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newsclips -- Newsclips for January 3, 2012 Posted: 03 Jan 2012 15:21:54
California Air Resources Board Newsclips for January 3, 2012. 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. AIR POLLUTION Court delays border-crossing pollution rule. A federal court Friday put on hold a controversial Obama administration regulation aimed at reducing power plant pollution in 27 states that contributes to unhealthy air downwind. More than a dozen electric power companies, municipal power plant operators and states had sought to delay the rules until the litigation plays out. A federal appeals court in Washington approved their request Friday. The EPA, in a statement, said it was confident that the rule would ultimately be upheld on its merits. Posted. http://www.fresnobee.com/2011/12/30/2665512/court-delays-border-crossing-pollution.html#storylink=misearch Valley's air under siege from fireplace soot. Don't take a deep breath in Clovis and Fresno this holiday season if you smell fireplace smoke. The Valley's haze has become a nasty brew of soot and debris twice the federal health standard. And it's getting worse. Nature and the economy have created a perfect storm of dirty air -- the worst December bout for the Fresno-Clovis area in more than a decade. Posted. http://www.fresnobee.com/2011/12/29/2664862/valley-under-siege-from-fireplace.html#storylink=misearch CLIMATE CHANGE Police Inquiry Prompts New Speculation on Who Leaked Climate-Change E-Mails. For two years, the mystery has endured: who set out to undercut climate scientists by publishing more than 1,000 of their private e-mails on the Internet? The original e-mails, released in 2009 on the eve of a high-stakes United Nations climate conference in Copenhagen, sowed doubts about the scientists’ research and integrity and galvanized skeptics who challenge the scientific consensus that global warming is under way. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/02/science/earth/new-speculation-on-who-leaked-climate-change-e-mails.html?_r=1&scp=2&sq=climate%20change&st=cse San Mateo County working on plan to reduce greenhouse gases. For some people, their New Year's resolution is to cut out the sweets and lose some weight by the summer. For San Mateo County, it's to cut greenhouse gas emissions, starting with a 15 percent reduction below 2005 emission levels by 2020. County staff and consultants are drafting a "climate action plan" that targets government operations and the county's unincorporated areas. The plan is funded through a $350,000 grant from the federal Department of Energy and is required to be completed by this fall. Posted. http://www.mercurynews.com/peninsula/ci_19661950 http://www.contracostatimes.com/ci_19661950?IADID=Search-www.contracostatimes.com-www.contracostatimes.com Top 6 U.S. climate-policy happenings of 2011. As the year winds down, it's a good time to take stock of climate policy in the United States. Here's a quick roundup of what happened -- or didn't happen -- in 2011. The year began with big questions about what the Obama administration and states would do to address climate change and clean energy, absent a comprehensive federal climate policy. This year's record was decidedly mixed. Not as much happened as some would have liked, but it was in total better than many feared as the year began. Posted. http://www.grist.org/climate-policy/2011-12-31-top-6-us-climate-policy-happenings-of-2011 FUELS End of ethanol subsidy will raise the price of gas. Gasoline could cost 4.5 cents a gallon more starting as early as this week, and it's not because of rising oil prices. It's because Congress declined to renew the 30-year-old federal subsidy for ethanol, letting it expire Sunday. Ethanol, denatured grain alcohol used as a proven smog-cutting ingredient, currently makes up 10% of most gasoline-based motor fuel for general use, so-called E-10. In a few areas, E-85 fuel, 85% ethanol, also is available. E-85 can be burned only by vehicles equipped for "flex fuel." Posted. http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/energy/story/2012-01-03/ethanol-subsidy-gas-prices/52355056/1 Judge blocks California's low-carbon fuel rules. A federal judge has blocked California from enforcing regulations on carbon output from vehicle fuels, according to news reports. U.S. District Court Judge Lawrence O’Neill said the standards favor biofuels produced in California, in violation of constitutional commerce laws, the Washington Post reported. The California Air Resources Board said it will ask the judge to stay his ruling, and may appeal to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Posted. http://www.environmentalleader.com/2012/01/03/judge-blocks-low-carbon-fuel-rules/ EPA raises ethanol goal. The federal government has set its target for biofuels production in 2012, increasing by 1.25 billion gallons the amount of ethanol and biofuels that must be blended into the fuel supply. Fuel providers will be required to blend 15.2 billion gallons of renewable fuel into the fuel supply in 2012. This includes 8.65 million gallons of cellulosic biofuels, up from 6.6 million gallons in 2011. Posted. http://www.argusleader.com/article/20120101/NEWS/301010030/EPA-raises-ethanol-goal Santa Cruz nonprofit hopes to make fuel from ocean-based plastic. Plying through the infamous "Garbage Patch" in the North Pacific, a solar-powered catamaran gobbles up fishing nets, plastic bags and Styrofoam blocks and then shoves them into a high-temperature cooker to convert the litter to fuel. This fuel propels the boat farther to devour more plastic -- until every large piece has been scooped up. It sounds like an environmentalist's dream. But it's the ambitious mission of the Santa Cruz nonprofit Clean Oceans Project, which six months ago teamed up with a Japanese manufacturer and a San Jose distributor, E-N-ergy, to bring plastic-to-fuel technology to the Monterey Bay. Posted. http://www.insidebayarea.com/ci_19658574 http://www.contracostatimes.com/ci_19658574 VEHICLES New green stickers to allow partial-zero emission vehicles in California's carpool lanes. Continuing its push for cleaner vehicles, California this week begins offering green decals to owners of near zero-emission cars, allowing them to drive solo in the state's carpool lanes. But freeway diamond lanes around Sacramento and the state won't be seeing green anytime soon: It turns out no commercially available cars on the road meet the new standards. "The vehicles that will qualify are not likely to be seen for a few more months," said John Swanton of the California Air Resources Board. "It is not going to be a mad rush." Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2012/01/01/v-print/4155825/new-green-stickers-to-allow-partial.html Woman takes unique road to sue Honda over mileage. Torrance, Calif. -- A woman who expected her 2006 Honda Civic Hybrid to be her dream car wants Honda to pay for not delivering the high mileage it promised. But rather than joining other owners in a class-action lawsuit, she is going solo in small claims court, an unusual move that could offer a bigger payout if it doesn't backfire. A trial is set for Tuesday afternoon in Torrance, where American Honda Motor Co. has its West Coast headquarters. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2012/01/03/national/a004443S52.DTL http://www.latimes.com/business/autos/la-fi-autos-honda-smallclaims-20111227,0,959031.story More hybrid vehicles may plug in locally. A federal judge has blocked California from enforcing regulations on carbon output from vehicle fuels, according to news reports. U.S. District Court Judge Lawrence O’Neill said the standards favor biofuels produced in California, in violation of constitutional commerce laws, the Washington Post reported. The California Air Resources Board said it will ask the judge to stay his ruling, and may appeal to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Posted. http://www.environmentalleader.com/2012/01/03/judge-blocks-low-carbon-fuel-rules/ Fisker recalls plug-in Karma over battery defect. Fisker Automotive is recalling 239 hybrid plug-in cars to fix a defect in the vehicle’s high-voltage battery. The recall notice, posted today on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Web site, says the campaign targets all 2012 Karma models manufactured between July 1 and Nov. 3 of this year. A123 Systems supplies Fisker with the lithium-ion batteries used in the Karma. Posted. http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20111229/OEM11/111229919/1186 Toyota works on recycling hybrid batteries. Los Angeles -- Forget those fears that hybrid and electric vehicles will result in landfills full of dead batteries. When Toyota hybrid battery packs reach the end of their lives, every piece is recycled. And it’s all because of a program launched a year ago by Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. and its dealers. Moreover, service departments can use the battery-handling process to help sell new vehicles to used-Prius owners. Posted. http://www.plasticsnews.com/headlines2.html?id=24099&channel=355 GREEN ENERGY High heating bills prompt energy efficiency checks for homeowners. The high heating bills that come with winter’s chill have sent some homeowners hunting for energy efficiency. “It’s been cold. People have been cranking up the heat,” said Jim Apperson, owner of Apperson Energy Management, with offices in Mendocino and Sonoma counties. When they find it costs too much to keep the house toasty, some seek a home energy evaluation. Posted. http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/20120101/ARTICLES/120109985 MISCELLANEOUS Green waste recycling has branched out over the years. For many, decorating a Christmas tree is an enjoyable holiday tradition. For a few, however, grinding those trees into a million tiny pieces is just as fun. For Agromin, an Oxnard-based company that makes mulch from plant waste collected curbside weekly in the county, chewing up and spitting out Christmas trees has become a holiday tradition. "We started recycling organic waste in l992," said CEO Bill Camarillo. Posted. http://www.vcstar.com/news/2012/jan/01/green-waste-recycling-has-branched-out-over-the/ OPINIONS Where the Real Jobs Are. The Republicans believe they have President Obama in a box: either he approves a controversial Canadian oil pipeline or they accuse him of depriving the nation of jobs. Mr. Obama can and should push back hard. This is precisely the moment for him to argue the case for alternative fuel sources and clean energy jobs — and to lambaste the Republicans for doubling down on conventional fuels while ceding a $5 trillion global clean technology market (and the jobs that go with it) to more aggressive competitors like China and Germany. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/02/opinion/where-the-real-jobs-are.html?scp=4&sq=fuels&st=cse Elias: Car improvements run into the usual opposition. If California highways and parking lots of 2025 look considerably different from today's, it will probably be because they'll contain almost 1.5 million more hybrid cars and trucks, hydrogen-driven vehicles and plug-in hybrids that run mostly on electricity except on long trips. That's the vision behind the latest set of proposed rules rolled out by the California Air Resources Board even as the Republican chairman of the main investigative committee in the House of Representatives seeks to drag it into hearings about whether it is exceeding its mission. Posted. http://www.vcstar.com/news/2012/jan/02/elias-car-improvements-run-into-the-usual/ FORUM: Issa wrong on opposition to sensible fuel standards. As publications across the world talk of austerity measures and tightening budgets at a private and public level, it is hard to think why anyone would be opposed to measures that would save a few dollars. A big missed source of savings for Americans starts at the pump: As demand for oil accelerates with China and India's continued growth, Americans can expect sharp increases in the cost of fuel in the future. But it doesn't have to be this way. Posted. http://www.nctimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/forum-issa-wrong-on-opposition-to-sensible-fuel-standards/article_418db3ec-22e1-50b7-bd87-43cbfa67cf7f.html Build pipeline, build it safely and create jobs. The following editorial appeared in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Friday, Dec. 30: Saying no to the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline across the Great Plains states would not change the demand for oil by one barrel nor would it lessen the impact of getting that oil out of the tar sands of Canada's Alberta province. Despite the promise of alternative fuels and more fuel-efficient vehicles, and our need to develop them, demand for oil will remain high for several decades yet even in the most optimistic projections, here and in places such as China and India. Posted. http://www.modbee.com/2012/01/03/2009696/build-pipeline-build-it-safely.html SUBSCRIPTION ONLY Natural gas: Cheap, clean and risky. Natural gas has a key role in our energy future, but it must be handled with care. Political leaders from both parties argue that natural gas could save our economy, the environment and promote our national security. Is this so? Or is it just a dream? It turns out that the way one develops natural gas will determine whether it is a serious help to our energy and climate problems, or a dangerous extension of bad habits. On the face of it, natural gas looks terrific. The United States — and many other countries — have abundant domestic supplies. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-harvey-natural-gas-20120103,0,1747653.story Good riddance to ethanol subsidies. Call it a holiday miracle. For decades, conservative critics have assailed federal ethanol subsidies of 45 cents per gallon as corporate welfare that came to cost taxpayers as much as $6 billion per year. Liberal critics joined the chorus as they noticed that the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit drove up corn and feed prices. Also, studies had begun to show that, contrary to expectations, the corn ethanol industry increased net carbon emissions. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/01/02/EDIC1MJ2PJ.DTL&type=printable New Effort To Improve Cars Draws The Usual Misguided Opposition. If California highways and parking lots of 2025 look considerably different from today’s, it will probably be because they’ll contain almost 1.5 million more hybrid cars and trucks, hydrogen-driven vehicles, and plug-in hybrids that run mostly on electricity except on long trips. That’s the vision behind the latest set of proposed rules rolled out by the California Air Resources Board even as the Republican chairman of the main investigative committee in the House of Representatives seeks to drag it into hearings about whether it is exceeding its mission. Posted. http://www.smmirror.com/#mode=single&view=33791 BLOGS California high-speed rail funding could be in jeopardy. The Legislature should not authorize the issuance of $6 billion in bonds to start building California's $98.5-billion bullet train project, a state-appointed review panel says in a key report to be released later Tuesday. The conclusion by the California High-Speed Rail Peer Review Group is a serious blow to the project as it is currently designed because state law specifically empowered the group to make recommendation before any serious money on the train could be spent. Posted. http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2012/01/state-bonds.html How bad is the Valley's air right now? Worst in the country. Someone asked me how the San Joaquin Valley's winter air stacks up against the rest of the country. Check it out for yourself. This is definitely the worst place right now. Which brings me to another point that doesn't get discussed a lot. Air pollution is nearly a year-round problem here -- among the worst in the nation for a full three seasons plus each year. There's very little break here compared to most places in the country. Posted. http://fresnobeehive.com/news/2011/12/how_bad_is_the_valleys_air_rig.html#storylink=misearch The 10 Emerging Sustainable Cities to Watch in 2012. When “green,” “sustainable” or resilient cities come to mind, the usual suspects crop up: Portland, Amsterdam, San Francisco and even high-tech Abu Dhabi score plenty of attention. As more cities push their green agenda the way they promote business opportunities or local tourism, some cities are way ahead of others. Mayors now try to jockey themselves to the front of the sustainability beauty contest with some cities here in the United States showing far more success (Chicago) than others that miserably fail (Los Angeles). Posted. http://www.triplepundit.com/2012/01/top-10-sustainable-cities-2012/ 2011 Made Fracking a Household Word. This was the year that "fracking" became a household word. It wasn't just that environmental concerns about the underground drilling process finally struck a mainstream chord . For the first time, independent scientific investigations linked the drilling technique with water pollution , and a variety of federal and state agencies responded to the growing apprehension about water contamination with more studies and more regulation. Posted. http://www.celsias.com/article/fracking-household-word/ Republican Congressman calls for end of $7,500 plug-in vehicle tax credit. Remember Republican Congressman Mike Kelly, the representative from Pennsylvania who said "there is no market for [the Chevrolet Volt]"? He wants to make sure that ends up being true. On December 30th, Kelly introduced H.R. 3768, which seeks "To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to repeal the credit for plug-in electric drive vehicles." "Amending" in this case simply mean to eliminate the up to $7,500 tax credit that the Code currently offers to people who buy a plug-in car. Posted. http://green.autoblog.com/2012/01/03/republican-congressman-calls-for-end-of-7-500-plug-in-vehicle-t/