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newsclips -- newsclips--News Clips for June 13, 2011

Posted: 13 Jun 2011 16:28:33
California Air Resources Board News Clips for June 13, 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.

Report: Ventura waste plant plagued with problems. Officials say
a much-touted waste processing plant in Ventura County has been
plagued with problems and has operated at just 10 percent to 15
percent capacity since opening two years ago. The Ventura County
Star reports Sunday that the $10 million biosolids plant at the
Toland Road Landfill has failed air emissions tests and has been
hobbled by equipment troubles. Posted.

Fire spewing toxic smoke in Arizona, New Mexico. An eye-stinging,
throat-burning haze of smoke spewing from a gigantic wildfire in
eastern Arizona is beginning to stretch as far east as central
New Mexico, prompting health officials to warn residents as far
away as Albuquerque about potential respiratory hazards. The
672-square-mile blaze was no longer just an Arizona problem on
Saturday as firefighters moved to counter spot fires sprouting up
across the state line and lighting their own fires to beat it
back. Posted.

Cap and trade sparks renewed political debate. California is the
leader in the fight against climate change in the United States,
instituting groundbreaking measures as the federal government's
efforts have floundered. But a central piece of the plan to
reduce greenhouse gases is now under fire by an unlikely source:
environmentalists in the state. The outcome of the dispute will
have national and international implications for combatting
climate change. Gov. Jerry Brown, who holds the largest sway in
the fracas, has yet to weigh in. Posted. 

Australia's Risky Plan on Emissions. Almost a year since former
Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd was ousted by his own party
as he tried to introduce a controversial mining tax, his
successor, Julia Gillard, risks the same fate. She is pushing for
a tariff on greenhouse gases and an emissions-trading system that
she hopes will shrink the nation's disproportionately big carbon
footprint. Posted. 

Another Climate Change Concern: Indoor Air. Add another one to
the list of unintended consequences. As we try to button up our
workplaces and homes for better energy efficiency, we may be
creating or exacerbating other problems. Sure, it saves on heat
and air-conditioning to seal leaks. But if there's a damp and
moldy basement, or radon seepage, those problems could worsen.
Indeed, officials in this region, where radon is a problem,
recommend retesting for radon if a home's air leaks are sealed
significantly. Posted. 

East Contra Costa transit agency fined for emissions violation.
The agency that runs East Contra Costa's bus service has been
fined $17,000 by the state for not complying with
diesel-emissions standards. The Eastern Contra Costa Transit
Authority has paid the fine, agreed to several terms, including
sending employees to training classes, and has since complied
with state standards, said Steve Ponte, Tri Delta Transit chief
operating officer. The Air Resources Board monitors the emissions
of transit companies and requires them to report their emissions
every year, spokeswoman Karen Caesar said. Posted. 

INLAND: Air quality officials outline 20-year clean-air strategy.
Most Southern California workers recharge their cars at night to
handle the morning commute. Rooftops just about everywhere
harness solar power. And trains and trucks tap power from
electrical grids installed below railroad tracks and freeway
lanes. These and other changes that would require more
electricity and clean air sources to move goods and people in
Southern California are now the official vision and goal of
regional and state air quality and planning agencies. Posted. 


Small nations pledge carbon neutrality; big ones haggle over
Kyoto future. Ethiopia, a country that has become nearly
synonymous with famine and poverty, has pledged carbon-neutral
growth by 2025. Fiji, Cook Islands and more than two dozen other
small island nations with what one diplomat called "a truly,
truly negligible share of emissions" have banded together to
increase energy efficiency and develop renewable energy
alternatives. And Vietnam, where the Mekong Delta area will be
one of the world's hardest hit by climate change, aims to reduce
about 516 million tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent emissions by
2030. Posted.  http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/2011/06/13/3/


D.O.E. Grants $83 Million To Biofuels Startups (Not One Of Them
In Silicon Valley). Maybe it’s just a biofuels thing this year,
but it seems like the feds are giving cleantech grant money to
companies and institutions that are based anywhere but in the
nation’s capital of venture capital. The U.S. Secretary of Energy
Steven Chu announced six recipients of $36 million in total grant
funding via the Department of Energy’s Biomass Program on Friday.
That non-dilutive funding went to organizations working to make
the production of “drop-in” biofuels and plant-based chemicals
better, and to ultimately bring affordable alternatives to
petroleum-based products mainstream in the U.S. Posted. 

1st natural gas fueling station opens in Nebraska. Nebraska has
opened its first natural gas fueling station, and two more are
expected to be in operation soon. The Metropolitan Utilities
District unveiled the first station Friday afternoon at I-80 Fuel
in Omaha, which already offers unleaded and diesel fuel. The
Omaha-based utility is scheduled to open a second station in
Omaha in July, and the Lincoln Airport Authority is planning one
that will open in August. "As more individuals and businesses
look to alternative sources of energy, natural gas makes sense,"
said MUD board chairman David Friend. "It is clean, abundant and
American." Posted. 

US gas is artificially cheap: What we don't pay for at the pump.
California has some of the dirtiest air in the nation.
Consequently, it has some of the strictest rules for gasoline,
meaning it burns cleaner than it does in many other states. But
cleaner fuels are more expensive. Clean air requirements,
combined with supply and refining constraints, make the price of
California gas consistently among the highest in the nation.
Turmoil in the Middle East is another factor that pushes up the
global price of crude oil. Even though the average price for a
gallon of regular unleaded gas in California fluctuates around
$4, some experts argue that $4 a gallon is much less than the
real cost. Posted. 


Electric, if Not Electrifying: Cars for Short-Range Commutes. Is
there a need for a new breed of tiny gas-free commuter cars that
match the old stereotypes of electric vehicles — that they are
puny, plasticky and incapable of going very far? In recent weeks
I’ve driven three such vehicles, all smaller and less substantial
than the well-publicized Nissan Leaf, an electric compact, and
Chevrolet Volt, a plug-in hybrid with a gasoline engine to back
up its batteries Posted. 

Nissan Aggravates Customers Attempting to Turn New Leaf: Cars.
Nissan Motor Co. is aggravating the customers it needs most.
Nissan, which wants to become the top seller of electric cars,
repeatedly delayed deliveries to some U.S. buyers who reserved
the first 20,000 Leaf plug-in hatchbacks, according to interviews
with customers. They said Nissan unexpectedly dropped some from
the waiting list temporarily, asking that they reapply if they
couldn't prove they'd arranged installation of home- charging
units that can cost more than $2,000. Posted. 

Ford to introduce hybrid minivan. Ford Motor Co. said Thursday
that it plans to introduce a smaller, five-passenger hatchback
minivan as either a hybrid or a plug-in hybrid, canceling plans
to re-enter the traditional minivan onto the market in the United
States. Called the C-Max, the automobile is Ford's first
hybrid-only model in North America.


Obama admin launches campaign to help states, utilities deploy
smart grid projects. Obama administration officials, joined by
electric power industry executives and state regulators, will
unveil a new campaign today to push deployment of smart grid and
clean energy technologies. Energy Secretary Steven Chu,
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and John Holdren, director of
the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, head the
administration officials at today's conference. Posted. 

Manure Entreprenuer Turns Dairy Waste into Green Energy. SEATTLE
-- The back end of a cow provides the front end of the
green-energy business that Kevin Maas is slowly expanding in
Western Washington and Oregon. With missionary zeal, he and his
brother Daryl build modest electricity-producing projects that
help family-owned dairy farms preserve their key role in the
agricultural ecosystem. Posted. 

HEMET: Workshops to teach about solar, wind power. Mt. San
Jacinto College will be conducting solar and wind workshops this
month for Hemet Unified School District students to help provide
awareness of "green" technology careers in renewable energy, a
growing and innovative field. Participants will be exposed to
solar and wind energy and electricity fundamentals, and to the
MSJC Solar/Wind/Manufacturing Employee Concentration
Certificates. Posted. 


NM site called model for nuclear waste disposal. A half-mile
under the flat, scrubby desert in southeastern New Mexico, a
warren of rectangular chambers is chiseled into a 250
million-year-old salt formation. For the last dozen years,
forklifts have been filling these tombs with radioactive waste
left over from the country's efforts to build nuclear bombs.
Sometime this year, the 10,000th shipment will arrive at the
Waste Isolation Pilot Program, or WIPP, sealed in steel casks the
size of elephants on the back of a flatbed truck hailing from one
of 10 government nuclear development sites around the country.

NRC chief in hot seat for scrapping work on dump. In the two
years that Gregory Jaczko has led the nation's independent
nuclear agency, his actions to delay, hide and kill work on a
disputed dump for high-level radioactive waste have been called
"bizarre," `'unorthodox" and "illegal." These harsh critiques
haven't come just from politicians who have strong views in favor
of the Yucca Mountain waste site in Nevada. They've come from the
Nuclear Regulatory Commission's own scientists and a former
agency chairman. Posted. 

SAN BERNARDINO: Dump pump, take bus -- for free. With the
economic recession hanging on and gas prices still around $4 per
gallon, Omnitrans urges commuters to "Dump the Pump" and ride the
bus for free on Thursday. Omnitrans joins public transportation
systems nationwide in the sixth annual Dump the Pump Day,
sponsored by the American Public Transportation Association.


America Needs the Shale Revolution. The U.S. is on the verge of
an industrial renaissance if—and it's a big if—policy makers
don't foul it up by restricting the ability of drillers to use
the technology that's making a renaissance possible: hydraulic
fracturing.  The shale drilling boom now underway in Texas,
Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma and other states is already
creating jobs, slashing natural-gas prices, and spurring billions
of dollars of investment in new production capacity for critical
commodities like steel and petrochemicals. Posted. 

When wind and solar power don't add up. In April, Gov. Jerry
Brown made headlines by signing into law an ambitious mandate
that requires California to obtain one-third of its electricity
from renewable energy sources like sunlight and wind by 2020.
Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia now have
renewable electricity mandates. President Obama and several
members of Congress have supported one at the federal level.


Saving Electricity on a Philadelphia Subway Line. Subway trains
need a lot of electricity to get going, turning electricity into
kinetic energy, the energy of movement. When they pull into a
station, many of them can do the opposite: generate electricity
from their momentum. They turn their motors into generators to
slow the train, producing current.  But in many systems, some of
that energy goes to waste because of a bottleneck: the third
rail, which carries current to the train, cannot handle as much
energy as the train is generating during deceleration. Too much
current pushes up the voltage, and when the voltage gets too
high, the electricity is dissipated by running it through a piece
of metal that converts it into heat. Posted. 

Is natural gas becoming a cover for the same old dirty fossil
fuels industry? One of the great ironies of the transition to
renewable energy is that it's going to require a great deal of
fossil fuels to build all those wind turbines, solar panels, and
smart grids -- because we simply don't have enough renewables
already in the mix to bootstrap them up to the level we need to
continue even a semblance of our 21st century civilization. So
why not make that transition with the "cleanest" fossil fuel
available, goes the argument -- namely, natural gas. Posted. 

Obama administration to put $250 million towards smart grid. As
exciting as alternative energy is, all the wind turbines in the
world are not going to replace dirty energy unless the power they
generate can get to consumers. That requires a better, smarter
power grid than the U.S. has now. The Obama administration has
been reasonably supportive of that goal, packing $4.5 billion for
improving the grid into the stimulus bill back in 2009. Posted. 

California Legislature Fueling the Future of Electric Vehicles.
The Obama administration’s well-publicized goal of 1M electric
vehicles on U.S. roads by the year 2015 is heavily dependent upon
the adoption rate of such vehicles in California – an assertion
supported by a variety of studies from various stakeholders. The
California Energy Commission estimates 1.5M electric vehicles
could be on state roads by 2020. Additionally, a recent study
published by Pike Research determined that Los Angeles will lead
the way in the purchase of electric vehicles from both fleet and
consumer perspectives. Posted. 

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