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newsclips -- Newsclips for November 7, 2011.

Posted: 07 Nov 2011 13:15:01
California Air Resources Board News Clips for November 7, 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.


Owners of Lake Michigan ferry, cited for pollution, seek landmark
status. Chicago -- Facing a deadline to stop dumping toxic coal
ash into Lake Michigan, owners of the last coal-powered steamship
on the Great Lakes are pushing for it to join Mount Vernon,
Lincoln's Tomb and Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthplace as a
protected National Historic Landmark. Even if the Badger does not
to make the list of the nation's historic and cultural treasures,
the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency may be unable to force
the old coal burner to reduce the nearly 4 tons of waste it dumps
in the lake every time it sails. Posted.

AIR POLLUTION: Low-emissions squad cars being tested. Regional
air quality officials voted Friday to spend $65,000 on a Ford
Crown Victoria that runs on natural gas and which they hope will
help persuade police agencies to convert their fleets to such
low-polluting cars. The South Coast Air Quality Management
District already has provided one natural gas-powered Crown
Victoria each to the Redlands and South Pasadena police forces
and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Posted.

Greenpeace protests SAfrica coal plant; 9 arrests. Greenpeace
activists chained themselves to a gate and six climbed a crane
Monday at a South African coal-fired power station to protest
dependence on coal, weeks before the country hosts a global
conference on climate change. Hours into the protest that started
at dawn at the Kusile power station, police went up after the
demonstrators who had climbed the crane. Posted. 

Secret 'Watch List' Reveals Failure To Curb Toxic Air. Part one
of a four-part series, Poisoned Places: Toxic Air, Neglected
Communities. The system Congress set up 21 years ago to clean up
toxic air pollution still leaves many communities exposed to
risky concentrations of benzene, formaldehyde, mercury and many
other hazardous chemicals. Pollution violations at more than
1,600 plants across the country were serious enough that the
government believes they require urgent action, according to an
analysis of EPA data by NPR and the Center for Public Integrity. 


Global Temperatures: All Over the Map. Taking the Earth's
temperature requires more than lots of thermometers. It also
relies on surveying tools, satellites—and confidence in
statistical models used to put the numbers together. Still, those
thermometer readings do matter. So a team of scientists recently
tackled the job of cleaning up and organizing 1.6 billion
temperature readings from two centuries and nearly 40,000
land-based locations. That required removing duplicate numbers,
tossing out clearly erroneous records—such as temperatures above
5,000 degrees Fahrenheit—and fixing Celsius readings mislabeled
as Fahrenheit. Posted.

Two Key Climate Decisions Facing President Obama. “My presidency
will mark a new chapter in America's leadership on climate
change…”  Those were the words of President Obama before taking
office.  President Obama has taken the critical step to require
that U.S. vehicles get more miles per gallon and reduce their
carbon pollution.  Now he is facing two additional critical
decisions over the coming months which will shape his climate
legacy and help to determine whether his Presidency will truly
mark a new chapter on global warming.  Posted.

Boxer raises environmental concerns over Keystone XL pipeline. In
a sign of hardening skepticism toward the controversial Keystone
XL pipeline, a top Senate Democrat has sent a letter to the Obama
administration asking about a possible conflict of interest
between the pipeline operator and a company handling the
environmental impact study of the project. Sen. Barbara Boxer
(D-Calif.), who chairs the Environment and Public Works
Committee, wrote to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton
last week cautioning that the environmental studies must be
impartial. Posted.


Taming Unruly Wind Power. For decades, electric companies have
swung into emergency mode when demand soars on blistering hot
days, appealing to households to use less power. But with the
rise of wind energy, utilities in the Pacific Northwest are
sometimes dealing with the opposite: moments when there is too
much electricity for the grid to soak up. So in a novel pilot
project, they have recruited consumers to draw in excess
electricity when that happens, storing it in a basement water
heater or a space heater outfitted by the utility. The effort is
rooted in some brushes with danger. Posted. 

Alternative energy companies form united front. In the debate
over our energy future, solar, wind and electric car companies
don't speak in a single, unified voice. Tom Steyer and Hemant
Taneja want to change that. They have formed an organization,
called Advanced Energy Economy, that the two hope will grow into
a nationwide chamber of commerce for alternative energy
companies. The organization, which they will formally announce
today, already has state and regional chapters representing 700
companies. Posted.

Placer to discuss energy project proposed for Cabin Creek site.
Placer County officials have scheduled a Nov. 15 public open
house in Squaw Valley to discuss a biomass energy production
project. The meeting will be from 3 to 7 p.m. at the Squaw Valley
Public Service District's community room, 305 Squaw Valley Road.
Displays and graphics will be provided. Participants will include
specialists in air emissions, biomass energy technology,
sustainable biomass supply assessments, biomass logistics
planning and forest management. Posted.

INDUSTRY: Solar installers see bright future. When Green Stream
Solar + Electric president Jeffrey Pitzer graduated from UC San
Diego into the soon-to-be demolished building trade, an imagined
solar panel lit a light bulb over his head. Pitzer’s Spanish
degree paved his career path to a builder in San Ysidro, but he
moved on to a Solano Beach startup, Sequoia Solar, to become vice
president of sales and marketing. Posted. 

Feds assess sites for renewable energy potential. Determining the
potential of former landfills, brownfields and Superfund sites
around the country to host solar panels and other renewable
energy projects is the focus of a new assessment federal
researchers announced Friday. The U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Colorado
plan to spend the next year to 18 months assessing 26 sites. The
sites range from a massive open-pit copper mine in southwestern
New Mexico to a former lead smelter in Montana and landfills in
Arizona, Louisiana and New Jersey. "There's huge potential for
this to really make some inroads toward using contaminated lands
as opposed to developing green spaces," said Gail Mosey, a senior
energy analyst at NREL. Posted. 


Toyota aims to start fuel cell vehicle sales by 2015. Toyota
Motor Corp. is looking beyond hybrids. The world's largest
automaker plans global sales of a few thousand units of its
hydrogen-burning fuel cell vehicle by 2015. The reason sales will
be limited is because of the futuristic vehicle's anticipated
high price. "We could expect a fuel cell vehicle to retail at
about 100,000 euros ($138,000) in Europe," said Toyota Europe
Vice President for Product Planning & Marketing Alain
Uyttenhoven. Automakers are preparing to offer a vast array of
green technologies to help them meet tougher emissions rules in
Europe. Posted. 


United, Alaska Air take lead on biofuel flights. United says it
will become the first U.S. airline to fly a commercial flight
powered with an "advanced biofuel," Reuters reports. The Boeing
737-800 operating that United flight -- Flight 1403 -- is
scheduled to depart Houston Bush Intercontinental for Chicago
O'Hare at 11:30 a.m. ET (10:30 a.m. local time). IN-DEPTH:  Race
for scale: United, Alaska Airlines launch commercial aviation
biofuels flights (BiofuelsDigest) With that, United says it will
be "the first U.S. airline to fly passengers using a blend of
sustainable, advanced biofuel and traditional petroleum-derived
jet fuel." Posted.

Studies suggest link between smog, joint disease. Exposure to
certain types of air pollution is associated with an increased
risk for the painful joint disease known as rheumatoid arthritis,
new research suggests. This link is strongest for sulfur dioxide,
one of the six most common air pollutants in the United States,
according to the findings from two studies scheduled to be
presented Wednesday at the American College of Rheumatology
annual meeting, in Chicago. Posted.

Pomona transfer station proponents file appeal of Planning
Commission's failure to approve its plan. Proponents of a
proposal to build a waste transfer station in the southeast end
of the city have filed a request appealing a recent decision by
the Planning Commission. Representatives of Valley Vista Services
are requesting the City Council reverse the commission decision
of Oct. 26 in which the body twice deadlocked on the proposal.
Commissioners tied 3-3 on the matter, resulting in a denial of
the project. Valley Vista Services is appealing the commission's
failure to certify an environmental impact study as well as its
failure to consider a conditional use permit and a tentative
parcel map, Planning Manager Brad Johnson said. Posted. 


The Dark Side of the ‘Green’ City. THE struggle to slow global
warming will be won or lost in cities, which emit 80 percent of
the world’s greenhouse gases. So “greening” the city is all the
rage now. But if policy makers end up focusing only on those who
can afford the low-carbon technologies associated with the new
environmental conscientiousness, the movement for sustainability
may end up exacerbating climate change rather than ameliorating
it. Posted.

We Found Oil! Is That Good? New ways to extract oil and natural
gas could buy the U.S. some time to develop renewable energy. Or
they could keep us addicted to dirty fuels. New and efficient
technologies for extracting oil and natural gas are increasing
the supply of both fuels from North America. But the consequences
will be different for oil than for natural gas. Oil is traded in
a highly integrated world market, and the relatively small
increases in North American oil will have virtually no effect on
prices. Posted.

Here Comes the Sun. For decades the story of technology has been
dominated, in the popular mind and to a large extent in reality,
by computing and the things you can do with it. Moore’s Law — in
which the price of computing power falls roughly 50 percent every
18 months — has powered an ever-expanding range of applications,
from faxes to Facebook. Our mastery of the material world, on the
other hand, has advanced much more slowly. The sources of energy,
the way we move stuff around, are much the same as they were a
generation ago. Posted. 

REGION: Come on, baby, let me light my fire. My wife is not a
morning person, but there she was gazing at the computer before
sunrise. Weather. That’s what I assumed. She likes to “visit”
weather sites after freak snowstorms and gloat about freezing
temps in cities where we supposedly have friends. (If they only
knew how she spent her time.) Wrong. She was visiting
www.airalerts.org, exposing her neck to the hot breath of
government. We only have so many fireplace days in SoCal, and she
was convinced Big Brother was about to stomp out her quality of
life. Boy was she steamed! Posted. 

Take this bullet train. Please. California's proposed high-speed
rail project is a costly boondoggle. So, the California
High-Speed Rail Authority was wrong. The bullet trains from
Anaheim and Los Angeles to San Francisco will not cost $34
billion as originally estimated, or $43 billion as the authority
insisted just two years ago, but closer to $100 billion. Critics
say the agency's new $98.5-billion estimate is low, and the
authority admits it might go as high as $117.6 billion, but for
sake of argument call the cost $100 billion. Posted.

Cap-and-trade scam. The cult of climate change is alive and well
here in the backwards state of California. The California Air
Resources Board has just approved plans for a cap-and-trade
system. The fact that it will have absolutely no effect on
climate whatsoever does not matter to them. That this most
regressive of taxes will affect the poor the hardest as energy
and gas prices skyrocket does not matter to them. The fact that
thousands will lose their jobs as businesses flee the high energy
costs or go out of business does not matter to them. They simply
do not care. Posted.

L.A. improving its part of I-5. As a truck driver for 15 years,
John Rhodes was used to slamming on the brakes when he approached
Valley View Avenue on the northbound I-5 freeway. "That's where
the L.A. County line starts – definitely a bottleneck all the way
up through the I-605," said Rhodes, 46, from Anaheim. "You know
exactly where the congestion is going to start." With an average
of 178,000 daily commuters traveling the jam-packed I-5 from the
Orange County line to the I-605, Los Angeles County officials say
widening the nearly 7-mile-long stretch will provide some relief
for motorists who cross the county line and are funneled into the
aging Los Angeles portion of the freeway. Posted. 


Making a Boeing 737 More Like a Prius. Just as some hybrid cars
move at low speeds solely on electricity, Boeing 737s can be made
to do the same, reducing fuel burn and emissions, according to a
company called WheelTug. On Monday, the company announced a
tentative deal to equip 20 jets of the Israeli carrier El Al with
a motor system that eliminates the need for a tug to pull the
plane away from the airport gate. Posted.

Straight Talk on Rising Seas in a Warming World. Joshua K. Willis
of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory is deeply involved in efforts
to clarify oceanic ups and downs using space-based and
deep-diving instruments. I frequently reach out to him when
people tussle over the data and analysis pointing to rising seas
in a human-heated world. This arena remains dogged by durable
uncertainty on time scales relevant to policy debates even as the
long-term picture of centuries of rising seas is clear. Posted.

Restaurant Grease As Good As Gold To Biofuel Thieves. Used
restaurant grease has become a hot item for thieves, who siphon
it from barrels behind restaurants to sell on the booming
biofuels market. Late last month, the California Department of
Food and Agriculture said it would pay local police target the
alleys and parking lots where restaurants typically park their
barrels of used grease. Posted.

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