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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/



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