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newsclips -- Newsclips for December 15, 2011.

Posted: 15 Dec 2011 14:53:37
California Air Resources Board Newsclips for December 15, 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.


American Electric Seeks Easing of EPA Toxics Plan for Particles.
Power producers fighting the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency’s $11 billion rule to curb mercury and toxic emissions are
gaining ground in a drive to revise part of the standard.
American Electric Power Co. (AEP) and Southern Co. (SO) asked the
EPA to ease its planned limits on small-particle emissions from
coal-fired plants. Otherwise the rule would require expensive
changes to plants that already have pollution-controls, the
companies said in a closed-door meeting with the EPA this year.

Residents want to meet W. Pa. coke plant officials.  A residents'
group wants to meet with operators of a coke plant near
Pittsburgh that has been cited for scores of air pollution
violations this year.  Shenango Inc. on Neville Island has been
cited more than 150 times, and has already been fined $114,000 by
the Allegheny County Health Department for the first 114 of those
violations through July. The health department contends soot from
the plant's coke battery is polluting the air. DTE Energy, the
Detroit company that owns Shenango, is appealing those fines. 

Monterey Bay Unified Air Pollution Control District investigates
its top management. It’s a good thing for air quality on the
Monterey Peninsula that there’s not enough sun or water to easily
grow grass; running a lawnmower for an hour emits as much air
pollution as a new car driving 300 miles. But a proposed $15,000
trade-out program at the Monterey Bay Unified Air Pollution
Control District, which would allow tri-county residents to swap
diesel hogs for electric lawnmowers, is unlikely to ever rev up.

State takes soil samples from Western Environmental, blamed for
Mecca odor. Hazardous waste workers examine business. MECCA —
After months of negotiation, state hazardous waste regulators
have reached a deal to take soil samples from the business blamed
for last year's overwhelming odor outbreaks in Mecca. On
Wednesday, employees of Western Environmental Inc., overseen by
the state's Department of Toxic Substances Control, started
collected soil samples at the contaminated-soil recycling
facility. Posted.


Governor kicks off climate change conference with attack on
deniers. Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown kicked off his climate
conference Thursday with a blistering attack on libertarians, the
Republican party and others who deny that climate change is
happening, despite overwhelming scientific consensus that sea
levels are rising and the earth is warming. Brown convened about
250 state energy policy leaders to a one-day conference held at
the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. Posted.

Governor vows to prepare Calif. for climate change. San
Francisco—The United Nations' top climate change official is in
San Francisco to join California Gov. Jerry Brown at a conference
addressing the costs associated with preparing for the effects of
a warming world. Brown organized Thursday's conference at the
California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park. The event
includes Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the United Nations'
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and billionaire Sir
Richard Branson. Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger also is
expected to attend this afternoon. Posted.

EU Looks to Carbon Reductions. Brussels—Efforts to cut
greenhouse-gas emissions in the European Union will pay off over
the next four decades as they will reduce the fossil fuel bill,
but such a scenario hinges on where oil prices are headed, the
European Commission said Thursday. The commission released a
strategy paper on how the 27 EU countries could achieve their
goal of cutting carbon-dioxide emissions by at least 80% in 2050
compared with 1990 levels, analyzing different scenarios. It said
that if the union continues with current policies, it could
reduce the costs of investing in infrastructure. Posted.

Loophole Inserted in Climate Accord Augurs U.S.-China Clash. The
deal struck by United Nations envoys this week to fight climate
change gives the biggest polluters three options for a wider
agreement by 2015, setting the stage for renewed discord between
rich and poor countries. Negotiators from more than 190 nations
agreed Dec. 11 to draft a “protocol, legal instrument or an
agreed outcome with legal force” to take effect by 2020. While
the European Union says that calls for a treaty to limit
fossil-fuel emissions in all countries, two of the world’s three
biggest air polluters, China and India, signaled they expect to
be assigned looser limits in the final accord. Posted.

Notes from the Science Desk: Dramatic ecological changes ahead,
courtesy of man-made greenhouse gases. Researchers at NASA's Jet
Propulsion Laboratory and Caltech are painting a dramatic
portrait of how Earth's ecosystems are likely to respond to
human-induced climate change over the next few centuries. By
2100, nearly half of the the plant communities covering Earth's
land mass will be modified - with nearly 40 percent morphing into
another type altogether (e.g., forest to tundra). The study used
computer modeling to project likely reactions to rising levels of
human- produced greenhouse gases over the next 300 years. Posted.

Closing arguments made in NM emissions case. SANTA FE, N.M. — A
hearing over whether New Mexico should uphold regulations for
curbing greenhouse gas emissions has wrapped up after a week and
a half of testimony and public comment. At stake is a plan by the
group New Energy Economy that was adopted last year by state
regulators. It calls for large polluters such as coal-fired power
plants and refineries to reduce carbon emissions by 3 percent per
year from 2010 levels starting in 2013. Utilities and other
industry groups petitioned the Environmental Improvement Board to
overturn the plan along with the state's regional cap-and-trade
program. Posted. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/45683521

Big Oil and Canada thwarted U.S. carbon standards. Emails show
how a Washington lobbyist enlisted Canadian officials to beat
back U.S. carbon standards. When President Barack Obama decided
in early November to delay a decision on TransCanada’s Keystone
XL pipeline until after the next election, America’s
environmental movement celebrated one of its biggest victories in
recent memory. And no doubt the news came as a blow to Alberta’s
tar sands industry, and to Canada’s oft-stated dream of becoming
the next global energy superpower. Posted.


CARB truck and bus regulation online reporting now available. 
The online reporting system for the California Air Resources
Board (CARB) Truck and Bus regulation is now available at
http://www.arb.ca.gov/msprog/onrdiesel/reportinginfo.htm.  CARB
notes that fleets which must report have until Jan. 31, 2012 to
complete their reporting.  Posted. 


China Imposes New Tariffs on U.S. Vehicles. The Chinese
government increased trade tensions with the Obama administration
Wednesday evening by unexpectedly imposing antidumping and
antisubsidy tariffs on imports of sport utility vehicles and
midsize and large cars from the United States. The new tariffs,
totaling up to nearly 22 percent of the import prices, will
probably have a mainly symbolic function, rather than reducing
the already skimpy sales of such vehicles in China. Posted. 

State hopes to break car owners' habit of changing oil too often.
California launches a campaign against the widespread notion that
oil changes are needed every 3,000 miles. Officials say the
practice wastes millions of gallons of oil a year. Many
automobile owners are spending more than they need on motor oil,
believing that it should be changed every 3,000 miles even though
almost no manufacturer requires such an aggressive oil-change
schedule. Posted.

Bullet train's travel-time mandate adds to ballooning of costs.
The ballot measure for the project required that the L.A.-to-San
Francisco trip take no more than two hours, 40 minutes. Achieving
that would mean building more viaducts and tunnels, which are
costly. California's proposed bullet train will need to soar over
small towns on towering viaducts, split rich farm fields
diagonally and burrow for miles under mountains for a simple
reason: It has no time to spare. In the fine print of a 2008
voter-approved measure funding the project was a little-noticed
requirement that trains be able to rocket from Union Station in
downtown Los Angeles to San Francisco in no more than two hours
and 40 minutes. Posted.


Solar industry reports record third-quarter growth. The 449
megawatts of power installed in the U.S. in the third quarter are
more than all the installations in 2009, according to a new
report on the solar energy industry. Solar power is a booming
business in the U.S., with more domestic solar installations
completed in the third quarter of this year than during all of
2009, according to a report released Wednesday by GTM Research
and the Solar Energy Industries Assn. "The U.S. solar industry is
on a roll, with unprecedented growth in 2011," said Rhone Resch,
chief executive of the solar group. "Solar is now an economic
force in dozens of states, creating jobs across America." Posted.

Summary Box: Germany looks to green scientists. GOING GREEN:
Germany has given 20 young scholars from across the globe the
chance to carry out research on climate change and sustainability
as part of Berlin's push to get 80 percent of its energy from
renewable sources by 2050. They won the chance to carry out
research projects in Germany as part of a $2.6 billion government
research fund earmarked for research and development of renewable
technology. Posted.

Central Valley company named one of state’s ‘greenest’.  Sixteen
California companies or organizations, including one from the
Central Valley, are getting the 2011 Governor’s Environmental and
Economic Leadership Award from Gov. Jerry Brown for their
contributions to California’s environment and economy. “To thrive
in the twenty-first century, we need to preserve the environment
on which the economy itself depends,” says Mr. Brown. “This
year’s winners exemplify the imagination that will drive
California’s recovery.” Posted.


Viewpoints: Low Carbon Fuel Standard aids economy, saves
consumers cash. If there is any silver lining to the modern era
of soaring gasoline prices, it's the way they have renewed
Californians' desire for more choices at the pump. As a result,
Californians are pursuing cars powered by lower cost, cleaner
fuels, such as electricity and natural gas. Diversity in our
transportation fuels market is beneficial to our economy, our
environment and our national security. On Friday, members of
California's Air Resources Board could act to help give
Californians more choices with lower-cost alternative fuels. This
is an opportunity CARB should seize. Posted. 

California must stay course on cleaner fuels. California, which
has led the way on many clean-air regulations, took a bold step
in demanding that oil companies reduce the carbon intensity of
the fuels they sell by 10 percent by the end of this decade.
Wisely, this state also declared that the greenhouse-gas impact
of producing and distributing those fuels should go into the
equation. Perhaps not surprisingly, as those regulations approach
the end of their first year, the oil industry is lobbying to
undercut them. The California Air Resources Board is expected to
consider a series of amendments to the landmark Low Carbon Fuel
Standard at its meeting in Los Angeles on Friday. Posted.

Improving air district programs. Having grown up in the valley,
we weren't exposed to air district programs until we commenced
our first semester at Fresno State this fall. We would like to
suggest the following improvements to the air district programs
so that more people are informed: Flag program — Flags are used
at schools to inform teachers and students about the daily air
quality. We suggest communicating air quality information over
the PA system and displaying the current flag color in classrooms
and gymnasiums. Posted. 

So, what will air district target next? Mowers? I know I'm a
dinosaur, I admit it. I still cut my own firewood and burn in my
fireplace as often as the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution
Control District allows. You see, I try to minimize my monthly
dues to "Pacific Graft and Extortion." Imagine my amazement when
I opened the newspaper on Tuesday to find that, after a winter
storm warning with a trace of rain, a no-burn status was in
effect. So for kicks, I called the air district to inquire what
criteria is used to call a no-burn day, because looking out my
window, the air was clear. Posted.

Climate talks as good as it gets with divergent agendas. I'm
inclined to believe that the apparent result of the climate
change summit in Durban, South Africa, might turn out to be a
very big deal. Someday. Maybe. That's my view, but it's hardly
universal. After the meeting ended Sunday, initial reaction
basically ranged from "Historic Breakthrough: The Planet is
Saved" to "Tragic Failure: The Planet is Doomed." Posted. 

Air pollution knows no international boundaries. Improving air
quality in the Imperial and Mexicali valleys has long been
something the average person on both sides of the border could
agree upon. Yet because of the complexity and enormity of the
issue, the average person is often left feeling that there is not
much he or she can do to effect positive change. So it is cause
for elation when the federal government delivers a piece of
legislation that, while not far-reaching or as controversial as
emission standards, is an unmistakable step in the right
direction toward cleaner skies. Posted.

It's Time To Clear The Air: EPA's Clean Air Rules Save Lives. In
meetings with members of Congress in Washington, D.C. today, we
will urge our nation's legislators to do the right thing and
tackle the problem of dirty air by supporting the
soon-to-be-finalized Air Toxics Rule and ensuring it goes into
effect without delay. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
in the next few days is expected to issue this lifesaving rule,
which would mandate nationwide reductions of dangerous emissions
of mercury, lead, arsenic, and acid gases from coal-fired power
plants. Most importantly, the rule would clean the air we breathe
and save lives. Posted.

Does politics trump science in the Obama W.H.? President Barack
Obama turned it into a campaign-trail talking point: He would end
the Bush administration’s “war on science.” But four years later,
as the White House shifts into reelection mode, Obama is facing
the same attacks he leveled against his Republican predecessor:
He is putting politics ahead of science. The complaints about
Obama’s record come after a pair of controversial administration
actions in recent months — and some of the president’s most
ardent supporters are bracing for more disappointment. Posted.

Guest commentary: It's time for Obama to protect U.S. from
mercury pollution. It's time for President Barack Obama to get us
across the finish line on mercury pollution. The problem has been
clear from the get-go: Burning coal makes us sick. The pollution
from burning coal causes a host of serious health problems --
especially for children and senior citizens -- including asthma,
respiratory illness, cancer, neurological problems and heart
disease. Disposing of toxic coal ash is also dangerous: Studies
show that living near a toxic coal ash site is worse for your
health than smoking a pack of cigarettes a day. But mercury is
one of the worst of the pollutants coming out of coal
smokestacks. Posted.


How will climate change affect rainfall? This Q&A is part of the
Guardian's ultimate climate change FAQ. Changes in rainfall and
other forms of precipitation will be one of the most critical
factors determining the overall impact of climate change.
Rainfall is much more difficult to predict than temperature but
there are some statements that scientists can make with
confidence about the future. A warmer atmosphere can hold more
moisture, and globally water vapor increases by 7% for every
degree centigrade of warming. Posted.

CARB’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard – A Self-Imposed Fuel Embargo on
California. Perhaps no Californians are more sensitive to the
issue of energy security than our veterans.  As one of the most
essential commodities in the world, it is critically important
that we have ample domestic energy supplies to free us from
dependence on foreign imports from parts of the world that may be
less than friendly to us. That is why the American GI Forum of
California takes notice when the government pursues policies that
will hamper in-state production and increase the need for
imported fuels.  Posted.

California Air Board Plans to Eliminate Gasoline Vehicle Sales —
Deja Vu All Over Again.  The California Air Resources Board
(CARB) proposes to amend its Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEV) program
to help the state meet its goal of reducing greenhouse gas
emissions 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. Under the proposal, ZEVs
— plug-in hybrids, battery-electric vehicles, and fuel cell
vehicles — would account for 15.4% of all new cars sold in
California by 2025 and nearly 100% by 2040. By 2050, 87% of all
vehicles on the road will be ZEVs, CARB estimates.  Posted. 

Mazda planning EV for U.S. market by 2018. We don't have a clue
what 2018 has in store for us, but automakers' product plans
extend well into the future, giving us a glimpse of what may or
may not come. Automotive News reports that Mazda is planning to
offer an electric vehicle in the United States by 2018, in part
to satisfy California's zero-emissions vehicle requirements.
Mazda engineer Mitsuru Fujinaka reportedly told AN that the
regulations make a U.S.-bound EV a near certainty, adding,
"otherwise, we can't sell in California." Posted. 

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