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newsclips -- Newsclips for October 12, 2011.

Posted: 12 Oct 2011 12:13:33
California Air Resources Board News Clips for October 12, 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.


Groups Sue After E.P.A. Fails to Shift Ozone Rules. Five health
and environmental groups sued the Obama administration on Tuesday
over its rejection of a proposed stricter new standard for ozone
pollution, saying the decision was driven by politics and ignored
public health concerns. The groups said that President Obama’s
refusal to adopt the new standard was illegal and left in place
an inadequate air quality rule from the Bush administration.

Before Obama Retreat on Ozone, EPA Chief Warned of Illnesses and
Deaths. When President Obama retreated from a tougher stance on
smog last month, his Environmental Protection Agency chief had
formally concluded that the existing standard endangered
thousands of Americans, including children and people with
respiratory ailments. The Bush-era limit on ozone was "not
adequate to protect public health," and failed to take into
account "newly available evidence," EPA Administrator Lisa
Jackson concluded, according to recently released documents
detailing the agency's justification for a tougher standard.

Primitive ferns fierce in fighting pollution. Phytoremediation is
the science of using plants to help clean up pollution. After
all, plants are experts at selectively extracting nutrients and
minerals from the soil through their roots. So why can't they be
used to remove toxins, too? Scientists have tested many species
for their ability to reduce toxicity in soils, air and water.
Among the most important phytoremediation plants are ferns.

Private burning suspension lifted for valley counties. As of
today, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection
has lifted the suspension of burning on private land in its
Tuolumne-Calaveras Unit. This includes Calaveras and Tuolumne
counties and eastern portions of San Joaquin and Stanislaus
counties. Burning is allowed, with a valid permit, during open
hours on permissive burn days or nights, as established by each
county's air district. Posted. 

Feds asked to ignore some Valley air violations.  The Valley air
district is asking the federal government to ignore a series of
high air-pollution readings they attribute to this summer's Lion
fire in Sequoia National Forest. In a letter Tuesday to the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency, the San Joaquin Valley Air
Pollution Control District said the fire led to high ozone
readings at two monitors in neighboring Sequoia National Park. On
16 days, the only violations of the eight-hour ozone standard

San Jose's Clean Energy Showcase brings latest energy innovations
to life.  In a downtown San Jose parking lot, Tammy Schultheis'
third-grade class from Washington Open Elementary School learned
how to bake chocolate chip cookies with solar power, using only
aluminum reflectors.  Students from the Santa Clara school also
played with a "solar fountain" that turned a water pump on with
the help of small solar panels, only to be shut off when anyone's
shadow covered the panels. And inside a tiny demonstration home,
they saw how recycled blue jeans can be used for insulation. 
Posted.  http://www.insidebayarea.com/education/ci_19091442

EPA Cement Factory Rules Are Flawed, Industry Tells U.S. Court.
U.S. rules meant to cut mercury emissions and other air
pollutants at cement plants are too restrictive and based on
flawed data, a lawyer for the industry told a federal appeals
court. A three-judge panel in Washington heard arguments today in
challenges to Environmental Protection Agency regulations set to
be enforced in 2013. The cement industry predicts the rules may
cost $3.4 billion and shutter 18 of 100 plants. Posted.

U.S. Neighborhoods Struggle with Health Threats from Traffic
Pollution. On a sunny afternoon, more than 1,000 children poured
out of Hudson K-8 School, eager to play in their neighborhood.
The flag football team was gearing up for practice, working out
with their coach on the school’s grassy field. Just beyond the
playground fence, a line of diesel trucks was idling, stuck in
traffic as they made their way from a massive port complex to a
congested freeway. Posted. 

Even Republicans favor the EPA rules that Republicans are trying
to block.  The debate over upcoming EPA regulations is a perfect
microcosm of contemporary U.S. politics, in all its unreality and
venality. Two rules in particular are in the hot seat at the
moment: the Clean Air Transport Rule, which would address smog
and particulate pollution across state lines, and Mercury and Air
Toxics Standards (MACT) for utilities, which would address, yes,
mercury and acid gases from power plants.  Posted. 


EPA: Fuel rules create jobs. EPA air chief Gina McCarthy plans to
defend the agency against its “job-killing” reputation Wednesday
in front of a House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee,
arguing that the agency’s fuel economy rules create jobs and
support small businesses. McCarthy will be in the House to face
an investigation that committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.)
launched last month, alleging that the EPA and the Transportation
Department are strong-arming auto companies in backroom deals to
carry out the agency’s climate change agenda in upcoming fuel
standards. Posted.


Ignorance Stifles Innovation in Solving Energy Problems. In many
countries today, not least the United States, clean-burning
natural gas offers tantalizing prospects for energy security,
reliability and diversity; economic development; and, in most
cases, improved local and state budgets through the combination
of local energy production and associated economic benefits. Yet
strong differences of opinion about acceptable risk threaten to
undermine or preclude achievement of the benefits that a great
number of diverse interests should want. Posted. 


ARNOLD: City's solar projects on target. Solar power is getting a
bad rap these days, with the Solyndra bankruptcy scandal that's
reaching all the way up to the White House. And those on the
right who scoff at global warming and maintain anything other
than fossil or nuclear fuel is far too expensive to make much of
an impact are overcome with delight, using the Solyndra scandal
to indict the entire green movement. But let's hold on here.
Regardless of whether you believe man is causing the earth to
grow warmer, I suggest we can all agree that taking care of the
planet makes sense. Posted. 

A GOP assault on environmental regulations. The following
editorial appeared in the Los Angeles Times on Monday, Oct. 10:
Republicans in the House are best known for their inflexible
opposition to tax hikes and government spending, but that's
nothing new for the GOP; what marks this group as different is
that it is perhaps the most anti-environment Congress in history.
 So far, that hasn't had much impact because Republicans control
only one house, and Democrats in the Senate have blocked their
most extreme attempts to gut the Clean Air and Clean Water acts.


German Automakers Endorse a Unified Standard for D.C.
Fast-Charging. Daimler announced Tuesday that it would show a
prototype combination plug and port design intended for use on
plug-in hybrids and purely electric vehicles. The system, a joint
effort with Audi, BMW, Porsche and Volkswagen, will be on view at
a technology conference in Baden-Baden, Germany, on Wednesday and
Thursday. Posted. 

Ban Hybrids From the Fast Lane, and Everyone Slows Down. Last
spring I wrote about the indignation of hybrid car owners in
California who were about to lose their rights to drive in the
carpool lane. The state lawmakers who approved the July 1 cutoff
seemed to take the position that virtue was its own reward. But
two researchers have found that denying the hybrids access to
high-occupancy lanes seems to slow down traffic on the freeway
over all — the carpool lane included. Posted. 

Australia moves closer to law establishing carbon tax. The
Australian government's goal of implementing a carbon tax passed
its toughest test today as the lower house of Parliament
overwhelmingly approved a package of bills that institutes a
phased-in carbon tax, to be followed by a carbon-trading system.
The 18 bills now go to the Senate, where the law is all but
assured of passage in mid-November. According to Prime Minister
Julia Gillard, the system will reduce Australia's carbon
emissions by 159 million tons by 2020. Posted.

Climate change could shrink chocolate production: report.
Scientists say climate change will eventually claim many victims
-– including, according to a new report, chocolate. As
temperatures increase and weather trends change, the main growing
regions for cocoa could shrink drastically, according to new
research from the International Center for Tropical Agriculture.
Ghana and the Ivory Coast –- which produce more than half of the
global cocoa supply –- could take a major hit by 2050. Posted.

Climate Change Could Mean Cloudy Future for Lake Tahoe. New
threats to lake’s clarity are emerging just as restoration
funding is drying up. Over the last 15 years, more than a billion
dollars has been spent to protect Lake Tahoe’s clear waters from
runoff and erosion. Now, new threats to lake’s clarity are
emerging, just as restoration funding is drying up. Researchers
from UC Davis are hot on the trail of one of those threats.

Issa looks to shine light on more solar loan guarantees. Late
last month, the U.S. Energy Department approved billions of
dollars of federal loan guarantees as part of a sun-setting
stimulus program meant to boost solar development around the
country. The program is the same one that provided more than half
a billion to Solyndra, which promptly went bankrupt and left
taxpayers with the bill. It's also the same program that has
steered more than $5 billion to solar projects in Riverside and
San Bernardino counties. Posted.

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