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newsclips -- Newsclips for March 28, 2011.

Posted: 28 Mar 2011 13:04:29
California Air Resources Board News Clips for March 28, 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.


Coal Plants Face New Scrutiny.  MONROE, Mich. —A Michigan utility
spent $65 million last year replacing key parts at the state's
largest coal-fired power plant. When regulators found out, they
hauled the company into court for what it didn't do: Spend
millions more at the same time to greatly eliminate air
pollution.  Posted. 
Eye On The Environment: March 27, 2011.   The Ventura County Air
Pollution Control District's new public information program, Sky
Savers, is an exciting way to help air quality and your
pocketbook at the same time.  Ventura County consumers can make
smart environmental choices by selecting "green" products and
services from local merchants.  Posted. 

Safeguards In Place For When Air Quality Diminishes. Safeguards
were in place to assure that children, especially those afflicted
with asthma, were protected from air emissions from a recent
haystack fire east of Seeley, officials said. Imperial County’s
Air Pollution Control District and the Public Health Department
jointly reported Friday that while the second arson-related fire
on Silsbee Road raged overnight, monitoring data did “not show
elevated readings in local air quality.” Posted.


Enviro Lawyers Tied In Knots Over Calif. Emissions Ruling. A
California court ruling suspending the implementation of the
state's landmark climate change law came with a large dose of
irony. That's because San Francisco County Superior Court Judge
Ernest Goldsmith found that the state had failed to comply with
another landmark law, one that is beloved by some of the same
environmental groups that are critical of the ruling, the
California Environmental Quality Act. Essentially, a major
environmental initiative is under threat because the state failed
to correctly carry out the appropriate environmental analysis.
Posted. http://www.eenews.net/Greenwire/print/2011/03/28/1

Rust Belt Voters Support EPA Carbon Rules -- With the Senate
poised to vote this week on as many as three amendments that
would limit U.S. EPA's power to curb greenhouse gas emissions, a
leading environmental advocacy group hopes a new poll will
convince Rust Belt senators to oppose the proposals. The League
of Conservation Voters-sponsored poll, conducted in late February
by Hart Research Associates, a Democratic firm, showed that 63
percent of voters in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan say they
"trust" EPA to decide whether to set carbon dioxide emissions
limits more than they trust Congress to do so. Posted.

Suspension Of Cap-And-Trade Expected To Have Limited Effects.
California's landmark cap-and-trade program for curbing
greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions faces new uncertainty due to a
recent California Superior Court decision. It is very likely that
cap and trade ultimately will be implemented in a form similar to
its current design, but implementation could be delayed. A
program delay would harm the wind industry economically by
deferring anticipated program benefits Posted.


Catalina Flyer Is To Resume Daily Service Friday. The 600-seat
passenger boat, which runs between the Balboa Pavilion and
Avalon, was removed from service in mid-September to have its
engines replaced. The Catalina Flyer is to resume daily service
from Newport Beach to Catalina Island on Friday with machinery
that should give passengers a quieter and smoother ride, the
catamaran's owner announced. The 600-seat passenger boat, which
runs between the Balboa Pavilion and Avalon, was removed from
service in mid-September to have its engines replaced. Posted.


Project Would Turn Horse Manure Into Power.  With its rolling
hills and wide-open fields, the Ojai Valley is the perfect place
for riding horses. As many as 2,000 horses trot about the valley,
eating lots of hay and making lots of poop — as much as 30 tons a
day.  While some of that is used for compost, much of it gets
thrown into landfills or left on the ground, where it eventually
ends up in streams that lead to the Ventura River.  Posted. 


Conventional Cars in Cities Should Be Halved by 2030, EU Says.
The European Union should halve the use of conventional cars in
cities by 2030 to reduce pollution and lessen dependence on oil
from a politically unstable Middle East, according to an EU
policy paper. The shift away from the 150-year-old combustion
engine in urban transport should be completed by 2050, when all
vehicles used in EU cities ought to be powered by low-emission
technologies, the European Commission said. This would lower
discharges blamed for climate change and smog, ease noise and cut
an EU oil-import bill that totaled around 210 billion euros ($295
billion) last year, according to the commission. Posted.

High-Speed Rail: First Phase Could Run To Merced After All.
Authority plan to apply for money Florida rejected would expand
construction project's 'backbone.' High-speed rail may come to
Merced sooner than expected, as the California High Speed Rail
Authority will announce today it's asking for $1.2 billion in
funding that was rejected by Florida. If the request is approved,
it would mean the first phase of track will run from Merced to
Bakersfield. Also, instead of building a station just in downtown
Fresno, stations will be built in Merced and Bakersfield. Posted.

Question: Is It Wise To Invest In A Car?  Los Angeles -- To buy
or not to buy? That is the question facing many car shoppers
these days.  That's because rising gas expenses and a looming
shortage of Japanese-built hybrid and fuel-efficient vehicles are
starting to pump up prices for gas-sipping autos.  But analysts
at auto information company Kelley Blue Book say that with all
this turmoil in the marketplace, consumers should think twice
about jumping to buy a new car.  Posted. 

EV Standardisation Efforts In The U.S. The Japanese have surged
ahead with the industry standard CHAdeMO for DC fast charging.
The European Union has mandated the European standardisation
bodies to work out recommendations for EV standards, which are
expected to be presented by the end of this month. But what is
the third major market for electric mobility, namely the U.S.,
doing in terms of EV related standardisation? Both government and
industry calling for standards. Posted.

Lithium Battery Roadmap. Focus on Lithium ion batteries. Green
MotorSport started researching lithium ion cells several years
ago and produced the world’s first lithium ion 12V monoblock long
before anyone else had a commercial and reliable product. Over
the last 5 years we have been looking very closely at the battery
industry, seeking the best solution and we can now say that we
have found a suitable candidate where cost, quality and energy
density are concerned. Posted.


Top Ten Cleantech Cities in the United States. There are numerous
cities across the United States which can be considered
"cleantech capitals." With a large array of renewable resources,
a dedication by businesses and homeowners to become more energy
efficient, and a large hub for research and development, a lot
can be accomplished when it comes to creating new, efficient and
sustainable clean technologies. Posted.

At U.S. Nuclear Sites, Preparing for the Unlikely. Washington —
American nuclear safety regulators, using a complex mathematical
technique, determined that the simultaneous failure of both
emergency shutdown systems to prevent a core meltdown was so
unlikely that it would happen once every 17,000 years. It
happened twice in four days at a pair of nuclear reactors in
southern New Jersey. Posted.

Plan For Fresno Co. Nuclear Plant Faces Obstacles. Several
hurdles remain for proposed site in western Fresno Co. Local
investors hoping to build a nuclear power plant in western Fresno
County have scoped out locations, planned a water supply, lined
up support and signed a development agreement with a French
energy conglomerate. The real hard work, however, lies ahead.

'Solar Group Buy' Program Launched In San Jose. For the past few
years, Dennis Korabiak had been considering installing a solar
panel system on his 2,300-square-foot San Jose home. But the cost
never penciled out. All that changed last year when the city of
San Jose developed a pilot program with a $100,000 grant from the
federal government that encouraged city workers to band together
to increase their buying power and simplify the sometimes
confusing process of going solar. Posted.

State’s Authority Over Diablo Canyon Plant Is Limited. Utility
overseers could use control of fee increases to get closer look
at seismic issues. The California Public Utilities Commission has
joined a chorus of agencies and elected officials who are calling
for a closer look at the seismic safety of Diablo Canyon nuclear
power plant after the nuclear emergency in Japan. But the
commission is different than other state and local government
agencies. It wields indirect authority over Diablo Canyon because
it controls PG&E’s purse strings. Posted.

How Green is Biomass Energy? California is hungry for renewable
energy. Solar and wind power have taken off thanks to the state's
ambitious clean energy goals. But there's another way to generate
electricity -- by using organic material like agricultural and
tree waste. It's known as biomass power. But some say it's not as
green as it seems. Posted.

A Win-Win for Clean Energy. The nuclear tragedy in Japan and the
disturbing upheaval in Libya and the Middle East have dominated
the headlines, but it also serves as a haunting reminder that
America's own energy security may be in peril unless we
accelerate efforts to more fully develop energy alternatives that
are reliable, safe and sufficient to meet our future needs.
Achieving energy independence has been a laudable but daunting
goal since the first energy crisis in 1979. Posted.


Reno Site Offers Comparison Shopping for Home Wind Turbines.
Small turbine sales are increasing every year, but useful data on
the amount of electricity the turbines generate is still hard to
come by. In a push to promote urban wind power, city officials in
Reno, Nevada, are helping consumers take the guesswork out of
buying home turbines. 
The city has launched an online consumer guide called the Green
Energy Dashboard that allows potential buyers to track
performance of nine different turbines at four sites throughout
Reno, including the city hall and a water treatment plant.

Three Valley Sites In Disease Cluster Report. Kettleman City, two
other Valley locations on state list. Kettleman City and two
other Valley communities are among dozens of places nationally
where people have died in mysterious disease clusters,
environmentalists say in a report being released today. Nine
California locations are discussed in a report being released
today by the Natural Resources Defense Council and the National
Disease Clusters Alliance. The groups say federal authorities
need to study these clusters quickly and help local officials. 

U2 Malibu Project Raises Questions About LEED.  Los Angeles --
When U2 guitarist The Edge announced plans to build mansions
overlooking the Pacific, he promised the homes would look like
scattered leaves on the ridgeline and boast the country's most
sought-after green building seal.  Posted. 

A Green City Rises Up in Sydney.  Sydney — The most famous
Central Park is in New York, but Sydney is planning its own
version that is less like a park in the city and more like a city
in the park, with the urban parts aspiring to be as green as
their surroundings.  Posted. 

Supreme Court Stays Out Of Joshua Tree Landfill Dispute. The
Supreme Court decided today not to take up a dispute over a land
transfer involving the federal government that could lead to the
construction in California of the nation's largest landfill. The
proposed transfer, involving land near Joshua Tree National Park,
is between Kaiser Ventures LLC and its subsidiary, Mine
Reclamation Corp., on one side and the Bureau of Land Management
on the other. Posted.

MN Ethanol Plant To Be Converted To Nation's First Corn-Based
Isobutanol Facility. A Minnesota ethanol plant is being converted
into the nation's first facility to make isobutanol from
renewable resources, Minnesota Public Radio reported Monday.
Englewood, Colo.-based Gevo Inc. hopes to begin producing
isobutanol at its Luverne plant in about a year. The conversion
is another indicator of the weakness of the ethanol industry,
analysts told MPR. Like ethanol, isobutanol is made from a
process that ferments corn into alcohol. Posted.


The Senate's EPA Showdown. Democrats face a moment of truth on
regulatory cap and trade. The Environmental Protection Agency
debate lands in the Senate this week, amid the makings of a
left-right coalition to mitigate the agency's abuses. Few other
votes this year could do more to help the private economy—but
only if enough Democrats are willing to buck the White House.
This moment arrived unexpectedly, with Majority Leader Harry Reid
opening a small business bill to amendments. Posted.

Probe Carbifornia And Weed Out Credential Fakery. In early April,
UCLA will decide whether to fire epidemiologist James Enstrom, a
fixture in the UCLA Department of Public Health since the 1970s.
If UCLA does give him the boot, Assemblyman Dan Logue has
threatened to hold hearings. Whatever happens to Enstrom,
legislators have good reason to investigate. Enstrom is the
author of a 2005 study that found no evidence that PM2.5, dust
and soot from diesel exhaust, causes premature deaths. That’s the
contention of the California Air Resources Board. Posted.

Nuclear power: Seismic data first, then make key decisions. As a
freshman lawmaker and former geophysicist, I raised eyebrows when
I authored a 2005 viewpoint cautioning that significant seismic
uncertainty exists around Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant. I
questioned, “Is the facility safe from tsunami and earthquake
damage that could be generated by large offshore faults?” I
called for rigorous independent study and analysis of the seismic
zone around the facility. Posted.

Farmers and the EPA.  The March 24 article, "EPA official tours
farms," discussed a visit to the Valley by our government's
highest ranking EPA administrator. Lisa Jackson, a Cabinet-level
member of the Obama administration, got a glimpse at how farmers
in the Valley are doing their part to reduce air emissions and
conserve precious water.  Posted. 


On Our Radar: Don’t Tear Down E.P.A., Former Agency Chiefs Urge. 
The Republican assault on the Environmental Protection Agency,
including a proposed bill to repeal the agency’s recent finding
that carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases pose a threat
to human health and welfare, goes too far, write two former
E.P.A. chiefs, both appointed by Republican presidents.  Posted. 

Group That Beat Back Proposition 23 Is Reborn.  George P. Shultz,
the Republican former secretary of state, and Thomas F. Steyer,
the Democratic hedge fund billionaire, are reviving the coalition
that campaigned last year to defeat Proposition 23, the
California ballot measure that would have derailed the state’s’
landmark global warming law.  Posted. 

Of Nuclear Power, Risk and Meteorites. The Diablo Canyon nuclear
power plant sits on a bluff above the Pacific Ocean — and on
active seismic zones, worrying residents. 
As my colleagues Matt Wald and John Broder and I write in Science
Times, weighing the risks associated with nuclear power against
other forms of electricity is, at least for regulators and
actuaries, a highly academic exercise. But for others —
particularly those living in the shadow of nuclear reactors — it
is an intensely personal affair. Posted.

Groups Demand Data on Radiation Release. As the Japanese
authorities order a wider evacuation area around the stricken
Fukushima reactor complex to as far out as 19 miles, three health
and environmental groups in the United States announced that they
were seeking further information about why American officials
recommended that its citizens keep at least 50 miles away.
Gregory B. Jaczko, chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission,
recommended the 50-mile radius in congressional testimony 10 days
ago. Posted.

Renewing Support for Renewables. The biggest positive result of
the accident at Fukushima Daiichi could be renewed public support
for the development of renewable energy technologies. Many
influential policy makers, including President Obama, continue to
insist that we must expand nuclear power to help meet our energy
needs. But plenty of experts disagree. As the chart below
illustrates, renewable energy sources (including hydropower and
biofuels) already account for almost the same share of total
energy consumption in the United States as nuclear power. Posted.

Lung Association Ads Fault House Panel Chairman. American Lung
Association A billboard takes aim at Representative Fred Upton’s
effort to prevent the E.P.A. from regulating greenhouse gas
emissions. The American Lung Association has opened a billboard
campaign against Fred Upton, the Republican chairman of the House
Commerce and Energy Committee, taking him to task for his
legislative attacks on the Environmental Protection Agency and
clean air regulations. Posted.

California Clean Energy: "No On 23" Is Back. Former Secretary of
State George Shultz and San Francisco hedge fund manager Thomas
Steyer are resurrecting the successful alliance between
clean-tech businesses and environmental groups that defeated
Proposition 23 last November. The new non-partisan group, calling
itself “Californians for Clean Energy and Jobs,” will support the
rollout of new regulations under the state’s ambitious global
warming law, which survived the initiative that would have
delayed its implementation. Posted.

Update: Air Board Moves Swiftly to Address Court's Concerns. The
California Air Resources Board issued a statement yesterday in
response to the Superior Court’s recent decision in the AB 32
Scoping Plan lawsuit. Californians should take heart – the
statement spells good news for our efforts to protect public
health and stay out in front in the global push for clean energy.
The Air Board identified three courses of action it will take in
the wake of the decision to ensure AB 32 implementation remains
on track:  Posted.

'Artificial Leaf' Makes Hydrogen From Solar Cell. Drawing from
nature, Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Daniel
Nocera thinks he can draw cheap and clean energy from water. At
the National Meeting of the American Chemical Society, Nocera
yesterday presented results from research on making an
"artificial leaf" to split water to get hydrogen fuel and oxygen.
The goal is to use the solar cell to make hydrogen, which would
be stored and then used in a fuel cell to make electricity.
Posted. http://news.cnet.com/8301-11128_3-20047814-54.html

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