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newsclips -- Newsclips for December 14, 2011

Posted: 14 Dec 2011 13:19:06
California Air Resources Board Newsclips for December 14, 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.


Spare the Air alert as stagnant weather returns. Air quality
officials have issued a Spare the Air alert for today, the fifth
in less than two weeks. A return of last week's cold, stagnant
weather pattern is to blame for conditions in which air pollution
is trapped near the surface, said Kristine Roselius, spokeswoman
for the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. A weak weather
system expected to brush the Bay Area on Thursday is likely to
make this Spare the Air a one-day alert. Last week, the air
quality district issued alerts four days in a row. Posted.

With eye on Lehigh Cement, air management district proposes new
regulations on cement manufacturing. The New Year could bring
some new regulations for the Lehigh Southwest Cement facility
near Cupertino. The Bay Area Air Quality Management District is
working on a set of rules for the Portland cement facility that
would align with new federal regulations for newer facilities.
The proposed rules could bring new emission reduction levels for
nitrogen oxides, particulate matter and toxic air contaminates
emitted from the Lehigh facility. Posted.

NM reaches settlement over air quality violations.  A subsidiary
of Xcel Energy Inc. has reached an $800,000 settlement with the
New Mexico Environment Department over air quality violations at
a natural gas-fired power plant in southeastern New Mexico.  The
settlement, the largest reached by the department this year, will
result in Southwestern Public Service Co. investing $500,000 in a
solar photovoltaic array at Eastern New Mexico University's
Roswell campus. The money will also fund an adjunct professor
position in the university's renewable energy degree and
certification program.  Posted. 


Shock as retreat of Arctic sea ice releases deadly greenhouse
gas. Russian research team astonished after finding 'fountains'
of methane bubbling to surface. Dramatic and unprecedented plumes
of methane – a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than carbon
dioxide – have been seen bubbling to the surface of the Arctic
Ocean by scientists undertaking an extensive survey of the
region. The scale and volume of the methane release has
astonished the head of the Russian research team who has been
surveying the seabed of the East Siberian Arctic Shelf off
northern Russia for nearly 20 years. Posted.


Union Pacific spent $1.26 million on 3Q lobbying. Omaha,
Neb.—Union Pacific Corp. spent $1.26 million during the third
quarter to influence proposed railroad regulations and pollution
restrictions. That's more than the $1.22 million the Omaha-based
railroad spent during last year's third quarter, but less than
the $1.49 million it spent during this year's second quarter.
Union Pacific said in a report filed Oct. 17 that it continued to
oppose new railroad antitrust restrictions and efforts to
regulate greenhouse gas emissions because coal-burning utilities
are big railroad customers. Posted.


Colo. will require energy companies to publicly disclose
concentrations of fracking chemicals.  Environmentalists and
regulators in Colorado will have more information than any state
about what chemicals energy companies are pumping into the earth
as they try to extract gas from rock formations deep underground.
 Starting in April, energy companies will have to disclose the
concentrations of the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing,
which some environmentalists and residents fear is contaminating
groundwater and tainting the air.  Posted.
Texas adopts rules on fracking chemical disclosure. Texas
regulators have adopted rules requiring oil and gas drillers to
disclose on a website the chemicals they use in hydraulic
fracturing operations. The Texas Railroad Commission adopted
rules Tuesday to enforce a law passed by the Legislature earlier
this year. Texas has been a pioneer in efforts nationwide to
force drillers to be more open about chemical-laced water pumped
into the ground to crack dense rock formations to withdraw oil
and gas. The process is known as fracking and some environmental
groups fear the chemicals could taint water and pollute the air.

CA’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard Up for Review.  The California Air
Resources Board is considering amendments to the state's Low
Carbon Fuel Standard. The oil industry has voiced concerns about
the global-warming rule, but environmentalists are urging the
board to strengthen it.  Simon Mui, a scientist at the Natural
Resources Defense Council, says the board should support a strong
fuel standard which will compel the oil industry to minimize
investments in crude oils such as tar sands, and phase in clean
fuel investments.  Posted. 

Businesses, Utilities Support California's Low Carbon Fuel
Standard. Ad says standard "strengthens the economy and supports
thousands of California jobs". Sacramento, CA Today, a diverse
group of business leaders from across the state, representing
tens of thousands of California workers -- including the state's
largest electricity and natural gas providers and two of the
world's leading carmakers -- released a new advertisement
supporting California's Low Carbon Fuel Standard. Posted.


TRANSPORTATION: Calif. regulator plans for near elimination of
gasoline-powered vehicles. The way California sees it, the
gasoline-powered vehicle could go the way of the dinosaur by
midcentury. The Golden State last week, as part of a revised plan
to limit vehicle emissions, described a future where most
gasoline engines would be eliminated in California by 2050.
Automakers need to shift what they are selling, the state's Air
Resources Board (ARB) said in its proposal for California to meet
its goal of slashing greenhouse gas pollution. "We have to start
now," ARB said. "There is no time to lose." Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2011/12/14/1 BY


The spookiest horror film about energy waste you’ve ever seen. 
David Parker's "Light" depicts light pollution and wasted energy
as a sort of Blob, not necessarily malign but relentless and
implacable. In the film, energy-burning lights start dripping goo
that covers the ground and finally drives people out of their
homes -- but it's all very quiet and eerie, like a Chris Van
Allsburg drawing. Showing light as akin to an oil spill draws
attention to the wastefulness of using artificial lighting when
it's not needed -- wasting energy does basically cover the planet
with a gross oily substance, just not necessarily locally and not
right away.  Posted. 


What stinks in D.C. Why can't lawmakers see what we all see:
corporate contributions corrupt? It was one of those
uncomfortable moments when you suddenly realize you're in the
wrong place, that you're a rube from the sticks in a
sophisticated city whose customs you don't quite understand.
Politico was sponsoring a "Washington Year in Review" symposium
last week, and they'd invited me to be part of the energy panel.
So even though I'd spent barely three weeks in Washington this
year (and the most memorable nights were spent in its central
cellblock for protesting outside the White House to block the
Keystone XL pipeline), I found myself traveling down from Vermont
to share a stage with Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Rep. Lee Terry
(R-Neb.). Posted.

Debating electric cars; Michael Kinsley on the class war; and
Newt Gingrich on the Palestinians. few loose wires Re "Back to an
electric future," Opinion, Dec. 11 Enough with articles about the
electric car's rosy future. The electric car just transfers
tailpipe emissions to the chimneys of the major electricity
plants that must generate the power to charge them. These plants
are predominantly coal or natural gas-fired and are potential
environmental disasters that emit carbon dioxide. Posted.

Editorial: House clogs up Congress with polluter 'riders'
Congress is pressing up against a deadline to pass a $900 billion
omnibus spending bill, dubbed the "megabus" – or the government
shuts down when current funding runs out on Friday. Congress also
is pressing up on a deadline to extend the one-year payroll tax
cut – or it expires on Dec. 31. The House Republican majority
passed a version on this yesterday that is unacceptable to the
president and the Senate Democratic majority. We're at this
juncture, in large measure, because House Republicans, once
again, are trying to attach "poison pill" policy riders to these
must-pass spending bills. Posted.

Emission Reduction: A daunting challenge for state. California
has the nation's most ambitious plan to reduce carbon dioxide
emissions into the atmosphere. Step one is to cut emissions to
1990 levels by 2020. Then comes the really hard part -- cutting
the emissions by an additional 80 percent by 2050. Can it be
done? A California Council on Science and Technology report,
which was produced by scientists from the Department of Energy's
Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, says yes and outlines how to do it.

Breathe easy: 5 reasons to back the EPA's latest push to clean up
our air. COMMENTARY More poison, anyone? Unless you have a taste
for airborne toxins, you'll be glad to know that the
Environmental Protection Agency is set this week to take a major
step in restricting the amount of arsenic, mercury, lead and
other dangerous pollutants emitted by energy companies. The
agency on Friday is scheduled to issue the final version of its
"Utility MACT" (maximum achievable control technology) rule.
Proposed in March as an extension of the landmark Clean Air Act
of 1970, the regulation represents the first national standard
for air pollutants from power plants. Posted.

It's a Living Hell: Climate Change and Middle School. Reading
updates about the United Nations Climate Change Conference in
Durban, South Africa, felt discouraging to me, with the United
States seemingly out-of-touch with the reality of global warming.
But I experienced a nagging sense of familiarity as US
legislators at home and negotiators abroad ignored scientific
truths, communicated through hyperbole, and used obstructionist
delay tactics. Then I heard my almost 13-year-old daughter Maya
yell from her bedroom, "I told you 17 times to turn out the
light!!!!!" Posted.


Why small delays on climate change can be costly. When it comes
to tackling climate change, a few years’ delay can make a huge
difference. The International Energy Agency, for instance, has
argued that global emissions need to peak by around 2017 if the
world wants to keep global warming below 2°C. By contrast, the
recently concluded U.N. talks at Durban set a goal of reaching a
new climate agreement by 2020. That doesn’t sound like a huge
difference — what’s a mere three years between friends? — but it
actually makes the task much, much harder. Posted.

Arnold Schwarzenegger to speak at Jerry Brown's climate event.
Updating a previous announcement to include a "new participant,"
Gov. Jerry Brown's office confirmed this morning that former Gov.
Arnold Schwarzenegger will be among the speakers at a climate
change conference hosted by Brown in San Francisco on Thursday.
The conference, "The Governor's Conference on Extreme Climate
Risks and California's Future," also includes Nobel Prize winner
Rajendra Pachauri and Virgin Group founder Richard Branson.

Why CAFE changes could lead to larger cars, not smaller ones. A
study by the University of Michigan shows that auto manufacturers
could meet tougher fuel economy standards simply by increasing
the size of the vehicles they sell. A "footprint-based" formula
for calculating mileage targets was adopted when Corporate
Average Fuel Economy standards were revised in 2007. Researchers
now think this could lead to bigger vehicles on the road rather
than increases in fuel economy for our nation's fleet.. Posted. 

Ford says Focus Electric will get 100 mpge, C-Max models also
ready to compete. How much difference a seat makes. Ford just
announced that the Focus Electric will be, "the first
all-electric vehicle to achieve a 100 miles per gallon equivalent
(MPGe) fuel efficiency rating." But wait, you're saying, what
about the Mitsubishi i, which gets 112 MPGe? Ah, this is when you
finish reading Ford's sentence, which ends, "with seating for
five." The i is rated as a 2+2-seat vehicle while the Focus is a
"normal" five-seater. 100 MPGe is just one selling point for
Ford's upcoming EV. Posted. 

Oil Companies' Investments in Dirty Fuels Outpacing Clean Fuels
by Fifty Times.  NRDC has long supported efforts by companies to
invest in cleaner technologies. We have started tracking oil
industry investments in renewable fuels such as advanced
biofuels, down to the company level. In a new analysis, NRDC
compares those investments to traditional investments in
conventional oil production and even dirtier unconventional
sources such as tar sands.  For years, the oil industry has
promoted itself as getting cleaner and investing in alternatives
to oil. Posted. 

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