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newsclips -- Newsclips for September 16, 2011.

Posted: 16 Sep 2011 14:53:07
California Air Resources Board News Clips for September 16, 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.


SD board approves Hyperion oil refinery permit. A state
environmental board voted unanimously Thursday to approve a Texas
company's request to extend the deadline for starting
construction of a $10 billion oil refinery planned for
southeastern South Dakota. After hearing closing arguments from
lawyers representing Hyperion Resources and groups opposing the
project, the Board of Minerals and Environment also approved
changes in the permit to reflect updated national air quality
standards and new technology. Posted.

Ruling allows CA agency to issue pollution credits. A Los Angeles
judge's decision will allow the region's anti-smog agency to
continue granting pollution credits to certain types of projects
and to police and fire and other public facilities seeking to
expand, according to officials at the South Coast Air Quality
Management District. This month, Judge Ann I. Jones approved the
agency's environmental review, rejecting arguments by
conservation groups that the district did not adequately consider
the environmental impacts of issuing pollution credits. Posted.

Lawmakers defiant over federal clean air rule.  A threat by one
of the state's largest energy companies to shut down generators
and layoff hundreds of workers over stricter pollution standards
came one day after the EPA issued a letter assuring the company a
plan could be worked out to help it comply with the standards. 
The new rules are designed to significantly reduce smog and soot
pollution by requiring 27 states, including Texas, to decrease
smokestack emissions, mostly at coal-fired power plants.  Posted.

Arvin secures funding to monitor own air. Arvin residents
concerned about air quality will be monitoring pollutants
themselves, thanks to $130,000 in funding they will receive over
two years. The money, which comes from The California Endowment,
will be used to purchase air monitoring devices and train
residents on how to use them. The goal of the self-collected data
is to shed light on the region's pollutants, the locations most
affected and their overall prevalence. Historically, Arvin air
has been among the worst in the nation. Posted.


More Americans believe world is warming.  More Americans than
last year believe the world is warming and the change is likely
influenced by the Republican presidential debates, a
Reuters/Ipsos poll said on Thursday.  The percentage of Americans
who believe the Earth has been warming rose to 83 percent from 75
percent last year in the poll conducted Sept 8-12.  U.S.
Republican presidential candidates, aside from Jon Huntsman, have
mostly blasted the idea that emissions from burning fossil fuels
and other human actions are warming the planet.  Posted. 

Economists say sea level rise could be costly.  Economists say
erosion from rising sea levels and storm damage could cost
California hundreds of millions of dollars in lost tourism and
tax revenues.  The Los Angeles Times (http://lat.ms/pQSYKP) says
the San Francisco State study released Tuesday shows climate
change and rising seas this century will diminish state beach
appeal to tourists.  The California Department of Boating and
Waterways-commissioned study examined sea level projections at
five beach communities.  Posted. 

Observations of climate change from indigenous Alaskans. 
Personal interviews with Alaska Natives in the Yukon River Basin
provide unique insights on climate change and its impacts,
helping develop adaptation strategies for these local
communities.  The USGS coordinated interviews with Yup'ik hunters
and elders in the villages of St. Mary's and Pitka's Point,
Alaska, to document their observations of climate change. They
expressed concerns ranging from safety, such as unpredictable
weather patterns and dangerous ice conditions, to changes in
plants and animals as well as decreased availability of firewood.


Clean fuel will save lives in port areas.  The study, released
online by Environmental Science & Technology, examined the air
around the Margrethe Maersk as it followed California regulations
requiring ships to switch to low-sulphur fuels and slow down as
they approach the coast.  This showed a big reduction in the
emissions of several worrying pollutants: “Within regulated
waters absolute emission reductions exceed 88% for almost all
measured gas and particle phase species,” noted the study, led by
chemist Daniel Lack of the NOAA. Posted. 

UMTRI study: Driving habits can cut fuel consumption.  While
driving a fuel-efficient vehicle is the best way to save gas,
motorists can still cut fuel consumption nearly in half by
driving slower and less aggressively, properly maintaining their
vehicles, and avoiding congested roads, according to UMTRI
researchers.  "Driving a light-duty vehicle in the United States
is currently more energy-intensive than using a bus or a train
and even flying," said UMTRI research professor Michael Sivak. 
Posted.  http://www.umtri.umich.edu/news.php?id=2896


Chrysler's U.S. green car loan bid could be in jeopardy.
Republican leaders in the House of Representatives want to halve
the balance of a U.S. government loan fund established to help
the auto industry make more fuel efficient cars and trucks. If
plans to shift some $1.5 billion from the Energy Department
advanced technology fund to disaster assistance are carried out,
serious questions would be raised about Chrysler's ability to
fully capitalize on its bid for new financing. Posted. 


Sacramento solar fees too high, Sierra Club says. Sacramento
County and most of its cities are charging excessive fees when it
comes to permits for solar power projects, according to a new
study. The Sierra Club said that solar permitting fees in all but
one city, Galt, well exceeded the cost of processing those
permits. The city of Sacramento charges the highest fees, about
$19,000, followed by Sacramento County, which charges about
$15,000 per project, the Sierra Club said. Galt had the lowest
fees at $1,500 per project. Posted.

Solyndra loan: White House pressed on review of solar company now
under investigation.  The Obama White House tried to rush federal
reviewers for a decision on a nearly half-billion-dollar loan to
the solar-panel manufacturer Solyndra so Vice President Biden
could announce the approval at a September 2009 groundbreaking
for the company’s factory, newly obtained e-mails show.  The
Silicon Valley company, a centerpiece in President Obama’s
initiative to develop clean energy technologies, …Posted. 

Grant to help develop regional electric car charging stations. 
The Richmond region has received a federal grant to help develop
a network of charging stations for electric vehicles.  The
$429,051 grant money from the U.S. Department of Energy was given
to help the region to "lay educational and policy groundwork for
electric vehicle adoption and charging infrastructure
installation," the department said.  The money was awarded to the
Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy and will go to
fund the Richmond Electric Vehicle Initiative.  Posted. 


Do Individual Acts Help Save the Planet? Re “Going Green but
Getting Nowhere,” by Gernot Wagner (Op-Ed, Sept. 8): Bringing
your own bag to the supermarket may not do much to reduce carbon
emissions, but it’s an easy act that keeps people involved in a
movement that desperately needs support. Mr. Wagner writes that
the changes necessary to avert climate change are so large that
they are “beyond the reach of individual action.” One
individual’s actions, like voting, protesting, boycotting or
donating a small amount to charity, won’t solve big problems.

Editorial: Uncle Sam play venture capitalist? See Solyndra. In
March 2010, the accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers issued a
standard but stern warning about Solyndra, a California solar
panel manufacturer: The company wasn't making money and never
had, which raised "substantial doubt about its ability to
continue as a going concern." Yet when President Obama visited
Solyndra's plant in Fremont two months later, he gave a rousing
pep talk and declared that "the future is here." Posted.

On climate change, there is no room for partisan politics.  When
it comes to foreign policy, the saying goes that politics stops
at the water's edge.  When it comes to climate science, we say
that politics should stop at the atmosphere's edge.  One of us is
a Republican, the other a Democrat. We hold different views on
many issues. But as scientists, we share a deep conviction that
leaders of both parties must speak to the reality and risks of
human-caused climate change and commit themselves to finding
bipartisan solutions.  Posted. 


EPA delays its greenhouse-gas rules. Not a big deal — or is it?
Earlier today, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson announced that the
agency would miss its agreed-to Sept. 30 deadline for new
climate-change rules. Normally, that wouldn’t be headline-worthy.
Air-pollution regulations are, after all, big and complicated.
The EPA often asks for extensions so that staffers can have more
time to thrash out the technical details. It’s not always a big
deal. Posted.

Electric Cars, the Do-It-Yourself Way. Seth Walker, a
communications consultant for sustainable enterprises, sent this
photo yesterday from Portland, Ore., of a Volkswagen Beetle with
an unusual accessory — an extension cord. Seth wrote: This is an
all-electric 1974 VW bug retrofit. The car was plugged into a
public charging station (about the size of a solar-powered
parking meter) on the street near Portland State University.

Al Gore: ‘The message still has to be about the reality we’re
facing’.  The years since Al Gore released “An Inconvenient
Truth” in 2006 have not been kind to climate hawks. Cap-and-trade
died in the Senate, skeptics have renewed their attacks on
climate science, and the front-runner for the GOP presidential
nomination, Rick Perry, denies that there’s even a problem. So
what has the former vice-president decided to do about it?

Newest US City to Be Built Just for Testing Green Technologies. 
Up to 20 square miles of virgin desert in New Mexico will soon be
home to the nation’s newest town, only with a twist — no one will
live there. Developer Pegasus Global Holdings (a communication,
technology and defense contractor) and the state of New Mexico
have announced plans to create a “mid-sized” smart city that they
are calling The Center for Testing, Evaluation and Innovation.
Details are vague, but the concept is clear enough: design a town
that mirrors real cities in order to test sustainable
infrastructure and technologies to see if they would work in the
actual built environment without fear of disrupting real
communities. Posted. 

American Green Vehicle IP Goes to China. Though we have all
become accustomed to China as a major net exporter of goods to
global markets in recent years, in the automotive world, China’s
burgeoning domestic car market inspires all the major global auto
companies to compete vigorously for a piece of the action. The
size of the Chinese market is set to grow hugely in the near
term, …Posted. 

Toyota pins comeback hopes on hybrids; predicts they'll be 20% of
market by 2020. Toyota has suffered some blows to its image over
the last few years with a series of recalls and that whole
unintended acceleration thing, and the company has taken matching
hits to its bottom line. But nothing was as damaging to the
company – in every sense – than the earthquake that struck on
March 11. After the quake, Toyota found itself losing massive
amounts of cash and sinking in worldwide rankings as damaged
factories were unable produce the company's most popular
vehicles. American manufacturers GM, Ford, and Chrysler picked up
market share on their home turf. Posted. 

Thailand to offer $3,317 credit for purchase of vehicles with up
to 1.5-liter engines. Thailand's government is discussing a tax
rebate of up to 100,000 baht ($3,317 U.S. at the current exchange
rate) for buyers of vehicles with engines that displace
1.5-liters or less. The move could cost the government an
estimated 30 billion baht ($99.5 million U.S.), with up to
500,000 buyers possibly snatching up qualified vehicles to take
advantage of the rebate. Posted. 

3,790-mile trip shows how a Chevy Volt can burn more gas than a
Prius. With school back in session, it's time for some students
to answer the age-old question: "How did you spend your summer
vacation?" Nine-year-old Jared Paramonoff's summer tale included
a Chevrolet Volt, a 3,790-mile road trip and even a border
crossing or two. Immediately after Andreas Paramonoff drove his
Volt from Southern California to Western Canada,…Posted.

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