being used to
convert plant material – including typical farm waste -- directly
into isobutanol, which can be burned in regular car engines with
a heat value higher than ethanol and similar to gasoline, the
U.S. Department of Energy says. "Today's announcement is yet
another sign of the rapid progress we are making in developing
the next generation of biofuels that can help reduce our oil
dependence," says U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu. Posted.

U.S. Department of Energy Announces New Biofuel to Replace
Gasoline. Things are moving along at a nice clip in the world of
biofuel research, so it seems like news of another “breakthrough”
is barely enough to provoke a yawn. Well, this latest piece of
news sure stands out from the crowd. Energy Secretary Steven Chu
has just announced that a research team headed up by the
Department’s BioEnergy Science Center has developed a cost
effective method for converting woody plants straight into
isobutanol, which can be used in conventional car engines just as
gasoline. Biofuel and Green Jobs, Too. Posted.


Procter & Gamble Commits to 100 Percent Green Building. Procter &
Gamble announced that all new company facilities will be designed
to meet green building standards as certified by the U.S. Green
Building Council's (USGBC) LEED program. LEED is a widespread
program for the design, construction and operation of high
performance green buildings. P&G's Taicang plant in China, which
broke ground last week, is the first P&G manufacturing site to
pursue LEED certification, with several additional new P&G sites
currently working toward the same distinction globally. Posted.

Which U.S. Cities, States LEED In Green Building? The nation's
capital isn't just the epicenter of the U.S. government, it also
leads U.S. cities and states in green building, new data show.
The Obama administration requires new federal buildings meet
higher energy-efficiency standards, and one result is that
Washington now has far more green-building space per capita -- 25
square feet -- than any of the 50 states, according to the
private U.S. Green Building Council. The 2010 data refer to
commercial and institutional space (not residential) certified by
its LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) program.

SDG&E Falls Far Short Of Green-Energy Goal. Electricity accounts
for nearly half of greenhouse-gas emissions in the United States.
California required power companies to produce 20 percent of
electricity from renewable sources by 2010. San Diego Gas &
Electric fell far short.The utility blames factors outside of its
control for part of its failure to meet the 20-percent deadline
at the end of December. The company says a bad wind year across
the Western U.S. and poor power production by hydroelectric
plants contributed to the failure to meet the target. Posted.

Green Building, Renewable Energy Directories Launched. The
Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Institute for Market
Transformation (IMT) have launched a global library of building
energy rating policies. BuildingRating.org aims to create a
standard way of comparing the energy performance of buildings, by
providing a searchable library of rating and disclosure
information. Users of the website can search the energy
performance policies of more than 100 countries and jurisdictions
to learn how they are being implemented, what types of rating
systems they are using to evaluate energy performance, and how
policies are impacting markets, the two organizations said.


Calif Tribe Files Lawsuit To Protect Ancient Maze.  A Native
American tribe has filed a lawsuit against a California agency
over a groundwater cleanup plan near Needles, claiming it is
harming an ancient maze that members believe is critical for
spirits to get to the afterlife. The lawsuit filed in Sacramento
on Wednesday is part of a years-long dispute between the Fort
Mojave Indian tribe, the Department of Toxic Substances Control
and Pacific Gas & Electric. Posted.

Are Califonia Firms Closing Or Leaving? More than one in five
(21%) of California small-business owners do not expect to be in
business in California in three years, according to a recent
survey by Small Business California, an advocacy group in San
Francisco. It's a number Small Business California President
Scott Hague calls "scary." Yes, if California lost a fifth of its
small businesses it would be scary. About 83% of California's
businesses (78% of Orange County's) have fewer than 10 employees.
But here's the question: Are they closing their businesses
forever or moving away? Posted.


The Elusive Dream of American Energy Plans. Why does “same as it
ever was” keep coming to mind when examining the responses of
America’s elected “leaders” to durable challenges — whether
confronting  deficits and the debt, the glaring lack of
alternatives to oil and the risks posed by unabated emissions of
greenhouse gases. Today, the House Energy and Commerce Committee
should be holding a hearing on advancing America’s, and the
world’s, energy future by initiating a sustained …Posted.

NASA Launch Failure Is A Blow To Climate Science. The crash of a
NASA rocket  bearing a sophisticated observation satellite has
dealt a major setback to scientific efforts aimed at
understanding how humans are affecting Earth’s climate. A
nine-story Taurus XL rocket carrying the agency’s Glory satellite
was launched early Friday from Vandenburg Air Force base. But it
crashed into the Pacific Ocean without reaching orbit, after the
satellite’s protective casing failed to open. The satellite
carried equipment to help scientists understand how the sun and
particles of matter in the atmosphere called aerosols affect
Earth’s climate. Posted.

Waxman Angrily Assails G.O.P. ‘Science Deniers’. There are few
more powerful forces in nature than Henry Waxman in righteous
fury. The California Democrat, scourge of the tobacco industry,
the pharmaceutical business, the oil lobby and other malefactors
of great wealth, is trying to adjust to his new role in the
minority in the House. It is not going well. Mr. Waxman, the
erstwhile chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and
now the ranking Democrat under its new Republican leadership, is
fighting a rearguard action on behalf of health,
telecommunications, energy and environmental legislation passed
in the last Congress, when Democrats held the majority and he
wielded the gavel of arguably the most powerful committee in
Congress. Posted.

Wind Energy’s Overblown Prospects. Unfortunately, wind doesn’t
afford the benefits marketers promise. It isn’t an abundant,
reliable power source; doesn’t appreciably reduce fossil
dependence or CO2 emissions; isn’t free, or even cheap; doesn’t
produce net job gains; nor does it cool brows of feverish
environmental critics. Many green energy advocates have
exaggerated the capacity of wind power to make a significant
impact on U.S. electrical needs. Posted.

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