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newsclips -- Newsclips for March 10, 2011 Posted: 10 Mar 2011 13:08:35
California Air Resources Board News Clips for March 10, 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. AIR POLLUTION In Pinedale, Wyo., Residents Adjust to Air Pollution. Pinedale, Wyo. — Strong sun, not too much wind, a good thick snow pack: sounds like a perfect late winter’s day in a remote rural Western valley rimmed by snaggle-topped mountains. But that has also been the stage set for the worst ozone pollution event here in three years — in one of the places people might least expect. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/10/us/10smog.html?_r=1&scp=2&sq=air%20pollution&st=cse As Ozone Decision Looms, EPA Finds Stronger Science. Recent studies suggest that smog-filled air kills more people and causes more breathing problems than previously thought, U.S. EPA scientists say in a new draft paper, but due to a procedural twist, the findings can't be taken into account as Administrator Lisa Jackson decides whether to set stricter limits than the George W. Bush administration chose in 2008. The new research provides stronger evidence that short-term spikes in ground-level ozone can cause premature death, according to the 996-page scientific assessment, which was released late Friday. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/gwire/2011/03/09/09greenwire-as-ozone-decision-looms-epa-finds-stronger-sci-32416.html?pagewanted=print Health Groups Gird For Fight Over EPA's Power-Plant Toxics Rules. With the Obama administration required to put its plan for reducing toxic air pollution from coal-fired power plants on the table a week from today, the American Lung Association and other public health groups have started an early push to explain why U.S. EPA shouldn't flinch on the long-delayed rules. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/gwire/2011/03/09/09greenwire-health-groups-gird-for-fight-over-epas-power-p-48491.html?scp=3&sq=air%20pollution&st=cse COACHELLA VALLEY: Environmental Tour Takes In Smelly Problems. From sewage-plagued backyards to a sludge mountain to fuel-contaminated soil piles, government officials got repeated environmental reality checks Wednesday during a bus tour of Mecca and nearby communities in the Coachella Valley. Posted. http://www.pe.com/localnews/stories/PE_News_Local_D_mecca10.2198281.html The Midas Touch, The Midas Effect. If politics make for great live theater, then a Feb. 22 hearing held in Sacramento about the controversial strawberry fumigant methyl iodide might have been scripted by Franz Kafka. And much like a Kafka tale, there are stories behind stories. The characters include a state pesticide department that ignored its own scientists’ warnings; the department’s hired expert and his band of scientific brothers whom methyl iodide’s manufacturer claims went rogue and exceeded the scope of their established mission; a produce industry worth billions of dollars to the state economy; and the private-equity backed maker of the product they call MIDAS, whose company tagline reads “Bold, Agile and Customer Driven.” Posted. http://www.montereycountyweekly.com/news/2011/mar/10/midas-touch-midas-effect/ CLIMATE CHANGE More Americans Believe In Climate Change Than In Global Warming. A new study conducted by researchers from the University of Michigan, show that more Americans believe in "climate change" than in "global warming." The study, which will see its results published in an upcoming issue of the journal Public Opinion Quarterly, surveyed 2,267 adult Americans asking them a simple question regarding the issue of climate change/global warming. Fifty percent of those surveyed were given the term "global warming" while the other fifty percent were given the term "climate change." Posted. http://www.reuters.com/assets/print?aid=US337086819720110310 Climate Researchers: Russian Heat Wave Was Natural. Washington (AP) — Global warming isn't directly to blame for last summer's deadly — and extraordinary — heat wave in Russia, researchers said in a report Wednesday that came with a climate warning. "We may be on the cusp of a period in which the probability of such events increases rapidly, due primarily to the influence of projected increases in greenhouse gas concentrations," said the team led by Randall Dole and Martin Hoerling of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Posted. http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hZPKwaQBlcnsy6-pDkSwQByMVnfA?docId=1760476bb7e64a81aa13f7025a3d9dc5 New Planning Process Starts For National Forests. A new national forest planning process will be unveiled at meetings in Sacramento County and Redding. For generations, forest planning has been largely focused on logging and resource management. But growing concern about recreation, wildlife and climate change have added new imperatives. Posted. http://www.modbee.com/2011/03/10/1592167/new-planning-process-starts-for.html Global Carbon Capture Projects, Part Of A $40 Billion Effort, Increased In 2010. The number of global carbon capture projects surged 10 percent last year with financial help from the U.S. government and other industrialized countries, a new study finds. A ripple effect from President Obama's 2009 stimulus package, combined with similar economic jolt packages in other countries, helped boost the number of active or planned projects last year to 234, a net increase of 21 initiatives, according to the sweeping study from the Global CCS Institute. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2011/03/10/7 GOP Bill Handcuffing EPA To Win First Victory Today. While the House approved sweeping cap-and-trade climate legislation last Congress, a key House subcommittee today is expected to approve by a wide margin a bill to permanently strip U.S. EPA of its authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, oil refineries and other major stationary sources. It is unclear whether the Energy and Power Subcommittee vote will break down strictly along party lines or whether one or more Democrats will vote for H.R. 910 from Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.). Posted. http://www.eenews.net/EEDaily/print/2011/03/10/2 House Panel Approves Bill Stripping EPA Regulatory Power. A bill to strip U.S. EPA of its authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions cleared its first hurdle today on the road to likely House passage. The House Energy and Power Subcommittee approved a bill by Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.), which would prevent EPA from moving ahead with current and planned climate regulations for electric utilities, oil refineries and other large stationary emitters. The measure passed on a voice vote, apparently along party lines. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/Greenwire/print/2011/03/10/1 Waxman Holds Out Hope To Craft Bipartisan Emissions Bill. Even as Republicans plan to push a bill through a House subcommittee tomorrow to limit U.S. EPA's authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, Energy and Commerce ranking member Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) continues to float the idea of the GOP and Democrats working together on a bipartisan measure that would reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Waxman has said repeatedly in recent days that he is willing to meet with Republicans "without preconditions" to craft a bill that both sides could agree on that would include incentives for low-carbon energy projects and other initiatives. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/eenewspm/print/2011/03/09/1 FUELS Corn Ethanol Tax Credit Under Attack. Ethanol is once again in the hot seat. Dueling bills that would trim government support for the ethanol industry were introduced in the Senate yesterday. Sens. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Ben Cardin (D-Md.) offered a bipartisan bill yesterday morning that would eliminate the 45-cent tax credit paid to blenders for each gallon of fuel mixed with gasoline. Last night, however, California Democrat Dianne Feinstein introduced competing legislation that would similarly slash the 45-cent tax credit for corn-based ethanol, but would carve out an exemption for ethanol made from substances like plant waste or sugar cane. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2011/03/10/4 Monsanto Invests In Sapphire; Goes Hunting For Yield Traits In The Wild, Wild Wet. The news crossed the wires early enough yesterday to have spilled over a considerable portion of the twitterverse. Items like “Monsanto Backs Algae Startup Sapphire Energy,” and “Sapphire Energy Anticipates “Significant” Revenue Stream From Monsanto Alliance.” The New York Times led with “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.” All of which bemused Sapphire Energy CEO Jason Pyle, who remarked “that’s not really what the collaboration is about.” Posted. http://biofuelsdigest.com/bdigest/2011/03/09/monsanto-invests-in-sapphire-goes-hunting-for-yield-traits-in-the-wild-wild-wet/ GREEN ENERGY U.K. Plans Incentives to Spur $7.2 Billion in Renewable Heat Programs. The U.K. government set out incentives aimed at spurring 4.5 billion pounds ($7.2 billion) of investment in renewable heating systems by 2020, the first program of its kind in the world. The Department of Energy and Climate Change said it would grant subsidies worth 860 million pounds for geothermal heat pumps, solar thermal plants and biomass boilers. The measures first will be targeted at 25,000 households by July, and the full program will be in place by October 2012. Posted. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/print/2011-03-10/u-k-plans-incentives-to-spur-7-2-billion-in-renewable-heat-programs.html Solar Industry Has Strong Year. A new report by the Solar Energy Industries Association found that 2010 was a banner year for solar in the United States. The total size of the U.S. solar market -- which includes rooftop installations, hot water heating and utility scale projects -- grew from $3.6 billion in 2009 to $6 billion, a 67 percent increase. "Solar is growing quickly across the U.S. at the residential, commercial, and utility scale levels. It is powering and heating buildings in all 50 states, and using a variety of technologies to do so," states the executive summary of the report, which is scheduled to be released Thursday. Posted. http://www.mercurynews.com/business/ci_17580783 Offshore Wind Farms Can Generate High Costs And Maintenance Problems, Vestas CEO Warns. Houston -- The chief of Europe's largest wind power company advised that project developers in the United States should be cautious as they move to establish the nation's first offshore wind farms in the Northeast. Speaking to an audience of energy executives at this year's IHS CERA Week energy conference, Vestas Wind Systems CEO Ditlev Engel said he estimated offshore wind power can cost about twice as much as to build as compared to land-based systems. But what companies really have to fear is the weather. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2011/03/10/6 Utilities, Growers Experimenting With 'Woody Grass' Coal Alternative. An Oregon utility company is working with growers in Morrow County to produce giant cane, a woody grass that it hopes can replace coal at a nearby coal power plant. Portland General Electric is contracting with growers in the area to produce between 100 and 250 acres of it, which would be used in a test burn at the Boardman Power Plant next year. But much still remains unknown about the fast-growing giant cane, including questions over its safety and whether enough can be grown to keep the power plant running. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2011/03/10/10 With Spending Bills Dead, Clean Energy Supporters Brace Against Deeper Cuts. Competing plans to fund the government through September both flopped yesterday, ensuring that deeper cuts to existing programs, including perhaps clean energy portfolios, will be proposed to avoid a federal shutdown. The dueling Senate votes appear to show that lawmakers are unwilling to make large cuts totaling $61 billion as proposed by the House. It also reveals that the Democrats' target of $10 billion in reductions is too low. The yardage between those numbers will decrease, but it's unclear at what point agreement can be found. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2011/03/10/1 Light Bulb Law Stokes Fury In Senate Hearing. Light bulbs sparked heated discussions this morning during a Senate legislative hearing on two energy efficiency bills. Republicans used the hearing in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee to blast congressionally approved lighting efficiency standards and the Energy Department's implementation of them. At issue is a provision in a 2007 energy law that would phase out the sale of the most energy-hungry light bulbs over the next few years, starting at the end of this year. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/Greenwire/print/2011/03/10/5 VEHICLES Bulli For You!! World’s First Van Returns. The Volkswagen bus, like no other car, stands for the spirit of freedom. It debuted over 60 years ago in 1950 with a contagiously simple design. Its internal Volkswagen code name was T1 for Transporter 1. The Germans called it the Bulli, and to Americans it was the Microbus. Posted. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/mar/10/bulli-for-you-worlds-first-van-returns/ 20 Electric Cars Will Hit The Road Today As Part Of Test Project. Los Angeles - A fleet of 20 electric cars will hit the roads today as part of a project to test how alternative fuel vehicles handle commuting and to locate possible benefits for Southland drivers. The research project -- sponsored by the Automobile Club of Southern California and Smart USA -- may determine roadside services for alternative- fuel and electric vehicles, Auto Club CEO Thomas McKenna was quoted as saying in a release. Posted. http://www.dailynews.com/fdcp?1299776796852 MISCELLANEOUS UC Davis Domes' Days Numbered As West Village Housing Takes Shape. At the University of California, Davis, a funky 1970s experiment in communal living is closing this year while a 21st century eco-friendly neighborhood is rising nearby. The student housing projects – one homegrown by hippies, the other built by developers – bookend the environmental movement's journey from counterculture to mainstream. Posted. http://www.modbee.com/2011/03/10/1592125/uc-davis-domes-days-numbered-as.html OPINION Australia's Carbon Warning for Obama. It turns out emissions restrictions do not grow more popular the more you try to pitch them. President Obama's Environmental Protection Agency is fighting a rear-guard action to accomplish via regulation what voters rejected via Congress: ruinously expensive restrictions on carbon emissions in the name of fighting "global warming." This is perhaps partly out of the administration's own convictions, but also because Mr. Obama knows that a large slice of his left-wing base is clamoring for such measures. Posted. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703453804576191712500363464.html GRAY: Clean Air Act’s Past Successes, Potential Pitfalls. The Environmental Protection Agency last week released the second prospective analysis of the costs and benefits of the 1990 Amendments to the Clean Air Act ("1990 CAAA"), ordered by Congress as part of those amendments. The benefits are nothing short of extraordinary, and deserve serious attention at a time of equally serious questions about existing EPA authority with respect to both carbon dioxide, or CO2, and health-related, traditional pollution. The headline numbers are $2 trillion in benefits (against $65 billion in costs) as of 2020 and 230,000 lives saved annually as of that date, with the majority of the benefits already realized. Posted. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/mar/8/gray-clean-air-act-past-success-potential-pitfalls/ In Defense of LEED. You may have already heard, but there's a lawsuit pending against the USGBC. The plaintiffs claim that they are "losing customers because USGBC's false advertisements mislead the consumer into believing that obtaining LEED certification incorporates construction techniques that achieve energy-efficiency." If you're looking for an article that jumps on that train, you're in the wrong place. I think this lawsuit is seriously misguided, and draws attention away from all of the positive consequences of the USGBC's work. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/03/09/idUS297849435320110309 Viewpoints: Clear-Cutting Forests Is Wrong Way For State To Lead On Climate Policy. California trees have changed my life. I first came to know them as a little girl hiking with my family, then as a seasonal waitress in Yosemite, and finally, as a ranger in Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park. Nowhere else in the world will you find dry, soothing afternoon winds, regular 80-degree days, loamy soft soil, abundant rivers, pristine alpine lakes and big, beautiful trees – sugar pines, firs, cedars, hemlocks, redwoods, sequoias and more. To walk among these giants is to walk into a living cathedral. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2011/03/10/v-print/3463428/viewpoints-clear-cutting-forests.html Crazy Weather: How It's Linked To Global Warming. The story leading up to the Super Bowl was whether it would happen at all. For the previous week, Dallas, along with the rest of the Midwest and Northeast, had been buried in a blizzard that dumped record amounts of snow, closing airports, clogging highways and causing rolling power blackouts. Commentators wondered sarcastically about what had happened to global warming. Actually, even if counter-intuitively, this major weather event was a confirmation that global warming is here, and it’s getting more serious all the time. Posted. http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2011/mar/10/crazy-weathers-link-to-global-warming/ Go Green And Save Some Green With Solar Panels. Electricity is increasingly expensive. The primary reason is that the state has decreed that 33 percent of electrical power in California by the year 2020 will come from renewable sources. Unfortunately for those of us in Modesto and Turlock, hydroelectric power from large dams such as Don Pedro does not count toward this renewable requirement. Posted. http://www.modbee.com/2011/03/09/1591597/go-green-and-save-some-green-with.html BLOGS On Our Radar: E.P.A. Calls Foul Over Republican Gas Price Claims. In statements circulating on Capitol Hill, senior Republican leaders cast legislation blocking the Environmental Protection Agency from enforcing climate change regulations as action that would help slow the rise of gasoline prices. The E.P.A. calls the tactic deceptive. “Under the Clean Air Act, E.P.A. is developing a standard for currently unchecked carbon pollution from the largest polluting smokestacks,” an agency aide says. Posted. http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/03/10/on-our-radar-e-p-a-calls-foul-over-republican-gas-price-claims/ Ethanol Plant Is Switching to Butanol. High oil prices are generally bad news for American companies, but one, Gevo of Englewood, Colo., says that $100-a-barrel oil is opening up a niche. The company bought a factory in Luverne, Minn., that makes ethanol from corn. Ethanol replaces some petroleum but has only one main use, vehicle fuel, and it yields less energy per gallon than gasoline. Posted. http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/03/10/ethanol-plant-is-switching-to-butanol/ Climate Change Threatens Great Lakes. In its latest report on Great Lakes water quality, the International Joint Commission — a collaboration between the U.S. and Canadian governments — identifies the re-emergence of eutrophication in the lakes as its chief concern. Eutrophication is unchecked plant growth caused by the presence of excessive nutrients, such as nitrates and phosphorous, in the water. Because that growth can deplete the amount of oxygen in the water, eutrophication poses a major threat to the quality and viability of the Great Lakes' massive water store. So what causes it? Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/green/detail?entry_id=84644