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newsclips -- Newsclips for September 6, 2011.

Posted: 06 Sep 2011 16:02:21
California Air Resources Board News Clips for September 6, 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.


Stung by the President on Air Quality, Environmentalists Weigh
Their Options. For environmental groups, it was the final hard
slap that brought a long-troubled relationship to the brink. In
late August, the State Department gave a crucial go-ahead on a
controversial pipeline to bring tar sands oil from Canada to the
Gulf Coast. Then on Friday, leading into the holiday weekend, the
Obama administration announced without warning that it was
walking away from stricter ozone pollution standards that it had
been promising for three years and instead sticking with Bush-era
standards. Posted. 

Divisive Pollution Rule Remains on Schedule. As the Obama
administration pulls back on a broad rule to combat ozone
pollution, a different rule that would also reduce smog-forming
chemicals in Texas remains on track. The White House announced on
Friday that ground-level ozone levels would be reviewed in 2013
rather than tightened immediately, a move welcomed by
conservatives in Texas and elsewhere. Posted. 

Leaked Cables Offer Glimpses Into Relations of U.S. and China.
This capital city’s skies were clogged with pollution, as is
often the case, and China’s government was concerned. So it
summoned officials of the American Embassy here to a meeting. But
the session had nothing to do with hazy skies. Rather, Chinese
officials were peeved that the Americans were monitoring
pollution themselves, and posting on Twitter for anyone to read,
their more precise findings, which usually judged the smog far
worse than official Chinese readings. Posted. 

Obama flip on smog rules stuns environmentalists. For
environmental groups, it was the final hard slap that brought a
long-troubled relationship to the brink. In late August, the
State Department gave a crucial go-ahead on a controversial
pipeline to bring tar sands oil from Canada to the Gulf Coast.
Then on Friday, leading into the holiday weekend, the Obama
administration announced without warning that it was walking away
from stricter ozone pollution standards that it had been
promising for three years and instead sticking with Bush-era
standards. Posted.

Administration retreats from tougher smog rules. Washington – The
Obama administration is abandoning its plan to immediately
tighten air-quality rules nationwide to reduce emissions of
smog-causing chemicals after an intense lobbying campaign by
industry, which said the new rule would cost billions of dollars
and hundreds of thousands of jobs, officials said Friday. The
White House announcement that it was overruling the Environmental
Protection Agency's plan to adopt a stricter standard for
ground-level ozone…Posted.

Shell pays $500,000 to Harris County for pollution.  Shell
Chemical L.P. has agreed to pay $500,000 to Harris County over
five different air pollution events at its Deer Park refinery. 
The settlement was reached after the county accused Shell of
failing to notify officials about the toxic releases. There are
two schools and many homes close to the Shell refinery in Deer
Park, about 18 miles southeast of Houston.  Posted. 
Air alert in Valley; restricted driving urged. Air officials are
calling on Valley residents to cut back on driving and idling
while an air alert is in effect this week. The alert -- called
when the area is in danger of exceeding a federal standard for
ozone -- started Monday and will run through Thursday or possibly
Friday, according to the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control
District. It's the second air alert of the season. The first, in
late August, successfully avoided an ozone violation. Posted.

Air Pollution Documentary Premiers in Santa Monica. The South
Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) premiered “The Right
To Breathe,” a documentary film about the hazards of air
pollution in Los Angeles, at the Women in Green Forum at the
Sheraton in Santa Monica Tuesday. “I think a lot of people forget
how bad [the air pollution] is,” the film's director Alexandre
Phillipe told The Lookout. Posted.

Obama’s Continued Failures on the Environment and Jobs. On Friday
September 2, President Obama directed Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) administrator, Lisa Jackson, to withdraw proposed
regulations on ground level ozone. Ground level ozone is the main
component of smog. Obama’s decision overruled the position of the
EPA and the unanimous opinion of its panel of scientific advisors
in the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC). Posted.


Carbon Cap Revival Led by Gillard Called Stupid by Xstrata. Julia
Gillard, determined to join efforts to reduce global warming,
intends to revive cap and trade as Europe puts curbs on the
United Nations-run emissions credit market and the U.S. opts out
entirely. The Australian prime minister’s plan to make factories
and utilities either cut the nation’s greenhouse gases or pay for
pollution-curbing programs abroad may force companies to buy an
average 66 million metric tons of credits a year starting in
2015,… Posted.

Climate, evolution thorny issues for GOP hopefuls. GOP
presidential candidates gathering at the Ronald Reagan
Presidential Library in Simi Valley on Wednesday will spar over
jobs, the economy and foreign policy - but the televised matchup
will become especially tricky if it wanders into two topics
related to science: climate change and evolution. Both inspire
fiery debate, pitting science and research against deeply held
personal beliefs. Posted.

San Francisco Bay developers, enviros spar over sea-level regs.
San Francisco Bay planners are in the home stretch of a two-year
effort to address sea-level rise. The San Francisco Bay
Conservation and Development Commission's (BCDC) development plan
for the coastline is up for a vote early next month. If it
passes, the agency could use it as justification to deny permits
for development in coastal areas susceptible to flooding. Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2011/09/06/3 BY PAID

GAO finds geoengineering methods too 'immature' to fight climate
change. No geoengineering methods are ready for use to combat
climate change, the Government Accountability Office said in a
report released late last month, citing concerns about cost,
effectiveness and adverse consequences. "Climate engineering
technologies do not now offer a viable response to global climate
change," GAO said in the report commissioned by former House
Science, Space and Technology Committee Chairman Bart Gordon
(D-Tenn.). Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2011/09/06/5 BY PAID


Mass. steps up efforts to cut school bus pollution. State
environmental officials are set to mark the start of the school
year by celebrating the successful completion of a program that
fitted more than 2,100 school buses with devices designed to cut
air pollution from diesel engines. Buses serving at least 300,000
students in 300 communities benefited from the MassCleanDiesel
School Bus Retrofit Program. The initiative seeks to reduce
children's exposure to diesel exhaust swirling inside the buses
as they ride to and from school. Posted. 


China Challenges U.S. Supremacy in Shale Gas. China has a chance
of challenging the United States for shale supremacy. So far,
only the United States has significantly exploited domestic
reserves of shale gas. But Sinopec, China’s major state-run oil
company, is now taking shale seriously and lacks many of the
roadblocks that have held back developers in other countries.
Many nations have energy trapped in their rocks, but shale gas
extraction, born in the U.S.A., has all but stayed here. Posted. 


Daimler to Test Smart Electric Cars in Hong Kong as Smog Worsens.
Daimler AG (DAI), the world’s second- largest manufacturer of
luxury cars, will provide a trial version of its Smart electric
car to partners in Hong Kong as the city battles record
pollution. Daimler’s partners in the trial, which include the
Hong Kong Jockey Club and Swire Coca-Cola HK, will use the
two-seater car for six to 12 months, the carmaker said in a
statement today. Stuttgart-based Daimler’s Mercedes Benz unit
will offer a service center with technicians and mechanics.

China Aims to Rein In Car Sales. After a decade of nurturing
China’s auto industry to become the largest in the world, this
country’s leaders are having second thoughts. A succession of
government officials at a weekend conference called for China’s
automakers to shift their focus from making ever more cars and
toward producing more fuel-efficient and more advanced models,
including gasoline-electric hybrids and all-electric cars.

Bills To Shift Oversight Of High-Speed Rail Faltering. The
California High-Speed Rail Authority is facing increased scrutiny
from lawmakers as the legislative session draws to a close.
Lawmakers proposed several reforms meant to strengthen state
oversight of the autonomous rail agency, but with just a week
before the end of the 2011 session, the toughest looked unlikely
to reach a floor vote, Capitol sources said. Posted.

Bill pushes gas levy for congestion relief projects. Sacramento
lawmakers have a plan to raise money to improve freeways and
bolster public transit and bicycle amenities: Let local officials
charge more for gas. But Inland area officials don't think
Riverside or San Bernardino counties will take lawmakers up on
the offer.  A bill in the state Assembly, if approved, would
allow planning agencies such as San Bernardino Associated
Governments and the Riverside County Transportation Commission to
ask voters to approve a gas levy. Posted.
The Coalition's vision for renewable transport.  During its first
fifteen months, the Coalition Government has been grappling with
a series of tough challenges: restoring sustainability to the
public finances, rebuilding our economy and delivering our
climate change commitments.  Conventional wisdom dictates that
supporting economic growth is incompatible with cutting carbon.
Like most conventional wisdom, this is way off the mark. Posted. 


Businesses put wind to work. When Brad Crandall Jr. opened the
electric bill for his fertilizer manufacturing company in June,
it was as if the weight of high energy costs were swept away by a
cool breeze. The Pacific Gas and Electric Co. bill was $11.52,
down from almost $5,000 a month previously to run the factory in
Suisun City. "It was so wonderful," Crandall said. "We all dream
of not having a PG&E bill." Crandall's company is saving money by
taking advantage of a fast-growing, clean technology. Posted.

Solyndra files for bankruptcy, listing nearly $784 million in
debt. Solyndra filed for bankruptcy on Tuesday, listing $783.8
million in secured debts that included $527.8 million that it
owes to the U.S. government, court papers show. The Fremont-based
solar manufacturer listed assets valued at $859 million,
according to U.S. Bankruptcy Court records in Delaware. The
filing included Solyndra and its principal owner, 360 Degree
Solar Holdings. Posted.
http://www.mercurynews.com/green-energy/ci_18834925 SUBSCRIPTION


Where the Jobs Aren’t. With the economy stagnating and
unemployment high, where are the jobs of the future going to come
from? A few years ago, it seemed as though the Green Economy
could be a big part of the answer. New clean-energy sources could
address environmental, economic and national security problems
all at once. In his 2008 convention speech, Barack Obama promised
to create five million green economy jobs. Posted. 

Obama's tie to (bankrupt) Solyndra [Most commented]. You may not
know about Solyndra, an industrial solar panel company based in
Fremont, Calif., but that doesn't mean you shouldn't. It was the
first company to receive federal stimulus funds, totaling $535
million. Yet the company just filed for bankruptcy protection.
And, it should be noted, House Republicans are investigating
because one of Solyndra's main investors was a bundler for
President Obama's 2008 presidential campaign. Here's what it
means for all of us: Posted.

California leaders are killing jobs. California’s “jobs gap” with
the rest of America jumped to a record high, according to new
calculations. In 2010, I devised the “jobs gap” to measure how
much worse unemployment is in California than in the rest of
America. The jobs gap is calculated by subtracting the national
unemployment level from California’s. Of course, the major factor
affecting California’s economy is national economic policy.

Solyndra collapse raises tough policy questions. The bankruptcy
of an Obama pet project - solar panel maker Solyndra, based in
Fremont - is a political embarrassment for the White House. It
went from showcase to basket case, laying off 1,100 workers and
eating up $535 million in stimulus-program money. The episode
deserves a serious look - which Republicans in Congress are only
too happy to supply - to see if financial warning signs were
ignored or whether the firm won special treatment because a prime
investor was a White House donor. Posted.

Thomas Elias: State air board credibility hit through lack of
change. The departed administration of ex-Gov. Arnold
Schwarzenegger has been thoroughly discredited, its record of
bending public policy to the whims of campaign donors often
demonstrated and his own lack of trustworthiness amply proven.
But pockets of Schwarzenegger's influence and the lack of
integrity he epitomized remain in place fully eight months after
his departure from office, one of the most notable at the
California Air Resources Board. Posted.

Steve Scauzillo: Some companies make green jobs out of
regulations. There were no new jobs created in the United States
this past August. Unemployment stayed at 9.1 percent but we all
know that California is worse at 12 percent unemployment. 
You will hear President Obama talk about employment Thursday when
he presents his plan for job creation to the American people.
That is, if you are not watching the football game. Posted.

‘Houston, San Joaquin Valley Has A Problem": Cars Causing Smog.
In California, or more precisely the San Joaquin Valley, our
problem isn’t droughts, hurricanes or floods; it’s smog – at
least right now it is. Beginning this year assessed will be an
annual $29 million penalty, the money presumably going to help
clean this smog up. San Joaquin Valley motorists will have to pay
an extra $12 added to what would be our usual registration fees.
Is this fair? The penalty may be justified, but the fact that
Valley motorists are on the hook for this expense may not be.
Posted. http://www.californiaprogressreport.com/site/print/9332


Getting a Grip on the Grid. One of the crucial factors that
limits the capacity of the electricity grid is the temperature of
the lines; as their metal is heated by the current flowing
through them, the lines get longer, and they sag, and can contact
trees or other objects. That development helped set off the great
Northeast blackout of August 2003. But the utility companies have
never had a precise idea of what the temperatures are, or where
their lines are in relation to obstructions below. Posted. 

Hot air and fading hope in Washington’s climate fix. It has been
a brutal summer for climate change ‘deniers’ and, perhaps, an
even nastier one for greens. Washington is a long way from the
North Pole but the hot air is everywhere. The planet’s vital
white skullcap – the reflective dome of Arctic ice – is thinning,
scattered and melting towards new record lows. Icebreakers are
crunching easily through weak ice close to the pole, shipping
lanes are wide open north of Russia and Canada and there’s a new
resource rush. Posted.

Germany Sets New Renewable Energy Record. While the latest green
headlines in the U.S. are mostly depressing with growing signs
that the Obama administration will approve the proposed Keystone
Pipeline and the bankruptcy of Solyndra, at least we have some
good news coming from across the ocean. According to a new report
by the German Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW),
the German renewable energy sector broke a new record in the
first half of 2011, generating 20.8 percent of the country’s
power production. Posted. 

The Dark Side of Apple’s Supply Chain. As surprising as it may
seem (or not) there are problems with Apple’s suppliers in China,
namely that many are not exactly environmentally friendly
citizens. A coalition of environmental organizations cited
“pollution and poisoning” problems in Apple’s China supply chain
in two reports on the “Other Side of Apple.” Posted. 

Biofuels Propel Blue Angels Over Labor Day Weekend. Labor Day
weekend often means that very last summer barbecue, final road
trip, baseball pennant race showdowns, and for some lucky
communities, the chance to watch the Blue Angels soar above
crowds in their awesome aerial formations.  This year, the U.S.
Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, the long-form name for the
Blue Angels, wowed visitors with their pilots’ stunts at the
Patuxent Naval Air Station in southern Maryland over the weekend.

One-step hydrotreatment process for conversion of vegetable oils
to renewable diesel and LPG.  Researchers from Japan and Mexico
have developed a one-step hydrotreatment process over catalysts
containing Ni-Mo and solid acids for the conversion of vegetable
oils (Jatropha, palm and canola) to renewable diesel and LPG
fuels. A paper on their work appears in the ACS journal Energy &
Fuels.  Jatropha oil produced the highest yield (wt %) of
renewable diesel (83.5%), with 4.9% LPG.  Posted. 

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