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newsclips -- Newsclips for March 30, 2011.

Posted: 30 Mar 2011 12:49:13
California Air Resources Board News Clips for March 30, 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.


Lawyers Say Plant Leaked Toxic Chemical For Years.  FRESNO,
Calif. -- Company officials failed to alert residents and collect
data about groundwater, air and soil contaminated with
cancer-causing chemicals from a Central California manufacturing
plant owned by a former subsidiary of drug maker Merck & Co.,
lawyers for nearby residents told jurors Tuesday in closing
arguments of a lawsuit.  Posted. 



Web Page Tracks Radiation From Japan. Chico — If you're worried
about how much radiation is making it to California from the
earthquake- and tsunami-stricken Japanese reactors, the Internet
provides direct access to West Coast monitors watching for the
stuff. The Butte County Air Quality Management District has
placed a link on its homepage — www.bcaqmd.org/ — to the state
Air Resources Board Web pages where two kinds of data can be
assessed. Posted. http://www.chicoer.com/news/ci_17730822

Study Finds Curbing Auto Pollution In Developing Countries Could
Have Short-Term Climate Impact. Enacting tough air pollution
limits for motor vehicles in developing countries could help
blunt the short-term effects of climate change, a new study
finds. The study, published yesterday in the journal Nature
Climate Change, concludes that reducing the amount of non-carbon
dioxide greenhouse warmers produced by vehicles would also
improve air quality, health and agricultural yields in developing
nations. Posted.


Senate Vote Could Curb EPA's Climate-Change Powers. Washington
(AP) — Environmentalists are trying to defeat a Senate measure
that would bar the Environmental Protection Agency from
regulating greenhouse gases. The Senate is scheduled to vote
Wednesday on the Republican-backed plan. Many businesses support
it, saying regulations of heat-trapping gases would drive up
their costs and make it harder to hire workers. Environmental
groups and many Democrats oppose the measure. They say the
government must curb gases that contribute to global warming.

Obama to Set Goal of One-Third Cut in Oil Imports.  Washington —
With gasoline prices rising, oil supplies from the Middle East
pinched by political upheaval and growing calls in Congress for
expanded domestic oil and gas production, President Obama on
Wednesday will set a goal of a one-third reduction in oil imports
over the next decade, aides said Tuesday.  Posted. 


Aircraft Contrails Stoke Warming, Cloud Formation. OSLO (Reuters)
- Aircraft condensation trails criss-crossing the sky may be
warming the planet on a normal day more than the carbon dioxide
emitted by all planes since the Wright Brothers' first flight in
1903, a study said on Tuesday. It indicated that contrails --
white lines of Vapor left by jet engines -- also have big
knock-on effects by adding to the formation of high-altitude,
heat-trapping cirrus clouds as the lines break up. The findings
may help governments fix penalties on planes' greenhouse gas
emissions in a U.N.-led assault on climate change. Posted.

Urban Areas Are Causing 70 Percent Of World's GHG Emissions, Says
U.N. Although they only occupy 2 percent of Earth's land cover,
the world's cities are responsible for 70 percent of its
greenhouse gas emissions, according to a U.N. assessment. But the
study, titled "The Global Report on Human Settlements 2011,
Cities and Climate Change: Policy Directions," also contended
that effective urban planning could bring about huge savings. If
no action is taken, the authors warned of a "deadly collision
between climate change and urbanization." Posted.


Alternative Fuels. The majority of school buses in America run on
diesel fuel, but those engines are far different today than the
ones decades ago that spewed forth dark, black clouds of soot
from the exhaust. Estimates are that about 95 percent of the
national fleet of 480,000 school buses run on diesel, but there
is a growing interest in alternative fuels. Informal surveys
conducted by School Transportation News indicate that the most
widely-used alternative fuel is biodiesel, which commonly range
in regular diesel-blend amounts from 2 percent to 20 percent. 

Can Changing Feed Reduce Cattle Methane Emissions? The UK
government has funded research aimed at finding ways for farmers
to reduce methane emissions from ruminants by altering their
feedstock. When dairy farmers added crushed rapeseed to the
feedstock, cows released 20% less methane for every liter of milk
produced, Researchers at Reading University and the Institute of
Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences found. Farming and
ranching account for about 43% of the UK’s methane emissions.


California Expected To Seek High-Speed Rail Funds Rejected By
Florida. Money from Florida could put Merced and Bakersfield on
track to be included in construction of California's first
section of high-speed rail. The California High-Speed Rail
Authority, at a meeting today in Sacramento, is expected to apply
to the Federal Railroad Administration for some of the $2.4
billion spurned last month by Florida's Republican governor, Rick
Scott. Officials from Merced and Bakersfield complained long and
loud about being left off the initial construction route when it
was unveiled in late 2010. Posted.

Queen Of The Road: Solo Hybrid Drivers Banned From The Carpool
Lane. COMMUTER: Is it true that in July, all 85,000 hybrid
carpool stickers are void? Is there any way to protest? Tena
Gallagher, Danville. QUEEN: Tena, the Queen is sorry to say that
the answer is yes. Throughout the state, already congested
non-carpool lanes will have to absorb 85,000 more vehicles at
rush hour as of July 1. Ugh. The only recourse the Queen can
suggest is contacting your state legislator. Alas, Her Majesty
does not get the feeling an extension is likely. For more
information, go to www.dmv.ca.gov/vr/decal.htm. Posted. 

Neb. Grant Will Help Firm's Hybrid Truck Business.  LA VISTA,
Neb. (AP) - A Nebraska company that plans to convert semitrailer
trucks to hybrid power will receive help with start-up costs
through a $505,000 grant.  Gov. Dave Heineman awarded the grant
to the city of La Vista on Tuesday. The money will be used to
help ePower Engine Systems get started.  Posted. 

European Commission Proposes To Push Gasoline- And Diesel-Powered
Cars Out Of Cities. An E.U. body has outlined a plan to phase out
most fossil-fueled cars by 2050. Europe already has among the
highest fuel taxes in the world, and Europeans are already used
to smaller cars, more transit and more walking than elsewhere in
the developed world. Yet in a white paper released Monday, the
European Commission said that to meet climate goals by
midcentury, gasoline- and diesel-run cars must disappear from
cities. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/2011/03/30/3/

Study Finds Curbing Auto Pollution In Developing Countries Could
Have Short-Term Climate Impact. Enacting tough air pollution
limits for motor vehicles in developing countries could help
blunt the short-term effects of climate change, a new study
finds. The study, published yesterday in the journal Nature
Climate Change, concludes that reducing the amount of non-carbon
dioxide greenhouse warmers produced by vehicles would also
improve air quality, health and agricultural yields in developing
nations. Posted.

Tesla Sues BBC Over Alleged Fake 'Top Gear' Scene. Electric
sports car maker Tesla Motors Inc. has filed suit against the
British TV program "Top Gear," alleging that the show faked a
scene in which the company's Roadster car runs out of electricity
during a race. Tesla and the BBC have been feuding ever since the
episode in question was first broadcast in 2008. On the BBC show,
the Roadster was shown having to stop for a recharge in a race
against the gas-powered Lotus Elise. But Tesla says that neither
of the two Roadsters it lent to the show had gone below 20
percent of the charge. Posted.

EU To Ban Cars From Cities By 2050. Cars will be banned from
London and all other cities across Europe under a draconian EU
masterplan to cut CO2 emissions by 60 per cent over the next 40
years. The European Commission on Monday unveiled a "single
European transport area" aimed at enforcing "a profound shift in
transport patterns for passengers" by 2050. The plan also
envisages an end to cheap holiday flights from Britain to
southern Europe with a target that over 50 per cent of all
journeys above 186 miles should be by rail. Posted.


Green-Energy Legislation Means Higher Rates In California,
Utilities Warn. Local consumers could see sharp electricity rate
increases under sweeping new legislation that would require them
to ramp up their energy supplies from wind, solar and other green
sources, local utilities said. On Thursday, the state Assembly
voted 55-19 to approve a measure requiring power companies to
obtain up to 33 percent of their energy supplies from green
sources, up sharply from the current 20 percent. The state Senate
already has passed the bill. Posted.

San Onofre Wave Farm Idea Churns Up Concerns. An Orange County
firm has federal approval to study putting thousands of
generators off San Onofre. Surfers, conservationists and fishing
groups worry about potential negative effects. The waves off San
Onofre have for generations beckoned surfers and sport fishermen
to a wild stretch of coastline in the shadow of domed nuclear
reactors. Now, an Orange County entrepreneur wants to tap the
power of that legendary surf in a novel but highly controversial
plan to build one of the nation's first hydrokinetic wave farms.

Obama Talking Energy Policy As Gas Prices Climb.  Facing pressure
to curb rising gasoline prices, President Barack Obama is calling
for the U.S. to reduce its oil imports by one third by 2025, a
lofty goal likely to run into significant obstacles.  The White
House said Obama will seek to reduce the U.S. dependence on
foreign oil by boosting domestic energy production, increasing
the use of biofuels and natural gas, and making cars and trucks
more fuel-efficient.  Posted. 
Legislature Sends Renewable Energy Bill To Jerry Brown. 
California would vastly increase its commitment to wind, solar,
geothermal and other renewable energy under legislation that
cleared the Legislature on Tuesday and was sent to Gov. Jerry
Brown.  The measure would require public and private utilities to
obtain 33 percent of their electricity from renewable energy
sources by 2020, a sizable increase over the 20 percent required
now.  Posted. 
SC Lawmakers Take A Dim View Of New Light Bulbs.  Columbia,
S.C.—South Carolina lawmakers are taking a stand in favor of
states' lights.  With incandescent bulbs being phased out under
federal law in favor of energy-efficient compact fluorescents,
legislators want to exempt South Carolina from the measure,
saying Washington has no business telling the state how to light
its closets and countertops.  Posted. 

Obama To Focus On Clean Energy, Daring Republicans To Call It
'Froufrou' The White House is collecting options for a clean
energy standard from outside groups, sharpening the president's
effort to make low-carbon electricity a key piece of his
re-election campaign, if not a passable piece of legislation in
the current Congress. The meetings have solicited input on some
of the thorniest elements of President Obama's goal to impose
national fuel requirements on electricity providers. Posted.

Calif. Assembly Sends 33% RPS To Governor. The California
Legislature delivered a 33 percent renewable power mandate today
to Gov. Jerry Brown (D), clearing the way for enactment. The
renewable portfolio standard, or RPS, coasted this afternoon
through the state Assembly, 55-19. The same bill passed the
Senate 26-11 last month. The bill, which calls on utilities to
get 33 percent of their power from renewables by 2020, differs
significantly from a sister version of the standard that went
into effect in 2008 under an executive order signed by former
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R). Posted.

Provisions To Shackle EPA Back On The Agenda. As budgetary
jostling intensifies this week ahead of yet another deadline to
keep the government funded, one thing is clear: Environmental and
energy policy riders remain very much on the table. The resurgent
riders, added to House Republicans' spending plan for the rest of
fiscal 2011, would constrain more than a dozen White House
initiatives, from U.S. EPA emissions rules to Interior Department
lands policy. Posted.

N.J. Chases Calif. In Race To Develop Solar Energy. New York --
U.S. clean energy enthusiasts looking for explosive growth in
solar energy deployments should keep a close eye on New Jersey,
investors and analysts were advised yesterday. Though California
is still the dominant player in photovoltaic solar power in terms
of total installed capacity, New Jersey is already No. 2, thanks
to a state law that lends generous support to the industry.
Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2011/03/30/9


Congress Urged To Set Up System To Track Cancer Cases. Washington
– Activists urged the government Tuesday to let people post and
track cancer cases across communities, a public health effort
that they say could lead to discoveries of new chemical-related
cancer clusters throughout the United States as well as insights
into disease management. A doctor, a cancer survivor and
high-wattage environmental advocate Erin Brockovich told a Senate
panel that no federal agency effectively tracks cancers now in a
way that easily allows scientists to determine the existence of
cancer clusters. Posted.


Nuclear or Coal?  Hong Kong — Twenty five years ago a million
people here signed a petition opposing a plan to build a nuclear
power station with two reactors a few miles across the China
border to provide power for Hong Kong and Guangdong Province.
Some eminent citizens promised to emigrate if the plant was
built.  Posted. 

Tim Rutten: Villaraigosa's Transportation Innovation. Los Angeles
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa goes national with his 30/10
transportation initiative, which would speed up projects that
would help the environment while putting people to work at little
cost. In politics, as in commerce, there are times when you have
to grow to survive. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
believes that's the case with his 30/10 transportation
initiative, which is why he's in Washington on Wednesday arguing
for a national version of the plan that its improbably bipartisan
backers are calling America Fast Forward. Posted.

It's Not Easy Being Green Anymore. Big votes are coming on the
Obama administration’s environmental agenda, and green groups are
being forced to play defense in a world where D.C. pols aren’t
scared of them. Environmentalists are being pummeled by
Republican- and Democratic-minded competitors in advertisements
and lawmaker donations, and they are finding it difficult to
convince members that voting against their issues could hurt them
at the ballot box. Posted.

Court Affirms California’s Marine Emissions Rules. Ships from
China unloading their cargo in the Port of Los Angeles. On
Tuesday, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
upheld California’s right to enforce its own limits on marine
emissions. To hear T.L. Garrett, the vice president of the
Pacific Merchant Shipping Association tell it, the point of
challenging California rules requiring ships to use
cleaner-burning fuel near the state’s shores was not to defend
the burning of some of the dirtiest, most unhealthy motor fuel
around today. Posted.

Less than 50 Years of Oil Left, HSBC Warns.  The world may have
no more than half a century of oil left at current rates of
consumption, while surging demand from the developing world
threatens to create “very significant price rises” before
substitutes like biofuels can serve as viable alternatives, the
British bank HSBC warns in a new report.  Posted. 
CA Moves Forward with Renewable Goals.  After two failed
attempts, California is moving ahead with the most aggressive
renewable energy goal in the country. Today the State Assembly
passed SB 2x, a bill that requires utilities to get 33% of their
electricity from renewable sources like solar and wind, by 2020. 
California Passes Aggressive Renewable Energy Standard. The
Senate passed the legislation in February, and Governor Brown is
expected to sign the bill. How big a deal is it? Well, according
to Peter Miller, a senior scientist at NRDC, "As a result of the
RPS program, renewable energy generation in California in 2020
will be roughly equal to total current U.S. renewable generation,
and supply enough clean energy to power nearly 9 million homes"
or, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists, drive 3
million cars. Posted.

Want To Reduce BPA Exposure? Cut Canned Foods From Your Diet,
Report Says. Exposure to the chemical Bisphenol A, or BPA,
through canned foods and other food packaging can be
significantly reduced with simple dietary changes, according to a
report released Wednesday by the nonprofit Breast Cancer Fund and
the Silent Spring Institute, a breast cancer research group. BPA
is a chemical that is often used in clear, shatterproof plastics,
such as baby bottles and food-storage containers, as well as the
liners of metal food cans. Posted.

Gas Prices Spur Move To Open Offshore Drilling In California,
Alaska, East Coast [Updated]. With high gas prices once again
becoming a high-octane political issue, House Republicans on
Tuesday launched a drive to open up more coastal areas to oil
drilling, including a stretch off Southern California. The
pro-production legislation comes a day before President Obama is
due to speak on energy security and amid heightened political
anxiety among both parties over rising fuel prices. Posted.

CA Moves Forward with Renewable Goals. After two failed attempts,
California is moving ahead with the most aggressive renewable
energy goal in the country. Today the State Assembly passed SB
2x, a bill that requires utilities to get 33% of their
electricity from renewable sources like solar and wind, by 2020.
By all accounts, utilities will need to add an unprecedented
amount of renewable energy to meet the goal. Posted.

Got Problems? Blame Global Warming. It took virtually no time at
all for some to attribute the tragic earthquake and tsunami that
devastated lives and property in Japan to global warming. Only
hours later the president of the European and Social Committee,
Staffan Nilsson, issued a statement that “Some islands affected
by climate change have been hit. Has not the time come to
demonstrate on solidarity — not least solidarity in combating and
adapting to climate change and global warming? Posted.

California Set to Enact Nation’s Most Aggressive RPS. The 33%
Renewable Portfolio Standard awaits the signature of Governor
Jerry Brown. California's state legislature set the most
aggressive renewables portfolio standard in the United States at
33 percent by 2020 in passing S.B. 2 on Tuesday. The bill now
moves onto Governor Jerry Brown's desk -- he's already announced
his intention to sign it. According to Adam Browning of Vote
Solar, "Long-term market security is key to stimulating
investment. Posted. 

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