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newsclips -- Newsclips for January 24, 2012

Posted: 24 Jan 2012 13:45:21
ARB News Clips for January 24, 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.


L.A. has a coal problem. When protesters were arrested at the
management offices of a huge coal-fired power plant in Arizona in
December, it highlighted a very untidy fact about electricity in
green-conscious L.A.: about half of it comes from coal. The
protests were at the Tempe offices of the Salt River Project,
managing partners of the massive Navajo Generating Station, which
is a coal-fired power plant. Posted.

Weekend storm helps to clear Valley air. The light storm over the
weekend in the Central Valley has reduced air pollution in Merced
County and surrounding areas. But it's not clear how long
favorable conditions will last. Air quality in Merced County has
improved to "good" from "moderate" over the past few days,
according to the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control
District's real-time air advisory network. "Was this a huge
storm? No. But did it clear out the area? Yes," said Jaime Holt,
spokeswoman with the regional air district. Posted.

Board to make decision today on America's Cup pollution report.
Environmental groups are appealing the America’s Cup
environmental impact report because of concerns about water
pollution and air quality impacts. Air quality impacts and San
Francisco Bay water pollution brought by the America’s Cup yacht
race will be vetted today by the Board of Supervisors, which is
set to decide on an appeal of plans for the regatta that is
coming to The City. Posted.


Climate Science Education: It's Important. This week, an article
came out in the LA Times describing climate change education as
the new "evolution debate" in schools, reporting that some states
are considering new policies that would require teachers to
"teach climate change denial as a valid scientific position." ACE
was founded to fill an enormous gap in our educational sciences
curriculum around this very subject. Currently, there are no
state or national science standards in public high schools that
address teaching of the science of global warming…Posted.

Climate Change Threatens California Economy by Changing
Ecosystems. Climate change is likely to harm California's economy
by reducing the types of natural, non-irrigated vegetation
available for livestock forage and the ability of forest
ecosystems to store carbon dioxide, according to a peer-reviewed
study published in the scientific journal Climatic Change. The
ability of ecosystems to store carbon dioxide is a key part of
implementing the state's climate law, the Global Warming
Solutions Act, also known as Assembly Bill 32 or AB 32. Posted.


UC Davis double-decker bus on way back to England.  A
double-decker bus purchased for UC Davis students more than four
decades ago from a London transit company is on its way back to
England. Old RTL 1014, purchased in 1968 for $3,500, was loaded
on a flatbed truck for about an 18-hour journey to Long Beach.
From there it would be shipped to back to the mother country. The
journey to Long Beach, scheduled for Monday, was to take so long
because the flatbed with its tall cargo had to skirt low freeway
bridges. Posted.

EPA's valley visit signals hope, officials say.  A top U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency official will travel to the
Central Valley this week to discuss reducing diesel emissions as
well as a strategic plan for meeting tough federal air goals. 
The visit by regional administrator Jared Blumenfeld coincides
with news the valley will receive $5 million of $21 million the
EPA is allocating statewide to fund cleaner locomotives, school
buses, trucks, ships and agricultural irrigation pumps.  "

CARB tells Navistar its engine pollution credits could soon run
out. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has issued an
executive order informing Navistar that its pollution credits
allowing it to sell heavy-duty engines not in compliance with the
most recent environmental standards are nearly used up. A CARB
spokesman said future action by the board will depend on what
Navistar’s plans for future engines are. Posted.


California agency says court ruling puts at risk biodiesel plant.
A US District Court decision last month against California's low
carbon fuel standard jeopardizes projects aimed at producing
lower carbon fuels, the California Air Resources Board said in a
motion asking the court for a stay against the standard.  "In the
absence of a stay, fuel producers that have invested in lower
carbon fuels are unable to recoup those investments," CARB said
in the motion, which was sent to reporters on Saturday.  Posted. 
Environmentalists challenge judge's decision on low carbon fuel
standard.  Environmentalists have gone to federal court to
support California’s program requiring the use of low-carbon
fuels as a means of cutting climate-changing greenhouse gases. 
On Friday, the Natural Resources Defense Council filed a motion
to block the court’s ruling last month that halted the California
Air Resources Board’s decision to move ahead with the Low Carbon
Fuel Standard program, or LCFS, which is intended to cut carbon
emissions.  Posted. 


Volt electric car's 2011 sales below goal at 7,671. Number of the
day 7,671That's how many Volt electric cars were sold by General
Motors last year, below its target of 10,000 (and trailing the
Nissan Leaf's sales of 9,674). GM is starting to improve the
plug-in Volt's image after federal regulators last week closed
their investigation into a battery fire, saying the sedan is no
more prone to fires than other autos. Posted.

India: At least 7 million EVs on roads by 2020.  According to a
study commissioned by the Society of Indian Automobile
Manufacturers and the Ministry of Heavy Industry, India has the
potential to reach sales of over 7 million electric vehicles
(EVs) by 2020. The government’s incentives for EV manufacturers
and consumers have sparked interest, however, challenges remain. 
Posted.  http://www.cars21.com/content/articles/73920120124.php


Solar storm sends charged particles toward Earth. The bombardment
is expected to reach us Tuesday morning, but the threat to
satellites and power grids appears to be low. A massive explosion
on the sun's surface has triggered the largest solar radiation
storm since 2005 and has unleashed a torrent of charged plasma
particles toward Earth, though the threat to satellites, power
grids and other high-tech hardware is believed to be manageable,
scientists said. Posted.


Wood protection law creates splintering in guitar industry. While
the National Assn. of Music Merchants and some guitar makers seek
reform of the federal Lacey Act that protects certain exotic
woods, others benefit from it. Veteran guitar repairman Bob Wirtz
faced a wall of pricey custom-built electric guitars, and he had
the ear of Gibson Guitar Corp.'s resident expert on the
instruments. But what Wirtz wanted to talk about was
international law. Posted.


Heating Costs. To the Editor: Re “As Price of Oil Soars, Users
Can Only Shiver and Cross Their Fingers” (news article, Jan. 22):
As your article points out, when consumers switch from diesel oil
to natural gas heating, unhealthful air pollution levels go down,
and short-term heating costs do, too. But the article doesn’t
mention the long-term solution to keeping heating costs down. By
installing more efficient furnaces, consumers can keep costs low
even when roller-coaster gas prices increase again, as they
inevitably will. Posted.

California's clean-car agenda. California pulled off a clean-air
triple play last summer when it led other pollution-worried
states, Detroit carmakers and Washington into agreeing to nearly
double auto mileage in coming years. The result was a White House
announcement, mandating an astonishing 54.4 miles per gallon rule
for most cars and trucks by 2025. Now comes the tricky part: to
design millions of vehicles to meet that deadline and even
cleaner cars in the decades beyond. Posted.

Barnidge: On Spare the Air Days, only firewood dealers burn. The
Bay Area Air Quality Management District is not just another
government agency with an unwieldy title and a lot of directors
(22, at last count). It is the state-appointed body that
regulates the "stationary sources of air pollution in the nine
counties that surround San Francisco Bay." In the winter months,
that means it's the fireplace police. Posted.

Bill McEwen: EPA's $21m won't fix Valley's toxic air. The
Environmental Protection Agency this morning will announce that
it's sending $21 million to help clean the air in the smoggy San
Joaquin Valley and elsewhere in California.  In addition, the
federal agency will roll out its plan for protecting the health
of Valley residents with an emphasis on air and water quality,
enforcement of public health standards and environmental justice.
Better late than never, I suppose. Posted.

INLAND: Clean-air equity. Clean-air regulations should apply to
businesses on tribal land as well as those elsewhere. So a
Coachella Valley tribe made a promising step in agreeing to
impose air quality rules on private industries operating on its
reservation. But the pact’s effectiveness depends on the tribal
government, which needs to back those good intentions with real
enforcement muscle. Posted.

Killing drilling with farcical ‘science’ The academic face of the
anti-fracking movement — Cornell marine ecologist Robert Howarth
— increasingly looks like he’s willing to turn science into
farce. Last spring, the once-obscure professor became the go-to
expert for anti-fracking journalists and lawmakers when he
published a report claiming shale gas pollutes more than coal.


On Our Radar: Solar Kits for Haitians. Haiti’s president says he
aims to double the number of rural households with electricity
within two years by offering people loans to buy solar kits that
can charge cellphones or computers. The $40 million program also
calls for installing streetlights in the countryside and
repairing power lines in the capital. Posted.

Yes, someone has written a book about the history of snowmen. And
it’s pretty interesting. To some snow evokes hazardous road
conditions, school closings and schedule changes. But for kids
and kids at heart (not to mention uninhibited snow lovers) snow
is the raw ingredient for a favorite winter activity: making
snowmen (is “snow people” more PC?). Who could not enjoy the
thrill and fun of rolling snowballs; …Posted.

REGION: State attorney general joins lawsuit against regional
transportation plan.  California Attorney General Kamala Harris
said Monday that she will join a lawsuit aimed at revamping the
2050 Regional Transportation Plan ---- the San Diego region's
blueprint for freeway and mass-transit projects.  Leaders of the
San Diego Association of Governments, which developed and
approved the $214 billion plan, said they will defend it
vigorously.  Posted. 

California’s Rangeland Could Take a Hit from Climate Change. 
California’s ranchers could face a tougher economic future under
climate change. The grasslands they depend on to feed their
cattle could shrink by almost 40% by the end of the century,
according to a study from Duke University and the Environmental
Defense Fund.  The researchers modeled two different climate
futures for California: a warmer, wetter scenario and a warmer,
drier one. Posted. 

An Electric Vehicle for You?  2012 will see the introduction of a
myriad of plug-in electric vehicles: sports cars, an SUV,
compacts, hatchbacks, sub-compacts, and sedans. Over the next
several years, up to 40 plug-in models will be introduced. Later
this week, the California Air Resources Board will vote on
improvements to strengthen the state’s Zero Emission Vehicle
program that will provide automakers with the long-term certainty
necessary to ensure this proliferation of vehicle choice
continues. Posted. 

US District Court denies California Air Resources Board motion to
stay injunction of enforcement of Low Carbon Fuel Standard;
outcome relies on appeal.  In an order issued 23 January, US
District Court Judge Lawrence O’Neill denied a motion filed by
the California Air Resources Board (ARB) to stay the injunction
on the enforcement of the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) he had
ordered in the earlier decisions of 29 December 2011 while ARB
appeals the rulings. Posted. 

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